Boardroom briefing: Project Sunrise, goodbye US dollar, and airports and seaports asked to reduce carbon emissions


The Australian airline company Qantas eyes ‘the final frontier in aviation’, one currency to rule them all, and time has come for ports to reduce their carbon emissions. Readings from around the world on business, leadership and management.

Qantas’ Project Sunrise

Project Sunrise research project. Credit: Qantas

The world’s longest flight is Singapore Airlines’ non-stop Singapore to Newark, which takes about 18 hours and 25 minutes. The challenge now is to have a 19-hour non-stop flight, which is technically possible—but what about the wellbeing of passengers, crew and pilots?

Qantas may have an answer soon. The company has partnered with the University of Sydney and Monash University to conduct ‘Project Sunrise’, a research project to be conducted over three non-stop 19-hour flights, two from New York to Sydney and one from London to Sydney. This will mark the first time a commercial airline flies direct from New York to Sydney.

The researchers will monitor lighting, passengers’ sleep patterns, food and beverage consumption as well as physical movement and their use of inflight entertainment to measure the impact on their health, wellbeing and circadian rhythms. The pilots will wear electroencephalogram devices to track brain wave patterns in real time.

‘Flying non-stop from the east coast of Australia to London and New York is truly the final frontier in aviation, so we’re determined to do all the groundwork to get this right,’ said Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce.

Goodbye US dollar?

Mark Carney, the Governor of the Bank of England, has called for the establishment of a ‘Synthetic Hegemonic Currency’, perhaps modelled along Facebook’s proposed Libra digital currency, to replace the US dollar in international financial markets.

Carney said that the US dollar ‘represents the currency of choice for at least half of international trade invoices, around five times greater than the US’s share in world goods imports, and three times its share in world exports.’

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He said it was not clear whether it should be a government or private currency, but explained it would ‘displace the dollar’s dominance’ in credit markets.

‘By reducing the influence of the US dollar on the global financial cycle, this would help reduce the volatility of capital flows to Emerging Market Economies.’

Papua New Guinea’s Minister for Commerce and Industry, Wera Mori, also called for an alternative to the US dollar at last week’s 2019 Business Advantage Investment Conference in Sydney.

Climate change and ports

Airports, ports and railway stations in Australia are being asked to significantly reduce their carbon emissions by the investors that own them.
Brisbane’s airport and seaport, Melbourne Airport and others have been told to make the cuts by IFM Investors, which manages funds on behalf of Australia’s industry superannuation funds. IFM has taken major stakes in these and other pieces of infrastructure.
The reductions, reports the Sydney Morning Herald, will be achieved through measures such as solar power and energy efficiencies.
‘Climate change is a long-term issue that’s having a short-term impact, so sitting on our hands doing nothing just isn’t going to cut it,’ IFM’s Executive Director of Responsible Investment Chris Newton is quoted as saying.

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