News & Highlights

  • October 2020
  • EVENTS

24 Hours of Harvard

Worldwide Week at Harvard showcases the breadth of Harvard’s global engagement through academic and cultural events with global or international themes. On October 7th-8th, 2020, Harvard broadcasted 24 Hours of Harvard, which featured 24 consecutive hours of around-the-clock and around-the-world events and activities. LARC contributed by creating a one-hour video that showcased the center’s work, from representing the University and the School in the region, to contributing to the research work and the development of case materials across Latin America.
  • October 2020
  • MBA PERSPECTIVES

Thomaz Galvao

MBA Perspectives is a collection of HBS student profiles that highlight student experiences across different geographies and industries. These profiles provide prospective students with insight into life at HBS. In this article, Brazilian student Thomaz Galvao discusses what brought him to HBS and the new venture that he and four other HBS RC students are incubating in the i-lab.
  • June 2020
  • EVENTS

Virtual Event with Professor Jose Alvarez and CEO of Grupo Éxito, Carlos Moreno

This June Professor Jose Alvarez interviewed CEO of Grupo Éxito, Carlos Moreno. Mr. Moreno gave a heartfelt presentation about the company’s challenges prior to the COVID, its initial response, and the care of employees, customers, and suppliers. Professor Alvarez, who wrote the case titled, Grupo Éxito: Facing Colombia's Competitive Grocery Retail Industry, led the conversation proposing thought-provoking questions. The event brought together 120 alumni and friends of the School.
  • April 2020
  • EVENTS

Virtual Event with Professor Michael Chu and Chilean Entrepreneur Nico Shea

On April 7th the Latin America Research Center hosted its first online event titled, “Challenges of a Pandemic: The Case of Cumplo.com, the leading crowdfunding platform in Latin America.” This event was the first in a series commemorating LARC’s 20th anniversary. Professor Michael Chu interviewed Chilean entrepreneur Nico Shea. Mr. Shea shared the challenges Cumplo.com has faced due to the pandemic and the opportunities he envisions as part of the new normal. Mr. Nico shared lessons he has learned as an entrepreneur during the crisis. The event brought together 120 alumni and friends of the School.

New Research on the Region

  • 2020
  • Book Chapter

Luxury Tourism and Environmentalism

This chapter examines the evolution of luxury tourism and its environmental impact. Whilst mass tourism is widely seen as environmentally damaging, the impact of luxury tourism is nuanced. During the first stage of the growth in the nineteenth century, the numbers of people involved were small, and some companies understood the need to conserve the environment. Later, luxury hunting and fishing decimated wildlife populations, but the sector produced visionaries who created the concept of photographic safaris. Environmental education became a major theme of the luxury tourism firms. More recently, there has been a proliferation of ecotourism ventures, whilst conventional luxury hotel chains have pursued sustainability certification. Yet scaling has expanded environment footprints, whilst the embrace of the rhetoric of sustainability has degraded the meaning of the concept.

  • September 2020
  • Case

Algramo

By: Michael Chu, Monica Silva and Mariana Cal

Founded in 2013 by José Manuel Moller in Chile, Algramo first became known for addressing the “poverty tax” (the surcharge paid by lower income families for staples sold in smaller sizes) through specially-designed dispensers in low-income neighborhood grocery stores that offered bulk purchasing in reusable containers, while allowing consumers to buy exactly the amount they wanted. The savings that came from eliminating packaging, sometimes the single-largest cost component in small formats, was passed on to the end-user. The company’s innovative approach was widely recognized, both locally and internationally. In 2018, Moller was invited to join a prestigious NGO focused on the role of the private sector, which led to an invitation by Unilever Chile’s CEO to join forces to meet a corporate-wide Unilever commitment: a 25% reduction by 2025 of the plastics it put out into the world. One of the most efficient ways of doing so was the replacement of single-use plastic packaging by reusable containers, but the challenge was to make consumers remember to take their empty containers with them when shopping. With the insight that people never forget to take their wallets, Moller’s response was Packaging-as-a-Wallet (PaaW), a reusable plastic container imbedded with a Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) chip that, through Algramo’s smartphone app, could also become a digital wallet. At the same time, the app allowed the user to order the exact amount desired and have it home-delivered by electric tricycle. In January 2020, following a successful pilot test, Unilever Chile and Algramo rolled out PaaW across Santiago, Chile’s capital. With plastic pollution a highly visible global issue, Algramo’s efforts attracted wide international attention and recognition. Several leading FMCG multinationals and environmental NGOs approached Algramo to explore potential partnerships. For many years, Algramo’s financing came through awards and prizes, friends and family and benefactors. At the end of 2019, Algramo completed its first institutional capital-raise in a round led by New York-based impact investor Closed Loop Partners. That relationship opened the doors to projects that would take the Algramo model to New York City. In March 2020, Algramo’s board approved a joint venture with a Dutch NGO to deploy Algramo in Indonesia, the world’s second-largest source of plastic leakage into the oceans. That same month, Chile registered its first Covid-19 case. By the end of May, the number of Covid-19 cases in Chile surpassed the official number of cases recorded in China. This came on top of a deep social turmoil that had rocked the country since October 2019, with street riots shattering Chile’s long-standing image of stability and development. In the face of this grave crisis that would surely get worse, one of Moeller’s close advisors advocated setting aside the company’s international commitments and to focus Algramo’s efforts solely on Chile. Moeller must decide what to do.

  • September 2020
  • Teaching Material

Uber: Competing Globally

Teaching Note for HBS Case No. 720-404.

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Buenos Aires Staff

Fernanda Miguel
Executive Director
Mariana Cal
Assistant Director, Research
Jenyfeer Martínez Buitrago
Research Associate
Maria Martha Ruiz Melo
Office Manager

São Paulo Staff

Ruth Costas
Senior Researcher
Patricia Thome
Office & Program Manager
Pedro Levindo
Senior Researcher

Mexico City Staff

Carla Larangeira
Senior Researcher