Britvic and PepsiCo’s sports drink Gatorade is to launch a year-long on-pack promotion starting this month. Entitled ’Gatorade Gives Back’ it will reward consumers with sports equipment, music downloads, sporting holidays and money-can’t-buy experiences. For a chance of winning, consumers need to collect codes, which can then be entered online or via text. “We hope to get as many people involved as possible with schools, clubs and athletes taking full advantage of the rewards available,” commented Adam Draper, Gatorade brand manager.
Gender data: doing more to increase women and girls’ political participation so their voices are heard, and they’re able to influence decisions that affect their lives, whether that’s at home or in government It’s wonderful to have the Jo Cox Memorial Grants being launched today – for every life that is touched by these grants, they will make a real difference and they will be money well spent. It’s so fitting to have these grants created in Jo’s name, which will reach a range of different countries and projects that encompass Jo’s passion for both women’s empowerment and bringing local communities together. Jo spent 20 years working in the voluntary sector and working overseas. These grants are a reminder of that and a reminder of her passion and her determination to hopefully inspire others with similar desires. Jo would be over the moon. General media queries (24 hours) Ms Mordaunt will also today announce funding for the UN Women-led flagship programme initiative on gender data, to improve the quality of gender data so the global goals can be effectively monitored. UK aid support will be up to £6 million over 4 years stepping-up for women and girls caught-up in conflict or crisis. To ensure that as well as protecting them, women and girls are also empowered, so they have a seat at the table when it comes to finding the solutions to a lasting peace. Studies show that when women are at the negotiating table, peace treaties are a third more likely to work New Strategic Vision for Women and Girls: a one-off competitive UK Aid Direct funding round of up to £10 million, focusing on 2 themes close to Jo’s heart women’s social, economic and political empowerment strengthening civil society capacity for early prediction of identity-based violence Jo Cox Memorial Grants are being announced as part of a broader UK Aid Direct funding round of £30 million reaching those women and girls most at risk of being left behind, whether that is because of their ethnicity, their disability or simply because of where they are Jo was a dedicated humanitarian who fought for gender equality at home and in developing countries and her passion and commitment will continue to support the world’s most disadvantaged and disenfranchised women through these new UK aid grants. The MeToo movement has sent shockwaves around the world and given a voice to millions of women, but the majority of women and girls in the poorest countries are still not heard. We all have the power to change this injustice and that’s why UK aid is keeping girls in school, stamping out violence and giving a voice to women both at home and in shaping the future of their countries. It is only by everyone raising their game and making gender equality a reality that we will build a more peaceful, safe and prosperous world for us all. Email [email protected] In her speech, Ms Mordaunt will set out that DFID has taken the lead in tackling sexual abuse and exploitation within the aid sector and acknowledge that these incidents would not be so widespread if women and girls had an equal place at the table.There are three areas in Ms Mordaunt’s call to action that DFID will focus on through the new Strategic Vision for Gender Equality: Ms Mordaunt will deliver her speech at GSMA to highlight that technology will be vital in making sure the voices of women and girls in the world’s poorest countries are heard.DFID is supporting the GSMA to narrow the gender gap on mobile phone ownership in order to unlock the benefits that mobile and internet can bring, for example giving women access to financial services, educational resources and digital health services.Notes to editors:Jo Cox Memorial Grants: The Jo Cox Memorial Grants will be given to projects in developing countries that are working to get the voices of girls and women heard when holding power-holders to account, helping them find jobs and become financially independent and making access to family planning services easier. The fund will also help strengthen grassroots organisations’ capacity for predicting identity-based violence earlier.Jo Cox’s sister Kim Leadbeater said: International Development Secretary Penny Mordaunt has paid tribute to MP Jo Cox’s humanitarian work and called for everyone to “raise their game” to make gender equality a reality, ahead of this year’s International Women’s Day.Speaking today (7 March) at the headquarters of mobile technology industry association the GSMA, in the City of London, Ms Mordaunt will announce new UK aid support to help grassroots organisations working on issues that were close to Jo’s heart.Ms Mordaunt will also call for everyone to step up and make gender equality a reality, as part of the Department for International Development’s (DFID) new vision to make sure the voices of women and girls in the world’s poorest countries are heard.The International Development Secretary will say that if progress on gender equality is not sped up, the Global Goals will not be met by 2030.Ahead of her speech, International Development Secretary Penny Mordaunt said: The new Strategic Vision re-affirms the UK’s position as a world leader on gender equality. Focuses of the vision include strengthening work on gender equality in conflict and crisis contexts, women’s political empowerment, and ensuring that no women or girls are left behind.It is an update of DFID’s 2011 Strategic Vision for Girls and Women. DFID has compiled the new vision after a process of wide consultation with NGOs and civil society, both in the UK and abroad GSMA: UK Aid Direct is DFID’s centrally managed fund for small and medium sized civil society organisations. This is the third round of the fund.The fund supports civil society organisations to deliver sustained poverty reduction and achieve the global goals specifically DFID is supporting women and girls through the GSMA by working with the mobile industry to ensure their services are designed with women and girls in mind. For example in Rwanda the local mobile operator is training and employing female Mobile Money agents, who are better able to reach women with financial services, allowing them to save money and support their families Applications can be made from 4 April 2018 Telephone 020 7023 0600 If you have an urgent media query, please email the DFID Media Team on [email protected] in the first instance and we will respond as soon as possible.
A small group of scientists gathered last week at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study to share ideas about a medical mystery: the increasing evidence that some types of weight loss surgery affect not just the stomach, but the brain as well.The procedures, two types of bariatric surgery known as gastric bypass and sleeve gastrectomy, physically bypass or remove a portion of the stomach. Used only for obese patients whose weight threatens their health, the surgeries have proven dramatically effective, reducing patients’ excess weight in the months and years following surgery by 50, 60, and even 80 percent.The procedures were initially thought to work through simple physical means: Patients with smaller stomachs wouldn’t be able to eat as much, allowing them to lose weight and also giving them an opportunity to reform eating habits.James Mitchell, one of the authors of the JAMA study, said research showed that the risk factors for developing alcohol problems post-surgery include pre-surgery smoking, recreational drug use, and regular alcohol use.But in recent years, scientists have noticed side effects of the surgery that hint at something entirely different: that the surgery somehow affects not just the stomach, but the body’s broader metabolism and even the brain.The Radcliffe event brought together scientists whose research is relevant to obesity and addiction to investigate an increased incidence of alcohol abuse among those who have had the surgery and, through that, the possible impact of the surgery on the brain circuits that control addiction.The effect, reported in a handful of studies in recent years, was highlighted in June, when a large survey of more than 1,900 bariatric surgery patients was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA). The survey showed that alcohol abuse increased significantly in the second year following gastric bypass surgery and that, among those reporting post-surgery alcohol problems, 60.5 percent hadn’t had drinking problems before.The seminar was organized by two assistant professors at Harvard Medical School (HMS), Janey Pratt, co-director of the Weight Center at Harvard-affiliated Massachusetts General Hospital and assistant professor in surgery, and Stephanie Sogg, staff psychologist at the MGH Weight Center and assistant professor in psychology.The first day was dominated by presentations from the 18 invited scientists on everything from background on the surgical procedures to the use of functional magnetic resonance imaging to monitor brain activity to the latest work on the chemical signals involved in hunger, fullness, the pleasurable aspects of eating, and addiction. The second day focused on future research, with discussion of collaborative projects and potential funding sources.“It was the first time everybody was in one room together. The intellectual energy, it was amazing, one idea launched into another,” Sogg said. “The whole thing was just remarkable.”“It was the first time everybody was in one room together. The intellectual energy, it was amazing, one idea launched into another,” said Stephanie Sogg (right), staff psychologist at the MGH Weight Center. Joining Sogg was Nicole Avena (left), a research neuroscientist and expert in the fields of nutrition, diet, and addiction.James Mitchell, one of the authors of the JAMA study and chair of the Department of Clinical Neuroscience at the University of North Dakota Medical School, described the results of the recent report and of another published in 2001. The 2001 paper showed that one in five bariatric patients reported getting drunk on fewer drinks and about a third reported getting intoxicated in less time. A number of respondents, concerned about the effects they were seeing, decreased or stopped drinking.The more recent JAMA study showed that the risk factors for developing alcohol problems post-surgery include pre-surgery smoking, recreational drug use, and regular alcohol use, Mitchell said.A pair of researchers from the University of Cincinnati — Associate Professor of Psychiatry Stephen Benoit and research scientist Jon Davis — presented an overview of recent work connecting obesity and addiction. Because people have to eat to survive, many in the addiction field have resisted the idea of food addiction. That resistance has weakened since 2000, in response to studies investigating “hedonic eating” and dopamine release in the brain.Research highlighted by Benoit and Davis showed that leptin, a hormone that inhibits appetite, also affects the release of dopamine, a key player in drug abuse circuitry. Other hormones possibly implicated in linking obesity and addiction are GLP-1, or glucagon like peptitide-1, whose levels skyrocket in patients after bariatric surgery, and ghrelin, a hormone considered a complement to leptin in controlling appetite that is produced in the part of the stomach frequently removed or bypassed in bariatric surgery.“Clearly, being obese is affecting the addiction circuitry,” Benoit said.New research by Davis, Benoit, and colleagues complicates the picture, highlighting how gastric bypass surgery can not only induce excessive drinking in people without alcohol problems before surgery, but can also reduce drinking in people who reported some level of alcohol consumption before surgery.The study, which appeared in March in the journal Biological Psychiatry, surveyed more than 6,000 patients who received gastric bypass surgery and found that a significant number who reported occasional to frequent alcohol use before surgery reported decreased use afterward. The researchers then used lab rats to understand which hormones were involved, showing that GLP-1 is implicated in inducing alcohol aversion while ghrelin can restore the rats’ appetite for alcohol.Ashley Gearhardt, who is set to start as an assistant professor at the University of Michigan in the fall after earning a doctoral degree from Yale University, used the existing psychiatric definition of substance dependence to develop a diagnostic survey for “food addiction,” the Yale Food Addiction Scale.Gearhardt described the scale, already being used by researchers as a tool to diagnose food addiction, and outlined the results of initial studies using it.One study of 233 normal-weight, college-aged women showed that 11.4 percent of them met the definition of food addiction, said seminar participant Ashley Gearhardt.One study of 233 normal-weight, college-aged women showed that 11.4 percent of them met the definition of food addiction, Gearhardt said. Researchers also evaluated the scale against similar diagnostic criteria for binge-eating disorder to make sure they’re measuring something different. They found, in a study of 81 obese people seeking treatment for binge eating, that just 57 percent met the definition of food addiction. This finding shows, Gearhardt said, that while there is overlap, the two conditions are separate. In other research, Gearhardt and colleagues demonstrated similarities in brain activation between people who are substance dependent and those with high measures on the food addiction scale.Mitchell suggested that researchers pay attention to cognitive decline and liver disease, because liver functioning has been shown to temporarily decline after surgery and because physicians are starting to see improving cognitive function in patients after bariatric surgery. Obesity has been linked to cognitive decline and an increased risk of Alzheimer’s disease.During discussions about future courses of research, the scientists agreed that weight loss patients should be followed over longer periods of time and that more work is needed on the neural mechanisms linking obesity and the brain.Bariatric surgery “was seen as merely an anatomical restriction,” Sogg said. “We now know that is the least of the reasons why it works. We have a pretty good idea that the real mechanism of action is all about gut-brain communication.”
Laurence Ralph, a Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study Fellow, has been studying the issue of police violence in Chicago from the perspective of its survivors and community organizers. Drawing on his research, he says there is a need to think critically about the state and practices of policing. A scathing report released yesterday by a task force appointed by Mayor Rahm Emanuel said that the Chicago Police have “no regard for minority lives.”The Gazette sat down with Ralph, the John L. Loeb Associate Professor of the Social Sciences in the Departments of Anthropology and African and African American Studies, to talk about his research, the limits of the American legal system in addressing issues surrounding police violence, and the current climate on the matter. GAZETTE: You’ve been doing research on police violence in Chicago for the past decade, and the topic is very relevant today. What can your research tell us about the issue of police brutality against unarmed black men?RALPH: The national debate about police violence in America stems from the growing collective awareness that police officers are contributing to an alarming number of violent deaths. My research shows that instead of assuming that lethal force was either necessary or the momentary overreach of a rogue cop, instead of assuming that these cruel events are accidents, many Americans now question whether lethal force is a fundamental aspect of modern-day policing.GAZETTE: Part of your research has focused on the actions by Chicago activists to air issues of police violence before international bodies. Could you tell us more about this?RALPH: I’ve been looking at activist organizations in Chicago that have gone to the United Nations in Geneva to try to make police violence a human rights issue and to get accountability. I’m also looking at the case for reparations for victims of reported police torture in Chicago. I’ve been studying the history in Chicago. The first case is from 1984, but since then more and more victims have come out. The city of Chicago has already paid over $200 million on legal fees and settlements to victims, and recently some of the victims have been awarded $5.5 million in reparations. There is an increasing effort to make the public aware of this problem, but also to find creative ways of addressing it. The international arena is one example.GAZETTE: Can you tell us more about this? Is there a precedent for U.S. groups taking their grievances to the international arena?RALPH: There is a group in Chicago called We Charge Genocide that went to the UN in 2014. They get their name from a petition of African-Americans, W.E.B. Du Bois, Paul Robeson, among others, who went to the UN in 1951 to address the issue of systematic racism against African-Americans. The Chicago group takes its inspiration from this prior group and is making some of the same arguments. They’re trying to follow a historical precedent. They’re saying that although we had the Civil Rights movement in the United States, there are still big hurdles to overcome, particularly when it comes to race and legal justice.GAZETTE: What happened with the first group? What do you think is going to happen with the efforts of the Chicago group to find justice?RALPH: Back in 1951, people in the United States were afraid of the threat of communism. People were afraid that African-Americans would be more sympathetic to communism and subvert the United States from inside. There was a lot of effort not to talk about the first trip to the UN, but black newspapers talked about it. In the Chicago case, the goal is not merely to get particular sanctions on the Chicago Police Department, but also to give victims of police violence an outlet to express their grievances.GAZETTE: For these activists, what does the international stage offer that the American legal system may lack?RALPH: International laws give people a different language to talk about systematic racism and the fact that African-Americans are disproportionately impacted by police violence. Often within the U.S. legal system, police violence cases are looked at individually, and everything else is irrelevant. There is no way to talk about the fact that a particular racial group is overwhelmingly being impacted by police violence. So the international stage gives you another set of terms and allows for a broader set of arguments to be made. I think that beyond sanctions, the language is important, and also, since this latest group went to the UN, a lot of other incidents of police violence have happened in Chicago. Their efforts have helped the public mobilize around the issue. The activism that took place last year wouldn’t have been that effective if they hadn’t gone to the UN.GAZETTE: What do activists in Chicago think about the American legal system?RALPH: The group I’m researching is frustrated in the sense that, oftentimes in the American legal system, racial factors are excluded. You can’t talk about race; you can’t talk about social position. And oftentimes, the police are given the benefit of the doubt and they’re more trusted in court than the victims of police violence. But the international organizations can look at patterns of police abuse, and they take into consideration the rights and the word of citizens first, when filing a petition. While in the U.S. this could be an open-and-shut case, that’s the starting point for the international bodies.GAZETTE: How would you describe the police violence situation in Chicago compared with other American cities?RALPH: Part of the problem is that we don’t actually know the scope of police violence. We can’t make an assessment about which cities are better or worse in terms of police violence because a lot of what we need to keep track of, we haven’t been keeping track of on a large-scale level. What I’m focusing on is the culture of policing. I ask: What gives people an incentive to enact violence when they don’t necessarily need to? What kind of incentives are there to rise up the ranks within the police department? And why do some police officers keep silent when they know that misconduct is taking place? I hope that these cultural factors will be relevant to other police departments in other cities across the United States.GAZETTE: What were the findings of your research in Chicago?RALPH: I wanted to examine the contradiction between the fact that the police are supposed to safeguard citizens and yet they’re contributing to an alarming number of violent deaths. I’m focusing on the factors that keep police misconduct hidden. Much of my work looks at the phenomenon of police torture, specifically. I’m interested in criminal suspects who have been brutalized or tortured in order to coerce confessions, and what keeps these methods under wraps. I find that, although many officers might know or suspect misconduct, they don’t want to tell anyone because it could compromise them or put them in a position to risk their careers. Some develop strategies to avoid getting knowledge. The larger issue is how the police departments operate in America today.GAZETTE: Would you say that there is a climate of looking the other way in most police departments when it comes to issues of misconduct?RALPH: In the cases I have studied, there is a climate of looking the other way, definitely. There is a lot of pressure to both get arrests and confessions. And there are disincentives for outing police officers.GAZETTE: What do you hope to see happen with grievances of police violence?RALPH: My hope is that more creative solutions can be imagined to solve the problem. I don’t know what those solutions will be yet. But what I’m seeing in the research is that the same solutions are being imagined as a way to solve the problem. Some examples are: another report, another committee created to address the problem, and more personnel being fired. But if we look at this from a long, historical perspective, we see that those changes don’t affect what’s actually going on. My hope is that we find another way to think about what can be done, and that’s the importance of going to the UN. Not to say that’s the answer, but it gives people a space to air grievances, an alternative vision of the law than what we currently have in the United States.Ralph, a Joy Foundation Fellow at the Institute this year, will present “Witnessing Death: Policing, Race, and the Limits of Democracy in the 21st Century” on Wednesday at 4 p.m. at the Sheerr Room, Fay House, 10 Garden St., Cambridge. This interview has been lightly edited for length and clarity.
Take your mind off the fact that you don’t know who Richard Sherman is and play a “Spot the Broadway Actor” drinking game during USA’s Law and Order: SVU marathon. If you’re watching a B.D. Wong episode, that’s a few beers right there. Dun-dun! TAILGATE WITH LAW & ORDER: SVU PARTY WITH A RODENT Don’t forget February 2 is the best holiday ever, Groundhog Day! Yep, the day a bucktoothed rat comes out of the ground and tells us it’s going to be freezing for another month. He’s the subject of a hilarious movie, which is about to become the subject of a (hopefully) hilarious musical by Tim Minchin. Watch the whole flick (over and over and over) on CMT! RECORD A ‘LET IT GO’ COVER The internet can be cruel (#YoutubeTrolls). Get your head in the game to get those haters off your back! Pick up the newly released piano/vocal/guitar score for Frozen and learn an indie cover to blow them away. (Your mom can record it, but make sure her thumb’s not on the lens like last time.) Star Files CHEER FOR ALICE RIPLEY Seeing Broadway goddess Alice Ripley perform her solo show Ripley Reflects at 54 Below while sipping a glass of Pinot sounds like the perfect alternative to a sports bar full of screaming Giants fans. They’re playing, right? Wait, no? Oops. READ A BOOK, PEOPLE Be like Matilda: Turn off the telly and feed your brain this Super Bowl Sunday. Pick up Tim Federle’s new middle-grade theater novel Five, Six, Seven, Nate! Just try not to get buffalo sauce on the pages. View Comments PRETEND IT’S ST. PATTY’S DAY Dying to see Outside Mullingar? Head over heels in love with Once? Throw yourself an early St. Patrick’s Day party! After a few shots of Jameson and a six-pack of Guinness, you’ll be falling for a vacuum repairman in no time. Go long! And (Erinn) Go Bragh! CHANNEL FRAN DRESCHER Say “Mistah Sheffield!” Keep that oh-so-sassy cadence and say “Cindah-rella!” Franny the Nanny is about to be Carly Rae Jepsen’s stepmom, but we can’t let her forget her roots. Honor the flashy girl from Flushing, then show her what you’ve learned at the Cinderella stage door beginning February 4. TELEPORT TO ENGLAND Few networks are battling with Super Bowl Sunday ratings, but PBS says, “When ya got it, flaunt it!” Watch new episodes of both Downton Abbey and Sherlock at their regularly scheduled times. Let’s be real, they’ve got London stage hottie and August: Osage County star Benedict Cumberbatch. Game on! Broadway fans, your secret is safe with us: We know many of you only watch the Super Bowl for the bean dip and the intermission halftime show. For football fanatics, the Super Bowl is like the Tony Awards—it’s very important. But if it’s just not your thing, don’t panic. Whether you spend the afternoon flipping back and forth to watch the Doritos commercials or decide to boycott the big game altogether, we’ve got your non-Super Bowl Sunday activities covered! (Oh, and if you’re lucky enough to be a sports fan and a Broadway fan, can you tell us what a “first down” is? Thanks!) Alice Ripley
View Comments Oscar winner Shirley MacLaine took in Broadway’s Hand to God at the Booth Theatre on September 30. Afterward, the talented actress headed backstage to meet Tyrone, the satanic puppet at the center of the dark comedy, and his human co-stars, including leading man Steven Boyer (see below). With MacLaine’s famous interest in sprituality, metaphysics and reincarnation, we’d love to take her out for a couple of dry martinis and deep analysis of Tyrone’s aura. Pretty sure karma’s a bitch—even for puppets. Hand to God Related Shows Show Closed This production ended its run on Jan. 3, 2016
Coal company in India seeks bids for solar power FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Clean Technica:A major coal mining company in India has issued a tender to develop solar power projects worth 150 megawatts of capacity. The tender will be awarded for engineering, procurement, and commissioning work, in addition to 10 years of operations and maintenance contract.Singareni Collieries Company Limited (SCCL) is among the largest coal mining companies in India after the behemoth Coal India Limited. SCCL is predominantly operational in the state of Telangana in southern India, and claims to own reserves of 9 billion tonnes of coal.The company is planning to set up 150 megawatts (AC) of solar power projects across Telangana in order to meet its green energy goals. It has thus contracted services of the Solar Energy Corporation of India (SECI) to host this auction on its behalf. The bids will thus be adjudged on a per megawatt basis, i.e. cost of the erection and maintenance of the projects.The auction comes months after the company announced plans to set up a total of 550 megawatts of solar power capacity. The company had estimated the cost of development of this capacity at around Rs 2,475 crore ($360 million), with annual savings of Rs 24 crore ($3.50 million).The 150 megawatts of capacity will be spread across five sites, with the capacity of each project varying from 10 megawatts to 50 megawatts. The auction is open only for Indian companies, which includes Indian subsidiaries of foreign companies.The tender document does not mention how the power generated from these projects would be used. It is possible that SCCL would use this power for captive use, or enter power purchase agreements with willing buyers at a later stage.More: Indian coal mining company tenders 150 megawatts of solar
By Voice of America (VOA) January 06, 2020 An analysis of the tweets posted during the recent protests in Chile, reflecting that most foreign accounts supported the demonstrations and a change of government, could bolster allegations that Cuba, Venezuela, and Nicaragua may be behind much of the unrest in Latin America.The statistical analysis of more than 4 million tweets, conducted by the Chilean company ConnectaLabs, doesn’t focus on the content of the tweets, but indicates that the polarization of messages mainly favored protests and political change or expressed disapproval of the current Chilean government.ConnectaLabs clearly indicates that most foreign accounts were Venezuelan, Nicaraguan, or Cuban, and its findings coincide with a previous investigation from the Atlantic Council think tank, which showed intense activity on Venezuelan accounts, some of them identified as being sympathetic to the disputed government.The Atlantic Council study, which studied fewer messages than ConnectaLabs, as it only covered the period from October 16-25, indicated that 20 percent of the Venezuelan profiles that tweeted messages about the protests in Chile defined themselves as Chavista or Bolivarian.According to the Spanish newspaper ABC, several accounts that actively tweeted pro-Chavista messages in recent weeks made extensive use of hashtags to talk about the main ongoing crises on the continent, such as #ChileResiste (Resist, Chile), #EcuadorEnResistencia (Ecuador in Resistance), or #BoliviaDecide (Decide, Bolivia).The Cuban digital newspaper 14yMedio, referring to a study on social media, said that Venezuela’s disputed President Nicolás Maduro, the Venezuelan minister of Culture, and TV network Telesur and its journalists use the hashtags #chiledesperto (Chile Awakens), #chilesecanso (Chile got tired), and #lamarchamasgrandedechile (Chile’s biggest demonstration).One of the most active Cuban accounts encouraging the protests and criticizing the Chilean government is @YanetDCuba, which has also retweeted hundreds of messages from Cuban President Miguel Díaz-Canel, as well as from officials and supporters of the Cuban government, said 14yMedio. According to the online news portal América Digital Noticias, during the protests, the Chilean government identified other hashtags, such as: #ChileViolaLosDerechosHumanos (Chile violates human rights), #LosMilicosNoSonTusAmigos (Security forces are not your friends), #ChileNoQuiereMigajas (Chile doesn’t want leftovers), #RenunciaPiñera (Resign, Piñera), and #ChileQuiereCambios (Chile wants changes).
Social media goodwill cannot be easily matched by our competitors: In the decades leading to this one, advertisers controlled the conversation about their brands with advertising. In this era, an investment in customer service was not as appealing as money in media. Meanwhile, smaller competitors made member service investments, relying as they always have on positive word of mouth as their primary tactic in gaining new business. The amplification of word of mouth advertising through the bullhorn of social media could not have been predicted by big banks or smaller organizations, but it benefits the latter immediately while causing the former to change course.Now, all we need is evidence of success, right? As a “David” I hope not. David had no evidence that his strategy would work, but only evidence that traditional methods would not. Using a weapon customized to his strengths was his only shot at being the victor. Butler had little evidence that recruiting “no-stat all-stars” would result in success, but there was empirical evidence to show that they could not compete with traditional recruiting. Changing their recruiting strategy was the only option that resulted in a chance to win. Likewise, there is little evidence to support the idea that there is ROI in social media, but there is strong evidence to support the idea that credit unions cannot compete with big banks by using traditional media. A dollar spent here is the equivalent of a rifle volley in an open field, and credit unions cannot compete in a battle of attrition using traditional media. Conversely, a dollar spent on social media is an investment in a customized tool which gives us a clear advantage and a chance to win.If “advertising is what you pay for and PR is what you pray for” then credit union marketers got exactly what we’ve been praying for. Now, if we could just convince industry CEOs it’s what they’ve been praying for, too. Social media mitigates our competitors’ strengths or makes them counterproductive: If consumers aren’t relying upon advertisements to make their buying decisions, then the biggest advertising budget in the world is ineffective. Worse yet for big spenders is that traditional ads are generally the first step in a sales attribution chain which increasingly leads to reviews on social media. How unfortunate to spend millions of dollars to send consumers to your long list of poor reviews and a head to head competition with a more favorable competitor! Everybody loves a David and Goliath story, especially when we are in a small but virtuous “David” industry facing Goliaths. It may be part of who we are as a nation, having won our independence against all odds as a small group of virtuous colonies fighting against an empire. Even in sports, we celebrate when a clever underdog finds a way to beat an imposing opponent. It was hard not to root for the feisty Butler Bulldogs in 2010 and 2011 as they faced much larger opponents in the NCAA tournament.In each case, the smaller competitor abandoned traditional tools and tactics in favor of those which would highlight their strengths while mitigating the strengths of their opponents, or even using those strengths against them. More importantly, the tactics used could not be matched by their opponents.For David, it was the sling. Had he brought a heavy sword to fight Goliath, the Bible would be a bit shorter. Goliath’s big body made him strong, but his big head made for an easy target. His strength was now his weakness. Had Goliath brought a sling, he’d have had difficulty hitting a small and agile opponent. Goliath could not match David’s tactics – even if he wanted to.For the revolutionaries, guerilla warfare gave advantage to small groups with lifelong knowledge of the land. At a time when shooting back and forth in an open field was conventional, and the larger army with better rifles was sure to win a battle of attrition, guerilla warfare used the Red Coats’ strengths of organization, rigid structure and size against them. The patriots’ knowledge of the land could not be replicated by these foreigners.The Butler Bulldogs use a unique recruiting tactic which deemphasizes stats in favor of intangible qualities. Legacy powerhouse schools would never give up a blue chip athlete to award scholarships to “no-stats all-stars,” as MoneyBall author Michael Lewis calls them, if only for fear of boosters rioting. They could never match this tactic.In banking, the conventional tool for acquiring new business is paid advertising. The tools and tactics credit unions can use to level the playing field are already available, but many in our industry insist that we can win with conventional advertising tactics. We can’t.Consider our weakness, which is clearly size. Each of the “big four” banks in the United States holds more assets, individually, than all U.S. credit union assets combined. It stands to reason that their advertising spends, individually, dwarf the aggregate credit union spend as well. What credit unions lack in budget, they make up in the oft-recited virtues of better rates, fewer fees, and better service. Additionally, we’re an industry built upon transparency and corporate responsibility, which are important factors in millennials’ buying decisions. That’s great, except few of them have any idea that we exist. Considering the fact that only 1/3 of millennials trust TV ads, and most of them don’t own TVs anyway, our little credit union ad touting better rates and fewer fees is virtually worthless, especially considering it is probably sandwiched between two bank ads with celebrities saying the same thing.As a strategist seeking a way to capitalize upon our strengths, you’d look for a tool which places our rates, fees and service in apples to apples competition with big banks, and rewards transparency and corporate responsibility. You’d also hope to diminish the strength of banks by establishing a tool which does not rely on an advertising budget, and penalizes businesses with traditions of misinformation and customer abuse. In fact, you’d hope that a big bank’s strength in having a larger advertising budget would become a weakness, perhaps by leading interested parties to a head to head comparison. Lastly, you’d look for a tool or tactic which cannot be immediately replicated by banks. In social media, you have all of these.Social media highlights our own strengths: Consumer reviews on Facebook, Yelp etc. are not written by marketers. There is no puffery, clever wording, or asterisk chasing. No expensive compliance or PR department is approving anything, and the result is raw, unbiased, transparent and free. The smallest credit union and the largest bank appear right next to each other, with only their average review to separate them. Furthermore, consumer reviews are far more influential than polished TV ads, in both trustworthiness and usage. Millennials are about 30% more likely to trust consumer reviews than TV or radio ads, and according to a 2014 Mintel study quoted in the Chicago Tribune, “nearly 70 percent of consumers, and 82 percent of millennials, seek opinions before buying.” 22SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr,Bradley Blue No matter what Brad were to say about himself in this bio, it would be easy to find the truth about him with a simple google search. This applies to … Details
The government has rekindled plans to escalate Indonesia’s biodiesel program after a five-month hiatus caused by weak palm oil prices and the unfolding global health crisis.Coordinating Economic Minister Airlangga Hartarto recently ordered state-owned fuel giant Pertamina to revive the program a few days after the company produced an experimental batch of new biodiesel and signed a deal to build a biodiesel catalyst factory.The minister ordered Pertamina to produce a first-ever 40 percent mixed biodiesel (B40) composed of 30 percent Fatty Acid Methyl Ester (FAME), 10 percent green diesel and 60 percent fossil fuel diesel. Global palm oil prices reached their lowest this year at 2,000 ringgit (US$476.47) a ton on May 6 but have since recovered to 2,780 ringgit a ton on July 30, according to the global benchmark Bursa Malaysia Derivatives.The government, led by Minister Airlangga, has also begun reopening the economy, which is expected to boost domestic consumption of palm oil.Energy and Mineral Resources Ministry renewables director Sutijastoto also said his office was working on a new regulation to accommodate the B40 biofuel, as the existing regulation does not require Indonesia to escalate beyond B30.“We will push it. But this might come out either this year or next year,” he said on July 28.The Indonesian Automotive Manufacturers Association (Gaikindo) has yet to voice support for the government’s B40 plan.“Gaikindo asks to be given time to prepare for the implementation of B40,” association chairman Jongkie Sugiarto told The Jakarta Post on Monday.Automakers needed time to redesign vehicles to suit the new fuel, he explained. The lower emission fuel is notorious among commercial vehicle associations for damaging engines and requiring higher maintenance.Meanwhile, Indonesia is still pushing forward with its complaint to the World Trade Organization (WTO) against European Union restrictions on palm oil-based biofuels.The European Commission concluded in 2019 that palm oil cultivation leads to excessive deforestation and passed a law to phase out its use as transportation fuel between 2023 and 2030.“We don’t need to fear those negative foreign NGOs,” said Indonesian Biofuel Producers Association (Aprobi) chairman Master Parulian Tumanggor.Producing green diesel remains much more expensive than producing B30, said Budi Santoso Syarif, deputy director of refinery subsidiary PT Pertamina Kilang International, also on Thursday.“We need incentives to make the product competitive,” he said.Pertamina also signed on July 29 a deal with state-owned fertilizer producer PT Pupuk Kujang and the Bandung Institute of Technology (ITB) to build a biodiesel catalyst factory.The fertilizer maker expects to begin construction in 2020 and finish by the second quarter of 2021. The facility will be built in the Kujang Cikampek Industrial Area in West Java.“Production is ready so the next step will be the market,” Indonesian Olefin, Aromatic and Plastic Industry Association (Inaplas) secretary general Fajar Budiyono told the Post.Topics : “I want it by July 2021,” he said in a webinar hosted by CNBC Indonesia on July 30.The biodiesel program is one of Indonesia’s many strategies to cut oil imports and lower carbon dioxide emissions. The program has been escalated since 2016 starting with the B20 biodiesel, as per Energy and Mineral Resources Ministry Regulation No. 12/2015.The minister’s order also followed state-owned Pertamina’s successful three-day trial production of 1,000 barrels per day (bpd) of D100 green diesel at its refinery in Dumai, Riau, which is Indonesia’s palm oil heartland.Minister Airlangga first announced the B40 plan in February but kept quiet about it after palm oil prices began tumbling the following months and as Indonesia redirected its resources to tackle COVID-19.