The last eighteen months have seen a global public backlash against plastic. Everyone talks about the huge impact that Sir David Attenborough and the BBC's Blue Planet series has had in raising public awareness about the damage that 8 million tonnes of plastic which enter the ocean every year is having on sea life. It was one of the triggers for consumers, governments and companies to decide that action needed to be taken. But what does it mean for businesses which depend on plastic as a core raw material or for the packaging and retail industries, both deeply reliant on plastic? Caroline Bayley talks to companies about the opportunities and challenges presented by the plastic backlash.
Presenter: Caroline Bayley
Producer: Beth Sagar-Fenton
Picture Credit: BBC
Guyana: Getting Rich Quick
Guyana, a country of just 750,000 people wedged between Venezuela and Suriname on the north-east coast of South America, has never had an oil industry. But a series of recent discoveries in its waters has revealed billions of barrels of oil beneath the ocean, potentially one of the world’s biggest reserves.
Next year, the oil is due to start flowing and the impact on business is already being felt. A shoreside oil service industry has popped up; workers who previously struggled to get by are finding stable employment; and cafes and hotels are overflowing with foreign customers. But encounters with the Venezuelan Navy, huge environmental risks, and legal challenges mean this is a business that is far from straightforward.
Presenter/Producer: Simon Maybin
Photo: A trainee at the Totaltec Academy in Georgetown prepares for work in the new oil sector
The face-to-face interview can be life-changing. But it comes with risks attached, of bias on the part of the interviewer, or nerves on the part of the candidate. Lesley Curwen looks at the fast-changing process of getting hired in companies, big and small. Large companies are increasingly using recruitment tools including artificial intelligence to weed out the weakest candidates, in order to find the right candidate for the right job. But there is resistance in some quarters from some small employers who believe in the old ways of sifting through CVs by hand to produce a short-list. So can the traditional face-to-face interview survive longterm?
Presenter: Lesley Curwen
Producer: Smita Patel
Picture credit: Getty Creative Stock
Green Shoots: growing food in UAE’s deserts
Can the United Arab Emirates grow its own food? The Desert kingdoms today import 90% of their own food, at great cost. And each year consumption increases by 12%. This raises issues of food security, price and environmental damage – flying in fruit from California is not environmentally sustainable. This is a region with little soil and few water resources. On average it rains just five days a year. So why is agriculture now considered one of the most exciting growth areas in the UAE? Farmers here depend on desalinated water from the Arabian Sea – costly to both the farmer and, once again, to the environment. But new agricultural technologies are being developed. Starting at a small scale, can such businesses really be built up? Or are they vanity projects reliant simply on oil wealth? Georgia Tolley examines if the Emiratis can make their desert bloom and ensure their business of food production grows.
Presenter: Georgia Tolley
Producer: John Murphy
Picture Credit: BBC
Behind the Facades
The relationship between landlord and tenant is an important, often unseen, dynamic that most of us don’t give much thought to. And yet, it's reshaping high streets up and down the country. High rents are blamed for the collapse of so many retailers - they appear unsustainable yet they are the vehicle through which much of our pension wealth is invested. In this programme, Ruth Alexander looks at different models of ownership: from the big financial institutional investors through to the original aristocratic landowner and asks how - in the turmoil created by the rapidly changing retail environment - these landlords are facing up to a new reality.
Presenter: Ruth Alexander
Producer: Alex Lewis