What comes after GEs 129 years of greenhouse gas #SootinClaimon.Com

#SootinClaimon.Com : ขอบคุณแหล่งข้อมูล : หนังสือพิมพ์ The Nation.


The lights stayed off for years after the 2013 closure of the Ormet Corp. aluminum plant near Hannibal, Ohio. Until someone finally noticed the valuable electrical infrastructure sitting alongside the mothballed smelting operation.

All that high-voltage wiring, and all those pipelines and barge docks on the Ohio River, looked like gold to Fortress Transportation & Infrastructure Investors. “It was the perfect spot for a power plant,” says Robert “Bo” Wholey, president of Long Ridge Energy Terminal, which is now a unit partly owned by Fortress. He bought General Electric Co.’s 7HA.02 turbine, a core component used in natural gas power plants, and set out to attract heavy-duty customers.

Then Wholey ran into a problem. He wanted to supply electricity to data centers in the region, but they didn’t want his kind of electricity. “What we found out pretty quickly is that most data center companies want carbon-free electricity,” he says. So he turned back to GE for help.

For much of its 129-year history, GE has been producing carbon dioxide emissions and selling equipment to companies that do the same. It was once among the top suppliers to coal-burning plants and provided gear and services to oil and gas drillers before largely withdrawing from both markets over the past few years. GE remains the biggest maker of jet engines, with at least 37,000 in the skies today. It’s also the top manufacturer of natural-gas-powered turbines, with more than 7,000 busy generating what the company says is about half of the world’s gas-fired electricity.

The full carbon footprint of GE’s businesses-something the company doesn’t yet disclose but independent analysts can try to estimate-is comparable to that of the Philippines, a nation of 108 million. It’s enough to put GE on the target list of 167 top emitters published by Climate Action 100+, a group coordinating climate-motivated investors with more than $55 trillion in assets. Among them: BlackRock Inc., GE’s fourth-largest shareholder, which has called for companies to figure out how they fit into a net-zero world.

Danielle Merfeld, chief technology officer of GE Renewable Energy, is seen speaking virtually during the Bloomberg Green Summit on April 26, 2021. MUST CREDIT: Bloomberg photo by Daniel Acker.Danielle Merfeld, chief technology officer of GE Renewable Energy, is seen speaking virtually during the Bloomberg Green Summit on April 26, 2021. MUST CREDIT: Bloomberg photo by Daniel Acker.

GE’s ability to move beyond its enormous legacy of greenhouse gas will likely define its future. Under pressure from climate activists and shareholders, in July it announced an aspiration to zero out CO₂ within three decades. Critically, its latest climate goal includes eliminating emissions created by the use of its products. Reaching net-zero will take more than putting some solar panels on its factories and offices. For GE to fulfill its promise, it must also prompt customers who form the backbone of today’s fossil fuel economy to ditch carbon. Success could put a company synonymous with the heyday of American manufacturing at the center of a new, cleaner industrial era.

This is where customers like Wholey come in. As it turned out, there was a fix for his problem. “What GE told us at the time was, really, with no modifications to the turbine, we could go up to a 20% hydrogen blend,” he says. Hydrogen’s major advantage over natural gas and other fossil fuels is that burning it produces water, rather than CO₂. When it’s created using renewable electricity, hydrogen is free from planet-warming emissions-making it extremely attractive to governments, industries, and investors. But it’s still difficult to produce hydrogen, especially the cleanest kind, at scale and without great expense.

The good news was that the less-clean hydrogen fuel readily available right now can blend into the natural gas used in Wholey’s power plant, slightly curbing its pollution. Eventually, GE assured him, the turbine he’d already purchased could be modified to handle 100% hydrogen.

Long Ridge plans to start with a 5% hydrogen mix when it commences operations in October, then quadruple that by 2023, on the way to producing carbon-free electricity by 2030. It’s the first U.S. power plant purpose-built to generate electricity by burning hydrogen, according to GE.

The project in Ohio is an example of how the company says it’s helping customers pivot to a cleaner future, even as much of its business remains firmly entrenched in fossil fuel. GE Chief Executive Officer Larry Culp says the energy transition is a challenge “no company is better positioned to help solve.”

He’s currently orchestrating a multiyear turnaround, partly organized around society’s lower-carbon shift. “You’ve got need, you’ve got demand, and you have, if you will, incumbency in certain places and access in others,” Culp says. “If we do our job, I think we’ve got a far better business than we have today.”

– – –

The concept of fueling natural gas turbines with hydrogen has been around for decades. Going back to the 1990s, GE has sold dozens of gas turbines operating on hydrogen blends, and all of its turbines can burn fuels that include at least some hydrogen. But that capability hasn’t been a major selling point until very recently, says Jeffrey Goldmeer, emergent technologies director at GE Gas Power and one of the company’s top hydrogen specialists. It helps that regulators are prodding utilities to slash emissions.

Overt preparation for a hydrogen future is evident in GE’s HA turbines, its newest and most advanced class of the hulking machines, which made their debut in 2014. They feature a combustion system with roots in a 2005 hydrogen push by the U.S. Department of Energy. While the HA is commercialized mostly for natural gas applications, GE tests have confirmed it can handle up to 50% hydrogen. That gives the company something to pitch to customers as a decarbonization option. The first turbine with that system began producing power last year. “Because of that legacy, now these HA machines have very high hydrogen capabilities that they can bring to the market very quickly,” Goldmeer says. “The amount of interest from our customers has grown massively in the last 18 to 24 months.”

GE has been tapped to supply Australia’s first power turbine capable of running on hydrogen and natural gas, which is set to come online by 2024. It also signed an agreement with Uniper to help curb emissions from the German company’s natural gas plants and storage facilities. Plus, there’s a hydrogen demonstration program planned on Long Island as part of a clean electricity effort by the state of New York.

Hydrogen-capable turbines are part of how GE turns its emissions-heavy power business into something that will one day be cleaner. But the company is also a large force in today’s clean energy boom. Equipment orders and revenue from GE Renewable Energy, which sells wind power turbines, have exceeded those from GE’s fossil power division for three years. GE was the top supplier of wind turbines globally last year, with installations totaling 13.5 gigawatts, according to clean energy researchers at BloombergNEF.

The company last year also secured its first orders for the Haliade-X offshore wind turbine, the largest and most powerful model to date, and it has more than 5GW of offshore orders in its pipeline. It anticipates annual offshore wind sales will reach $3 billion in 2024, in a market expected to grow rapidly over the next decade.

Within GE’s renewables unit is an electricity-grid business that, after years of restructuring, could also burst into prominence as trillions of dollars flow into upgrades of power networks. There are even greener prospects for GE Aviation, the prolific maker of jet engines, which in June announced a push alongside Safran SA of France to slash jet fuel consumption by more than 20% by 2035. The joint venture is working to incorporate biofuels and hydrogen for even deeper reductions in future designs.

Roughly half of GE’s sales today come from products that either eliminate greenhouse gases or prevent future emissions, according to estimates by Nick Heymann of investment bank William Blair & Co. That, he says, positions the company to become the largest green industrial manufacturer by the middle of the decade. “For their customer base,” Heymann says, “they’re going to want them to know that any asset they buy in this space is going to be able to be economically viable in the future.”

Still, there’s no getting around that the bulk of GE Power’s business-for now, even after rapidly shrinking-remains rooted in fossil fuels. The division reeled after former CEO Jeffrey Immelt made a gargantuan bet on fossil-generated power, acquiring parts of France’s Alstom for about $10 billion in 2015. The deal prompted a $22 billion write-down three years later, and the division ended up cutting costs and jobs as it sank from $17.1 billion of revenue in 2017 to $12.7 billion last year

In a not-unrelated development, GE Power must also contend with wind and solar emerging as the cheapest sources of new electricity in most of the world. The clearest sign of a limited future for natural gas came in May from the International Energy Agency’s road map for achieving net-zero emissions by 2050. The group called for unabated natural gas generation to peak by the end of this decade and then decline 90% by 2040. If the world doesn’t take these steps, the IEA warned, it risks blowing past climate goals and locking in majorly disruptive changes to the global climate.

Remaining natural gas plants in the IEA’s post-2040 scenarios would have to adopt low-carbon fuels such as hydrogen and carbon-capture technology. For customers interested in the latter, GE Power’s website offers both a webinar and form to contact its sales staff.

If it’s possible to squint over the horizon and imagine the green industrial supplier GE might become, it’s much harder to scrutinize the emissions that are its responsibility today. That’s because the company discloses only a tiny fraction of its total contribution to climate change-an omission that sets it apart from other big emitters, such as General Motors Co., and even some giant oil companies, like Royal Dutch Shell Plc.

It’s not just a disclosure issue; GE doesn’t know the size of its own pollution problem. The company reported to CDP, a nonprofit tracker of corporate emissions, that as of last year it had never completed a full assessment of emissions tied to its customers and supply chain. This is the category carbon accountants call Scope 3, which makes up the overwhelming majority of emissions for many large industrial companies.

GE is hardly alone in its limited approach to climate metrics and disclosures. Power turbine peers such as Siemens Energy and jet engine rival Pratt & Whitney, a part of Raytheon Technologies Corp., haven’t revealed their total emissions. And there’s no legal imperative for them to do so. But the practice violates a basic corporate sustainability principle: What isn’t measured can’t be cut. Perhaps that’s why GE also hasn’t set detailed targets for reducing customer and supplier emissions. The company has said it plans to adopt near-term targets and is working on additional climate disclosures, but there’s no timeline on either process.

For now, investors and the public can only triangulate GE’s full climate impact from bits and pieces of available information, so Bloomberg Green asked the experts at CDP to do just that. Their estimate put the 2019 emissions of GE’s suppliers and customers at 135 million metric tons of CO₂ equivalent. That means the emissions GE had disclosed-2.4 million metric tons from its own operations-account for less than 2% of its overall carbon footprint. Most of the discrepancy comes from customers that buy and use all of its planet-warming products. CDP’s analysis puts emissions from end users at about 97 million metric tons, comparable to the carbon dioxide output of Colombia or Bangladesh.

Yet GE’s true carbon footprint is almost certainly greater still. CDP derives estimates in part from a company’s revenue in a given year, and those calculations don’t account for previously sold products that remain in use. That means CDP’s estimate excludes tens of thousands of engines and turbines sold before 2019 and built for decades of action.

Disclosing emissions is just a first step. “For companies that are impacting climate change at the scale that GE is,” says Simon Fischweicher, head of corporations and supply chain at CDP, “we need to see intermediate or short-term targets.”

Naturally, GE has become a prime target for activists. Until 2019 the company remained involved in more than a dozen coal plant installations around the world, which led the Natural Resources Defense Council to call out its “coal plant profiteering.” Shareholders have weighed in, too, with 98% voting in May to approve a resolution demanding a net-zero commitment. GE’s board supported the measure.

That followed the company’s decision last year to drop the business of outfitting new coal-fired plants and work to zero out the sliver of emissions from its own operations by the end of the decade. The corporate accountability group As You Sow, which put the shareholder proposal before GE investors, called the company’s pledge this year to reach net-zero by 2050 a “major step.”

Daniel Stewart of As You Sow compares GE in the current moment to another American industrial icon: GM. The automaker has pledged to produce exclusively electric vehicles by 2035, even though the bulk of its sales and profits today come from gas-guzzling SUVs and pickups. Two of America’s long-lived corporate giants are caught between the carbon-intensive present and a cleaner future. “Before making these commitments, a lot of these companies want to have all the answers, which is impossible,” Stewart says. “So there’s a certain leap of faith.”

– – –

At GE headquarters, not everyone has made that leap with both feet. Executives frequently uphold the idea of natural gas power as a linchpin in the decarbonization process, since it tends to displace coal and provides a reliable backup for renewables that can go offline when the wind dies down. As Culp says, “We believe we’ve got to take a global view relative to gas, particularly vis-à-vis alternatives.”

The company’s gas turbines are currently being installed in Greece, Israel, and Poland, replacing 4GW of coal-fired electricity, GE Power CEO Scott Strazik told investors in March. Customers in Asia accounted for the largest share of orders for the HA-class turbines at the end of 2020, with 17 bound for Taiwan that will come online by mid-decade. A Colorado utility earlier this year purchased six of GE’s smaller gas turbines, derived from jet engines, to be a power backstop, putting a large coal plant into retirement 12 years ahead of schedule.

The executive tasked with translating GE’s net-zero ambitions for the future into action today is Roger Martella, the company’s first chief sustainability officer. He meets twice a month with the CEOs of the divisions-including Culp-and leads a working group of about two dozen people from each business charged with carrying out sustainability initiatives. “We’re going business by business to look at how we can achieve carbon neutrality,” he says.

Martella joined GE in 2017 as an environmental health and safety attorney and became the sustainability boss in June. A self-avowed environmentalist who’s active in international climate law, he co-authored a legal framework last year, published by the International Bar Association, outlining how citizens could use the courts to address government inaction on global warming. Martella was also the top lawyer at the Environmental Protection Agency in 2007, under George W. Bush, when the Supreme Court rebuked the agency for its refusal to regulate CO₂ from automobiles. Later, in private practice, he represented a coalition of industry groups that tried to stop Barack Obama’s Clean Power Plan to cut greenhouse gas from the electrical grid. The measure was eventually blocked by the Supreme Court and rescinded by Donald Trump.

Martella says his experiences should illustrate how climate progress can be undone if it rests on a shaky foundation. “If we put a lot of effort into something that’s not going to be legally sustainable,” he says, “we would lose time.”

Long Ridge’s natural-gas-to-hydrogen plant is starting to take shape. In October, Wholey will install tubes and valves used to mix 5% hydrogen into the fuel for the turbine. The hydrogen supply will come from a nearby chlorine plant, where it’s produced as a byproduct and trucked over. “It’s pretty minimal new infrastructure that needs to be built,” Wholey says. “To the extent we can use existing infrastructure to displace natural gas, that’s how this is going to move forward, at least initially.”

He’s planning to sell into the grid while working to line up customers for the part-hydrogen electricity. Although interest in low- and no-carbon power is high, cost remains a hurdle. Hydrogen is much more expensive than natural gas and expected to remain so for years. But Wholey is still all-in on the fuel because of its potential to provide continuous, carbon-free power.

Eventually he’ll need to produce hydrogen on-site, since transportation accounts for about half the cost of what he’s buying today. Wholey plans to host multiple pilot projects, trying his hand at “green hydrogen” produced with renewable energy and “blue hydrogen” derived from natural gas combined with carbon capture. H2Pro, an Israeli startup backed by New Fortress, plans to launch a zero-carbon hydrogen pilot project at Long Ridge in 2023.

By 2030, BNEF forecasts, green hydrogen will become the cheapest kind in all major markets. But Wholey wants to be ready for anything-just like GE. “There’s uncertainty. You could have said the same thing about wind and solar 10 or 15 years ago,” he says. “Do I have a concern that it will play out that way? No. Is there uncertainty around the timing involved? Of course.”

Published : October 18, 2021

By : Bloomberg

Microsoft will shut down LinkedIn service in China after facing criticism for censoring posts #SootinClaimon.Com

#SootinClaimon.Com : ขอบคุณแหล่งข้อมูล : หนังสือพิมพ์ The Nation.


Microsoft said it will shut down its LinkedIn site inside of China, days after facing public criticism for censoring the posts of several U.S. journalists.

In announcing the decision Thursday, LinkedIn said it was facing “a significantly more challenging operating environment and greater compliance requirements in China.”

The news brings to an end the last major Western social-media site operating inside China, where the authorities have long blocked Facebook, WhatsApp, Twitter and other apps.

“Increased repression inside China, and greater criticism from Congress of going along with Chinese regulations, have made it unsustainable” for U.S. social-media companies, said Adam Segal, an expert on China and technology at the Council on Foreign Relations.

LinkedIn said it will “sunset” its current site later this year, but will launch a new site called InJobs that will not include a social-media feed or the ability to share posts or articles.

“Our new strategy for China is to put our focus on helping China-based professionals find jobs in China and Chinese companies find quality candidates,” LinkedIn said. It didn’t provide further details.

Chinese-owned social-media apps, such as WeChat and Weibo, are heavily censored to delete content that the authorities deem sensitive. And U.S. users of LinkedIn in recent weeks said they have faced similar censorship on their profiles inside China.

Those reports prompted Sen. Rick Scott, R-Fla., to write a letter to the chief executives of Microsoft and LinkedIn expressing concern that an “American company is actively censoring American journalists on behalf of the Chinese Communist Party.”

One of the journalists, Bethany Allen-Ebrahimian, an Axios reporter who focuses on China from Washington, D.C., reported on Sept. 30 that LinkedIn had blocked her own profile and those of other U.S. journalists in China.

In an interview Thursday, Allen-Ebrahimian said LinkedIn several weeks ago sent her a message informing her that her profile would no longer be viewable in China because it contained “prohibited” content.

Allen-Ebrahimian asked the company several times for more specifics but “they never told me what the prohibited content was,” she said. LinkedIn didn’t respond to questions about that on Thursday.

Even if LinkedIn’s new site lacks social-media features, the company will still be subjected to potentially invasive information requests from the Chinese authorities, Allen-Ebrahimian said.

“If the Chinese authorities want to know, has this person messaged with anybody, have they applied for any jobs? InJobs will have to provide that. If it’s a criminal matter, okay, but what if they’re doing it for political reasons?” she asked.

Melissa Chan, an American journalist who has reported for Vice and The Atlantic, also disclosed that LinkedIn had blocked her profile in China over “prohibited” content.

“There remains a lot more questions than answers,” Chan said by email on Thursday. “Did some Chinese authority reach out to LinkedIn with a list of people and posts they had a problem with? Or did LinkedIn take the initiative and do it themselves? Knowing what happened matters.”

Greg Bruno, a freelance journalist and author who focuses on Tibetan issues, said in an interview Thursday that LinkedIn told him he was blocked inside China due to “prohibited” content in the publications section of his profile. The only information in this section was about his three-year-old book, which he said details “China’s effort to marginalize and de-ligitimize Tibetan exiles.”

“I was pretty angry,” he said. “The biggest thing that bothered me about LinkedIn’s message was it was putting the onus on me to self-censor.”

Despite his troubles with LinkedIn, Bruno lamented the end of the last U.S. social-media holdout in China. “This is just going to continue to insulate us in our information bubbles and cut us off as people,” he said.

Published : October 15, 2021

By : The Washington Post

Virgin Galactic pushes back next test flight as it makes enhancements to its spaceplane #SootinClaimon.Com

#SootinClaimon.Com : ขอบคุณแหล่งข้อมูล : หนังสือพิมพ์ The Nation.


Three months after Richard Branson reached the edge of space, Virgin Galactic, his space tourism company, is postponing its next test flight to make what it calls enhancements to its space plane that would make it safer over the long-term, the company announced Thursday.

The decision means that a test flight scheduled for this month, which was to have flown members of the Italian Air Force and National Research Council, will be delayed until the second half of next year, and commercial service wouldn’t begin until the fourth quarter of that year, the company said.

The stand down is yet another sign of the complexities of human space flight and comes as a number of companies have been working on flying paying customers to either the edge of space or to orbit. Virgin Galactic has repeatedly delayed flying its paying customers, some of whom have waited years. After suspending ticket sales, which had been priced at $250,000 each, the company announced this year it was reopening tickets sales at $450,000 each.

In a statement, Virgin Galactic CEO Michael Colglazier said the company’s spacecraft “are designed with significant margins for safety, providing layers of protection that far exceed loads experienced and expected to occur on our flights.” The enhancement to the spacecraft “underscores our safety-first procedures, provides the most efficient path to commercial service and is the right approach for our business and our customers.”

Earlier this year, Branson, who had been itching to get to space for years, moved up his flight and was able to beat rival Jeff Bezos to space by less than two weeks. But Bezos’ Blue Origin just completed its second successful human spaceflight on Wednesday, carrying William Shatner and three others on a quick suborbital flight to an altitude of more than 66 miles.

It is planning one more flight by the end of the year and a half dozen or more next year.

A Virgin Galactic spokesperson said that there were no issues with the vehicle currently and that it would be cleared to fly in the next month or two. But as the company tested materials in the laboratory to determine how often parts and materials would need to be inspected and maintained, the data projected lower safety margins over the long-term.

The company had been planning to stand down for some time at the end of the year to perform maintenance on its mother ship, which hoists the spaceplane aloft so that it can be “air launched” from about 45,000 feet. It will now perform that work immediately and include the additional spacecraft materials in the review as well.

While the delay for the Italian Air Force mission is several months, the delay of commercial service from when it was originally foreseen should be only about a month or so, the person said.

The Italian Air Force flight had been delayed previously after the company noticed a potential defect in a component supplied by an outside contractor. The current delay is unrelated to that, the company said. The earlier issue has been resolved.

Virgin Galactic was also grounded by the Federal Aviation Administration this year after Branson’s flight went off course during its descent and controllers failed to inform the FAA it was flying outside of its restricted airspace. The FAA announced last month it was allowing the company to return to flight operations after the company made changes on how it would communicate with the FAA during flights.

Published : October 15, 2021

By : The Washington Post

Apple finally falls victim to never-ending supply chain crisis #SootinClaimon.Com

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Apple, the worlds most valuable company, has finally joined a growing list of household names from Toyota to Samsung forced to cut back on business because of a global shortage of semiconductors.

Apple is now likely to slash its projected iPhone 13 production targets for 2021 by as many as 10 million units, Bloomberg News reported Tuesday.

For months, while supply chain shocks rocked the electronic, automaking, and even commodities industries, Apple remained the one company that could secure the chips needed to keep selling its latest range of products, due to its well-managed supply chain and the prestige of meeting its exacting standards.

But the recent setback for Apple has dashed any hopes that the supply-chain crisis was easing.

“If this is happening to the most powerful company,” it could happen to anyone, said Neil Campling, an analyst at Mirabaud Securities. Given “they have huge power in terms of their ability to source semiconductors as such a key customer, then everyone else will be having greater issues than they are.”

Apple’s scaleback is a clear sign that the supply disruptions that have wreaked havoc around the world are worsening, which may jeopardize the outlook for the post-pandemic economic recovery. Almost all major manufacturers have been impacted both by a lack of key materials such as semiconductors, but also an inability to get finished goods into the hands of consumers.

President Joe Biden is set to focus on transportation bottlenecks on Wednesday, with the congested Port of Los Angeles planning a 24 hours a day, seven days a week effort to confront the squeeze on goods. A.P. Moller-Maersk said it had to divert some ships from the U.K.’s largest container port because of congestion tied to a trucker shortage.

“Recent rumblings from chip producers suggest that the problems are expected to persist,” Deutsche Bank strategists including Jim Reid, global head of fundamental credit strategy wrote in a note. That “will make central bank decisions even more complicated over the coming weeks as they grapple with increasing supply-side constraints that push up inflation whilst threatening to undermine the recovery.”

Apple had expected to produce 90 million new iPhone models this year, but is now telling manufacturing partners that the total will be lower because Broadcom and Texas Instruments are struggling to deliver enough components, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the situation is private.

Japan Display Inc., which gets more than half of its revenue from Apple, fell as much as 5.6%, joining U.S. suppliers that fell in postmarket trading.

The shortage of semiconductors stems mainly from years of under-investment coupled with a failure to gauge the explosion in demand for connected devices. Even industry insiders were caught by surprise. ASML Holding CEO Peter Wennink, whose company sells the machines that enable most cutting-edge chipmaking, said in July it has underestimated the growth of the semiconductor industry over the past 15 years.

The amount of time that companies need to wait for chip orders to get filled has set records for nine straight months, signaling that semiconductor shortages will continue to plague businesses well into 2022 and likely beyond. AlixPartners, a global consulting firm, estimated last month that the global automotive industry will lose about $210 billion in sales for 2021 alone.

Earlier this year, Apple had already warned that it would face supply constraints of the iPhone and iPad during the quarter that ended September. But it held off from reducing its internal projections at the time.

The timing couldn’t be worse. The year-end quarter was expected to be Apple’s biggest sales blitz yet, generating about $120 billion in revenue. That would be up about 7% from a year earlier — and more money than Apple made in an entire year a decade ago.

In addition to facing tight iPhone availability, the company has struggled to make enough of the Apple Watch Series 7 and other products.

Separately, a protracted energy crisis in China may add to the iPhone maker’s headaches. Apple supplier TPK Holding Co. said last week that subsidiaries in the southeastern Chinese province of Fujian are modifying their production schedule due to local government power restrictions. That comes less than two weeks after iPhone assembler Pegatron Corp. adopted energy-saving measures amid government-imposed power curbs.

Some analysts however spot an opportunity for Apple.

“If Apple can’t meet near-term demand, the shortfall is likely to be even greater at competitors, creating an opportunity for share gains,” Morgan Stanley analysts wrote after Bloomberg’s report.

Published : October 14, 2021

By : Bloomberg

Microsoft agrees to human rights review in deals with law enforcement, government #SootinClaimon.Com

#SootinClaimon.Com : ขอบคุณแหล่งข้อมูล : หนังสือพิมพ์ The Nation.


Microsoft, which has faced pressure from employees and shareholders over contracts with governments and law enforcement agencies, agreed to commission an independent human rights review of some of those deals.

The move came in response to a June filing of a shareholder proposal asking the company to evaluate how well it sticks to its human rights statement and related policies. Microsoft committed to a review of any human rights impacts that its products have on those including communities of Black, Indigenous and People of Color in contracts for police, immigration enforcement and unspecified other government agencies, according to correspondence from the company viewed by Bloomberg.

Microsoft pledged to publish the report next year, and the shareholders, who include faith-based investors like Religious of the Sacred Heart of Mary, have withdrawn their proposal ahead of Microsoft’s annual shareholder meeting next month.

Microsoft spokesman Frank Shaw confirmed the company will undertake the review.

“In response to shareholder requests, Microsoft Corp. will commission an independent, third-party assessment to identify, understand, assess, and address actual or potential adverse human rights impacts of the company’s products and services and business relationships with regard to law enforcement, immigration enforcement, and other government contracts. The assessment will include consultation with BIPOC communities, including immigrants, and other groups representing communities most impacted by Microsoft’s surveillance products, law enforcement and government contracts,” the company said in a statement.

As government, military and police contracts have become targets of scrutiny and activism, Microsoft employees have circulated letters demanding the company abandon a deal to build versions of its HoloLens augmented reality headsets for the U.S. Army as well as raising concerns about business with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Chief Executive Officer Satya Nadella has stood behind software sales to the U.S. military, but paused selling facial recognition technology to police departments, although the company sells other programs to law enforcement. The California-based religious order agreed to lead the shareholder proposal because it wanted to make sure the company’s products don’t “cause human rights harms, including perpetuating systemic racial inequities,” Sister Joanne Safian, said in a statement.

Microsoft told the investors the review will be conducted by the law firm Foley Hoag. The proposal was filed by Investor Advocates for Social Justice, a nonprofit representing faith-based institutional investors. Microsoft didn’t specify which contracts will be examined, but shareholders “expect” it will include what the group said are about 16 active contracts with ICE and U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

“This will be an ambitious and complicated process and we’re certainly putting our faith in Microsoft and Foley Hoag to be conscientious,” said Michael Connor, executive director of Open MIC, a nonprofit shareholder advocacy organization that worked with IASJ on the proposal. “They’re asking for input from affected rights holders, which was a very big request on our part and they agreed to that.”

Human rights concerns have been raised by shareholders in areas related to labor and in the apparel industry around manufacturing conditions but are newer to the technology companies, he said. Open MIC has also made similar requestsof Amazon.com Inc., related to its facial recognition technology, as well as Apple Inc., Facebook Inc. and Alphabet Inc., without a positive response from the companies or a win at shareholder meetings, Connor said.

Open MIC is also working on two other shareholder resolutions related to Microsoft, including one that asks the company to stop selling facial recognition software to all government agencies.

“Tech companies take the position that all tech is good, and while we as shareholders recognize that tech can be helpful, there are also many downsides,” Connor said.

Published : October 14, 2021

By : Bloomberg

Thailand network members set sights on net-zero emissions by 2070 #SootinClaimon.Com

#SootinClaimon.Com : ขอบคุณแหล่งข้อมูล : หนังสือพิมพ์ The Nation.


Global Compact Network Thailand (GCNT) is determined to combat global warming, with the network’s members aiming to become net-zero emitters from 2050 to 2070 in a bid to urgently reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha emphasised that a zero-carbon economy will propel the country’s economy.

On Monday, the GCNT and the United Nations organised an online seminar titled GCNT Forum 2021: Thailand’s Climate Leadership Summit 2021 under the concept “A new era of accelerated actions” to prevent and solve problems emanating from climate change.

More than 800 leaders from various organisations and businesses attended the seminar.

Prayut, who was the keynote speaker, addressed the urgency to solve the escalating global climate crisis, setting net-zero greenhouse gas emission reduction targets and carbon-neutral goals.

The prime minister also said the government was in the process of drafting the Climate Change Act, and in November Thailand would attend the COP26 meeting in Glasgow, UK. Prayut hoped the meeting would reach a consensus on key issues, which would lead to actual implementation of the Paris Agreement.

Natural Resources and Environment Minister Varawut Silpa-acha said at the seminar that the new post-Covid-19 era should take into account environmental measures and apply them to every industrial and business process in order to move the economy forward.

But, Varawut added, this would require firm cooperation from the private sector.

Thailand network members set sights on net-zero emissions by 2070Thailand network members set sights on net-zero emissions by 2070

GCNT president Suphachai Chearavanont said one-third of the network members have already proceeded with the Sustainable Development Goals by organising more than 500 projects valued at over THB4.2 billion.

Supachai said the projects would certainly help drive the country’s development.

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Published : October 13, 2021


Inside Blue Origin: Employees say toxic, dysfunctional bro culture led to mistrust, low morale and delays at Jeff Bezoss space venture #SootinClaimon.Com

#SootinClaimon.Com : ขอบคุณแหล่งข้อมูล : หนังสือพิมพ์ The Nation.


SEATTLE – In 2019, a mid-level employee at Jeff Bezoss Blue Origin had grown fed up with the company, and as he left, he wrote a long memo that he sent to Bezos, chief executive Bob Smith and other senior leaders: “Our current culture is toxic to our success and many can see it spreading throughout the company.”

The problems at the spaceflight company were “systemic,” according to the memo, which was obtained by The Washington Post and verified by two former employees familiar with the matter, and “the loss of trust in Blue’s leadership is common.”

It was one of a number of warnings to Blue Origin’s leadership in recent years that the company’s culture had become dysfunctional, resulting in low morale and high turnover, significant delays across several major programs and a failure to successfully compete with Elon Musk’s venture SpaceX, current and former employees said.


The new management’s “authoritarian bro culture,” as one former employee put it, affected how decisions were made and permeated the institution, translating into condescending, sometimes humiliating, comments and harassment toward some women and a stagnant top-down hierarchy that frustrated many employees.

As it quickly grew from a small start-up to a large corporation with nearly 4,000 employees, Blue Origin grappled with how to improve its culture. In 2019, the company fired its head of recruiting after employees complained of sexism. A consultant retained by Blue Origin conducted a review of the company’s leadership, finding that the primary challenge was Smith’s ineffective, micromanaging leadership style, said two former employees, including a top executive.

Bezos, who recently stepped down as chief executive of Amazon, also owns The Washington Post.

This account is based on interviews with more than 20 current and former Blue Origin employees and industry officials with close ties to the firm, who spoke on the condition of anonymity for fear of reprisal. The interviews and documents obtained by The Post reveal wide-ranging employee concerns about Smith’s leadership style, a bureaucracy that hampered innovation, and a lack of intervention from Bezos, who employees said was not giving the company enough attention during a crucial period.

“It’s bad,” said one former top executive. “I think it’s a complete lack of trust. Leadership has not engendered any trust in the employee base.”

Another said: “The C-suite is out of touch with the rank-and-file pretty severely. It’s very dysfunctional. It’s condescending. It’s demoralizing, and what happens is we can’t make progress and end up with huge delays.”

The company’s cultural issues came to light last month when Alexandra Abrams, the former head of Blue Origin’s employee communications, released an essay she said was written in conjunction with 20 other current and former Blue Origin employees. It said the company “turns a blind eye to sexism, is not sufficiently attuned to safety concerns and silences those who seek to correct wrongs.” The staffers were not identified in the essay, but three of them confirmed the allegations to The Post on the condition of anonymity for fear of reprisal.

In a statement to The Post, Mary Plunkett, Blue Origin’s senior vice president of human resources, said the company takes “all claims seriously and we have no tolerance for discrimination or harassment of any kind. Where we substantiate allegations of misconduct under our anti-harassment, anti-discrimination and anti-retaliation policy we take the appropriate action – up to and including termination of employment.”

Blue Origin, based in Kent, Wash., has an anonymous hotline that is staffed 24 hours a day, seven days a week for employees, “where any claims of this nature are registered and then investigated.” She said the company also encourages workers to contact human resources or senior leadership, ensuring that “these conversations are strictly confidential and we listen to any claims with empathy and concern.”

Bezos and Smith declined to comment for this story. Shailesh Prakash, The Post’s chief information officer who also sits on Blue Origin’s advisory board, declined to comment.

When Abrams’s essay was posted last month, Smith wrote in an email to the company, “It is particularly difficult and painful, for me, to hear claims being levied that attempt to characterize our entire team in a way that doesn’t align with the character and capability that I see at Blue Origin every day.”

After Blue Origin was notified that this story would publish soon, Bezos on Sunday night tweeted an image of Barron’s cover story from 1999 that was critical of Amazon, calling it “Amazon. Bomb.”

“Listen and be open, but don’t let anybody tell you who you are,” Bezos wrote. “This was just one of the many stories telling us all the ways we were going to fail. Today, Amazon is one of the world’s most successful companies and has revolutionized two entirely different industries.”

In response, Musk tweeted an emoji of a second-place medal.

– – –

Blue Origin, like many aerospace companies, has a male-dominated culture, and several current and former female employees said they faced condescending remarks and comments about their appearance.

“Two friends tried to talk me out of going to Blue because of how toxic it was,” one former employee said. There were “lots of comments on people’s bodies and appearance,” she said. “It was a dispiriting, chaotic experience working there. That behavior was modeled and not held accountable.” Younger men new to the company started to “mirror” this conduct, she added.

She said she reported the incidents multiple times to human resources but nothing was done.

In 2019, the company brought in the Perkins Coie law firm to investigate Walt McCleery, its vice president of recruiting, a longtime executive at the firm whose behavior had made several women uncomfortable. One former employee told The Post that in a meeting with an outside company, McCleery turned to the executives and said: “I apologize for [her] being emotional. It must be her time of the month.”

McCleery was terminated after the investigation, according to Blue Origin. In a brief interview with The Post last week, McCleery denied the allegations and said they were “not true as far as I’m concerned.”

Another top executive was coached by human resources on appropriate workplace behavior after he repeatedly referred to a group of female employees as “mean girls,” which continued even after they complained about it to management, according to multiple people familiar with the matter. (The comments ended eventually after counseling.)

These company problems took many new employees by surprise. One former engineer said that she was kneeling at a co-worker’s desk in 2016, while they went over engineering drawings together. She said her manager, an older man, walked by and said: “You’ve only been working here two weeks. You don’t have to get on your knees yet.”

The comment didn’t sink in immediately, the former employee said, partly because she expected Blue Origin to be a welcoming environment.

“I was naive and in denial, maybe,” she said. “It wasn’t until I thought about it later that it was obvious.”

Not everyone says the company culture has grown toxic. One employee who works outside the main headquarters said she has found the culture and leadership welcoming and respectful. Blue Origin’s human resources team took immediate action when she reported a claim of “highly inappropriate behavior” from another employee earlier this year, she said.

The company started investigating right away, and the other employee was terminated, further confirming her confidence in the company. “I’ve never felt like I couldn’t go to our leadership for support,” she said. “I’ve never felt like I couldn’t go to HR with a problem.”

The company said it has not had any inquiries from the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). (EEOC complaints are not made public unless the agency decides to file suit.) It also has not faced any lawsuits for harassment or hostile work environment. One senior manager said: “A lot of us put a lot of time into creating safe spaces for employees to share experiences and mentor each other. . . . We, I think, do the right thing every time we hear about a complaint. And when the claims have merit, we fire people.”

The company also has a diversity, equity and inclusion program, set up by Smith to help the company hire more women and minorities, and help support them once hired. It has nine groups designed to help specific populations, such as veterans and racial groups, feel welcome. One, called “New Ride,” is named for Sally Ride, the first female NASA astronaut to reach space, and is intended to help “create an authentic, inclusive, and equitable culture at Blue where LGBT+ employees and allies are empowered to become the greatest, truest version of themselves – both professionally and personally,” the company said.

If there is anyone who can get the company back on track, one industry official said, it’s Bezos. The company is his passion, the fulfillment of a lifelong dream. And now that he’s been to space and stepped down from Amazon, he’ll remain focused on Blue Origin: “I think Blue will be a phoenix here in a couple of years because Jeff will figure it out.”

– – –

When Bezos founded Blue Origin in 2000, it was to make real a science-fiction fantasy and to fulfill a dream of having “millions of people living and working in space.” For the first couple of years, it existed as a tiny start-up, more like a think tank than a space company, that would take a “step-by-step” approach to achieving its goal. For years, Bezos appeared content to move slowly and deliberately, like its mascot, the tortoise.

But in 2017, Bezos brought in Smith to be the company’s first CEO, taking over from Rob Meyerson, the company’s president, who had been running its day-to-day operations.

The selection of Smith, who has a PhD in aerospace engineering from the University of Texas and a master’s degree in business from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, took many by surprise, especially because he served as a top executive at Honeywell Aerospace, a massive conglomerate with a corporate culture far different from Blue Origin’s small, intimate feel.

“When he was hired, everyone was asking, ‘Who’s Bob Smith?’ Nobody knew who he was,” one former Blue Origin executive said.

Under his leadership, the company has grown significantly, with facilities in Florida and Alabama, as it has pursued a number of ambitious projects, from building a massive rocket, called New Glenn, to a spacecraft that could land on the moon and even space stations.

The problems with the corporate culture have led to problems with performance, according to current and former employees, manifesting in the growing gap between SpaceX and Blue Origin. The latest defeat came in April, when Blue Origin lost a major NASA contract to build a spacecraft designed to land astronauts on the moon after bidding twice as much as SpaceX. It also lost out on a lucrative round of Pentagon launch contracts in 2019 that went to SpaceX and United Launch Alliance (ULA), a joint venture of Boeing and Lockheed Martin.

Blue Origin has yet to fly its New Glenn rocket, the massive vehicle Bezos originally vowed would reach orbit by last year. It has also suffered delays in the development of Blue Origin’s BE-4 engine, which would be used, too, in the new rocket under development by ULA. Because that rocket is to be used to fly national security satellites, the delay has caused concern in the Pentagon and among some members of Congress.

In late 2018, Blue Origin hired a consulting firm to assess why SpaceX was so successful and what it could do to catch up, according to multiple people. The resulting report led to a frank discussion among Blue Origin’s leadership regarding problems in the company’s culture, and work ethic, its lack of major customers and its presence on social media.

SpaceX “expects and gets more from their employees,” one executive concluded, according to minutes of a meeting to discuss the report, which were obtained by The Post. Another executive said Blue “is kind of lazy compared to SpaceX.” Musk’s venture had won several major government contracts by bidding low, another said. One executive noted: “We need an anchor [U.S. government] tenant to get us to profitability.”

There have been some notable successes, however. The company completed its first human spaceflight mission in July, with Bezos onboard, a testament to the safety of the spacecraft. On Wednesday morning, it plans another spaceflight mission, this time with actor William Shatner, best known for playing Captain Kirk on the original “Star Trek” series, Bezos’s favorite childhood TV show.

In another memo obtained by The Post, an employee complained about the company moving ahead with a rocket test launch last year at the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic. “I cannot in good conscience stand with an organization willing to consider putting its private mission ahead of the safety of the general community,” the person wrote. The issue was first reported by the Verge. A Blue Origin spokesperson told the publication at the time: “We hold safety as our highest value. Period.”

Smith and the executives he brought in, many from legacy aerospace companies, sat in an executive suite in a new office building, isolated from the rest of the staff. While that is not unusual for many large corporations, it was off-putting for many employees at Blue Origin who had been used to their leaders sitting and mingling among them.

“That wasn’t appreciated,” one former executive said. “It was an I’m-above-you message.”

This apparent aloofness persisted as the new management settled in. At a company town hall meeting, employees submitted a list of questions for Smith about the future of the company and his leadership style.

When he didn’t address any of them, one employee sarcastically submitted a softball, “What’s your favorite kind of ice cream?”

That one, Smith took. “Sorbet,” he said, according to multiple people at the meeting.

At one point, employees said they rebelled after the company announced it would end its long-standing practice of distributing free mission patches after launches, a cut made because the company was “trying to become profitable,” Abrams told The Post she was instructed to tell employees.

Since the days of NASA’s Apollo moon program, mission patches have been a way to commemorate spaceflight missions, and Blue Origin’s employees were angry, wondering how much could they really cost. Eventually the executives relented and agreed to distribute the patches, but the incident became known as “patchgate.”

Concerned about the company’s leadership, the head of human resources brought in an outside management consultant, who interviewed Smith and the members of his team in 2019 and concluded that Smith’s micromanaging style was often ineffective, according to a former senior executive and confirmed by another person familiar with the matter.

Smith bristled at the report, which was first reported by CNBC, and refused to meet on the subject again.

The troubles at Blue Origin happened to correspond with a period of personal upheaval for Bezos. “Jeff got divorced and he was distracted,” said one of the top former executives who left. “Blue’s workforce was going up and his net worth was going up, and there were a lot of things on his plate, like the climate fund that he wanted to do. Combined with his personal life . . . that gave Bob an opportunity to really turn Blue upside down. He was CEO, so Jeff gave him a lot of rope.”

The people interviewed for this story said Bezos was content to let Smith run the company. And Smith, one former executive said, “made it real clear the only conduit to Jeff was him. And so there was no check and balance.”

When Bezos did come in on Wednesdays, the day he set aside for Blue Origin, the visits and their aftermath could be “extremely disruptive,” a former executive said. Engineers at the company would pitch him ideas, and he would say they were good ones. Then, armed with Bezos’s tacit approval, they would try to make them reality.

“Jeff may have liked the idea, but guess what? We didn’t budget for it. It’s not in the schedule. It’s not in the design,” the person said. “He just said he liked an idea.”

One former machinist said he took Bezos up on his offer, made to the entire company, to approach with ideas to become more efficient. But after he pitched Bezos and returned to the factory floor, he said, “two of my managers chewed me out and said I was going behind their backs.”

In July, Bezos stepped down as CEO of Amazon and transitioned to a role as executive chair. That month, he also flew to the edge of space aboard Blue Origin’s first human spaceflight mission. It was a profound moment for him, he said at the time, and he vowed to spend more of his time focused on Blue Origin.

Over the past several months, he has and is also spending more of his own money to help the company compete, several people confirmed. He has been deeply involved in the fight over the NASA lunar lander contract that SpaceX won, those people said.

“He’s super jealous of SpaceX,” one industry official, who spoke anonymously to discuss private matters, said. “He’s really worried about them. That is very clear.”

One of the former Blue Origin executives said that even though Blue Origin teamed up with Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman and Draper on the lunar lander contract, it was no surprise that the company lost.

“We can’t manage ourselves,” the person said. “Not one of our programs is on cost and schedule. Yet you think we’re going to manage Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman and Draper? It’s just not going to happen.”

The industry official said his advice for Bezos would be to “start over. You should be the CEO if you really want to do something, but you basically need a new executive team and a totally new culture.”

Published : October 12, 2021

By : The Washington Post

Moderna plans to build vaccine plant in Africa to produce 500 million doses a year for lower-income nations #SootinClaimon.Com

#SootinClaimon.Com : ขอบคุณแหล่งข้อมูล : หนังสือพิมพ์ The Nation.


Biotechnology company Moderna, under intense pressure to send more of its coronavirus vaccine to lower-income countries, announced Thursday it would build a manufacturing plant in Africa capable of producing 500 million doses of messenger RNA vaccines a year.

The announcement follows tensions between the Biden administration and Moderna that boiled over in the last week, including at a contentious meeting Friday, as the U.S. government urges the biotechnology company to send more coronavirus vaccines to lower-income countries, according to multiple people familiar with the matter who spoke on the condition of anonymity to disclose private conversations.

For months, the U.S. government has pleaded with Moderna to boost its domestic and international production so it can ramp up donations to low- and middle-income countries. But in two meetings during the last week, Biden administration officials have grown exasperated over the biotechnology company’s refusal to commit to doing so, the people said.


One senior U.S. official, who was not authorized to speak publicly, said the government pushed Moderna to commit to 1 billion doses for low- and middle-income countries by the end of 2022. But Moderna responded with a proposal that did not meet the Biden administration’s expectations, as the company said it does not have the capacity to ramp up production immediately.

The manufacturing facility Moderna pledged on Thursday to build in Africa will not have an immediate impact on the coronavirus pandemic because it will take two to four years to build. The new facility comes after the Biden administration asked Moderna months ago to boost its international production in Africa, the U.S. official said.

The Biden administration’s frustration with Moderna in recent months stems in part from the recognition that the company partnered with the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases to invent its vaccine, and that the U.S. government gave Moderna billions of taxpayer dollars to underwrite research and development of the vaccines, and for purchase of doses.

“We look forward to seeing exactly what they will do,” the senior Biden administration official said. “We are in intense discussions to expand capacity to increase the number of doses they are providing to low- and middle-income countries in the shorter term.”

U.S. officials feel the company has not done enough to boost production to send doses overseas, and instead, prioritized its own profits.

The White House declined to comment.

Moderna did not immediately respond to a request for comment about tensions with the Biden administration.

Just this week, three people associated with Moderna were among the 44 new billionaires on Forbes’s list of the 400 richest Americans. Making their debut on this year’s list: Moderna’s chairman, Noubar Afeyan, one of the U.S. biotech company’s founders; board member Robert S. Langer, also a co-founder; and early investor Timothy A. Springer.

“We played a lot of scenarios over the last couple of months and decided we should do something big in Africa. The only way to do it right, if you take a 5-to-10-year view, was to build our own plant like we’ve done in America, so that’s exactly the model,” Moderna chief executive Stéphane Bancel said in an interview.

Creating manufacturing capabilities in underserved areas of the world has become a major goal for public health advocates amid stark inequities in global access to coronavirus vaccines. A recent Kaiser Family Foundation analysis found that nearly two-thirds of people in wealthy countries have received at least one dose of a vaccine, compared with 2% in low-income countries.

The United States has already committed to donating more than 1.1 billion doses of coronavirus vaccine to the world, including two purchases of 500 million doses each of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine. Last month, President Joe Biden convened a virtual global summit focused on vaccinating the world’s population. The president called on global leaders to fully vaccinate 70% of the world’s population by next September.

“This is an all-hands-on-deck crisis,” Biden said. “And the good news is, we know how to beat this pandemic: vaccines, public health measures and collective action.”

Moving manufacturing into less-wealthy countries is one possible solution to the lack of global supply, but many advocates favor transferring the technology to local companies to ensure that countries have the ability to respond to new threats, and to ensure their doses do not end up exported elsewhere in the world.

“There’s this monopolistic grip of a few countries that really controls the narrative, and the availability and the access of lifesaving medical resources – and there’s enormous global resentment about that,” said Lawrence O. Gostin, a global health law expert at Georgetown Law. “Donations always seem to come too late, and be insufficient. . . . Opening up manufacturing plants in other countries is certainly a step forward, but it doesn’t really change the dynamic.”

Bancel said the company has not decided where the factory will be, but that the doses made there would remain in Africa, and Moderna would recruit and train a local workforce. He said the factory would manufacture the mRNA that goes into the vaccines and encase it in the protective lipid bubble that delivers the vaccine and keeps it stable. He said details were still being worked out about where the vaccines would go into vials.

Moderna has a large pipeline of mRNA vaccines in development beyond covid-19, including to protect against respiratory viruses, tropical viruses and HIV.

“We really want to get all the know-how and so on in Africa, so they can make vaccines, if there is an Ebola outbreak, they can use the plant for things like that,” Bancel said.

Gostin said building plants in lower-income countries was a step forward but emphasized that local control, ownership and expertise matters. He drew a comparison to China’s “belt and road initiative” in which the Chinese government built infrastructure in other countries.

“It’s helpful to have the shiny hospital or the shiny manufacturing plant or the shiny clinic, but what you really want is to have the infrastructure that belongs to the country, with trained, capable people running that infrastructure,” Gostin said.

Other efforts to create homegrown mRNA vaccines are already taking place.

University of Pennsylvania researcher Drew Weissman, one of the scientists whose work undergirds the coronavirus vaccines, has worked with Thailand to help design a mRNA vaccine.

GreenLight Biosciences, a start-up company that has been making RNA for agricultural applications, is working toward making mRNA vaccines with a different manufacturing process that could be easier to scale up. GreenLight plans to launch a clinical trial in Africa next year.

Published : October 08, 2021

CP to build tallest tower in Thailand on SRT’s Makkasan land #SootinClaimon.Com

#SootinClaimon.Com : ขอบคุณแหล่งข้อมูล : หนังสือพิมพ์ The Nation.


A 140-rai (22.4 hectares) land in Makkasan subdistrict of Bangkoks Ratchathewi district, which belongs to the State Railway of Thailand (SRT), will be the location for Thailand’s tallest tower.

The tower will be built by Asia Era One Ltd, a subsidiary of the Charoen Pokphand Group (CP), a news source revealed.

The CP-led consortium won the bid for the SRT’s high-speed train project connecting three airports (Don Mueang, Suvarnabhumi and U-Tapao) worth Bt224 billion in December 2018. The project also required the winner to develop the Makkasan land under a 50-year rent contract worth Bt50 billion, to paid in full to SRT upon area delivery.

“CP Group aims to turn the Makkasan land into a super tower. With a height of 550 metres — 120 storeys– it will be the tallest building in Thailand with up to 2 million square metres of usable space,” said the source.

“CP will also earmark at least 50 rai of land around the tower to be a green space to serve as a lung for surrounding communities. The rest of the land will be a location for hotels, office buildings, retail shops, service apartment and other facilities.”

CP Group has reportedly prepared an investment budget of Bt140 billion for this project .

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According to a survey by Thansettakij newspaper, the current tallest building in Thailand is the Magnolias Waterfront Residences at Iconsiam on Charoen Nakhon Road in Bangkok’s Khlong San district. It is 317.95 metres high with 70 storeys. There are two buildings under construction that will surpass it when finished, namely the Asset World Tower at Asiatique The Riverfront, expected to be 450 metres tall with 100 storeys, and the Signature Tower at One Bangkok, expected to be 437.03 metres high with 92 storeys.

Published : September 27, 2021

Palace-run Golden Place supermarket opens new branch in Laksi #SootinClaimon.Com

#SootinClaimon.Com : ขอบคุณแหล่งข้อมูล : หนังสือพิมพ์ The Nation.


The 21st branch of the health-shop-cum-supermarket, Golden Place, opened its doors near the Wat Phra Sri Mahathat BTS station in Bangkok’s Laksi area on Friday.

The shop, operated under Royal patronage, was opened in a special ceremony presided over by His Majesty’s secretary. Also present were directors and executives of the Suvarnachad Company.

The supermarket, located inside the Battalion Infantryman 11th Palace Guard Division compound, is surrounded by a beautiful garden and sports a spacious 100-car-capacity parking lot.

Operating under the concept “Think Health, Think Golden Place”, the shop offers a variety of health products as well as organic vegetables, fruits and produce grown under Royal projects.

This branch has the largest seafood zone, as well as a Golden Kitchen and Golden Coffee zone that serves Arabic coffee from the Mae Salong Royal Project in Chiang Rai.

Shoppers can also pick up clothes and souvenirs from different Royal projects.

Palace-run Golden Place supermarket opens new branch in LaksiPalace-run Golden Place supermarket opens new branch in LaksiPalace-run Golden Place supermarket opens new branch in LaksiPalace-run Golden Place supermarket opens new branch in Laksi

This Golden Place branch is open every day from 7am to 7.30pm due to current curfew restrictions. Under normal circumstances, it operates from 7am to 11pm. Products can also be bought via its official Line account @goldenplace or via www.goldenplace.co.th. Golden Place can also be found on Facebook and Instagram.

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Palace-run Golden Place supermarket opens new branch in LaksiPalace-run Golden Place supermarket opens new branch in Laksi

Palace-run Golden Place supermarket opens new branch in LaksiPalace-run Golden Place supermarket opens new branch in Laksi

Published : September 24, 2021