Business as usual is not an option: Sustainable development is a critical factor in Ireland’s agenda for national recovery

Discussion paper presented by Niall O’Reilly at 6th International ‘Life & Development Forum’ – “We Make Life Better – Hangzhou, White Horse Lake Jianguo Hotel , November 8-9, 2013.

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Well-being
Well-being

Sustainable development is a continuous, guided process of economic, environmental and social change aimed at promoting the well-being of citizens now and in the future. To realise this requires creating a sustainable and resource efficient economy founded on a fair and just society, which respects the ecological limits and carrying capacity of the natural environment (Source: Wikipedia)

In 2013, the economic situation in Ireland is dramatically different to the earlier part of the last decade, when Ireland was known as The Celtic Tiger. Measured against the standard indicators of GDP, and GNP – trends for economic development, new housing output, tax revenues, and employment levels have dropped sharply.

We have also seen rising unemployment, a banking crisis and a collapse in the property market after a sustained, if unsustainable, boom in the property market.  A number of factors drove these unsustainable trends, including: rapid growth in employment, large scale inward migration (annual immigration rose sharply from 52,600 persons in 2000 to peak at 109,500 in 2007) (2), rapid natural population growth (17% increase between 1996 and 2006), fiscal incentives for the construction sector, rising car ownership and weakness in the strategic approach to spatial planning.

At a time of rapidly rising prosperity and development, the existing structures and controls were not strong enough to withstand the pressures that unavoidably arose.

This legacy leaves Ireland facing huge challenges in the period ahead, challenges that are all the more serious when set against the backdrop of a global economic downturn.

The sustainability pressures on the economy continue to be high and while some progress has been made, there is still a distance to travel before Ireland can fully remove itself from what is the most serious fiscal and economic crisis in the history of the Republic of Ireland.

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In meeting the challenge, the Irish Government is implementing a radical Framework for Sustainable Development for Ireland – a national recovery agenda, which seeks to integrate sustainable development principles into policy making across all sectors, for the purpose of stimulating:

  • the transformation of public services
  • economic growth based on knowledge and innovation
  • an inclusive, high employment society
  • a greener low carbon economy
  • and a good quality natural and built-environment so that Ireland can once again prosper on a competitive global stage.

Lessons must be learnt from Ireland’s recent experience and Ireland will have to ensure structures and systems are put in place that are strong enough to survive periods of pressure which might threaten to weaken sustainable growth and fiscal stability.

It is widely accepted that economic growth, social unity and environmental protection are equally important targets for meeting the prime objective of delivering well-being in a diverse multi-cultured society that promotes participation, a society in which everyone takes responsibility for the environment.

While the establishment of a more sustainable pattern of development for Ireland is one of the key challenges of government and ultimately for society, there is also a clear consensus that a return to ‘business as usual’ is not an option.

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At a global level there is a growing consensus that the world’s systems of production and consumption cannot be sustained without posing a huge threat to the environment and to human health. Water scarcity, air and water pollution, climate change, resource depletion and irreversible biodiversity loss are problems that have to be tackled as a matter of priority.

Consensus is now focusing around the need to put economies on a more sustainable, green growth path on the basis that the cost of sustaining biodiversity and ecosystem services is lower than the cost of allowing biodiversity and ecosystem services to decline.

For Ireland ‘green growth’ and the ‘green economy’ are now fundamental aspects of Government policy as the country shifts away from the ‘brown economy’ on the road to becoming a low-carbon, competitive, resource efficient and climate resilient country, policy which will ultimately improve its citizens’ well-being and social equity, while significantly reducing environmental risks and ecological scarcities.

Economic, environmental and social progress are mutually related.

Business as usual is not an option - Sustainable development is a critical factor in Ireland’s agenda for national recovery
Blue sky living

Ireland’s Framework for Sustainable Development

This Framework contains measures to help meet the overall goal of achieving continuous improvement of quality of life both for current and for future generations.

The following set of 7 principles for sustainable development are the central aspects of this Framework for Sustainable Development for Ireland:

  1. In relation to “economy”, the principle seeks “to promote an innovative, competitive and low carbon economy with the aim of achieving smart, sustainable and inclusive growth” and to reduce pressure on natural resources
  2. In relation to “satisfaction of human needs by the efficient use of resourcesthe key objectives are that:

(a) “Prices should reflect the real costs to society of production and consumption activities and polluters should pay for the damage they cause to human health and the environment

(b) “The needs of current generations should be addressed without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs”

(c) “Resources should be used within the capacity for regeneration

3. In relation to “respect for ecological integrity and biodiversity” the Framework seeks to ensure that “the abundance of wildlife and extent of habitats should be maintained, improved and restored where necessary, through sustainable management

4. In relation to social equity the main principle is that “social inclusion should be promoted to ensure an improved quality of life for all”

5. In relation to “respect for cultural heritage and diversity” the Framework will ensure that “the quality of landscapes, the heritage of the man-made environment and historic and cultural resources should be maintained and improved.

6. In relation to “Equity between countries and regions” Ireland will:

(a) “promote fundamental rights, by combating all forms of discrimination and contributing to the reduction of poverty”

(b) “promote consistency between local, regional, national, European Union (EU) and global actions in order to increase their contribution to sustainable development”

7. The 7th and final theme of Ireland’s Framework for Sustainable Development relates to good “decision-making”. In this regard, the framework will aim to:

(a) Guarantee citizens’ rights of access to information and public participation procedures.

(b) Ensure citizens’ access to review mechanisms.

(c) Develop adequate consultation with all interested parties, including citizens, businesses and social partners (such as trade unions), and develop participatory channels for all such interested parties.

Of course there are challenges.

Ireland’s Sustainable Development Framework catagorises 12 the key challenges under the following themes:

  1. Sustainability of public finances and economic resilience.
  2. Sustainable consumption and production.
  3. Conservation and management of natural resources.
  4. Climate change and clean energy.
  5. Sustainable agriculture.
  6. Sustainable transport.
  7. Social inclusion, sustainable communities and spatial planning.
  8. Public health.
  9. Education, communication and behaviour change.
  10. Innovation, research and development
  11. Skills and training
  12. The 12th challenge is how to address global poverty and sustainable development.

I will now briefly explain Government-led initiatives regarding two of these themes: sustainable transport and public health

Smarter Travel – A Sustainable Transport Future

Transport, which is a key element of a sustainable development strategy, should be closely aligned to land use planning and the need to create more sustainable communities.

Sustainable transport is central to Ireland’s efforts to combat climate change, air pollution and other negative environmental and social impacts.

Transport trends in Ireland from the mid 1990’s onwards are unsustainable. The main problems associated with transport in Ireland are:

  • Rising pollution – greenhouse gases and particular air pollutants which are detrimental to health and the environment such as nitrous oxides (NOx) and volatile organic compounds (VOCs).
  • Increasing congestion on roads that lengthens journey times, adversely impacts on family, leisure time, and community life, contributes to the growing problem of obesity, and adds to pollution and costs at many levels including affecting Ireland’s national competitiveness. In Ireland there is a clear appetite to abandon the car for commuter driver, if only this were practical.
  • Safety also remains a key issue despite the steadily decreasing numbers of road deaths.
  • In addition, a key characteristic that distinguishes energy use in transport in Ireland is the almost total dependence on oil as a fuel and on import dependency, over 99% in both cases.

Without intervention, congestion will get worse, economic competitiveness will suffer, quality of life will deteriorate and carbon emissions from the transport sector will grow.

In order to achieve a sustainable travel and transport system by 2020, Ireland needs to change its unsustainable behaviour and habits as a nation and as individuals.

Sustainable and smarter transport measures currently being implemented by the Government under the Framework for Sustainable Development are set out in four key goals:

Goal 1 – to “reduce overall travel demand and the distance traveled by private car” and encourage smarter travel, including

  • focusing population and employment growth in sustainable compact forms, which reduce the need to travel for employment and services
  • using pricing mechanisms or fiscal measures to encourage behaviour change and discourage people from using the car unnecessarily.

Goal 2 – to “maximise the efficiency of the transport network” by ensuring that alternatives to the car are more widely available mainly through a radically improved public transport service and investment in cycling and walking.

Goal 3 – to reduce reliance on foss1il fuels and emissions by improving the fuel efficiency of motorised transport through

  • improved fleet structure
  • energy efficient driving
  • alternative driving.

Goal 4 – to improve accessibility to transport.

To achieve these goals the Government is pursuing a number of key targets such as:

  • Dramatically improving the placement of spatial and transport planning to stop urban sprawl, and urban-generated one-off housing in non-urban areas
  • Encouraging e-working through better broadband provision
  • 500,000 more people will take alternative means to commute to work (200,000 people will switch to cycling and walking) to the extent that the total share of car commuting will drop from 65% to 45%
  • Alternatives such as walking, cycling and public transport will be supported and provided to the extent that these will rise to 55% of total commuter journeys to work
  • The total kilometres travelled by the car fleet in 2020 will not increase significantly from current levels
  • A reduction will be achieved on the 2005 figure for greenhouse gas emissions from the transport

These key targets are ambitious. However, they are necessary to improve the quality of life of Ireland’s citizens, to secure future energy supply, and to ensure that the transport sector substantially reduces greenhouse gas emissions, in line with the need for all developed nations to do so. These targets represent a complete turnaround in the current trends. They mean that the Irish public must radically alter how they travel, and that Government priorities in the transport sector must move towards more sustainable modes.

Smarter Travel and Sustainable Transport Ideas:

  • Specification of a maximum permitted level of car parking for Government offices and commercial sites, which have suitable public transport facilities and are within walking/ cycling distance to amenities
  • The adoption of flexible working policies. The Government has provided leadership in promoting such flexible policies in the public sector
  • Ensuring that every school and college in Ireland has a school travel plan to encourage students to take alternatives to the car.
  • Government commitment to a culture of walking in Ireland
  • A car-sharing website which will help employers to encourage such initiatives in the workforce.
  • One smart-card to pay for all forms of public transport
  • Conversion of taxi and public bus fleet to alternative fuels. 
Natural resources
Natural resources

A Healthy Ireland

Public health protection is an essential goal for society in delivering well-being and quality of life. Ireland has made significant progress in regard to the health of its population, but some key challenges remain.

The rise in life expectancy in Ireland during the past decade has been unmatched by any other country in Europe with the greatest gains in the older age groups reflecting decreasing mortality rates from major diseases.

In fact, the most important statistic from a health perspective is the number of people over the age of 65 which is projected to increase from over 500,000 now to over 1,300,000 in the next 30 years with the greatest proportional increases occurring in the 85+ age group.

However, Ireland’s ageing population, together with negative trends in obesity (60% of adults are obese), diet, exercise and other risk factors – such as smoking [6,000 deaths a year), and alcohol abuse (related road accidents cost over Euro 600 million a year) means that the level of chronic health conditions will certainly increase.

In addition, there are a range of social determinants of health, for example social exclusion, education, health services, the built environment and lifestyle choices:

People who are less well off or who belong to socially excluded groups tend to fare badly in relation to these social determinants

A healthy environment is also absolutely linked to the health of Ireland’s population which relies for survival on clean air and water and the crops we are able to grow in uncontaminated soil. Public amenities such as forest parks provide opportunities for recreation and add to our understanding of the environment thus supporting healthier lifestyles while contributing to our well-being.

The Irish Government’s Healthy Ireland framework is about taking important steps towards making Ireland a healthier and more prosperous country in which the whole population enjoys the best possible health and well-being.

It is designed to include Government Departments, local authorities and public bodies, businesses and employers, sports and voluntary groups, communities and families.

Initiatives within the Healthy Ireland Framework have four goals:

Goal 1: Increase the proportion of people who are healthy at all stages of life:

This means addressing risk factors and promoting protective factors at every stage of life – from pre-natal, through early childhood, adolescence, adulthood and into old age, to support lifelong health and well-being.

Initiatives in this context include:

  • Increasing the number of adults (by 5%) and children (6%) with a healthy weight by 2019
  • Increasing by 20% the proportion of adults eating the recommended five or more servings of fruit and vegetables per day
  • Reducing smoking among young people by 1% a year
  • Decreasing levels of self-harm across all life stages
  • Increasing by 20% of proportion of the population undertaking regular physical activity

Goal 2: Reduce health inequalities:

Health and well-being are not evenly distributed across Irish society. This goal requires not only interventions to target particular health risks, but also a broad focus on addressing the wider social determinants of health – the circumstances in which people are born, grow, live, work and age – to create economic, social, cultural and physical environments that foster healthy living.

Initiatives in this context include:

  • Increasing the ‘stay at school’ rates of students in second-level schools
  • Reducing the % of the population in consistent poverty from current 6% to 2% or less by 2020.
  • Increasing self-reported happiness and well-being across socio-economic groups.

Goal 3: Protect the public from threats to health and well-being:

The Healthy Ireland Framework is designed to ensure effective strategies and interventions to protect the public from new and emerging threats to health and well-being are implemented. Being prepared to prevent, respond to, and rapidly recover from public health threats through collaborative working is critical for protecting and securing the population’s health.

Initiatives in this context include:

  • Increasing immunization rates for children to 95% uptake
  • Reducing prevalence of food-borne infections in compliance with Ireland and EU legislation
  • Complying with indicators defined in International Health Regulations, World Health Organisation (WHO).

Goal 4: Create an environment where every individual and sector of society can play their  part in achieving a Healthy Ireland:

It is beyond the capability of any one Government Department or organisation to promote society-wide health and well-being. This can only be done through society-wide involvement in and engagement with health and well-being promotion and improvement activities – from individuals making positive lifestyle choices and projects run by community and local groups, to policy and legislative changes at the highest level of government.

Initiatives in this context include:

  • Establishing key indicators measuring the level, range and effectiveness of cross government collaboration and effectiveness of structures.
  • Increasing percentage of people participating in informal, unpaid charitable work.

The current health status of people living in Ireland, lifestyle trends and inequalities in health outcomes are leading Ireland toward a future that is dangerously unhealthy and very likely unaffordable. The work that is underway to build a health service that is accessible and fair will only succeed if Ireland builds an environment that supports people and their families to lead healthier lifestyles.

Evidence and experience from around the world clearly shows that to create positive and sustainable change in health and well-being, it takes the involvement of the whole community, the whole of Government, all of society working in unison.

In conclusion, having endured the worst crisis in the history of the Republic of Ireland, by placing Sustainable Development as a critical component in Ireland’s Agenda for National Recovery the Government is clearly focused on pursuing coherent policies and sustainable actions for the health and well-being of the country’s most valuable asset: Its people.

Given Ireland’s present economic condition investment in the necessary infrastructure elements of the Framework for Sustainable Development will be challenging. However, the real challenge is to change mindsets, so that Ireland’s institutions and individual citizens realise the benefits from altering their behaviour for the common good.

END.

Business as usual is not an option - Sustainable development is a critical factor in Ireland’s agenda for national recovery
Bio-diversity

Niall O’Reilly

Managing Director, Accurate Group Ireland China Market Makers (Route to Market, Export, Import, Partner Due Diligence)

Website: http://www.accuratelimited.com

Twitter: @AccurateChina

China Office : Accurate Group China, Hangzhou – O: +86 571 8709 1253

Ireland Office: Accurate Ireland, Dublin – O: +353-1271-1830

Accurate China Insight: The Ireland China Innovation Hub (ICIH) – Inspiring Irish and Chinese ingenuity

Over the past year the importance of innovation as key to success in China has been highlighted in many ways: Norkom Technologies entertaining senior Chinese Government leaders; Firecomms’ purchase by China’s ZDF Group; Nathean Technologies announcing its intent to establish a beachhead in China; Bimeda establishing a joint-venture firm in China to develop and manufacture veterinary and animal health products; Irish Dairy Board’s decision to target China with new dairy products;  Mainstream Renewable Energy’s deal with China’s Sinovel Wind Group to deliver 1,000MW of wind projects in Ireland by 2016; Ryanair announcing a jet design pact with China’s Comac; the Dublin Beijing twinning; PCH on the way to becoming Ireland’s most successful technology company by virtue of its success in China; Tayto Crisps entering China with flavours unique to Chinese tastes; the increasing number of Chinese central, provincial and municipal government delegations visiting Ireland; the planning application for the vast Athlone ‘China Europe Hub’; the announcements of the Dublin Web Summit to bring Chinese Digital CEOs together with Irish CEOs and Enda Kenny’s first official trip to China in October.

Such occurrences and many more instances of collaboration at a state agency, business and educational level, all demonstrate Ireland is at last serious about China and China is getting serious about Ireland.  As Chris Horn noted last December “Ireland has much to strategically offer China, not least its scientific, educational and innovation culture”.  Professor Seamus Grimes of UCG asks “Can China become an information hub?” Professor Cathal Brugha of UCD expressed the widely held conviction that “China could be in our hands”, and only last week Enda Kenny stated that “China is vital to the Irish economy”.

China’s emergence is still only at a very early stage and in these four quotes and the activities of the past year, as noted above, the considerable business and revenue potential to be gained from closer collaboration between China and Ireland becomes all the more apparent.

Many incredibly talented scholars from China are studying in Ireland for tertiary degrees and PhDs. For the most part all their feedback is very positive.  What is more, Ireland has excellent entrepreneurial and product innovation expertise, expertise which China increasingly identifies with.  Over the past two years, I have founded professional business networks in the key Chinese cities of Dalian, Tianjin, Qingdao, Ningbo, Hangzhou and Xiamen, all with a potential membership of 1000s as Linkedin becomes the defining business network for engaging China-based talent with business professionals based within and outside China.

Founded in June 2011, the Ireland China Innovation Hub (ICIH) aims to be the hub for the nurturing of such Irish and Chinese expertise by encouraging collaboration, whether on a personal, business, or academic level.  It is hoped that ensuing useful discussions, a sharing of opinions and exchange of ideas will all lead to further product collaboration, strategic partnerships, professional interactions, and enhanced business between Ireland and China.

Mindful of the need to ensure that ICIH is a forum as much about Chinese innovative expertise as it is about Irish innovative expertise, in a choice that without a doubt demonstrates ICIH is on the right track Xiaofeng Zhang and Tiedong Yang have agreed to join as managers of ICIH.

By way of back ground, take a moment to read the short bios of these two very knowledgeable individuals:

  • Xiaofang Zhang, from Dalian City in Liaoning Province, is a PhD researcher at Cork Institute of Technology (CIT). She already holds a degree in Mechanical Engineering.  In 2008, Cork Institute of Technology acclaimed Xiaofeng as the CIT Innovative Engineer of the Year, while she was runner up in the ‘The Best Medical Device Design and Development’ in IMechE, London.

Biomaterial and medical device technology are the foci of Xiaofang Zhang’s PhD research.  With the former she “concentrates on new biomaterial for peripheral nerve regeneration, while in relation to her  medical device research Xiaofang’s focus is on Med-O-Ware, a medical device applied between infusion drip line and patients, which aim to remove all air bubbles passing through an infusion drip line system before the bubbles reach the blood stream and without stopping the infusion process”  (Source: Xiaofang’s Linkedin profile)

  • Tiedong Yang, from Harbin, in Heilongjiang Province, is a PhD Researcher at Dublin Institute of Technology (DIT). He holds a Bachelor in Engineering from the prestigious Harbin Institute of Technology.  He is also the Chinese Community Ambassador and Freelancer at Chester Beatty Library and in April 2010 was presented with presented with the Gaisce gold award by President Mary McAleese.

Tiedong Yang’s  focus of PhD research is Digital Media.

The PhD project designs and presents a sensor-enabled Technology Enhanced Learning system approach to facilitate knowledge transfer as behavioural skills in the perceptual motor learning process. A prototype system is developed with Radio Frequency Identification to aid students in learning the standard operating procedures which specify the students’ desired behavioural activities to ensure food safety in the workplace.

The research is set within a cross-disciplinary background covering general learning process, perceptual motor learning, learning and training in food safety, Technology Enhanced Learning and Ubiquitous Computing. The proposed approach is jointly inspired by Intelligent Tutoring System and Item Response Theory” (Source: Tiedong’s Linkedin Profile)

Plainly Xiaofang and Tiedong, and the very high proportion of ICIH members from China, bring a cultural awareness, market insights, and technical expertise which will be of considerable value to Irish businesses aiming to get a foothold in the China market. In addition, our Chinese ICIH members will be of the same mind in answering Professor Seamus Grimes question above “Can China become an information hub?” The answer to a large extent lies in the level of participation and interaction within networks such as Ireland China Innovation Hub (ICIH).

About the Ireland China Innovation Hub (ICIH)

Founded by Niall O’Reilly, Director for Accurate Group Limited and Director for China, Irish Exporters Association, the Ireland China Innovation Hub (ICIH), is a network of educators, researchers, designers, technologists, entrepreneurs, and consumers from Ireland and China who are interested in innovative collaboration and technology entrepreneurship between Ireland and China.

To join click ICIH: http://www.linkedin.com/groups?about=&gid=3976655&trk=anet_ug_grppro

ICIH is a sub-group of the Ireland China Business Network (ICBN), which has close to 800 active members.

Definitions:

For the purposes of ICIH ‘Ireland / Irish’ refers to the island of Ireland, while ‘China / Chinese’ refers to mainland China, Hong Kong, Macau, and Taiwan.

Sources:

Niall O’Reilly, Accurate China Blog, July 19th, 2011

http://www.accuratelimited.com/blog.php

Chris Horn:  Irish Times Newspaper, December 17th, 2010

http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/innovation/2010/1217/1224285355089.html

Professor Seamus Grimes, Finfacts Ireland, 6th April 2011

http://www.finfacts.ie/irishfinancenews/article_1022011.shtml

Professor Cathal Brugha, Sunday Business Post, 3rd July 2011

http://thepost.ie/commentandanalysis/china-could-be-in-our-hands-57218.html

An Taoiseach Enda Kenny, 14th July 2011

http://en.ce.cn/National/Local/201107/15/t20110715_22545082.shtml

Niall O’Reilly

Accurate China Business Advisers

“Helping Ireland’s Business Do China Business

http://www.accuratelimited.com

Tel: +353 1271 1830 / +86 152 5719 4468

China – Under The Hood: Condom Branding and Fuzzy Logic in China

Was in the local “xiao mai bu” (or local quintessential neighbourhood grocery store… like the ones throughout Ireland that have been driven out of business by the mega-stores …anyway I digress)… so I was in the local grocery buying my usual milk, water, soap and ice lollies (everything else was the big “mei you” (as in “don’t have, now feck off and leave me to me own devices”…. Actually, most shopkeepers are not that unfriendly…. it’s the heat, and it is very very hot) when I notice a box with packaging art showing a loving foreign couple.

Sure isn’t that an odd couple, your one and what’s ‘er name from Four Weddings and a Funeral?”

I asked no one in particular.

Certainly the shopkeeper didn’t take a blind bit of notice, or at least pretended not to..

Yeah that’s Hugh Grant and Andie McDowell entangled on the front“. .

But what really caught my eye was the word DAMAGE emblazoned as a brand of………………CONDOMS!

China - Under The Hood: The evolution of condom branding in China - 'Damage' Starring Hugh Grant and Andie McDowell

Who, I ask, in their right mind would buy a box of DAMAGE branded condoms? Ok, so this is China, but hold on!

Can you imagine the scene in an English-speaking country, for instance, Ireland?

Impatient, embarrassed fella (girlfriend waiting outside) to shop assistant (first day on the job):

“I need a box of DAMAGE”

Shop assistant:

Yah wha?

Yer man, by now perspiring profusely (confidently winking back at the impatient girlfriend):

Giv us a box of DAMAGEd condoms. Will yah hurry up for feck sake!

Shop assistant, sussing out the scene, having only recently viewed Bonnie and Clyde film trailer on Youtube, swiftly hits the alarm button.

But, seriously, what kind of branding gurus came up with this gem? What is the fuzzy logic thinking here? Because this packet of Hugh and Andies has me reflecting deeply on the fundamentally non-rational nature of Chinese thought processes. Yes, Chinese can hear the same words but interpret things completely differently, but come on. Did the creative team actually make a conscious effort to survey consumer preferences and subsequently report back to HQ that what members of the public really wanted to see next time they purchased a box of condoms was…

“DAMAGE”. Brilliant, that’s it! We have a winner!” (Another great moment in China-style product branding!)

… and then, after further brainstorming, decide that the best way to package the DAMAGE brand was to feature a picture of Hugh Grant and Andie McDowell in the throes of passion?  Sure, that’s like marketing a bottle of beer branded as POISON.

Mr. Branding and Product Marketing Gurus here are two definitions of “damage” I just found in the Collins Dictionary that you may have missed and hopefully will find useful when you’re undertaking your next annual sales review and wondering why your sales performance has been a little.. let’s say… limp:

 Damage (损坏):

    • Harm or injury to property or a person
    • To suffer or be susceptible to harm

Plenty of Damage done here and not just to the reputations of Hugh Grant and Andie McDowell (who I’d expect were consulted beforehand, bought into the concept, and were handsomely rewarded…Not!)…..

Oh, and what happens if the merchandise doesn’t perform its key task, as in protect against unplanned pregnancy? Well, that would be some serious “damage” …. So maybe these bi yun tao  (the direct Chinese translation of condom being “avoid pregnancy sheath” or 避孕套) aren’t meant to work in the first place!  

Ahh…  the mind boggles. Nevertheless, I still can’t figure out the ‘creative work’ behind the branding ….DAMAGE? It’s so weird.

And then there’s that “surely not / God forbid” question:

Do you think Hugh and Andie are still getting a bit on the side? If you know what I mean. Obviously you haven’t a clue what I mean.

Of course,  I am referring to “money”, or “royalties”, for such a public (performance) endorsement of the “DAMAGE” brand? After all it’s this endorsement that will soon have DAMAGE challenging Durex’s grip on the global market, right?

In truth, Fuji Condom’s product marketing team (if such a team exists outside the realm of ‘factory boss’ decision-making –influenced by ‘Er Nai’ wife #2) likely thinks all foreigners look the same, and if we don’t than we all look like Hugh Grant and Andie McDowell, especially when we’re stark naked.

Wonder if Hugh and Andie would be libel for any of the above damage?