Black Friday during inflationary times

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With the general increase in prices in all countries and a new phase, after an almost complete recovery on a social level following the COVID-19 pandemic, we are faced with a debate in the consumer era: what are people looking for, and will it affect purchases?

In this article, we will look at some of the questions that may arise from this year’s peculiar situation in the run-up to Black Friday.

Black Friday is approaching and every year it takes on a more relevant role. Consumption patterns continue to evolve from their beginnings in the USA in the 1960s to the present day, and everything is increasingly moving towards more digital and less face-to-face commerce. Black Friday alone generates 4% of the annual e-commerce volume, which is increasing yearly.

But what can we expect this year from Black Friday, a year marked by rising prices? The statistics contradict each other, on the one hand some say that this year we will consume less on this date, the reason being that despite the convenience of the offers, we do not buy new products if they are not strictly necessary. On the other hand, another section of the population states that they will take the opportunity to bring forward their Christmas shopping or buy higher quality products than the rest of the year. Technology products are also some of the most popular products on this date.

On the other hand, a part of the population is also counting on stopping shopping this year or focusing on environmentally friendly products due to sustainability concerns, which is becoming more present year after year.

More and more brands are participating in this day with big discounts, offers and promotions. It is a good opportunity to reach new customers attracted by the offers or prices, to engage them and subsequently get them to stay, even as a long-term strategy, once they have become familiar with it.

It is important for companies to follow a strategic path that allows them to increase their reach and find new solutions that allow them to execute efficiently, just as it is important to find partners with whom to successfully take on the new challenges of the environment. Connects provides a platform that offers new business opportunities and synergies with Chamber of Commerce companies through the online world.

Factory 4.0 Expo-Conference – working together for the digital transformation of the Romanian economy

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On November 8 and 9, the 3rd edition of the Factory 4.0 Expo-Conference was held in Bucharest, Romania, bringing together companies, public sector entities and academics interested in digital transformation, with a special focus on digital skills and Industry 4.0.

Top experts and the biggest technology companies, investors, innovative start-ups, governors and representatives of professional associations in the manufacturing and other sectors in Romania discussed important topics such as:
– investing in Romania;
– the future of the Romanian car industry in the contact of electromobility;
– ‘smart’ sectors and role of digital skills in the future of Romanian manufacturing;
– the future role of energy in manufacturing (energy security);
– Industry 4.0 applications for the medical/healthcare sector;
– how to prepare organisations for logistics 4.0;
– opportunities for the digital economy and society.

Flying in from Alabama, USA for the conference, CONNECTS partner Ed Morrison, founder and leader of the Strategic Doing Institute delivered the first Strategic Doing Masterclass in Romania. He introduced the principles of Strategic Doing and Agile Leadership to an audience of Romania’s manufacturing sector CEOs and senior executives. As an output from the masterclass, a strategy was developed to accelerate the journey towards regional leadership in Industry 4.0.

The Factory 4.0 Expo-Conference concluded with a lavish gala dinner in one of the most beautiful ballrooms in Bucharest. Digital Excellence Awards were handed out, recognizing companies, products and services demonstrating excellence, innovation and leadership in digital transformation. A special award was given to Ed Morrison and the Strategic Doing Institute for his pioneering work in developing business collaboration and to Joost Visser and CONNECTS as the best digital ESG business platform for its work in supporting SMEs on their ESG journey.
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‘Scope 3 reporting’ and other challenges in a post COP27 world

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The UN Climate Change Conference COP27 will take place between 6th Nov 2022 – 18th Nov 2022 in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt. Another year, another conference…but climate science is clear: we are heading in the wrong direction. The UN’s yearly Greenhouse Gas Bulletin warns of the biggest year-on-year jump in methane concentrations in 2021 since systematic measurements began nearly 40 years ago.

So, we need to go further faster – net zero means cutting greenhouse gas emissions to as close to zero as possible, with any remaining emissions re-absorbed from the atmosphere, by oceans and forests. Emissions need to be reduced by 45% by 2030 and reach net zero by 2050. While a growing coalition of countries, cities, businesses and other institutions are pledging to get to net-zero emissions, commitments made by governments to date fall far short of what is required.

Concrete actions are needed and one of them is to reduce GHG emissions and for that we need measurement. The Greenhouse Gas Protocol, a comprehensive global standardised framework for measuring and managing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, has identified three types of emissions that companies should measure:

• Scope 1 emissions – emissions that a company makes directly.

• Scope 2 emissions – emissions it makes indirectly – e.g. energy sources used by the company

• Scope 3 emissions – emissions associated, not with the company itself, but with its value chain e.g. its SME suppliers.

In the future, companies will have to report on all three emissions from Scope 1 to Scope 3. Scope 3 is the trickiest so big companies will need SMEs which are in their value chain to report to them. The SMEs that cannot provide information or have high emissions, or both, risk being thrown out of the value chain.

Apple has recently announced that it is urging its suppliers to take action to address their greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions towards the company’s 2030 value chain decarbonization goal. Apple will require companies in its supply chain to report on progress towards achieving carbon neutrality, including on Scope 1 and Scope 2 emissions reductions related to Apple production.

COP27 will be organised in a series of thematic days such as finance, science, water, etc. There is no SME or ESG day.

Therefore, CONNECTS intends to organise a webinar on November 24th, 2022 with high-level speakers examining key issues coming out of the conference relevant to ESG and SMEs with specific reference to both the global context but also to practical measures at the national and regional level that will need to be embraced such as Scope 3 reporting. This would involve ‘green’ finance and entrepreneurship, new energy systems, and technologies that can reduce carbon footprints and accelerate the move towards decarbonisation. The speakers for this event will be

  • Yvonne Slingenberg, Director, DG Climate Action of the European Commission, responsible for International climate negotiations and mainstreaming of climate issues in EU policies, Brussels
  • Alison Tate, Director, Economic and Social Policy at the International Trade Union Confederation, Brussels
  • Deep Parekh, Management Consultant, Belgium
  • Ulrike Sapiro, Chief Sustainability Officer at Henkel, Belgium

CONNECTS CONNECTS – Business Opportunities For Entrepreneurs is a global, simple, and cost-effective B2B digital platform for business development with the slogan ‘it takes a community to build a business’ providing access to trusted and reliable leads, partners, clients, suppliers, and skills. CONNECTS also develops Communities such as the ESG for SMEs, ESG Countdown developed by CONNECTS and founding partners Grant Thornton Belgium, BECI – Brussels Chamber of Commerce to create an ESG ecosystem, bringing all interested parties together to build awareness and educate companies in Belgium and beyond about the ESG journey see ESG Countdown ( CONNECTS has already organised successful webinars on ESG and so builds on its experience of working with partners to explain and promote the importance of ESG for SMEs.