Summit Notebook

Exclusive outtakes from industry leaders

BrightSource CEO talks about building carbon-free future

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John Woolard, the chief executive of solar thermal energy company BrightSource, sat down at Reuters’ Global Climate and Alternative Energy Summit in San Francisco to talk about energy efficiency, project financing and the future  of carbon-free power.

His advice: build fast!

(Editing/video by Courtney Hoffman)

China’s evolving role from producer to consumer

Hardly a day goes by now without some Chinese firm striking a deal to buy assets overseas, but the country’s best prospects for growth may be right in its own backyard. Vivi Lin in Beijing reports on how the world’s workshop is fast becoming one of the world’s top consumers.

Exclusive look inside Sweden’s greenest paper mill

For most of us, printing e-mails or making copies is just part of the daily routine in the office. But, the paper we use does come from somewhere. Last week, we had the opportunity to visit Stora Enso’s Nymolla Mill in southern Sweden to get an exclusive look at how MultiCopy paper is made. Nymolla is an integrated mill (it produces pulp and paper on the same site) and most of the wood used is sourced locally. Also interesting, the mill is the only one I could find in the world that emits zero carbon dioxide from fossil fuels during the paper making process. Check out my look inside the Nymolla Mill.

Inside Sweden's greenest paper mill from Reuters TV on Vimeo.

Paper executive would rather not shake on it

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When it comes to hygiene, Hannu Kottonen is one executive who practices what he preaches. As the man who heads Metsa Tissue, a company that produces products ranging from tissues to toilet paper, he knows a thing or two about how germs spread. So when he visited the Thomson Reuters office in Helsinki to take part in the annual Reuters Paper and Packaging Summit, perhaps we should not have been surprised when he declined to shake the hands ot the various journalists assembled there.

 

We didn’t take it personally and Kottonen explained that hygiene was an issue that had not been given due attention. But some of that seems to be changing. Metsa Tissue is seeing more demand for some hygiene-related products as a result of the H1N1 flu outbreak and all the attention on hygiene it had generated. And it’s not the only such company. Another Finnish specialty paper producer, Ahlstrom Corp, reported a similar trend, with more demand for the material that goes into face masks and for sanitary wipes.

Welcome to the 2009 Reuters Paper and Packaging Summit

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The global paper industry has struggled for more than six years to claw its way out of a slump, as soft demand and overcapacity have kept prices down, leading to poor earnings, production curtailments and layoffs.

The current global downturn has further eroded demand for basic materials, including paper, as print advertising has dropped steeply in the crisis. Companies have been forced to run just to stand still, temporarily or permanently shutting mills and axing staff.

Investing Japan, as Japan invests offshore

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Even in the best of times, Japan has never been a cakewalk for foreign investors. But in the wake of the global credit crisis, the world’s second-largest economy can be downright baffling.

The recession has wiped out overseas demand for electronics and automobiles and sent a rush of mid-sized firms into bankruptcy.

AUDIO – Real estate’s ugly confluence

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All week, we have been meeting real estate executives at Reuters Global Real Estate Summit who have discussed the many different areas of concern that have spread throughout the sector.

Some have spoken about deleveraging. Some have told us about the shrinking of values. Others have said it’s a confidence game — as in, there isn’t any.

AUDIO – A new emerging market for real estate

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Remember the good old days where — if you lived in the United States anyway — people would talk about “emerging markets”?

We’d nod our heads knowingly, wishing these poor folks the best as they tried to accumulate the swell things we had bought for ourselves. We knew that residents of Mumbai or Caracas or somewhere would never attain the great things we had in such abundance here in the good old USA (Hummers; his and hers monogrammed dishtowels; zero down, 110% mortgages on houses we couldn’t afford … that kind of stuff), but we still wished them well.

AUDIO – ‘Off to the Outlets’ — A new real estate mantra

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When it comes to shopping for bargains these days, retailers are expanding their window of possibilities the same way as increasingly price-conscious consumers.

While the concept of outlet malls and shopping centers was once considered a last-ditch way to unload excess inventory, Steven Tanger, chief executive at Tanger Outlet Centers, says the model is changing…and fast!

AUDIO – A record-setting blog!

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Everyone likes to set records. Think about those two giant twins who felt the need to ride motorcycles for their Guinness Book of World Records picture. What were those guys thinking?

Well, after many Reuters Summits, it seemed we set a record on Monday for the use of the word “crap” in one session.

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