TSMC outsources part of CoWoS packaging production to OSATs

TSMC has outsourced part of its chip-on-wafer-on-substrate (CoWoS) packaging to OSATs including Advanced Semiconductor Engineering (ASE), Siliconware Precision Industries (SPIL) and Amkor, particularly for low-volume customized products, according to industry sources......»»

Category: topSource: digitimesNov 25th, 2021

A Food Industry Reset Can Cut At Least 10% Of Global Emissions

S&P Global Ratings’ most recent report has found that the food system is responsible for about one-third of global GHG emissions, including up to 10% from lost or wasted food. Food supply disruptions due to the pandemic and extreme weather have further brought this issue into the spotlight. However, if it optimises its food production […] S&P Global Ratings’ most recent report has found that the food system is responsible for about one-third of global GHG emissions, including up to 10% from lost or wasted food. Food supply disruptions due to the pandemic and extreme weather have further brought this issue into the spotlight. However, if it optimises its food production and supply chain by adopting more efficient systems, the food industry could reduce food waste which would, in turn, help pave the way to a more sustainable future. if (typeof jQuery == 'undefined') { document.write(''); } .first{clear:both;margin-left:0}.one-third{width:31.034482758621%;float:left;margin-left:3.448275862069%}.two-thirds{width:65.51724137931%;float:left}form.ebook-styles .af-element input{border:0;border-radius:0;padding:8px}form.ebook-styles .af-element{width:220px;float:left}form.ebook-styles .af-element.buttonContainer{width:115px;float:left;margin-left: 6px;}form.ebook-styles .af-element.buttonContainer input.submit{width:115px;padding:10px 6px 8px;text-transform:uppercase;border-radius:0;border:0;font-size:15px}form.ebook-styles input.submit{width:115px}form.ebook-styles .af-element.privacyPolicy{width:100%;font-size:12px;margin:10px auto 0}form.ebook-styles .af-element.privacyPolicy p{font-size:11px;margin-bottom:0}form.ebook-styles .af-body input.text{height:40px;padding:2px 10px !important} form.ebook-styles .error, form.ebook-styles #error { color:#d00; } form.ebook-styles .formfields h1, form.ebook-styles .formfields #mg-logo, form.ebook-styles .formfields #mg-footer { display: none; } form.ebook-styles .formfields { font-size: 12px; } form.ebook-styles .formfields p { margin: 4px 0; } Get The Full Henry Singleton Series in PDF Get the entire 4-part series on Henry Singleton in PDF. Save it to your desktop, read it on your tablet, or email to your colleagues (function($) {window.fnames = new Array(); window.ftypes = new Array();fnames[0]='EMAIL';ftypes[0]='email';}(jQuery));var $mcj = jQuery.noConflict(true); Q3 2021 hedge fund letters, conferences and more Key Takeaways Each year, a staggering one-third of food produced globally--worth almost $1 trillion--is lost or wasted, with unconsumed food contributing up to 10% of global greenhouse gases (GHG) in addition to emissions from farming, processing, and other activities. More efficient food systems will help eliminate food loss and waste while reducing the impact on the environment, especially since about 14% of the world's food is lost before reaching supermarket shelves. With the U.N.'s 2030 target for halving per capita food waste fast approaching, we believe the food industry can create a path to more sustainable food production and supply through closer collaboration and process integration. Companies able and willing to adjust their business models and adopt sustainable agronomic practices can strengthen their resilience to operating setbacks and reduce food-related emissions, while delivering higher margins through value-added product offerings. Studies suggest that the food system is responsible for about one-third of global GHG emissions, including up to 10% from lost or wasted food. This stands out when compared with about 12% from manufacturing and construction and 14% for the transportation sector, according to data from the World Resources Institute (WRI). Food supply disruptions, especially over the past two years due to the pandemic and extreme weather, have brought this issue further into the spotlight. Last year, for example, one of the warmest on record according to the World Meteorological Organization, thunderstorms, wildfires, plagues, and drought destroyed millions of hectares of crops and displaced thousands of people. In addition, COVID-19-related restrictions severely hampered the transport of agricultural commodities over air, land, and sea. This increased the amount of food lost or wasted at the production and retail stages, already vulnerable to storage capacity, freight availability, and political instability among other factors. S&P Global Ratings believes agribusinesses can strengthen the food production and supply chain through closer collaboration at every stage, both downstream and upstream. There are meaningful gains to be had, for example by companies expanding into advanced food ingredient technologies to improve product shelf life, or by integrating transport with processing and sales. Some companies are already rethinking their long-term strategies, putting greater emphasis on managing environmental and social risks. We believe they stand to gain a competitive advantage using this approach. The big question is whether they can do enough to have a visible impact on food-related emissions by 2030. The High Cost Of Food Loss Although limited data is available, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) estimates (2016) show that, excluding retail and households, about 14% of the world's food is lost between the harvest and retail stages. Before and during consumption, the highest food loss and waste per capita occurs in Asia, according to a World Economic Forum report, followed by North America and Europe. The report states that "if food waste were a country, it would rank behind only the U.S. and China for greenhouse gas emissions." The UN Environment Program (UNEP)'s Food Waste Index indicates that, in 2019, 61% of food waste came from households, 26% from food service, and 13% from retail. A large share of food waste stems from consumers, food providers, and retailers in developed markets. In North America, the U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates that, in 2010, 31% of the domestic food supply was lost, to the tune of about $161 billion. Seven years later, a report by the National Conference of State Legislatures showed that about 40% of food produced in the U.S. is wasted throughout the supply chain, from farms to households, while 41 million Americans faced food insecurity in 2016. In the U.K., despite considerable progress in this area, estimates show that households and businesses still waste around 9.5 million tonnes (mt) of food per year (70% intended for human consumption) valued at over £19 billion. The edible portion of this food (6.4 mt) would have been enough to feed the entire U.K. population three meals a day for 11 weeks. Food is wasted in many ways. Here are just three of them: Edible fresh produce not meeting certain criteria, for example in terms of shape, size, and color, is dumped during sorting operations. Foods that are close to, at, or beyond the "best before" date are often discarded by retailers and consumers. Large quantities of edible food not eaten by households and restaurants are often thrown away. More Businesses Need To Focus On Sustainability While the world is focusing on the energy transition, the U.N.'s 17 sustainable development goals (SDGs) are keeping the attention on issues such as hunger, poverty, climate action, and sustainable cities and communities. Resolving these clearly also support the reduction of GHG emissions. In particular, SDG 12 is to ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns, including a target (SDG 12.3) to halve--by 2030--per capita food waste at the retail and consumer levels, while reducing food losses during production and supply. Over 190 countries formally agreed to the SDGs, set in 2015, as part of the U.N.'s 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Yet only 1% of food companies' business models support responsible consumption and production, according to a September 2020 Trucost survey of 3,500 companies representing 85% of global market capitalization. And not much time is left before 2030. The Trucost report also states that about 90% of the companies it examined provide products and services related to food logistics, including taking products from harvest through to consumption. Among the largest global food corporations working with farmers, retailers, and other organizations in support of the SDGs are market leader Cargill, which has launched several initiatives under its Sustainable Supply Chains program (beef, cocoa, corn, and cotton, among others). Similarly, ADM (food and beverage ingredients) has SDG-aligned environmental targets it aims to achieve by 2035, including a 25% drop in GHG emissions. Nestle (more than 2,000 food and beverage brands) has committed to tackling emissions through 100% deforestation-free supply by 2022, 100% recyclable or reusable packaging by 2025, and food loss/waste reduction targets. Bunge (the world's largest oilseed processor) has an ambitious goal that includes a deforestation-free supply chain by 2025. Mondelez (brands include Cadbury, Philadelphia, and Oreo) reports that it's on track with its 2022-2025 sustainable-ingredients targets. Danone (including Activia, Alpro, and Silk) has pledged a 50% reduction of food waste from the 2016 level, plus 100% next-generation, recyclable, biodegradable packaging by 2025. There Are Many Possible Solutions Several global companies plan to effect changes to reduce the environmental impact of their own activities, but this is not enough to transform the entire food production and supply chain. Successful collaboration and consolidation won't be easy, but food companies have several options open to them. Support for farmers and the local salesforce through better data, technology, and training. We believe direct links with farmers and closer relationships with salespeople where crops are grown are increasingly important to limit loss at production. In large crop-producing regions such as the eastern coast of Latin America, South East Asia, and the Black Sea, local currency inflation and volatility often mean that farmers make storage, sale, and process decisions every week, depending on trading data. Such fragmented decision-making means that transport companies operating with long-term contracts might see their freight capacity underutilized if farmers renege on supply contracts. This is a particular risk if the monetary penalty for farmers is small relative to the potential gain of diverting the sale. Value-added products in food processing can help reduce waste further down the line and offer agribusinesses opportunities for profitable growth. Innovative technologies can help reduce waste at consumer level by improving the shelf life and appearance of staple foods. In addition, they can promote more efficient crop use by improving the taste and texture of more environmentally friendly plant-based food. Many companies are investing in this are also looking at new materials, to be used, among other things, in food handling and packaging. Collaboration with retailers is key to cutting distribution inefficiencies and food waste at households. This will enable large agribusinesses and consumer product companies to reap the full benefits of their measures to tackle food waste. Grocers, for instance, can play a huge role in influencing consumers' food choices and attitude toward waste. In recognition of this, leading agribusinesses, consumer products groups, and food retailers have joined the WRI's "10x20x30" initiative since it launched in 2019. The program aims to drive progress on SDG 12.3, using a "whole chain" approach, with participating companies pledging to engage with at least 20 of their suppliers and--together--halve their food loss and waste by 2030. Adoption of the "Target-Measure-Act" strategy can help track sources of waste/loss, find solutions, and record progress. The strategy was launched by U.K. sustainable resources advocate WRAP and the IDG (Institute of Grocery Distribution) in 2018 as part of the country's Food Waste Reduction Roadmap, which is geared toward the U.N.'s SDG 12.3 target. Three years into the program, nearly 200 companies, including top global names like Unilever, Nestle, Mondelez, and PepsiCo have committed to using the Target-Measure-Act method to speed up food loss/waste reduction in their operations, and make the results public. U.K.-based Tesco was the first retailer to use the approach, inviting 27 suppliers to take part in 2017. WRAP has also called on COP26 delegates to adopt to Target-Measure-Act to tackle climate change. The U.K.'s September 2021 Food Waste Reduction Roadmap progress report showed that businesses had lowered food waste by an estimated 17%--worth £365 million--over the previous year. The U.K. is the first nation to create a plan to achieve SDG 12.3's target of reducing food loss and waste by 50% by 2030. Increased use of processed food byproducts and restaurant waste for renewable fuels. Animal fats and meal resulting from meat processing, well as cooking oils from food-service establishments, are increasingly being used to produce renewable fuel, thereby reducing the amount of waste as well as reliance on fossil fuel. Under initiatives such as the U.S. National Renewable Fuel Standard Program, gasoline refiners are required to increase their blend of such biofuels into the gasoline supply, with production mandates for renewable and biofuels expected to increase by more than 20% in 2022 compared with 2020 levels. Continued biofuel demand growth will also increase the economic value of such byproducts for recycling into fuels. In fact, a market for various grease grades (for example yellow grease, choice white grease, and poultry grease) already exists, with prices rising more than 100% year over year in the quarter ended Sept. 30, 2021, according to the Jacobson Index. What Food Companies Are Already Doing We see global agri-commodity companies consolidating their agricultural platforms (such as for grain, coffee, and cotton), while pursuing geographic expansion and shifting their product mix toward more sustainable alternatives. Scale and cost efficiencies should enable them to deliver affordable products. However, they are increasingly recognizing that to improve supply chain sustainability, they have to invest upstream as well as downstream to reduce reliance on less sustainable food inputs even though they may be more cost effective. The related investments typically stop short of direct ownership of farmland and crop production, but look at all parts of the food system's infrastructure. This includes partnering with growers and supporting them with new sustainable technologies and processes. Such an approach could entail optimizing drying, storage, and quality controls, land transit, and the high volume of crops passing through port terminals. Article by S&P Global Ratings Updated on Nov 17, 2021, 11:56 am (function() { var sc = document.createElement("script"); sc.type = "text/javascript"; sc.async = true;sc.src = "//"; sc.charset = "utf-8";var s = document.getElementsByTagName("script")[0]; s.parentNode.insertBefore(sc, s); }()); window._F20 = window._F20 || []; _F20.push({container: 'F20WidgetContainer', placement: '', count: 3}); _F20.push({finish: true});.....»»

Category: blogSource: valuewalkNov 17th, 2021

16 B Corps making products we love that you can feel good about buying

B Corporations are businesses that get voluntarily graded by the nonprofit B Lab on everything from worker health to environmental impact. When you buy through our links, Insider may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more.United by Blue B Corps are businesses graded on their efforts to create an inclusive, sustainable economy. These companies treat "good business" as an idea that includes both profit and purpose.  Below, we rounded up the B Corps we love shopping at most, including Patagonia, Allbirds, and Prose. Table of Contents: Masthead StickyAs history can attest, nonprofits aren't enough to single-handedly eradicate poverty and inequality and infuse the workplace with jobs that make workers feel dignified and purposeful.To pitch in, some companies are willing to bet on a different conceptualization of "good business." Perhaps most impressive of this group are B Corps — businesses that nonprofit B Lab grade each year to ensure they're meeting the highest standards of social and environmental performance, public transparency, and legal accountability to balance profit and purpose. Companies awarded B Corp status have committed to using their businesses to work toward a more inclusive and sustainable economy. They strive to reduce inequality; lower poverty levels; and create a healthier environment, stronger communities, and purposeful jobs.They leverage their resources to pay into a better world, creating a definition of success that includes commonwealth and positive impact as necessary aspects of sustainable consumerism. It's not charity; it's better business, and the point is to move the needle on "better practices" further from extra credit and closer to universal compliance.We rounded up 16 companies we love to shop from that also happen to be certified B Corps, helping drive a global movement that uses business as a force for good. Check out 16 B-Corps brands we love to shop from:LeesaLeesaLeesa is best-known for being one of the forerunners in the increasingly crowded direct-to-consumer mattress space. Its Leesa Mattress has over 20,000 five-star reviews, and its Hybrid is one of the picks in our best mattress guide.The company also has a strong social impact: giving one mattress for every ten sold and devoting resources to national and local organizations. Despite the startup's accomplishments in a crowded space, Leesa's Head of Social Impact, Jen-Ai Notman, told Insider the social mission would be likely to still rank as the overwhelming incentive for working at the company.Overall, Leesa has donated more than 37,000 mattresses to those in need and makes a point to provide the opportunity for employees to feel invested in their own backyards with local volunteer opportunities.Shop Leesa here.The Body ShopThe Body Shop/FacebookYou may know The Body Shop from frequent trips to the mall, but the retailer has attracted a dedicated customer base for its social responsibility and wide array of ethically sourced bodycare products. In 2019, the company became a certified B Corp.Since opening its doors in 1976, The Body Shop has launched a series of activism campaigns, even becoming the first international cosmetics brand recognized under the Humane Cosmetics Standard.The Body Shop has also launched a Community Trade partnership with The Tungteiya Women's Association in northern Ghana. Through the partnership, over 640 women help source the high-quality shea butter used in The Body Shop's products, like the shea butter shampoo and conditioner, which is former senior reporter Connie Chen's go-to haircare set.The Coconut Body Butter is one of our favorite bodycare products, and we ranked its Tea Tree Oil as the best tea tree oil we've tried. Shop The Body Shop here.ProseProseProse is a trailblazer for custom haircare and is one of the most personalized beauty brands on the market.Launched in 2017 and added to the B Corp list in 2019, Prose creates complete customized haircare products that cater to the specific needs and goals of each individual's hair and scalp. Prose founders used their experiences in marketing, digital strategy, and R&D roles at consumer product companies like Procter & Gamble and L'Oréal to help define Prose's data-driven and ingredient-centric business model.Because of this technology-driven approach mixed with an apothecary-style concept, Prose's made-to-order products offer the highest quality of clean, sustainably sourced ingredients.Read our entire Prose review here.Shop Prose here.AllbirdsAllbirds/InstagramAllbirds are often referred to as the "world's most comfortable shoes," and we'd be inclined to agree. We also love that each collection seems to get even better at optimizing natural materials without raising prices or diminishing quality.Allbirds' classic sneakers and loungers are made from moisture-wicking, temperature-regulating, odor-resistant merino wool that is ZQ-certified (meaning it meets stringent standards for sustainable farming and animal welfare) and uses 60% less energy than synthetics.Their second collection was comprised of sneakers and skippers made from cooling, eco-friendly eucalyptus pulp. Both collections are ultra-comfortable, low-maintenance, made from sustainable materials, and cost $95 for a pair. Shop Allbirds here.PatagoniaPatagoniaPatagonia is a beloved outdoors company for many reasons: its superior products and the environmental efforts that led to it being named a UN Champion of the Earth in 2019, the UN's top environmental honor.You can read more on how Patagonia walks the walk here. A few of our favorite examples include being the first California company to sign up for B certification in 2012; imposing an earth tax on itself; and giving 100% (yes, 100%) of their profits from Black Friday in the past directly to grassroots nonprofits working to protect air, water, and soil quality for future generations. Since 1985, the company has donated over $89 million to environmental work.It also bucks corporate trends by not being afraid to get political. It's led boycotts and sued the United States government after the former Trump administration proposed reducing two national monuments by up to 85%.The company also revised its mission statement from "build the best product, cause no unnecessary harm, use business to inspire and implement solutions to the environmental crisis" to the simpler, more urgent "we're in business to save our home planet."Shop Patagonia here.CotopaxiCotopaxiCotopaxi is an outdoors brand with social purpose built into its DNA. Its gear is superior (I count their 35L and 42L travel pack as among my all-time best finds). But, somehow, it's almost more exciting to talk about the work the company is doing outside of its retail line. From its inception, Cotopaxi has been founded upon the idea that the interests of profit and people could not only coexist but should and already do enjoy a mutually beneficial relationship.The B Corp values can be found at all levels of operation. Employees spend 10% of their work time in their local communities, adventuring outdoors, or doing service. The company donates 1% of its yearly revenue to ending poverty by funding local organizations working on sustainable solutions. Cotopaxi also puts out a Repurposed Collection of limited-edition gear made out of product scraps. The company has also created a skills-based volunteering initiative that leverages the time and talent of employees to respond to community needs, such as a card-writing program that provides a paid first job for refugees in Salt Lake City. The program provides youth with professional development, work experience, a competitive wage, and the opportunity to practice their English language skills. This is one company whose "Do Good" products actually feel authentic. Shop Cotopaxi here.Frank and OakFrank And OakFrank and Oak is a Canadian apparel company dedicated to making modern, high-quality essentials with sustainable materials and production methods.The company has winter boots made from coffee waste, recycled rubber, and plant-dyed leather, as well as circular denim made from post-consumer waste in a way that uses 79% less energy, 50% fewer chemicals, and 95% less water than the standard.About 50% of the retailer's products are made with minimal-impact processes and materials. Its shipping boxes are 100% recycled and recyclable, and its bags are biodegradable. What's more, its Canadian stores were built with recycled materials. It also keeps a lean supply of products on hand to avoid surplus, which makes nearly every collection limited-edition. Shop Frank and Oak.BombasBombasBombas is another company that was founded with the primary directive of giving back to the community, with its actual product idea coming second. But Bombas are still the best pair of socks we've ever tried.Founders David Heath and Randy Goldberg told Insider the now cult-favorite company began as a way to address the fact that homeless shelters have a great shortage of sock donations. And after noticing that consumers didn't have a great option between high-end niche technical socks and a six-pack at Target, Heath and Goldberg spent two years obsessively re-inventing the wheel.Bombas socks have blister tabs, a reinforced footbed, targeted areas of tension, "stay-up technology," and contoured seaming like a Y-stitched heel to minimize bunching, sliding, and sticking.Since 2013, the company has also donated more than 48,000,000 million items to homeless shelters thanks to its "buy one, give one" model for its socks and tees.And the socks and clothes Bombas does donate have been designed in conjunction with their giving partners to cater specifically to the needs of its recipients, who may not have access to the luxury of putting on clean clothes every day. For instance, the socks come in darker colors to avoid visible wear and tear, added anti-microbial treatment to prevent odor or bacteria if they can't be washed as frequently, and reinforced seams for durability. Shop Bombas here.BeautycounterBeautycounterBeautycounter, a skincare and makeup brand, has become synonymous with the clean beauty movement. Since its founding in 2013, the company has had what it calls The Never List — a laundry list of 1,800 questionable or harmful chemicals that are never used in its products, including the 1,400 banned or restricted by the EU. (The US bans just 30.)It's also involved in advocacy for better, healthier legal regulation in the US and Canada. Its makeup is solid, but it has some of the best skincare products around — and all blessedly sans harmful chemicals.Read our entire Beautycounter review here.Shop Beautycounter here.TentreeTentreeTentree is an outdoor company that essentially thinks of itself as a forestry program that ended up selling clothes. For every product you buy, the company plants 10 trees through thoughtful programs that reforest the earth and help rebuild communities around sustainable local economies. Since its inception, Tentree has planted over 57 million new trees on earth. By 2030, the company's goal is 1 billion. The brand's clothes mostly consist of comfy, unassuming sweatshirts, shirts, leggings, and other basic apparel sold at a reasonable price. It's also fostered a lively online community and lays claim to one of the most-liked Instagram posts of all time.Shop Tentree here.United by BlueUnited By BlueUnited by Blue, an outdoor apparel and accessories brand, was founded first and foremost to preserve and protect the places in which explorers go to play. That means its top-notch gear goes hand-in-hand with conservation work.The company utilizes inventive, sustainable materials and removes 1 pound of trash from the world's oceans and waterways for every product sold. It's working to ban single-use plastic from its business operations. You can also join them in a cleanup. We're particularly big fans of their flannel shirts as well as their jackets and socks that utilize bison down — a surprisingly sustainable material that packs a lot of warmth. Shop United by Blue here.EthiqueEthiqueEthique is helping tackle plastic waste by developing solid bars made for beauty, body, and haircare needs.Founded by a female biologist, the company formulates over 30 solid beauty bars that work as shampoos, conditioners, moisturizers, self-tanners, and body washes, and they work well. Every bar is vegan, sustainably sourced, naturally derived, and comes in biodegradable packaging. They also last two to five times longer than bottled options since they're so concentrated (since about 70% of bottled shampoo is water), meaning you save money and contribute a smaller carbon footprint since you're ordering less frequently. To date, the company has prevented the making of more than 11 million plastic bottles.Ethique (French for "ethical") is certified climate-neutral and cruelty-free and donates 20% of its profit to charity.In 2015, the company was recognized as New Zealand's most sustainable business with the Best in B award. In its early stages, the company also attracted the highest number of female investors in PledgeMe history. (PledgeMe is New Zealand's crowdfunding platform.)Shop Ethique here. (Its Amazon orders are fulfilled by Pharmapacks.)AthletaAthletaSan Francisco-based Athleta makes relatively affordable but premium performance clothing designed by women athletes, and it focuses most of its philanthropy on empowering girls and women. Through the Gap Inc. P.A.C.E. program and Fair Trade U.S.A., the label supports programs impacting the lives of the majority-female workers that create its apparel and has run empowerment-focused campaigns such as "Power of She." The company also offers thousands of free fitness and wellness events each year.  In 2021, it's diverted 74% of shipping waste from landfills, and 71% of its materials are made from sustainable fibers.Shop Athleta here.Uncommon GoodsUncommonGoodsUncommonGoods is a marketplace of creative craft-esque inventions, like long-distance friendship lamps, that make great gifts. The site feels like a clean, navigable Etsy with fewer products and a more distinct thesis: utilitarian but "unique." It's unusual to see a diverse aggregator like UncommonGoods as a B Corp (Etsy gave up the distinction in 2017), but the company has been one since 2007. UncommonGoods works with its artists to use sustainable or recycled materials when possible, chooses environmentally friendlier packing materials, and prints its catalog on FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) certified and recycled paper. They also founded "Better to Give," which allows customers to choose a nonprofit partner for the company to donate $1 to with every order. For UncommonGoods, the "business for good" model is working, with the company growing steadily from five employees to over 200 year-round. As part of their approach to business, their lowest-paid hourly seasonal worker makes double the federal minimum wage. They've also advocated for higher minimum wage and paid family leave in New York and other states. The company partnered with the Thurgood Marshall College Fund and created the Uncommon Scholars program, which creates internship and scholarship opportunities for students enrolled at historically Black colleges and universities.Shop UncommonGoods here.MPOWERDAmazonNYC-based MPOWERD makes affordable, innovative products that help make clean energy accessible. Its best-known product is the Luci, an inflatable solar light. Particularly well-loved for its versatile applications for campers and hikers, MPOWERD is an increasingly recognizable name in the outdoors genre.Its big sales drive down costs, and those savings are passed on to MPOWERD's clients in developing economies.Through this process and a myriad of others, the company delivers affordable, life-changing solar lights to off-the-grid communities around the world. It has over 700 strategic nonprofit partnerships worldwide, emergency relief sales, and a customer-driven Give Luci program that encourages shoppers to purchase units for their global nonprofit partners. Shop MPOWERD here.Eileen FisherEileen FisherEileen Fisher has been a B-Corp since 2015 and has incorporated conscious practices into most of its supply chain, including "green initiatives" at its headquarters, stores, and distribution centers, along with volunteer work.The company has been involved in some meaningful policy engagement in the past, and it has designed a grant program that supports women involved in environmental justice. Shop Eileen Fisher.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderNov 17th, 2021

Heidelberg records half-year profit and high order backlog

Half-year incoming orders up 44 percent on previous year at €1,245 million and sales climb by 22 percent to €983 million Order backlog of €886 million exceeds pre-crisis level EBITDA of €75 million – significant operational improvement Free cash flow reaches €74 million – net financial debt completely eliminated Continued high demand in China and Central Europe Wallbox capacities expanded as a result of dynamic growth Growing supply chain challenges Outlook for financial year 2021/2022 unchanged HEIDELBERG, Germany, Nov. 10, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- During the second quarter of financial year 2021/2022 (July 1 to September 30, 2021), Heidelberger Druckmaschinen AG (Heidelberg) has built on the encouraging developments of the first three months. The market recovery continued in virtually all regions compared with the previous year and, as already announced, the Group's transformation is making a big contribution to improving the operating result. The Group's half-year sales increased by 22 percent to €983 million (previous year: €805 million). The EBITDA figure of €75 million was also up on the previous year (€67 million), even though the first half of the previous year was positively influenced by earnings from the restructuring of retirement provision amounting to €73 million, the sale of a subsidiary (€8 million), and the widespread use of short-time working. During the current reporting period, Heidelberg benefited from rising sales, far better cost-efficiency, and earnings of over €20 million from the sale of docufy GmbH, which does not form part of the company's core business operations. The international logistics bottlenecks throughout the industry were already making themselves felt during the first half of the year in the form of delivery delays. Material supplies were also subject to the familiar pressures. However, close collaboration with suppliers and the approval of alternative components prevented more serious negative effects during this period. "The highly positive developments in our growth areas and our improved cost-efficiency underline that Heidelberg is doing very well. We also see great potential for the future thanks to our leading position in China and in the areas of digital business models, e-mobility, and packaging printing. In addition to all this, our break-even point will continue to fall. Despite the clearly evident problems in the supply chain at present, we are therefore confident about this year and the years to come," comments Heidelberg CEO Rainer Hundsdörfer. Continuing progress in the four growth areas The encouraging developments during the first half-year are based on further improved cost-efficiency and also on continuing progress in the Group's growth areas, that is to say packaging printing, digital business models, China, and new technology applications, especially in e-mobility. Heidelberg is benefiting from continued high growth in its largest single market – China – partly due to the company's well-established local production operations. ...Full story available on»»

Category: earningsSource: benzingaNov 10th, 2021

Atotech Reports Third Quarter 2021 Results and Narrows 2021 Full-Year Guidance Range

Generates third quarter revenue of $383 million, an increase of 18% over the prior-year period, including chemistry organic revenue growth of 6% Reports net income of $19 million, an increase of 75% compared to Q3 2020 Delivers Adjusted EBITDA of $112 million, a 10% increase over the prior-year period Net leverage decreased to 3.1x Confirms guidance for full year 2021 organic revenue growth, which is expected to be in the range of 13% to 14%, including full year chemistry organic revenue growth of approximately 10% Narrows guidance for full year 2021 Adjusted EBITDA1, which is anticipated to be in the range of $440 million to $450 million. BERLIN, Germany, Nov. 09, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) --  Atotech (NYSE:ATC), a leading specialty chemicals technology company and a market leader in advanced electroplating solutions, today reported financial results for the third quarter of 2021. The company maintained its revenue guidance and narrowed the Adjusted EBITDA guidance range for the full year 2021. Chemistry organic revenue growth, a key performance indicator for the Company, increased 6% over the third quarter of 2020. Chemistry organic revenue growth reflects chemistry revenue growth excluding the impact of foreign exchange translation ("FX") and palladium pass-through ("palladium"). Management Commentary Geoff Wild, Atotech's Chief Executive Officer said, "We are pleased by our strong third quarter performance. Atotech delivered results fully in-line with our expectations and our nine-months results are at record levels, despite the continuing disruption of global supply chains. The strength of demand and the resilience of our business model enables us to feel comfortable reiterating our full-year guidance. "This quarter, we saw strong demand in our Electronics segment for our semiconductor-related businesses as well as IC-substrates. In our GMF segment, we experienced good demand for construction-related products, partially offset by a slowdown in demand from the automotive OEMs, which was primarily felt towards the end of the quarter. We also observed increasing demand for our sustainability-related products. "As expected, in Q3 we saw freight costs decline from the first half; however, this improvement was counter-balanced by broad-based inflationary pressure, including raw material price increases. As a result, we have implemented price increases to our customers to mitigate those effects and will be rolling those price increases out over the coming months." Third-quarter 2021 Results Total revenue was $383 million for the third quarter of 2021, an increase of 18% over the prior-year period. Total organic revenue, which reflects total revenue excluding the impact of FX and palladium, increased 10%. Over the quarter, FX provided a 4% tailwind and palladium increased total revenue by a further 4%. These results were supported by organic growth in chemistry revenue of 6%. Adjusted EBITDA was $112 million for the third quarter of 2021, a 10% increase over the prior-year period, reflecting the chemistry organic volume growth and FX tailwinds, partially offset by increased costs associated with higher raw-material, freight and energy costs. Diluted earnings per share was $0.10 for the period ended September 30, 2021, and Adjusted EPS was $0.27. Adjusted EBITDA margin was 29% for the third quarter of 2021. The decline reflects the margin dilution from higher palladium prices as well as broad-based inflation in raw material costs. Third-quarter 2021 Segment Highlights Electronics: Revenue for the third quarter of 2021 in our Electronics segment was $254 million, an increase of 23% over the prior-year period. Total organic revenue grew 13%, consisting of 7% chemistry organic growth and a 60% increase in equipment organic revenue. Palladium pass-through increased revenue by 6% and FX was a 4% tailwind for the quarter. The Electronics organic revenue increase was driven by continued demand for the Company's advanced semiconductor packaging and IC-substrate solutions. End-market demand for computing applications and automobile electrification continued to gain momentum, but the overall slowdown in the Automobile sector for Electronics was also noticeable. As in prior quarters this year, the global build-out of production capacity for PCBs and semiconductors translated into strong demand for our equipment. Adjusted EBITDA for our Electronics segment was $84 million for the third quarter of 2021, an 18% increase over the prior-year period, primarily driven by chemistry volume growth. Adjusted EBITDA margin was 33%, a decline of 135 basis points, driven by dilution from higher palladium prices and the product-mix effect from lower gross- margin equipment revenue. General Metal Finishing: Revenue for the third quarter of 2021 in our GMF segment was $129 million, an increase of 9% over the prior-year period. Total organic GMF revenue increased 5%, consisting of 6% chemistry organic revenue growth and a 29% decline in organic revenue for equipment. Palladium and FX added 1% and 3% to revenue for the quarter, respectively. Chemistry organic revenue growth was primarily a function of continued recovery from the pandemic-depressed markets of 2020, supported by continued strength in sanitary and construction end-markets as well as sustainability projects. Automotive end-market demand slowed towards the end of the quarter. Adjusted EBITDA for our GMF segment was $28 million, an 8% decline compared to the prior-year quarter, primarily reflecting broad-based inflation in raw materials. Full Year 2021 Guidance Regarding the Company's 2021 outlook, Peter Frauenknecht, Atotech's Chief Financial Officer said, "As a result of our solid third quarter, we reiterate our revenue guidance. We continue to expect full year 2021 total organic revenue growth to be in the range of 13% to 14%, including full year organic growth in chemistry revenue of approximately 10%, which excludes the impact of FX and palladium pass-through. Additionally, we now expect full year 2021 adjusted EBITDA to be in the range of $440 million to $450 million, which represents a $2.5 million improvement over our prior guidance, at the mid-point." MKS Transaction On July 1, 2021, MKS Instruments, Inc. ("MKS"), a global provider of technologies that enable advanced processes and improve productivity, and Atotech Limited announced that they had entered into a definitive agreement pursuant to which MKS will acquire Atotech for $16.20 in cash and 0.0552 of a share of MKS common stock for each Atotech common share (the "MKS Transaction"). The MKS Transaction is to be effected by means of a scheme of arrangement under Article 125 of the Companies (Jersey) Law 1991 (as amended). The MKS Transaction has been unanimously approved by the MKS and Atotech boards of directors and each of the resolutions put to the Company's shareholders at the court meeting and the general meeting convened in connection with the MKS Transaction, which were each held on November 3, 2021, were passed by the requisite majority of votes. The closing of the MKS Transaction remains subject to the approval of the Royal Court of Jersey, regulatory approvals, and other customary closing conditions, and is expected to close by the fourth quarter of 2021. Conference Call In light of the pending transaction with MKS, the Company will not host a conference call today. Cautionary Statement Regarding Forward-Looking Statements This communication contains "forward-looking statements" within the meaning of the federal securities laws, including Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended. In this context, forward-looking statements often address expected future business and financial performance and financial condition, and often contain words such as "expect," "anticipate," "intend," "plan," "believe," "seek," "see," "will," "would," "target," and similar expressions and variations or negatives of these words. These forward-looking statements, which are subject to risks, uncertainties, and assumptions about us, may include projections of our future financial performance, our anticipated growth strategies, and anticipated trends in our business. These statements are only predictions based on our current expectations and projections about future events. There are important factors that could cause our actual results, level of activity, performance or achievements to differ materially from the results, level of activity, performance or achievements expressed or implied by the forward-looking statements, and such differences could be material. We undertake no obligation to publicly update or revise any forward-looking statements to reflect subsequent events or circumstances. More information on potential factors that could affect Atotech's financial results is available in "Forward-Looking Statements", the "Risk Factors" and "Management's Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations" within Atotech's most recent Annual Report on Form 20-F, and in other documents that we have filed with, or furnished to, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (the "SEC"), and such factors include, but are not limited to: the uncertainty of the magnitude, duration, geographic reach, impact on the global economy of the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as the current and potential travel restrictions, stay-at-home orders, and other economic restrictions implemented to address it; uncertainty, downturns, and changes in our target markets; foreign currency exchange rate fluctuations; reduced market acceptance and inability to keep pace with evolving technology and trends; loss of customers; increases in costs or reductions in the supplies of raw materials that may materially adversely affect our business, financial condition, and results of operations; our ability to provide products and services in light of changing environmental, health and safety, product liability, financial, and other legislation and regulation; our failure to compete successfully in product development; our ability to successfully execute our growth initiatives, business strategies, and operating plans; whether the secular trends we expect to drive growth in our business materialize to the degree we expect them to, or at all; material costs relating to environmental and health-and-safety requirements or liabilities; underfunded defined benefit pension plans; risk that the insurance we maintain may not fully cover all potential exposures; failure to comply with the anti-corruption laws of the United States and various international jurisdictions; tariffs, border adjustment taxes, or other adverse trade restrictions and impacts on our customers' value chains; political, economic, and legal uncertainties in China, the Chinese government's control of currency conversion and expatriation of funds, and the Chinese government's policy on foreign investment in China; regulations around the production and use of chemical substances that affect our products; the United Kingdom's withdrawal from the European Union; weak intellectual property rights in jurisdictions outside the United States; intellectual property infringement and product liability claims; our substantial indebtedness; our ability to obtain additional capital on commercially reasonable terms may be limited; risks related to our derivative instruments; our ability to attract, motivate, and retain senior management and qualified employees; increased risks to our global operations including, but not limited to, political instability, acts of terrorism, taxation, and unexpected regulatory and economic sanctions changes, among other things; natural disasters that may materially adversely affect our business, financial condition, and results of operations; the inherently hazardous nature of chemical manufacturing that could result in accidents that disrupt our operations and expose us to losses or liabilities; damage to our brand reputation; Carlyle's ability to control our common shares; risks relating to the proposed MKS Transaction, including that such transaction may not be consummated, any statements of belief and any statements of assumptions underlying any of the foregoing; and other factors beyond our control. Additional Information and Where to Find It Shareholders may obtain a free copy of the scheme document published by Atotech on September 28, 2021 in relation to the MKS Transaction (the "Scheme Document") and other documents Atotech files with the SEC (when available) through the website maintained by the SEC at The Scheme Document is also available free of charge on Atotech's investor relations website at together with copies of materials it files with, or furnishes to, the SEC. No Offer or Solicitation This communication is for information purposes only and is not intended to and does not constitute, or form part of, an offer, invitation or the solicitation of an offer or invitation to purchase, otherwise acquire, subscribe for, sell or otherwise dispose of any securities, or the solicitation of any vote or approval in any jurisdiction, pursuant to the proposed MKS Transaction or otherwise, nor shall there be any sale, issuance or transfer of securities in any jurisdiction in contravention of applicable law. The proposed MKS Transaction will be implemented solely pursuant to the scheme of arrangement, subject to the terms and conditions of the definitive agreement between MKS and Atotech, dated July 1, 2021, which contains the full terms and conditions of the proposed MKS Transaction. Non-IFRS Financial Measures This communication contains certain non-IFRS financial measures designed to complement the financial information presented in accordance with IFRS because management believes such measures are useful to investors. However, our use of these non-IFRS financial measures may vary from that of others in our industry. Our non-IFRS metrics have limitations as analytical tools, and you should not consider them in isolation or as alternatives to consolidated net income (loss) or other performance measures derived in accordance with IFRS as measures of operating performance, operating cash flows or liquidity. The Company believes that these measures are important and supplement discussions and analysis of its results of operations and enhances an understanding of its operating performance. See the Appendix for a reconciliation of the non-IFRS financial measures. About Atotech Atotech is a leading specialty chemicals technology company and a market leader in advanced electroplating solutions. Atotech delivers chemistry, equipment, software, and services for innovative technology applications through an integrated systems-and-solutions approach. Atotech solutions are used in a wide variety of end-markets, including smartphones and other consumer electronics, communications infrastructure, and computing, as well as in numerous industrial and consumer applications such as automotive, heavy machinery, and household appliances. Atotech, headquartered in Berlin, Germany, is a team of 4,000 experts in over 40 countries generating annual revenues of $1.2 billion (2020). Atotech has manufacturing operations across Europe, the Americas, and Asia. With its well-established innovative strength and industry-leading global TechCenter network, Atotech delivers pioneering solutions combined with unparalleled on-site support for over 9,000 customers worldwide. For more information about Atotech, please visit us at Financial Statement Tables ATOTECH LIMITED Income Statement   Three months ended(unaudited) ($ in millions), except earnings per share Sept 30, 2021 Sept 30, 2020 Revenue $ 383.0   $ 325.4   Cost of sales, excluding depreciation and amortization   (193.2 )   (142.9 ) Depreciation and amortization   (44.0 )   (44.3 ) Selling, general and administrative expenses   (72.2 )   (71.3 ) Research and development expenses   (14.2 )   (13.2 ) Restructuring benefit (expenses)   (0.1 )   (0.1 ) Operating profit (loss)   59.3     53.7   Interest expense   (14.5 )   (36.2 ) Other income (expense), net   (2.1 )   10.8   Income (loss) before income taxes   42.7     28.3   Income tax expense   (23.3 )   (17.3 ) Consolidated net income (loss) $ 19.4   $ 11.1   Earnings per share     Basic earnings (loss) per share   0.10     (0.25 ) Diluted earnings (loss) per share   0.10     (0.25 )   Three months ended(unaudited) ($ in millions) Sept 30, 2021 Sept 30, 2020 Consolidated net income (loss) $ 19.4   $ 11.1   Other comprehensive income (loss)     Actuarial gains and losses   1.5     (4.7 ) Tax effect   (0.5 )   1.4   Items not potentially reclassifiable to statement of income   1.1     (3.3 ) Currency translation adjustment   (35.2 )   65.5   Hedge reserve   (0.1 )   (3.6 ) Thereof: Income (cost) of Hedging (OCI II)   0.3     3.7   Items potentially reclassifiable to statement of income (loss), net of tax   (35.3 )   61.9   Total other comprehensive income (loss), net amount.....»»

Category: earningsSource: benzingaNov 9th, 2021

Robinson-Patman Act: A federal law aimed at leveling the playing field between small and large businesses

The Robinson-Patman Act is intended to stop producers of products from engaging in price discrimination. The Robinson-Patman Act prevents distributors from giving large retailers preferential pricing over smaller ones. RUNSTUDIO/Getty The Robinson-Patman Act prohibits price discrimination against small business. It was enacted to overcome ambiguity in the Sherman Act of 1890 and the Clayton Antitrust Act of 1914. The principal criticism of Robinson-Patman is that it protects competitors instead of encouraging and maintaining competition. Visit Insider's Investing Reference library for more stories. The Robinson-Patman Act was enacted in 1936 to protect small retailers from unfair competition by larger retailers, mostly through volume discounts from manufacturers. For this reason it's sometimes called the "Anti Chain Store Act."The Act applies only to physical items of the same quality and prevents large retailers from gaining an advantage over independent stores buying the same products. Wholesalers supported enactment of the Robinson-Patman Act since it prevented large retailers from buying directly from manufacturers at deep discounts, a move that cut wholesalers out completely. The legislation's main purpose was to overcome ambiguous language in antitrust law at the time, specifically the Sherman Antitrust Act of 1890 and the Clayton Antitrust Act of 1914.What does the Robinson-Patman Act do? In simple terms, the Robinson-Patman Act says manufacturers (sellers) must charge retailers (buyers) the same prices when selling identical products at the same time in the same geographic area. There are exceptions, and the law is complicated - so complicated that some critics, including the Federal Antitrust Modernization Commission, have called for its repeal.Note: In his book, "The Antitrust Paradox," former Solicitor General, Robert Bork argues that the Robinson-Patman actually protects less-efficient competitors rather than consumers.Legal testsTo be considered price discrimination under the Robinson Patman Act the claim must meet specific legal tests:The claim must refer to commodities, not services, and to purchases, not leases.The goods must be of "like grade and quality."There must be likely injury to competition.The sales must involve interstate (across a state line) commerce.Types of injuryEnforceable Robinson-Patman violations resulting in competitive injury may happen in one of two ways:Primary line injury. This type of competitive injury occurs when one manufacturer reduces its prices in a specific geographic market and causes injury to its competitors in the same market. Secondary line injury. This type of injury happens when favored customers (retailers) of a supplier (manufacturer) are given a price advantage over competing customers.Criminal penaltiesSection 3 of the Robinson-Patman Act authorizes the government to seek criminal penalties against any entity that knowingly discriminates against a competitor of a purchaser or charges "unreasonably low prices" or different prices in a different part of the United States "for the purpose of destroying competition or eliminating a competitor."EnforcementEnforcement of Robinson-Patman is the responsibility of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the Department of Justice (DOJ). That said, most successful lawsuits today are between private parties.Note: Enforcement of the Robinson-Patman Act is rare.Enforcement can happen through any of the following:FTC Proceedings. The FTC can conduct administrative proceedings and, if warranted, levy injunctive relief and civil penalties.Treble Damages. In a private action, a plaintiff can seek treble (triple) damages and attorney's fees based on lost profits.Attorney's Fees. If successful, the plaintiff (retailer) can recover attorney's fees but if the defendant prevails, they cannot recover their attorney's fees from the plaintiff unless the lawsuit is judged "frivolous."Criminal prosecution. In rare cases, the Justice Department can, theoretically at least, prosecute criminal claims for price discrimination. A prosecution of this type has never been successful in US courts.Who created the Robinson-Patman Act? The Robinson-Patman Act is named for its co-sponsors, Senator Joseph T. Robinson of Arkansas and Representative Wright Patman of Texas, both Democrats. The legislation was meant to be a correction and amplification of sparse anti-price discrimination language in Section 2 of the Clayton Act of 1914. Robinson, Patman, and other proponents saw the sheer size of chain stores like A&P and Sears, Roebuck as giving them too much of an edge over smaller stores because their scale enabled them to negotiate lower prices for goods along with rebates and other types of pricing concessions. The legislation's supporters believed the sparse language in the Clayton Act was not sufficient to combat what they saw as these unfair advantages enjoyed by chains.Key provisions of the Robinson-Patman Act: The main focus of the Act is to protect small businesses by requiring suppliers to sell to them for the same price they charge larger companies.A comparison of the provisions of both the Clayton and Robinson-Patman Acts shows how the Robinson-Patman Act expands on the Clayton Act:Clayton Antitrust ActRobinson-Patman ActBans price discrimination.Prohibits price discrimination against buyers.Bans tying (requiring buyers to purchase additional goods) and exclusive dealing.Allows sellers an affirmative defense based on competitive pricing. (See below)Expands the power of private parties to sue and seek treble (triple) damages.Prohibits sellers from paying commission and buyers from accepting the same.Declares strikes, boycotts, and labor unions legal.Prohibits sellers from paying buyers for services or facilities.Bans anti-competitive mergers.Prohibits sellers from discriminating against buyers on items bought for resale. Prohibits sellers and buyers from knowingly offering or receiving a discriminatory price. Prohibits discrimination in rebates, discounts, or advertising service charges or underselling in particular localities. Allows cooperative associations to return net earnings to members, producers, or consumers. Allows pending litigation prior to enactment of the Robinson-Patman Act to proceed.The affirmative defense noted above has four parts. A charge of price discrimination cannot be enforced against a seller if:Volume discounts are attributable solely to lower per-unit production and shipping costs - that is, if it is cheaper per unit for the manufacturer to make and send 100 widgets than just 20 widgets to a retailer.Price differences are the result of a response to changing conditions affecting the market for or marketability of the goods concerned, such as if demand has decreased significantly.The discriminatory pricing is offered "in good faith to meet an equally low price of a competitor."The advantageous price was practically or functionally available to the disfavored buyer.Note: Exemptions to the provisions of the Robinson-Patman Act include some sales involving the government, non-profits, or cooperative associations.Notable cases involving the Robinson-Patman Act In 2010, Spartan Concrete, which operated on St. Croix, one of the US Virgin Islands, tried to displace a competitor, Heavy Materials, as the sole provider of ready-mix concrete on St. Thomas Island. Both companies dealt with the same wholesale concrete distributor, Argos. After an unsuccessful three-year price war, Spartan agreed to leave St. Thomas. Shortly thereafter it sued Argos, complaining the wholesaler gave Heavy Metals a 10% discount but refused to extend the same discount to Spartan."Although the case actually went to a bench trial, the trial court still granted a directed verdict in the defendant's favor based on the plaintiff's failure to prove antitrust injury," says Henry Su, a partner at the law firm Bradley Arant Boult Cummings, who notes that most Robinson-Patman cases never make it as far as a trial. "The case illustrates how difficult it has been for Robinson-Patman plaintiffs to link the challenged business practices to some harm to competition."Although seldom enforced today, in part due to the problems illustrated by the case above, there have been notable Robinson-Patman actions over the years:FTC v. Morton SaltIn 1948, the Supreme Court upheld the FTC's enforcement of the Act finding that Morton Salt violated Robinson-Patman when it sold its finest "Blue Label" salt on a supposedly standard discount that was available only to five national chains. The court ruled that Morton Salt was in violation and issued a cease and desist order.Lewis v. TexacoIn 1976, a dozen Texaco retailers in Spokane, Washington sued Texaco and won damages of $449,000, which were tripled under provisions of Robinson-Patman. The suit charged that Texaco made a practice of selling gasoline at one price to retailers and a lower price to wholesalers. When those wholesalers went into the retail business, they obtained gasoline for their retail stations at the wholesaler discount, a violation of the Act.American Booksellers v. Houghton MifflinIn 1994, the American Booksellers Association and independent bookstores suedpublishers including Houghton Mifflin Company and Penguin USA, claiming they violated Robinson-Patman by offering "more advantageous promotional allowances and price discounts" to "certain large national chains and buying clubs." The publishers agreed to offer the same prices and discounts to all bookstores as a result of the lawsuit.The financial takeawayDespite the fact that the Robinson-Patman Act is rarely enforced, it remains law and most recently has been the focus of a group known as the Main Street Competition Coalition which has urged the FTC to bring Robinson-Patman action against large chains and business entities.In a letter to the FTC the coalition says: "As a result of unprecedented levels of concentration, small and medium-sized businesses are increasingly subject to discriminatory terms and conditions, including less favorable pricing and price terms, less favorable supply, less favorable retail packaging, and sometimes an inability to access products in short supply that are available to their competitors."Su is skeptical, saying: "In my view, the only way this can and will change is if a complainant presents the FTC with the rudiments of a potential Robinson-Patman Act case against a large retailer for further investigation and possible enforcement. Simply generally calling for the agency to use its enforcement authority, which it has always had, is not going to shift the considerable momentum that has developed over the past several decades favoring industry guidance over enforcement."The Federal Trade Commission Act sets the guidelines underpinning the FTC's consumer-protection enforcementWhat is economic surplus and how does it work?Understanding fiscal policy: The use of government spending and taxation to manage the economyPurchase power is a measure of what your money can buy - here's how it can impact your financesRead the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderNov 4th, 2021

Santa"s Revenge: Everyone Front-Running My Rally, You Get Nothing

Santa's Revenge: Everyone Front-Running My Rally, You Get Nothing Authored by Charles Hugh Smith via OfTwoMinds blog, Santa is generally a jolly fellow, but that doesn't mean he doesn't take pleasure in meting out well-deserved punishment to the greedy. Nothing is more predictable than a stock market rally starting in early November and running into mid-January--Santa's rally. And since it's so predictable, why not front-run the rally by loading up on stocks in October? Here's the problem: Santa doesn't take kindly to punters front-running his rally. It's like opening your presents in October, and that's the equivalent of sucker-punching Santa. Santa's revenge will be served cold: no rally for you, front-runners. And nothing in your stocking or under your tree, either. Rather than give front-runners a lump of coal (that's been bought up by China), Santa will deliver trillions of dollars in losses, much to the surprise of the front-runners counting on glorious gains galore. A funny thing happened on the way to Santa's 2021 rally: a disintegrator beam swept through the entire global supply chain. Everything is now scarce except euphoric confidence in more stock market gains and more central bank stimulus, NFTs, quadrillions in cryptos, and users who hate Meta, which I'm guessing is an acronym for me eat the addicts. What's absolutely out of stock are 1) stability and 2) the means to restore global supply chains to their previous working order. Unbeknownst to the vast herds consuming the goodies stuffed in those 8,000 containers per ship, the entire supply chain has been optimized to function within a very narrow band. Once it veers out of than band, it unravels very quickly and cannot be restored to its previous optimization. There are a number of reasons for this inability to put Humpty-Dumpty back together again. 1. Everything that's needed to restore stability has been stripped out by optimizing profits. Redundancy, excess capacity, stockpiles, multiple sources, domestic sources--all those cost money and are therefore the mortal enemies of increasing profits, so they've all been stripped out of the system long ago. 2. There is just enough of everything to function in the optimized band, and adding more capacity quickly is impossible. There are just enough gasoline/diesel tankers to make the optimal deliveries, and no surplus tankers to add to the network. And even if there were super-costly tanker-trucks gathering dust in a lot, there wouldn't be any surplus drivers with the credentials and experience to drive them. When a solvent runs out because one of the only two producers goes down for any reason, everything that depends on that solvent shuts down. As for adding capacity to produce more solvent, forget it: the machinery is specialized and has to be ordered with lead times measured in months, the means to transport more petrochemical feedstocks to the plant don't exist and cannot be conjured out of thin air, workers who know how to operate the plant are scarce, and so on. These multitudes of intermediaries generate long dependency chains which break if even one link goes down. Every intermediary is a potential disruptor, and the more intermediaries there are, the more opportunities for one link in the chain to snap. With excess capacity kept near-zero to maximize profits, there's no slack, no pool of expertise to tap, no production capacity that can be turned on with a flick of a switch. 3. The instinctive human response to scarcity is to stockpile what's scarce or even threatening to become scarce. For wholesalers and enterprises, this means over-ordering to insure enough inventory to maintain production / sales. This quickly exacerbates shortages as the fortunate few grab far more of the dwindling supply than they need, starving everyone else down the chain. Consumers also buy more and stuff it safely in closets, pantries, garages, etc. Stockpiling is not only rational when faced with scarcities, it's also rational when price increases are guaranteed: better to buy more now before the price goes up. But since the global system is optimized for narrow ranges of supply and demand, this panic-buying strips the system of what little wiggle-room it had. Consider gasoline and diesel supply systems. They're optimized for average drivers to maintain less than half a tank of fuel. So when everyone starts topping off their tank every time they see an open gas station, the modest excess supply is quickly drained and shortages start cascading through a system with near-zero excess capacity, storage, personnel, tanker-trucks, etc. Count the intermediaries between the source of the stuff you need and your house and you'll have a decent grasp of your vulnerability to global supply chain breakdowns. Very few of us know enough to count the intermediaries, and we might reckon there's a few dozen at most. In many cases, the true number is in the hundreds once we count the components, specialty materials, glues, solvents, packaging, delivery, etc. in every part of the production and shipping chain. If you make your own Christmas presents with materials you have on hand, there are no intermediaries between the giver and the recipient. That's a secure system. Depending on hundreds of intermediaries to all function perfectly as the entire chain disintegrates, that's considerably less secure. Santa is generally a jolly fellow, but that doesn't mean he doesn't take pleasure in meting our well-deserved punishment to the greedy. All gains are guaranteed by the Federal Reserve until the magical belief in the Fed's hocus-pocus encounters the disintegration beam. Oops, sorry about your Santa rally. You got greedy with the wrong guy. *  *  * If you found value in this content, please join me in seeking solutions by becoming a $1/month patron of my work via My recent books: A Hacker's Teleology: Sharing the Wealth of Our Shrinking Planet (Kindle $8.95, print $20, audiobook $17.46) Read the first section for free (PDF). Will You Be Richer or Poorer?: Profit, Power, and AI in a Traumatized World (Kindle $5, print $10, audiobook) Read the first section for free (PDF). Pathfinding our Destiny: Preventing the Final Fall of Our Democratic Republic ($5 (Kindle), $10 (print), ( audiobook): Read the first section for free (PDF). The Adventures of the Consulting Philosopher: The Disappearance of Drake $1.29 (Kindle), $8.95 (print); read the first chapters for free (PDF) Money and Work Unchained $6.95 (Kindle), $15 (print) Read the first section for free (PDF). Tyler Durden Fri, 10/29/2021 - 10:15.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeOct 29th, 2021

Green Energy: A Bubble In Unrealistic Expectations

Green Energy: A Bubble In Unrealistic Expectations Authored by David Hay via Everegreen Gavekal blog, “You see what is happening in Europe. There is hysteria and some confusion in the markets. Why?…Some people are speculating on climate change issues, some people are underestimating some things, some are starting to cut back on investments in the extractive industries. There needs to be a smooth transition.” - Vladimir Putin (someone with whom this author rarely agrees) “By a continuing process of inflation, governments can confiscate, secretly and unobserved, an important part of the wealth of its citizens.” – John Maynard Keynes (an interesting observation for all the modern day Keynesians to consider given their support of current inflationary US policies, including energy-related) Introduction This week’s EVA provides another sneak preview into David Hay’s book-in-process, “Bubble 3.0” discussing what he thinks is the crucial topic of “greenflation.”  This is a term he coined referring to the rising price for metals and minerals that are essential for solar and wind power, electric cars, and other renewable technologies. It also centers on the reality that as global policymakers have turned against the fossil fuel industry, energy producers are for the first time in history not responding to dramatically higher prices by increasing production.  Consequently, there is a difficult tradeoff that arises as the world pushes harder to combat climate change, driving up energy costs to painful levels, especially for lower income individuals.  What we are currently seeing in Europe is a vivid example of this dilemma.  While it may be the case that governments welcome higher oil and natural gas prices to discourage their use, energy consumers are likely to have a much different reaction. Summary BlackRock’s CEO recently admitted that, despite what many are opining, the green energy transition is nearly certain to be inflationary. Even though it’s early in the year, energy prices are already experiencing unprecedented spikes in Europe and Asia, but most Americans are unaware of the severity. To that point, many British residents being faced with the fact that they may need to ration heat and could be faced with the chilling reality that lives could be lost if this winter is as cold as forecasters are predicting. Because of the huge increase in energy prices, inflation in the eurozone recently hit a 13-year high, heavily driven by natural gas prices on the Continent that are the equivalent of $200 oil. It used to be that the cure for extreme prices was extreme prices, but these days I’m not so sure.  Oil and gas producers are very wary of making long-term investments to develop new resources given the hostility to their industry and shareholder pressure to minimize outlays. I expect global supply to peak sometime next year and a major supply deficit looks inevitable as global demand returns to normal. In Norway, almost 2/3 of all new vehicle sales are of the electric variety (EVs) – a huge increase in just over a decade. Meanwhile, in the US, it’s only about 2%. Still, given Norway’s penchant for the plug-in auto, the demand for oil has not declined. China, despite being the largest market by far for electric vehicles, is still projected to consume an enormous and rising amount of oil in the future. About 70% of China’s electricity is generated by coal, which has major environmental ramifications in regards to electric vehicles. Because of enormous energy demand in China this year, coal prices have experienced a massive boom. Its usage was up 15% in the first half of this year, and the Chinese government has instructed power providers to obtain all baseload energy sources, regardless of cost.  The massive migration to electric vehicles – and the fact that they use six times the amount of critical minerals as their gasoline-powered counterparts –means demand for these precious resources is expected to skyrocket. This extreme need for rare minerals, combined with rapid demand growth, is a recipe for a major spike in prices. Massively expanding the US electrical grid has several daunting challenges– chief among them the fact that the American public is extremely reluctant to have new transmission lines installed in their area. The state of California continues to blaze the trail for green energy in terms of both scope and speed. How the rest of the country responds to their aggressive take on renewables remains to be seen. It appears we are entering a very odd reality: governments are expending resources they do not have on weakly concentrated energy. And the result may be very detrimental for today’s modern economy. If the trend in energy continues, what looks nearly certain to be the Third Energy crisis of the last half-century may linger for years.  Green energy: A bubble in unrealistic expectations? As I have written in past EVAs, it amazes me how little of the intense inflation debate in 2021 centered on the inflationary implications of the Green Energy transition.  Perhaps it is because there is a built-in assumption that using more renewables should lower energy costs since the sun and the wind provide “free power”.  However, we will soon see that’s not the case, at least not anytime soon; in fact, it’s my contention that it will likely be the opposite for years to come and I’ve got some powerful company.  Larry Fink, CEO of BlackRock, a very pro-ESG* organization, is one of the few members of Wall Street’s elite who admitted this in the summer of 2021.  The story, however, received minimal press coverage and was quickly forgotten (though, obviously, not be me!).  This EVA will outline myriad reasons why I think Mr. Fink was telling it like it is…despite the political heat that could bring down upon him.  First, though, I will avoid any discussion of whether humanity is the leading cause of global warming.  For purposes of this analysis, let’s make the high-odds assumption that for now a high-speed green energy transition will continue to occur.  (For those who would like a well-researched and clearly articulated overview of the climate debate, I highly recommend the book “Unsettled”; it’s by a former top energy expert and scientist from the Obama administration, Dr. Steven Koonin.) The reason I italicized “for now” is that in my view it’s extremely probable that voters in many Western countries are going to become highly retaliatory toward energy policies that are already creating extreme hardship.  Even though it’s only early autumn as I write these words, energy prices are experiencing unprecedented increases in Europe.  Because it’s “over there”, most Americans are only vaguely aware of the severity of the situation.  But the facts are shocking…  Presently, natural gas is going for $29 per million British Thermal Units (BTUs) in Europe, a quadruple compared to the same time in 2020, versus “just” $5 in the US, which is a mere doubling.  As a consequence, wholesale energy cost in Great Britain rose an unheard of 60% even before summer ended.  Reportedly, nine UK energy companies are on the brink of failure at this time due to their inability to fully pass on the enormous cost increases.  As a result, the British government is reportedly on the verge of nationalizing some of these entities—supposedly, temporarily—to prevent them from collapsing.  (CNBC reported on Wednesday that UK natural gas prices are now up 800% this year; in the US, nat gas rose 20% on Tuesday alone, before giving back a bit more than half of that the next day.) Serious food shortages are expected after exorbitant natural gas costs forced most of England’s commercial production of CO2 to shut down.  (CO2 is used both for stunning animals prior to slaughter and also in food packaging.)  Additionally, ballistic natural gas prices have forced the closure of two big US fertilizer plants due to a potential shortfall of ammonium nitrate of which “nat gas” is a key feedstock.  *ESG stands for Environmental, Social, Governance; in 2021, Blackrock’s assets under management approximated $9 ½ trillion, about one-third of the total US federal debt. With the winter of 2021 approaching, British households are being told they may need to ration heat.  There are even growing concerns about the widespread loss of life if this winter turns out to be a cold one, as 2020 was in Europe.  Weather forecasters are indicating that’s a distinct possibility.   In Spain, consumers are paying 40% more for electricity compared to the prior year.  The Spanish government has begun resorting to price controls to soften the impact of these rapidly escalating costs. (The history of price controls is that they often exacerbate shortages.) Naturally, spiking power prices hit the poorest hardest, which is typical of inflation whether it is of the energy variety or of generalized price increases.  Due to these massive energy price increases, eurozone inflation recently hit a 13-year high, heavily driven by natural gas prices that are the equivalent of $200 per barrel oil.  This is consistent with what I warned about in several EVAs earlier this year and I think there is much more of this looming in the years to come. In Asia, which also had a brutally cold winter in 2020 – 2021, there are severe energy shortages being disclosed, as well.  China has instructed its power providers to secure all the coal they can in preparation for a repeat of frigid conditions and acute deficits even before winter arrives.  The government has also instructed its energy distributors to acquire all the liquified natural gas (LNG) they can, regardless of cost.  LNG recently hit $35 per million British Thermal Units in Asia, up sevenfold in the past year.  China is also rationing power to its heavy industries, further exacerbating the worldwide shortages of almost everything, with notable inflationary implications. In India, where burning coal provides about 70% of electricity generation (as it does in China), utilities are being urged to import coal even though that country has the world’s fourth largest coal reserves.  Several Indian power plants are close to exhausting their coal supplies as power usage rips higher. Normally, I’d say that the cure for such extreme prices, was extreme prices—to slightly paraphrase the old axiom.  But these days, I’m not so sure; in fact, I’m downright dubious.  After all, the enormously influential International Energy Agency has recommended no new fossil fuel development after 2021—“no new”, as in zero.  It’s because of pressure such as this that, even though US natural gas prices have done a Virgin Galactic to $5 this year, the natural gas drilling rig count has stayed flat.  The last time prices were this high there were three times as many working rigs.  It is the same story with oil production.  Most Americans don’t seem to realize it but the US has provided 90% of the planet’s petroleum output growth over the past decade.  In other words, without America’s extraordinary shale oil production boom—which raised total oil output from around 5 million barrels per day in 2008 to 13 million barrels per day in 2019—the world long ago would have had an acute shortage.  (Excluding the Covid-wracked year of 2020, oil demand grows every year—strictly as a function of the developing world, including China, by the way.) Unquestionably, US oil companies could substantially increase output, particularly in the Permian Basin, arguably (but not much) the most prolific oil-producing region in the world.  However, with the Fed being pressured by Congress to punish banks that lend to any fossil fuel operator, and the overall extreme hostility toward domestic energy producers, why would they?  There is also tremendous pressure from Wall Street on these companies to be ESG compliant.  This means reducing their carbon footprint.  That’s tough to do while expanding their volume of oil and gas.  Further, investors, whether on Wall Street or on London’s equivalent, Lombard Street, or in pretty much any Western financial center, are against US energy companies increasing production.  They would much rather see them buy back stock and pay out lush dividends.  The companies are embracing that message.  One leading oil and gas company CEO publicly mused to the effect that buying back his own shares at the prevailing extremely depressed valuations was a much better use of capital than drilling for oil—even at $75 a barrel. As reported by Morgan Stanley, in the summer of 2021, an US institutional broker conceded that of his 400 clients, only one would consider investing in an energy company!  Consequently, the fact that the industry is so detested means that its shares are stunningly undervalued.  How stunningly?  A myriad of US oil and gas producers are trading at free cash flow* yields of 10% to 15% and, in some cases, as high as 25%. In Europe, where the same pressures apply, one of its biggest energy companies is generating a 16% free cash flow yield.  Moreover, that is based up an estimate of $60 per barrel oil, not the prevailing price of $80 on the Continent. *Free cash flow is the excess of gross cash flow over and above the capital spending needed to sustain a business.  Many market professionals consider it more meaningful than earnings.  Therefore, due to the intense antipathy toward Western energy producers they aren’t very inclined to explore for new resources.  Another much overlooked fact about the ultra-critical US shale industry that, as noted, has been nearly the only source of worldwide output growth for the past 13 years, is its rapid decline nature.  Most oil wells see their production taper off at just 4% or 5% per year.  But with shale, that decline rate is 80% after only two years.  (Because of the collapse in exploration activities in 2020 due to Covid, there are far fewer new wells coming on-line; thus, the production base is made up of older wells with slower decline rates but it is still a much steeper cliff than with traditional wells.)  As a result, the US, the world’s most important swing producer, has to come up with about 1.5 million barrels per day (bpd) of new output just to stay even.  (This was formerly about a 3 million bpd number due to both the factor mentioned above and the 2 million bpd drop in total US oil production, from 13 million bpd to around 11 million bpd since 2019).  Please recall that total US oil production in 2008 was only around 5 million bpd.  Thus, 1.5 million barrels per day is a lot of oil and requires considerable drilling and exploration activities.  Again, this is merely to stay steady-state, much less grow.  The foregoing is why I wrote on multiple occasions in EVAs during 2020, when the futures price for oil went below zero*, that crude would have a spectacular price recovery later that year and, especially, in 2021.  In my view, to go out on my familiar creaky limb, you ain’t seen nothin’ yet!  With supply extremely challenged for the above reasons and demand marching back, I believe 2022 could see $100 crude, possibly even higher.  *Physical oil, or real vs paper traded, bottomed in the upper teens when the futures contract for delivery in April, 2020, went deeply negative.  Mike Rothman of Cornerstone Analytics has one of the best oil price forecasting records on Wall Street.  Like me, he was vehemently bullish on oil after the Covid crash in the spring of 2020 (admittedly, his well-reasoned optimism was a key factor in my up-beat outlook).  Here’s what he wrote late this summer:  “Our forecast for ’22 looks to see global oil production capacity exhausted late in the year and our balance suggests OPEC (and OPEC + participants) will face pressures to completely remove any quotas.”  My expectation is that global supply will likely max out sometime next year, barring a powerful negative growth shock (like a Covid variant even more vaccine resistant than Delta).  A significant supply deficit looks inevitable as global demand recovers and exceeds its pre-Covid level.  This is a view also shared by Goldman Sachs and Raymond James, among others; hence, my forecast of triple-digit prices next year.  Raymond James pointed out that in June the oil market was undersupplied by 2.5 mill bpd.  Meanwhile, global petroleum demand was rapidly rising with expectations of nearly pre-Covid consumption by year-end.  Mike Rothman ran this chart in a webcast on 9/10/2021 revealing how far below the seven-year average oil inventories had fallen.  This supply deficit is very likely to become more acute as the calendar flips to 2022. In fact, despite oil prices pushing toward $80, total US crude output now projected to actually decline this year.  This is an unprecedented development.  However, as the very pro-renewables Financial Times (the UK’s equivalent of the Wall Street Journal) explained in an August 11th, 2021, article:  “Energy companies are in a bind.  The old solution would be to invest more in raising gas production.  But with most developed countries adopting plans to be ‘net zero’ on carbon emissions by 2050 or earlier, the appetite for throwing billions at long-term gas projects is diminished.” The author, David Sheppard, went on to opine: “In the oil industry there are those who think a period of plus $100-a-barrel oil is on the horizon, as companies scale back investments in future supplies, while demand is expected to keep rising for most of this decade at a minimum.”  (Emphasis mine)  To which I say, precisely!  Thus, if he’s right about rising demand, as I believe he is, there is quite a collision looming between that reality and the high probability of long-term constrained supplies.  One of the most relevant and fascinating Wall Street research reports I read as I was researching the topic of what I have been referring to as “Greenflation” is from Morgan Stanley.  Its title asked the provocative question:  “With 64% of New Cars Now Electric, Why is Norway Still Using so Much Oil?”  While almost two-thirds of Norway’s new vehicle sales are EVs, a remarkable market share gain in just over a decade, the number in the US is an ultra-modest 2%.   Yet, per the Morgan Stanley piece, despite this extraordinary push into EVs, oil consumption in Norway has been stubbornly stable.  Coincidentally, that’s been the experience of the overall developed world over the past 10 years, as well; petroleum consumption has largely flatlined.  Where demand hasn’t gone horizontal is in the developing world which includes China.  As you can see from the following Cornerstone Analytics chart, China’s oil demand has vaulted by about 6 million barrels per day (bpd) since 2010 while its domestic crude output has, if anything, slightly contracted. Another coincidence is that this 6 million bpd surge in China’s appetite for oil, almost exactly matched the increase in US oil production.  Once again, think where oil prices would be today without America’s shale oil boom. This is unlikely to change over the next decade.  By 2031, there are an estimated one billion Asian consumers moving up into the middle class.  History is clear that more income means more energy consumption.  Unquestionably, renewables will provide much of that power but oil and natural gas are just as unquestionably going to play a critical role.  Underscoring that point, despite the exponential growth of renewables over the last 10 years, every fossil fuel category has seen increased usage.  Thus, even if China gets up to Norway’s 64% EV market share of new car sales over the next decade, its oil usage is likely to continue to swell.  Please be aware that China has become the world’s largest market for EVs—by far.  Despite that, the above chart vividly displays an immense increase in oil demand.  Here’s a similar factoid that I ran in our December 4th EVA, “Totally Toxic”, in which I made a strong bullish case for energy stocks (the main energy ETF is up 35% from then, by the way):  “(There was) a study by the UN and the US government based on the Model for the Assessment of Greenhouse Gasses Induced Climate Change (MAGICC).  The model predicted that ‘the complete elimination of all fossil fuels in the US immediately would only restrict any increase in world temperature by less than one tenth of one degree Celsius by 2050, and by less than one fifth of one degree Celsius by 2100.’  Say again?  If the world’s biggest carbon emitter on a per capita basis causes minimal improvement by going cold turkey on fossil fuels, are we making the right moves by allocating tens of trillions of dollars that we don’t have toward the currently in-vogue green energy solutions?” China's voracious power appetite increase has been true with all of its energy sources.  On the environmentally-friendly front, that includes renewables; on the environmentally-unfriendly side, it also includes coal.  In 2020, China added three times more coal-based power generation than all other countries combined.  This was the equivalent of an additional coal planet each week.  Globally, there was a reduction last year of 17 gigawatts in coal-fired power output; in China, the increase was 29.8 gigawatts, far more than offsetting the rest of the world’s progress in reducing the dirtiest energy source.  (A gigawatt can power a city with a population of roughly 700,000.) Overall, 70% of China’s electricity is coal-generated. This has significant environmental implications as far as electric vehicles (EVs) are concerned.  Because EVs are charged off a grid that is primarily coal- powered, carbon emissions actually rise as the number of such vehicles proliferate. As you can see in the following charts from Reuters’ energy expert John Kemp, Asia’s coal-fired generation has risen drastically in the last 20 years, even as it has receded in the rest of the world.  (The flattening recently is almost certainly due to Covid, with a sharp upward resumption nearly a given.) The worst part is that burning coal not only emits CO2—which is not a pollutant and is essential for life—it also releases vast quantities of nitrous oxide (N20), especially on the scale of coal usage seen in Asia today. N20 is unquestionably a pollutant and a greenhouse gas that is hundreds of times more potent than CO2.  (An interesting footnote is that over the last 550 million years, there have been very few times when the CO2 level has been as low, or lower, than it is today.)  Some scientists believe that one reason for the shrinkage of Arctic sea ice in recent decades is due to the prevailing winds blowing black carbon soot over from Asia.  This is a separate issue from N20 which is a colorless gas.  As the black soot covers the snow and ice fields in Northern Canada, they become more absorbent of the sun’s radiation, thus causing increased melting.  (Source:  “Weathering Climate Change” by Hugh Ross) Due to exploding energy needs in China this year, coal prices have experienced an unprecedented surge.  Despite this stunning rise, Chinese authorities have instructed its power providers to obtain coal, and other baseload energy sources, such as liquified natural gas (LNG), regardless of cost.  Notwithstanding how pricey coal has become, its usage in China was up 15% in the first half of this year vs the first half of 2019 (which was obviously not Covid impacted). Despite the polluting impact of heavy coal utilization, China is unlikely to turn away from it due to its high energy density (unlike renewables), its low cost (usually) and its abundance within its own borders (though its demand is so great that it still needs to import vast amounts).  Regarding oil, as we saw in last week’s final image, it is currently importing roughly 11 million barrels per day (bpd) to satisfy its 15 million bpd consumption (about 15% of total global demand).  In other words, crude imports amount to almost three-quarter of its needs.  At $80 oil, this totals $880 million per day or approximately $320 billion per year.  Imagine what China’s trade surplus would look like without its oil import bill! Ironically, given the current hostility between the world’s superpowers, China has an affinity for US oil because of its light and easy-to-refine nature.  China’s refineries tend to be low-grade and unable to efficiently process heavier grades of crude, unlike the US refining complex which is highly sophisticated and prefers heavy oil such as from Canada and Venezuela—back when the latter actually produced oil. Thus, China favors EVs because they can be de facto coal-powered, lessening its dangerous reliance on imported oil.  It also likes them due to the fact it controls 80% of the lithium ion battery supply and 60% of the planet’s rare earth minerals, both of which are essential to power EVs.     However, even for China, mining enough lithium, cobalt, nickel, copper, aluminum and the other essential minerals/metals to meet the ambitious goals of largely electrifying new vehicle volumes is going to be extremely daunting.  This is in addition to mass construction of wind farms and enormously expanded solar panel manufacturing. As one of the planet’s leading energy authorities Daniel Yergin writes: “With the move to electric cars, demand for critical minerals will skyrocket (lithium up 4300%, cobalt and nickel up 2500%), with an electric vehicle using 6 times more minerals than a conventional car and a wind turbine using 9 times more minerals than a gas-fueled power plant.  The resources needed for the ‘mineral-intensive energy system’ of the future are also highly concentrated in relatively few countries. Whereas the top 3 oil producers in the world are responsible for about 30 percent of total liquids production, the top 3 lithium producers control more than 80% of supply. China controls 60% of rare earths output needed for wind towers; the Democratic Republic of the Congo, 70% of the cobalt required for EV batteries.” As many have noted, the environmental impact of immensely ramping up the mining of these materials is undoubtedly going to be severe.  Michael Shellenberger, a life-long environmental activist, has been particularly vociferous in his condemnation of the dominant view that only renewables can solve the global energy needs.  He’s especially critical of how his fellow environmentalists resorted to repetitive deception, in his view, to undercut nuclear power in past decades.  By leaving nuke energy out of the solution set, he foresees a disastrous impact on the planet due to the massive scale (he’d opine, impossibly massive) of resource mining that needs to occur.  (His book, “Apocalypse Never”, is also one I highly recommend; like Dr. Koonin, he hails from the left end of the political spectrum.) Putting aside the environmental ravages of developing rare earth minerals, when you have such high and rapidly rising demand colliding with limited supply, prices are likely to go vertical.  This will be another inflationary “forcing”, a favorite term of climate scientists, caused by the Great Green Energy Transition. Moreover, EVs are very semiconductor intensive.  With semis already in seriously short supply, this is going to make a gnarly situation even gnarlier.  It’s logical to expect that there will be recurring shortages of chips over the next decade for this reason alone (not to mention the acute need for semis as the “internet of things” moves into primetime).  In several of the newsletters I’ve written in recent years, I’ve pointed out the present vulnerability of the US electric grid.  Yet, it will be essential not just to keep it from breaking down under its current load; it must be drastically enhanced, a Herculean task. For one thing, it is excruciatingly hard to install new power lines. As J.P. Morgan’s Michael Cembalest has written: “Grid expansion can be a hornet’s nest of cost, complexity and NIMBYism*, particularly in the US.”  The grid’s frailty, even under today’s demands (i.e., much less than what lies ahead as millions of EVs plug into it) is particularly obvious in California.  However, severe winter weather in 2021 exposed the grid weakness even in energy-rich Texas, which also has a generally welcoming attitude toward infrastructure upgrading and expansion. Yet it’s the Golden State, home to 40 million Americans and the fifth largest economy in the world, if it was its own country (which it occasionally acts like it wants to be), that is leading the charge to EVs and seeking to eliminate internal combustion engines (ICEs) as quickly as possible.  Even now, blackouts and brownouts are becoming increasingly common.  Seemingly convinced it must be a role model for the planet, it’s trying desperately to reduce its emissions, which are less than 1%, of the global total, at the expense of rendering its energy system more similar to a developing country.  In addition to very high electricity costs per kilowatt hour (its mild climate helps offset those), it also has gasoline prices that are 77% above the national average.  *NIMBY stands for Not In My Back Yard. While California has been a magnet for millions seeking a better life for 150 years, the cost of living is turning the tide the other way.  Unreliable and increasingly expensive energy is likely to intensify that trend.  Combined with home prices that are more than double the US median–$800,000!–California is no longer the land of milk and honey, unless, to slightly paraphrase Woody Guthrie about LA, even back in the 1940s, you’ve got a whole lot of scratch.  More and more people, seem to be scratching California off their list of livable venues.  Voters in the reliably blue state of California may become extremely restive, particularly as they look to Asia and see new coal plants being built at a fever pitch.  The data will become clear that as America keeps decarbonizing–as it has done for 30 years mostly due to the displacement of coal by gas in the US electrical system—Asia will continue to go the other way.  (By the way, electricity represents the largest share of CO2 emission at roughly 25%.)  California has always seemed to lead social trends in this country, as it is doing again with its green energy transition.  The objective is noble though, extremely ambitious, especially the timeline.  As it brings its power paradigm to the rest of America, especially its frail grid, it will be interesting to see how voters react in other states as the cost of power leaps higher and its dependability heads lower.  It’s reasonable to speculate we may be on the verge of witnessing the Californication of the US energy system.  Lest you think I’m being hyperbolic, please be aware the IEA (International Energy Agency) has estimated it will cost the planet $5 trillion per year to achieve Net Zero emissions.  This is compared to global GDP of roughly $85 trillion. According to BloombergNEF, the price tag over 30 years, could be as high as $173 trillion.  Frankly, based on the history of gigantic cost overruns on most government-sponsored major infrastructure projects, I’m inclined to take the over—way over—on these estimates. Moreover, energy consulting firm T2 and Associates, has guesstimated electrifying just the US to the extent necessary to eliminate the direct consumption of fuel (i.e., gasoline, natural gas, coal, etc.) would cost between $18 trillion and $29 trillion.  Again, taking into account how these ambitious efforts have played out in the past, I suspect $29 trillion is light.  Regardless, even $18 trillion is a stunner, despite the reality we have all gotten numb to numbers with trillions attached to them.  For perspective, the total, already terrifying, level of US federal debt is $28 trillion. Regardless, as noted last week, the probabilities of the Great Green Energy Transition happening are extremely high.  Relatedly, I believe the likelihood of the Great Greenflation is right up there with them.  As Gavekal’s Didier Darcet wrote in mid-August:  ““Nowadays, and this is a great first in history, governments will commit considerable financial resources they do not have in the extraction of very weakly concentrated energy.” ( i.e., less efficient)  “The bet is very risky, and if it fails, what next?  The modern economy would not withstand expensive energy, or worse, lack of energy.”  While I agree this an historical first, it’s definitely not great (with apologies for all the “greats”).  This is particularly not great for keeping inflation subdued, as well as for attempting to break out of the growth quagmire the Western world has been in for the last two decades.  What we are seeing in Europe right now is an extremely cautionary case study in just how disastrous the war on fossil fuels can be (shortly we will see who or what has been a behind-the-scenes participant in this conflict). Essentially, I believe, as I’ve written in past EVAs, we are entering the third energy crisis of the last 50 years.  If I’m right, it will be characterized by recurring bouts of triple-digit oil prices in the years to come.  Along with Richard Nixon taking the US off the gold standard in 1971, the high inflation of the 1970s was caused by the first two energy crises (the 1973 Arab Oil Embargo and the 1979 Iranian Revolution).  If I’m correct about this being the third, it’s coming at a most inopportune time with the US in hyper-MMT* mode. Frankly, I believe many in the corridors of power would like to see oil trade into the $100s, and natural gas into the teens, as it will help catalyze the shift to renewable energy.  But consumers are likely to have a much different reaction—potentially, a violently different reaction, as I noted last week.  The experience of the Yellow Vest protests in France (referring to the color of the vest protestors wore), are instructive in this regard.  France is a generally left-leaning country.  Despite that, a proposed fuel surtax in November 2018 to fund a renewable energy transition triggered such widespread civil unrest that French president Emmanuel Macron rescinded it the following month. *MMT stands for Modern Monetary Theory.  It holds that a government, like the US, which issues debt in its own currency can spend without concern about budgetary constraints.  If there are not enough buyers of its bonds at acceptable interest rates, that nation’s central bank (the Fed, in our case) simply acquires them with money it creates from its digital printing press.  This is what is happening today in the US.  Many economists consider this highly inflationary. The sharp and politically uncomfortable rise in US gas pump prices this summer caused the Biden administration to plead with OPEC to lift its volume quotas.  The ironic implication of that exhortation was glaringly obvious, as was the inefficiency and pollution consequences of shipping oil thousands of miles across the Atlantic.  (Oil tankers are a significant source of emissions.)  This is as opposed to utilizing domestic oil output, as well as crude from Canada (which is actually generally better suited to the US refining complex).  Beyond the pollution aspect, imported oil obviously worsens America’s massive trade deficit (which would be far more massive without the six million barrels per day of domestic oil volumes that the shale revolution has provided) and costs our nation high-paying jobs. Further, one of my other big fears is that the West is engaging in unilateral energy disarmament.  Russia and China are likely the major beneficiaries of this dangerous scenario.  Per my earlier comment about a stealth combatant in the war on fossil fuels, it may surprise you that a past NATO Secretary General* has accused Russian intelligence of avidly supporting the anti-fracking movements in Western Europe.  Russian TV has railed against fracking for years, even comparing it to pedophilia (certainly, a most bizarre analogy!).  The success of the anti-fracking movement on the Continent has essentially prevented a European version of America’s shale miracles (the UK has the potential to be a major shale gas producer).  Consequently, the European Union’s domestic natural gas production has been in a rapid decline phase for years.  Banning fracking has, of course, made Europe heavily reliant on Russian gas shipments with more than 40% of its supplies coming from Russia. This is in graphic contrast to the shale output boom in the US that has not only made us natural gas self-sufficient but also an export powerhouse of liquified natural gas (LNG).  In 2011, the Nord Stream system of pipelines running under the Baltic Sea from northern Russia began delivering gas west from northern Russia to the German coastal city of Greifswald.  For years, the Russians sought to build a parallel system with the inventive name of Nord Stream 2.  The US government opposed its approval on security grounds but the Biden administration has dropped its opposition.  It now appears Nord Stream 2 will happen, leaving Europe even more exposed to Russian coercion.  Is it possible the Russian government and the Chinese Communist Party have been secretly and aggressively supporting the anti-fossil fuel movements in America?  In my mind, it seems not only possible but probable.  In fact, I believe it is naïve not to come that conclusion.  After all, wouldn’t it be in both of their geopolitical interests to see the US once again caught in a cycle of debilitating inflation, ensnared by the twin traps of MMT and the third energy crisis? *Per former NATO Secretary General, Anders Fogh Rasumssen:  Russia has “engaged actively with so-called non-governmental organizations—environmental organizations working against shale gas—to maintain Europe’s dependence on imported Russian gas”. Along these lines, I was shocked to listen to a recent podcast by the New Yorker magazine on the topic of “intelligent sabotage”.  This segment was an interview between the magazine’s David Remnick and a Swedish professor, Adreas Malm.  Mr. Malm is the author of a new book with the literally explosive title “How To Blow Up A Pipeline”.   Just as it sounds, he advocates detonating pipelines to inhibit fossil fuel distribution.  Mr. Remnick was clearly sympathetic to his guest but he did ask him about the impact on the poor of driving energy prices up drastically which would be the obvious ramification if his sabotage recommendations were widely followed.  Mr. Malm’s reaction was a verbal shrug of the shoulders and words to the effect that this was the price to pay to save the planet. Frankly, I am appalled that the venerable New Yorker would provide a platform for such a radical and unlawful suggestion.  In an era when people are de-platformed for often innocuous comments, it’s incredible to me this was posted and has not been pulled down.  In my mind, this reflects just how tolerant the media is of attacks on the fossil fuel industry, regardless of the deleterious impact on consumers and the global economy. Surely, there is a far better way of coping with the harmful aspects of fossil fuel-based energy than this scorched earth (literally, in the case of Mr. Malm) approach, which includes efforts to block new pipelines, shut existing ones, and severely restrict US energy production.  In America’s case, the result will be forcing us to unnecessarily and increasingly rely on overseas imports.  (For example, per the Wall Street Journal, drilling permits on federal land have crashed to 171 in August from 671 in April.  Further, the contentious $3.5 trillion “infrastructure” plan would raise royalties and fees high enough on US energy producers that it would render them globally uncompetitive.) Such actions would only aggravate what is already a severe energy shock, one that may be worse than the 1970s twin energy crises.  America has it easy compared to Europe, though, given current US policy trends, we might be in their same heavily listing energy boat soon. Solutions include fast-tracking small modular nuclear plants; encouraging the further switch from burning coal to natural gas (a trend that is, unfortunately, going the other way now, as noted above); utilizing and enhancing carbon and methane capture at the point of emission (including improving tail pipe effluent-reduction technology); enhancing pipeline integrity to inhibit methane leaks; among many other mitigation techniques that recognize the reality the global economy will be reliant on fossil fuels for many years, if not decades, to come.  If the climate change movement fails to recognize the essential nature of fossil fuels, it will almost certainly trigger a backlash that will undermine the positive change it is trying to bring about.  This is similar to what it did via its relentless assault on nuclear power which produced a frenzy of coal plant construction in the 1980s and 1990s.  On this point, it’s interesting to see how quickly Europe is re-embracing coal power to alleviate the energy poverty and rationing occurring over there right now - even before winter sets in.  When the choice is between supporting climate change initiatives on one hand and being able to heat your home and provide for your family on the other, is there really any doubt about which option the majority of voters will select? Tyler Durden Tue, 10/26/2021 - 19:30.....»»

Category: worldSource: nytOct 26th, 2021

H&M is partnering with a building materials company to achieve its sustainability goals. Here"s a look at how they work together.

Biomason's cement-like tiles have the lowest carbon footprint on the market, and H&M Group is aiming to get them into its stores by 2022. Insider H&M aims to be climate positive by 2040. Kevin Frayer/Getty Images H&M group is aiming to use 100% sustainable materials by 2030 and be climate positive by 2040. To get there, it's partnering with Biomason, a company that uses biology to grow cement tiles. The tiles are being tested in offices and projected to be in public locations by 2022. This article is part of a series called "Partners for a Sustainable Future," profiling innovative alliances that are driving real progress in sustainability. For all the environmental flack that fast fashion gets, H&M Group has set some aggressive sustainability goals for its family of brands. These include using 100% recycled or other sustainably sourced materials by 2030 and having a climate-positive supply chain - one that creates an overall positive impact on the climate - by 2040. Mattias Bodin, the lead of H&M Group's Circular Innovation Lab. Courtesy of H&M Group "That includes not only the materials and products that we sell to customers but also all the material that we use to facilitate our businesses, such as store interiors, packaging, etc.," Mattias Bodin, the lead of H&M Group's Circular Innovation Lab, told Insider.The challenge? Many of the solutions they're going to need don't exist yet or haven't scaled to the commercial level a major retailer would need. That's why, among other strategies, H&M Group is doubling down on partnerships with innovative companies around the world to develop a portfolio of more sustainable materials. A snapshot of H&M Group's sustainability strategy. Courtesy of H&M Group "We want to lead the industry toward a systemic change - a new way to produce and enjoy fashion - and that's not really something that one company can achieve on its own, so we need to work in partnerships," Bodin said.One such agreement is with North Carolina-based company Biomason, which uses biology to grow cement bricks and tiles. Traditional cement production releases carbon as a byproduct and accounts for 8% of global CO2 emissions. Meanwhile, Biomason's first commercially available product, bioLITH tiles, has the lowest carbon footprint on the market while exceeding the performance of traditional materials. Their work could have a massive impact in constructing buildings in a more sustainable way.Stakeholders from both companies shared how other companies can negotiate partnerships that benefit each other - and the world at large.Align on where you are and where you want to be Biomason's bioLITH tiles. Biomason H&M Group first learned about Biomason at a sustainable materials conference back in 2019. They were immediately impressed by how much the bioLITH tiles looked like the existing materials used in H&M Group stores. Ginger Dosier, Biomason's CEO and president. Courtesy of Biomason It was clear that they were aesthetically aligned, but Biomason's CEO and president Ginger Krieg Dosier said in order to figure out whether they would be good partners, it was critical to ensure they were also aligned on their vision for the technology.For instance, H&M Group was interested in creating tiles that were larger and thinner than Biomason's original prototype. "It's important to be really direct about what they're asking for and be able to quickly suss out whether that's possible. And then the next meetings are really about how you can partner together to develop this in a tandem way," Dosier said.She also suggested not over-promising what you'll be able to achieve. "It's critical to be transparent about where you are in the technology development based on what they're asking so that you're enabling them to join you on that journey of figuring this out," Dosier said. "That to me is what a true partner is. It's different from a customer relationship."Test and develop together Biomason's bioLITH tile installed in H&M Group's headquarters for testing. Biomason Even though both parties were excited about the potential partnership, the larger deal wasn't inked immediately. Instead, H&M Group opted to run several tests of the product, first in the workshop of their Circular Innovation Lab and then on the floors of their headquarters. "This step-by-step approach helps us gain momentum and gain knowledge," Bodin said, allowing them to see how the material performed against needs like durability and stain resistance.This process also helped Biomason better understand what their products need to deliver in practice, rather than doing R&D in a vacuum. "These products have to perform beyond sustainability and beyond aesthetics: They need to perform in an environment where they have heavy use. Working with H&M in this way - sending them prototypes and getting iterative feedback - accelerates our ability to make that happen," Dosier said. Even now that the joint development partnership is official, the teams are continuing to refine and iterate together before hopefully starting to test the tiles in public locations in 2022.All in all, these kinds of partnerships are an exciting way for innovative companies to see other potential applications for their technology and find opportunities to push the boundaries of what they can do. "We're always looking for partners who look beyond where we are today to join us in developing the next use case," Dosier said. Make the relationship two-sided"One of the missions with our Circular Innovation Lab is to find new materials and startups, but also to support those startups and entrepreneurs in moving toward commercialization. It's a two-way street: We need them, they need us," Bodin said.Part of that means providing benefits outside of money alone. "It's really important to look into what you can really offer each other. There's a piece of cofunding, surely, but there might be many other things that we can offer that perhaps we take for granted but could really add value for the partner," Bodin said. Bodin pointed out how H&M Group's supply-chain connections, publicity, and marketing power can really benefit the smaller companies they're partnering with.Another major - and perhaps surprising - term that H&M Group believes in is not asking for any exclusivity in their partnership agreements. Even if these partners were to work with H&M's competitors, Bodin isn't worried: "We might be competing on one level, but when it comes to creating a sustainable future, that's not really where we're competing."Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderOct 21st, 2021

Initiatives From The Franchise Industry To Prioritize Sustainability

Even in a year that was commandeered by a global pandemic, sustainability efforts have grown exponentially in their frequency and scope to apply to a much wider array of environmental and social issues. New industries are finding they cannot avoid this responsibility any longer as increased transparency places them under a greater level of scrutiny. […] Even in a year that was commandeered by a global pandemic, sustainability efforts have grown exponentially in their frequency and scope to apply to a much wider array of environmental and social issues. New industries are finding they cannot avoid this responsibility any longer as increased transparency places them under a greater level of scrutiny. if (typeof jQuery == 'undefined') { document.write(''); } .first{clear:both;margin-left:0}.one-third{width:31.034482758621%;float:left;margin-left:3.448275862069%}.two-thirds{width:65.51724137931%;float:left}form.ebook-styles .af-element input{border:0;border-radius:0;padding:8px}form.ebook-styles .af-element{width:220px;float:left}form.ebook-styles .af-element.buttonContainer{width:115px;float:left;margin-left: 6px;}form.ebook-styles .af-element.buttonContainer input.submit{width:115px;padding:10px 6px 8px;text-transform:uppercase;border-radius:0;border:0;font-size:15px}form.ebook-styles input.submit{width:115px}form.ebook-styles .af-element.privacyPolicy{width:100%;font-size:12px;margin:10px auto 0}form.ebook-styles .af-element.privacyPolicy p{font-size:11px;margin-bottom:0}form.ebook-styles .af-body input.text{height:40px;padding:2px 10px !important} form.ebook-styles .error, form.ebook-styles #error { color:#d00; } form.ebook-styles .formfields h1, form.ebook-styles .formfields #mg-logo, form.ebook-styles .formfields #mg-footer { display: none; } form.ebook-styles .formfields { font-size: 12px; } form.ebook-styles .formfields p { margin: 4px 0; } Get The Full Henry Singleton Series in PDF Get the entire 4-part series on Henry Singleton in PDF. Save it to your desktop, read it on your tablet, or email to your colleagues (function($) {window.fnames = new Array(); window.ftypes = new Array();fnames[0]='EMAIL';ftypes[0]='email';}(jQuery));var $mcj = jQuery.noConflict(true); Q3 2021 hedge fund letters, conferences and more Political leaders have reiterated a sense of urgency for businesses within many industries to improve their sustainability practices. However, many companies are moving too slowly, with an incremental approach to a problem that requires a radical reshaping rather than a slight adjustment. That is why it is hopeful to see the efforts of companies within the franchise industry, such as McDonalds and Pure Green Franchise, as it wakes up their competitors to the fact that sustainability should not only be interesting because it could be financially beneficial for them, but because it is necessary for us all to engage in such practices if we wish to enjoy sensible and safe exploitation of resources. According to Statista, the following are the largest sustainability initiatives: Global leading sustainable corporation: Schneider Electric SE (NASDAQ:SBGSY) Leading U.S. green power consuming company: Google (NASDAQ:GOOGL) Leading U.S. retailer by green power: Walmart (NASDAQ:WMT) Growth of Sustainability Efforts What Is Sustainability? Sustainability is an invaluable metric for the global and local strategies of all major businesses designed to protect the environment and human survival from processes that are detrimental to both. Sustainability is often alluded to with efforts such as the protection of ecosystems and renewable resource use, which is part of the picture, but also leaves out the important aspects of economic development and social equity. Put simply, there are three pillars to sustainability: environmental, economic and social. This understanding of the word gained eminence after the United Nations 1987 Brundtland Commission Report that coalesced the ideas of economic development and the protection of social and environmental balance. Given that the environment is usually the price of economic growth and the world’s resources are finite, they must utilize sustainably if we are to continue to support our population’s resources. Sustainability as a concept aids regulators in adapting strategies that are conducive for economic growth without the exploitation of natural resources. In 2015, the United Nations created the Agenda for Sustainable Development, which contained 17 sustainable goals for its member states to adopt and commit themselves to. These goals outlined the challenges humans face around the world and hoped to achieve a sustainable future for all. Popularity of Sustainable Consumerism As consumers become increasingly conscious of how they spend their money and aim to use it in a manner that is reflective of their ecological beliefs, sustainability is a quality that will be progressively demanded of companies across all industries. Whilst sustainability is only picking up mainstream attention now, it’s the future of how the world must do business. There is expected to be an upcoming ‘sustainable revolution’ that will be of a similar scale to the digital revolution that occurred before it. The scale of the task is disconcerting, and yet companies today are, for the most part, responding inadequately. Hiring an expert in sustainability to merely guide them through the process will not cut it; sustainability demands a full reshape of how businesses conduct themselves. The popularity of sustainability will only increase from its current position. Since consumer preferences will directly influence the products that succeed (and are thus produced) in the long-run through the invisible hand of the market, businesses will find that they can either accept sustainability into their processes or be left behind. Moreover, a positive feedback loop will be established that will further increase the prominence of sustainability. Since two of the top three reasons for not adopting a sustainable lifestyle by consumers are the idea that it is too expensive and misinformation, these will both resolve themselves as more businesses accept sustainability. This is because businesses will respond to consumer interest in sustainability, leading to an increase in supply of sustainable goods, and thus a reduction in their cost and further adoption by consumers, leading again to greater production by businesses, and so on and so forth. Sustainability Initiatives in the Franchise Industry McDonalds McDonald's Corp (NYSE:MCD) is one of the largest franchises to take a stand for sustainability, especially in the holistic, complete reshaping manner that was referred to earlier as being required. It has done this with a multi-frontal approach towards sustainability; with plans for climate action, packaging and waste, agriculture and beef, forest conservation and water protection. They were the first global company to set a target to reduce emissions in their supply chain based on a science-based target. The franchise hopes to have prevented around 150 million tons of greenhouse gas emissions by 2030; this equates to about 32 million passengers cars not driving for an entire year. Their investments throughout 2019 into renewable energy will prevent 700,000 tons of carbon emissions per year in the US, which is comparable to planting 11 million new trees and unveiled the first restaurant ever capable of creating enough renewable energy on-site to cover all its energy needs. McDonalds is also testing new solutions for packaging and recycling around the globe that incorporate more sustainable materials and make recycling easier for customers. They estimate that they are over 78% of the way towards their goal of sourcing packaging from purely certified renewable sources, and are partnering to make sure these changes take place at scale. Such as with NextGen Consortium and Loop for cups. The Chief Supply Chain and Sustainability Officer of McDonald’s, Francesca DeBiase, stated that whilst “their size and reach give [them] a platform for change, meaningful progress really comes down to teamwork … [within] the McDonald’s supply chain - and the broader marketplace”. Pure Green Pure Green is another major company with large-scale initiatives for sustainability. It is a juice bar franchise that has been growing rapidly over the course of the last ten years whose growth has only been accelerated by COVID-19. One of their key sustainability initiatives is centered on reducing their carbon footprint by partnering with local farmers and suppliers not only to connect their guests with real, wholesale and freshly sourced superfoods, but also to streamline production as well as to limit greenhouse gas emission. In order to remain consistent with its mission of inspiring healthier communities, Pure Green builds out their stores using sustainable materials. Pure Green uses Baltic Birch wood as a core material in their standard build. Birch plywood is a sustainable, long term choice that has little impact on the global environment. Birch trees are an abundant and fast-growing species that causes little devastation or destruction of biodiversity when cut down. Another initiative of theirs is using imperfect products for their cold pressed juice and shots. According to Ross Franklin, Founder and CEO of Pure Green Franklin: “More than one third of the fruit and vegetables we used for our products include imperfect produce. The shift saved over one million pounds of produce that may have ended up in a landfill. Our practices for sustainability and completely in alignment with our mission of building healthier communities around the globe.” Pret a Manger Pret has been very vocal about the value it places on ‘doing the right thing’, so much so that the company is almost synonymous with sustainability. It’s no surprise that the seriousness with which they take sustainability extends from their recipes and packaging to their shops and supply chain. They have many initiatives and are at the forefront of this movement. Since setting up their ‘Pret Coffee Fund’ in 2014, Pret has worked directly with Cenfrocafe Cooperative in Peru to curate a course tailored to teach, inspire and help the next generation of coffee farmers to build a sustainable business through coffee. A group of 65 young farmers from across the region are inducted on to this course a year. Over its year-long duration, the course educates these farmers on new approaches, ideas and practical training to improve yield and quality, as well as how to grow a business. So far, 326 students have completed the course, and 60 are enrolled for the sixth year. 94% remained in coffee farming, 50 of which went on to secure additional employment within the sector. Youth membership at Cenfrocafe increased twofold, from 181 at the course’s inception in 2014 to 405 young members in 2019. Yields on the plots owned by young farmers enrolled on the course now sit at 32.77qq/ha, which is far above the region’s average of 188qq/ha. Pret’s CEO, Pano Christou, lamented that “while 2020 will sadly be remembered for the impact of the pandemic, [they] are nonetheless determined to make sure Pret emerges a stronger, better, and more sustainable business in the future … that continues to challenge [themselves], innovating and collaborating with others”. Final Comments However franchises may feel about it, sustainability is the certain future of how the world must do business. Whilst COVID-19 has accelerated the scope of sustainable business to almost all industries, many are not treating it with the urgency it deserves and are thus implementing these processes far too slowly. That being said, sustainable is growing ever more popular, which creates a positive feedback loop that cyclically nudges businesses to implement sustainable policies into their corporation in order to profit. This, in turn, lowers the cost of sustainable goods (as they are more common), which leads to their increased approval by consumers and an even greater presence of sustainability measures in business. This can be seen taking place at the moment with industry leaders such as Pure Green Franchise and Pret a Manger spearheading this movement of sustainability in business with their sustainability initiative and Pret Coffee Funds respectively. This represents the tip of the iceberg and is only the beginning. Updated on Oct 20, 2021, 1:43 pm (function() { var sc = document.createElement("script"); sc.type = "text/javascript"; sc.async = true;sc.src = "//"; sc.charset = "utf-8";var s = document.getElementsByTagName("script")[0]; s.parentNode.insertBefore(sc, s); }()); window._F20 = window._F20 || []; _F20.push({container: 'F20WidgetContainer', placement: '', count: 3}); _F20.push({finish: true});.....»»

Category: blogSource: valuewalkOct 20th, 2021

The 5 best bed sheets in 2021 for every sleeper

We tested 19 sets to find the best sheets for your bed in 2021. Our picks include L.L.Bean, Pinzon, Sijo, Frette, and more. When you buy through our links, Insider may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more. Connie Chen/Insider Good sheets are essential to good sleep, which is why you need a set that's comfortable and durable. The L.L.Bean Percale Sheet Set is our top pick for most people because they're crisp and breathable. It's made from soft, durable, extra-long-staple cotton and is affordably priced for the quality. Read more about how Insider Reviews tests home products. Table of Contents: Masthead StickyI've spent four years trying out more than three dozen sets of sheets, and I can tell you - even if you have the perfect mattress and pillow, bedtime is incomplete without soft and comfortable sheets. For this guide, I put 19 sets of sheets through rigorous testing to determine the top five for a variety of preferences and budgets. L.L.Bean's Percale Sheet Set is the best option for most people.I spoke to hospitality experts and a textiles scientist to learn more about thread count, materials and fiber types, and fabric care. The FAQs section contains more info on why thread count is less important than you think, why you should look for 100% long-staple cotton as a sheeting material, and how to prevent wrinkles in your fresh sheets. The majority of our picks are made from cotton, which offers the best balance of comfort, durability, and affordability. But we've also included options like flannel and linen, which hold heat differently and may be more appropriate for specific seasons or those who tend to sleep cold or hot. Here are the best sheets for your bed in 2021Best sheets overall: L.L.Bean Percale Sheet SetBest cooling sheets for summer: Sijo Linen Sheet SetBest flannel sheets for winter: Pinzon Flannel Sheet SetBest hotel sheets: H by Frette Classic Sheet SetBest sheets on a budget: Threshold Solid Performance Sheet Set Best sheets overall Connie Chen/Insider The L.L.Bean percale sheets feel amazing on your skin — simultaneously light, crisp, and soft — and prove that quality materials are more important than thread count.Material: 100% Pima cotton, percale weave Thread count: 280 Sizes available: Twin, full, queen, king, California kingCare instructions:  Machine wash in warm water with like colors. Use only non-chlorine bleach if needed. Tumble dry on low and remove promptly. Pros: High-quality construction, very soft and comfortable, fitted sheet is labeled, accessible priceCons: Lack of prints and patterns, fitted sheet may be loose on thinner mattressesOf all the percale cotton sheets I tested, L.L.Bean's set stood out for its ultra-softness and comfort. It's our overall best pick because it boasts a bit of everything that most shoppers are looking for: lightweight, breathable, and cool fabric; crisp yet soft feel; and strong construction that can reliably stand up to multiple washes. The sheets are made from pima cotton, which is a high-quality, extra-long-staple cotton. Karen Leonas, a professor of textile sciences at the Wilson College of Textiles, NC State University, told us extra-long-staple cotton is even stronger and more resistant to abrasion than long-staple cotton. That's likely why the L.L.Bean sheets are extra soft and durable, even though the 280-thread count is on the lower end of the spectrum. Even after many washes, they also had a great feel and experienced no loose threads or shrinkage in the last three months.The fitted sheet fit well and never slipped off, but there was a little excess (it fits up to 15-inch mattresses) on my IKEA Haugesund mattress. I loved that the long and short sides were labeled, a thoughtful touch that always sped up the annoying task of putting on my sheets. (When you're constantly trying and washing different sheets, you notice and appreciate these things.) The sheets are available in a handful of light colors, and they have hemstitched detailing (decorative threading at the edges). If you prefer a simple look that fits into pretty much any room style, the L.L.Bean sheets won't disappoint. If you like fun prints and patterns, try Brooklinen's sheets. They came in a close second to L.L.Bean for comfort and durability and are also reasonably priced.  There's nothing gimmicky or "special" about these L.L.Bean sheets, and that's what makes them so great. They're simply well-made, extremely comfortable, and dependable — the best you could want out of something you're sleeping on every night. Pima Cotton Percale Sheet Set (Queen) (button) Best flannel sheets for winter Connie Chen/Insider It's hard to imagine snuggling in anything but Pinzon's thick flannel sheets on a cold winter night. They'll keep you warm and cozy without causing you to overheat.Material: 100% brushed cottonThread count: Doesn't apply; 170 GSMSizes available: Twin, twin XL, full, queen, king, California kingCare instructions: Machine wash in cold water. Tumble dry on low. Pros: Plush and cozy feel, heavyweight, breathable, affordable Cons: Lots of dryer lint, only available in solid colors, may be too warm for hot sleepersImagine you're nestled in a cabin in the woods, far, far away from the people and bustle of regular life. There's a fire crackling nearby, and you have a book in one hand and a mug of tea in the other. That's what it feels like sleeping in these flannel sheets, even if the reality is that you're laying your head to rest in a modern city high-rise. There's no better fabric than flannel to bundle your body in during fall and winter (and even beyond, if you don't sleep hot). Pinzon's flannel is thick, soft, and cozy from the very first use and the comforting feeling only gets better over time. They're velvety and a little fuzzy but were never itchy and uncomfortable. Though the sheets are very warm, they never felt stifling or unbreathable, despite the fact that I sometimes sleep warm. However, if you regularly sleep hot, the flannel sheets may be too stifling.These sheets make it dangerously tempting to take midday naps curled up like a cat or to sleep in every day as if it were a Sunday free of commitments and appointments. I consistently felt like I slept better and deeper because of how warm and comfortable these sheets are. Fortunately, there's been no shrinkage or pilling to get in the way of that comfort.Still, there are a few small inconveniences. Out of the package, they have a slight chemical odor, so you'll need to wash them before the first use. Also, be prepared to empty out a thick layer of fuzz from your dryer lint trap every time you wash them. If you have thicker or high-loft pillows, the pillowcases may be a tight fit. I used them on my Casper and Leesa pillows (both moderately-sized pillows), and the pillowcases were a bit difficult to pull on.Cotton Flannel Bed Sheet Set (Queen) (button) Best hotel sheets Connie Chen/Insider When you don't want to spend hundreds of dollars a night to sleep at a luxury hotel, H by Frette's smooth and luxurious sateen sheets will take you there instead.Material: 100% extra-long-staple cotton, sateen weaveThread count: 300Sizes available: Twin, queen, king, California kingCare instructions: Machine wash in hot water. Tumble dry on low. If desired, remove before completely dry and iron to remove wrinkles.Pros: Luxury hotel-approved, quality materials, washes well, the brand has a long manufacturing historyCons: Only available in whiteRitz-Carlton, St. Regis, and Kimpton hotels worldwide turn to this iconic name for their bedding needs. We're talking about none other than Italian luxury brand Frette, once the official maker of linens for the Italian royal family. Sleeping in Frette's soft and smooth sateen sheets, you'll certainly feel like royalty. H by Frette is Frette's consumer line of linens and whisks you away into the sumptuous hotel bed of your dreams. But rather than paying for just a single night in a high-end hotel, you're dropping $300 for years of hotel luxury in your own room. The sheets are, of course, only available in white, and you can get them in sateen or percale, depending on your preference. The resulting bed looks simple, clean, and fresh. While housekeeping staff isn't included with your purchase, you'll probably feel motivated anyway to maintain the signature hotel style yourself because of how sleek and composed the all-white look is.Frette uses 100% extra-long-staple cotton, so even though the set doesn't have the extraordinarily high thread count (300) you might expect from hotel sheets, it feels very soft. Extra long-staple cotton is also very durable — important for hotels where housekeeping teams are washing each room's sheets constantly and important for you as a consumer if you want to be sure your investment goes a long way. Sateen sheets can be too warm for me sometimes, but Frette's felt perfect and cooler than other sateen sets I've tried. The sheets have a subtle gloss and a silky feel, and they remain comfortable after every wash. You'll find less expensive and equally comfortable sheets in the rest of this guide, but if you specifically want the sheets used in and approved by hundreds of hotels, then you'll be very happy with Frette's. Whenever I rotate through my sheets, I look forward to this set because I know it'll feel like a treat.Pro tip: "When recreating this [hotel] experience at home, think about using high lofting pillows, quality sheets, and a plush duvet with a duvet cover for the ultimate luxury experience," says Chan.Sateen Classic Sheet Set (Queen) (button) Best sheets on a budget Connie Chen/Insider Threshold's sheets are popular among Target shoppers because they're comfortable, thoughtfully designed, and, best of all, affordable.Material: 100% cotton, sateen weaveThread count: 400Sizes available: Twin, twin XL, full, queen, king, California kingCare instructions: Machine wash in cold water. Tumble dry on low. Pros: Affordable, great fit Cons: May trap body oils more, smell terrible out of the packageIt's the price tag that'll catch your eye first, then the great fit and soft feel that'll sell you completely on these budget-friendly sheets from Target brand Threshold. Of all the sets I tested, Threshold's fitted sheet was the easiest to put on and fit my mattress the best, despite being designed for mattresses up to 18-inch deep. The extra stretch in the corners of the sheet made a big difference and helped the sheet cling to my mattress without showing excess material on top. It also has a top and bottom label to speed up the fitting process. Once on, the sateen sheets are smooth and silky. They're made from 100% cotton and have a 400-thread count on the higher end of all the sets I tried.After some use, however, I noticed that they seem to trap body oils more readily and feel greasier than other sets, making them less pleasant to sleep on. I wondered if this was because Target uses a short-staple cotton, or if they applied some kind of treatment over the sheets to give them their "performance" qualities (wrinkle-resistant, bleach friendly), but the brand didn't respond to my requests for additional clarification. The problem does seem to go away if I wash the sheets more often.Either way, I had a comfortable experience overall; they just weren't the best of all the sheets I tried. And though they're touted as "performance sheets," most notably as being wrinkle-free, they certainly wrinkle. The best way to get rid of the wrinkles, as with all cotton sheets, is to iron them. Be warned — the sheets have a strong sour and chemical smell when you first take them out of their packaging. The smell lingers even after the sheets are aired out for a couple of days, so you'll definitely want to wash them first.If you're on a budget, a college student, or a frequent host looking to outfit a guest bed, these sheets are a smart decision. We're continuing to test and wash them to look for any durability issues, but so far, we haven't run into any. Performance Sheet Set (Queen) (button) Best cooling sheets for summer Connie Chen/Insider The cool, airy, and beautiful linen sheets from Sijo will be your summer favorite, or if you regularly sleep hot, a durable yearlong standby.Material: 100% French flaxThread count: Doesn't applySizes available: Full, queen, king, California kingCare instructions: Machine wash in cold water on the gentle cycle. Tumble dry on low. Remove from dryer when slightly damp and hang or lie flat. They can also be hand washed or dry cleaned. Pros: Stays dry and cool, casually wrinkled style, flexible flat sheet option Cons: Doesn't come in as many colors and sizes as competitors, may experience some sheddingLinen is a contentious textile. It wrinkles very easily, feels a bit rough, and is notoriously expensive. On the other hand, some prefer the casual, lived-in look, and it does get softer with time and use. Most importantly, because it's made from hollow flax fibers, which absorb moisture and let air pass through, linen is breathable and stays dry even on the warmest, stuffiest nights. Sijo sheets are the best linen sheets I've tried because they strike the right balance of comfort, coolness, durability, and price. After a couple of months of testing, they knock out our former best pick, MagicLinen, because of how downright soft and comfortable they are, even while having the signature grainy texture of linen. And they get softer and better after multiple washes.If your preconception of linen is that it's too scratchy to enjoy, Sijo's sheets will change your mind. They're also airy and light, keeping me cool on California spring-nights-that-already-feel-like-summer (we recently had temps in the high 80s in late March). I loved the wrinkled look, especially combined with the soothing Blush color. I'm also a fan of Sky, a dusky blue. The color and overall construction have held up well so far, and the fabric continues to feel both substantial and lightweight. You should expect some shedding in the first few washes — it's a natural part of the process but a little annoying to pick off your bed.Unlike with MagicLinen, I didn't have any sizing issues with Sijo's sheets. All the sets have a 15-inch depth. You can also opt in or out of a flat sheet, which provides great flexibility and can bring the price of your purchase down.Linen Sheet Set (Queen) (button) What else we tested Connie Chen/Insider What else we recommend and why Brooklinen (sateen): As I mentioned earlier, it was a tight race between Brooklinen and L.L.Bean. We still highly recommend Brooklinen because the brand offers incredible value for long-lasting, comfortable, and beautiful sheets. But the set we tested (Brooklinen's most popular) may be too warm for some people because of the sateen weave, which is why we ultimately picked L.L.Bean's cooler percale. Read our full review of Brooklinen sheets here.Brooklinen (linen): Brooklinen's sateen sheets usually get all the love, but we were also interested in its other fabrics. Each set of its cozy made-in-Portugal linen sheets is individually garment-dyed, so you'll feel like you have a unique piece of bedding. Our top pick is softer, but Brooklinen's are still pretty comfortable and come at the best price. Boll & Branch: Boll & Branch uses cotton that's both GOTS- and Fair Trade-certified, so if you live an organic lifestyle or are trying to incorporate more organic products into your cart, you'll love these ethically and sustainably made sheets. The sheets are comfortable and durable but keep in mind that the manufacturing process and certifications do come at a cost. Read our full review of Boll & Branch sheets here.MagicLinen: MagicLinen recently lost its spot as our top linen pick because it wasn't as comfortable or affordable as Sijo. There are a few reasons you might still want to buy MagicLinen, though: it comes in a lot more colors and sizes, including twin and deep-depth. If you're willing to pay a bit more to find a specific style and fit, MagicLinen's a good place to shop durable and airy linen sheets. Read our full review of MagicLinen sheets here. Riley: Riley's percale sheets are softer than other percale sheets, but not more so than L.L.Bean's. They felt cool and held up to all our washes well. I also appreciated the fair price point and the flexibility of opting for the add-on flat sheet, instead of being stuck with one you don't want. Parachute: Parachute's name often comes up along with fellow direct-to-consumer brands Brooklinen and Boll & Branch, all of which launched around the same time. We loved the smooth feel of its sateen sheets, which were softer than Brooklinen's. The one downside is they come in limited colors, and many sizes are currently sold out. Snowe: The crisp percale sheets from Snowe have both the feel and sensibility of a light button-down shirt. They're sophisticated and sleek, though not quite as soft as other percale options we've tried. I slept with them during the dead of summer, and they kept me cool and comfortable. Casper: Casper's newest bedding offering is the Hyperlite Sheet Set, made from Tencel lyocell, which comes from sustainably sourced wood. The material is indeed incredibly lightweight and soft, with a thin, gauzy construction — so thin that it's a bit see-through. They've held up really well after many washes. Bed Threads: This is another brand we love for fairly priced linen sheets. Bed Threads offers extended sizing and an assortment of beautiful colors to spruce up your bedroom. (I sampled the lilac.)What we do not recommend and why Crane & Canopy: We liked the comfortable feel and embroidery of these extra-long-staple, 400-thread count cotton sheets. Like L.L.Bean and Brooklinen, they're made from high-quality cotton and have a mid-tier thread count — but they're a lot more expensive. Since there are no other distinct features to set Crane & Canopy apart, we prefer L.L.Bean and Brooklinen for their better value.Serena & Lily: The home brand has many pretty and composed sheet options, like this Classic Ring Sheet Set, which has a percale weave and a 310-thread count. The feel is crisp and cool, but it's a bit pricey for what you get, and our other sheet picks offer better value. We also noticed after the first wash that there were already some loose threads on the pillowcases. Italic: Long-staple cotton percale sheets made by the same manufacturer of Frette, Four Seasons, and St. Regis sheets for $85? The Slumber Cotton set is enticing for this reason, and it's comfortable to sleep in. However, Italic has a $100/year membership model, so buying this set only makes sense if you plan on purchasing other goods from the site. We recommend first browsing the rest of the online shop to see if you're interested in the other home products, clothing, and accessories. Otherwise, you'll be paying $185, which isn't any more competitive than our picks above. Ettitude: Ettitude's claim to fame is using bamboo lyocell for its sheets. They're made from 100% organic bamboo with a water-efficient manufacturing process, and the result is uniquely soft, silky, and cool. However, we noticed they're more delicate than other fabrics, and the sheets showed more pilling and abrasion after we washed them.Bespoke Post: A defining characteristic of percale is that it's crisp and airy, like your favorite button-down shirt. The problem I experienced with Bespoke Post's new percale sheets is that they're too crisp and can rustle loudly if you move in your sleep (which is probably most of us). It also held onto and showed body oils easily, and you'd need to wash the set frequently.  Our testing methodology Connie Chen/Insider Here's how we tested the sheets over nine months. We'll continue to follow these steps in the upcoming months and note any changes.Washed and dried each set according to its respective instructions at least five times. Usually, we washed the sheets in a cold cycle with gentle detergent and dried them on a low tumble cycle. Put the fitted sheet on a 10-inch-thick mattress and noted slipping, sliding, post-wash shrinkage, and stretchiness of elastic. Slept on each set for at least one week and noted texture, overall comfort, breathability, and coolness. What we're testing next West Elm/Instagram Lilysilk: One category we'd like to add to our guide in the future is "best silk sheets." The luxurious Lilysilk sheets are made of mulberry silk and are OEKO-TEX Standard 100 certified. We like that Lilysilk lets you customize what pieces are included in your sheet set. THX Silk: The THX Silk 19 momme silk sheet could have the same description as the Lilysilk sheets. They're made from OEKO-TEX certified mulberry silk, but they "only" cost $410. We're curious to see if these luxury sheets live up to their price.West Elm: West Elm's Fair Trade-certified linen sheets are popular among linen lovers. They come in around the same price as MagicLinen's and are also available in many beautiful colors, so we'll mainly be comparing their comfort and durability. Kassatex: These long-staple cotton, 300-thread count sateen sheets seem promising, especially considering a Queen set is only $100. We look forward to putting these inexpensive sheets through all our tests to see how they stand up over time and how they compare to our current picks.  FAQs Connie Chen/Insider Does thread count matter?Yes, to a certain extent. However, don't use it as your sole determining factor because its definition can be manipulated, and after a certain number, the difference in feel and durability is negligible. Thread count is the number of yarns per inch, horizontally and vertically. Leonas tells us that a ply yarn (two single yarns twisted together) has traditionally been considered one yarn, but in recent years, some brands have been using total ply yarn count as the thread count, resulting in an artificially high number. Remember that thread count only applies to cotton sheets and single yarn weaves. All of our best cotton sheets fall in the 300-500 range, and you likely won't need anything beyond that."When finding sheets that will last and provide comfort and a relaxing night's sleep, take a look at the material first and thread count second," said Ave Bradley, senior vice president of design and creative director at Kimpton Hotels. Kimpton uses 200-300 thread count cotton sheets from Frette in its rooms. Though bedding brands are often quick to show off high thread counts, they're less important than you might think. The type of fiber and weave also help determine the sheet's texture, breathability, and durability. Percale and sateen, for example, are both made of cotton but have different weave structures, resulting in different feels.What are the different types of sheets?The quality and type of material do matter. Below, we define, compare, and contrast different materials, fabrics, and terms you'll often run into while shopping for sheets. Drape: The fluidity or rigidity of a fabric. A fabric with a high or fluid drape, such as silk, is flowy and clings more to the object. A fabric with a low drape is stiffer and holds its shape more. Long-staple cotton: Cotton with longer-staple fibers that result in smoother and stronger yarn. This is compared to short-staple cotton, which has fiber ends that stick out and cause the sheets to be rougher and less abrasion-resistant. Brands will generally call out when they use long-staple cotton; otherwise, you can probably assume it's short-staple. Leonas says the industry definition of long-staple cotton is a fiber length of 1.15-1.22 inches.Egyptian cotton: Cotton grown in Egypt. It's often assumed that Egyptian cotton is long-staple, but it could also be lower-quality, short-staple cotton that just happens to be from Egypt, so be careful of this labeling and look specifically for "long-staple cotton." Pima cotton: Also known by its trademark name, Supima cotton. Extra long-staple cotton that is grown only in the US and has a fiber length of at least 1.5 inches. Extra long-staple cotton is even smoother, more flexible, and more resistant to pilling than long-staple cotton.Percale: A type of cotton weave where one thread is woven with another thread into a tight, grid pattern. It has a matte, crisp feel. It's airy and more breathable. Sateen: A type of cotton weave where three or four threads are woven over one thread into a looser grid pattern. It has a smooth, silky feel and a slight sheen to it. Compared to percale, it's less breathable and may not be suitable for sleepers who run hot. According to Leonas, sateen tends to snag more easily and show dirt more readily due to its unique "float" weave. If you enjoy the feel and look of sateen, keep in mind that sheets made using this weave require a little more care and maintenance. Polyester: A type of synthetic fiber that may be blended with cotton or used to make microfiber. It's less breathable and traps moisture more easily, and it may not be suitable for people with sensitive skin. Microfiber: A type of synthetic material made with very fine polyester fibers. It's very soft and drapeable but doesn't breathe well. Lyocell: Also known as Tencel. A type of fiber made from wood (often eucalyptus) pulp. It's soft, silky, and breathable. Linen: A type of fiber made from flax plants. It's slightly rigid, with a rougher texture, and it feels cool and breathable. It wrinkles easily. Flannel: A type of fabric made with thickly woven wool or cotton. It's brushed to give it a slightly soft and fuzzy texture, and it feels warm.What kind of sheets do hotels use?Dennis Chan, director of retail product at Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts, said his team looks at the fabric drape (the way the fabric hangs), hand feel, and construction of weave when sourcing bedding for hotels worldwide. Four Seasons produces its own line of bedding in its Four Seasons at Home collection, featuring 350-thread count sateen weave cotton sheets. Top hotel brands like Four Seasons and Kimpton outfit their rooms in 100% long-staple cotton sheets because they're soft, breathable, and durable, resulting in luxurious and memorable sleep experiences for their guests. Long-staple cotton has longer fibers, so it's stronger and softer than shorter-staple cotton, which is why we also generally recommend 100% long-staple cotton in our best picks. What are the different sheet certifications?You may notice that some of our best picks have a Standard 100 by Oeko Tex certification. This label means the final sheet product has been independently tested for more than 100 harmful chemical substances and is safe for human use. While it's not the only certification out there, it's widely used and known in the textiles industry.Our experts say you should look for the Oeko-Tex Standard 100 certification for basic safety, but if you also care about manufacturing, look for STeP by Oeko Tex. It checks for environmentally friendly, socially responsible, and safe practices all along the production process.The Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) is another certification used specifically for organic textiles. GOTS-certified sheets contain at least 95% certified organic fibers and meet environmental and social standards at every stage of processing and manufacturing.What's the best way to care for your sheets?According to various bedding brands, you should wash your sheets every one to two weeks and have alternate sets to preserve their quality. We recommend following the specific care instructions that come with the sheet set you buy. Based on our experience, brands generally advise washing the sheets in a cold or warm cycle with gentle detergent, then drying in a low tumble cycle. Hot water can make colors bleed, cause shrinkage, and weaken fibers. Drying at high heat can also weaken fibers and cause pilling.What's the best way to prevent wrinkles?For all its great properties, cotton naturally wrinkles, and that's thanks to its molecular structure. Leonas explained that wrinkles happen when hydrogen bonds form as your sheets bump around in the dryer. "The only way to get rid of those bonds is to flip some water on it or apply high heat. That's why we use a lot of steam when we press things," she says. If you want to get rid of wrinkles, the best way is to iron them before fitting them onto your bed or remove them from your dryer a little before the cycle ends and fitting them onto your bed while slightly damp.Are alternative fibers any good? Alternative fibers like bamboo lyocell or microfiber are appealing because they're often very comfortable and affordable. However, in our testing experience, their durability doesn't match up to that of cotton or linen. They're more prone to pilling, abrasion, and shrinkage. Plus, the production and care of these alternative fibers can be murky and bad for the environment. The shedding of microfiber, for example, is polluting the ocean. What kind of duvet cover do you pair with your sheets? It's best to choose a duvet cover with the same fabrication as your sheet set — if you like how your sheets feel below you, you'll like how the same type of fabric feels on top of you. Most of the brands we recommend in our guide also sell matching duvet covers. If you want to mix and match bedding pieces, we'll soon be overhauling our guide to the best duvet covers.  Check out our other great bedding guides Jen Gushue/Insider The best pillowsThe best pillowcasesThe best duvet coversThe best mattressesThe best weighted blanketThe best cotton sheetsThe best flannel sheetsThe best sheets for kids  Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderOct 14th, 2021

Oil-Dri Announces Fourth Quarter and Fiscal 2021 Results

CHICAGO, Oct. 13, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Oil-Dri Corporation of America (NYSE:ODC), producer and marketer of sorbent mineral products, today announced results for its fourth quarter and fiscal year 2021.   Fourth Quarter Year to Date (in thousands, except per share amounts) Ended July 31 Ended July 31   2021   2020   Change 2021 2020 Change Consolidated Results             Net Sales $78,129 $64,844   20  % $304,981 $283,227 8  % Net Income Attributable to Oil-Dri $603 $5,886   (90 )% $11,113 $18,900 (41 )% Earnings per Common Diluted Share $0.08 $0.83   (90 )% $1.57 $2.65 (41 )% Business to Business             Net Sales $30,022 $26,628   13  % $110,120 $104,260 6  % Segment Operating Income* $3,791 $6,255   (39 )% $25,086 $26,882 (7 )% Retail and Wholesale             Net Sales $48,107 $38,216   26  % $194,861 $178,967 9  % Segment Operating Income (Loss)* $3,283 ($825 ) 498  % $11,916 $13,079 (9 )% *Segment operating income (loss) for fiscal year 2020 has been adjusted. See Note 1 of the Notes to the Consolidated Financial Statements in our Annual Report on form 10-K for the year ended July 31, 2021. Daniel S. Jaffee, President and Chief Executive Officer, stated, "Our performance in the fourth quarter and fiscal year 2021 was disappointing despite tremendous top-line growth with record high consolidated net sales for both periods. Our profitability was greatly reduced due to significant cost inflation across all input channels. Not only did the price of resin used in our jugs and pails spike, but higher lumber costs for pallets also contributed to the considerable increase in our overall packaging expenses. Dramatic increases in freight, natural gas and other material costs also negatively impacted our margins. In response to these rising costs, we implemented price increases across our product portfolio. However, it is clear we did not keep up with the rapid pace of inflation. Additionally, our supply chain was challenged as a result of trucking and ocean carrier capacity constraints combined with a nationwide labor shortage. Despite these headwinds, we achieved many of our strategic goals and delivered increased dividends to our shareholders during the fiscal year. We continue to push forward with our two biggest growth opportunities: mineral-based antibiotic alternative feed additives and lightweight cat litter. I am excited to report that our animal health products are currently in several trials across the globe. In addition, consumer demand for our lightweight cat litter remains strong, and our branded and private label products continue to surpass category growth. Our new Cat's Pride UltraClean and Cat's Pride Flushable items were recently launched, and we are convinced consumers will enjoy the products' unique benefits. As we begin fiscal year 2022, we will continue to focus on developing our value-added businesses and enhancing profitability." Full Year ResultsConsolidated net sales for fiscal year 2021 reached an all-time record high of $305 million, reflecting an 8% increase over the prior year. This was primarily due to higher demand of our cat litter and agricultural products which increased 9% and 19%, respectively, in fiscal year 2021 compared to the prior year. Revenues from our fluid purification products were 3% greater than last year, while sales of animal health and nutrition products were essentially flat. Industrial and sports business revenues grew 9% year over year, and we experienced steady sales gains of 2% from our co-packaging coarse cat litter business. Annual consolidated gross profit decreased by $3.5 million, as margins were reduced to 21% in fiscal 2021 from 24% in the prior year. Severe inflationary pressures caused domestic cost of goods sold per manufacturing ton to increase approximately 8% in the twelve month period compared to the prior year. Domestic freight, packaging and natural gas per manufactured ton rose 13%, 19%, and 15%, respectively over the prior year. U.S. non-fuel manufacturing costs per ton increased approximately 3%, primarily driven by higher costs of purchased materials. Included in fiscal year 2020's results, was the one-time pre-tax receipt of $13 million in connection with an intellectual property license agreement which occurred in the fourth quarter of the same year. Selling, general and administrative ("SG&A") expenses for fiscal year 2021 decreased 8% from the prior year primarily due to lower advertising spending, estimated annual incentive bonus accrual and pension expense. Fiscal 2020 SG&A expenses included a legal contingency offset by a curtailment gain related to our Supplemental Executive Retirement Plan. In addition, a change in the allocation of expenses from SG&A to cost of goods sold affected quarterly segment operating income in both fiscal years 2021 and 2020 by $5.3 million and $7.1 million, respectively. This reclassification did not affect consolidated operating or net income. Consolidated annual operating income was $13 million, reflecting a 47% decrease from the prior year. Excluding the aforementioned one-time pre-tax receipt of $13 million in fiscal 2020, operating income for fiscal 2021 was 10% greater than last year. Other income (expense), net in fiscal year 2021 included approximately $600,000 of settlement costs under our pension plan, compared to $2 million in fiscal year 2020. Full year net income attributed to Oil-Dri was $11.1 million, reflecting a 41% decrease from the prior year. Cash and Cash Equivalents decreased to $24.6 million in fiscal 2021 from $41 million in fiscal 2020, as a result of higher cost of goods sold and a significant fiscal 2020 bonus payout which was paid in fiscal 2021. Debt decreased to $9 million in fiscal 2021 from $10 million in the prior year. Fourth Quarter ResultsConsolidated net sales in the fourth quarter reached an all-time quarterly high of $78 million, or a 20% increase over the prior year. Sales from our cat litter, industrial and sports, and agricultural businesses drove the majority of this growth. Demand for fluids purification products and co-packaged coarse cat litter also increased in the fourth quarter over the prior year, while revenues from our animal health and nutrition products were essentially flat. Fourth quarter consolidated gross profit decreased by approximately $1.5 million, while margin was reduced to 19% in fiscal 2021 from 21% in fiscal 2020. Although revenues grew significantly in the quarter, these gains were offset by a 7% increase in domestic cost of goods sold per manufactured ton compared to the prior year. Trucking capacity constraints and high fuel costs resulted in a 7% increase in domestic freight per manufactured ton compared to the same period last year. Due to extreme inflation on resin and lumber prices, domestic packaging costs per manufactured ton increased 40%. Further contributing to the reduction in margin was higher domestic natural gas per manufactured ton which increased 67% in the fourth quarter over the prior year. In the fourth quarter of fiscal 2021, consolidated operating income was $1.7 million compared to $9.1 million in fiscal 2020. Revenue increases and a $4 million, or 24%, reduction in SG&A expenses were partially offset by significantly higher cost of goods sold. Also, impacting the quarterly results comparison was the one-time pre-tax receipt of $13 million resulting from an intellectual property license agreement which occurred in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2020. Last year's results included a legal contingency as well as an accrual which was no longer deemed necessary in fiscal year 2021. In addition, a change in the allocation of expenses from SG&A to cost of goods sold affected quarterly segment operating income in both fiscal years 2021 and 2020 by $755,000 and $2.2 million, respectively. This reclassification did not affect consolidated operating or net income. Fourth quarter consolidated net income attributed to Oil-Dri was $603,000 in fiscal 2021 compared to $5.9 million in fiscal 2020. Product Group ReviewThe Business to Business Products ("B2B") Group's fourth quarter revenues reached a record $30 million, a 13% gain over the prior year. This increase was primarily driven by strong revenue growth from the agricultural and fluid purification businesses. Sales of agricultural products increased by 37% over the prior year, as demand from one of our largest customers rose in the quarter. The B2B Products Group also benefited from a 7% increase in revenues within the fluids purification business. Sales of bleaching clay products were strong in North America and Latin America, while softer revenues were experienced in Europe and Asia. COVID-19 continued to limit our ability to conduct and participate in product tests at edible oil plants, thus resulting in lower than expected sales growth. The ongoing pandemic also negatively impacted our jet fuel business in regions such as Europe and Asia where air travel is still at low levels. Our co-packaging coarse cat litter experienced sales gains of 16% in the fourth quarter compared to the prior year, primarily due to increased pricing. Fourth quarter revenues of animal health products remained flat compared to the same period last year. African Swine Fever and the ongoing pandemic created challenges for the global animal protein production market, including feed additives. Despite this, we achieved sales increases of 66% in China during the fourth quarter compared to the prior year, as well as top line growth in Asia, Latin America, and North America. However, these increases were offset by lower revenues in Mexico, as fiscal 2020 included the sale of animal health related equipment that did not recur this year. Operating income for the B2B Products Group was $3.8 million in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2021 compared to $6.3 million in fiscal 2020. The prior year's results reflect the reallocation of $943,000 between SG&A expenses and cost of goods sold. Higher sales were offset by inflationary headwinds and an 11% increase in SG&A expenses over the previous fourth quarter. These elevated SG&A costs were a result of increased compensation and travel expenses, reflecting investments in our animal health business through additional sales personnel and leadership. The Retail and Wholesale ("R&W") Products Group's fourth quarter revenues were $48 million, a 26% increase over the prior year. This was driven by a 25% increase in domestic cat litter sales due to strong demand for our branded and private label products. We exceeded category sales growth of 12.1% for the 12-week period ended July 17, 2021, according to third-party market research data for retail sales1. Demand for our branded and private label lightweight litter products continued to rise as demonstrated by the 43% increase in fourth quarter sales over the prior year. Our e-commerce business experienced double-digit revenue gains for the fourth quarter compared to the same period last year. As more consumers have broadened their online purchases since the onset of the pandemic, e-commerce retailers have increased their Cat's Pride product offerings, including some of our newly launched products. Revenues from our Canadian subsidiary demonstrated strong top line growth due to higher demand of cat litter and industrial absorbent products. Our domestic industrial and sports products business also contributed to the R&W Products Group's revenue improvement in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2021 with sales increasing 36% over the prior year. This gain can be attributed to the return of pre-pandemic industrial product purchasing levels and the reopening of sports fields across the United States. Operating income for the R&W Products Group was $3.3 million in the fourth quarter of fiscal year 2021 compared to ($825,000) in the prior year. Prior year's results reflect the reallocation of $1.3 million between SG&A expenses and cost of goods sold. SG&A expenses for the fourth quarter of fiscal year 2021 declined by 10% from last year. This was primarily due to a reduction in advertising spending as a result of a shift in timing of our marketing campaign from the fourth quarter of fiscal 2021 to fiscal 2022. We expect advertising costs for the upcoming fiscal 2022 to be higher than fiscal 2021. The Company will host its fourth quarter of fiscal 2021 earnings teleconference on Friday, October 15, 2021 at 10:00 a.m. Central Time. Participation details are available on our website's Events page. 1Based in part on data reported by NielsenIQ through its Scantrack Service for the Cat Litter Category in the 12-week period ended July 17, 2021, for the U.S. xAOC+Pet Supers market. Copyright © 2021 Nielsen. Oil-Dri Corporation of America is a leading manufacturer and supplier of specialty sorbent products for the pet care, animal health and nutrition, fluids purification, agricultural ingredients, sports field, industrial and automotive markets. Oil-Dri is vertically integrated which enables the company to efficiently oversee every step of the process from research and development to supply chain to marketing and sales. With 80 years of experience, the company continues to fulfill its mission to Create Value from Sorbent Minerals. "Oil-Dri" and "Cat's Pride" are registered trademarks of Oil-Dri Corporation of America. Certain statements in this press release may contain forward-looking statements that are based on our current expectations, estimates, forecasts and projections about our future performance, our business, our beliefs, and our management's assumptions. In addition, we, or others on our behalf, may make forward-looking statements in other press releases or written statements, or in our communications and discussions with investors and analysts in the normal course of business through meetings, webcasts, phone calls, and conference calls. Words such as "expect," "outlook," "forecast," "would," "could," "should," "project," "intend," "plan," "continue," "believe," "seek," "estimate," "anticipate," "may," "assume," or variations of such words and similar expressions are intended to identify such forward-looking statements, which are made pursuant to the safe harbor provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Such statements are subject to certain risks, uncertainties and assumptions that could cause actual results to differ materially including, but not limited to, the dependence of our future growth and financial performance on successful new product introductions, intense competition in our markets, volatility of our quarterly results, risks associated with acquisitions, our dependence on a limited number of customers for a large portion of our net sales and other risks, uncertainties and assumptions that are described in Item 1A (Risk Factors) of our most recent Annual Report on Form 10-K and other reports we file with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Should one or more of these or other risks or uncertainties materialize, or should underlying assumptions prove incorrect, our actual results may vary materially from those anticipated, intended, expected, believed, estimated, projected or planned. You are cautioned not to place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements, which speak only as of the date of this press release. Except to the extent required by law, we do not have any intention or obligation to update publicly any forward-looking statements after the distribution of this press release, whether as a result of new information, future events, changes in assumptions, or otherwise. Category: Earnings Contact:Leslie A. GarberManager of Investor RelationsOil-Dri Corporation of 321-1515 CONSOLIDATED STATEMENTS OF INCOME   (in thousands, except per share amounts)   (unaudited)   Fourth Quarter Ended July 31     2021   % of Sales   2020   % of Sales Net Sales   $ 78,129     100.0  %   $ 64,844     100.0  % Cost of Sales (1)   (63,323 )   (81.0 )%   (51,521 )   (79.5 )% Gross Profit   14,806     19.0  %   13,323     20.5  % Other Operating Income (2) —     —  %   13,000     20.0  % Selling, General and Administrative Expenses (1)(3) (13,122 )   (16.8 )%   (17,190 )   (26.5 )% Operating Income 1,684     2.2  %   9,133     14.1  % Interest Expense (180.....»»

Category: earningsSource: benzingaOct 13th, 2021

20 Asian-American food and drink brands to try today, from fiery chili crisp to toasted rice ice cream

The Asian-American experience is reflected uniquely in each of these 20 AAPI-owned food brands, including Bokksu, Copper Cow, and Sanzo. When you buy through our links, Insider may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more. Fila Manila You should add these 20 food and drink brands from Asian American founders to your pantry. They draw upon traditional and cultural backgrounds but may also add new twists and flavors. See also: From Here: Celebrating Asian American and Pacific Heritage As the fastest-growing ethnic group in the country, Asian-Americans have a large influence on what we all consume in culture, from music and film to food and drink. In the realm of food and drink, we've been really excited about Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) founders who are drawing upon their cultural heritage to create new snacks, sauces, delivery services, and beverages that both celebrate where they come from and introduce familiar (to them) flavors to new audiences. These brands often represent an intersection of the traditional and modern and can be found in classic Asian grocery stores and millennial-branded online storefronts alike. Another thing that distinguishes them as a uniquely millennial brand is their commitment to sustainable and ethical values, from paying family farms fair, above-market wages to using natural and organic ingredients. As an Asian-American woman, it's exciting for me to see all the ways fellow members of the AAPI community are shedding light on, celebrating, and innovating upon the amazing foods and drinks that I grew up on - and we hope you're just as excited to eat and drink all of them, too. These are the 20 Asian-American food and drink brands you should try: Omsom Omsom Shop Asian starter kits at Omsom Created by Vanessa and Kim Pham, the daughters of Vietnamese refugees, Omsom celebrates authentic east Asian and southeast Asian flavors through its convenient meal starters. The packets include fully prepared sauces for iconic dishes like Vietnamese Lemongrass BBQ, Korean Spicy Bulgogi, and Filipino Sisig. All you have to do is add the suggested proteins and veggies on the included recipe cards or improv with your own ingredients to create your own delicious meal. Omsom partnered with Asian chefs, like Amelie Kang of Mala Project, on a number of the products, further strengthening ties with the AAPI food community.  Eat this:The Try 'Em All Set (medium)Japanese Yuzu Misoyaki 3-Pack (medium) Bokksu Bokksu Shop Japanese snacks at BokksuAfter Danny Taing lived in Japan for four years and returned to the US, he was disappointed that he couldn't enjoy the same unique snacks found in Japan. It's this passion for Japanese snacks that prompted him to start Bokksu, a monthly subscription box that curates treats and tea from local Japanese businesses. Each month revolves around a different theme and includes a culture guide. You can also shop your favorite individual snacks and groceries on the site, with options like mochi cheese puffs, persimmon candy, and spicy tantan instant ramen. Eat this:Monthly Snack Subscription (medium) Sanzo Sanzo Shop sparkling water at SanzoSeeing and drinking the same seltzer flavors gets old, fast. Sandro Roco wanted to drink sparkling waters with flavors that he and many other Asian-Americans grew up with (read: calamansi, lychee, and alphonso mango) and created Sanzo. The drinks are light, crisp, and refreshing and can be found in stores, a number of Asian restaurants in NYC, and online. In summer of 2021, Sanzo released limited-edition printed cans with characters from Marvel's "Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings" — we're looking forward to cool future collaborations like this. Drink this:Sampler 12-Pack (medium) Fly by Jing Fly by Jing/Instagram Shop Chinese sauces and spices at Fly by Jing Fly by Jing — a name that combines the concept of fly restaurants in Chengdu ("hole-in-the-wall eateries so good they attract people like flies") and founder Jing Gao's name — sells the crunchy, oily, spicy Sichuan chili crisp that everyone on the internet wants to try. And once you do try it, you'll want to put it on everything to give it an extra kick, from fried eggs to sandwiches to congee. The brand has now sold over 1 million jars of sauce and also makes dumpling sauce, mala spice mix, and a hot pot base. Eat this: Sichuan Chili Crisp (medium)Zhong Sauce (medium) Brightland Brightland  Shop oils, vinegar, and honey at BrightlandNot all olive oils are created equal, and when Brightland founder Aishwarya Iyer looked deeper into the industry, she discovered it was rife with lack of production and ingredient transparency. Brightland's olive oils, vinegars, and honey are never made with preservatives or fillers, and you'll know exactly when its ingredients were harvested. The results are pantry staples that taste fresh, bright, and pure. Brightland's beautiful packaging and giftable sets make it even more enticing to use its products every day.  Eat this: The Mini Essentials (medium)The Couplet Honey (medium) Nguyen Coffee Supply Nguyen Coffee Supply/Instagram Shop coffee at Nguyen Coffee SupplyAs the first Vietnamese specialty coffee company in the US, Nguyen Coffee Supply is changing the way we think about specialty coffee. With every cup, founder Sahra Nguyen wants to remind people of the influence of Vietnam on the coffee industry — after all, it is the world's largest producer of robusta beans and second largest producer of all coffee. In addition to a variety of delicious beans, you can get phin filters, which are like a cross between pour over and a French press. Drink this: Vietnamese Coffee Lover's Bundle (medium)Truegrit Coffee (medium) Partake Foods Partake Foods Shop allergen-free snacks at Partake FoodsBuying food when you suffer from major food allergies can feel like navigating a minefield. Partake Foods, founded by Black and Korean entrepreneur Denise Woodard, lets people snack on cookies, brownies, and pizza without worrying about the risks to their health. Though they're free from the top eight allergens (peanuts, tree nuts, eggs, wheat, milk, soy, fish, shellfish), they still taste delicious. Partake is the first food startup led by a woman of color to raise over $1 million in funding and is continuing to expand its product offerings and footprint in physical retail stores. Eat this: Crunchy Cookie Variety Pack (medium)Pizza Crust Baking Mix (medium) Diaspora Co. Diaspora Co./Instagram Shop spices at Diaspora CoIf you want fresh single-origin spices, look no further than Diaspora Co, founded by Sana Javeri Kadri. The company launched in 2017 with one spice, Pragati Turmeric, and now sources 30 single-origin spices — including cinnamon, coriander, two types of cardamom, saffron, and kashmiri chili — from 150 farms in India and Sri Lanka. To keep your spices fresh and organized, you'll also want to pick up a masala dabba, a spice box filled with katoris (small bowls). At Diaspora Co, when you build your own masala dabba, you also get access to a quarterly virtual cooking club where you can learn how to make the most of your spices. Eat this:Build Your Own Masala Dabba (medium)Spice Spoon (medium) Umamicart Umamicart/Instagram Shop Asian groceries at UmamicartUmamicart is an online grocer designed with the Asian-American experience in mind by carrying traditional foods and brands that immigrants and their children ate as well as new brands created by Asian-American founders. Founder Andrea Xu, born in Spain to Chinese parents, wanted to build a site that reflected the unique evolving identities of Asian Americans and gave them a convenient, user-friendly place to shop all their favorite foods. At Umamicart, you can shop longan and Korean pears alongside Yakult drinks, Calbee chips, and some of the very brands mentioned in this article. There's free shipping on orders over $49. Eat this:Gochujang Shrimp Crackers (medium)Wonton Wrappers (medium) Brooklyn Delhi Brooklyn Delhi Shop condiments and sauces at Brooklyn DelhiWhenever she came back from visiting family in India, chef and cookbook author Chitra Agrawal always filled her suitcase with achaar, a sweet, sour, and spicy condiment also known as Indian pickle. Unsatisfied with the achaar sold in the US, she began making her own and now sells a variety of achaar at Brooklyn Delhi. It goes great with traditional pairings like rice, daal, and curry, as well as eggs, sandwiches, and pasta. You can also buy various simmer sauces (coconut cashew korma, tomato curry) and hot sauces, all of which are handcrafted in small batches right in NYC. Eat this: Roasted Garlic Achaar (medium)Curry Ketchup (medium) Fila Manila Fila Manila Shop simmer sauces from Fila ManilaThough Filipino Americans are the country's second-largest Asian ancestry group, Filipino food and flavors are still underrepresented in grocery store aisles. Jake Deleon, founder of Fila Manila (a spin on "FilAm," which is short for Filipino American), said "we want to show you the world of Filipino cuisine" in an interview with Food Business News and is starting off with three versatile and flavorful simmer sauces: adobo (tamari soy and garlic), kare kare (peanut), and caldereta (tomato). Expect snacks, desserts, and prepared meals down the line to add even more variety to your pantry. Eat this:Variety Pack (medium) Lunar Lunar/Instagram Shop hard seltzer at LunarSanzo's party counterpart is Lunar, a craft hard seltzer inspired by a night out with founders Sean Ro and Kevin Wong. When the only drink options alongside their late night Korean fried chicken were Heineken and Budweiser, they began brewing ideas for a new generation of Asian alcohol and flavor-testing in their own kitchens. Its flavor lineup currently comprises yuzu, lychee, Korean plum, and makrut lime. But, it's the limited-edition flavors like tamarind rice paddy herb and pineapple cake are where the brand really shines. Drink this: Variety 12-Pack (medium) Copper Cow Coffee Copper Cow Coffee Shop portable pourover coffee packs at Copper Cow CoffeeDebbie Wei Mullin's Vietnamese coffee comes in a highly portable and convenient form: just hang the pre-filled coffee filter over your mug, pour in boiling water, and add as much of the included creamer packet to your liking. In addition to black and classic lattes, the brand offers creative flavors like churro and lavender, blending Mullin's Vietnamese heritage with her Californian upbringing. Copper Cow works directly with farmers in Vietnam, paying them twice the market rate for the flavorful coffee you enjoy every morning. Drink this: Classic Latte Pack (medium)Best Brews Latte Sampler Pack (medium) Dang Foods Dang Foods/Instagram Shop snacks at Dang FoodsDang is named after the mother of Thai-American brothers and founders Vincent and Andrew Kitirattragarn. She's the one who taught them how to make the signature crunchy, slightly sweet coconut chips that we all love snacking on. Dang, a certified B Corp that works directly with family farms in Thailand, has since expanded its delicious, 100% plant-based and non-GMO snack portfolio to include rice cakes (with mouthwatering flavors like toasted sesame, sriracha spice, and aged cheddar) and low carb snack bars. Eat this:Original Coconut Chips (12-count) (medium)Sriracha Thai Rice Chips (12-count) (medium) Noona's Ice Cream Noona’s Ice Cream/Instagram Shop ice cream at Noona's Ice CreamNoona, an ice cream brand whose name means "big sister" in Korean, is the brainchild of pastry chef Hannah Bae. In 2016, her toasted rice flavor won the annual ice cream contest at an NYC street fair, inspiring her to make more flavors using Asian ingredients. In addition to formulating original flavors like golden sesame, turmeric honeycomb, and toasty mochi, Noona collaborates with artists and influencers like singer Japanese Breakfast to make fun ice creams like persimmon jubilee. The brand is also thoughtful about sourcing, working with collective farms to get hormone- and antibiotic-free dairy, and using only whole foods and non-GMO ingredients in all its products.Eat this:Vegan Black Sesame Ice Cream (medium)Toasted Rice Ice Cream (medium) Us Two Tea Us Two Tea Shop tea at Us Two TeaTea, central to many Asian cultures, has always provided an opportunity to gather with friends and family. Us Two Tea, founded by Maggie Xue, specializes in Taiwanese tea and works directly with family-owned farms. Through Us Two, you can expand your horizons past black and jasmine tea and try Baozhong tea and oolong tea in both non-toxic and biodegradable tea sachet or loose leaf varieties. You'll also receive education about how best to enjoy your tea and what kinds of food to pair it with. Drink this:Loose Leaf Tea Set (medium)Baozhong Tea (medium) Makku Makku/Instagram Shop makgeolli at MakkuKorea's oldest drink makgeolli dates all the way back to the 10th century and is still enjoyed today for its smooth, slightly sweet, slightly tart taste. Bringing together her background at ZX Ventures, the innovation and investment group for Anheuser-Busch InBev, and her own love for makgeolli, founder Carol Pak thought it was the perfect time to introduce the Korean beer to American consumers. Makku comes in cans in a variety of flavors that you can enjoy by itself or as part of a cocktail. Drink this:Variety Pack (16-pack) (medium)Lychee (16-pack) (medium) Tea Drops Tea Drops/Instagram Shop tea at Tea DropsThe tea from Tea Drops, founded by Sashee Chandran, immediately stands out from all the other tea you've had because it's neither bagged nor loose leaf — instead, it's made from ground-up organic tea leaves that are packed into fun shapes like hearts and flowers. Add boiling water and the drop dissolves to give you a hot cup of delicious tea. All the tea is kosher-certified and the brand supports fair trade, organic harvesting practices, and female-driven supply chains. And, for every box sold, Tea Drops donates a year's supply of clean water through The Thirst Project. Drink this:Ultimate Tea Sampler (medium)Thai Tea Kit (medium) Mama O's Mama O's/Instagram Shop kimchi at Mama O'sAs with many entrepreneurial ventures, Mama O's, a kimchi brand created by Kheedim Oh, was never intended to be a brand. Oh simply wanted kimchi that tasted as good as his mom's and none of the Asian stores near him could satisfy him. The kimchi that his mom taught him how to make was such a hit among friends and strangers that he eventually launched Mama O's, which today sells kimchi, kimchi paste, "kimchili," and kimchi kits. There's even a vegan variety. Eat this: Super Spicy Kimchi Paste (medium)Premium Homemade Kimchi Kit (medium) Kasama Kasama Shop rum at KasamaRum is often associated with the Caribbean but the Philippines is also one of the top rum producers in the world. Alexandra Dorda is the Polish-Filipino founder behind the small-batch rum Kasama, which means "together" in Tagalog. Aged in American oak barrels, the classic spirit tastes like pineapple with a hint of vanilla and sea salt. Kasama's site also has plenty of creative Filipino-inspired cocktail recipes, from the Pandan Pleaser to the Pinay Colada. Drink this:Rum (medium) Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: dealsSource: nytOct 8th, 2021

Labor Strikes Target Big Food As Workers Seize On Industry Turmoil

Labor Strikes Target Big Food As Workers Seize On Industry Turmoil By Chris Casey of Food Dive, At food plants around the country this year, workers have been making themselves heard about the state of wages, working hours and conditions. Just this week, roughly 1,400 Kellogg workers at ready-to-eat cereal plants in four states — Michigan, Pennsylvania, Nebraska and Tennessee — went on strike after their contract expired. In a statement, the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers International Union (BCTGM) said its goal is to "obtain a fair contract that provides a living wage and good benefits." Anthony Shelton, BCTGM's president, said Kellogg workers "have been working long, hard hours, day in and day out, to produce Kellogg ready-to-eat cereals for American families" but that the company has responded by cutting benefits and threatening to send jobs to Mexico if employees don't accept the company's proposals. "Kellogg is making these demands as they rake in record profits, without regard for the well-being of the hardworking men and women who make the products that have created the company’s massive profits," Shelton said in a statement.  Just a couple weeks earlier, more than a thousand workers returned to their jobs at Mondelēz Nabisco factories in five states after a walkout that lasted nearly six weeks. It also was led by BCTGM. The workers were protesting what they considered unfair changes in overtime rules and shift lengths. This came a few months after hundreds of Frito-Lay employees in Topeka, Kansas, were on strike in July for 19 days, demanding better hours and higher pay. That same month, dozens of Teamster truck drivers gathered to strike against Coca-Cola in West Virginia, rejecting a contract that would reportedly have made them pay more for health insurance and give them less commission. Some of these strikes, including those at Mondelēz and Frito-Lay plants, have reached their conclusion after the manufacturers came to terms with workers and their unions. And some, like the strike affecting Kellogg plants, are only ratcheting up. The turmoil reflects a unique set of conditions — a labor shortage, growing demand and supply chain disruptions in the midst of a pandemic — that has given labor unions extra leverage, and food manufacturers a greater incentive to meet their demands.  CPGs are currently hobbled by a massive labor shortage. There are now 4.9 million more people who are either not working or not looking for work compared to pre-pandemic times, The Washington Post recently reported. At the same time, demand for food has skyrocketed, rising 8.7% in the second quarter of this year alone, as people spend more time at home, the Consumer Brands Association reported. This has left CPG manufacturers scrambling to increase production with fewer workers and a shaky, fragile supply chain — all while dealing with continued uncertainty over the outlook for COVID-19. The leverage that workers and labor advocates currently enjoy is a recent change in fortunes. The power of unions, specifically in the food manufacturing sector, had deteriorated during the past four decades as companies avoided meeting worker demands by moving many jobs overseas, according to Bryant Simon, labor scholar and history professor at Temple University. But the COVID crisis, Simon believes, has provided a unique opportunity for American factory workers to reassess their pivotal role in the food industry. "Workers are like, ‘Look, I’m not going to work on these terms anymore, and you’ve given me a chance to explore some other options,' " Simon said. Uncertain outcomes The Mondelēz strike demonstrates how all of these factors can come into play. The dispute began in May when workers were offered a new contract that would increase hourly shifts from eight hours to 12, without additional overtime pay for the first five days of the week. A Mondelēz spokesperson told CBS News at the time that the changes were intended to “promote the right behaviors” among workers.  Meanwhile, some Mondelēz employees at its Chicago factory told The New York Times they had worked 16-hour shifts during the pandemic to keep up with the increased demand for the snack giant’s most popular products, such as Oreos. Workers were also worried that their jobs would be sent to Mexico, similiar to what happened in 2016, when Mondelēz cut nearly 1,000 jobs at plants in Chicago and Philadelphia.  Mondelēz International spokesperson Laurie Guzzinati told Food Dive in August that the contract negotiations were “not about'' moving jobs to Mexico and that the company was committed to keeping its U.S workforce.  Workers in Portland, Ore., launched the first walkout on Aug. 10, with signs reading “No contract, no snacks,” “Weekends are family time” and “Spit out that Oreo” populating the picket line. As the strikes spread to other states — Illinois, Virginia, Colorado and Georgia — they quickly made national headlines. Actor Danny DeVito and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders came out in support of the workers.  The snacks giant told Food Dive that it began negotiating with the union “as soon as the action took place in Portland.” In its last quarterly earnings call on Sept. 9, Mondelēz’s CEO Dirk Van De Put said that after the company requested contract changes to increase capacity at its plants as well as product inventory, it “foresaw that it would not be an easy conversation." He said Mondelēz was making a new offer to the union, which included increased wages, a higher 401(k) match and more flexible hours. The company was not willing to reinstate its pension plan.  The new terms sealed the deal. In a statement after its members voted to approve the new four-year contract, BCTGM said that they "made enormous sacrifices" to reach a deal "that preserves our Union’s high standards for wages, hours and benefits for current and future Nabisco workers." BCTGM did not respond to multiple requests for comment by Food Dive. The Kellogg strikes, meanwhile, may not be coming to a quick, amicable conclusion any time soon. BCTGM called for a strike a month after Kellogg announced plans to invest $45 million in restructuring its ready-to-eat cereal supply chain, which includes cutting more than 200 jobs at its Battle Creek factory. The company said it is shifting production to more efficient production lines, even as it struggled with shortages of factory line workers and truck drivers at many of its plants. BCTGM representatives said last week that Kellogg did not provide workers with a “comprehensive offer” during contract negotiations like it had stated. In a statement to Food Dive, Kellogg spokesperson Kris Bahner said the company is "disappointed by the union’s decision to strike," and that its proposed new contract provides wage and benefits increases "while helping us meet the challenges of the changing cereal business." Bahner said the company hopes to reach an agreement with the union soon.  Raising the stakes of negotiations even further: Kellogg filed a lawsuit on Tuesday against BCTGM in the U.S. District Court of Nebraska, saying that it "seeks to recover damages for ongoing breaches of a labor agreement." The cereal giant said the union's "improper actions" have the intention of inflicting “significant economic harm” to the company before a contract agreement is able to be met. What’s next for labor Despite this test of wills between labor and food manufacturers, the “ultimate leverage” for workers in 2021 is their ability to create negative publicity for their parent company through strikes to make them appear “union-busting” in hopes of spurring a consumer boycott of their products, said Erik Loomis, a labor expert and University of Rhode Island professor. Loomis said this can bring about more immediate benefits to unions compared to legal frameworks, which are often not on the side of workers and could take months or years to result in better contracts. The use of social media to spread organization efforts and make the public aware of working conditions makes today’s strikes different to those of the past, according to Simon with Temple University. In the case of Mondelēz, calls for a boycott of Nabisco snacks like Oreos and Wheat Thins gained traction on social media during the strikes, with users uploading photos of shelves stocked with unsold Oreos and Chips Ahoy! cookies at grocery stores. However, relying on public support to dictate change has its drawbacks. Simon said wage increases for food manufacturing workers is a larger “ideological hurdle” because many consumers ultimately may not be willing to pay more for food products to support higher wages. This is despite the fact that the annual mean salary of a food factory employee is under $33,000, significantly lower than the roughly $56,000 national average for all jobs, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics data. Food prices have also been rising during the pandemic as manufacturers pass along higher costs for ingredients, manufacturing, packaging and transportation.  Loomis expects strikes to continue due to the supply chain crisis, and as workers see more examples of successful organizing taking place. Meanwhile, under the Biden administration, the political climate is also friendlier to unions. The PRO Act (Protecting the Right to Organize), which passed Congress in March with five Republicans joining, is supported by The White House. One of its biggest elements — monetary punishments for companies that infringe on workers’ union-based rights — was added as part of the budget reconciliation bill package currently being debated in the Senate. “You’re going to see more strikes within the legal sense,” Loomis said. “Even outside of that, workers will take matters into their own hands when they feel it is necessary to do so." Tyler Durden Thu, 10/07/2021 - 18:15.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeOct 7th, 2021

Camber Energy: What If They Made a Whole Company Out of Red Flags? – Kerrisdale

Kerrisdale Capital is short shares of Camber Energy Inc (NYSEAMERICAN:CEI). Camber is a defunct oil producer that has failed to file financial statements with the SEC since September 2020, is in danger of having its stock delisted next month, and just fired its accounting firm in September. Its only real asset is a 73% stake […] Kerrisdale Capital is short shares of Camber Energy Inc (NYSEAMERICAN:CEI). Camber is a defunct oil producer that has failed to file financial statements with the SEC since September 2020, is in danger of having its stock delisted next month, and just fired its accounting firm in September. Its only real asset is a 73% stake in Viking Energy Group Inc (OTCMKTS:VKIN), an OTC-traded company with negative book value and a going-concern warning that recently violated the maximum-leverage covenant on one of its loans. (For a time, it also had a fake CFO – long story.) Nonetheless, Camber’s stock price has increased by 6x over the past month; last week, astonishingly, an average of $1.9 billion worth of Camber shares changed hands every day. if (typeof jQuery == 'undefined') { document.write(''); } .first{clear:both;margin-left:0}.one-third{width:31.034482758621%;float:left;margin-left:3.448275862069%}.two-thirds{width:65.51724137931%;float:left}form.ebook-styles .af-element input{border:0;border-radius:0;padding:8px}form.ebook-styles .af-element{width:220px;float:left}form.ebook-styles .af-element.buttonContainer{width:115px;float:left;margin-left: 6px;}form.ebook-styles .af-element.buttonContainer input.submit{width:115px;padding:10px 6px 8px;text-transform:uppercase;border-radius:0;border:0;font-size:15px}form.ebook-styles input.submit{width:115px}form.ebook-styles .af-element.privacyPolicy{width:100%;font-size:12px;margin:10px auto 0}form.ebook-styles .af-element.privacyPolicy p{font-size:11px;margin-bottom:0}form.ebook-styles .af-body input.text{height:40px;padding:2px 10px !important} form.ebook-styles .error, form.ebook-styles #error { color:#d00; } form.ebook-styles .formfields h1, form.ebook-styles .formfields #mg-logo, form.ebook-styles .formfields #mg-footer { display: none; } form.ebook-styles .formfields { font-size: 12px; } form.ebook-styles .formfields p { margin: 4px 0; } Get The Full Henry Singleton Series in PDF Get the entire 4-part series on Henry Singleton in PDF. Save it to your desktop, read it on your tablet, or email to your colleagues (function($) {window.fnames = new Array(); window.ftypes = new Array();fnames[0]='EMAIL';ftypes[0]='email';}(jQuery));var $mcj = jQuery.noConflict(true); Q2 2021 hedge fund letters, conferences and more Is there any logic to this bizarre frenzy? Camber pumpers have seized upon the notion that the company is now a play on carbon capture and clean energy, citing a license agreement recently entered into by Viking. But the “ESG Clean Energy” technology license is a joke. Not only is it tiny relative to Camber’s market cap (costing only $5 million and granting exclusivity only in Canada), but it has embroiled Camber in the long-running escapades of a western Massachusetts family that once claimed to have created a revolutionary new combustion engine, only to wind up being penalized by the SEC for raising $80 million in unregistered securities offerings, often to unaccredited investors, and spending much of it on themselves. But the most fascinating part of the CEI boondoggle actually has to do with something far more basic: how many shares are there, and why has dilution been spiraling out of control? We believe the market is badly mistaken about Camber’s share count and ignorant of its terrifying capital structure. In fact, we estimate its fully diluted share count is roughly triple the widely reported number, bringing its true, fully diluted market cap, absurdly, to nearly $900 million. Since Camber is delinquent on its financials, investors have failed to fully appreciate the impact of its ongoing issuance of an unusual, highly dilutive class of convertible preferred stock. As a result of this “death spiral” preferred, Camber has already seen its share count increase 50- million-fold from early 2016 to July 2021 – and we believe it isn’t over yet, as preferred holders can and will continue to convert their securities and sell the resulting common shares. Even at the much lower valuation that investors incorrectly think Camber trades for, it’s still overvalued. The core Viking assets are low-quality and dangerously levered, while any near- term benefits from higher commodity prices will be muted by hedges established in 2020. The recent clean-energy license is nearly worthless. It’s ridiculous to have to say this, but Camber isn’t worth $900 million. If it looks like a penny stock, and it acts like a penny stock, it is a penny stock. Camber has been a penny stock before – no more than a month ago, in fact – and we expect that it will be once again. Company Background Founded in 2004, Camber was originally called Lucas Energy Resources. It went public via a reverse merger in 2006 with the plan of “capitaliz[ing] on the increasing availability of opportunistic acquisitions in the energy sector.”1 But after years of bad investments and a nearly 100% decline in its stock price, the company, which renamed itself Camber in 2017, found itself with little economic value left; faced with the prospect of losing its NYSE American listing, it cast about for new acquisitions beginning in early 2019. That’s when Viking entered the picture. Jim Miller, a member of Camber’s board, had served on the board of a micro-cap company called Guardian 8 that was working on “a proprietary new class of enhanced non-lethal weapons”; Guardian 8’s CEO, Steve Cochennet, happened to also be part owner of a Kansas-based company that operated some of Viking’s oil and gas assets and knew that Viking, whose shares traded over the counter, was interested in moving up to a national exchange.2 (In case you’re wondering, under Miller and Cochennet’s watch, Guardian 8’s stock saw its price drop to ~$0; it was delisted in 2019.3) Viking itself also had a checkered past. Previously a shell company, it was repurposed by a corporate lawyer and investment banker named Tom Simeo to create SinoCubate, “an incubator of and investor in privately held companies mainly in P.R. China.” But this business model went nowhere. In 2012, SinoCubate changed its name to Viking Investments but continued to achieve little. In 2014, Simeo brought in James A. Doris, a Canadian lawyer, as a member of the board of directors and then as president and CEO, tasked with executing on Viking’s new strategy of “acquir[ing] income-producing assets throughout North America in various sectors, including energy and real estate.” In a series of transactions, Doris gradually built up a portfolio of oil wells and other energy assets in the United States, relying on large amounts of high-cost debt to get deals done. But Viking has never achieved consistent GAAP profitability; indeed, under Doris’s leadership, from 2015 to the first half of 2021, Viking’s cumulative net income has totaled negative $105 million, and its financial statements warn of “substantial doubt regarding the Company’s ability to continue as a going concern.”4 At first, despite the Guardian 8 crew’s match-making, Camber showed little interest in Viking and pursued another acquisition instead. But, when that deal fell apart, Camber re-engaged with Viking and, in February 2020, announced an all-stock acquisition – effectively a reverse merger in which Viking would end up as the surviving company but transfer some value to incumbent Camber shareholders in exchange for the national listing. For reasons that remain somewhat unclear, this original deal structure was beset with delays, and in December 2020 (after months of insisting that deal closing was just around the corner) Camber announced that it would instead directly purchase a 51% stake in Viking; at the same time, Doris, Viking’s CEO, officially took over Camber as well. Subsequent transactions through July 2021 have brough Camber’s Viking stake up to 69.9 million shares (73% of Viking’s total common shares), in exchange for consideration in the form of a mixture of cash, debt forgiveness,5 and debt assumption, valued in the aggregate by Viking at only $50.7 million: Camber and Viking announced a new merger agreement in February 2021, aiming to take out the remaining Viking shares not owned by Camber and thus fully combine the two companies, but that plan is on hold because Camber has failed to file its last 10-K (as well as two subsequent 10-Qs) and is thus in danger of being delisted unless it catches up by November. Today, then, Camber’s absurd equity valuation rests entirely on its majority stake in a small, unprofitable oil-and-gas roll-up cobbled together by a Canadian lawyer. An Opaque Capital Structure Has Concealed the True Insanity of Camber’s Valuation What actually is Camber’s equity valuation? It sounds like a simple question, and sources like Bloomberg and Yahoo Finance supply what looks like a simple answer: 104.2 million shares outstanding times a $3.09 closing price (as of October 4, 2021) equals a market cap of $322 million – absurd enough, given what Camber owns. But these figures only tell part of the story. We estimate that the correct fully diluted market cap is actually a staggering $882 million, including the impact of both Camber’s unusual, highly dilutive Series C convertible preferred stock and its convertible debt. Because Camber is delinquent on its SEC filings, it’s difficult to assemble an up-to-date picture of its balance sheet and capital structure. The widely used 104.2-million-share figure comes from an 8-K filed in July that states, in part: As of July 9, 2021, the Company had 104,195,295 shares of common stock issued and outstanding. The increase in our outstanding shares of common stock from the date of the Company’s February 23, 2021 increase in authorized shares of common stock (from 25 million shares to 250 million shares), is primarily due to conversions of shares of Series C Preferred Stock of the Company into common stock, and conversion premiums due thereon, which are payable in shares of common stock. This bland language belies the stunning magnitude of the dilution that has already taken place. Indeed, we estimate that, of the 104.2 million common shares outstanding on July 9th, 99.7% were created via the conversion of Series C preferred in the past few years – and there’s more where that came from. The terms of Camber’s preferreds are complex but boil down to the following: they accrue non- cash dividends at the sky-high rate of 24.95% per year for a notional seven years but can be converted into common shares at any time. The face value of the preferred shares converts into common shares at a fixed conversion price of $162.50 per share, far higher than the current trading price – so far, so good (from a Camber-shareholder perspective). The problem is the additional “conversion premium,” which is equal to the full seven years’ worth of dividends, or 7 x 24.95% ≈ 175% of face value, all at once, and is converted at a far lower conversion price that “will never be above approximately $0.3985 per share…regardless of the actual trading price of Camber’s common stock” (but could in principle go lower if the price crashes to new lows).6 The upshot of all this is that one share of Series C preferred is now convertible into ~43,885 shares of common stock.7 Historically, all of Camber’s Series C preferred was held by one investor: Discover Growth Fund. The terms of the preferred agreement cap Discover’s ownership of Camber’s common shares at 9.99% of the total, but nothing stops Discover from converting preferred into common up to that cap, selling off the resulting shares, converting additional preferred shares into common up to the cap, selling those common shares, etc., as Camber has stated explicitly (and as Discover has in fact done over the years) (emphasis added): Although Discover may not receive shares of common stock exceeding 9.99% of its outstanding shares of common stock immediately after affecting such conversion, this restriction does not prevent Discover from receiving shares up to the 9.99% limit, selling those shares, and then receiving the rest of the shares it is due, in one or more tranches, while still staying below the 9.99% limit. If Discover chooses to do this, it will cause substantial dilution to the then holders of its common stock. Additionally, the continued sale of shares issuable upon successive conversions will likely create significant downward pressure on the price of its common stock as Discover sells material amounts of Camber’s common stock over time and/or in a short period of time. This could place further downward pressure on the price of its common stock and in turn result in Discover receiving an ever increasing number of additional shares of common stock upon conversion of its securities, and adjustments thereof, which in turn will likely lead to further dilution, reductions in the exercise/conversion price of Discover’s securities and even more downward pressure on its common stock, which could lead to its common stock becoming devalued or worthless.8 In 2017, soon after Discover began to convert some of its first preferred shares, Camber’s then- management claimed to be shocked by the results and sued Discover for fraud, arguing that “[t]he catastrophic effect of the Discover Documents [i.e. the terms of the preferred] is so devastating that the Discover Documents are prima facie unconscionable” because “they will permit Discover to strip Camber of its value and business well beyond the simple repayment of its debt.” Camber called the documents “extremely difficult to understand” and insisted that they “were drafted in such a way as to obscure the true terms of such documents and the total number of shares of common stock that could be issuable by Camber thereunder. … Only after signing the documents did Camber and [its then CEO]…learn that Discover’s reading of the Discover Documents was that the terms that applied were the strictest and most Camber unfriendly interpretation possible.”9 But the judge wasn’t impressed, suggesting that it was Camber’s own fault for failing to read the fine print, and the case was dismissed. With no better options, Camber then repeatedly came crawling back to Discover for additional tranches of funding via preferred sales. While the recent spike in common share count to 104.2 million as of early July includes some of the impact of ongoing preferred conversion, we believe it fails to include all of it. In addition to Discover’s 2,093 shares of Series C preferred held as of February 2021, Camber issued additional shares to EMC Capital Partners, a creditor of Viking’s, as part of a January agreement to reduce Viking’s debt.10 Then, in July, Camber issued another block of preferred shares – also to Discover, we believe – to help fund Viking’s recent deals.11 We speculate that many of these preferred shares have already been converted into common shares that have subsequently been sold into a frenzied retail bid. Beyond the Series C preferred, there is one additional source of potential dilution: debt issued to Discover in three transactions from December 2020 to April 2021, totaling $20.5 million in face value, and amended in July to be convertible at a fixed price of $1.25 per share.12 We summarize our estimates of all of these sources of potential common share issuance below: Might we be wrong about this math? Absolutely – the mechanics of the Series C preferreds are so convoluted that prior Camber management sued Discover complaining that the legal documents governing them “were drafted in such a way as to obscure the true terms of such documents and the total number of shares of common stock that could be issuable by Camber thereunder.” Camber management could easily set the record straight by revealing the most up- to-date share count via an SEC filing, along with any additional clarifications about the expected future share count upon conversion of all outstanding convertible securities. But we're confident that the current share count reported in financial databases like Bloomberg and Yahoo Finance significantly understates the true, fully diluted figure. An additional indication that Camber expects massive future dilution relates to the total authorized shares of common stock under its official articles of incorporation. It was only a few months ago, in February, that Camber had to hold a special shareholder meeting to increase its maximum authorized share count from 25 million to 250 million in order to accommodate all the shares to be issued because of preferred conversions. But under Camber’s July agreement to sell additional preferred shares to Discover, the company (emphasis added) agreed to include proposals relating to the approval of the July 2021 Purchase Agreement and the issuance of the shares of common stock upon conversion of the Series C Preferred Stock sold pursuant to the July 2021 Purchase Agreement, as well as an increase in authorized common stock to fulfill our obligations to issue such shares, at the Company’s next Annual Meeting, the meeting held to approve the Merger or a separate meeting in the event the Merger is terminated prior to shareholder approval, and to use commercially reasonable best efforts to obtain such approvals as soon as possible and in any event prior to January 1, 2022.13 In other words, Camber can already see that 250 million shares will soon not be enough, consistent with our estimate of ~285 million fully diluted shares above. In sum, Camber’s true overvaluation is dramatically worse than it initially appears because of the massive number of common shares that its preferred and other securities can convert into, leading to a fully diluted share count that is nearly triple the figure found in standard information sources used by investors. This enormous latent dilution, impossible to discern without combing through numerous scattered filings made by a company with no up-to-date financial statements in the public domain, means that the market is – perhaps out of ignorance – attributing close to one billion dollars of value to a very weak business. Camber’s Stake in Viking Has Little Real Value In light of Camber’s gargantuan valuation, it’s worth dwelling on some basic facts about its sole meaningful asset, a 73% stake in Viking Energy. As of 6/30/21: Viking had negative $15 million in shareholder equity/book Its financial statements noted “substantial doubt regarding the Company’s ability to continue as a going ” Of its $101.3 million in outstanding debt (at face value), nearly half (48%) was scheduled to mature and come due over the following 12 months. Viking noted that it “does not currently maintain controls and procedures that are designed to ensure that information required to be disclosed by the Company in the reports it files or submits under the Exchange Act are recorded, processed, summarized, and reported within the time periods specified by the Commission’s rules and forms.” Viking’s CEO “has concluded that these [disclosure] controls and procedures are not effective in providing reasonable assurance of compliance.” Viking disclosed that a key subsidiary, Elysium Energy, was “in default of the maximum leverage ratio covenant under the term loan agreement at June 30, 2021”; this covenant caps the entity’s total secured debt to EBITDA at 75 to 1.14 This is hardly a healthy operation. Indeed, even according to Viking’s own black-box estimates, the present value of its total proved reserves of oil and gas, using a 10% discount rate (likely generous given the company’s high debt costs), was $120 million as of 12/31/20,15 while its outstanding debt, as stated above, is $101 million – perhaps implying a sliver of residual economic value to equity holders, but not much. And while some market observers have recently gotten excited about how increases in commodity prices could benefit Camber/Viking, any near-term impact will be blunted by hedges put on by Viking in early 2020, which cover, with respect to its Elysium properties, “60% of the estimated production for 2021 and 50% of the estimated production for the period between January, 2022 to July, 2022. Theses hedges have a floor of $45 and a ceiling ranging from $52.70 to $56.00 for oil, and a floor of $2.00 and a ceiling of $2.425 for natural gas” – cutting into the benefit of any price spikes above those ceiling levels.16 Sharing our dreary view of Viking’s prospects is one of Viking’s own financial advisors, a firm called Scalar, LLC, that Viking hired to prepare a fairness opinion under the original all-stock merger agreement with Camber. Combining Viking’s own internal projections with data on comparable-company valuation multiples, Scalar concluded in October 2020 that Viking’s equity was worth somewhere between $0 and $20 million, depending on the methodology used, with the “purest” methodology – a true, full-blown DCF – yielding the lowest estimate of $0-1 million: Camber’s advisor, Mercer Capital, came to a similar conclusion: its “analysis indicated an implied equity value of Viking of $0 to $34.3 million.”17 It’s inconceivable that a majority stake in this company, deemed potentially worthless by multiple experts and clearly experiencing financial strains, could somehow justify a near-billion-dollar valuation. Instead of dwelling on the unpleasant realities of Viking’s oil and gas business, Camber has drawn investor attention to two recent transactions conducted by Viking with Camber funding: a license agreement with “ESG Clean Energy,” discussed in further detail below, and the acquisition of a 60.3% stake in Simson-Maxwell, described as “a leading manufacturer and supplier of industrial engines, power generation products, services and custom energy solutions.” But Viking paid just $8 million for its Simson-Maxwell shares,18 and the company has just 125 employees; it defies belief to think that this purchase was such a bargain as to make a material dent in Camber’s overvaluation. And what does Simson-Maxwell actually do? One of its key officers, Daryl Kruper (identified as its chairman in Camber’s press release), describes the company a bit less grandly and more concretely on his LinkedIn page: Simson Maxwell is a power systems specialist. The company assembles and sells generator sets, industrial engines, power control systems and switchgear. Simson Maxwell has service and parts facilities in Edmonton, Calgary, Prince George, Vancouver, Nanaimo and Terrace. The company has provided its western Canadian customers with exceptional service for over 70 years. In other words, Simson-Maxwell acts as a sort of distributor/consultant, packaging industrial- strength generators and engines manufactured by companies like GE and Mitsubishi into systems that can provide electrical power, often in remote areas in western Canada; Simson- Maxwell employees then drive around in vans maintaining and repairing these systems. There’s nothing obviously wrong with this business, but it’s small, regional (not just Canada – western Canada specifically), likely driven by an unpredictable flow of new large projects, and unlikely to garner a high standalone valuation. Indeed, buried in one of Viking’s agreements with Simson- Maxwell’s selling shareholders (see p. 23) are clauses giving Viking the right to purchase the rest of the company between July 2024 and July 2026 at a price of at least 8x trailing EBITDA and giving the selling shareholders the right to sell the rest of their shares during the same time frame at a price of at least 7x trailing EBITDA – the kind of multiples associated with sleepy industrial distributors, not fast-growing retail darlings. Since Simon-Maxwell has nothing to do with Viking’s pre-existing assets or (alleged) expertise in oil and gas, and Viking and Camber are hardly flush with cash, why did they make the purchase? We speculate that management is concerned about the combined company’s ability to maintain its listing on the NYSE American. For example, when describing its restruck merger agreement with Viking, Camber noted: Additional closing conditions to the Merger include that in the event the NYSE American determines that the Merger constitutes, or will constitute, a “back-door listing”/“reverse merger”, Camber (and its common stock) is required to qualify for initial listing on the NYSE American, pursuant to the applicable guidance and requirements of the NYSE as of the Effective Time. What does it take to qualify for initial listing on the NYSE American? There are several ways, but three require at least $4 million of positive stockholders’ equity, which Viking, the intended surviving company, doesn’t have today; another requires a market cap of greater than $75 million, which management might (quite reasonably) be concerned about achieving sustainably. That leaves a standard that requires a listed company to have $75 million in assets and revenue. With Viking running at only ~$40 million of annualized revenue, we believe management is attempting to buy up more via acquisition. In fact, if the goal is simply to “buy” GAAP revenue, the most efficient way to do it is by acquiring a stake in a low-margin, slow- growing business – little earnings power, hence a low purchase price, but plenty of revenue. And by buying a majority stake instead of the whole thing, the acquirer can further reduce the capital outlay while still being able to consolidate all of the operation’s revenue under GAAP accounting. Buying 60.3% of Simson-Maxwell seems to fit the bill, but it’s a placeholder, not a real value-creator. Camber’s Partners in the Laughable “ESG Clean Energy” Deal Have a Long History of Broken Promises and Alleged Securities Fraud The “catalyst” most commonly cited by Camber Energy bulls for the recent massive increase in the company’s stock price is an August 24th press release, “Camber Energy Secures Exclusive IP License for Patented Carbon-Capture System,” announcing that the company, via Viking, “entered into an Exclusive Intellectual Property License Agreement with ESG Clean Energy, LLC (‘ESG’) regarding ESG’s patent rights and know-how related to stationary electric power generation, including methods to utilize heat and capture carbon dioxide.” Our research suggests that the “intellectual property” in question amounts to very little: in essence, the concept of collecting the exhaust gases emitted by a natural-gas–fueled electric generator, cooling it down to distill out the water vapor, and isolating the remaining carbon dioxide. But what happens to the carbon dioxide then? The clearest answer ESG Clean Energy has given is that it “can be sold to…cannabis producers”19 to help their plants grow faster, though the vast majority of the carbon dioxide would still end up escaping into the atmosphere over time, and additional greenhouse gases would be generated in compressing and shipping this carbon dioxide to the cannabis producers, likely leading to a net worsening of carbon emissions.20 And what is Viking – which primarily extracts oil and gas from the ground, as opposed to running generators and selling electrical power – supposed to do with this technology anyway? The idea seems to be that the newly acquired Simson-Maxwell business will attempt to sell the “technology” as a value-add to customers who are buying generators in western Canada. Indeed, while Camber’s press-release headline emphasized the “exclusive” nature of the license, the license is only exclusive in Canada plus “up to twenty-five locations in the United States” – making the much vaunted deal even more trivial than it might first appear. Viking paid an upfront royalty of $1.5 million in cash in August, with additional installments of $1.5 and $2 million due by January and April 2022, respectively, for a total of $5 million. In addition, Viking “shall pay to ESG continuing royalties of not more than 15% of the net revenues of Viking generated using the Intellectual Property, with the continuing royalty percentage to be jointly determined by the parties collaboratively based on the parties’ development of realistic cashflow models resulting from initial projects utilizing the Intellectual Property, and with the parties utilizing mediation if they cannot jointly agree to the continuing royalty percentage”21 – a strangely open-ended, perhaps rushed, way of setting a royalty rate. Overall, then, Viking is paying $5 million for roughly 85% of the economics of a technology that might conceivably help “capture” CO2 emitted by electric generators in Canada (and up to 25 locations in the United States!) but then probably just re-emit it again. This is the great advance that has driven Camber to a nearly billion-dollar market cap. It’s with good reason that on ESG Clean Energy’s web site (as of early October), the list of “press releases that show that ESG Clean Energy is making waves in the distributive power industry” is blank: If the ESG Clean Energy license deal were just another trivial bit of vaporware hyped up by a promotional company and its over-eager shareholders, it would be problematic but unremarkable; things like that happen all the time. But it’s the nature and history of Camber/Viking’s counterparty in the ESG deal that truly makes the situation sublime. ESG Clean Energy is in fact an offshoot of the Scuderi Group, a family business in western Massachusetts created to develop the now deceased Carmelo Scuderi’s idea for a revolutionary new type of engine. (In a 2005 AP article entitled “Engine design draws skepticism,” an MIT professor “said the creation is almost certain to fail.”) Two of Carmelo’s children, Nick and Sal, appeared in a recent ESG Clean Energy video with Camber’s CEO, who called Sal “more of the brains behind the operation” but didn’t state his official role – interesting since documents associated with ESG Clean Energy’s recent small-scale capital raises don’t mention Sal at all. Buried in Viking’s contract with ESG Clean Energy is the following section, indicating that the patents and technology underlying the deal actually belong in the first instance to the Scuderi Group, Inc.: 2.6 Demonstration of ESG’s Exclusive License with Scuderi Group and Right to Grant Licenses in this Agreement. ESG shall provide necessary documentation to Viking which demonstrates ESG’s right to grant the licenses in this Section 2 of this Agreement. For the avoidance of doubt, ESG shall provide necessary documentation that verifies the terms and conditions of ESG’s exclusive license with the Scuderi Group, Inc., a Delaware USA corporation, having an address of 1111 Elm Street, Suite 33, West Springfield, MA 01089 USA (“Scuderi Group”), and that nothing within ESG’s exclusive license with the Scuderi Group is inconsistent with the terms of this Agreement. In fact, the ESG Clean Energy entity itself was originally called Scuderi Clean Energy but changed its name in 2019; its subsidiary ESG-H1, LLC, which presides over a long-delayed power-generation project in the small city of Holyoke, Massachusetts (discussed further below), used to be called Scuderi Holyoke Power LLC but also changed its name in 2019.22 The SEC provided a good summary of the Scuderi Group’s history in a 2013 cease-and-desist order that imposed a $100,000 civil money penalty on Sal Scuderi (emphasis added): Founded in 2002, Scuderi Group has been in the business of developing a new internal combustion engine design. Scuderi Group’s business plan is to develop, patent, and license its engine technology to automobile companies and other large engine manufacturers. Scuderi Group, which considers itself a development stage company, has not generated any revenue… …These proceedings arise out of unregistered, non-exempt stock offerings and misleading disclosures regarding the use of offering proceeds by Scuderi Group and Mr. Scuderi, the company’s president. Between 2004 and 2011, Scuderi Group sold more than $80 million worth of securities through offerings that were not registered with the Commission and did not qualify for any of the exemptions from the Securities Act’s registration requirement. The company’s private placement memoranda informed investors that Scuderi Group intended to use the proceeds from its offerings for “general corporate purposes, including working capital.” In fact, the company was making significant payments to Scuderi family members for non-corporate purposes, including, large, ad hoc bonus payments to Scuderi family employees to cover personal expenses; payments to family members who provided no services to Scuderi; loans to Scuderi family members that were undocumented, with no written interest and repayment terms; large loans to fund $20 million personal insurance policies for six of the Scuderi siblings for which the company has not been, and will not be, repaid; and personal estate planning services for the Scuderi family. Between 2008 and 2011, a period when Scuderi Group sold more than $75 million in securities despite not obtaining any revenue, Mr. Scuderi authorized more than $3.2 million in Scuderi Group spending on such purposes. …In connection with these offerings [of stock], Scuderi Group disseminated more than 3,000 PPMs [private placement memoranda] to potential investors, directly and through third parties. Scuderi Group found these potential investors by, among other things, conducting hundreds of roadshows across the U.S.; hiring a registered broker-dealer to find investors; and paying numerous intermediaries to encourage people to attend meetings that Scuderi Group arranged for potential investors. …Scuderi Group’s own documents reflect that, in total, over 90 of the company’s investors were non-accredited investors… The Scuderi Group and Sal Scuderi neither admitted nor denied the SEC’s findings but agreed to stop violating securities law. Contemporary local news coverage of the regulatory action added color to the SEC’s description of the Scuderis’ fund-raising tactics (emphasis added): Here on Long Island, folks like HVAC specialist Bill Constantine were early investors, hoping to earn a windfall from Scuderi licensing the idea to every engine manufacturer in the world. Constantine said he was familiar with the Scuderis because he worked at an Islandia company that distributed an oil-less compressor for a refrigerant recovery system designed by the family patriarch. Constantine told [Long Island Business News] he began investing in the engine in 2007, getting many of his friends and family to put their money in, too. The company held an invitation-only sales pitch at the Marriott in Islandia in February 2011. Commercial real estate broker George Tsunis said he was asked to recruit investors for the Scuderi Group, but declined after hearing the pitch. “They were talking about doing business with Volkswagen and Mercedes, but everything was on the come,” Tsunis said. “They were having a party and nobody came.” Hot on the heels of the SEC action, an individual investor who had purchased $197,000 of Scuderi Group preferred units sued the Scuderi Group as well as Sal, Nick, Deborah, Stephen, and Ruth Scuderi individually, alleging, among other things, securities fraud (e.g. “untrue statements of material fact” in offering memoranda). This case was settled out of court in 2016 after the judge reportedly “said from the bench that he was likely to grant summary judgement for [the] plaintiff. … That ruling would have clear the way for other investors in Scuderi to claim at least part of a monetary settlement.” (Two other investors filed a similar lawsuit in 2017 but had it dismissed in 2018 because they ran afoul of the statute of limitations.23) The Scuderi Group put on a brave face, saying publicly, “The company is very pleased to put the SEC matter behind it and return focus to its technology.” In fact, in December 2013, just months after the SEC news broke, the company entered into a “Cooperative Consortium Agreement” with Hino Motors, a Japanese manufacturer, creating an “engineering research group” to further develop the Scuderi engine concept. “Hino paid Scuderi an initial fee of $150,000 to join the Consortium Group, which was to be refunded if Scuderi was unable to raise the funding necessary to start the Project by the Commencement Date,” in the words of Hino’s later lawsuit.24 Sure enough, the Scuderi Group ended up canceling the project in early October 2014 “due to funding and participant issues” – but it didn’t pay back the $150,000. Hino’s lawsuit documents Stephen Scuderi’s long series of emailed excuses: 10/31/14: “I must apologize, but we are going to be a little late in our refund of the Consortium Fee of $150,000. I am sure you have been able to deduce that we have a fair amount of challenging financial problems that we are working through. I am counting on financing for our current backlog of Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) projects to provide the capital to refund the Consortium Fee. Though we are very optimistic that the financial package for our PPA projects will be completed successfully, the process is taking a little longer than I originally expected to complete (approximately 3 months longer).” 11/25/14: “I am confident that we can pay Hino back its refund by the end of January. … The reason I have been slow to respond is because I was waiting for feedback from a few large cornerstone investors that we have been negotiating with. The negotiations have been progressing very well and we are close to a comprehensive financing deal, but (as often happens) the back and forth of the negotiating process takes ” 1/12/15: “We have given a proposal to the potential high-end investors that is most interested in investing a large sum of money into Scuderi Group. That investor has done his due-diligence on our company and has communicated to us that he likes our proposal but wants to give us a counter ” 1/31/15: “The individual I spoke of last month is one of several high net worth individuals that are currently evaluating investing a significant amount of equity capital into our That particular individual has not yet responded with a counter proposal, because he wishes to complete a study on the power generation market as part of his due diligence effort first. Though we learned of the study only recently, we believe that his enthusiasm for investing in Scuderi Group remains as strong as ever and steady progress is being made with the other high net worth individuals as well. … I ask only that you be patient for a short while longer as we make every effort possible to raise the monies need[ed] to refund Hino its consortium fee.” Fed up, Hino sued instead of waiting for the next excuse – but ended up discovering that the Scuderi bank account to which it had wired the $150,000 now contained only about $64,000. Hino and the Scuderi Group then entered into a settlement in which that account balance was supposed to be immediately handed over to Hino, with the remainder plus interest to be paid back later – but Scuderi didn’t even comply with its own settlement, forcing Hino to re-initiate its lawsuit and obtain an official court judgment against Scuderi. Pursuant to that judgment, Hino formally requested an array of documents like tax returns and bank statements, but Scuderi simply ignored these requests, using the following brazen logic:25 Though as of this date, the execution has not been satisfied, Scuderi continues to operate in the ordinary course of business and reasonably expects to have money available to satisfy the execution in full in the near future. … Responding to the post- judgment discovery requests, as a practical matter, will not enable Scuderi to pay Hino any faster than can be achieved by Scuderi using all of its resources and efforts to conduct its day-to-day business operations and will only serve to impose additional and unnecessary costs on both parties. Scuderi has offered and is willing to make payments every 30 days to Hino in amounts not less than $10,000 until the execution is satisfied in full. Shortly thereafter, in March 2016, Hino dropped its case, perhaps having chosen to take the $10,000 per month rather than continue to tangle in court with the Scuderis (though we don’t know for sure). With its name tarnished by disgruntled investors and the SEC, and at least one of its bank accounts wiped out by Hino Motors, the Scuderi Group didn’t appear to have a bright future. But then, like a phoenix rising from the ashes, a new business was born: Scuderi Clean Energy, “a wholly owned subsidiary of Scuderi Group, Inc. … formed in October 2015 to market Scuderi Engine Technology to the power generation industry.” (Over time, references to the troubled “Scuderi Engine Technology” have faded away; today ESG Clean Energy is purportedly planning to use standard, off-the-shelf Caterpillar engines. And while an early press release described Scuderi Clean Energy as “a wholly owned subsidiary of Scuderi Group,” the current Scuderi/ESG Clean Energy, LLC, appears to have been created later as its own (nominally) independent entity, led by Nick Scuderi.) As the emailed excuses in the Hino dispute suggested, this pivot to “clean energy” and electric power generation had been in the works for some time, enabling Scuderi Clean Energy to hit the ground running by signing a deal with Holyoke Gas and Electric, a small utility company owned by the city of Holyoke, Massachusetts (population 38,238) in December 2015. The basic idea was that Scuderi Clean Energy would install a large natural-gas generator and associated equipment on a vacant lot and use it to supply Holyoke Gas and Electric with supplemental electric power, especially during “peak demand periods in the summer.”26 But it appears that, from day one, Holyoke had its doubts. In its 2015 annual report (p. 80), the company wrote (emphasis added): In December 2015, the Department contracted with Scuderi Clean Energy, LLC under a twenty (20) year [power purchase agreement] for a 4.375 MW [megawatt] natural gas generator. Uncertain if this project will move forward; however Department mitigated market and development risk by ensuring interconnection costs are born by other party and that rates under PPA are discounted to full wholesale energy and resulting load reduction cost savings (where and if applicable). Holyoke was right to be uncertain. Though its 2017 annual report optimistically said, “Expected Commercial Operation date is April 1, 2018” (p. 90), the 2018 annual report changed to “Expected Commercial Operation is unknown at this time” – language that had to be repeated verbatim in the 2019 and 2020 annual reports. Six years after the contract was signed, the Scuderi Clean Energy, now ESG Clean Energy, project still hasn’t produced one iota of power, let alone one dollar of revenue. What it has produced, however, is funding from retail investors, though perhaps not as much as the Scuderis could have hoped. Beginning in 2017, Scuderi Clean Energy managed to sell roughly $1.3 million27 in 5-year “TIGRcub” bonds (Top-Line Income Generation Rights Certificates) on the small online Entrex platform by advertising a 12% “minimum yield” and 16.72% “projected IRR” (based on 18.84% “revenue participation”) over a 5-year term. While we don’t know the exact terms of these bonds, we believe that, at least early on, interest payments were covered by some sort of prepaid insurance policy, while later payments depend on (so far nonexistent) revenue from the Holyoke project. But Scuderi Clean Energy had been aiming to raise $6 million to complete the project, not $1 million; indeed, this was only supposed to be the first component of a whole empire of “Scuderi power plants”28 that would require over $100 million to build but were supposedly already under contract.29 So far, however, nothing has come of these other projects, and, seemingly suffering from insufficient funding, the Holyoke effort languished. (Of course, it might have been more investor-friendly if Scuderi Clean Energy had only accepted funding on the condition that there was enough to actually complete construction.) Under the new ESG Clean Energy name, the Scuderis tried in 2019 to raise capital again, this time in the form of $5 million of preferred units marketed as a “5 year tax free Investment with 18% cash-on-cash return,” but, based on an SEC filing, it appears that the offering didn’t go well, raising just $150,000. With funding still limited and the Holyoke project far from finished, the clock is ticking: the $1.3 million of bonds will begin to mature in early 2022. It was thus fortunate that Viking came along when it did to pay ESG Clean Energy a $1.5 million upfront royalty for its incredible technology. Interestingly, ESG Clean Energy began in late 2020 to provide extremely detailed updates on its Holyoke construction progress, including items as prosaic as “Throughout the week, ESG had met with and continued to exchange numerous e-mails with our mechanical engineering firm.” With frequent references to the “very fluid environment,” the tone is unmistakably defensive. Consider the September update (emphasis not added): Reading between the lines, we believe the intended message is this: “We didn’t just take your money and run – honest! We’re working hard!” Nonetheless, someone appears to be unhappy, as indicated by the FINRA BrokerCheck report for one Eric Willer, a former employee of Fusion Analytics, which was listed as a recipient of sales compensation in connection with the Scuderi Clean Energy bond offerings. Willer may now be in hot water: a disclosure notice dated 3/31/2021 reads: “Wells Notice received as a preliminary determination to recommend disciplinary action of fraud, negligent misrepresentation, and recommendation without due diligence in the sale of bonds issued by Scuderi Holyoke,” with a further investigation still pending. We wait eagerly for additional updates. Why does the saga of the Scuderis matter? Many Camber investors seem to have convinced themselves that the ESG Clean Energy “carbon capture” IP licensed by Viking has enormous value and can plausibly justify hundreds of millions of dollars of incremental market cap. As we explained above, we find this thoroughly implausible even without getting into Scuderi family history: in the end, the “technology” will at best add a smidgen of value to some generators in Canada. But track records matter too, and the Scuderi track record of failed R&D, delays, excuses, and alleged misuse of funds is worth considering. These people have spent six years trying and failing to sell power to a single municipally owned utility company in a single small city in western Massachusetts. Are they really about to end climate change? The Case of the Fictitious CFO Since Camber is effectively a bet on Viking, and Viking, in its current form, has been assembled by James Doris, it’s important to assess Doris’s probity and good judgment. In that connection, it’s noteworthy that, from December 2014 to July 2016, at the very start of Doris’s reign as Viking’s CEO and president, the company’s CFO, Guangfang “Cecile” Yang, was apparently fictitious. (Covering the case in 2019, Dealbreaker used the headline “Possibly Imaginary CFO Grounds For Very Real Fraud Lawsuit.”) This strange situation was brought to light by an SEC lawsuit against Viking’s founder, Tom Simeo; just last month, a US district court granted summary judgment in favor of the SEC against Simeo, but Simeo’s penalties have yet to be determined.30 The court’s opinion provided a good overview of the facts (references omitted, emphasis added): In 2013, Simeo hired Yang, who lives in Shanghai, China, to be Viking’s CFO. Yang served in that position until she purportedly resigned in July 2016. When Yang joined the company, Simeo fabricated a standing resignation letter, in which Yang purported to “irrevocably” resign her position with Viking “at any time desired by the Company” and “[u]pon notification that the Company accepted [her] resignation”…Simeo forged Yang’s signature on this document. This letter allowed Simeo to remove Yang from the position of CFO whenever he pleased. Simeo also fabricated a power of attorney purportedly signed by Yang that allowed Simeo to “affix Yang’s signature to any and all documents,” including documents that Viking had to file with the SEC. Viking represented to the public that Yang was the company’s CFO and a member of its Board of Directors. But “Yang never actually functioned as Viking’s CFO.” She “was not involved in the financial and strategic decisions” of Viking during the Relevant Period. Nor did she play any role in “preparing Viking’s financial statements or public filings.” Indeed, at least as of April 3, 2015, Yang did not do “any work” on Viking’s financial statements and did not speak with anyone who was preparing them. She also did not “review or evaluate Viking’s internal controls over financial reporting.” Further, during most or all of the Relevant Period, Viking did not compensate Yang despite the fact that she was the company’s highest ranking financial employee. Nevertheless, Simeo says that he personally paid her in cash. Yang’s “sole point of contact” at Viking was Simeo. Indeed Simeo was “the only person at Viking who communicated with Yang.” Thus many people at Viking never interacted with Yang. Despite the fact that Doris has served as Viking’s CEO since December 2014, he “has never met or spoken to Yang either in person or through any other means, and he has never communicated with Yang in writing.” … To think Yang served as CFO during this time, but the CEO and other individuals involved with Viking’s SEC filings never once spoke with her, strains all logical credulity. It remains unclear whether Yang is even a real person. When the SEC asked Simeo directly (“Is it the case that you made up the existence of Ms. Yang?”) he responded by “invoking the Fifth Amendment.”31 While the SEC’s efforts thus far have focused on Simeo, the case clearly raises the question of what Doris knew and when he knew it. Indeed, though many of the required Sarbanes-Oxley certifications of Viking’s financial statements during the Yang period were signed by Simeo in his role as chairman, Doris did personally sign off on an amended 2015 10-K that refers to Yang as CFO through July 2016 and includes her complete, apparently fictitious, biography. Viking has also disclosed the following, which we believe pertains to the Yang affair (emphasis added): In April of 2019, the staff (the “Staff”) of the SEC’s Division of Enforcement notified the Company that the Staff had made a preliminary determination to recommend that the SEC file an enforcement action against the Company, as well as against its CEO and its CFO, for alleged violations of Section 17(a) of the Securities Act of 1933 and Section 10(b) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and Rule 10b-5 thereunder [laws that pertain to securities fraud] during the period from early 2014 through late 2016. The Staff’s notice is not a formal allegation or a finding of wrongdoing by the Company, and the Company has communicated with the Staff regarding its preliminary determination. The Company believes it has adequate defenses and intends to vigorously defend any enforcement action that may be initiated by the SEC.32 Perhaps the SEC has moved on from this matter and will let Doris and Viking off the hook, but the fact pattern is eyebrow-raising nonetheless. A similarly troubling incident came soon after the time of Yang’s “resignation,” when Viking’s auditing firm resigned, withdrew its recent audit report, and wrote a letter “advising the Company that it believed an illegal act may have occurred” – because of concerns that had nothing to do with Yang. First, Viking accounted for the timing of a grant of shares to a consultant in apparent contradiction of the terms of the written agreement with the consultant – a seemingly minor issue. But, under scrutiny from the auditor, Viking “produced a letter… (the version which was provided to us was unsigned), from the consultant stating that the Agreement was invalidated verbally.” Reading between the lines, the “uncomfortable” auditor suspected that this letter was a fake, created just to get him off Viking’s back. In another incident, the auditor “became aware that seven of the company’s loans…were due to be repaid” in August 2016 but hadn’t been, creating a default that would in turn “trigger[] a cross-default clause contained in 17 additional loans” – but Viking claimed it “had secured an oral extension to the loans from the broker-dealer representing the lenders by September 6, 2016” – after the loans’ maturity dates – “so the Company did not need to disclose ‘the defaults under these loans’ after such time since the loans were not in default.” It’s easy to see why an auditor would object to this attitude toward financial disclosure – no need to mention a default in August as long as you can secure a verbal agreement resolving it by September! Against this backdrop of disturbing behavior, the fact that Camber just dismissed its auditing firm three weeks ago on September 16th, even with delisting looming if the company can’t become current again with its SEC filings by November, seems even more unsettling. Have Camber and Viking management earned investors’ trust? Conclusion It’s not clear why, back in 2017, Lucas Energy changed its name to “Camber” specifically, but we’d like to think the inspiration was England’s Camber Castle. According to Atlas Obscura, the castle was supposed to help defend the English coast, but it took so long to build that its “advanced design was obsolete by the time of its completion,” and changes in the local environment meant that “the sea had receded so far that cannons fired from the fort would no longer be able to reach any invading ships.” Still, the useless castle was “manned and serviced” for nearly a century before being officially decommissioned. Today, Camber “lies derelict and almost unheard of.” But what’s in a name? Article by Kerrisdale Capital Management Updated on Oct 5, 2021, 12:06 pm (function() { var sc = document.createElement("script"); sc.type = "text/javascript"; sc.async = true;sc.src = "//"; sc.charset = "utf-8";var s = document.getElementsByTagName("script")[0]; s.parentNode.insertBefore(sc, s); }()); window._F20 = window._F20 || []; _F20.push({container: 'F20WidgetContainer', placement: '', count: 3}); _F20.push({finish: true});.....»»

Category: blogSource: valuewalkOct 5th, 2021

The 5 best whitening toothpastes of 2021, according to dentists

Whitening toothpaste lifts stains from your teeth while cleaning. Here are our top picks for sensitive teeth, all-natural ingredients, and more. Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky The best teeth whitening toothpaste helps remove surface stains from your pearly whites. We spoke to 4 dentists on what to look for in a whitening toothpaste that won't hurt your teeth or gums. Our top choice, Colgate Total SF, is effective, ADA-approved, and budget-friendly. Whether you're a coffee addict, ex-smoker, or just want to polish your smile a little brighter, virtually everyone wants whiter teeth. There are all kinds of intensive options available, from whitening strips to in-office dental treatments. But for most of us, the easiest way is to switch up our toothpaste and ask it to do more than just fight plaque and cavities. Whitening toothpaste generally works by using enamel-safe abrasives to physically remove surface stains. Many also contain other active ingredients, like peroxide, to dissolve stains and bleach teeth. But since not every ingredient is equal and some teeth whitening products notoriously cause tooth sensitivity, we spoke to four board-certified dentists to learn which whitening toothpaste really works. They shared the top brands they recommend to patients, as well as some tips for what to look for when shopping, and we personally tested several top brands ourselves.Here are the best whitening toothpaste options:Best whitening toothpaste overall: Colgate Total SF Whitening GelBest natural whitening toothpaste: Tom's of Maine Simply White Clean MintBest whitening toothpaste for sensitive teeth: Crest Pro Health Gum and Sensitivity Gentle WhiteningBest toothpaste for intense whitening: Colgate Optic White Advanced Sparkling WhiteBest eco-friendly whitening toothpaste: Bite Toothpaste Bits How I tested Ariana DiValentino/Insider In researching this piece, I consulted four dental professionals (see expert sources, below)  as well as several published, peer-reviewed articles testing the efficacy and safety of various whitening toothpaste and active ingredients. I also personally tried several kinds of toothpaste to take note of:Taste: Toothpaste is toothpaste, not candy, so we don't want to oversell the flavor of any of the products as "delicious" — but some pastes have strange, chemical, or overly-powerful flavors and aftertastes. Most of the pastes I tried had a simple, fresh taste that contributes to the overall clean feeling you want after brushing, but a few tasted mildly metallic or just plain unusual due to non-traditional flavoring ingredients.Texture:  Generally, toothpaste is either a gel or a paste and is pretty thick. I paid mind to see if any felt chalky, runny, or gritty, as well as how well they lather and spread around the mouth. Items that didn't make the cut usually felt weird in one of these ways.Packaging/ease of use: It's not terribly common, but some toothpaste tubes are somewhat difficult to use because of poorly designed packaging. For example, one of the kinds of toothpaste I don't recommend, the Plus Ultra, is in a metal tube similar to what artists' paint comes in and was kind of a pain to squeeze. Conversely, all our picks have easy-to-open or -close caps. The best whitening toothpaste overall Amazon Colgate Total SF Whitening Gel is a top pick among our dentists as it's a budget-friendly and effective way to whiten and protect the overall health of your teeth.Pros: Inexpensive, American Dental Association (ADA) approved, provides sensitivity reliefCons: Taste is questionable to someTwo of our expert sources, Ben El Chami, DMD, a NYC-based dentist and co-founder/chief dental officer of dntlbar and Chris Salierno, DDS, dental practitioner and chief dental officer of Tend, independently named Colgate Total Whitening as a top option they'd recommend to patients looking for a daily whitening boost. It also bears the ADA seal of acceptance, meaning the professional organization support that its efficacy and safety claims are sufficiently backed up by clinical research. It's a clear winner in the eyes of the pros because, in addition to whitening power, it has antibacterial properties that help defend against gum disease and tooth decay. These effects come from the active ingredient, stannous fluoride, which also helps offset the increased sensitivity some people experience when using whitening toothpastes. The minty taste is subtle and not-too-strong without any unpleasant aftertaste. And compared to other toothpaste packaging, we love that Colgate Total has a flat flip-cap for easier access and the option to stand the tube up straight on your sink. The best natural whitening toothpaste Amazon From trustworthy natural personal-care-products brand, Tom's of Maine Simply White Clean Mint Toothpaste delivers on its whitening promises without any harsh chemicals.Pros: ADA-approved, no artificial flavorings or colorings, brand prioritizes sustainability and ethicsCons: Some users dislike the taste, some complain that it's less effective than traditional toothpastes in keeping breath fresh, priceTom's of Maine Simply White is one of very few toothpaste brands in the "natural" sector to earn ADA approval with proven whitening effects. If you prefer to steer clear of traditional toothpaste because of their ingredients, production process, or simply personal preference, Tom's Simply White is the best bet for whiter teeth, vouched for by dentists and customers. Like most whitening toothpaste, Tom's Simply White uses abrasives — in this case, naturally-derived silicas — to scrub off surface stains. It's flavored with peppermint oil which delivers a mild, not overpowering fresh flavor. The tube is recyclable, which we love, and it has a smaller cap and opening which, in our experience, makes for less of a mess but also means you can't store it upright on your bathroom counter.Tom's also contains fluoride. There are oft-debated but largely unproven or debunked arguments against the naturally-occurring mineral, but it's an ingredient the ADA and every dentist we spoke with strongly encourage people to look for in their toothpaste thanks to a decades-long body of evidence that makes it the gold standard in cavity prevention. The best whitening toothpaste for sensitive teeth Target The best Crest whitening toothpaste, Pro Health Gum and Sensitivity Gentle Whitening, is a science-backed plaque remover and a rare combination of sensitivity relief and whitening power.Pros: ADA-approved, relieves sensitivityCons: Some users dislike taste and texture, not enough relief for extremely sensitive users, whitening effects are subtleThere aren't too many whitening toothpastes on the market that specifically cater to those with sensitive teeth. Crest Pro Health Gum and Sensitivity Gentle Whitening, however, does and it's the only ADA-approved toothpaste that offers both sensitivity relief and whitening effects.The stain removal is provided by hydrated silica, which acts as a gentle abrasive. This isn't as extreme as some other products, both in terms of removing stains and causing sensitivity, so it's a real trade-off. But it's the best-researched option out there for sensitivity sufferers looking for stain removal action. Pro Health is also the best Crest whitening toothpaste from its lineup.The minty-sweet taste is mild but pleasant, and users say that, compared to other leading brands of sensitive toothpaste, it both tastes better and relieves sensitivity better. Like the Colgate Total SF Whitening Gel, we like that this tube has a flat flip cap for easy closure and the ability to stand vertical on a countertop to save space. The best toothpaste for intensive whitening Target Colgate Optic White Advanced Sparkling White is formulated with hydrogen peroxide and abrasives to provide a double-whammy whitening effect.Pros: ADA-approved, extra-strength whitening abilityCons: May leave a filmy mouthfeel after usingColgate Optic White Advanced, like the other products on our list, contains gentle abrasives to scrub stains and polish teeth. But it also uses hydrogen peroxide for its natural lightening properties, giving you a one-two punch of whitening techniques – sort of like washing your white laundry with not just a strong detergent, but bleach too. It's the only bleaching toothpaste (not merely stain-removing) that the ADA has granted approval to, and like all ADA-approved pastes, it includes fluoride for cavity prevention. Despite its powerful whitening ability, Optic White is safe for enamel and many people report less sensitivity and irritation than with other whitening toothpaste.The toothpaste works by creating a sort of film on the surface of your teeth so that the hydrogen peroxide can continue to work for more than just the two minutes you spend brushing. As a result, some people don't like the feeling it leaves after you brush. The best eco-friendly whitening toothpaste Bite If you're looking for a whitening toothpaste that has a clean ingredient list and ditches the plastic tube, Bite's toothpaste bits are what you seek.Pros: Reusable glass jar instead of plastic, four-month supply each time you order, clean ingredients list, helps with teeth sensitivityCons: Takes some getting used to, doesn't get foamy, doesn't always produce the same kind of clean mouth feelBite is a step above your basic "eco-friendly" or "sustainable" toothpaste — its packaging also nixes the plastic in favor of a reusable glass jar. Instead, the brand offers whitening toothpaste in little Altoid-like bites.Like little pellets, the bits are a far cry from the traditional paste most people are used to and actually require you to bite down on them to crush the bit before brushing. When I first tested these out, I was a little skeptical, and it did take a while to get used to.The most notable difference for me when I tested was how much less foam the bits created in my mouth. This would sometimes leave me feeling as though my mouth wasn't as clean as it could be after brushing (even though it was). However, that's due to the active ingredient, sodium cocoyl glutamate, which is activated when mixed with the water on your toothbrush.For some, the minimal foaming may be a positive, but it took me a few times to get used to it. I did like Bite's clean ingredient list, which further adds to its badge of sustainability. The bits come in either a mint, charcoal, or berry flavor, though I'd recommend the mint as it gets the closest to that fresh, post-brush feeling (plus, charcoal toothpaste has its drawbacks). You will pay slightly more for the higher-quality packaging ($48 for a four-month supply), but it's often on sale for at least $10 off (if not more). Plus, there's a trial size of 62 bits (roughly one month) for $12.  What to look for in whitening toothpaste There are two major categories of whitening ingredients in toothpaste: abrasives and bleaching agents. Most whitening toothpaste relies on gentle, enamel-safe abrasives that work to scrub off stains caused by eating and drinking. Technically, they're not changing the color of your teeth, just cleaning off any gunk that might make them appear more yellow, which is why you may still want an at-home whitening kit to see a truly brighter smile.Bleaching agents (like peroxide), though, can actually lift the color in the outermost layers of your enamel. However, they're less common in toothpaste because they need more than two minutes of contact to really work (hence, why whitening strips work – they hold the bleaching agent on your teeth for several minutes). Bleaching agents can also be irritating and cause sensitivity. The only bleaching toothpaste that made our top picks, Colgate Optic White, actually creates a film that sits on your teeth, keeping them in contact with the hydrogen peroxide for longer than the few minutes you spend brushing.According to Drs. El Chami, Hain, and Springs, the number one thing to look for when shopping for new products is the ADA seal of acceptance. Brands can choose to submit its products to the American Dental Association, a non-profit advocating for safe dental practices, for review to obtain its seal which signals that the dental community agrees there is enough research to substantiate that a product is safe and effective. This is especially important when it comes to whitening toothpaste, as they tend to use abrasives like silica (the same stuff that makes up most of sand) to scrub off stains. The ADA review ensures those abrasives aren't doing more harm to your enamel than good. The other thing you need to look for is fluoride, a mineral that strengthens enamel and helps prevent cavities. The naturally occurring mineral has been demonized by phony science, but the ADA, all our experts, and a whole body of research deem it not only safe in your toothpaste but also necessary for preventing cavities. Learn more in our FAQs.The only ingredients dentists recommend avoiding are sugars, which improve the flavor of toothpaste but can cause adverse effects including tooth decay. Fortunately, the majority of toothpastes utilize tooth-safe sugar alternatives like xylitol or stevia. What else we considered Ariana DiValentino/Insider Relatively few products on the market bear the ADA approval seal, which our sources overwhelmingly told us was the best way to know a product's claims have been substantiated by research and thus the ones we can recommend to you most confidently.That said, a product without the seal isn't necessarily ineffectual or bad — it just likely didn't undergo the organization's optional review process (which does cost money, so is difficult for smaller companies to obtain). Here are some other, non-ADA-approved products that came up in our research:What else we recommend:BURST Fluoride ($10): This brand's fluoridated toothpaste also boasts a lack of sodium lauryl sulfate, along with parabens and artificial flavors and colors, but it tastes and feels perfectly normal. Smile Direct Club Premium Fluoride Whitening ($5): The brand you probably know from their subway ads also sells a whitening toothpaste, and it happens to be relatively inexpensive compared to other new-wave brands. It also tastes really good, in this writer's opinion. Spotlight Oral Care Toothpaste for Whitening Teeth ($10): This dentist-designed product contains fluoride for healthy teeth, as well as hydrogen peroxide for a quick kick of whitening. Sensodyne Pronamel Mineral Boost with Gentle Whitening Action ($6): While not currently bearing the ADA seal, this new product could be a helpful whitening option for those with sensitive teeth. It purports to help your teeth better absorb minerals such as calcium and phosphate, thus strengthening your enamel. What we don't recommend:PLUS ULTRA Mint Toothpaste ($10): This toothpaste takes "natural" to another level, starting with its unique leafy green appearance. It doesn't contain sodium lauryl sulfate, and its plant-derived ingredients are organic — but it also lacks fluoride, so we can't recommend it. Huppy Peppermint Toothpaste Tablets ($12): Frequent travelers may appreciate that this paste comes in the form of tablets, complete with a little storage tin. Fluoride is left out, instead including a substance called nano-hydroxyapatite. But these tablets also contain charcoal, the safety of which is still hotly contested among dentists.Luster Premium White Pearl Paste ($7): This paste doesn't contain sodium lauryl sulfate or parabens, but it does contain fluoride (important) and one other notable ingredient: pearl extracts, which purportedly work as abrasives to buff off surface stains. There's no published clinical research on pearl as a tooth whitening agent, but telling people you brush your teeth with pearls will make you sound very fancy. FAQs Does whitening toothpaste actually work?Yes — just maybe not as well as you might hope. Dr. Salierno explained to Insider that over-the-counter whitening toothpaste is best at removing surface stains, but for a more dramatic whitening effect, professional methods are your best bet. "The true whitening effect that patients are typically after is the result of the removal of intrinsic stain, or stain that is more deeply embedded in the tooth surface," Salierno said. "In order to get a great whitening result, patients would do well to have a professional cleaning first, and then use a prescription-strength whitening agent as directed by their dental team."Bottom line: Whitening toothpaste is safe and can be effective at removing surface stains — just don't expect a dramatic transformation from over-the-counter toothpaste alone.Is charcoal toothpaste safe to whiten teeth?Charcoal is a trendy ingredient right now, making its way into food, cosmetics, and yes, toothpaste. The idea is that charcoal is able to absorb impurities and thus whiten teeth, but the clinical evidence isn't great: Reviews of laboratory studies suggest that charcoal isn't particularly effective as a whitening agent, despite its mildly abrasive properties. What's more, it has the potential to damage your enamel, discolor it permanently, and damage your gums, according to a 2019 study in the British Dental Journal. More recent research supports the safety of charcoal toothpaste but dentists and researchers caution consumers that the charcoal actually runs the risk of scratching enamel or getting stuck in the gums and other crevices. Those with fillings should especially steer clear.Is whitening toothpaste safe for my teeth?For the most part, yes. While many whitening toothpastes use abrasive agents to scrub away stains, dentists and researchers generally find them safe and non-damaging to the enamel of your teeth. There are a few exceptions — see about charcoal, above — but for most people, whitening toothpaste doesn't pose a threat to dental health. Dr. El Chami does caution, however, that those with sensitive teeth may want to avoid whitening toothpaste in favor of something gentler. Paul Springs, DMD, a prosthodontist who practices in Queens, New York, elaborated, adding, "Some brands contain grit particles that are too large, which irreversibly wears down tooth enamel. This is often an issue with charcoal or baking soda toothpaste made by unrecognizable brands, so I strongly recommend patients only use toothpaste with the ADA seal of approval to avoid that issue."Just because a product doesn't bear the ADA seal doesn't mean it's unsafe, but lesser-known brands may use questionable ingredients (or even questionable forms of ingredients that are generally considered tooth-safe) that are too gritty and can wear down your enamel. The ADA seal is your confirmation that everything in the tube is safe for at-home use.What's the big deal about the ADA Seal of Acceptance?As we mentioned earlier, the ADA seal program is an optional review process in which companies may choose to submit a product to the professional organization for independent review to determine if there is sufficient research backing up the safety and efficacy of the product. Because the review process is optional and potentially cost-prohibitive to smaller companies, there are many toothpastes and other dental products on the market that don't bear the ADA seal. This doesn't necessarily mean the products aren't up to snuff — but the dentists we consulted with highly recommend sticking to ADA-approved products to ensure you're getting a product that actually works and is safe. As Dr. Springs put it, "Not having the seal isn't enough to condemn a product, but there is enough that [damage enamel] that I wouldn't risk chancing it."Is fluoride really safe?Fluoride has been demonized by oversimplified health information and conspiracy theories for decades for supposedly causing dental staining and even cancer. While this is technically true of the chemical, it would need to be ingested in very large quantities to have these severe negative effects, far more than fluoridated water and toothpaste are likely to provide. The dental community is at a consensus that not only is fluoridated toothpaste safe, but it's also strongly recommended for the purpose of preventing cavities and strengthening enamel throughout your life. In fact, the ADA will not grant its seal of acceptance to any toothpaste which does not include fluoride. This goes for standard as well as whitening toothpaste — ideally, fluoride is going to be included in any toothpaste you use daily. Expert sources Dr. Ben El Chami, DMD, is a dentist and the co-founder and chief dental officer of dntlbar, a family of Manhattan dental practices. Dr. Chris Salierno, DDS, is a dentist and the chief dental officer of Tend, a family of dental practices with locations in New York, Boston, and Washington, D.C.Dr. Courtney Hain, DDS, is a dentist who owns and operates her own practice, Smile San Francisco.Dr. Paul Springs, DMD, is a prosthodontist who practices with Dr. Mondshine and Associates, a dental practice in Forest Hills, Queens, NY. Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: dealsSource: nytOct 4th, 2021

O-I Glass (OI) Expands Transformation Plan, Raises Guidance for 2021

O-I Glass' (OI) transformation plan focuses on customers' increasing demand for glass products, investing in new capacity and MAGMA technology, margin expansion and portfolio optimization O-I Glass, Inc. OI plans to accelerate its transformation initiatives in a bid to meet the growing demand for glass products. To that end, the company is investing in the MAGMA technology in order to enhance its glass production process over the long term.MAGMA is the company’s breakthrough glass melting technology, which intends to reduce the amount of capital required to install, rebuild and operate its furnaces. The full-scale commercial MAGMA production line is now operational. The early 2021 installation in Germany marks a key milestone, and creates an avenue for broader deployment in 2022 and beyond. It is on track to pilot the Generation 2 MAGMA line in Streator, IL, and expects to complete the development of a Generation 3 in 2025. Glass products are in demand as it is a healthy, premium and sustainable option for food and beverage. MAGMA helps strengthen glass’ position as the most sustainable packaging material.The company is taking few initiatives as part of its transformation plan for 2022 through 2024. O-I Glass expects its margin expansion initiative will likely generate annual benefits of $50 million over 2022 to 2024. The company intends to invest up to $680 million in new capacity over the next three years period, in order to achieve volume growth and meet demand. These investments are expected to generate an average internal rate of return of 20%. The plan includes an addition of up to 11 MAGMA lines. These investments will expand the company’s franchise foothold in high growth and high value markets in Latin America. This plan also targets to increase portfolio optimization to $1.5 billion by 2024.The management anticipates adjusted earnings per share (EPS) to improve between $2.20 and $2.40 by 2024, highlighting 8-12% CAGR earnings growth over the next three years. The adjusted free cash flow is estimated to increase between $400 million and $450 million, while the leverage ratio is expected to be 3.5 times by the end of 2024.The company has updated its third-quarter and full-year guidance. It now expects adjusted EPS for the third quarter to be at the high end or slightly above the prior guidance of 47-52 cents. For 2021, O-I Glass now expects the adjusted EPS to lie between $1.70 and $1.75, up from the prior guidance of $1.65 and $1.75. Free cash flow is expected to be roughly $260 million for the year.Price PerformanceShares of the company have appreciated 29.2% so far this year, against the industry’s decline of 17.3%.Image Source: Zacks Investment ResearchZacks Rank & Other Stocks to ConsiderO-I Glass currently carries a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.Other top-ranked stocks in the Industrial Products sector include Deere & Company DE, Alcoa Corporation AA and AGCO Corporation AGCO. While Deere and Alcoa flaunt a Zacks Rank #1, AGCO carries a Zacks Rank of 2, at present.Deere has a projected earnings growth rate of 117.5% for fiscal 2021. So far this year, the company’s shares have gained 32.2%.Alcoa has an estimated earnings growth rate of 573.2% for 2021. The company’s shares have rallied 121.2%, so far this year.AGCO has an expected earnings growth rate of 70.7% for 2021. The stock has appreciated 27.1%, year to date. Zacks' Top Picks to Cash in on Artificial Intelligence In 2021, this world-changing technology is projected to generate $327.5 billion in revenue. Now Shark Tank star and billionaire investor Mark Cuban says AI will create "the world's first trillionaires." Zacks' urgent special report reveals 3 AI picks investors need to know about today.See 3 Artificial Intelligence Stocks With Extreme Upside Potential>>Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report OI Glass, Inc. (OI): Free Stock Analysis Report Alcoa Corp. (AA): Free Stock Analysis Report Deere & Company (DE): Free Stock Analysis Report AGCO Corporation (AGCO): Free Stock Analysis Report To read this article on click here......»»

Category: topSource: zacksSep 29th, 2021

Making Meals From Mealworms Is ‘Part of the Answer’ to the Climate Crisis, the CEO of Ynsect Says

Ynsect’s powdered protein is currently used in pet food, fish meal and even as an ingredient in burger patties and pasta in parts of Europe (To receive weekly emails of conversations with the world’s top CEOs and business decisionmakers, click here.)   Global food production accounts for one-third of all greenhouse-gas emissions, according to a comprehensive study published this year in the journal Nature Food that looked at every aspect of food production from transportation to packaging. Meat production alone makes up nearly 60% of that total. The study underscores the growing consensus that in order to stave off the worst impacts of climate change, the world needs a dramatic rethinking of how food is produced and consumed. Especially since the U.N. estimates that food production will have to increase by 70% by 2050 to feed the world’s growing population. [time-brightcove not-tgx=”true”] Increasingly, companies and scientists are viewing insects as an environmentally sustainable alternative source of protein. Crickets, grasshoppers and beetles are already commercially produced and processed for human and animal consumption. Ynsect, a 10-year-old French company, is focused on mealworms, the larval stage of beetles. One big advantage of mealworms, aside from their neutral taste and high degree of digestibility, is that they don’t fly or jump, which means it requires a lot less space to grow and process them compared with more mobile insects. One of Europe’s best-funded insect-farming companies (it has raised over $400 million), Ynsect currently has one highly automated vertical farm in France and plans to open a far larger production facility in the country next year. The company is also scouting locations for a major facility in the U.S. and plans to announce a Midwest location before the end of the year. It eventually plans to have farms across the world. Ynsect’s powdered protein is currently used in pet food, fish meal for commercial fish farms and other animal feed. It’s in limited consumer products in parts of Europe, including as an ingredient in burger patties and pasta. It will soon enter the sports-drink and protein-bar markets. Ynsect co-founder and CEO Antoine Hubert recently joined TIME for a video conversation on how the cultivation of insects can help mitigate the impacts of climate change and take pressure off threats to the earth’s biodiversity. (This interview has been condensed and edited for clarity.)   Was it always the humble mealworm? When we started the company, we tested several species, from beetles to flies to crickets, locusts and others. Finally, we ended up with mealworms. We worked with a small farmer who had 20 years experience in small-scale insect farming, and it was his opinion that it was the best. We also found that mealworms were super-good for great big vertical farms and able to deliver large volumes that are required for animal feed, pet food or human food—thousands of tons, not a few kilos per day. So scalability was a big factor in anointing mealworms? Exactly. This is about a product and the technology. It is not flying. Butterflies or crickets, they need a lot of space to grow. Mealworms really love to be together. What does the insect version of a vertical farm look like? It’s an automated warehouse, very similar to an Amazon warehouse, where instead of storing stuff, we are storing live insects. There is a climate-control system which is highly complex to maintain temperature and moisture from zero to 30 meters high. All operations are automated. Anything that you do on [an insect] farm is done with robots. Why is developing an alternative protein source with a smaller carbon footprint so essential, and what role is your company playing across the food chain? The two main issues the earth is facing today are climate change and biodiversity collapse. We are not far from reaching tipping points where then things get worse and it cascades and waterfalls—you can’t stop it anymore. Time is very critical. There is a huge need to reduce our consumption of beef. We should keep beef consumption, grazing, on a smaller scale with high levels of fresh products. But everything that is a processed meat should be 100% replaced at some point by alternatives. Insects will be a part of the answer. Another way is to move from existing meat to other meats with no methane emissions: chicken and fish. We help to change the way we feed chicken and fish. And our leftover insect manure is a great organic fertilizer that can fully replace chemical fertilizers. How is fish-meal production, catching fish to be ground up into fish meal to feed farmed fish, harming biodiversity? It’s about overfishing. The largest fisheries today are used for fish-meal production. One in four boats, about 25% of total fish vessels, are used to process fish meal which is going to feed animals. It’s the most overfished stock. We need to reduce the fishing of the stock to be below the renewable threshold. They say in the fishing industry, take only the interest, not your stock. The demand for fish, especially shrimp and salmon, is growing a lot faster than other meats, and they are super-dependent on fish meal. And this is why big companies are looking for alternatives. And mealworms have a fairly neutral taste? We have different products, but the main one is pretty neutral. We also have a very light color, which is exactly what companies are looking at. They don’t want a very strong taste when they do burgers or energy bars or energy drinks. Otherwise you will end up with a highly smelly product, which is something that is not desirable for consumers, which is often what small-scale crickets companies are doing … big smell and big taste, which makes it very difficult to use the product in final food products. Our process helps us to avoid smells.     Note to readers: I want to end this week’s column with a note of thanks to the readers of The Leadership Brief. Starting next week, we at TIME are embarking on a new approach that we are excited to share with you. I will continue to contribute, but going forward, the weekly newsletter will be produced by a team led by TIME’s executive editor, John Simons (John conducted the interview with Apple CEO Tim Cook last week). I want to thank all of you for your loyal readership and offer a particular expression of gratitude to those of you who have taken the time to write and share your thoughts with me. I have loved hearing from you each week and have always benefited from your insights. Eben Shapiro.....»»

Category: topSource: timeSep 26th, 2021

How the Brewers Association is helping independent breweries reduce their carbon footprint and cut costs

With the assistance of the BA, Horse & Dragon Brewing Company has reduced its water usage by 36.46%, co-owner Carol Cochran said. Insider New Belgium Brewing in Fort Collins, Colorado, a member of the Brewers Association. New Belgium Brewing Company Brewing beer requires a significant amount of resources, including water, and creates waste. The Brewers Association offers sustainability tools to breweries to improve the process all around. Breweries that use the tools reduced their carbon emissions and water consumption and saved money. This article is part of a series called "Partners for a Sustainable Future," profiling innovative alliances that are driving real progress in sustainability. Protecting the environment is a high priority for many independent beer brewers - yet it's no secret that beer brewing uses significant resources and creates waste. It can take as many as seven barrels of water to make one barrel of beer. Beer also requires a significant amount of heat during the brewing process and refrigeration soon after it's made, contributing to energy waste - not to mention, the beer-making process produces plenty of wastewater and leftover grain. Over the last six years, however, brewers have been leveraging sustainability tools created by the Brewers Association, which represents around 5,400 small and independent member brewers - about half of the approximately 8,764 craft breweries in the United States. Chuck Skypeck. Courtesy of Chuck Skypeck Brewers that used the tool for four or five years consistently reduced their carbon emissions and water consumption and also saved money, Chuck Skypeck, the BA's technical brewing projects manager, told Insider. Breweries that submitted five years of consecutive data showed a steady natural-resource efficiency improvement of 1% to 2% per year, he said.Horse & Dragon Brewing Company in Fort Collins, Colorado, is one of the breweries working with the BA to become more sustainable by using a benchmarking tool the BA developed to help breweries measure their energy and water use, carbon emissions, and costs for disposing of wastewater and used grains. "We're trying to chip away at this in small ways," Carol Cochran, co-owner of Horse & Dragon and a member of the BA Sustainability Subcommittee, told Insider. Just the mere act of measuring usage is helping breweries to use less energy and resources, she said. Knowing your water usage per barrel of beer compared to a similarly sized brewery gives owners a starting point for change. "If you're way above, you can dig in and find out why or consult with other breweries in your size and area," she said.A sustainability challenge for smaller breweriesFor smaller breweries like Horse & Dragon, which will produce less than 3,000 barrels of beer this year, it can be difficult to reach the level of sustainability that larger, more efficient breweries can achieve. Carol Cochran. Courtesy of Carol Cochran For example, not every brewery can install large solar panels to offset energy use, Skypeck said. Smaller breweries like Horse & Dragon, rather, typically focus on LED use or installing a more efficient compressor to reduce energy consumption. "About 7,500 of the BA members are brewing tiny amounts of beer on a shoestring," Cochran said. "We don't have the bandwidth to do the type of research the BA funds." BA membership also gives brewers like Cochran access to lessons learned by larger brewers such as New Belgium Brewing, also in Fort Collins, which brews more than 800,000 barrels of beer each year. New Belgium is an industry leader in sustainability, claiming its Fat Tire beer is the only certified carbon-neutral brew.Larger brewers can capture emissions and reuse them to carbonate beer or during the canning or bottling process, but there aren't any systems designed yet for small-scale capture, and the technology that's available would require small brewers to use too much energy, Skypeck said. New Belgium's Fat Tire beer. New Belgium Brewing "We've learned that every brewery has individual challenges, and that if every brewer can start to measure what they're doing, they can identify where to make incremental changes," Skypeck said. He admitted that some of the BA's recommendations are simple, such as putting the brewery's lights on a timer to avoid using energy when no one's there or finding a local farm to take the brewery's used gain to use for composting and feeding livestock. But for brewers like Horse & Dragon, those small incremental changes add up over time.Embracing water conservationWith the BA's assistance, Horse & Dragon has reduced its water usage by 36.46%, Cochran said. "Water is our primary focus right now, despite it being our least expensive one, simply because of the shortages we see and hear about in the West," Cochran said. "We're constantly looking for affordable ways to conserve, reuse, and bolster the health of our watershed." The US west is in a historic drought, and in August, the US government declared a water shortage on the Colorado River, impacting water supplies in Nevada and Arizona. The city of Fort Collins is even under a water-shortage watch.Water is the main ingredient in beer, accounting for up to 95% of its content. In addition, water is used throughout the brewing process for cleaning, cooling, and packaging.Rather than just send water down the drain, the BA is teaching breweries to collect clean water and find other uses for it.When Cochran and her husband Tim were building the brewery, they consulted a larger BA member and were advised to buy an oversized hot liquor tank to capture and reuse all of the water used in the cooling process. That water travels through a heat exchanger to the hot liquor tank and is ready to be used when brewing the next batch or cleaning the tanks, she said. The brewery also collects clean water from a steam drip line on the hot liquor tank and uses it to water trees on the property.Skypeck also wants brewers to consider the quality of the water they use. The Fort Collins watershed has had two major forest fires, and when runoff hits the burn areas, it can affect the water quality, he said.Horse & Dragon is a member of BreWater, 15 Fort Collins breweries focused on local water issues, including teaching the local community how to protect the local watershed.Reducing energy use beyond LED lightsIn addition to installing LED lights, Horse & Dragon has been offsetting 100% of its energy usage since 2016 by purchasing wind power from Arcadia Power. The brewery also reduced its energy footprint by committing to use locally sourced malt and barley, eliminating the need to truck supplies from other areas. Yet, despite these efforts, as the brewery's production has increased, so has its energy consumption. "Our average monthly energy usage has increased by 10%, and we're looking at additional ways to curb it for both the environmental bottom line and the financial one - it's the most expensive of our utilities," Cochran said.Buying localThe goal is for all its beers to be made with 100% local ingredients, but Cochran admitted that it's a difficult financial calculation. While some sustainability efforts, such as using less water or generating less waste, save the brewery money, other efforts - like buying malt and barley from a local producer - cost 50% to 60% more than bulk grain from big suppliers."Unless every brewer is required to do the same, it is a hard financial decision to make," Cochran said. "We're still selling our product for a similar price as other breweries that aren't doing these things." Most brewers are reluctant to promote their sustainability efforts to consumers. "I think you run a risk of opening yourself up to legitimate criticism if you brag about the types of incremental changes you made," Cochran said.Make no mistake, Skypeck said, those small incremental changes are important. "The most sustainable way to consume a beer is in a glass that you're going to use and wash and use again," he said. In fact, he said, more than 65% of BA members don't package their beer; they just sell beer onsite at their taproom.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: smallbizSource: nytSep 24th, 2021

Helen of Troy (HELE) Up on Solid Leadership Brands & Online Sales

Helen of Troy (HELE) is focused on making solid investments in the Leadership Brands. Also, the company is gaining from its consistent online sales. Helen of Troy Limited HELE is benefiting from its Leadership Brands and strength in the online business. The company continues to focus on strategic growth efforts. These were reflected in its first-quarter fiscal 2022 results, with the top and the bottom line beating the Zacks Consensus Estimate as well as increasing year over year.The currently Zacks Rank #2 (Buy) stock has increased 7.4% in the past three months compared with the industry’s 1.8% growth.Let’s discuss further.Focus on Leadership BrandsHelen of Troy has been focused on making solid investments in its Leadership Brands, which is a portfolio of market leading brands. Brands in this portfolio are positioned well to enhance market share. Leadership Brands’ net sales increased 22.9% in the first quarter of fiscal 2022. The company’s constant investments in these brands, considered to be the most productive, have been delivering robust results. The company made another move in this direction, when it acquired Drybar Products in January 2020. As part of its strategy to focus on Leadership Brands, Helen of Troy divested its mass market Personal Care business (excluding the Latin America and Caribbean regions) to HRB Brands LLC on Jun 8.Image Source: Zacks Investment ResearchSolid Digital EffortsThe company has been gaining from consistent online sales and digital-marketing efforts. Although online sales growth moderated in the first quarter of fiscal 2022, it rose nearly 4% year over year and contributed nearly 22% to the company’s top line. Management is on track to make continued investments in this arena to keep pace with the evolving consumer environment. The company has been consistently augmenting its digital presence through sophisticated marketing plans and enhanced content.What Else is Driving Growth?Helen of Troy is making major investments in key areas to keep driving growth. To this end, it is focused on investing in consumer-centric innovations, digital marketing and media, new packaging, enhanced production and distribution capacity as well as direct-to-consumer channels among others. Management continues to invest in key growth areas as part of the Phase II Transformation efforts. In sync with the same, Helen of Troy recently finalized a land purchase in Gallaway, TN to construct a state-of-the-art distribution center.Growing the international business is also an integral part of the company’s Phase II transformation plan. Management made several investments in the second half of fiscal 2021 to support its distribution in Continental Europe and U.K. businesses among others, to boost growth in the international markets. Moreover, the company expects to create further value through strategic acquisitions in the future.We believe that such well-chalked out growth efforts and the aforementioned upsides are likely to keep Helen of Troy well positioned.Top 3 Staple PicksNu Skin Enterprises, Inc. NUS, currently carrying a Zacks Rank #2, has a trailing four-quarter earnings surprise of 15.7%, on average.You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.Medifast, Inc. MED, currently carrying a Zacks Rank #2, has a trailing four-quarter earnings surprise of 16%, on average.Sysco Corporation SYY, currently carrying a Zacks Rank #2, has a trailing four-quarter earnings surprise of 13.3%, on average. Breakout Biotech Stocks with Triple-Digit Profit Potential The biotech sector is projected to surge beyond $2.4 trillion by 2028 as scientists develop treatments for thousands of diseases. They’re also finding ways to edit the human genome to literally erase our vulnerability to these diseases. Zacks has just released Century of Biology: 7 Biotech Stocks to Buy Right Now to help investors profit from 7 stocks poised for outperformance. Recommendations from previous editions of this report have produced gains of +205%, +258% and +477%. The stocks in this report could perform even better.See these 7 breakthrough stocks now>>Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report Sysco Corporation (SYY): Free Stock Analysis Report Helen of Troy Limited (HELE): Free Stock Analysis Report Nu Skin Enterprises, Inc. (NUS): Free Stock Analysis Report MEDIFAST INC (MED): Free Stock Analysis Report To read this article on click here. Zacks Investment Research.....»»

Category: topSource: zacksSep 21st, 2021

Boeing"s most controversial plane is being used to fight climate change. See inside the new Boeing 737 Max ecoDemonstrator.

Technology being tested on the 737 Max ecoDemonstrator may be found on Boeing aircraft, both new and existing, for decades to come. An Alaska Airlines Boeing 737 Max 9 ecoDemonstrator.Thomas Pallini/Insider Boeing and Alaska Airlines are teaming up to test new technologies that aim to make the aviation industry more sustainable.  A Boeing 737 Max 9 has been outfitted with experimental technology for engineers to test.  The most viable technology may soon be found on Boeing's future aircraft.  The aviation industry is working towards a more sustainable future as airlines and aircraft manufacturers alike are being forced to examine and improve their environmental impact.An Alaska Airlines Boeing 737 Max 9 ecoDemonstrator.Andrew Mauro/Shutterstock.comAirlines are limited in how they can reduce their carbon footprint owing to a lack of availability of sustainable aviation fuels. But what airlines and aircraft manufacturers can control, to a degree, is the carbon footprint of their aircraft.An Alaska Airlines Boeing 737 Max 9 ecoDemonstrator.Thomas Pallini/InsiderBoeing's ecoDemonstrator program aims to test new technologies that can maximize aircraft efficiency. It's a win-win for airlines that get to reduce their emissions and costs while also helping Boeing make its aircraft more attractive to prospective buyers.An Alaska Airlines Boeing 737 Max 9 ecoDemonstrator.Thomas Pallini/InsiderBoeing and Alaska Airlines have teamed up to test new technologies onboard a Boeing 737 Max 9 aircraft that is Boeing’s new ecoDemonstrator. Take a closer look at the aircraft.An Alaska Airlines Boeing 737 Max 9 ecoDemonstrator.Thomas Pallini/InsiderThe Boeing 737 Max is a prime example of how existing aircraft can be upgraded with new technology that both lowers emissions and reduces costs for airlines.An Alaska Airlines Boeing 737 Max 9 ecoDemonstrator.Thomas Pallini/InsiderTwo CFM International LEAP-1B engines power the 737 Max using longer fan blades made from composite materials to reduce the rate of fuel burn by 14% compared to previous-generation engines.An Alaska Airlines Boeing 737 Max 9 ecoDemonstrator.Thomas Pallini/InsiderAnd on the wings, new "advanced technology" winglets increase the aerodynamic efficiency of the aircraft using laminar fuel that also contributes to a reduction in fuel burn.An Alaska Airlines Boeing 737 Max 9 ecoDemonstrator.Thomas Pallini/InsiderBut Boeing is looking to get granular with its aircraft as even a 20-pound weight reduction can have a big impact on performance and efficiency.An Alaska Airlines Boeing 737 Max 9 ecoDemonstrator.Thomas Pallini/InsiderOne seemingly minor but useful innovation is the low-profile anti-collision light to replace the convention anti-collision light that's a required feature on airliners.An Alaska Airlines Boeing 737 Max 9 ecoDemonstrator.Thomas Pallini/InsiderLocated on the belly of the aircraft, the anti-collision light is a minor fixture of the aircraft that extends a mere four inches from the fuselage. Its presence, however, disrupts the smooth flow of air under the aircraft ever so slightly and causes drag.An aircraft landing at night.motive56/Shutterstock.comBoeing wants to make the light almost flush with the fuselage to improve airflow and reduce drag along the airframe, as well as keep the light's infrastructure on the inside of the aircraft to shield it from the extreme conditions of flight.An Alaska Airlines Boeing 737 Max 9 ecoDemonstrator.Thomas Pallini/InsiderThe change might seem minor but will have an impact on how much fuel an aircraft will burn in a given flight, as well as how often an airline might need to repair anti-collision lights.An Alaska Airlines Boeing 737 Max 9 ecoDemonstrator.Thomas Pallini/Insider"It's a very minor drag reduction but it all adds up to a more efficient airplane," Chad Lloyd, Boeing's manager for the ecoDemonstrator program, said.An Alaska Airlines Boeing 737 Max 9 ecoDemonstrator.Thomas Pallini/InsiderInside the engine, Boeing is testing acoustic treatments that aim to reduce the noise levels of an aircraft for the benefit of people on the ground.An Alaska Airlines Boeing 737 Max 9 ecoDemonstrator.Thomas Pallini/Insider"We're testing new technologies to put acoustic treatments in parts of the engine that have never been able to accommodate those treatments before," Addison Salzman of the ecoDemonstrator program said. A large microphone array the size of a football field is then used to test the noise levels.An Alaska Airlines Boeing 737 Max 9 ecoDemonstrator.Thomas Pallini/InsiderBoeing is also testing alternatives to halon as an engine fire extinguisher, as liquefied gas has been banned in the US and can no longer be produced. The ecoDemonstrator has been leading the charge on testing new extinguishing agents.An Alaska Airlines Boeing 737 Max 9 ecoDemonstrator.Thomas Pallini/InsiderRows of traditional airplane seats fill the ecoDemonstrator's cabin in part to match the weight of an airliner and also to fly Boeing's test engineers around the world.An Alaska Airlines Boeing 737 Max 9 ecoDemonstrator.Thomas Pallini/InsiderBoeing is testing the use of carbon fiber sidewalls that are lighter than traditional materials. The carbon fiber is recycled from the production of the Boeing 787 Dreamliner and is 20% lighter than current materials, resulting in 20 to 30 pounds of weight savings.An Alaska Airlines Boeing 737 Max 9 ecoDemonstrator.Thomas Pallini/Insider"One of our goals as an airframe manufacturer is to make aircraft lighter," Lloyd said. "Lighter airplanes result in less fuel burn, which results in less emissions into the atmosphere."An Alaska Airlines Boeing 737 Max 9 ecoDemonstrator.Thomas Pallini/InsiderMicrophones in the cabin also test the noise-reducing capabilities of carbon fiber compared to traditional materials.An Alaska Airlines Boeing 737 Max 9 ecoDemonstrator.Thomas Pallini/InsiderMonitoring stations in the front half of the aircraft allow flight test engineers to monitor and review data, while also monitoring the safety of the flight test aircraft during missions.An Alaska Airlines Boeing 737 Max 9 ecoDemonstrator.Thomas Pallini/Insider"The things that we do here through airline partners and others help inform things that will go on our next airplanes and also improvements that will go on our existing airplanes," Chris Raymond, Boeing's chief sustainability officer, said.An Alaska Airlines Boeing 737 Max 9 ecoDemonstrator.Thomas Pallini/InsiderBoeing launched the EcoDemonstrator program in 2012 with the goal of testing multiple technologies using a single plane, replacing the prior practice of using one aircraft to test one technology at a time.An Alaska Airlines Boeing 737 Max 9 ecoDemonstrator.Thomas Pallini/InsiderAlaska Airlines's Boeing 737 Max 9 is serving as the eighth aircraft in the role. The previous ecoDemonstrators include the Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner, Boeing 757, Boeing 777-200, Boeing 777 Freighter, and Boeing 737 aircraft.An Alaska Airlines Boeing 737 Max 9 ecoDemonstrator.Thomas Pallini/InsiderThe ecoDemonstrator program in its 10-year history has already yielded results that can be found on Boeing aircraft. The advanced technology winglet that is found on all 737 Max aircraft originated from the ecoDemonstrator program.A Boeing 737 Max aircraft.AP Photo/Ted S. WarrenBoeing has tested around 225 technologies on ecoDemonstrator aircraft, with around a third being implemented by the manufacturer on new aircraft as well as service solutions it offers.An Alaska Airlines Boeing 737 Max 9 ecoDemonstrator.Thomas Pallini/InsiderTechnology that's tested on the ecoDemonstrator might not see deployment on a new Boeing plane for years to come. Though, some technologies have been able to make it from ecoDemonstrator to a new aircraft in as little as two years.An Alaska Airlines Boeing 737 Max 9 ecoDemonstrator.Thomas Pallini/InsiderBut the findings that Boeing makes will enable next-generation aircraft to offer additional fuel savings and reduce the harmful emissions that impact the environment.An Alaska Airlines Boeing 737 Max 9 ecoDemonstrator.Thomas Pallini/InsiderThe real breakthrough will come once the code is cracked on alternative and sustainable aviation fuels.An Alaska Airlines Boeing 737 Max 9 ecoDemonstrator.Thomas Pallini/Insider"If we can move to 100% sustainable aviation fuel, we can see an 80% reduction in [carbon dioxide] emissions," Lloyd said.An Alaska Airlines Boeing 737 Max 9 ecoDemonstrator.Thomas Pallini/InsiderDespite the Boeing 737 Max being a fully certified aircraft, the ecoDemonstrator is classified as "experimental" because of the non-standard technology being treated onboard.An Alaska Airlines Boeing 737 Max 9 ecoDemonstrator.Thomas Pallini/InsiderAnd once this aircraft's time as the ecoDemonstrator is finished, it will join the Alaska Airlines fleet flying passengers around the US, Caribbean, and Central America.An Alaska Airlines Boeing 737 Max 9 ecoDemonstrator.Thomas Pallini/InsiderRead the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderJan 23rd, 2022