Ikea Uses 1% of World’s Annual Wood Production, says Pacific Standard Report

Ikea, the huge Swedish furniture business that popularised the flat-pack model, has a reputation around the world as a family orientated company that cares about people and the environment. There’s only one problem. All those Billy book cases and Hemnes beds are made using wood. Lots, and lots of wood. In fact, according to an article in the Daily Mail, Ikea use 1% of all the wood produced in the entire world each and every year.

ikea kitchen

Think about that for a minute. Ikea is a privately held business. They sell occasional furniture – hallway tables, sideboards, beds, book cases and the like. And they sell so many of them that they alone account for a small percentage of the world’s wood use, which includes wood used to make paper-based products.

There is a problem though and that is where it all comes from. In the past they have been criticised for using wood derived from trees felled in ancient woodlands. Once that hit the news, they put in place a series of measures to prevent it happening again. But that doesn’t mean they are all-of-a-sudden green. 25% of the wood they use comes from sustainable forests. The rest of it – well, they say that it isn’t from illegal logging anyway and that there is a roadmap in place to increase the use of wood from sustainable sources to 50% by 2017.

Ikea’s seemingly insatiable desire for wood has spawned a wholly owned subsidiary company called Swedwood that, you guessed it, processes trees into furniture. They’re growing fast too. Swedwood has been posting 20-25% year-on-year growth since it was founded more than 20 years ago in 1991. They employ more than 16,000 people at 50 sites in 10 countries around the world.

One thing is for sure. With Ikea posting consistently high sales, anybody that sells chainsaws will probably be in high demand for quite some time. As would anybody selling meatballs. Or lingonberries for that matter!

Going Digital With The Hiring Process

Not every job is suitable for everyone, there are certain factors which must be taken into consideration like skills abilities, interests and likewise. If these factors are neglected by recruiters they are sure to face problems in regard to their recruited candidate in later working years.

hire online

The advancement made in technology is awesome as it has improvised the recruitment sector too. It’s a breathtaker for companies as now they can easily recruit them through these technologies and also have the surety that is the perfect one for the job.

These softwares help in bringing modernity to the business. These are crucial for the growth of business to adapt the change in the technology and time. You can find such softwares are being created daily by different agencies.

These agencies basically aim at providing higher success to your business through these softwares. Such recruiting software and web based recruitment softwares are of great help in clinching success in your business. It is common fact that one needs to choose wisely to ensure a good kick start to your business.

Although such softwares are found in abundance over the internet through various online agencies it is wise that you check on the background of such providers. Many hoax agencies have been set up in the garb of some reputed agencies to fool people looking for such softwares. Moreover you also need to check in what way will the software help you. Good and reputed companies can provide you guidance before you make the purchase with them. These recruitment systems totally enhance the value and quality of the products produces in the company.

It can be predicted that these recruitment software is playing a vital role in the HR process especially for those companies who had face the wrath of global recessions. Attracting, recruiting and retaining the right people are the main aspects to bag growth, productivity and long lasting upscale performances for the business.

Firstly, before buying these softwares you should check whether it fits your present system or not. You cannot change your internal system settings just because of the software so it is better to discard it. Authentic recruitment softwares are designed to fit in any type of settings. They are very easy to use and you won’t have to change your management programs to install the software.

Apart from that you also need to check how much time and money is saved through this software. Authentic recruiting software is known to automatically process the whole administration tasks that used to give HR experts a run for their money. This is the main reason why recruiters and HR experts were forced to look up to such softwares.

Another exciting and beneficial feature of this software is the added branding and marketing opportunities which are the part and parcel of online recruitment. It doesn’t matter who you are an HR professional, company recruiter, career seeker or likewise, employment software has given a new dimension in communication, hiring process and proper administration. It is now savvy to work at the disposal of such softwares.

Improve Your Marketing Techniques for Your Online Business

In order for your online business to stay successful, you will have to continually improve your marketing techniques. As consumer tastes and demands change so does the way that you will need to market to them. Some of the changes and adjustments that you may have to make include improving your website, increasing customer-driven marketing, and improving your presence on social media sites.

marketing for SMBs

Improve Your Website

Because your website is the way the main avenue that your customers use to reach you, you will have to make sure that it is constantly in working order. Routine maintenance and troubleshooting will be a constant in your life as a online business owner. You might also consider hiring a web consultant to make recommendations for improving the site and increasing traffic. Ultimately your goal should be to encourage new customers to check out what you have to offer and to entice previous customers to come back.

Increase Customer-Driven Marketing

Your customers are the most powerful allies that you have. Any success that your business has is largely due to your customers’ support. With that said, you will have to figure out the best way to take the appeal that you have for your customers and expand your business. To do this, you must pay attention to customer feedback. The customer feedback that you receive should be first considered and then incorporated into your eCommerce marketing strategies whenever possible. If you listen to your customers, they will feel valued and will want to come back again and again. Keep in mind that you don’t have to enact every single suggestion, either. Sometimes they just aren’t feasible for you, but knowing what your customers think can still help shape your business.

Improve Your Presence on Social Media Site

An effective presence on social media sites will require you to actively participate in communication with your customers. You should be able to promote your business without bothering or spamming your social media followers. Take a step back to really evaluate how your presence on social media is faring. If you think that your followers are not responding well to your interactions, try a different approach. The idea is to create a more personal relationship with your customers while casually promoting your business and the services that you offer. To gain this sort of social media presence, you need to make sure that all of your interactions are genuine, non-promotional, and have a purpose. Your social media followers can tell the difference between a generic message and one that was genuinely written in that moment.

Improving your marketing techniques for your online business may require that you make some adjustments to your current behaviors and processes. Improving your website, increasing customer-driven marketing, and improving your presence on social media sites are all things that you may have to adjust or change. These adjustments and changes will help you to maintain or increase the level of success that you have. Because customer preferences are always changing, it is important to make sure that you are prepared to adjust your processes to meet those changes.

Starbucks Raises Prices Despite Lower Costs for Beans

starbucks-ed02

 

New York – Starbucks spokesperson Lisa Passe announced earlier this month that an average price hike of 1% will be implemented for almost all of the cafe’s 11,000 branches in the US. This announcement came at a time when prices for coffee beans have gone down thus lower production costs for the coffee company.

“Less than a third of beverages will see a small increase in most stores,” said Lisa Passe. While the increase is not likely to affect medium and large sized beverages including Starbucks’ signature Frappucinos, a hike of less than 10 cents should be expected in small-sized drinks. The new prices will vary per region and will affect each drink differently.

When asked why Starbucks has decided to hike up on their prices despite lower costs for coffee beans, their answer was simple. The prices for beans may have gone down but the other costs such as rent, electricity, sugar, milk, and so on remain stagnant. While the company has and will definitely benefit from lower coffee bean prices, this cost is only accounts for less than 10% of the total expenses related to running a store.

The 1% price increase will be the first that Starbucks goers will see in 2 years. Some Starbucks customers have expressed their displeasure about the news but Starbucks remains confident that their sales will continue to hold steadily, if not towards an upward trend.

The price hike is set to take effect on Tuesday in various Starbucks outlets in the United States.

Russ Tice Blows the Whistle on the NSA

NSA spies on Obama

 

Washington – In the Pulitzer award winning article published by the New York Times, former National Security Agency intelligence analyst Russ Tice revealed that the agency held unwarranted wiretap orders for a long list of US politicians. Among whom include President Barack Obama. In 2004 of course, Obama was still a senator.

“In the summer of 2004, one of the papers that I held in my hand was to wiretap a bunch of numbers associated with a forty-some-year-old senator from Illinois. You wouldn’t happen to know where that guy lives now would you? It’s a big White House in Washington D.C. That’s who the NSA went after. That’s the President of the United States now” said Tice in his interview in the Boiling Frogs Show earlier this week.

The main concern here is of course, the intelligence agency’s power to blackmail their targets based on the recordings they’ve gathered. While the Bush government did admit to the signing off on the wiretapping practice, they said that the targets were very few. This however, was contradicted by Tice saying that the NSA had and most likely used their power to gather information from millions of unknowing Americans.

Tice’s allegations against the NSA in 2005 were forgotten until recently when new reports of the NSA’s data surveillance program surfaced. According to the agency, they program was designed to monitor people who are being suspected of aiding terrorist plans against the US. They added that the NSA does not have the capability nor the desire to gather information without a warrant from millions of Americans.

On the other hand, Tice believes that recent technological advancement have significantly improved the NSA’s data gathering capabilities. He states that this can be worrisome as there is no saying as to what extent will the agency abuse their power.

Most Fuel Efficient Cars of 2013

While the ever-increasing price of petrol and diesel has caused UK motorists to have to tighten their belts in recent years, the good news is that rising fuel prices has forced many car manufacturers to think more economically with their designs.

The result is that the most fuel-efficient cars ever designed are available on the market today and they can achieve a truly astonishing mpg (miles per gallon) rate. Whether you’re looking to purchase a new runaround or need a car hire option that gives plenty of mileage out of a full tank, consider some of the most economic sets of wheels that are available to you.

5: Kia Rio 1.1 CRDi

Kia Rio 1.1 CRDi

Combined fuel consumption: 88.3mpg
CO2 emissions: 85g/km
Fuel type: Diesel

Running at an incredible rate of 88.3 mpg the Kia Rio 1.1 is one of the cleanest and most fuel-efficient non-electric cars on sale today. Standing head and shoulders above the likes of the VW Polo and Ford Fiesta, the Rio has its new 1.1-litre three-cylinder turbodiesel engine to thank for its fuel-efficiency, along with a host of fuel-saving measures and aerodynamic tweaks.

4: Hyundai i20 1.1 CRDi Blue

Hyundai i20 1.1 CRDi Blue

Combined fuel consumption: 88.3mpg
CO2 emissions: 84g/km
Fuel type: Diesel

Its 74bhp 1.1-litre three-cylinder turbo-diesel emits only 84g/km of CO2 and its combined fuel consumption measures up to that of the Kia Rio 1.1, making the Hyundai i20 1.1 Blue a fearsome competitor on the road.

In spite of its diesel engine, you won’t hear the turbo, giving you a smooth, comfortable and very fuel-efficient ride.

3: Renault Clio dCi 90 Eco

Renault Clio dCi 90 Eco

Combined fuel consumption: 88.3mpg
CO2 emissions: 83g/km
Fuel type: Diesel

For French style and élan married to solid fuel-efficiency and reliability, the Clio dCi 90 Eco is a sure bet. Once you’re settled into a steady pace, the engine emits little sound or vibration at all while offering a smooth, refined ride to boot.

2: Toyota Prius Plug-in

Toyota Prius Plug-in

Combined fuel consumption: 135mpg
CO2 emissions: 49g/km
Fuel type: Petrol/electric hybrid

Clean, smooth and massively fuel-efficient, the Toyota Prius is everything you would hope for from a hybrid. Although it packs a pretty steep price tag (starting around £28,000) its phenomenal fuel economy of 135mpg means you’ll be making significant savings on petrol.

Coupled with huge storage space, smooth handling and added tech for your convenience, the Prius is a middle-England driver’s dream.

1: Volvo V60 Plug-in Hybrid

Volvo V60 Plug-in Hybrid

Combined fuel consumption: 155mpg
CO2 emissions: 48g/km
Fuel type: Diesel/electric hybrid

Though many might baulk at its £40,000+ price tag, the Volvo V60 plug-in Hybrid is the king of fuel-efficiency so far for 2013 with a frankly unbelievable 155mpg combined fuel consumption rate.

With the electric motor at the rear and the familiar 2.4-litre, 215bhp D5 diesel in the front, the V60 is all-wheel drive on demand and handles like the sweetest of dreams. Depending on driving conditions it can switch between power sources in a way that is barely noticeable but makes for an incredible fuel-efficiency rate.

Go with the Group

Leo Bear hires a people carrier and heads to Hampshire for a luxurious spa day with the girls

My gang was a mix of exhausted young mothers and burnt-out execs desperate to fling off their Manolos and walk barefoot in the grass. Lucky for us, the sun was shining and the lawns were neatly mown at our venue of choice, the Lime Wood Hotel in Hampshire.

van 3

Originally a medieval hunting lodge, the Duke of Clarence reclaimed Lime Wood’s main building in the 1740s. Several extravagant makeovers later, and under the watchful eye of Bamford and Co, the stately pile now has a gentrified yet romantic air with beautifully designed interiors and a world-renowned spa called Herb House.

Our plan was to kick back at the spa, have a long lunch and catch up on all our girl talk –these days we don’t get together nearly as much as we used to. But first, we had to get there.

van 1

Our means of transport was a Mercedes Viano people carrier rented through Europcar. To make the most of our day trip, we opted for the company’s Prestige car hire service which includes vehicle delivery and pick-up – all the more time for packing and primping – and I was impressed by how punctual it was. The chap from Europcar was on my doorstep, suited and booted, dangling a set of Mercedes keys, on the dot of 8.45am.

van 2

Upon first inspection, my new set of wheels conjured the words ‘Hummer’ and ‘LA homie’. It was massive, black and gleaming to the point of near blindness in the early morning sunshine. Certainly my Fulham neighbours were intrigued.

As my hubby climbed on his bicycle to head off to work he commented (jealously): “It’s just a glorified van”, and while this may partly be true – the Viano is based on the Mercedes-Benz Vito, a commercial panel van – it also boasts beautiful interiors and drives incredibly smoothly. The only criticism I can make is that the engine is a tad noisy, but on the whole, I cannot think of a better car for a group getaway.

Arm rests, drinks holders and the built-in sat-nav system were all put to use during the two-hour journey, not that I could hear the instructions over the squawks coming from my excited passengers. At one point one of them actually buzzed down the window and shouted: “We’re going to Lime Wood, b**ches” to no one in particular.

So far, so Paris Hilton.

But it’s true to say, we did feel like kings of the road in our elevated seats bombing down the M3 – and had masses of room to stretch out.

Pulling up at Lime Wood, where everything from the décor to the farm-bought produce, is tasteful, considered and sedate, we certainly turned a few heads: a gaggle of blonde city girls in our giant Mercedes… But we soon settled in and once the toweling dressing gowns were on, we blended in seamlessly with the horsey Home Counties brigade.

The Herb House spa turned out to be everything we’d dreamed of: a quintessentially English retreat with all the usual facilities of a spa including saunas, steam rooms and a hydrotherapy pool, as well as a 14-metre ozone-treated lap pool, a large outdoor deck and workout studio for classes.

I’d booked a Bamford Rose Relaxing Upper Body and Facial Massage (60mins, £90) to help unlock some of the built-up tension in my back (two kids under the age of five takes its toll) and it didn’t disappoint. The treatment began with a back exfoliation with bergamot, chamomile and patchouli oil followed by a deep-tissue upper back and shoulder massage. It ended with a gentle face and head massage, which very nearly sent me to the land of nod.

While I was having all my kinks and knots pummeled out of me on a heated bed, my friends relaxed in the dappled shade of ancient olive trees reading magazines and took turns doing lengths in the pool.

We regrouped for lunch at the spa’s organic restaurant, Raw & Cured. It was something of an eye opener for us carb-lovers with dishes including nori wraps stuffed with parsnip and pinenuts and chocolate mousse made from avocado and cocoa. Who knew healthy grazing could be so fun? Several courses, all artistically presented, were washed down with carafes of ‘swamp juice’ (leaves, apple, carrot and fennel) – which tastes a lot better than it sounds.

To help us digest, we took a gentle stroll around the gardens of Lime Wood (in our towelling bath robes and flip-flops) only to discover a secret back gate leading into the dense forest beyond; something to remember for next time…

Then before hitting the road, we piled into the spa’s bubbling hydrotherapy pool and giggled as the jets of water tickled our bodies all over. With beautiful steaming forest views, and our bodies and minds refreshed, we savoured our precious last moments together, before returning to our demanding city lives in, of course, our fabulous chariot for the day.

The Newbie’s Guide to Buying a Motorbike

If you’re ready to start riding, getting a motorbike is much like getting a car, but there are a few things you should take into account that has to do with safety, and you should obviously take them seriously.

yamaha motorbike

The Paperwork and Your Safety

The first step is to get a provisional license and take CBT (compulsory basic training), which you can do at one of many licensed a href=”http://www.begin-motorcycling.co.uk/centres.htm”>training centres around the country. All the elements of the course, including riding safety theory and time on the road, can be completed in about 8 hours overall but will likely take several days.

Finishing the course comes with a certificate of completion. With the certificate and the provisional license, you can purchase or hire a learner motorcycle up to 125cc with a maximum output of 14.6bhp. You’ll need to insure it, after which you can ride it with L plates. You have two years to take and pass the theory and practice tests in order to get your full motorbike license, with which you can buy whatever kind of bike you desire. But take the time to ride your learner, to get comfortable on the roads and understand the type of riding you want to do – which will determine the kind of motorbike you ultimately purchase.

The Bike

Determine the type of riding you want to do. Diehard riders often end up owning more than one type of bike. If you plan to use it for commuting, consider a traditional bike, which lets you ride in a more relaxed posture than a sport bike, but not as relaxed as a cruiser. If you want to use it for long-haul trips, look at the touring bikes, they are much more comfortable.

New bikes start much cheaper than new cars, and the purchase is much similar. But you should consider purchasing a used bike – you find lots of them on MotorcycleNews.com. Motorbikes are much easier to maintain than cars, and working on at least some aspects yourself will give you a better understanding of the bike and make you into a better rider. Furthermore, if this is your first bike, you may realise that the type you thought was perfect for you is not in fact what is practicable or enjoyable. Finally – and you will hear this enough during your training – every bike eventually ends up falling down. Every one. So there’s no reason to ruin an expensive new toy while you’re learning.

Finally, don’t forget protective gear. In addition to the helmet, you should get a jacket, gloves, boots and a rain suit. This is not a good area for savings – get the best you can afford, because that piece of leather and/or metal will be the only thing between a moving you and the asphalt if you do go down.

The 4 Features Your Corporate Bank Account Should Have

Choosing the right corporate account is important for the long-term management of your business, regardless of its size. With the amount of small and large banks out there, your choice as a business owner is vast – but following the financial crisis, banks are reevaluating their offerings and no two banks offer the same features. Look for these four key features when shopping around.

corporate bank accountReasonable Fees

Make sure you understand the various charges for any transaction you plan to conduct with the account. A corporate account within the same bank that you have your savings account can vary greatly across several criteria, and your needs will likely be entirely different, so it’s important to understand what your bank will offer you.

While interest rates are perhaps less important on a corporate account than a personal savings account, the fees on the two are often different. If your business requires frequent travel, for example, look for a bank that does not charge foreign transaction fees.

Access, Online And In-Person

Your corporate account should be easily manageable from wherever your business takes you, so look for a bank with a good presence online. On the other hand, if you are starting out, you will have questions that an online FAQ will not address – it’s important to have the ability to contact a human being in such cases, and smaller local banks often provide better service in that regard.

Added Personalised Services

Monitoring cash flow can be a job in itself, depending on your business. If you don’t have a financial advisor, looking for a bank to provide added attention to you could save headaches and costs. Some banks even help customers with payroll services and industry research, and your choice may vary by the type of business you plan to conduct. At the very least, you’ll want to be able to set up separate corporate purchasing cards for staff, such as HSBC and other banks offer (see here for what they offer).

A Bank That Will Lend To You

Even if your business is fully funded, getting a line of credit or a loan is something most companies do eventually need. Not all banks are receptive to small business needs in the post-crisis economy. Going with a smaller, startup bank can often mean a more likely approval, but more established banks might offer better rates.

Regardless of the bank you choose, consider reevaluating your business needs every few years. The bank with which you started your business may not be the right bank to grow your enterprise, and a changing business environment may mean additional perks when you move your accounts elsewhere.

Rising Energy Costs Putting Additional Pressure on UK Businesses

Are you doing business in the UK? If so, you are probably facing the same pain as many others when it comes to rising energy costs.

While it is easy to believe that you don’t have a choice, nothing could be further from the truth. Despite the fact that you may be faced with this headache right now, making a few changes in the future could put you in a better position sooner rather than later.

A recent story by Guardian News – Energy bills push UK inflation to nine-month high – discusses this problem in great detail. As you can tell from the title alone, there are two problems here.

gas

First and foremost, companies are being hit with rising energy bills. Consequently, their bottom line is suffering. In an economy that doesn’t need any more bad news, this is never a good thing.

Secondly, energy bills are contributing to the rise in UK inflation. The Office for National Statistics has reported that inflation measured by the consumer prices index increased to 2.8 percent from 2.7 percent last month. This may not seem like a big increase, but it pushes inflation to the highest it has been over the past nine months.

Believe it or not, officials have blamed the increase on recent increases in domestic energy tariffs from the UK’s major suppliers in correspondence with a rise in petrol prices.

What Now?

With all this in mind, business owners often times feel that there is no way out. Fortunately, this is not the case.
Every company has the right to choose their own energy provider. Although sticking with your current provider is your right, it may mean you are spending more money than you have to on gas and electric.

Switching to a cheaper energy provider is easier than ever before. In fact, it only takes a few minutes, and the http://www.powerexperts.co.uk website, to compare plans from leading providers including npower, EDF, Shell, Gazprom and others to get yourself on the right path.

With this type of online tool, any company, regardless of industry, can compare commercial rates from local energy providers.

If you realise that your current provider is cheapest, you don’t have any options for a change at the present time. However, you may be lucky enough to find a company that is able to provide you with the same service at a lower monthly rate. This is what you are looking for.

With rising energy costs, UK businesses are dealing with yet another financial setback. If nothing else, you owe it to yourself to compare providers with the hopes of saving money.

Online Sales for 2012 Holiday Season Record a 14% Increase in the US

Each year the months of November and December see an expected shopping frenzy, with figures for most businesses and sales seeing an automatic surge. It was no different this year as well as the US online sales market registered a 14 percent year-on—year growth as 2012 roped in $42.3 billion from the US market.

Boxing Day sales

That was a trend expected as more and more people are now gladly using their wide array of smartphones and tablets to shop online and the surge of handheld devices in the years to come is expected to increase the market share of online sales and the revenue that it produces.

While the 14 percent up from 2011 was a welcome trend, those predicting the industry figures say that it was still marginally short of the 17 percent growth that was expected for the period and $43.4 billion that was expected to come in through holiday online shopping. This trend suggests that businesses both big and small now need to combine a strong actual store presence with a vibrant online presence to ensure that they offer the very best to consumers and allow their businesses the best possible opportunity to succeed and flourish in the tech-savvy world.

Not only is making a strong online presence felt essential for established business houses, but experts suggest those getting ready to start a business should also plan for cyber-sales well ahead as the traffic from handheld devices has grown by several hundred times in the past few years.

The projected figures for handheld devices globally is expected to cross well over the 8 billion mark by 2016 and with online shopping sites now offering constant discounts along with safe payment modes and a acceptable policy on ‘returns and exchanges’, it seems consumers are only too happy to shop from the comfort of their couch, not just in the US but all around the planet as well!

Growth spurt in Laser Eye Surgery trends promise better quality vision for more people

Laser eye surgery has become pretty popular across the globe in a very short period of time thanks simply to the many benefits that it offers. But one should not forget that despite its incredible popularity, it is still a relatively new surgical procedure and is constantly evolving to ensure that the best benefits are offered to those coming in for a vision defect correction.

laser eye surgery

While the current technological spurt has meant that the equipment needed for the procedure is becoming cheaper by the minute and making it far more economically viable for patients, the bigger and more significant strides are being made in the advancement of Laser and computer targeting technology that will make the procedure a lot safer and reliable.

Among the many latest innovations is the 60 kHz laser that enables surgeons to create a flap on the eye a lot faster than before. This not just means less exposure to the Laser but makes the process easier for the surgeon involved and all the more comfortable for the patient. Since the flap is placed back and it heals naturally, this should only help in reducing the recovery time as well. Another latest advancement is the use of wavefront guided laser treatment, which helps surgeons treat astigmatism with greater success along with treatment for near and far sightedness that is a lot more accurate.

Procedures like the LASIK and LASEK have increased the success rate of Laser Eye Surgeries and it is expected that with greater market reach and the continuing demand for the surgical procedure, large amount of capital, time and effort is being invested in research programs that help in rolling out further technological breakthroughs which make the procedure as successful as possible.

With its already high success rate, fewer side effects, quick nature of the procedure and fast recovery time, the laser eye surgery has brought a whole new world of perfect vision to those who previously had to put up with contact lenses and spectacles and this trend is only likely to continue and grow exponentially.