Tuesday, 28th September 2010
Tim Buckley Owen
Emerging economies and sustainability are often seen as being in conflict with one another. But information and technology companies are starting to show their credentials in both spheres.
No surprise perhaps that credit reporting company Equifax is launching a service in India – one of the developing world’s business powerhouses with a need for reliable credit information – representing Equifax’s first foray into Asia (http://digbig.com/5bcmfy and follow links to 2 September). Nor that India is also a prime target for Thomson Reuters, which is collaborating with the Mumbai Stock Exchange in launching its Elektron real time trading system there (http://digbig.com/5bcmga).
But firms like Thomson Reuters and Dialog are also taking a longer view of engaging with developing economies; they’ve both recently partnered with the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) to provide free or low cost access to patent data in some of the poorest countries in the world. Under the Access to Specialized Patent Information (ASPI) programme, they will offer their data to industrial property offices, academic and research institutions, to encourage innovation and to help hasten those countries’ entry into the global economy (see http://digbig.com/5bcmgb for Dialog and http://digbig.com/5bcmgc for Thomson Reuters).
Thomson Reuters points out that the economies of the VISTA countries (Vietnam, Indonesia, South Africa, Turkey and Argentina) are forecast to grow over 25 times more rapidly than the seven most industrialised countries by 2050, and it also revealed recently that the fastest growing trademark protecting country is the BRIC nation Russia (http://digbig.com/5bcmgd). So altruism is clearly only part of the motive.
The same is true of sustainability. A recent Economist magazine special survey pointed out that the developing world’s rapidly diminishing forests provide economic goods that everyone values but few are prepared to pay for, like clean air and reliable rainfall, and it calls for a better evaluation of what forests are worth (http://digbig.com/5bcmge).
The information industry seems to agree; Thomson Reuters Extel has just hosted its eighth Socially Responsible Investing & Sustainability Survey event (http://digbig.com/5bcmgg) and TR has also indicated that it is applying a green IT initiative to its own data centres across the world (see the A-Team’s coverage at http://digbig.com/5bcmgj – subscription required). Meanwhile a new report from the technology consultant Ovum shows that IT companies are positioning themselves to profit from an anticipated multi-billion-pound market in sustainable business practices (http://digbig.com/5bcmgn).
As a pointer to the future, all these developments may be a bit fragmented – but a new report from the Economist Intelligence Unit gives them some coherence. According to Up or Out: Next Moves for the Modern Expatriate (http://digbig.com/5bcmgm), bosses are currently scrambling for emerging market postings as a means of boosting their careers.
Where smart bosses go, smart infopros will surely follow.
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