Andrea's Published Papers

Can Bitcoin be the future of digital payments?

Andrea Valente

Valente, A. and Atkinson, D. (2018) “Can Bitcoin be the Future of Digital Payments?” 32nd International Scientific Conference on Economic and Social Development, 21st to 22nd June, Odessa, Ukraine.

This undergraduate level paper, written by Andrea Valente and his tutor David Atkinson, was accepted by an academic journal and presented in Ukraine.

Abstract

This study aimed to investigate the conditions in which Bitcoin has developed as a leading cryptocurrency and, according to Nakamoto (2008), could become an instrument for everyday payments around the world. In comparison to other digital payment solutions, Bitcoin is based on a peer-to-peer electronic cash system using ‘the blockchain’. This innovative technology allows for decentralised storage and movement of currency in a fully anonymous way, introducing advantageous methods for encrypted security and faster transactions (Hagiu and Beach, 2014).Scepticism regards Bitcoin’s foundation, energy consumption and price volatility, however, did not take long to arise (Holthaus, 2017). Ten years from its white paper release, Bitcoin is further supported by the same drivers which could sustain its growth as the future of digital payments (Russo, 2018). In order to investigate the key drivers and feasibility of acceptance, a London based survey was used to understand the desirability of Bitcoin as a day-to-day tool for digital payments. Additionally, this research analysed Bitcoin’s stakeholders and forecast drivers of sustainability for its application to become the future of the payment industry. A space which relies on policies that involve multiple layers of society, governments, regulators and tech-firms, all on a global scale.The findings confirmed how the increasing lack of trust of political and financial institutions, coupled with the increasing cases of data-breaches by tech-firms, encouraged over 70% of respondents to consider more decentralised and anonymous methods for their day-to-day actions; like payments. Policy makers need to cope with societies increasingly separating politically but gathering together digitally (LBS, 2017). For Bitcoin to truly establish itself as a global digital payment solution, key stakeholder acceptance must converge alongside the introduction of more robust regulation.

Sustainability in Business: A Millennial's' Perspective

Valente, A. and Atkinson, D. (2018) “SUSTAINABILITY IN BUSINESS: A MILLENNIALS' PERSPECTIVE” The 34th International Scientific Conference on Economic and Social Development – XVIII International Social Congress (ISC-2018), Russian State Social University, 18th to the 19th Oct.

 

Abstract

The detrimental effect mankind has on the planet continues, with its ability to produce far more than can be consumed is resulting in unmanageable effects to the earth (Senge, 1990). Achieving a performance advantage while not causing destructive effects is the new challenge. Consequently, considering the UN's sustainable development goals (SDGs), this study investigated how environmental, social and governance factors (ESG) could contribute to a better financial performance for multinational companies. Due to the ecological, economic, and social consequences of business (Mebratu, 1998) it has never been more important for society to lean towards sustainable practices (Brune, 2016). As new challenges emerge, new concepts of how to deal with them evolve, including the concept of 'sustainable development' as a foundation to management thinking and decision making. Private businesses are a key component in achieving the UN's desired sustainable view, as they can help to fill the $3tn annual investment gap expected to be needed across the next 15 years (Earley, 2016). As a generation, millennials have a critical role to play in achieving a sustainable future. Millennials are the next group of business thinkers and decision makers. Based on research conducted by this study, eight out of ten London based millennials acknowledged the private sector has a critical role in helping to achieve a sustainable future for all. However, fewer than three in ten millennials actually believe that private businesses will take action, instead continuing to place their short-term profitability mindset ahead of sustainability (Tuffrey, 2016). With a world population of 50% under the age of 30 (WEF, 2017), and with millennials continuing to become more conscious of trends which affect the planet and their future, the expectation of businesses to act sustainably seems to be rising. This study confirmed a multitude of ways to increase business performance sustainably, such as driving sales by targeting consumers' increasing willingness to pay a premium for sustainable goods. A questionnaire supported this approach by confirming that 9 out of 10 millennial Londoners acknowledged that action on climate-change should be the responsibility of both individuals and private businesses. However, a smaller amount, only 4 out of 10 millennials surveyed, were willing to contribute by shifting their purchasing-behaviour, to more sustainable products, if prices were higher. Further to this, if a product was found to be unethical, the data collected showed 75% of millennials would take action by looking for a competitor or leaning towards an alternative (30% of those surveyed). Consequently the results suggest millennials expect the private sector to step up and deliver sustainable products at competitive prices in order to truly help. Keywords: ESG Factors, Sustainability, Millennials

Andrea Valente

Valente, A. and Atkinson, D. (2019) Sustainability in Business: How ESG Can Protect and Improve Financial Performance

40th International Scientific Conference on Economic and Social Development – Buenos Aires, 10-11 May 2019

 

 

 

Abstract

Due to the ecological, economic, and social consequences of business (Mebratu, 1998) it hasnever been more important for society to lean towards sustainable practices (Brune, 2016). Asnew challenges emerge, new concepts of how to deal with them evolve, including the conceptof 'sustainable development' as a foundation to management thinking and decision making.Private businesses are a key component in achieving the UN's desired sustainable view, as theycan help to fill the $3tn annual investment gap expected to be needed across the next 15 years(Earley, 2016). It is possible for business to change and grow sustainably. Variousmultinational companies paved the way to active sustainable practices setting the example forother companies to follow. Considering the UN's sustainable development goals (SDGs), thisstudy investigated how environmental, social and governance factors (ESG) could contributeto a better financial performance for multinational companies. In order to investigate the effectsof sustainable practices on performance, various sources of academic research andquantitative data was necessary. A holistic approach was adopted, permitting the discovery ofinternal and external factors critical for the topic investigated. Six multinational firms with amarket cap of over 500 million were analysed on their publicly reported financials, half ofwhich from the lowest position in the sustainability ranks. The study takes into considerationESG performance measurement to assess the level of correlation with positive or negativefinancial results. The research conveys data of Ikea, Unilever, Starbucks, LG, Fast Retailingand ConAgra stock price, revenue, market capitalisation and the year-on-year fluctuation ofthose variables in the last decade. The three key findings strongly align with the developingtheory of ‘sustainable development’ as a strategic approach to grow business value over time.(Brune, 2016) The first finding suggests that unsustainable companies are subject to highervolatility in their growth- rate. As per Hemert (2014), this can be for a number of reasons, themain one being their resilience in case of unexpected macro events. The second finding is thelack of stock price re-appreciation for unsustainable companies when those events are negativefor the business growth. It is however a combination of variables that driver stocks prices,sustainability being just one of them. (Yadav et al., 2015) Lastly, on the negative stock priceyear on year percentage change, the third finding emerged: the unsustainable practicesanalysed experienced steeper and more frequent share price change compared to sustainableones (over the same decade). No market has ever taken off when fundamentals don’t make senseto investors hence an analysis of companies’ financial performance (within and outside ESG) was completed to measure sustainability advantages/disadvantages, supporting an array ofapplicable recommendations for companies to tackle the strategic short and long termsustainability development.