Popular Posts

Sunday, 29 May 2011

International Year of Forests 2011

The year 2011has been declared the International Year of Forests by the United Nations to raise awareness and strengthen the sustainable forest management, conservation and sustainable development of all types of forests for the benefit of current and future generations.   Forests are an integral part of global sustainable development. According to World Bank estimates, more than 1.6 billion people depend on forests for their livelihoods. The forest product industry is a source of economic growth and employment, with global forest products traded internationally in the order of $270 billion.

Forestry is a key industry for New Zealand's overseas trade and also for New Zealand's Emissions Trading Scheme.   2009 was a watershed year for New Zealand's planted forest area with a switch from a loss to a gain. In the year June 2009-2010 wood exports were the third most important exported product with an 8.9 % increase over the previous period.

It is therefore important that we recognise the importance of IYF for this country and for our international trade.

Logo used with permission.

Sources:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/International_Year_of_Forests
               Global New Zealand International trade, investment, and travel profile: Year ended June 2010
               The New Zealand Emissions Trading Scheme - Information for business owners (pamphlet)

Wednesday, 18 May 2011

Intellectual Property and TPP

It will be interesting to see what the New Zealand reaction is to this May 17 release from the US Chamber of Commerce - this is the text only:

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Global Intellectual Property Center (GIPC) today applauded members of the U.S. Senate for their support of strong intellectual property (IP) protections in the current negotiations of the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP), citing abipartisan letter from 28 Senators to President Barack Obama urging strong intellectual property provisions in the trade agreement. 
“With the United States and eight other countries engaged in the negotiations, the TPP is envisioned as a cutting-edge trade accord that will serve as a doorway through which American exporters can better access the booming markets of Asia,” said Mark Elliot, GIPC’s executive vice president. Pointing to the leadership of Senators Orrin Hatch (R-UT) and Maria Cantwell (D-WA) for spearheading the letter, Elliot said, “Senators Hatch, Cantwell, and the other signatories should be commended for their strong support for advancing the protection of America’s IP-intensive industries globally and for recognizing the important precedential value of the TPP in the Asia Pacific region and beyond.” 
The bipartisan letter highlights the economic contributions of America’s IP-intensive industries and the crucial role strong intellectual property protection plays in promoting the vitality of these industries. The letter also urges the administration to not only seek the highest IP standards as it finalizes the proposals, but to also reject any efforts to weaken IP protection as compared with high-standard agreements such as the U.S.—Korea Free Trade Agreement. 
“The economic growth and global competitiveness of the United States hinges on our ability to foster innovation and creativity,” added Elliot. “Senators Hatch and Cantwell should be commended for their support and advocacy for protecting the ingenuity and inventiveness of U.S. businesses and the 19 million American workers whose jobs depend on intellectual property.”
The Chamber’s Global Intellectual Property Center is working around the world to champion intellectual property (IP) rights as vital to creating jobs, saving lives, advancing global economic growth, and generating breakthrough solutions to global challenges.
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is the world’s largest business federation representing the interests of more than 3 million businesses of all sizes, sectors, and regions, as well as state and local chambers and industry associations.

Sunday, 15 May 2011

No-Tillage - Feilding, New Zealand Company

I am currently reading a book called The One-Straw Revolution by Masanobu Fukuoka [1913-2008].   In it he sets out his four principles of natural farming.  As I read these:
1. No cultivation
2. No chemical fertilizer or prepared compost
3. No weeding by tillage or herbicide
4. No dependence on chemicals

I remembered that locally in Feilding we have a company that with its cross-slot technology supports no tillage or cultivation.   The company is Baker No-Tillage Ltd and it has sent its cross-slot technology to the US, Canada, the UK, Europe and to Australia.   It is a real success story and one which is resonating more and more with farmers who care for the environment and for their soils.

The website at: http://www.crossslot.com/index.php  includes a number of videos in English, French, German and Russian giving information and showing how farmers are using the technology and the results they are getting.  Many of them are interviews with farmers so the results and experiences are coming from 'the horse's mouth'.

Reading the website and thinking about Fukuoka's ideas, there has been wide divergence of practice, because clearly farmers using the cross-slot technology are applying fertilizer.  Fukuoka advocated putting the straw back onto the land which had been cropped instead of using any kind of fertilizer.  However it is really interesting to see this philosophy originally set out in The One-Straw Revolution written in 1975.   The website give no hint that there is a link or that Fukuoka's ideas were read by John Baker.

Incidentally Baker No-Tillage Limited and Cross Slot were named finalists in the Corporate Environment section of the World Technology Awards 2010 held in New York on December 1st.  The World Technology Awards ceremony was the “grand finale” of the two-day World Technology Summit held at the Time/Life Building in central Manhattan.  This was a major achievement for this exporting company, which is based in Feilding, New Zealand.

Wednesday, 4 May 2011

Textile industry in New Zealand

A follow-up to the recent post on the Textiles subject map.  This jersey=sweater is made by the Weft Knitting Company in Christchurch, New Zealand  and is 80% merino wool and 20% possum yarn.   (Photo: 4 May 2011, Graeme Siddle).

Last year ATITO (the Apparel & Textile Industry Training Organisation) published three industry profiles: Apparel, Knitted Goods, and Textiles.  They don't focus on these industries as export organisations but rather describe the industry as it was in 2010 using statistics from the 2006 New Zealand Census.  This information is of course vital to companies who may be thinking of exporting or for entrepreneurs wanting to set up an operation for export of such goods.

The Industry profile for the Textile Industry is available at: http://www.atito.org.nz/sites/atito.org.nz/images/Industry%20Profiles/Textile%20Industry%20profile%202010.pdf
and also through the ELIS catalogue.

It is worth noting that three regions of New Zealand had the largest number of workers employed in the textile industry: Auckland, Canterbury and the Manawatu-Wanganui.   In fact Canterbury and Manawatu-Wanganui showed an over-representation of workers in the textile industry.   Just over 5% of NZ's workforce was in the Manawatu-Wanganui region in 2006 but it had 18% of the textile workforce.   Similarly Canterbury had 14% of NZ's workforce but 22% of the textile workforce.

Many of those textile workers are employed in exporting companies for example Weft Knitting in Christchurch (Canterbury).  The Manawatu-Wanganui Region includes the Levin Textile Cluster with exporting companies such as Comfort Socks, Levana, Swazi and Tararua Yarns.

Section 5.4 of the Profile is entitled Firm Births & Deaths and includes a table showing firm births and deaths 2001-2008.   Firm births of course indicate people's willingness and confidence in starting new enterprises.   Firm deaths sounds a bit lugubrious but is a constant reality within New Zealand's specialised manufacturing industry sector.

As mentioned the statistical information used in the Profiles comes from the 2006 Census.  Because of the Christchurch earthquake, Census 2011 was cancelled.   This will inevitably have a flow-on effect for the production of important statistics for entrepreneurs and exporters in industries such as textiles.   Certainly firm deaths as a result of the earthquake will be particularly revealing.   Christchurch and Canterbury firms are heavily represented among wool and wool products exporting companies.

If you didn't get to look at the Textiles Subject Map go to: http://www.export.ac.nz/freedownloads.html
and check it out.