October 18, 2016

LindsayHolmwoodThe grisly nature of the meat industry practically ensures that the business will never be pretty. Still, conditions in a slaughterhouse can always get worse if management marginalizes their workforce. According to the global development agency Oxfam America, that’s precisely what’s happening at a number of U.S. poultry plants. In facilities owned by big names like Tyson, Perdue and Pilgrim’s Pride, workers complained that superiors regularly denied them bathroom breaks. Some even reported wearing diapers while working on the line. Continue reading

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September 23, 2016

Although drone deliveries are still a few years away from becoming a reality, automated machines are already having a big impact in other parts of the supply chain. This short but visually rich video takes a look at the robots made by a company called Symbiotic and the ways that they have streamlined operations at a grocery warehouse.

Questions:

  1. What makes Symbiotic’s robots more efficient than human workers?
  2. Will worker robots from companies like Symbiotic eventually replace human labor?
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September 20, 2016

FriedDoughThe family-owned berry grower Driscoll’s is looking to become more of a household name. With new packaging and a retooled online presence, the company wants to let the U.S. know why their berries are unique. “You have to find a way to say this strawberry is different from that strawberry, which isn’t necessarily an easy thing to do,” said executive vice president Soren Bjorn. “But our strawberries actually are different — no one else grows the strawberries we grow.” Along Continue reading

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September 8, 2016

MichaelBentleyAlmost 95 percent of all manufactured goods arrive at their destinations in shipping containers. These freight boxes often begin their journeys aboard enormous cargo ships that transport items around the globe. Normally this process is simple enough: a ship pays a docking fee upon arrival along with additional charges for unloading and container storage. In the case of South Korea’s Hanjin Shipping Company, however, this common process has been halted. After filing for bankruptcy protection last week, ports across the Continue reading

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April 28, 2016

The rising demand for locally sourced food has placed some major cities in an awkward position. While farm-to-table eating interests many consumers in major urban centers, their location away from rural areas can sometimes make it difficult to obtain the right ingredients. To fix this supply problem, in recent years enterprising farmers have been moving into cities to cultivate their crops in unconventional places. Gotham Greens, for instance, operates four rooftop greenhouses located throughout New York City, including one that Continue reading

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April 22, 2016

In recent years companies have been under increasing public pressure to ditch fossil fuels and switch to renewable energy sources like wind or solar power. Although this idea may be easy to accept from an ethical standpoint, the high costs associated with such a drastic change have sometimes prevented companies from taking action. This excuse isn’t as reliable as it used to be, however. In the past year renewable energy prices have fallen worldwide. As a result, more companies than Continue reading

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April 21, 2016

For many modern Americans, going to the movie theater just doesn’t hold the same appeal as in years past. After all, consumers can easily access thousands of films from the comfort of their couches. Those especially fortunate individuals enjoy their media on 70-inch, surround-sound enabled televisions, further undermining the attraction of the theater experience. With these factors in mind, last week the CEO of AMC Theaters said that the company was considering lifting its ban on texting during screenings. Internet Continue reading

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March 14, 2016

In 2005 the website Etsy launched as an online marketplace where artisans across the country could sell their wares. The Brooklyn-based company quickly established itself as a destination for handcrafted items that shoppers wouldn’t find in any stores. As the years progressed Etsy’s army of craft sellers grew into the thousands, with women accounting for a whopping 85 percent of them. The company marked a major milestone in 2012 when it became a certified benefit corporation. By 2015 Etsy’s stock Continue reading

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March 11, 2016

After enjoying decades of almost constant growth, the last few years have seen many fast food chains become stuck in a sales rut. Not only have consumer tastes changed dramatically, but people also have an array of affordable dining options to choose from. This increased competition has left the industry scrambling for ideas. Taco Bell took action in 2014 by introducing a breakfast menu, a move that some at the time viewed as unappetizing and desperate. The gamble worked, however, Continue reading

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March 2, 2016

For decades China’s industrial economy grew at a breakneck pace thanks to heavy investment from the state. This expansive age may be at an end, however. Over the last few years, demand for Chinese goods has dropped and its stock market has become increasingly unpredictable. Analysts say that China built up far too much manufacturing infrastructure that has now become an excessive drain on resources. As a result, last week the Chinese government announced the drastic measures it would take Continue reading

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