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How To Lead Your Trade Show Appearance With Vision

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How To Lead Your Trade Show Appearance With Vision
How To Lead Your Trade Show Appearance With Vision

The role of entrepreneurial leaders spans farther than one may think. Apart from performing as the executive decision-makers at your organization, you’re also one of the key personalities responsible for bringing in opportunities. One of the best ways in this season to attract investors and clients is by participating in trade shows. However, it requires the entrepreneurs to be at the helm of every process, especially if you’re running a start-up. The reputation of your organization, product execution, and display all go hand in hand to create the perfect debut. If you’re looking for leadership checkpoints to make this event a great success, here’s what you need to do!

  1. Understand your audience: If you’re not along the same lines as the audience, chances are that you’ll miss the mark. It is essential that you do your research beforehand and understand the audience you will be pitching to. It helps to use the previous years as a measuring scale and check the competition as well as the kind of visitors that approached a trade show pertaining to your industry. Every investor profile may be looking for some spark that would be worth their funding, make sure to tap into these nuggets of wisdom so you can leverage them in your pitch.

  2. Create a problem-solving approach: While pitching to the audience, many new companies forget that the correct way to go about your prospects is by painting a picture. The mind is a very powerful projector, and if you succeed in showing them exactly how your product or service can change their lives for the better, they’ll be sold! The trick is to keep in mind the problem-solving approach. Use your problem statement at the start to touch base with the industry and notable pain points. Then, offer a viable solution using your brand. This establishes the role and function of your product effortlessly.

  3. Create a stellar display: A trade show participation is incomplete without the perfect display. If you’re planning to get started on creating one of the best trade show displays, pull all the stops and think out of the box. There are several innovative and interactive technologies that can help you turn your display into an awe-inspiring piece, garnering attention across the expo. If you want to wow the audience, you need to put in an effort to create an impactful piece.

  4. Have the right team to back you: One of the places where trade show participations falter is by not bringing along the right team members. Traveling to trade shows located at different cities or countries can be an expensive affair, so make sure the members you bring along offer substantial value and carry their part of the responsibility well.

Improvise and adapt: Lastly, every leader of a company needs to be prepared for contingencies to occur, whether it is a mishap or some last moment changes in the line-up always keep a cool head and improvise with what you have. Trying to the best of your ability with critical thinking will take you a long way.

Wrapping Up:

By following the pieces of wisdom given above, you’ll be able to practically implement them into a successful operational model for expo season. We wish you success and great results in this venture!

Advertising and Influencing The Right Way: 5 Steps To Take

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Advertising and Influencing The Right Way: 5 Steps To Take
Advertising and Influencing The Right Way: 5 Steps To Take

Advertising and influencing marketing are some of the best methods to expand your business brand reach on social media. However, there is no one-size-fits-all method of advertising and Influencing.

In fact, some people would say that the best advertising method depends on your location. And that’s true because you might want to try a different approach when influencing in a city like New York compared to other less crowded areas.

However, with research, planning, and the steps below, you would be able to use advertising and influence the right way. Let’s begin.

   ● Know Your Goals

For every company or business, using advertising and influencer marketing makes them reach new target customers. This is understandable because advertising and influencer Influencing would extend your business reach to the potential customer.

The aim is to reach new and potential customers, not necessarily make a sale immediately. Therefore, your thought should be about fitting your campaign into your social media strategy.

   ● Know The Right People to Advertise To

Every advertisement and influencing strategy should be aimed at the right person with the right tools. So your next step is to know the people your campaign would target. To ensure that you know those you want to reach, you have to develop an audience persona.

Experts at Branding Agency NYC suggest working with branding companies with good tactical implementation, brand strategy, market research capability, and creative development. For example, you might be trying to reach a perfectly new audience or reach more of your present audience.

After making your decision, you create a set of matching influencer personas. With this, you would be able to know the right influencers and those that your advertisement would target.

   ● Choose Your Advertisement Format and Platform

When you are finished with market research, you have to choose advertisements from and platforms that you would use to engage your audience. Search engines, newspapers, podcasts, radio, television, and social media are platforms you can use for advertising.

Additionally, after knowing your target audience, you should research the cost of using several influencers, formats, and platforms. Each of these formats listed audio ads, video ads, and print ads have their prices.

For a new business having limited budgets, you might not be able to afford some of the formats, maybe only a local newspaper print advertisement. But, on the other hand, you might have the financial resources to perform social media marketing campaigns and television advertisements for the established commonest.

   ● Use Powerful Headlines

In our present time, you must grab the attention of your audience or customer. People usually scan things rapidly,  so ensure your advertisement or inducing method gets their attention subtly.

People usually encounter several advertisements every day, so they won’t be able to read every one. Therefore, ensure that your advertisement not just grabs but keeps their attention, and only a powerful headline can do that.

   ● Decide What you are Building

Before using an advertisement or influencer for marketing, you have to know whether you want to build a brand or product awareness. Campaigns are usually made to build long-term and lasting brand closeness with intention, aesthetics, and narrative that can sometimes last for years.

On the other hand, one-off advertisements are usually designed to bring attention to specific products. In campaigns, characters evolve gradually. This means that they grow from just being commercials into popular culture.

That’s A Wrap

As a business owner, when paying for influencing or advertising, ensure that you track your rates of return. It is good if your brand has increased visibility. However, advertising and influencer marketing should not be at the cost of adding revenue to your company.

When does a species truly become extinct?

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When does a species truly become extinct?
When does a species truly become extinct?

As the saying goes: “extinction is forever.” The list of extinct animals, like Steller’s sea cow, the Tasmanian wolf and the dodo, is depressing. And despite various efforts, extinction seems final.

But when does extinction start? That would seem like an easy question to answer. In the dry prose of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), extinction has occurred when “there is no reasonable doubt that the last individual of a species has died.”

And as we know from watching courtroom dramas, the concept of “no reasonable doubt” is a high bar, meant to protect the innocent in society. In conservation, it is to guard against crying wolf.

No longer extinct

In the 1980s, it was suggested that an extinction should be declared if a species was not observed for 50 years. That seems like a long time, but it wasn’t long enough. Many species have been rediscovered decades or even centuries after their last observation.

For example, the black-browed babbler was recently recorded in the jungles of Borneo for the first time in 170 years!

And indeed, extinction need not technically be forever: some rediscovered species had been formally declared extinct. These species are referred to as Lazarus species — for instance, the Miles’ robber frog was brought back from the dead after it was located in a Honduran cloud forest in 2008.

Premature declarations

Incorrectly declaring a species extinct can have serious consequences. Potentially urgent conservation actions for the species in question stop, and in some cases, those conservation actions can help protect entire ecosystems.

Perhaps more importantly, crying wolf undermines the credibility of extinction as a label.

Beyond reasonable doubt is a conservative position, but it leaves us in a bit of a pickle. With our colleague, Andrew Fairbairn, we recently documented that surprisingly many species have not been seen in over 50 years, and remain in a sort of limbo between extant (species that are currently living) and extinct.

Putting species in limbo is not helpful. A 2019 report by the United Nations suggested that a million species are threatened with extinction (roughly 12 per cent of all species). The actual number of species that have been declared extinct by the IUCN seems, on the face of it, much less dramatic: only 85 mammals or less than 2% of that group, for instance.

Such a mismatch can, to put it mildly, sow confusion. And because more and more species are predicted to become extinct, discrepancies between the number of “going extinct” and the number of “gone extinct” species may become more of a problem.

None of these have been declared extinct, but none have been reliably observed for at least 50 years. The famous ivory-billed woodpecker was last seen in 1944, although purported sightings continue to this day. And the last confirmed sighting of a Canadian species, the Eskimo curlew, was in 1963.In our study, we found that 562 terrestrial vertebrates — mammals, birds, amphibians and reptiles — are currently stuck in lost species limbo, almost twice as many as the number declared extinct.

While most of these lost species are (or were) found in the tropics, they also hail from the United States, China, Australia and Canada, and include everything from tiny shrews and salamanders to dolphins and wild cattle.

Searching for proof

So what should be done about the confusing problem of lost species? Clearly, the answer is to go looking for them.

That is, of course, easier said than done. Many lost species live in remote ecosystems that are difficult to reach, like inaccessible rainforests or vast tundras. There are plenty of skilled field scientists who would love nothing more than to spend their time in under-studied ecosystems searching for lost animals, but funding to support such fieldwork is becoming increasingly scarce.

Securing funding sources to support searches for lost species is therefore important. This could perhaps be helped by better awareness of and management of lost species as a group. While 50 years is an arbitrary measure, it might help focus attention by defining a clear list of candidate species.

We envision a scorecard of lost species, updated as time passes and species go on and come off when rediscovered or declared extinct.

We end with the full and depressing formal definition of extinct:

“a taxon is presumed Extinct when exhaustive surveys in known and/or expected habitat, at appropriate times (diurnal, seasonal, annual), throughout its historic range have failed to record an individual.”

We believe many lost species are not extinct, and so will be rediscovered. Each rediscovery will be cause for minor celebration and, we would hope, renewed attention and interest. But we really need to know, one way or the other.The Conversation

This article is republished from The Conversation. Read the original article.

Plastic pollution: Europe’s farmland could be the world’s greatest microplastics reservoir.

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Plastic pollution: Europe's farmland could be the world's greatest microplastics reservoir.
Plastic pollution: Europe's farmland could be the world's greatest microplastics reservoir.

Plastic particles smaller than 5mm (known as microplastics) are well-documented pollutants in ocean and freshwater habitats. The discovery of microplastics in the most remote rivers of the Himalayas and the deepest trenches of the Pacific Ocean has sparked widespread concern. But how much microplastic lies closer to home – buried in the soil where food is grown?

Our latest study estimated that between 31,000 and 42,000 tonnes of microplastics (or 86 trillion – 710 trillion microplastic particles) are spread on European farmland soils each year, mirroring the concentration of microplastics in ocean surface waters.

The cause is microplastic-laden fertilisers derived from sewage sludge diverted from wastewater treatment plants. These are commonly spread on farmland as a renewable source of fertiliser throughout European countries, in part due to EU directives that aim to promote a circular waste economy.

As well as creating a massive reservoir of environmental microplastics, this practice is effectively undoing the benefit of removing these particles from wastewater. Spreading microplastics onto farmland will eventually return them to natural watercourses, as rain washes water on the surface of soil into rivers, or it eventually infiltrates groundwater.

Wastewater treatment plants remove solid contaminants (such as plastics and other large particles) from raw sewage and drain water using a series of settling tanks. This produces an effluent of clean water that can be released to the environment. The floating material and settled particles from these tanks are combined to form the sludge used as fertiliser.

We found that up to 650 million microplastic particles between 1mm and 5mm in size entered a wastewater treatment plant in south Wales, UK, every day. All of these particles were separated from the incoming sewage and diverted into the sludge rather than being released with the clean effluent. This demonstrates how effective default wastewater treatment can be for removing microplastics.

At this facility, each gram of sewage sludge contained up to 24 microplastic particles, which was roughly 1% of its weight. In Europe, an estimated 8 million to 10 million tonnes of sewage sludge is generated each year, with around 40% sent to farmland. The spreading of sewage sludge on agricultural soil is widely practised across Europe, owing to the nitrogen and phosphorus it offers crops.

UK farms also use sewage sludge as fertiliser. In our study, the UK had the highest amount of microplastic pollution within its soils across all European nations (followed by Spain, Portugal and Germany). Between 500 and 1,000 microplastic particles are applied to each square metre of agricultural land in the UK every year.

A poisoned circular waste economy

At present, there are no adequate solutions to the release of microplastics into the environment from wastewater treatment plants.

Microplastics removed from wastewater are effectively transported to the land, where they reside until being returned to waterways. According to a study conducted in Ontario, Canada, 99% of microplastics in agricultural soil were transported away from where the sludge was initially applied.

Until then, they have the potential to harm life in the soil. As well as being easily consumed and absorbed by animals and plants, microplastics pose a serious threat to the soil ecosystem because they leach toxic chemicals and transport hazardous pathogens. Experiments have shown that the presence of microplastics can stunt earthworm growth and cause them to lose weight.

Microplastics can also change the acidity, water holding capacity and porosity of soil. This affects plant growth and performance by altering the way roots bury into the soil and take up nutrients.

There is currently no European legislation to limit the amount of microplastics embedded in sewage sludge used as fertiliser. Germany has set upper limits for impurities like glass and plastic, allowing up to 0.1% of wet fertiliser weight to constitute plastics larger than 2mm in size. According to the results from the wastewater treatment plant in south Wales, applying sewage sludge would be prohibited if similar legislation were in place in the UK.

For the time being, landowners are likely to continue recycling sewage sludge as sustainable fertiliser, despite the risk of contaminating soils and eventually rivers and the ocean with microplastics.The Conversation

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

How do you get monkeypox and what are the risks?

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How do you get monkeypox and what are the risks?
How do you get monkeypox and what are the risks?

The latest outbreak of monkeypox has, at the time of writing, reached 17 countries with 110 confirmed cases and a further 205 suspected cases. It’s a fast-moving story, so if you need to catch up on the latest, here are answers to some of the most pressing questions.

How is monkeypox spreading?

The first patient in the current outbreak had returned to the UK from travels to Nigeria where monkeypox is endemic. However, cases are now spreading among people who have not travelled to west or central Africa, suggesting local transmission is occurring.

Monkeypox usually spreads by close contact and respiratory droplets. However, sexual transmission (via semen and/or vaginal fluid) has been posited as an additional possible route. The World Health Organization (WHO) says: “Studies are needed to better understand this risk.”

Most cases in the current outbreak have been in youngish men, but the virus can spread to anyone.

What are the symptoms?

Early symptoms are flu-like, such as a fever, headaches, aching muscles and swollen lymph nodes.

Once the fever breaks, a rash can develop, often beginning on the face and then spreading to other parts of the body – most commonly the palms of the hands and soles of the feet.

How deadly is monkeypox?

Monkeypox is mostly a mild, self-limiting disease lasting two-to-three weeks. However, in some cases, it can cause death. According to the WHO, the fatality rate “in recent times” has been around 3% to 6%. The west African monkeypox virus is considered to be milder than the central African one.

Monkeypox tends to cause more serious disease in people who are immunocompromised – such as those undergoing chemotherapy – and children. There have been no deaths from monkeypox in the current worldwide outbreak, but, according to the Daily Telegraph, one child in the UK is in intensive care with the disease.

Why is it called monkeypox?

Monkeypox was first identified in laboratory monkeys (macaques) in Denmark in 1958, hence the name. However, monkeys don’t seem to be the natural hosts of the virus. It is more commonly found in rats, mice and squirrels. The first case in humans was seen in the 1970s in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Is monkeypox related to smallpox and chickenpox?

Monkeypox is related to smallpox – they are both orthopoxviruses – but it is not related to chickenpox. Despite the name, chickenpox is a herpes virus, not a poxvirus. (How “chicken” got in the name is not entirely clear. In his dictionary of 1755, Samuel Johnson surmised that it is so named because it is “of no very great danger”.) Nevertheless, the vesicles (little pus-filled blisters) caused by monkeypox are similar in appearance to those of chickenpox.

Are cases likely to continue rising?

Cases are likely to continue to rise significantly over the next two-to-three weeks, but this is not another pandemic in the making. Monkeypox doesn’t spread anywhere near as easily as the airborne virus SARS-CoV-2 that causes COVID-19.

Has monkeypox evolved to be more virulent?

RNA viruses, such as SARS-CoV-2, don’t have the ability to check their genetic code for mistakes each time they replicate, so they tend to evolve faster. Monkeypox is a DNA virus, which does have the ability to check itself for genetic mistakes each time it replicates, so it tends to mutate a lot slower.

The first genome sequence of the current outbreak (from a patient in Portugal) suggests that the virus is very similar to the monkeypox strain that was circulating in 2018 and 2019 in the UK, Singapore and Israel. So it is unlikely that the current outbreak is the result of a mutated virus that is better at spreading.

How is monkeypox diagnosed?

In the UK, swab samples taken from the patient are sent to a specialist laboratory that handles rare pathogens, where a PCR test is run to confirm monkeypox. The UK Health Security Agency has only one rare and imported pathogens laboratory.

Is there a vaccine for it?

Vaccines for smallpox, which contain the lab-made vaccinia virus, can protect against monkeypox. However, the vaccine that was used to eradicate smallpox can have severe side-effects, killing around one in a million people vaccinated.

The only vaccine specifically approved for monkeypox, Imvanex, is made by a company called Bavarian Nordic. It uses a nonreplicating form of vaccinia, which causes fewer side-effects. It was approved by the US Food and Drug Administration and the European Medicines Agency in 2019 – but only for use in people 18 years of age or older.

UK health secretary Sajid Javid said that the UK government will be stocking up on vaccines that are effective against monkeypox. The UK currently has about 5,000 doses of smallpox vaccine, which has an efficacy of around 85% against monkeypox.

Are there drugs to treat it?

There are no specific drugs to treat monkeypox. However, antivirals such as cidofovir and brincidofovir have been proven to be effective against poxviruses in animals and may also be effective against monkeypox infections in humans.The Conversation

This article is republished from The Conversation. Read the original article.

What is AI-Based Advertising, and How Does It Work for Your Brand?

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What is AI-Based Advertising, and How Does It Work for Your Brand?
What is AI-Based Advertising, and How Does It Work for Your Brand?

Almost every marketer is looking for new ways to reach their target audience and increase brand awareness. With the ever-changing digital marketing landscape, it can be difficult to keep up with the latest trends.

One of the most promising ways of modern marketing is AI-based advertising. But what is it? And how can it benefit your brand?

This article will look at AI-based advertising and how it can help you reach your marketing goals. Hire an AI advertising company only after knowing how it can benefit your brand.

What Is AI-Based Advertising?

AI-based advertising is a form of marketing that uses artificial intelligence to target ads to specific consumers. Using data collected from past customers, AI-based advertising can target ads to consumers based on their interests, demographics, and even location.

This way of advertising is effective because it is personalized and relevant to the consumer.

How Does It Work?

To understand how AI-based advertising works, it’s essential to know the basics of artificial intelligence. It is a variant of computer science that creates intelligent machines that work and react like humans.

There are three main types of AI:

Machine learning: This allows machines to learn from data and improve their performance over time.

Deep learning: This is a sub-shoot of machine learning that uses a neural network to mimic how the human brain works.

Natural language processing: This type of AI allows machines to understand human language and respond naturally to humans.

AI-based advertising uses these three types of AI to target ads to consumers. First, data is collected about consumers, such as their interests, demographics, and location. This data is then fed into a machine learning algorithm. The algorithm analyzes the data and predicts what kind of ads the consumer would be interested in.

Next, the ads are served to the consumer based on the predictions made by the machine learning algorithm. The ads are personalized and relevant to the consumer, making them more likely to click on the ad and purchase.

Finally, the results of the ads are tracked and used to improve the machine learning algorithm. This feedback loop ensures that the ads become more and more effective over time.

Benefits of AI-Based Advertising

There are many benefits of AI-based advertising, including:

    1. Increased reach: AI-based advertising can target ads to consumers based on their interests, demographics, and even location. It helps you communicate your message to a large audience.
    2. Increased engagement: AI-based advertising is highly effective because it is personalized and relevant to the consumer. It makes consumers more likely to click on the ad and purchase.
    3. Increased ROI: AI-based advertising is trackable and measurable. It allows you to see how effective your ads are and make changes accordingly.
    4. Increased efficiency: AI-based advertising is automated. It means you can spend less time managing your ads and more time focusing on other aspects of your business.
    5. Increased flexibility: AI-based advertising is flexible and can be used to achieve various marketing goals.

If you’re searching for a new way to reach your target audience, AI-based advertising is a great option. It is effective, efficient, and flexible, and it can help you achieve your marketing goals. It would be better to hire an AI advertising company when you know how they can help you reach new heights

A decent wage boosts economic production while lowering poverty, according to a recent study.

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A decent wage boosts economic production while lowering poverty, according to a recent study.
A decent wage boosts economic production while lowering poverty, according to a recent study.

It can be difficult to see a way out of the current cost of living crisis. Prices continue to rise, and there are fears that if nothing changes, many families will face serious financial hardship.

The effects of this will be devastating. Poverty causes premature death, poor nutrition, disease and exhaustion. In the face of this bleak outlook, there is an urgent need for effective leadership to bring about change – but not just from governments. Businesses too can play a crucial role.

One of the single most important things any company can do to reduce poverty is to pay its employees a living wage. Our new report demonstrates in detail how a living wage not only benefits employees and workers, but also employers and society as a whole.

Receiving a living wage helps to break cycles of poverty by ensuring that pay is sufficient to cover household essentials as well as occasional emergencies or unexpected expenses.

Our expert interviewees reported that being paid a living wage can reduce stress levels and the excessive working hours sometimes needed to make ends meet. This in turn means fewer sick days and overall greater employee wellbeing.

From a business perspective, this can result in lower staff turnover, reducing recruitment and training costs. Productivity can increase, and there are even early signs that raising entry-level wages may be linked to increased revenue.

We also discovered that as living wage commitments become more common, the benefits reach further into society. Wage increases stimulate spending in the local economy, while reductions in poverty and inequality can lead to greater social cohesion.

In short, our report (produced by Business Fights Poverty, the Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership and Shift) supports growing evidence that living wages offer multiple benefits – beyond those experienced by individual workers.

This should provide businesses with the confidence to see wages not just as a net cost, but as a positive investment. After all, a business can only be as resilient as the workers it employs.

The wider impact on society is also clear. We found that living wages have the potential to not only help tackle poverty, but also to address many of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. For instance, one of the goals includes “decent work for all”, and fair incomes are a core component of decent work. Tackling poverty can also improve access to housing, food and health.

Fortunately, being a living wage employer is becoming a new marker of business leadership, which is valued by investors and consumers alike.

In the UK for example, IKEA, Everton Football Club, and the Nationwide Building Society, are just three of over 10,000 employers who have committed to paying what the Living Wage Foundation describes as a “real living wage”. In practice that means paying workers a minimum of £9.90 per hour (£11.05 in London). Similar campaigns exist in other countries, including New Zealand and Canada.

Raising the bar

Some companies are going even further, by extending living wages commitments to include their suppliers. In 2021, Unilever announced plans to work towards a living wage for the people who provide goods and services to the company in areas like logistics and packaging. To achieve this, Unilever is partnering with suppliers to commit to and report on paying their workers at least a living wage.

Our report, which combined extensive analysis of previous research with numerous interviews, suggests that others should join them.

Dr Annabel Beales, who co-authored the report with us, said: “Given the sheer scale of rising poverty, a shift to a living wages economy is urgent and we need more businesses to play their part. The decision to pay living wages offers businesses a lot in return for their investment in terms of performance, resilience and stability.”

To move things forward, investors and CEOs should now feel confident that the payment of living wages is a sensible business decision. Meanwhile, governments can increase statutory minimum wages to reach living wage levels.

Consumers too can push for progress through the power of their spending decisions and the businesses they support. For businesses large and small have an important role to play in combating the drivers of poverty – and can be economically more successful as a result.The Conversation

This article is republished from The Conversation. Read the original article.

Here’s how a central bank digital euro could save the eurozone.

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Here's how a central bank digital euro could save the eurozone.
Here's how a central bank digital euro could save the eurozone.

The European Central Bank and its counterparts in the UK, US, China and India are exploring a new form of state-backed money built on similar online ledger technology to cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin and ethereum. So-called central bank digital currencies (CBDCs) envision a future where we’ll all have our own digital wallets and transfer money between them at the touch of a button, with no need for high-street banks to be involved because it all happens on a blockchain.

But CBDCs also present an opportunity that has gone unnoticed – to vastly reduce the exorbitant levels of public debt weighing down many countries. Let us explain.

The idea behind CBDCs is that individuals and firms would be issued with digital wallets by their central bank with which to make payments, pay taxes and buy shares or other securities. Whereas with today’s bank accounts, there is always the outside possibility that customers are unable to withdraw money because of a bank run, that can’t happen with CBDCs because all deposits would be 100% backed by reserves.

Today’s retail banks are required to keep little or no deposits in reserve, though they do have to hold a proportion of their capital (meaning easily sold assets) as protection in case their lending books run into trouble. For example, eurozone banks’ minimum requirement is 15.1%, meaning if they have capital of €1 billion (£852 million), their lending book cannot exceed €6.6 billion (that’s 6.6 times deposits).

In an era of CBDCs, we assume that people will still have bank accounts – to have their money invested by a fund manager, for instance, or to make a return by having it loaned out to someone else on the first person’s behalf. Our idea is that the 100% reserve protection in central bank wallets should extend to these retail bank accounts.

That would mean that if a person put 1,000 digital euros into a retail bank account, the bank could not multiply that deposit by opening more accounts than they could pay upon request. The bank would have to make money from its other services instead.

At present, the ECB holds about 25% of EU members’ government debt. Imagine that after transitioning to a digital euro, it decided to increase this holding to 30% by buying new sovereign bonds issued by member states.

To pay for this, it would create new digital euros – just like what happens today when quantitative easing (QE) is used to prop up the economy. Crucially, for each unit of central bank money created in this way, the money circulating in the wider economy increases by a lot more: in the eurozone, it roughly triples. This is essentially because QE drives up the value of bonds and other assets, and as a result, retail banks are more willing to lend to people and firms. This increase in the money supply is why QE can cause inflation.

If there was a 100% reserve requirement on retail banks, however, you wouldn’t get this multiplication effect. The money created by the ECB would be that amount and nothing more. Consequently, QE would be much less inflationary than today.

The debt benefit

So where does national debt fit in? The high national debt levels in many countries are predominantly the result of the global financial crisis of 2007-09, the eurozone crisis of the 2010s and the COVID pandemic. In the eurozone, countries with very high debt as a proportion of GDP include Belgium (100%), France (99%), Spain (96%), Portugal (119%), Italy (133%) and Greece (174%).

One way to deal with high debt is to create a lot of inflation to make the value of the debt smaller, but that also makes citizens poorer and is liable to eventually cause unrest. But by taking advantage of the shift to CBDCs to change the rules around retail bank reserves, governments can go a different route.

The opportunity is during the transition phase, by reversing the process in which creating money to buy bonds adds three times as much money to the real economy. By selling bonds in exchange for today’s euros, every one euro removed by the central bank leads to three disappearing from the economy.

Indeed, this is how digital euros would be introduced into the economy. The ECB would gradually sell sovereign bonds to take the old euros out of circulation, while creating new digital euros to buy bonds back again. Because the 100% reserve requirement only applies to the new euros, selling bonds worth €5 million euros takes €15 million out of the economy but buying bonds for the same amount only adds €5 million to the economy.

However, you wouldn’t just buy the same amount of bonds as you sold. Because the multiplier doesn’t apply to the bonds being bought, you can triple the amount of purchases and the total amount of money in the economy stays the same – in other words, there’s no extra inflation.

For example, the ECB could increase its holdings of sovereign debt of EU member states from 25% to 75%. Unlike the sovereign bonds in private hands, member states don’t have to pay interest to the ECB on such bonds. So EU taxpayers would now only need to pay interest on 25% of their bonds rather than the 75% on which they are paying interest now.

Interest rates and other questions

An added reason for doing this is interest rates. While interest rates payable on bonds have been meagre for years, they could hugely increase on future issuances due to inflationary pressures and central banks beginning to raise short-term interest rates in response. The chart below shows how the yields (meaning rates of interest) on the closely watched 10-year sovereign bonds for Spain, Greece, Italy and Portugal have already increased between three and fivefold in the past few months.

Mediterranean 10-year bond yields

Following several years of immense shocks from the pandemic, the energy crisis and war emergency, there’s a risk that the markets start to think that Europe’s most indebted countries can’t cover their debts. This could lead to widespread bond selling and push interest rates up to unmanageable levels. In other words, our approach might even save the eurozone.

The ECB could indeed achieve all this without introducing a digital euro, simply by imposing a tougher reserve requirement within the current system. But by moving to a CBDC, there is a strong argument that because it’s safer than bank deposits, retail banks should have to guarantee that safety by following a 100% reserve rule.

Note that we can only take this medicine once, however. As a result, EU states will still have to be disciplined about their budgets.

Instead of completely ending fractional reserve banking in this way, there’s also a halfway house where you make reserve requirements more stringent (say a 50% rule) and enjoy a reduced version of the benefits from our proposed system. Alternatively, after the CBDC transition ends, the reserve requirement could be progressively relaxed to stimulate the economy, subject to GDP growth, inflation and so on.

What if other central banks do not take the same approach? Certainly, some coordination would help to minimise disruption, but reserve requirements do differ between countries today without significant problems. Also, many countries would probably be tempted to take the same approach. For example, the Bank of England holds over one-third of British government debt, and UK public debt as a proportion of GDP currently stands at 95%.The Conversation

This article is republished from The Conversation. Read the original article.

What you should know about plant-based milk products before switching.

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What you should know about plant-based milk products before switching.
What you should know about plant-based milk products before switching.

Over the last decade, the number of people drinking cow’s milk has dropped – with people swapping dairy for plant-based alternatives, such as oat and almond milk. With new types of plant-based milks seemingly emerging every week, this trend is unlikely to stop any time soon.

There are a number of reasons why people are making the switch from dairy to plant-based alternatives. For one, many people aren’t able to consume dairy. Not only are around 5% of UK adults lactose intolerant, dairy is also the most common allergen in early childhood.

Another major reason that people are switching to plant-based dairy alternatives is because of animal welfare and environmental concerns. Studies show that dairy milk produces more environmental emissions and requires more land and water usage than plant-based dairy alternatives.

But despite being marketed as alternatives to dairy, plant-based products may not be exactly the same as dairy. So if you’re thinking of making the switch, here are a few things to be aware of.

Pay attention to nutrients

Cow’s milk is a rich source of many important nutrients, such as protein, calcium, iodine and vitamin B12. But many plant-based dairy alternatives don’t naturally contain the same amount of these nutrients and micronutrients as dairy milk – if any at all.

On average, most plant-based alternatives contain almost no protein – while one glass of cow’s milk containing around eight grams of protein. Soya milk is the exception, containing a similar amount of protein per glass as dairy.

Protein is essential for healthy growth and development. While everyone needs protein, some groups may need more than others. For example, older adults need it to maintain muscle strength with ageing and children require it for growth.

On average, most UK adults get around 15% of their protein intake from dairy products. But if plant-based dairy alternatives are used as like-for-like replacements, this number could be less than 1.8%. So if you do make the switch to plant-based dairy products, soya milk may be your best bet for getting protein. If you use other types of plant-based milk alternatives, it will be important to include other high-protein foods in your diet, such as tofu or eggs, to make sure you’re getting enough.

Most plant-based dairy alternatives also don’t naturally contain the same vitamins and minerals that dairy does. As such, many need to have these added during the manufacturing process, which is called “fortification”. It’s worth noting, however, that any plant-based dairy alternatives labelled “organic” will not contain any fortified vitamins and minerals as this would go against regulations.

Calcium is a very important micronutrient found in milk. It’s needed for good bone health, particularly in children and adolescents. But my own research has shown that only 57% of milk alternatives, 63% of yogurt alternatives and 28% of cheese alternatives are fortified with calcium. So to ensure you’re getting enough in your diet, check the label and look for products that have been fortified with calcium. Or, focus on eating foods that contain calcium – such as fortified breads and cereals or tinned sardines or salmon.

Iodine is another important nutrient, especially for pregnant women and young children as it’s important for brain development. It also helps make thyroid hormones, which are important for both growth and metabolism. Despite milk and dairy products being the main source of dietary iodine, only a small handful of plant-based dairy products are fortified with iodine. Again, it’s important to read the product’s label to see if it’s been fortified with iodine or not. Otherwise, focus on eating foods that contain iodine, such as fish, shellfish or seaweed – or if this is not possible by taking a supplement.

Also look out for vitamin B12 in any plant-based dairy alternatives you may buy. This vitamin is essential for the brain, nerves and blood cells. While some plant-based dairy alternatives contain vitamin B12, most don’t, so you’ll need to focus on getting vitamin B12 from other food sources. Meat typically contains the highest levels of vitamin B12, but if you follow a vegetarian or vegan diet you may need to consume yeast extract, fortified breakfast cereals or supplements to make sure you’re getting enough.

Other considerations

Plant-based dairy alternatives aren’t cheap – costing almost three times the price of cow’s milk and other dairy products (such as yoghurt). For a family of two adults and one child, the cost of consuming dairy products is around £310.89 a year – while plant-based alternatives may cost closer to £856.70 a year. Purchasing own-brand products which are fortified may be a cheaper way to avoid dairy while sticking to a budget.

But of course, there are many reasons why a person may need to switch to plant-based dairy alternatives – whether that’s due to allergies or environmental concerns. If you’re worried about you or your child getting enough vitamins and minerals in your diet after making the switch to plant-based alternatives, it’s worth consulting with a registered dietitian or doctor. Plant-based milks are generally not recommended for children under two years. After that, fortified soya milk is likely the best alternative as it will contain important vitamins and minerals, as well as high amounts of protein.

If you prefer other plant-based milk alternatives, look for one that’s fortified. Avoid rice drinks if you have children under the age of five as they may contain high levels of arsenic. But thanks to increasing interest in plant-based diets, there’s now a wealth of choice when it comes to plant-based dairy alternatives – just make sure you read the label before buying one.The Conversation

This article is republished from The Conversation. Read the original article.

Inflation: The supermarket business model is too vulnerable to protect customers from rising food costs.

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Inflation: The supermarket business model is too vulnerable to protect customers from rising food costs.
Inflation: The supermarket business model is too vulnerable to protect customers from rising food costs.

Food prices, like almost everything else, are rising fast. There have recently been warnings of apocalyptic” costs, and a declaration that the “era of cheap food” is over.

Such announcements have been linked to creaking economies trying to recover from the pandemic and the effects of war in Ukraine, one of the world’s largest exporters of food.

But to fully understand why food prices cannot be kept down, and what could be done to help struggling households, we need to look at how our supermarkets actually make money. My research shows that the current system has been balanced on a knife edge for some time.

The fact is that most of the income from selling food with very low margins at very high volumes is swallowed up in overheads such as payroll and the costs of running stores and distribution centres. This has three effects on supermarket economics worth considering the next time you stock up on groceries.

Firstly, supermarkets only make a decent profit if people buy convenience food, treats and non-food items (everything from toilet paper to fuel and clothing). Seven out of the top ten items that bring in the most money for supermarkets fall into the categories of alcohol, snacks and confectionery.

One influential book on the subject argues supermarkets need to ensure – through shop design and promotion – that customers buy at least some higher margi items (regardless of their intention when they enter the store).

Supermarkets also need to be competitive by offering great deals on cheap, bulk, long-life foods such as cereals and pasta, to provide customers with savings which they may then spend on the non-food items and higher margin treats. If there is generally less money in people’s pockets, due to inflation and a cost-of-living crisis, they will be generally less inclined to buy these discretionary (and more profitable) items, making the supermarket less profitable.

From this perspective, the recent controversial announcement that multibuy deals are now not being banned in the UK is in fact good news for the retailers.

Food for thought

Secondly, food is cheap in supermarkets because they use their bargaining power to get large volume discounts. When Tesco was founded in the early 1960s, consumers benefited because it challenged the previous situation which had favoured the large manufacturers and processors in setting prices.

This lowers prices for shoppers, but severely impacts earnings for the supermarket. And once prices cannot be pushed down any further – with cow’s milk, the price paid to producers is mostly at or below the cost of production – charging suppliers to market and promote their products is one of the few tools available for a supermarket to make money.

Information about this kind of “commercial income” can be found in the notes at the back of retailers’ annual financial reports. I have analysed these, and found that without commercial income, in 2021 very few supermarkets would have made any profit at all.

But there is a limit to bargaining and fee earnings. And when the prices of raw ingredient, fuel, financing and packaging are all rising, supermarkets will have to give way. It is likely they will have to raise prices for customers in order to maintain stocks and keep their 365-day 24-hour model going. Many food producers have already been pushed as low as they can go.

Supermarket sweep

Thirdly, around 80% of the cost of the food we buy is simply the overheads of providing shops, factories, transport, distribution centres and production. If fuel goes up, so does the cost of the infrastructure – and then the cost of groceries.
A related issue is that cheap food is a real benefit for those who have storage, particularly fridge freezers. Shoppers overstocking at home benefits the supermarkets, but we know that around one third of all UK food is wasted. So we end paying more, but end up throwing the food away.

To achieve a fair, sustainable, healthy and affordable food system we need to tackle the overheads and waste to keep costs down. With this aim, some supermarkets are investing in artificial intelligence systems to track and manage food waste more effectively, which in turn should bring better inventory management and forecasting. That would contribute to less wasted products throughout the entire system.

Shorter supply chains would cut down transportation costs as does reducing the range of products on offer (which is effective but not always popular with consumers). Away from the supermarket shelves, there is research which suggests that the best way to make sure the poorest can afford food is to increase incomes through living wages, universal credit or a universal basic income.

But supermarkets could still play a major role. The current system, which relies on some consumers buying large quantities of food, some of which is unhealthy and some of which will be thrown away, is a model in desperate need of change.The Conversation

This article is republished from The Conversation. Read the original article.

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