Many economists have good reasons to be more dismal than usual. After all, their academic discipline took a bashing in the wake of the financial crisis, and the practical relevance of economic insights has been repeatedly questioned.
A couple of years after the financial collapse of 2008, David Enrich, the award-winning Europe banking editor at The Wall Street Journal, went sifting back through his clippings from that chaotic period, looking for stories that might have anticipated it.
Behind every cup of coffee there are the farmers and the agronomists tasked with cultivating the crop. Their skills and their work are of fundamental importance to the coffee industry, and some companies want to recognize the roles these people play by honoring their achievements. For instance, Nespresso, the company behind the popular coffee capsules and brewing machines, launched the AAA Sustainable Quality Program in 2003, partnering with the Rainforest Alliance, an international nonprofit that awards product certification for sustainable livelihood and biodiversity protection. The program employs agronomists to advise farmers on sustainable cultivation methods. In October of this year, eight farmers from around the world, accompanied by agronomists, were honoured for their exceptional achievements in the AAA programme at a week-long visit to Switzerland and to Nespresso’s headquarters.
In summer 2014, the U.S. and EU introduced several rounds of anti-Russia sanctions targeting the country’s wealthiest and most powerful government allies. In response, Russia introduced a trade embargo against some European states.
Sustainability matters. And if you happen to be in the coffee business, it matters especially. In 2012, this market saw 40 percent of global production coming from sources that had been certified or verified for sustainability. The latest State of Sustainability Initiatives Review confirms that “the landscape of sustainable coffee has been one of rapid transformation from a niche market to a fully recognized strategic business management tool,” according to the International Institute for Sustainable Development. Yet many challenges along the way make the road to achieving sustainability a difficult one for businesses.
On Oct. 30, Russia, Ukraine and the EU finally agreed on the conditions under which Russian natural gas will be delivered to Europe and Ukraine this winter. The EU promised Ukraine financial aid, but it specified that Brussels won’t take on Ukraine’s financial responsibilities in case it can’t make payments.
The history of food in Europe is long and storied. Deeply rooted agricultural and place-based food traditions are now experiencing renewed attention, as global interest in food origins grows. In 1986, the Slow Food movement was founded in Italy as a protest against fast-food chain McDonald’s encroachment on historic sites in Rome. Slow Food is now a vast, grass-roots international organization. As the food movement has grown in Europe, opportunities to study food have also expanded.
Pioneering individuals in Britain’s major cities are tackling social issues through food production. What’s more, they’re spreading their message of sustainability and social change from the rooftops. Our student reporter Amy Jeffs explored the world of Britain’s rooftop gardens.
Ukraine has some of the biggest potential shale gas reserves in Europe. After months of fighting, the country’s industrial Donbas region as well as the economy in general are severely damaged and will take years to recover. The role of energy resources in this war might be underestimated.
According to the U.N., estimated losses from infrastructure destruction in the Donbas region of Ukraine are $440 million since the armed conflict there started. Every day the debt is increasing, and the country is being pulled into economic and humanitarian disaster. It will take years until full recovery is possible. But until the fighting stops, it’s too early to talk about recovery.