Malaysia slides to 26th place in innovation index

Picture Credit: Bloomberg innovation index

Another fall in Malaysia’s index, this one for its innovation practices. It fell 3 places to land at the no 26 in Bloomberg’s innovation index, while Singapore – its arch rival – climbed 3 places up to place itself third.

Bloomberg said Singapore soared to the third place, jumping ahead of European economies Germany, Switzerland and Finland on the strength of its top ranking in the tertiary-efficiency category.

“Singapore has always placed strong focus on educating her populace, especially in STEM disciplines,” said Yeo Kiat Seng, professor and associate provost at the Singapore University of Technology and Design, referring to science, technology, engineering and mathematics who spoke to Bloomberg.

It also has a “steadfast commitment to funding R&D and innovation,” added Yeo, who holds 38 patents.

While Singapore came in third this year, South Korea maintained its top spot on the index for the fifth consecutive year.

Sweden also maintained its position on the index from last year, ranking second.

The U.S. dropped out of the top 10 in the 2018 Bloomberg Innovation Index for the first time in the six years the gauge has been compiled.

The index scores countries using seven criteria, including research and development spending and concentration of high-tech public companies.


Bloomberg gender-equality index: 104 companies listed

Over 100 companies from ten sectors headquartered in 24 countries and regions joined the inaugural 2018 Bloomberg Gender-Equality Index (GEI).

Launched yesterday, the reference index measures gender equality across internal company statistics, employee policies, external community support and engagement, and gender-conscious product offerings.

The sector-neutral Bloomberg GEI follows the release of the Bloomberg Financial Services Gender-Equality Index (BFGEI), launched in 2016. The 2017 BFGEI included 52 financial firms, headquartered in 17 countries and regions.

The 2018 GEI also expands globally to represent 24 countries and regions, including firms headquartered in Belgium, Chile, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Singapore and Taiwan for the first time. Companies range from a variety of sectors, including communications, consumer staples, energy, financials, materials and technology.

“We commend the 104 companies included in the 2018 GEI for their efforts to create work environments that support gender equality across a diverse range of industries,” said Peter T. Grauer, Chairman of Bloomberg and Founding Chairman of the U.S. 30% Club. “Their leadership sets an important example that will help all organizations innovate and navigate the growing demand for diverse and inclusive workplaces.”

“L’Oréal is proud to participate in the Bloomberg Gender-Equality Index and to have been an early adopter of the Index,” said Jean-Paul Agon, Chairman and CEO. “Our company has had, for many years, a strong commitment to gender balance at all levels as well as to pay equity because we know that it is both good for society and good for business. Being included in the Gender-Equality Index will encourage us to work even harder to ensure that L’Oréal’s workplace is diverse and inclusive.”

Highlights from this year’s index include:

  • 2018 GEI members have a 26.2% representation on boards, compared to an average of 12.7% in the ESG universe of coverage
  • Women in GEI member firms hold 26% of senior leadership positions, 19% of executive officer roles, and earned 46% of promotions in 2016
  • The percentage of executive level positions held by women in GEI member firms increased 33.5% from fiscal year 2014 to 2016
  • 67% of members evaluate all advertising and marketing content for gender biases prior to publication
  • 65% of members are signatories to or members of organizations advocating for gender equality

 

“The diversity of our company – women make up more than 50% of our global workforce, more than 40% of our global managers, more than 40% of our global management team and more than 35% of our board of directors – makes us a stronger company,” said Sheri Bronstein, Global HR Executive at Bank of America. “We are continuing to invest in acquiring and developing our female talent so they can continue to advance as leaders in our company, and in the communities they serve.”

“As investors continue to seek more information on companies’ approaches to environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors, the 2018 Bloomberg Gender-Equality Index allows investors to compare companies’ commitments to gender equality across industries,” said Kiersten Barnet, Deputy Chief of Staff to the Chairman at Bloomberg. “More data and greater transparency in this space will allow investors to make better-informed decisions and help companies better understand their own progress towards gender equality.”

The GEI complements Bloomberg’s existing ESG offering on the Terminal and provides investors with comprehensive insight on standardized gender equality data points.

Firms interested in participating submitted a social survey created by Bloomberg in partnership with third-party experts Catalyst, Women’s World Banking, Working Mother Media, National Women’s Law Center, and National Partnership for Women & Families. Those included on this year’s index scored at or above a global threshold established by Bloomberg to reflect disclosure and the achievement or adoption of best-in-class statistics and policies.

Both the survey and the GEI are voluntary and have no associated costs. Bloomberg collected this data for reference purposes only. The index is not ranked.

For more information on the GEI and how to submit information for next year’s index visit https://www.bloomberg.com/professional/sustainable-finance/.


Will Trump squeeze some countries to force them to send their tourists to unpopular America?

As long as Trump continues on his ‘I Am America’ policies, shunning the foreigner and calling their nations from ‘sh8 holes’ to ‘terror nations’ or ‘trade enemies of the USA’ – like what he said about Malaysia being on a list of countries that are causing the US to lose in terms of trade deficit, then the situation will remain tough for the US travel industry.

However, it is the reaction of Trump to this tourism downfall – much of which has to do with his policies – that is of great worry. Will Trump threaten to squeeze some countries, forcing them to send their tourists to America? 

America is getting increasingly unpopular among international travellers and the Donald Trump administration’s craziness has added to the curse.

Bloomberg today said historically, the U.S. had only to sit back and let foreign tourists (and their money) roll in.

But over the past few years, though, that gravy train has begun to dry up, a trend that accelerated as Trump began to make good on promises to restrict immigration.

The US travel industry has joined forced and is asking the White House to help. But will they get the help they want?

The US is increasingly anti-foreign, as most of the countries in the world today are becoming indeed. Malaysia has seen its fair share of foreign travellers and foreign workers, while Singaporeans raged against foreigners a few years ago.

But the fact remains that foreign travellers are good for business, especially for the hospitality and the services industries.

Before the Trump era, the US was a top destination but since then a decline noted since 2015 has accelerated and this is not good for the plans to make America great again.

Why? Because the foreigners cash is not flowing well in the US today and that is causing a collapse of the American hospitality business.

While a strong U.S. dollar had also contributed to this dynamic, the American currency is currently undergoing a difficult path falling against global currencies and giving the local ringgit a ray of hope.

Bloomberg said the US Commerce Department reported a 3.3 percent drop in traveler spending for last year, through November, the equivalent of $4.6 billion in losses and 40,000 jobs.

The U.S. share of international long-haul travel fell to 11.9 percent last year, from 13.6 percent in 2015, according to the U.S. Travel Association, a slippage the group said equates to 7.4 million visitors and $32.2 billion in spending. (The average “long-haul” visitor to the states spends 18 nights and $4,400, according to U.S. Travel.)