Boardroom briefing: Big Food looks to local suppliers, ADB predicts a bigger role for PPPs, and really remote working


Changes in the global food industry may be a good thing, new models required to fund infrastructure post-COVID-19, and lessons from extremely remote jobs. Readings from around the world on business, leadership and management.

Reinvention in the global food industry


Cleanliness, freshness and sustainability are the new normal for the food industry. Credit: Pixels

An article over at Forbes says that the lessons learned from the pandemic in the global food industry may turn out to be a good thing – changing the industry forever in positive ways.

The first lesson is particularly pertinent to PNG: the implications of the disruption of supply chains that have forced companies to reassess their suppliers, ideally finding local solutions.

Customers have also realised that there is a link between buying locally and sustainably, and their desire to help where they can. It is a message that was out there before COVID-19. Unlilever’s ‘Sustainable Living’ brand was growing 69 per cent faster that its other businesses in 2018.

There have also been improvements with food and health. People are eating better, which has improved immunity. Food hygiene around the world has received a much-needed boost due to the pandemic.

PNG’s food sector should do what it can to make sure that this new thinking helps businesses thrive.

Private sector to have a bigger role in infrastructure?

Will we have a V-shaped, U-shaped or swoosh-shaped recovery after COVID-19?

Story continues after advertisment...

Regardless, ‘governments should revisit their public–private partnership (PPP) frameworks’, if they want to attract infrastructure investment, argues a recent post on the Asian Development Bank’s official blog.

‘With declining GDPs and decreasing fiscal headroom, money is going to be short and new sources of revenue – such as bonds, land value capture, and asset recycling – may have to be mobilised’, suggest the post’s authors.

The post makes two predictions. Firstly, ‘the private sector will have an even bigger role to play’ in future infrastructure investment and costs will go up ‘as we make current projects pandemic-proof’ and look for ‘newer, efficient and disruptive ways of delivering services’.

In PNG, PPPs have been somewhat ad hoc in nature, in spite of the ADB’s long-standing work to create a formal PPP structure. The ADB post suggests that more rigour may be needed in future if PNG is to fund the infrastructure it so badly needs.

The benefits of isolated work

Gabo Island

Gabo Island Lighthouse Reserve. Credit: Parks Victoria

Many people may be yearning for a return to the office or workspace, but over at the BBC they have interviewed several workers who were doing remote jobs before it was the new normal.

The jobs are extreme, like sailing solo around the world or keeping Yellowstone National Park up during the winter snow, but all these solo workers have some reflections on how to do a job in isolation.

Leo Op Den Brouw, lightstation keeper on the remote Gabo Island in Australia said he uses the time wisely: ‘I can go for long periods without seeing another soul. The longest has been 28 days. The quiet gives me time to catch up on the countless tasks that need doing.’

In PNG, Smith, owner of Smith’s Island near Tufi, has received two visitors in 12 years. He and his family have had plenty of time to reflect and enjoy their slice of paradise.

Leave a Reply