The irradiated lands around the Chernobyl nuclear reactor were large, prosperous, and lively collective farms until the reactor exploded in 1986. Seventy percent of the toxic radiation fell in Belarus – a small, agrarian country in which most people lived on the land. Hundreds of villages were evacuated, but much of the population has since returned. A generation later Global Business visits the Belarussian contamination zone and its hinterland to see how the local economy and way of life has adapted to a world turned upside down. We meet the beekeepers developing a honey farm in the depopulated part of the zone, visit an unexpected herd of horses and hear about the innovations in arable farming designed to resist radioactive toxins.
Produced and presented by Monica Whitlock
Image: Horses in Belarus Radio-Ecological Zone Credit: Ilya Kuzniatsou
Can Liberian rubber bounce back?
A victim of the “resource curse”, Liberia is one of the poorest countries in the world, in spite of being rich in natural resources. Rubber is one of the country’s biggest exports but few Liberians have benefitted from this multimillion dollar business. In this Global Business, Josephine Casserly meets a retired Californian policeman, James Cooper, who has returned to his grandfather’s farm, determined to revolutionise Liberia’s rubber industry. But in a country with a struggling economy and endemic corruption, can he succeed? Produced by Lucy Ash
How Politics Broke up with Business
Why have politicians gone from cosying up to businesses, to turning a deaf ear to their concerns? Jeremy Schwartz – a CEO himself – finds that the love affair was starting to become toxic long before Brexit, and asks whether it’s really such a bad thing if governments no longer care what business leaders think.
Andrea Leadsom – Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Frances O’Grady – General Secretary, TUC
Iain Anderson - Executive Chairman, Cicero
Giles Wilkes – Former Special Adviser to the Prime Minister
Helen Dickinson – Chief Executive, British Retail Consortium
Andy Street – Mayor of the West Midlands, former CEO of John Lewis Partnership
Joe Owen – Institute for Government
Paul Walsh – Chairman, Compass Group
Presenter: Jeremy Schwartz
Producer: Beth Sagar-Fenton
Flying, for many of us, is now routine. For a few of us it is a weekly, maybe even daily, event. At the same time global protests, concerned with the pressing danger of climate change and the need to reduce CO2 emissions, are gaining attention and causing alarm. So, will we ever get to a point where we can indulge our flying habit and our keep our conscience clear?
Katie Prescott talks to the flight refuseniks and assesses the impact they are having. Is the long term solution to change minds or can technological advances provide a fix? Electric cars are here; small planes are already powered the same way. How long until sizeable passenger jets follow? At a number of airports around the world, planes can fill up with bio-fuels. But the take up is extremely modest. While the oil price stays low, what's the incentive for airlines to go green?
Presenter: Katie Prescott
Producer: Rosamund Jones
Picture: Newark International Airport
Credit: Mario Tama/Getty Images
The Business of Clicks
Online retail spending has increased more than four fold in the last ten years - it now accounts for almost one in five pounds we spend shopping.
But whilst times are tough for our high streets, e-retailing is far from a licence to print money. With widespread discounting and a growing cost of delivery and returns, margins are being squeezed and many are finding it a struggle to survive.
In this programme, Adam Shaw investigates how the economics of e-commerce work, what the move to predominantly online will mean for many retailers and what our shopping environment may look like in 10 years time.
Presenter: Adam Shaw
Producer: Alex Lewis
Editor: Penny Murphy
Image: A woman packing a box to post
Credit: Getty Images