Oil’s Inevitable Climb

Looking beyond recent unrest in the Arab world, a veteran energy analyst predicts $300/barrel within a decade.

A REVIVING GLOBAL ECONOMY AND MOUNTING UNREST in the Arab world are stirring renewed fears about a long-term spike in oil prices. Earlier this month, as protests in Egypt peaked, oil hit a two-year high, prompting anxiety about a return to the $100-a-barrel days of 2008. And with Egypt not quite out of the woods, and uglier protests igniting in Bahrain, Libya and Iran, the oil market remains understandably jittery. (Last week, oil prices hit $90 a barrel.) Continue reading

Saving American Apparel

Can American Apparel’s newest executive rescue the company?

LAST WEEK AMERICAN APPAREL NAMED A NEW chief financial officer, the latest in a string of short-lived executives tasked with saving the sinking clothing chain once heralded for its ethical manufacturing and trendy cotton basics. John Luttrell is a seasoned retail CFO who previously held posts at retailers Old Navy and Wet Seal Inc. But the veteran faces some extraordinary challenges at American Apparel. The shakeup comes one week after the company negotiated a break on loans with some of its lenders, narrowly fending off bankruptcy. Continue reading

Beyond the bottom line

A young social entrepreneur mixes profit and charity

THE IDEA THAT CAPITALISM AND SOCIAL CAUSES can co-exist may be anathema to some, but a growing number of businesspeople are using their corporate savvy and innovation skills to address sweeping social or environmental issues alongside the traditional business goal of generating profits. It’s called social entrepreneurship, a 30-year-old term that is still gaining awareness even by those who practice it. “I had to Google it,” says Rumeet Toor, owner of Jobs in Education, an online employment board that also helps fund her Toor Centre for Teacher Education, a teacher’s college and general training facility in Kenya that opened earlier this year. “I didn’t even know what a social entrepreneur was until someone asked me to give a talk about it.” Continue reading

Gold Mining Roars Back to Life

The sky-high price of gold has sparked a modern-day rush to Ontario’s mining towns.

WITH THE PRICE OF GOLD CURRENTLY HOVERING around US$1,300 an ounce—up 45 per cent since early 2009—Ontario’s mining towns are exhibiting the classic symptoms of a boom: inflated house prices, overbooked hotels, frantic construction, labour shortages and a collective sense of optimism after decades in a slump. Across the province’s northern gold belt, defunct mines are being revived and exploration activity has taken an almost frenzied pace, as gold has become an investment safe-haven amid global economic uncertainty and a weak U.S. dollar. “I’ve been here a long time,” says Brock Greenwell, statistical analyst for Ontario’s Ministry of Northern Development, Mines and Forestry. “And 2010 is looking like a record year for gold exploration. It’s unprecedented.” Continue reading

Managing the Older Workforce

As today’s retirees linger in the workforce, gen-Xers will find themselves in the tricky position of being their managers

MARILYN FRYER IS 73 AND STILL WORKS AS A BOOKKEEPER. She could work from home, but prefers to go to her clients’ offices three days a week for the “social scene” and to “keep up the grooming.” If her body aches with age, she tries not to show it. When everyone is talking about the latest movie or Lady Gaga video, she listens with amusement. After 30 years in the business, she sees no need to retire, and plans to work as long as she still can. Continue reading

An Introvert’s Guide to Schmoozing

How to get ahead in an extrovert’s world

IT WAS DURING HER YEARS ON WALL STREET that Nancy Ancowitz figured out she was an introvert. She did the famous Myers-Briggs personality assessment, which confirmed that she is the type to feel drained after too much socializing, and relishes alone time. For Ancowitz, then a marketing executive, the results explained so much – why she needed to collect herself in a quiet room before a big meeting, or had to walk the block in the middle of the day, or dreaded the aimless chitchat of work functions. Continue reading

Tim Hortons Takes Manhattan

Tim Hortons’ slow and stealthy invasion of America has taken on new urgency

AT 6 p.m. ON A FRIDAY LAST JULY, nine Dunkin’ Donuts restaurants throughout Manhattan closed shop quietly — a little early, but otherwise inconspicuously. Over the next 56 hours, an army of contractors and designers gutted, rebuilt and re-equipped the spaces. By Monday morning, sporting red balloons and free coffee, the stores reopened as Tim Hortons outlets. The New York media jumped on the story, declaring a “donut war” and speculating how an unfamiliar Canadian brand would fare against not just big-name coffee chains like Dunkin’ and Starbucks, but with finicky, choice-saturated New Yorkers in general. Continue reading

Polar Bear Hunt on Thin Ice

As Arctic temperatures climb and sea-ice retreats, biologists are sounding alarm about the health of polar bear populations. Inuit hunters, meanwhile, are worried about the fate of the lucrative sport-hunt industry they’ve come to depend on

AFTER SPENDING $25,000 AND 10 DAYS on the frozen Beaufort Sea, Lester “Rusty” Pride didn’t get his polar bear. He was after a nine-footer, with paws the span of hubcaps and giant maiming incisors. “I wanted a big one,” says Rusty, an affable and freckled RV-park owner from Delaware. “We saw two, but they were too far to shoot.” Rusty still managed to return with a muskox – an extra $8,000 for his Inuvialuit guide, Boogie Pokiak. Continue reading

Sealing Their Fate

Two decades ago the anti-fur movement killed the sealskin market and the Arctic economy. Once again, animal-rights activists have sealers in their sights. Will the Inuit take another hit?

IN THEIR MATCHING RED JUMPSUITS, Sir Paul McCartney and his then-wife Heather Mills took to the sunny ice floes off Prince Edward Island last spring to loll with seal pups. They posed on their bellies for a scrum of photographers, just centimetres from a button-eyed baby. In his thick Liverpool brogue, McCartney pleaded before the cameras: “Unless something’s done about it, he’s going to be clubbed to death in the next few weeks.” Canada’s annual seal harvest was around the corner, and the U.S. Humane Society’s star-studded contingent had arrived early to drum up publicity for what it calls a cruel and unnecessary slaughter. Continue reading

Squeezing Money From Stone

As the pioneers of Inuit carving pass on, many worry about the new crop of artists that is churning out ubiquitous polar bears and souvenirs for quick money

“POLAR BEARS ARE KILLING ME,” says Bill Nasogaluak. The 53-year-old Inuit artist recently left Yellowknife to escape a five-inch-high stone bear – the bane of his career. A carver for 20 years, Nasogaluak now lives near Toronto, closer to high-end art dealers who will buy his expressive, unconventional sculptures. His works depict ancient legends and vent social issues, but, as he puts it, “they couldn’t compete with a $200 polar bear.” Continue reading