Archive for March, 2015

Investors and the weather


As financial reports are disseminated quarterly and stock performances analysed in real-time to investors, there is one determinant that the majority of companies are providing incomplete, misleading, or obscure information for. Worse, they are conveniently blaming disappointing financial results on it, and yet not employing the appropriate risk management strategies to address it. Investors deserve better.

The Chief Financial Officer in providing second-quarter results, including a profit decline of 4%, is asked to explain the disappointing results. His answer? “I hate to use the weather, but a lot of it was the weather.” “We are an industry that is susceptible to weather,” he explained further.

If you are thinking this is a mom-and-pop operation, a start-up, or a tourism operator, you would be wrong on all counts.

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Caught in a Snow Daze


Percy Bysshe Shelley famously asked, “If winter comes, can spring be far behind?”. But as the spring equinox approaches in one week, that long anticipated date in March when the Northern Hemisphere welcomes the end of winter, an unusual thing has happened in an unexpected place.

The quiet little Italian village of Capracotta in the Molise region of southern Italy is claiming to be one of the snowiest places in the world after it was smothered under more than eight feet of snow in less than 24 hours earlier last week.

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Winter is coming


The coming seasons will hit their lands the hardest, the extreme weather brought on by climate change placing them in a state of warning and constant vigilance. For millions of smallholder farmers in the developing world, the dire warning “Winter is Coming”, from the imaginative mind of the writer of Game of Thrones, is that which they must accept as their harsh reality, as natural forces are increasingly disrupted, disruptive and extreme.

They call it the dzud.

The harsh and unsettling name is suggestive of the reality it describes: a drought followed by a very heavy winter snow, winds and brutal cold temperatures. Cattle will die, food security will worsen, livelihoods will be put in jeopardy, the poorest of the poor will be hit the hardest.

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