The construction of the controversial Dakota oil pipeline will go ahead despite fears of contamination to the local water supply © SIPA USA/PA Images
The construction of the controversial Dakota oil pipeline will go ahead despite fears of contamination to the local water supply © SIPA USA/PA Images

24-carat gold shoes and a Tweet-burning robot - the supply chain week in numbers

30 March 2017

This week's round-up from the world of supply chain and procurement.


The value of shares Norwegian public sector pension fund KLP will sell in four companies that own part of the controversial Dakota oil pipeline project, which has just been given the go ahead by president Donald Trump. The Sioux have protested vehemently against the £3bn, 1,900km pipeline that they fear could endanger their supply of drinking water. KLP decided to sell after pressure from leaders of Norway’s indigenous Sami people and a UN report that the decision had been made “in the absence of meaningful consultation or participation by the tribes.”


The number of cars Audi delivered to China in 2016. But the German marque’s continued success in its largest single market is threatened by a dispute in which dozens of dealers are refusing to accept delivery of its cars. Audi has been making cars in China with FAW for almost 30 years but its recent announcement of a second partnership, with SAIC Motors, has enraged dealers. The association representing 450 dealers in China has written to the German company requesting that it should reach its sales target of one million vehicles before signing such a deal. Dealers claim that Audi’s decision to expand its network in pursuit of unrealistic sales targets cost them $4.07bn between 2014 and 2016.


The number of users in Africa and Latin America who share knowledge on WeFarm, a mobile platform that enables farmers to ask and answer questions about agriculture using free SMS messages. Among the 292,000 questions asked were queries about pruning coffee plants, fighting rot in tomatoes and the economics of raising rabbits. The platform links farmers in Kenya, Uganda and Peru. After securing $1.6m in new funding last year, the company hopes to reach 1m users.


The number of people president Donald Trump is following on Twitter, including such notables as golfer Gary Player, former chat show host Geraldo Rivera and the ubiquitous Piers Morgan. One account the American president is not following is @burnedyourtweet, a robot that prints out his tweets and sets fire to them. Its Twitter bio says it is: “Giving Trump’s Tweets the attention they deserve”.


The year by which one sixth of local roads in the UK will need replacing, according to a study by the Asphalt Industry Alliance. The group, which obviously has an interest in the matter, estimates that the one-time catch-up cost of fixing local roads would be £12.06bn. Councillor Judith Blake, transport spokesperson for the Local Government Association, warned the crisis was “only going to get worse” unless the government acted, noting that congestion could increase by 85.5% by 2040.


The number of harvests the UK has left at the current rate of soil depletion. Environmental campaigner, designer and author John Thackara says: “One estimate is that we are losing 3.5 tonnes of soil for every person on the planet every year – an enormous figure.” Though soil formation can take thousands of years on its own, Thackara says that several innovative projects have shown that the process can be accelerated.

230 grams

The weight of gold in the world’s first 24-carat gold shoes, made and designed by Italian shoemaker Antonio Vietri. Hoping to sell these black or blue suede moccasins with stitched gold-plate uppers to wealthy consumers in the Gulf states, Vietri told AFP: “Gold is not applied, like an accessory or a button. Gold is an integral part of the shoe.” The shoes retail at around $27,000 for men and $30,000 for women. That might sound expensive but they are presented in a black lacquered box and delivered to shoppers by helicopter.


In 2050, Vietnam will be the world’s 20th largest economy, according to a new report by PwC. Last year, the Asian nation had the 32nd largest economy, in terms of GDP purchasing power per person. The consultants also forecast that the Philippines will jump from 28th to 19th if, as expected, its annual average growth is around 4.3%. The top five economies in the world in 2050 will, if the report is right, be China, India, the US, Indonesia and Brazil. The UK, currently ninth, will drop to tenth.

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