Reducing Emissions From Burps to Burgers

Reducing Emissions From Burps to Burgers

October 5, 2020

Fifty years ago, the Economist Nobel Laureate Milton Friedman wrote an article in the New York Times Magazine in which he stated that organizations cannot have “social responsibility”; only individuals can.  The role of a private corporation is to maximize shareholder value while acting ethically and within legal constraints.

Today, business leaders increasingly have a larger viewpoint of their responsibilities, referring to “stakeholders”, which includes customers, suppliers, employees and communities in which they operate.  On occasion, the sometimes disparate goals overlap, and a company can do good while also serving shareholder interests.  The use of Agolin as a natural feed additive represents one such example.

Livestock represent a significant contributor to greenhouse gases, at 14.5% of global emissions (2/3 from cattle).  With the U.S. representing the world’s largest beef consumer, American cattle herds’ burping and flatulence represent a big share of pollution.

Agolin is a natural feed additive that inhibits animal gas and may increase production.  Already demonstrated with growing use in Europe, American farmers are just starting to experiment with the new feed as new competitors enter a market poised to reach $1 – 2+ billion by 2030 (or faster by other estimates). Continue reading

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The Reusable Origami Bottle

The Reusable Origami Bottle

July 27, 2020

The reusable bottle may never be the same.  DiFOLD has developed a bottle that is collapsible, and named it the Origami bottle.

One use of this bottle is for water.  The bottle can be folded easily and carried in collapsed form in a backpack or purse.  The user can then fill the container from a drinking fountain or refill station.  This would eliminate the need to purchase a plastic bottle of water.

The Origami bottle offers several features.  It is made from a plant-based material, whereas many competitor products use petroleum in their production.  This bottle’s material is easily recycled.  It is also durable.

Another use of this product is to refill it with other liquids besides water, leading to the nickname of ‘the Milk Man model’.   Although not as common today, at one point in time it was very common for milk to be delivered in reusable glass bottles.  The origami bottle hopes to replicate this approach by having customers bring back the bottle to the store to be refilled at the store.  Or it could be returned in collapsed form to a facility to be refilled.


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Rare Earth Elements and the Triple Bottom Line

Rare Earth Elements and the Triple Bottom Line

July 10, 2020

COVID-19’s impact on supply chains has brought attention to the United States’ reliance on China and other countries for manufacturing critical items using Rare Earth Elements (REE).

REE materials are needed to make hybrid car batteries, computer touch screens, and special magnets used in the defense of the nation. The issue arose from environmental regulations that begin in the 1960s to the 1980s.  As costs rose to make products using REE in the United States, manufacturing shifted to other countries.


Video Spotlight: 


This post is based on the Supply Chain Brain article, It’s Time to Reconsider the Math on Rare Earth Elements, by Shubho Chatterjee and Joe Carson, May 19, 2020, and the YouTube videos in the Spotlight. Image source: Peter Sobolev/Shutterstock

Discussion Questions:

1.  What are options that the United States could consider to reshore REE manufacturing capability?

Guidance: REE manufacturing left the United States in part due to Triple Bottom Line considerations several decades ago.  This is a good general discussion question.  Students may argue Continue reading

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