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comment FBR June 2014 web-2

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comment FBR June 2014 web-2

  1. 1. 2 | JUNE 2014 | FOOD & BEVERAGE REPORTER “T o reach economic stability, emerging markets in Asia, including Thailand, need to concentrate on consumer-led growth by increasing domestic demand and investment while fixing income inequality and the imbalance in resource distribution, according to academics and economists,”The Nation commented in January this year. Cut and paste, replace Asia with Africa and it sounds like a cure-all for of Africa’s, or even just South Africa’s, ills. What interests me is the focal ‘consumer-led’hook of this statement. Today it is the consumer who is all powerful and his/her individual choices may be as unique as a fingerprint, making consumer profiling that much harder for those who put these findings together in insightful research documents. So who is today’s consumer? Let’s, for argument’s sake, say that consumers of the modern age are health conscious, environmentally aware and morally and socially sensitive. Last month, I attended the AGM of the Glass Recycling Co where Marco Lotz, a sustainability carbon specialist at Nedbank, gave an address and suggested that the consumer of today is moved by carbon footprint. He affirmed the notion that ‘consumers dictate business’but poked at the collective consciousness when he said there had been a currency conversion. But he was not talking rand- dollar or pound sterling-yen. Our conversion, he said, was, for an audience as green-attuned as we were, becoming a calorie-to-carbon conversion. Historically our buying decision was based on price and the rand was our currency. When we took a closer at food products, calories became the determinant of whether or not they would land up in our shopping trolleys. It won’t be long now, according to Lotz, that consumers and companies will be making purchase and business decisions based on a company’s carbon footprint. That being said, it’s not for everyone. Calculating carbon footprint is not for the feint-hearted and cannot be done without an actuarial science degree or advanced mathematical abilities. And it will be a long time before a consumer can just read it off a product label. But there’s no denying that movies like ‘An Inconvenient Truth’(Al Gore’s persistent plugging of environmental issues) and the very real experiences of some horrific weather patterns, are making carbon consciousness much more palatable and a less likely issue to choke over. If follows then that in business-to- business transactions, CEOs, MDs and other decision makers will consider a company’s green status before agreeing to conduct business with it. This is likely to apply to suppliers and partners alike. Much like BEE and then BBBEE, it may become part of the scorecard when awarding tenders. So if the new consumer - individual or business - is counting carbons (not carbs) we’re all in for a currency conversion. Iza Grek comment Recent Editions Can you afford to miss strategic information? SUBSCRIBE TO THE PRINTED EDITION AND GAIN FREE ACCESS TO OUR WEBSITE: It contains over 5 years of rapidly- searchable editorial! Carbon is the new currency Endorsed by the SA Assoc of the Flavour & Fragrance Industry. FBR is a member of the Audit Bureau of Circulations.Endorsed by SAAFoST. Published monthly by PS Publishing. Reg No CK 2011/084261/23 PO Box 650484, Benmore, 2010, South Africa. Tel: 27 11 462 5645 • Fax: 27 11 704 3962 • Email: Facebook: Editorial: Teigue Payne, Iza Grek and Aarifah Nosarka Advertising: Marlene Miles and Nanette Germishuysen Administration: Alice Osburn Associate Publisher: Michelle Funke Publisher: Allan Swart Tel: 27 11 462 5645 Fax: 27 11 704 3962 Email: Facebook: FoodBeverageReporter Contact: Subscriptions: Issued monthly. Price: R404.20 + R65.80 VAT = R470 for one year (10 editions). (US$90 overseas; $65/R450 in Africa). Subscribers may write to cancel at any time and receive a refund of the unexpired portion.