18 декабря 2017, 00:37

«Нормальный бизнес не построить на поддержке правительства»

Слияние крупнейших мировых производителей цемента – швейцарской Holcim и французской Lafarge – завершилось в 2015 г. В сделку вошли и активы в России – цементные заводы и карьеры по добыче нерудных материалов. Из-за экономического кризиса в России и падения спроса на цемент LafargeHolcim решила законсервировать завод в Воскресенске, что позволило больше загрузить два оставшихся, рассказал в интервью «Ведомостям» гендиректор «LafargeHolcim Россия» Гильермо Бруско. Избавляться от воскресенского завода и других российских активов компания не собирается, ожидая восстановления спроса.

06 октября 2017, 21:09

Ricardo Hausmann on the Venezuelan Tragedy, by David Henderson

The Financial Times has an excellent interview with economist Ricardo Hausmann on the Chavez and Maduro-created tragedy that is Venezuela. HT2 Timothy Taylor, aka, the Conversable Economist. The whole thing is worth reading. With help from a good interviewer, Cardiff Garcia, Hausmann, an economics professor at Harvard's Kennedy School, gives a good narrative about the changes in economic policy that took Venezuela from being one of the economic jewels of South America to being arguably, if the numbers are adjusted for reality, one of the poorest countries in South America. Short summary of economic policy: price controls, profligate government spending, and expropriations with the attendant disrespect for property rights. Short summary of political strategy: Chavez overthrows Venezuela's constraints on presidential power and he and his successor jail political opponents and critics. Now some highlights. The trouble started way before Chavez So it was a magnet. It was wealthy, prosperous. It used massively its resources to invest in infrastructure. When democracy came along it prioritised education, health, public housing. And it was a fairly prosperous place. University education was free. Not only primary and secondary but university education was free. There was very cheap access to electricity, water and so on. So it was a fairly prosperous place. When in 1973, 74 the price of oil went up, then the country had these grandiose plans. Very much State centric at the time. State owned enterprises in steel, aluminium, ship-building and all sorts of other things that ended up in very bad failures, and the 1980s was a very, very difficult period in Venezuela. Chavez's consolidation of power Well, in the first couple of years he was focused on changing the constitution in order to create a much more powerful Presidency, with a much longer period and with a possibility of re-election, with a single chamber in the legislative branch instead of two, so as to make it more pliant. And with the ability to scrap all the judicial system and start from scratch. So he concentrated his first couple of years in consolidating political power. He did not change the economics much. He left the same Finance Minister that [previous President Rafael] Caldera had, Maritza Izaguirre, and there was no discernible change in policies. Then in the year 2000, with the new constitution, he got re-elected and there he started to move a little bit more on the economic front, and in one day he asked the more-pliant-now National Assembly to grant him the power to pass laws through Presidential Decree. And on one day he passed 48 laws through a Decree. No-one had read the laws. Nobody had discussed the laws. That led to a massive protest movement, and that massive protest movement ended up unseating him for something like 48 hours, and then his popularity had actually collapsed and things were not looking well for him. Government spending on "social" programs and their intellectual origin And there he [Chavez] started to use oil money to massively expand social programmes. These social programmes were mostly designed by Cuba, in Cuba, with significant Cuban advice. And he started to spend a lot of the increasing oil money in that. Price controls, exchange controls, and import controls--and Chavez's motive So they used exchange controls, price controls, import controls as a way of keeping control on the private sector -- as a way of making the private sector pliant and dependent on bureaucratic decisions of the State. And there I think Sebastian Edwards' model of saying: Okay, what we are going to do now is we are going to expand spending, this is not going to generate inflation because we're going to have price controls, and this is not going to generate a balance of payments crisis because we have import controls... But that, mixed with the fact that they could borrow internationally, and they borrowed internationally in massive amounts. In incredibly massive amounts. The collapse of the oil industry that reads like a precis of a chapter in Atlas Shrugged Let me just give you a sense of the magnitude of the mismanagement of the oil industry. In 1998, the year before Chávez got elected, or the year in which in December of that year Chávez got elected and he took power in February 1999. In 1998, Venezuela produced 3.7 million barrels of oil [per day]. Today it's producing about two. If Venezuela had maintained its market share in the world oil industry -- which it could have because it had infinite reserves, it had the largest reserves in the world -- it would be producing two million barrels more than it is currently producing. With the same market share. So the collapse is immense relative to history, and it's immense relative to this opportunity cost of where it should have gone had it just kept its market share the way it was. That collapse of the oil industry happened in two steps. First, all the know-how of that industry, centuries of man-years of experience was lost in the firing of these people. They were not only fired but persecuted, so most of them left the country. Many of them left the country. And they caused, for example, an oil boom in Colombia [where many of them moved to]. Colombia went from producing 200,000 barrels of oil [per day] to a million barrels of oil thanks to the fact that Venezuelans knew how to extract much more oil from the fields that Colombia was already exploiting. So there was a massive loss of human capital. They also wanted to create a politically conscious oil company, so they started to put an enormous amount of social programmes and other things on the books of PDVSA, the oil company. And as a consequence they starved the company from investment and they ran the company in an amazingly corrupt way, and this is really not just talk about corruption but evidence of corruption in massive ways. There were these foreign oil companies... These foreign oil companies have been complaining to the government that they want to wrest control of the procurement of oil projects because they know that this procurement is being done at multiples of what things should cost. There's people that have been found in the US owning hundreds of millions of Dollars of money that has been laundered out of PDVSA and so on. Chavez's wave of nationalizations Exchange controls and price controls were put in 2004. Chávez won re-election in 2006. And in early 2007 he announced that he was now going to move towards socialism, and he started with a spree of nationalisations. In those days the price of oil was very high, so he could afford to just buy everything that moved or that he fancied. So for example he nationalised the telephone company that was owned by Verizon. He nationalised the three cement companies that were owned by the Mexicans, Cemex, Holcim and Lafarge. He nationalised one of the largest banks, which was owned at the time by Banco Santander. He nationalised the supermarket chain. He nationalised 3.7 million hectares of land. So he went on an expropriation spree. At the beginning, when he had money, he would pay for things, and then if these were things owned by people he didn't like, he would just expropriate and not pay for them. So he changed the contracts of the oil companies in a way that essentially extracted part of the expected cash flows out of them, and many of them accepted but a few of them, Exxon, Conoco Phillips and so on sued. And these suits are now being adjudicated by the International Court for the Settlement of Investment Disputes, and these investment disputes in Washington now add up to $16 billion of claims. Of expropriations that he didn't pay for. And these are only the foreigners. He expropriated the service companies that provided services to the oil company, because they started to protest that they were not being paid so instead of paying he just expropriated them. Another chapter out of Atlas Shrugged So he took over significant chunks of the Venezuelan economy, and the typical thing is that the moment they took over a company, they ran it to the ground. Production collapsed. They nationalised the steel company. The steel company at the time of nationalisation was producing 4.5 million tons of steel with 5,000 workers. It now has 22,000 workers but it's producing something like 200,000 tons of steel. So they ran those companies to the ground. Aluminium is almost not done any more, when Venezuela was producing about a million tons of aluminium back when... So essentially they expropriated the economy and collapsed it on the public sector. And in the private sector they created all these constraints and this enormous uncertainty over property rights because everybody else was being expropriated and you never knew when it would be your turn. Owens-Illinois was a company making bottles. They were expropriated. Why bottles? Another company making detergents was expropriated. Why detergents? So everybody else would not know when would his turn come up. The effect of the Venezuelan government's interventions on living standards So as a consequence, incomes per capita have collapsed to a degree that it is hard to transmit and understand, and that collapse in private incomes is accompanied by a collapse in public services like healthcare for example. They are just beyond belief. People have been writing pieces that I'm sure are going to win a Pulitzer Prize, because it's just astonishing how life expectancy rates, how the prevalence of diseases that had been eradicated... Venezuela was the first country to eradicate malaria back in 1961. Even before the US did. And malaria is back big time. Measles is back big time. There are no drugs for HIV. There are no drugs for hypertension. There are no machines to do dialysis. There are no cancer drugs. So there's been an incredible collapse in health standards. And as you know, Caracas is the highest murder city of the world. It beats Central American countries which come second and third as the most violent city in the world. So that is what's happened to the collapse in living standards. The awful role of lenders, including Goldman Sachs So you think of capital markets as being angels for good in the world. But when capital markets have to deal with a government that is willing to compromise future cash flows for any cash up front, and it's not using the resources to create any good things for the future, then you're giving money to an authoritarian regime to mismanage in the short run and you are condemning the future of the country with obligations that they will not be able to afford to pay. So that's why I call them hunger bonds. A very clear example that prompted this was Goldman Sachs lending the government $850 million at an interest rate of 50%. No-one has a project that pays 50%. So the government has $850 million now, then they have to pay an amount going forward that they will not have the resources to pay it with. Because they're not using the money in any investment programme that will be able to pay for that debt. That debt is just to prop up the current regime, and in my mind that makes that debt odious. It's a debt of the regime, it's not a debt that should bind the people of a country, because the regime does not represent the people and the regime cannot commit the future of the country. The people's future. Trump's sanctions, surprise, surprise, haven't made things better Cardiff Garcia: Any potential restructuring now is further complicated by the US sanctions enacted since that initial interview was taped. The sanctions which have made it very hard, maybe impossible, for US investors to enter into any new exchange of bonds that would happen as part of a restructuring. The government's attacks on Hausmann and a close relative Then obviously the government has attacked me for writing op-eds, or they accuse me of these fancy conspiracy theories of all kinds. But the truth is they haven't been able to grab me but they have been able to put my brother-in-law in jail for being a journalist. So that in itself was also a very traumatic experience for the whole family. So I would say this repression, this oppression, this destruction of dreams has been a very disrupting element of my life these last few years. . . . No, he's under house arrest. After spending seven months in very, very inhumane conditions. My one little criticism is that it would have been nice for Cardiff to draw Hausmann out on something that virtually every economist knows, but some readers do not: there is no mystery in why shelves in supermarkets are empty: price controls cause shortages and extreme price controls cause extreme shortages. (11 COMMENTS)

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27 апреля 2017, 17:46

A giant cement firm may have unwittingly funded Islamic State

KEEPING cool in the heat of war is not easy. That might help explain why LafargeHolcim, a French-Swiss cement-maker, blundered so badly while running operations in Syria as fighting raged. On April 24th the firm said that its chief executive, Eric Olsen, will go, a casualty of a growing scandal over its activities in the country. The board of the world’s biggest cement producer stated only last month that Mr Olsen was not responsible for, nor aware of, wrongdoing by the firm in Syria. But public pressure has been increasing, notably after Jean-Luc Mélenchon, a left-wing candidate in France’s presidential election, attacked the firm and its “damned cement” in a television debate on April 4th. François Fillon, a pro-business rival, agreed the firm should be punished if allegations against it proved to be true. At issue is the activity of Lafarge before the firm’s merger with its Swiss rival, Holcim, in 2015. In 2010 Lafarge had built a cement factory of 240 workers for $680m near Kobane, a north Syrian town. Operations there continued until 2014, long after the violence began in 2011. The firm evacuated foreigners in 2012; local workers fled in September...

24 апреля 2017, 17:39

Крупнейший производитель цемента в мире лишился руководителя из-за выплат сирийским боевикам

LafargeHolcim признала, что в 2013 году были приняты «неприемлемые» меры для продолжения работы завода в Джалабии

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24 апреля 2017, 16:47

Head of Holcim Steps Down Due to Reports that Company Funded Terror Groups in Syria

About a year ago, a French foreign minister tipped off authorities about Swiss-French cement giant, Holcim-Lafarge, in regards to their activities in Syria. It was alleged, and then proven, that managers in their Syrian plant were 'paying off' terror groups in order to stay in business, continuing to supply groups in Syria with the much needed concrete that was being used to rebuild after the destruction of war demanded it. Human rights groups, led by Sherpa and 11 former employees of Lafarge in Syria, filed suit to hold the world's largest producer of concrete accountable. “It appears from the investigation that the local company provided funds to third parties to work out arrangements with a number of these armed groups, including sanctioned parties, in order to maintain operations and ensure safe passage of employees and supplies to and from the plant. In hindsight, the measures required to continue operations at the plant were unacceptable...the investigation revealed significant errors of judgment that are inconsistent with the applicable code of conduct.” The CEO of Holcim, Eric Olsen, announced he'd be stepping down today, not because he did anything wrong, but to bring 'serenity' to the wholesome Swiss-French company. In a statement, Mr. Olsen said he was "driven by my conviction that it will contribute to addressing strong tensions that have recently arisen around the Syria case". "While I was absolutely not involved in, nor even aware of, any wrongdoing I believe my departure will contribute to bringing back serenity to a company that has been exposed for months on this case," he added. The Syrian factory in question was started in 2010, costing $680m. It stopped operating in 2014, after work in the region became untenable, due to the war. In Holcim's internal report on the matter, they said "very simply, chaos reigned and it was the task of local management to ensure that the intermediaries did whatever was necessary to secure its supply chain and the free movement of its employees." Holcim's stock peaked in June of 2014 at 78.9 chf, right around the time they closed down the Syrian plant. Shares are now trading in the mid 50s. Content originally published at iBankCoin.com

17 апреля 2017, 14:00

The 3 Stages of a Country Embracing Renewable Energy

The world is undergoing a transformation in how it gets its power. In Germany, we have a word for it: Energiewende. It means energy turning point. (We use the same word Wende to describe the fall of the Berlin Wall and all the dramatic changes that came with it.) In this transformation, we are witnessing the decarbonization of power consumption, thanks to the large-scale deployment of renewable energy sources such as wind and solar. Earlier this year, the European Union announced that its climate and renewable energy targets—a 20% cut in greenhouse gas emissions, 20% of EU energy from renewable sources, and a 20% improvement in energy efficiency—are actually on track to realization by the year 2020. At the same time, we’re also seeing the decentralization of power production. For example, in Germany, more than 1.5 million households supply their own electricity, either for self-consumption or directly to the central grid. In 2015, around 40% of new PV installations were accompanied by a battery. In the nation’s rural areas, more than 180 bioenergy villages have taken responsibility for their own electricity generation. Similarly, in cities, energy and housing associations are installing PV panels on multi-unit buildings, and the German ministry of economics and energy estimates around 3.8 million apartments could be supplied with PV panels placed on their rooftops. Industry players have realized the marketing and cost-saving potential, too: automaker BMW powers the plant where it manufactures the i3 and i8 electric vehicles with a 10 MW wind park, and discount retailer Aldi Süd has installed photovoltaic panels on 1,000 supermarkets. In 2016,renewable, intermittent energy sources contributed more than 30% to gross electricity generation. Besides the environmental benefits, there are huge implications for the manufacturing sector and for national competitiveness. Countries that manage to transition effectively to low-carbon generation technologies will be home to competitive energy solutions and manufacturing firms that are more resilient to energy shocks and weather disruptions. That’s why so many countries are moving ahead with ambitious plans in this sector. In 2016, China installed 34 gigawatts (GW) of PV-panel-driven renewable power capacity. In January, the country’s energy agency announced that it will invest $361 billion to shift from smog-generating coal power to renewables. India plans to install 100 GW by 2022, up from 4.9 GW of new installations in 2016. The United Arab Emirates is investing $163 billion in renewable energy projects, with a target of meeting nearly half of its power needs with renewables by 2050. Morocco aims to do so by 2030. In two chief regions in Australia, rooftop PV penetration has already reached 30 percent. Around the world in 2015, additions of renewable power capacity outpaced other forms of electricity generation—coal, gas, oil, and nuclear—combined. While regulatory policy, implementation, and rollout may differ from country to country, decentralization typically encompasses three phases. Each brings its own challenges. Countries in the first phase, which we call “Energiewende 1.0,” focus on promoting renewable energies, such as solar, wind, biomass, or geothermal energy. Regulatory incentives include instruments like requiring utilities to source a small portion of their generation from renewable sources. Countries with a strong manufacturing base, such as China or Germany, may have a secondary objective: establishing a domestic manufacturing base for the respective renewable technology. During this first phase of development, the total contribution of renewable power generation hovers below critical thresholds. The electricity infrastructure can cope with the additional, intermittent strain on the distribution network. Supply and demand remain largely unaffected. Some countries such as Denmark and Germany have already entered the second phase, “Energiewende 2.0,” which is characterized by a large share of intermittent, weather-dependent power sources. In Germany, we have a word for the cloudiest days when the wind is not blowing very hard: Dunkelflaute. It means “dark doldrums.” Dealing with days like these — when both wind and solar power generation is very low – must be part of the equation as regulators and industry introduce more renewable power into a system originally designed for more flexible electric power generators such as gas-fired plants. During this second phase, grid operators frequently have to intervene to keep the electricity grid in balance. For example, interventions in Germany’s largest transmission grid operated by private company TenneT increased from fewer than 10 interventions per year in 2003 to almost 1,400 interventions in 2015. In the third phase, which is yet to come for any country, we predict that the electricity supply industry will be forced to leave its roots as a public infrastructure service and become truly private businesses, with customized solutions for each producer and consumer. This seems like the natural end-game for the broader decentralization patterns we’re observing. Thus markets entering “Energiewende 3.0” will have to answer two major questions. Who will bear the costs of expensive high-voltage transmission infrastructure if most supply is organized on a local or individual level? And how can governments steer the transition from a public to a private infrastructure, in particular the co-existence of both a central network and decentralized solutions? Many governments still hesitate to foster the transition to decentralized power generation structures. It’s not easy, as the financial turmoil of major European power companies demonstrates. But electric utilities have been learning to adapt to these new realities of decentralized supply. They’re beginning to offer bundled services and package solutions instead of simply selling electrons by the kilowatt hour. We believe it is only a matter of time until flat rates for electricity become the standard. Private-sector solutions are stepping up to meet market needs, too. So-called aggregators are now bundling the energy input of individual households to sell on wholesale markets. And demand-response providers identify companies that can temporarily switch off part of their electricity consumption—increasing the elasticity of demand to keep the grid balanced. ReSTORE, the European market leader in demand response, has already attracted more than 125 large industrial and commercial consumers, including heavyweights such as petrochemical company Total, steel producer ArcelorMittal,  and cement manufacturer Holcim. Compensation paid to these manufacturers can amount to more than 100,000 euros per year per megawatt of avoided energy consumption. Countries in the developing world that have historically struggled to electrify their rural areas may be able to jump ahead to the third phase more quickly. In these markets, entrepreneurs recognize opportunities in the absence of public sector solutions. For example, Bangladeshi startup SOLshare establishes peer-to-peer microgrids that deliver solar power to households and businesses. That enables people to become solar entrepreneurs, because they can trade excess electricity for profit. Whether via community initiative, entrepreneurial disruption, or traditional supplier adaptation, the global energy transformation is underway. Inevitably, it will affect national and industry competitiveness. Manufacturers and businesses have a large stake in managing this transition effectively, whether they’re driving the changes—or simply benefitting from the flexible, decentralized system.

26 марта 2017, 14:35

Мировой лидер по производству стройматериалов Lafarge-Holcim и терроризм, Тьерри Мейсан

Мы начинаем публикацию серии статей по вопросам из недавно вышедшей книги Тьерри Мейсана «От 11 сентября до Дональда Трампа». Жан-Люк Меланшон во время предвыборных дебатов упомянул компанию Lafarge-Holcim, поэтому мы начнём с рассказа о том, чем на самом деле занималась эта компания в Сирии.

25 марта 2017, 09:49

Мировой лидер по производству стройматериалов Lafarge-Holcim и терроризм

Lafarge является мировым лидером по производству цемента. По заказу НАТО в Сирии компания обеспечивает строительство бункеров для джихадистов, а в Ираке осуществляет восстановительные работы на суннитской территории. В ответ Lafarge передаёт Альянсу управление своими предприятиями, расположенными на территории этих стран.

22 ноября 2016, 04:15

What Is Your Theory Of Change?

By Andrew J. Hoffman, Holcim (US) Professor of Sustainable Enterprise and Education Director at the Graham Sustainability Institute at the University of Michigan We all have a theory of change. When we ask our partner to change dinner plans for the evening, when we approach our professor to change a grade, when we work for a company and try to shift strategy, we are working from a personal theory of what needs to change and why, and, importantly, how change takes place. That theory reflects how we see the world and how we engage with it. It defines who we are and how we will accomplish our life's work. I want to offer two reflections on the question "What is your theory of change?" The first begins with a quote from E.B. White, the author of Charlotte's Web: "Every morning I awake torn between a desire to save the world and an inclination to savor it. This makes it hard to plan the day." I know I feel this same tension, and perhaps you do, too. We live in the world and are the product of it, and yet we want to push it in new directions. It's a hard balance to strike. Many issues we face are not just contests between competing factions in society. In many ways, the contest is within each of us, challenging us to question taken for granted assumptions or own worldviews. In that sense, we are all in this together, faced with the same challenge. And that leads me to my second reflection. A theory of change is more than a single question about how change happens. It must also reflect what we are changing and where we want to end up. A complete theory of change has three parts: a statement of the current reality, a desired future, and a path to get from one to the other. Let me take each of them in turn. What is your statement of reality? As an example, over the past few years the stock market has been reaching new heights. Is that the world you see? Or do you also recognize that unemployment remains frustratingly static and income inequality is widening? Do you see that sustainability is going mainstream, as evidenced by the proliferation of annual sustainability reports, chief sustainability officers, and sustainable products? Or do you recognize that many of the sustainability concerns that these efforts are supposed to resolve continue to get worse? Carbon dioxide levels are rising past critical thresholds. Man-made chemicals permeate our environment. What kind of a world do you see? Heed the warning of John F. Kennedy, who said, "All too often, we enjoy the comfort of opinion without the discomfort of thought." Learn the science; understand the issues. It represents a challenge to deepen your education on the issues you care about, whatever your chosen field. I see a world in which we have entered what geophysicists call the Anthropocene, a geological epoch made distinct from all others by the global influence of human beings on the natural environment. Whether we like it or not, we now play a major role in the operation of many of the Earth's systems. This is a fundamental shift in how I think about myself and the world in which I am a part. Is climate change real? Are GMOs safe? Is nuclear power feasible? Should we geoengineer the ecosystem? Your statement of reality will be the foundation of your life's work. What is your desired future? What kind of world do you want to help create? Where do you want to take us? I would hope that in seeing clearly the present reality, you will not stop at lamenting our current problems. Instead, I challenge you to look beyond those problems to a future that is optimistic and attractive, one that includes a life of meaning, security, prosperity, and happiness for ourselves, our children, all of humankind, and all of nature. That is bold work. As the Welsh writer Raymond Williams once said, "To be truly radical is to make hope possible, not despair convincing." We have no shortage of cynics in today's world; that is not a resource that we need more of. In their essay The Death of Environmentalism, Michael Shellenberger and Ted Nordhaus point out that negative messages do not motivate people to follow a leader. Martin Luther King, Jr., did not give a speech called "I Have a Nightmare," but rather "I Have a Dream." Leaders inspire people to action by creating a vision of a desirable future, not by scaring them with warnings that the end is near. What future do you see? I want you to think about that, and think about it hard. It will be the goal of your life's work. What is the path that will take us from one to the other? This is where your theory of change starts to become clear. My hope is that you will reject convenient black-and-white, binary statements about the problems that we now face. It is far too easy to proclaim that we have the truth and that others are not only wrong, but perhaps even malicious and evil. The thirteenth-century Muslim mystic and philosopher Ibn al-Arabi wrote: "Do not attach yourself to any particular creed exclusively, so that you may disbelieve all the rest; otherwise you will lose much good, nay, you will fail to recognize the real truth of the matter." While al-Arabi was talking about religion, his words can be applied to many of today's problems, which do not reside in one discipline (business, science, religion, or engineering) nor in one worldview (Democrat, Republican, libertarian, independent, or socialist). We need to work for the elusive middle way by understanding all sides of the issues we care about and the text and subtext of seemingly simple ideas; we must not pass judgment easily, but instead see the complex fabric--and therefore the complex solutions--with tolerance and compassion. We need to be able to speak to and work with all kinds of people, even those whose worldviews we do not share, if we are to find common solutions to our common problems. There is no other way. Dogmatism and absolutism will not get us there. To really lead people to a place we need to go, and some may be rightly afraid to go, you can't just know the right thing to do. You also need to feel it deeply. You have to feel it to believe it, for, if you don't believe it, you will never convince others to go where you seek to lead them. The way forward begins with you, within you. When I say that your theory of change must be founded in reality, I don't only mean that you need to be informed about the real world, but also that you must find a way to draw your inspiration from that world. I started this chapter with a few words from E.B. White. Let me now present the complete quote for you to ponder. "Every morning I awake torn between a desire to save the world and an inclination to savor it. This makes it hard to plan the day. But if we forget to savor the world, what possible reason do we have for saving it? In a way savoring must come first." Andrew J. Hoffman is the Holcim (US) Professor of Sustainable Enterprise at the Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan. This essay is based on the book Finding Purpose: Environmental Stewardship as a Personal Calling (2016) by Andrew J. Hoffman. Available from Greenleaf Publishing. -- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

19 сентября 2016, 21:10

What is Your Model of Leadership?

By Andrew J. Hoffman, Holcim (US) Professor of Sustainable Enterprise and Education Director at the Graham Sustainability Institute at the University of Michigan I play in a casual summer golf league that is as much about beer-drinking banter as it is about hitting a golf ball. We don't generally talk about work. But one day Gregg, a fellow golfer, asked me, "Hey Andy, what do you do for a living anyway?" I told him that I was a professor and that I studied environmental issues. He asked, "Do you mean like climate change? That's not real, is it?" I told him that the science was quite compelling and that I believed that the issue was real. His next question was, "Are you a Democrat or a Republican?" I told him that I was an independent. He replied, "So what do you think about Al Gore?" I told him that I thought Gore had called needed attention to climate change but that perceptions of him unfortunately also helped to polarize it as a partisan issue. I think about that conversation often. Gregg was not challenging my ideas; he was questioning my motives. He was trying to find out if he could trust me enough to listen to what I had to say -- to figure out if I was part of his cultural community, his "tribe." I can imagine the hesitation he may have had in broaching this topic. Might I turn condescending and give him a science lecture, challenging his lack of deep knowledge on the issue while asserting my own? Would I begin to judge him and his lifestyle, critiquing his choice of car, house, vacation habits, or any one of the multitude of unsustainable activities that we all undertake? Might I begin to pontificate on the politics of the issue, complaining about the partisan divide between Republicans and Democrats or the corporate influence on our political system? These are all plausible and unpleasant scenarios that lead people to avoid discussing climate change. Indeed, according to a 2013 survey by the Yale Project on Climate Change Communication, two-thirds of Americans rarely if ever discuss global warming with family or friends. It seems to have joined sex, politics, and religion as topics to be avoided in polite company. Still, you have probably had a conversation -- or, as is often the case, a heated argument -- with someone about a similarly controversial issue. It's worth asking what we are trying to get out of these discussions. Are we trying to change "hearts and minds," or are we trying to make a point? Do we want to allow people a face-saving way to come to their own conclusions, or do we want to win, forcing them to acquiesce? In short, how do you want to lead people to hear your point of view? What is your personal model of leadership? This is a question we all have to ask ourselves. While you learn about the work that needs to be done to bring about a sustainable world, you also have to learn about how people change the way they think. Jeff Pfeffer once quoted Richard Nixon when he said: It is not enough for a leader to know the right thing. He must be able to do the right thing. The ... leader without the judgment or perception to make the right decisions fails for lack of vision. The one who knows the right thing but cannot achieve it fails because he is ineffectual. The great leader needs ... the capacity to achieve. How do you want to achieve? How do you want to lead? The answers will be as individual as each person reading this. Look around you to the leaders you admire; each has a different way of convincing, of leading. You have to find yours. I, for example, have chosen the role of professor; I try to inspire my students through my teaching, and others through my written and spoken words as an academic. As with all roles, mine has both limitations and opportunities. Every professor comes to a point in their lives when they ask, "What is my legacy? What did I accomplish?" We professors can measure our impact by the number of papers we have published in academic journals, and how many times those papers have been cited, but that is not very satisfying. How did we change the way people think? We have no way to measure that. The answer to that question resides in our students and those who read our work or hear us speak. In defining your own theory of leadership, you have to build the trust of those you are trying to influence, create a vision for the direction we might go, and understand how to overcome people's fears and convince them to follow. This is not easy! In 2014, J.B. MacKinnon, author of The Once and Future World, was arrested for protesting a pipeline that energy company Kinder Morgan was attempting to build in British Columbia. In an article in Orion magazine about the experience, MacKinnon described feeling a tremendous, almost overwhelming, sense of relief and delight after his arrest, because, as he said, "it feels good to be true to your conscience, to stand up for what you believe in." He said that he was now sleeping well because he was taking action on what he called, "not only a pipeline that will be snaking through British Columbia, but an ideology that is deepening our dependence on fossil fuels." One thing he wrote struck an especially personal chord with me: I'm a writer, but writing another article, proposing another idea, seemed unlikely to make a difference. The problem at this point is not a shortage of words or ideas. The problem is a shortage of people on Burnaby Mountain, at New York State's Seneca Lake, and in the many other places where local people are fighting a doomsday ideology playing out in their backyards. That should sting a little for professors; it is a challenge to reexamine what we are doing and whether we should be do doing something differently. But reexamination is something we should constantly undertake. In so doing, we revitalize who we are and whether we are progressing in our life's work. As I undertook this reexamination in light of MacKinnon's words, I found a funny irony in his message. While he said that writing will not change things, his writing touched me deeply. So his writing another article did make a difference, at least in me. Indeed, the very fact that he wrote about his arrest is a sign that he had not lost faith in the power of words, but instead was seeking, through his arrest, new and more powerful things he could say. His words remind me of the awesome responsibility and opportunity we have for prompting change through our ideas, our ways of viewing the world, and our style of leadership. MacKinnon has found his; I have found mine; I hope you will find yours. Andrew J. Hoffman is the Holcim (US) Professor of Sustainable Enterprise and Education Director at the Graham Sustainability Institute at the University of Michigan. This essay is drawn from Finding Purpose: Environmental Stewardship as a Personal Calling (2016) by Andrew J. Hoffman. Available from Greenleaf Publishing. -- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

25 мая 2016, 04:50

Pursuing a Life of Meaning

As a business professor, students often ask me where they should take their careers in order to have the most impact. They are expecting a straightforward answer: that they should work in finance in a large resource-extraction company, say, or in the advocacy department of a multinational non-profit organization. Instead, I am quick to tell them, "Wrong question, try again." The key question is one that only they can answer: "What were you meant to do with your life?" I write about this in my new book, challenging students to recognize that we all have a goal or purpose to what we do. Where do you devote your energy? How much time do you spend with your family, or in the woods, or pursuing wealth? Are your relationships transactional or relational; that is, do you treat people and the natural world as a community that sustains and includes you, or merely as objects for achieving the success of your own pursuits? Pursue a Calling, Not a Job Henry David Thoreau wrote on his time at Walden Pond: "I learned this, at least, by my experiment; that if one advances confidently in the direction of his [sic] dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours." The word "unexpected" is central to his message and reflects a belief that the pursuit of a calling is about opening up to the unknown. Chances are that if we are genuinely open to the possibilities of a calling, we will find that satisfaction will come from someplace far different from where we expected to find it. It's about connecting to a purpose that is bigger than you and caring enough to devote your life, energies, passions, and love toward addressing it. Satisfaction comes, not just from some inner feeling, but also from an assessment that what you are connected to and care about is being addressed. It comes, not from pleasure, but from meaning. None of this is easy, and many do not even try to find their calling. College degrees, fancy cars, big houses, and happy Facebook posts: these can all become ways of projecting to people around you that you have worth. But they are not worth themselves. We live in a world of tremendous pressures for conformity and self-centeredness. I watch my students struggle with these pressures, most vividly at graduation time. Many start their education with aspirations to eschew big salaries and work to pursue social good no matter their income. But when they look at the salaries that large consulting firms are giving to their peers, they begin to bend and yield. Some have little choice. All too often, their cost of living soon includes homes, cars, retirement accounts, creating chains that hold them back from keeping that promise. But your debt load, cost of living, or resume should not stop you from pursuing a life's work of meaning. It may make that pursuit more challenging, but it does not make it impossible. The key is to be authentic about who you are and what you are meant to with your life's work. Authenticity and Your Calling Jim March, an emeritus professor at Stanford University, was given the opportunity to teach anything he wanted to Stanford University. He chose to teach business management by way of the literary classics. In a 2014 interview, he explained how Don Quixote is the most important of them all: Quixote is hardly a good model for leadership, but he provides a basis for thinking about what justifies great action. Why do we do what we do? Our standard answer is that we do what we do because we expect it to lead to good consequences. Quixote reminds us that there is another possible answer: We do what we do because it fulfills our identity, our sense of self. Identity-based actions protect us from the discouragement of disappointing feedback. Of course, the cost is that it also slows learning. Both types of actions are essential elements of human sensibility, but our usual conversations -- particularly in business settings and schools -- tend to forget the second.... We live in a world that emphasizes realistic expectations and clear successes. Quixote had neither. But through failure after failure, he persists in his vision and his commitment. He persists because he knows who he is. This is the essence of a calling. Have a vision, see a reality, make it so, even when those around you (like those around Don Quixote) think it is foolish or crazy. You may fail, but you will learn who you are and be your own person. Henry Ford failed and went broke five times before he succeeded. When Steve Jobs started Apple Computer in the mid-1970s and predicted a day when every home would have a computer, many thought it an absurd idea. What Will be Your Mark in the World? My grandmother was born in 1899 and died in 1995. In the course of her lifetime, the Wright Brothers first flew, indoor plumbing and home electrification became common, the Ford Model T debuted, the first jet engine was developed, man landed on the moon and the computer age had begun. I thought that no generation would see the kinds of changes that she witnessed. But I may be wrong. The average child born today in the United State will live to the year 2094. How different will that world be? And, importantly, what role will these children take in creating the world that they want to live in? Nobel laureate Dennis Gabor once wrote that "the future cannot be predicted, but futures can be invented." The future is there to do with as you wish. Be true to yourself, be authentic, be open to the possibilities of your life's work as they reveal themselves, and in the words of Henry David Thoreau, you will "meet with a success unexpected in common hours." This essay is drawn from Finding Purpose: Environmental Stewardship as a Personal Calling (2016) by Andrew J. Hoffman. Available from Greenleaf Publishing. Andrew J. Hoffman is the Holcim (US) Professor of Sustainable Enterprise and Education Director at the Graham Sustainability Institute at the University of Michigan. -- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

18 мая 2016, 21:06

Finding Purpose: Environmental Stewardship as a Personal Calling

By Andrew J. Hoffman As a business school professor, when my students ask for career advice, I often recall Mark Twain's words: "The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why." I think we all need to find our calling or vocation, our purpose in life. This might be seem out of vogue, but it's returning to today's business world, as I explain to my students and in my new book. I don't think of "a calling" or a vocation as necessarily God-centered or religion-based. It is about being connected to a purpose that is bigger than each of us, and caring enough to devote our lives, energies, passions, and love to address it. It reflects our appreciation for the connectedness we share with our planet and those around us. It requires that we intentionally balance how we relate to-and how much time we spend with-people we love, nature we enjoy, and wealth we acquire. It also requires that we consider deeply when our relationships are transactional and when they are relational. That is, when are our relationships devices for achieving our own success, and when are they for treating people and the natural world as a community that sustains and includes us? It calls for an awareness of subtle and not-so-subtle influences on our perceptions and decisions. Are our answers to these questions generated by our sense of our life's purpose, or are we listening to others to decide what we are meant to be? Satisfaction in life's work comes from knowing what each us are called to do, and then sticking with our own sense of "how a life well lived" is measured as we see where that spirit takes us. It is a life based not on pleasure, but on meaning. We need more people who find their meaning in accepting the responsibility we face to steward our planetary ecosystems. Every generation faces its own Great Work, the obligation to fulfill "the special role that history has imposed upon them" where "the nobility of our lives...depends upon the manner in which we come to understand and fulfill our assigned role," in the words of the cultural historian Thomas Berry. The Great Work of the 21st Century is represented by the Anthropocene, an era in which the influence of human activities has grown so vast, that they actually influence the global ecosystem. This imposes upon us a responsibility that we are ill-equipped to handle, but ignoring it burdens future generations with a hostile world for no other reason than that we were too selfish to care. The current generation has every right to be angry that this Great Work has been thrust upon it. And while we often don't know the answers or even how to construct the questions, we must respond. The "nobility of our lives" will be determined by that effort. The Great Work of Sustainable Business The need to instill the pursuit of a calling to this Great Work is critical in business and business education. And business students seem to be fertile ground. As I look back at my 20 plus years as a professor, I see an interesting and hopeful shift. Where previous generations of graduate students went to schools of government and non-profit management to make a difference in the world, today many are going into schools of business. This shift acknowledges the awesome power that businesses have in our world, and the awesome responsibility that business managers have in running them. They can bring the world to sustainability, or bring it to ruin. Many of the most critical solutions to problems like climate change, water scarcity and eco-system destruction must come from the economic market, including business, non-profit organizations, and governments. The market is the most powerful institution on Earth and, like it or not, business is the most powerful entity within it. Business will design the next building we live and work in, the food we eat, clothes we wear, and the automobile we drive and sources of energy that propels it--and the next form of mobility that replaces it. As I look at the next generation of business student's passion and drive to make their contribution to finding solutions, I am left hopeful. These future managers and business leaders--and some of our current ones-- are pursuing their calling, their vocation, their purpose in life, by bringing environmental stewardship into the center of their life's work. As such, they can decide what world they want and work to make it so. I encourage others to join this next generation and be open to the possibilities of a calling when deciding what their life's work will be. Don't ask "what do I want to be?" Instead, ask "What was I meant to be?" Transform your sense of work from a career in which you earn a living to a vocation in which you express a set of deeply held values in pursuit of goals far greater than yourselves. I hope you will take up this charge; your lives and all of our lives will be better for it. This essay is drawn from Finding Purpose: Environmental Stewardship as a Personal Calling (2016) by Andrew J. Hoffman. Available from Greenleaf Publishing. Andrew J. Hoffman is the Holcim (US) Professor of Sustainable Enterprise and Education Director at the Graham Sustainability Institute at the University of Michigan. -- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

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09 февраля 2016, 09:46

Состояние бизнесмена Филарета Гальчева сократилось до $155 млн

В течение двух месяцев двух месяцев состояние российского бизнесмена, владельца «Евроцемента» Филарета Гальчева сократилось с $1 млрд до $155 млн. Bloomberg связал это с объявленным Сбербанком margin call по займу «Евроцемента», обеспеченному пакетом акций LafargeHolcim ценой $1,5 млрд. Об этом агентству сообщили источники.Как писал «Ъ», Филарет Гальчев стал третьим по величине пакета акционером компании, которая была создана в результате слияния двух ведущих производителей стройматериалов — Lafarge и Holcim. «Евроцемент групп» Филарета Гальчева владеет 6,39% компании. 11,87% принадлежит Schweizerische Cement-Industrie-Gesellschaft, подконтрольной Томасу Шмидхейни, семья Демаре через Groupe Bruxelles Lambert владеет 9,84%.Напомним, Сбербанк, третий по величине акционер цементного холдинга LafargeHolcim, продает 6,12% его акций, владельцем которых стал в январе. На этой новости котировки LafargeHolcim просели более чем на 7%.Подробнее о продаже читайте в материале «Ъ»…

05 февраля 2016, 16:52

Сбербанк продаст 6,12% LafargeHolcim международным инвесторам

Сбербанк продает 6,12% акций цементного холдинга LafargeHolcim международным инвесторам, говорится в пресс-релизе российского банка. "Сбербанк сообщает о заключении сделки по продаже пакета акций в размере 6,12% компании LafargeHolcim, полученного в рамках ранее заключенной сделки репо, посредством процедуры АBB [ускоренный букбилдинг] группе международных инвесторов (Великобритании, Швейцарии, США и других стран)", - говорится в сообщении.

05 февраля 2016, 16:11

Сбербанк продал 6,12% акций LafargeHolcim Limited

Сбербанк продал 6,12% акций крупнейшего в мире производителя цемента LafargeHolcim Limited. Банк получил эти акции по сделке РЕПО от Eurocement Holding AG Филарета Гальчева. Покупателем стала группа инвесторов из Британии, Швейцарии, США и других стран.

05 февраля 2016, 16:11

Сбербанк продал 6,12% акций LafargeHolcim Limited

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Сбербанк продал 6,12% акций крупнейшего в мире производителя цемента LafargeHolcim Limited. Банк получил эти акции по сделке репо от Eurocement Holding AG Филарета Гальчева. Покупателем стала группа инвесторов из Британии, Швейцарии, США и других стран.

05 февраля 2016, 16:11

Сбербанк продал 6,12% акций LafargeHolcim Limited

Сбербанк продал 6,12% акций крупнейшего в мире производителя цемента LafargeHolcim Limited. Банк получил эти акции по сделке репо от Eurocement Holding AG Филарета Гальчева. Покупателем стала группа инвесторов из Британии, Швейцарии, США и других стран.

22 января 2016, 11:30

Сбербанк получил 6% цементного гиганта LafargeHolcim

Сбербанк объявил о получении 6,12% акций стоимостью 1,4 млрд евро зарегистрированной в Швейцарии компании LafargeHolcim Limited, крупнейшего в мире производителя цемента, имеющего заводы и в России.

22 января 2016, 11:30

Сбербанк получил 6% цементного гиганта LafargeHolcim

Сбербанк объявил о получении 6,12% акций стоимостью 1,4 млрд евро зарегистрированной в Швейцарии компании LafargeHolcim Limited, крупнейшего в мире производителя цемента, имеющего заводы и в России.