Thu04272017

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Analogue employees: Digital Jobs. Training and career development for a lifetime of opportunity” examines the impacts of a future in which 60% of jobs in management, business and financial sectors could be transformed by robotic processes. 

Manufacturing and labour intensive sectors have been seeing the effects for some time, and current research seems to indicate that the changes will come for knowledge based and professional services too.

Addressing the questions of what kind of impact this may have for professionals now and in the future, and what can be learned from past experiences in other sectors, Ravi Begun, head of investment management at KPMG, David Holland, The Results Guy, Paul Peckels, CEO Luxemburger Wort, and Richard Russell, a digital technologies expert will take a look at the implications. 

The evening starts at 18:00 with registration, and the conference is scheduled to begin at 18:30, and will close with a drinks and networking session. 

The event is free for sustaining members, €20 for business and individual members, and €30 for non-members.

Thursday, 27 April 2017 12:19

Public Asked to Report Dead Fox Finds

fox

In order to continue scientific analyses of fox corpses, the Nature and Forestry Administration, the Veterinary Services Administration and Health Directorate are calling on the public to report any dead foxes that they find as soon as they can so that the agencies can recover the corpses and get them to the laboratory. 

Anyone spotting a fox corpse is asked to contact the administrators between 07:00 and 17:00 by telephone: (+352) 40 22 01-522. 

People should not attempt to move or remove the corpse themselves. 

Image: Wikimedia © Jans Canon/Flickr

Thursday, 27 April 2017 10:43

Last Chance to Grab Placebo Tickets

placebo

Only 100 tickets are left for Placebo, playing the main hall at Rockhal this 9 May, say the concert's promoters. 

Finally back in Luxembourg again, as part of their world tour to mark the 20th anniversary of the release of their platinum-selling debut album, Placebo, the band promise a set list covering their whole career. 

Book here: https://www.etix.com/ticket/p/5775863/placebo-eschalzette-rockhal-luxembourg

ALFI impact investment conference

At the ALFI Impact Investing Conference yesterday at the Chamber of Commerce, delegates from across the globe addressed the increasingly important question of whether and how it is possible to invest or promote investment while creating broader positive outcomes alongside returns. Or, as one guest speaker put it, is it "possible to do well, and do good?” The response from yesterday was  a clear “yes”. In some cases, emphatically so. 

Drawing speakers from across the worlds of social entrepreneurialism, development, banking, finance, fund management and private equity, the panels tackled how impact investing can support climate change mitigation and adaptation, its role in achieving the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and how the sector itself can grow, even as the imperatives facing communities and the planet become increasingly urgent. 

Part of the answer, or perhaps part of finding the answers, lies in seeing things beyond their immediate significance, said moderator Christian Hertz. Summing up some of the points from the morning’s sessions, he noted that water is not just something we drink, it is also a guarantor for peace, security and stability. If it is not handled properly, then we will see even greater migratory flows than is currently the case. 

Opening up the afternoon sessions, Arvind Nawula, the founder and CEO of Urmatt Ltd in Thailand, described how over 35 years his company has developed into a wholly sustainable, zero waste organic operation that has worked with 1000s of farmers and become the largest producer of organic jasmine rice in the world. 

“When a Thai farmer says to me ‘Thank you, my daughter now doesn’t have to work in the city anymore’, that is impact,” said Mr Nawula. 

Mr Nawula described some of his strategies and guiding principles. He firmly believes that with the right idea and the right people, success can almost be guaranteed. He works with people that he can incentivise, and shows them how following his model can produce real returns for them. And he fully supports them with education, training and scholarships. He chooses products that are defined by high demand and low supply, and he makes a profitable virtue out of generating zero waste. 

“Integrate, integrate, and integrate downstream. Maximise everything,” he said, while describing how from rice production, he uses the husk to create steam and electricity, the bran to sell as a basis for making pasta and chips. They even capture the steam generated to separate out the CO2 for sale to producers of carbonated drinks. Nothing is left over.  

“Everything is yet another raw material for added value. If you create something out of it, then you’re creating another income stream to the benefit of farmers,” said Mr Nawula. 

And he’s looking to the future too. “There’s an impending food crisis coming in the world. We’re looking at growing in the dessert. It’s never been done before, but we think it’s doable." 

The next panel took a look at to what extent impact investing can affect the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. These are an evolving set of 17 goals, rigorously mapped with targets, indicators and expected outputs, from the abolition of poverty (SDG 1) to the elimination of hunger (SDG 2), clean water and sanitation (SDG 6), reduction of inequality (SDG 10), and more beyond. 

Achieving these goals has become a central plank of and guideline for the UN’s approach towards eliminating poverty, protecting the planet and ensuring peace and stability. As panel moderator, Manuel Tonnar, deputy director for development cooperation and humanitarian aid, at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, put it, the SDGs can be thought of in terms of protecting “five Ps”, namely people, planet, prosperity, peace and partnership.

He noted that for the first time in humanity, we have the knowledge, the technology and the money to achieve all of the SDGs, but the urgency is growing. Quoting the former secretary general of the UN, Mr Tonnar said, “We are the first generation that can end poverty, and the last that can end climate change.” 

While there are still investment gaps, there is some good news though. It is not true that government development funding is declining. Indeed it is at an all time high, at $2.6 billion, and it is still not at its optimum level as most governments have not met their commitment to give 0.7% of GDP. He noted the exceptions of Norway, Sweden, Denmark, the UK, Germany and Luxembourg. Meanwhile, philanthropic giving is also growing. 

Addressing the panel of Christina Juhasz, CIO at WWB Asset Management, Constanze Kreiss, senior project manager for KfW Germany, Richard Cook, COO for the Social Stock Exchange, and Vincent Oswald a director of European Impact Investing Platform, Mr Tonnar asked for their views on how their respective sectors are impacting the achievement of the SDGs, and what more could be done. 

Christina Kreiss noted how impact investing is changing the focus of expectations. Traditional development approaches to education often focused on access, infrastructure and the like. However the quality of education has become a more prominent focus for impact investors, who are requesting reporting on this, often supported by technical assistance on the ground. 

Christina Juhasz addressed how investing in women basically translates into investing in all of the SDGs.  

“If you want to do well, follow a multiple impact formula. If you want to find a multiple impact formula, follow the women. They are a multiple impact formula,” she said.  

“If you provide a woman who doesn’t traditionally have access to finance with finance, then you’re impacting almost all the SDGs,” she added. “The first thing a woman will do with her surplus is buy better food, so you tackle nutrition, then she’ll spend the next bit of surplus on achieving better health outcomes for her family, so we address health.

“And you can be sure that she’ll get better water as soon as she has the ability to do so,” said Ms Juhasz. 

Speaking of WWI’s approach, Ms Juhasz said they have always sought market-based solutions, as they are more sustainable. 

Vincent Oswald said there is still a gap between investors and entrepreneurs. The ‘deal flow’ is still blocked in places, and it can be frustrating to hear investors who want to finance projects, but can’t find them. Conversely, he also highlighted how traditional players, the banks, are no longer stepping up to the mark and investing in projects.  

“We need to get them to do what they used to do, be a bank,” he said. 

Richard Cook from the Social Stock Exchange pushed the case for stronger public/private investment sharing, though acknowledged the perils of perceptions that these initiatives involved making risk public and profit private. “We need clear public commitments that this will not be the case,” he said. 

Echoing the words of Mr Narwal, Mr Cook noted how the companies on his Exchange that did the best were the ones that integrated the Exchange’s requirements into their overall strategy, and did not treat them as a once a year audit exercise to be endured and publicised. “They are focused on outcomes, not outputs,” he said. “Building a solar wind farm is not enough. You have to ask, what is the outcome of that end to end. Those taking a longer term view are better run, and have greater impacts.”

“There is a place for business that does well and does good," said Mr Cook. "They are not mutually exclusive.” 

 

 

 

 

 

Wednesday, 26 April 2017 20:29

Registration Still Open for Roll & Run

vdl rollnrun

Registrations are still open for the first edition of Roll & Run, part of the ING Night Marathon on 27 May, designed especially for people with limited mobility who use non-motorised vehicles, in particular wheelchairs, pushchairs or in line skates to get around. For each “roller”, five “runners” may register with them. 

This unofficial and non-timed race starts at 18:10 at the Champ du Glacis, taking participants from the Limpertsberg district via Glacis field, Avenue Victor Hugo, Rue Ermesinde, Avenue du Bois, Rue G. Schneider, Rue Des Cerisiers, Boulevard Dr. E. Feltgen, Boulevard Pershing, Rue JP Beicht, Avenue J. Sax, Rue Nicolas Liez, Avenue Pasteur, Rue Ermesinde, Avenue de la Faïencerie, Champ du Glacis, followed by a post-roll & run party at the Champ du Glacis.

Information and registration for the Roll & Run is still open on: www.ing-night-marathon.lu. Places are limited to 400 people in total.

 

ACL

Five European automobile clubs, including the ACL, have written to the European Commission requesting clarification on German plans to introduce motorway tolls. 

Under debate in Germany for several years and particular resistance from regional governments, the vote to pass the bill was made this March, following discussions with the European Commission which held in 2015 decision that the tolls would breach European law by creating a disadvantage for foreign drivers. 

The ACL holds that the German “Maut” in its current form will necessarily have important consequences for millions of European citizens and cross-border commuters, with doubts persisting that the revised form respects the principle of non-discrimination. 

The questions which remain unanswered are all the more problematic since the agreement between Germany and the European Commission (following which the latter chose to suspend the infringement procedure against Germany) is integrated In the wider context of reflections on a future European toll system. 

The automobile clubs of Luxembourg (ACL), the Netherlands (ANWB), Denmark (FDM), Austria (ÖAMTC) and France (ACA) sent a joint letter to the European Commissioner for Transport, Violeta Bulc, asking for clarification as to the Commission's position on the German "Maut".

For the ACL it is clear that the "Maut", as currently foreseen, does not respect the European principle of non-discrimination and does not answer the question of future financing of infrastructures. 

The ACL says that it therefore expects the Luxembourg government to pursue all the avenues open to it in order to challenge this new toll.

cargolux

Notwithstanding a turbulent environment marked by low yields, strong competition and overcapacity, Cargolux Airlines has recorded robust results for its first quarter this year, one of its strongest first quarters for several years said they company, and marking a continuation from its performance last year. 

With 2016’s net profit at US$5.5 million (€5.06 million), the group’s scheduled freight tonne kilometres (FTK) grew by 10%, against an average market growth of 3.8%, to reach a worldwide market share of 3.9%. This puts Cargolux sixth in IATA’s ranking for international scheduled FTKs, the highest position the airline has held in its history.

The company says that an extremely good peak season produced all-time record results. In November 2016 alone, the airline registered over 12,000 block hours flown and in excess of 96,000 tons sold. During that month, the airline also achieved a near record-high daily aircraft utilisation with 16:74 block hours per day, second only to November 2013, when Cargolux freighters flew an average of 16:85 hours per day.

“The excellent results for 2016 are testament to the strength of Cargolux and the dedication and passion of our employees who deserve special recognition for their effort and hard work, especially during the last quarter,” said Richard Forson, Cargolux President & CEO. 

“They have enabled the airline to perform all flights as planned and deliver on our service quality promise towards our customers, who, in turn, continue to support us with their loyalty and trust. The success of Cargolux is truly a team effort and that is exactly the way it should be.”

Last year, the Cargolux Group carried 964,131 freight tonnes on its global network. The available tonne kilometres increased to 11.310 million. The overall load factor stood at 66.76%. With a stable fleet of twenty-six 747 freighters, a mix of 747-400Fs, 747-400BCFs, 747-400ERFs and 747-8Fs, the group flew 122,575 block hours, a 6.7% increase over 2015. The average daily aircraft utilisation of the combined 747-400F and 747-8F fleet for the year stood at 14:35 hours, excluding the Power by the Hour 747s.

Cargolux operations to and from Zhengzhou were further developed and the destination is now the Group’s largest hub in mainland China, surpassing Shanghai. Flights between Luxembourg and Zhengzhou were complemented by services across the Pacific to Chicago and back. The airline carried over 105,000 tonnes of freight to and from Zhengzhou during 2016, compared to 66,000 tonnes in 2015, a significant achievement that underlines the success of its growing China business.

In 2016, Cargolux took delivery of its fourteenth 747-8F. These aircraft not only present a significant investment in an efficient fleet and sustainable air freight transport, it also underlines Cargolux’s commitment to an operation that has the lowest possible impact on the environment and the people living in neighbouring communities. In June 2016, the company’s environmental efforts were further validated as Cargolux became the first airline worldwide to be honoured with the Lean & Green award, recognising the company's commitment to improving its carbon efficiency by 10% within five years.

BGL BNP Paribas

As it has done every year since 2012, BGL BNP Paribas’s lux future lab is offering a group of around 30 high school students the opportunity to attend its two-week Summer School, encouraging them to combine their entrepreneurial spirit and pursuit of excellence.

The Summer School is an integral part of the lux future lab, the aim of which is to drive the country’s economic and social dynamics by promoting training and entrepreneurship.

From 17 to 28 July, students will meet innovative entrepreneurs, representatives of charitable organisations and enthusiastic craftspeople, all of whom are professionals with a flair for originality and a real passion for what they do.

The goal is to encourage students to seize control of their destiny at a defining moment in their lives by offering them new opportunities and spreading this message: “Love what you do, and do it well!”

In addition to the various themes covered, leisure activities will be organised to encourage integration and teamwork. Good-to-know
sessions will also be held by BNP Paribas Group employees, covering practical issues such as public speaking, self-defence and writing a CV.

Designed in collaboration with some 50 people from the business and academic worlds, the programme also provides one-on-one support from a careers advisor, who will help the students to  identify their interests and skills so that they have a clearer idea of their future education and work options.

The 6th Summer School is again being organised with the support of Luxembourg's National Youth Service (SNJ), under the auspices of the Ministry of Education, Childhood and Youth. 

Students have until 14 May to register for Summer School 2017 on the lux future lab website: http://www.luxfuturelab.lu/training/summer-school/, which also provides details on enrolment, terms and conditions.

government logo

At the informal meeting of Ministers of Environment and Climate held on 25 and 26 April 2017 in Valletta, Malta, Environment Minister Carole Dieschbourg joined delegations to reduce plastic waste For the protection of the oceans and affirmed Luxembourg’s commitment to protection of marine systems through reduction of marine litter. 

Minister Carole Dieschburg took the opportunity to call on her colleagues to implement the principles of the circular economy at all levels, including prevention and reduction of waste.

She joined forces with the Swedish and French initiatives to eliminate micro-plastics in cosmetic products, which contribute significantly to marine litter. Together with Austria, Luxembourg is one of the non-coastal states with a strong commitment to the reduction of land-based sources of marine litter. 

Adaptation to climate change is one of the three pillars of the Paris agreement, alongside the mitigation and reorientation of financial flows towards a low-carbon economy. While water and agriculture are the main sectors affected by adaptation, these issues should be integrated into the different policy areas, which is done in the framework of the Luxembourg adaptation Is currently under development.

In this context, Minister Carole Dieschbourg also referred to the association of municipalities by means of the Climate Compact and Benelux's action in this area. Finally, it also referred to international cooperation in river basins. Thus, as a member state of the International Commission for the Protection of the Rhine (ICRP), Luxembourg coordinated the development of a scenario study on the hydrological regime of the Rhine in relation to climate change, The adaptation strategy to climate change adopted by the ICRP in 2015.

Brexit CC

Luxembourg Foreign Minister Jean Asselborn will be at the European Union General Affairs Council meeting in Luxembourg tomorrow to consider the draft policy guidelines for the negotiations on the withdrawal of the UK from the EU, to be adopted by the Extraordinary European Council on 29 April. 

The guidelines will define the framework for the withdrawal negotiations with the UK and will set out the positions, reaffirming the EU's general principles. This will be the first step towards the process of negotiations on the withdrawal of the UK from the EU.

 

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