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Updated: 1 hour 30 min ago

Consumers Energy Plugs in to Clean Energy Future, Turning to Electric Vehicles for Company Employees

1 hour 30 min ago

Consumers Energy has announced plans to provide more electric vehicles for its employees -- a major step toward a clean energy future for Michigan.

Consumers Energy President and CEO Patti Poppe said this morning that the company is now buying or leasing electric vehicles instead of purchasing new sedans that rely on gasoline. Poppe and an official from General Motors also announced the start of a pilot program to test smart charging for electric vehicle owners.

“Electric vehicles are ready for the fast lane, and Consumers Energy wants to support this technology for the good of Michigan and our planet,” Poppe said. “Electric vehicles will reduce our carbon footprint, supporting our company’s Clean Energy Plan to already cut carbon emissions from our power plants in the next two decades.”

“GM’s vision is for an all-electric future with zero crashes, zero emissions and zero congestion,” said Dane Parker, Vice President, Sustainable Workplaces for General Motors. “We’re honored to have such strong partners at Consumers Energy who share our commitment to provide more sustainable solutions for everyone.”

Consumers Energy’s electric vehicle plans include the following:

  • NEW VEHICLES -- Over the next five years, Consumers Energy expects to replace over 100 sedans with electric vehicles that it will purchase or lease. The change does not affect heavy equipment.
  • SMART CHARGING -- Consumers Energy and General Motors will work together to test new technology that allows owners to plug in their electric vehicles at home and delay charging to start until overnight hours. Consumers Energy offers rates specifically for electric vehicle owners to encourage charging in off-peak hours, when there’s less demand for electricity from the grid.
  • CHARGING STATIONS -- Consumers Energy is developing a $7.5 million effort over three years to encourage the development of electric vehicle charging stations across Michigan. That would include rebates for charging stations in people’s homes, at their workplaces and along major thoroughfares.

Consumers Energy has been a strong promoter of electric vehicles, offering its first special charging rates nearly a decade ago. It was also one of the early energy providers in the country to pilot an incentive program for home charging stations.

Last year, the Edison Electric Institute and Institute for Electric Innovation forecast up to 7 million electric vehicles will be traveling on U.S. roads by the end of 2025.

“It’s important to see Michigan companies like Consumers Energy and General Motors take such significant steps to promote electric vehicles here in our state,” said Liesl Clark, President of the Michigan Energy Innovation Business Council. “We need to drive Michigan’s advanced mobility industry to build a road to a bright future for Michigan’s economy and environment.”

Consumers Energy, Michigan’s largest energy provider, is the principal subsidiary of CMS Energy (NYSE: CMS), providing natural gas and/or electricity to 6.7 million of the state’s 10 million residents in all 68 Lower Peninsula counties.

# # #

Media Contacts

Katie Carey, 517-788-2395, or Brian Wheeler, 517-788-2394

For more information about Consumers Energy, go to www.ConsumersEnergy.com.

Check out Consumers Energy on Social Media

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ConsumersEnergyMichigan/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/consumersenergy

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/consumersenergy

Flickr: https://www.flickr.com/photos/consumersenergy/

IMPACT2030 Announces 2018 Innovation Award Winners

1 hour 30 min ago

At the 2018 IMPACT2030 global summit, September 5-7, at United Nations Headquarters in New York, the inaugural IMPACT2030 Innovation Awards were presented to recognize excellence in directing the collective skills, experience and talent of corporate volunteers towards the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals.

“The winners of the inaugural IMPACT2030 Innovation Awards stand out for their creative approaches to activating the private sector’s most valuable asset—their people—and to developing purposeful partnerships to advance the Sustainable Development Goals in communities around the world,” said Sue Stephenson, Interim CEO for IMPACT2030. 

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are a universal call to action adopted by all nations in 2015 to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure that all people enjoy peace and prosperity. IMPACT2030 was founded in response to a United Nations resolution that called upon nations to engage with the private sector through the expansion of corporate volunteering and employee volunteer activities. 

The inaugural IMPACT2030 Innovation Award Honorees received their awards in the presence of nearly 200 members of the global IMPACT2030 community who had convened for the organization’s bi-annual all-member Summit. The Honorees are: 

ACTIVATE Category:

  • IBERDROLA (IMPACT2030 Collaborating Partner): With delivering on a social dividend starting from their organization’s core mission statement, IBERDROLA’s creative approach to integrating the SDGs into their business strategy and educating, inspiring and activating their employees around the SDGs is innovation in action. Learn more about IBERDROLA’s commitment here 

  • VOLUNTARE (IMPACT2030 Founding Stakeholder): Founded by Juan Angel Poyatos, an IMPACT2030 Regional Voice Lead, the team at corporate volunteering network Voluntare identified an opportunity to develop and implement a scalable framework to educate company employees and the public on the SDGs through #COMPANIES4SDGs. Learn more about #COMPANIES4SDGS here.

COLLABORATE Category:

  • SAP (IMPACT2030 Founding Partner): Through their SAP Collaboration for Good program, SAP demonstrates the deeper value that collaboration brings when partnering with external organizations to facilitate a greater, more sustained impact on society and underserved communities. Learn more about SAP Collaboration for Good here.

  • TATA Consultancy Services (IMPACT2030 Founding Partner): Grounded in empathy, TCS goIT engages employee mentors, partners, business and public leaders, empowering students to envision innovative solutions for community challenges, using design thinking, agile mindset and digital skills for the 21st century. Learn more about TCS goIT here.

  • Berkshire Bank (IMPACT2020 Collaborating Partner / Innovation Award SME sub-category): After identifying a lack of awareness on the SDGs and understanding on how they can be brought to life in local communities, Berkshire Bank spearheaded Skills For Cities - Boston, a city-wide day of skills based volunteerism for the SDGs. Learn more about this initiative here. 

HONORARY MENTIONS
In addition to the Honorees, the following IMPACT2030 Partner companies were each recognized with an IMPACT2030 Innovation Award Honorary Mention for the impact being made by their employee volunteer programs around the world (alphabetically):

  • ARM

  • DP World

  • Medtronic

  • Merck

  • Mondelēz International

  • Optus

  • Pernod Ricard

  • TD Bank Group

About IMPACT2030
IMPACT2030 is the only private sector, partnership-led initiative focused on activating human capital investments through employee volunteer programs to directly and substantially contribute to the achievement of the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The initiative takes a collective and multi-sector approach to impact the SDGs and leverages economies of scale by encouraging collective and cooperative volunteering efforts of member organizations globally.

Learn more about IMPACT2030 and join the global movement to leverage human capital to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals at www.IMPACT2030.com.

LIVE Twitter Chat on #PeopleBehindPalmOil with Golden Agri-Resources on October 3rd, 2018

Tue, 09/25/2018 - 6:41pm

Be sure to join us for a LIVE 1-hour Twitter Chat with global palm oil company Golden Agri-Resources (GAR), NestléWBCSD, and TriplePundit on #PeopleBehindPalmOil.

As palm oil is an ingredient in over half of the food and consumer products manufactured worldwide, there has been growing demand to ensure that this important commodity is grown and produced responsibly and sustainably. This chat with GAR will discuss major changes across the global palm oil value chain, along with the company’s efforts to boost transparency and traceability.

Sustainability is an integral part of GAR’s business. GAR understands that being a sustainable palm oil company requires a consistent and holistic approach, in 2015 it combined its forest conservation, social and community engagement and yield improvement policies into a single GAR Social and Environmental Policy, known as GSEP – details of which will be discussed during the Twitter Chat. Investment is also being made into the diverse nutritional benefits that palm oil can bring as consumers become increasingly health conscious.

To that end, the 1-hour #PeopleBehindPalmOil will also shine a light on people, from those who work on farms and in labs, to the stakeholders who are partnering with the global palm oil industry to ensure that it is accountable. Together, they are all are striving to realise GAR’s vision of a sustainable palm oil industry.

Hosting the chat are 3BL Media (@3BLMedia) and TriplePundit (@TriplePundit); joining us are the following panelists:

  • Anita Neville, Vice President of Corporate Communications and Sustainability Relations at Golden Agri-Resources (@Aussieneets)

  • Dr Paul Wassell, Head of Research and Development at Golden Agri-Resources (@GAR_Sinarmas)

  • Anna Turrell, Head of Sustainability at Nestle (@anna_turrell)

  • Matthew Reddy, Director of Climate-Smart Agriculture at WBCSD (tbc)

Topics of the chat will include:

  • The driving forces behind changes across the global palm oil sector

  • What consumers should consider when purchasing products made with palm oil

  • GAR’s drive to increase its supply chain’s transparency and traceability

  • Market forces that will drive the future of the palm oil industry over the next several years

  • How stakeholders’ concerns are having an impact on GAR’s commitment to sustainability

Tips to get the most out of the #PeopleBehindPalmOil Twitter Chat:

  • Follow the main participants and #PeopleBehindPalmOil hashtag

  • Share tweets you think your followers will appreciate

  • Follow interesting participants during and after the chat

  • Submit questions before the event to promote a more dynamic discussion

  • Use the #PeopleBehindPalmOil hashtag on comments that you want to share with the community

WHEN: Wednesday, October 3, at 10am GMT / 1pm GST / 5pm SGT.

WHERE: Join the conversation on Twitter, or on a third-party platform such as TweetDeck or Hootsuite, by following #PeopleBehindPalmOil

New to our Twitter chats? Don’t worry! Read this.

Media Contact:

Leon Kaye
Director of Social Media and Social Engagement, 3BL Media
lkaye@3blmedia.com

World’s First IoT Technology Awards Show and Sustainable Action Platform Puts Global Impact at the Heart of the Fourth Industrial Revolution

Tue, 09/25/2018 - 3:41pm

Today, in support of the United Nations Global Goals Week 2018, in a first-ever, a new Hollywood red carpet awards show and sustainable global action platform was officially announced. Modeled in the rich tradition of the media and entertainment industry's top awards, the Iotty Awards® Gala honors excellence in the Internet of Things (IoT), celebrating the best and brightest shining stars from across the globe, helping to create a brighter future for all. http://bit.ly/AwardsTrailer 

The prestigious awards were created to answer one of our world’s most pressing questions - “How can we ensure all the ‘smart’ connected IOT technologies driving the Fourth Industrial Revolution, and one of humanity’s great awakenings, are used to improve the state of the world?” http://bit.ly/4IRChallenge  

The bold mission of the Iotty Awards® is to accelerate the transition of the world to sustainable technology. The audacious goal is to positively impact two billion global citizens across all of the 17 U.N. Global Goals by 2030 so that no one gets left behind.  http://bit.ly/IOTTY2030  

The Iotty Awards® proprietary social and environmental impact platform aims at enabling businesses and brands, large or small, to accelerate their trust, loyalty, sales, profits, engagement and competitive advantage in the marketplace - all at the same time - while helping transform the world.  

The annual awards bring together the massive IoT market making the world smarter, projected by the World Economic Forum/Accenture to be $14 trillion annually by 2030, along with the enormous sustainable impact market, estimated by a Davos report to be $12 trillion annually by 2030. Moreover, a 2018 Forbes/Hitachi Vantara survey report confirmed that top execs around the globe consider IoT as the most important emerging technology, and a converging point and enabler for all other exponential technologies, including AI, robotics and all the others.  Collectively, “Sustainable IoT” presents one of the most significant opportunities of the 21st century - creating both business profits, and global social and environmental impact, on a scale and scope never before seen.

ABOUT THE IOTTY AWARDS®  https://theiottyawards.com @theiottyawards  #theiottyawards
The Iotty Awards® is the world’s first-of-its-kind Purpose Driven IoT™ global media, live events, and sustainable action platform. http://bit.ly/AwardsTrailer The Iotty Awards® bold mission is to accelerate the world's transition to sustainable technology, with an audacious goal of positively impacting two billion global citizens across all 17 of the United Nations Global Goals to Transform our World by 2030.  The Iotty Awards® is a pioneering social enterprise start-up created using social entrepreneurship and social change management best practices, including public recognition. The proprietary multi-stakeholder, multi-purpose, sustainable technology platform delivers aspiration, awards, awareness, action, acceleration, achievement, activation, affinity, and amplification, globally.  The Iotty Awards® are presented by The International Academy of Automation Arts and Sciences™ (IAAAS™).  https://iaaas.org

The Iotty Awards® proudly supports the U.N. Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the worlds largest corporate sustainability initiative and framework for helping end poverty and inequality, protect the planet and ensure all people enjoy peace and prosperity.  Like business, the Global Goals will require new levels of technology and collaboration to be successful. #globalgoals  #globalgoalsweek 

ABOUT THE INTERNATIONAL ACADEMY OF AUTOMATION ARTS AND SCIENCES™
The Iotty Awards® are judged and presented by the International Academy of Automation Arts and Sciences™ (IAAAS™).  https://iaaas.org  The Academy is an independent and impartial judging body comprised of top esteemed leaders and luminaries from both the IoT and sustainable disciplines. Voting tabulation oversight of the awards is to be conducted by a top global accounting firm. The inaugural season Hollywood premiere is late Spring 2019, with the awards Call for Entries coming soon. 

JOIN US IN UNLEASHING THE POWER OF TECHNOLOGY TO TRANSFORM OUR WORLD
2019 Awards Season Premiere - founding title/category sponsors, judges, partnerships, and media opportunities available, claim your category today: 

  • Subscribe - to the Iotty Insider™ newsletter for latest awards news, special offers, contests and more.

  • Enter - Call for Entries announcement coming soon. Please subscribe to the newsletter for the latest awards updates and news

  • Judge - join the Academy and become a founding member and esteemed judges. https://iaaas.org

  • Share - please help us spread the word on this new global initiative with others, together we can change our world! @theiottyawards

  • Sponsor - sponsors@theiottyawards.com

  • Partner - partners@theiottyawards.com 

  • Media - media@theiottyawards.com

PRESS RELEASE CONTACT 
Bill Mapp: Creator, Executive Producer
press@theiottyawards.com  +1 (213) 269-5900

ADDITIONAL ASSETS
https://theiottyawards.com/press

Nonprofits Sue Pret A Manger for Deceptive Marketing of Foods as “Natural”

Tue, 09/25/2018 - 3:41pm

Nonprofit organizations Beyond Pesticides, GMO Free USA and Organic Consumers Association filed a lawsuit against the Pret A Manger restaurant chain for the deceptive marketing and sale of certain bread and other baked goods as “natural food,” after the products tested positive for glyphosate, a component of Roundup weedkiller. The lawsuit charges that Pret exploits consumers’ preferences and willingness to pay more for products marketed as “natural”.

A National Restaurant Association survey of 700 chefs entitled “Top 10 Concept Trends of 2018,” ranked “natural ingredients/clean menus” as one of the top three consumer dining trends. Restaurateurs are aware that the general public is increasingly seeking out healthy foods that are free from unnatural ingredients and synthetic chemicals.

Ronnie Cummins, OCA international director said: "Pret knows consumer perception is that food described as 'natural' is quantitatively better, because consumers believe 'natural' implies the absence of synthetic chemicals. We believe companies should not be allowed to mislead consumers in this way."

“Consumers expect Pret's food, which the company markets as ‘natural’, to be free of synthetic pesticides such as glyphosate. The chemical is also patented as a chelator and an antibiotic, and has been linked to serious adverse health effects including cancer, infertility, and non-alcoholic fatty liver and kidney diseases. Glyphosate shouldn’t be present in the food system at all, but a company that willfully misrepresents its products needs to be held accountable,” said Diana Reeves, executive director of GMO Free USA. 

Numerous peer-reviewed studies show various potential health harms from the consumption of glyphosate and the body of scientific evidence continues to grow.

A 2017 study found that Roundup causes non-alcoholic fatty liver disease at very low doses permitted by regulators worldwide. The lead researcher on that study, molecular geneticist Dr. Michael Antoniou, stated, “These levels of glyphosate contamination in grain-based foodstuffs are worrying. They show yet another source of daily intake of this weedkiller in addition to packaged foods. Collectively, survey results such as this make it easy to understand why a typical American citizen will be ingesting several micrograms per kilogram of body weight per day of glyphosate which is at least a thousand times more than the level of glyphosate that we found caused non-alcoholic fatty liver disease in rats that consumed Roundup over a two year period. This is why these survey results give serious cause for concern.”

Jay Feldman, executive director of Beyond Pesticides said: “Consumers want truthful information on product ingredients, with labeling and advertising that is transparent about production practices and residues of toxic materials. Given the widespread use of pesticide-intensive practices, this lawsuit establishes the responsibility of purveyors of food products to know the origins of their product ingredients before making a ‘natural’ claim.”

The suit, filed under the District of Columbia’s Consumer Protection Procedures Act by Richman Law Group, seeks to end Pret’s deceptive business practices by requiring full disclosure of glyphosate in their products and/or a reformulation of their products to be glyphosate-free. 

Read the full complaint HERE.

GMO Free USA is a national 501(c)(3) nonprofit advocating for a clean and healthy food system and educating consumers about the hazards of genetically engineered organisms and synthetic pesticides. www.gmofreeusa.org

Beyond Pesticides is a D.C-based national grassroots nonprofit that works with allies in protecting public health and the environment to lead the transition to a world free of toxic pesticides. www.beyondpesticides.org

The Organic Consumers Association (OCA) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit consumer advocacy organization focused on food, agriculture and environmental issues. www.organicconsumers.org

Contacts:

GMO Free USA, Diana Reeves, 347.921.1466

Beyond Pesticides, Jay Feldman, 202.543.5450

Organic Consumers Association, Katherine Paul, 207.653.3090

Working Mother Names OppenheimerFunds as One of the 2018 “100 Best Companies”

Tue, 09/25/2018 - 3:41pm

OppenheimerFunds, a leading global asset manager, was included on Working Mother’s annual list of the 2018 “100 Best Companies” for working mothers. The firm was recognized for its programs that aim to promote the advancement of women; a new parent toolkit designed to help employees navigate their parental leave and return to work; an employee assistance program that includes parent-specific resources and services; and benefits, such as flexible parental leave and adoption assistance. 

“We are honored that Working Mother has recognized OppenheimerFunds for the second year in a row as one of the best companies for working mothers,” said Andy Doyle, Chief Human Resources Officer at OppenheimerFunds. “Employees can truly achieve their full potential when they have the flexibility to balance their professional and personal lives. 

Based on the comparison of data submitted by companies from Working Mother’s 100 Best Companies list and data from U.S. companies collected by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) for its 2018 Employee Benefits Report, there is a wide gap between the benefits companies offer: 100 percent of the 100 Best Companies offer paid maternity leave versus 35 percent of companies nationwide; 99 percent of the 100 Best Companies offer paid paternity leave versus 29 percent of companies nationwide. 

As part of its diversity and inclusion efforts, OppenheimerFunds provides employees with the opportunity to connect with the diverse experiences of colleagues by joining Business Resource Groups, which include the Asian Professionals Network, Black Professionals Network, Disabilities Network, Latino Professionals Network, LGBTQ+ Network, Military Network, and Women’s Network.

OppenheimerFunds’ parental leave policies were recently highlighted in Fatherly’s 50 Best Places to Work for New Dads. The firm has received numerous awards for its benefits and workplace culture, including recognition on the Diversity Best Practices Inclusion Index and 2018 Disability Equality Index, by Working Mother as one of the Best Companies for Multicultural Women, and as a Diversity Champion in Investment News’ Diversity & Inclusion Awards. In addition, OppenheimerFunds has been named as one of the Best Places to Work for LGBTQ Equality by the Human Rights Campaign Foundation and a Best Place to Work in Money Management by Pensions & Investments. 

The complete list of the 2018 Working Mother 100 Best Companies can be found here.

# # #

About OppenheimerFunds

OppenheimerFunds, Inc., a leader in global asset management, is dedicated to providing solutions for its partners and end investors. OppenheimerFunds, including its subsidiaries, manages more than $249 billion in assets for over 13 million shareholder accounts, including sub-accounts, as of August 31, 2018.

Founded in 1959, OppenheimerFunds is an asset manager with a history of providing innovative strategies to its investors. The firm’s 16 investment management teams specialize in equity, fixed income, alternative, multi-asset, and factor and revenue-weighted-ETF strategies, including ESG as a signatory of the UN PRI. OppenheimerFunds and its subsidiaries offer a broad array of products and services to clients, who range from pensions and endowments to financial advisors and individual investors. OppenheimerFunds and certain of its subsidiaries provide advisory services to the Oppenheimer family of funds, and OFI Global Asset Management offers solutions to institutions. The firm is also active through its Philanthropy & Community initiative: 10,000 Kids by 2020, reaching children with introductions to math literacy programs. 

Web: oppenheimerfunds.com
Tweets: twitter.com/OppFunds
Podcasts: oppenheimerfunds.com/advisors/podcasts 

ABOUT THE METHODOLOGY

The 100 Best Companies application includes more than 400 questions on leave policies, workforce representation, benefits, childcare, advancement programs, flexibility policies and more. It surveys the availability and usage of these programs, as well as the accountability of the many managers who oversee them. All applicants receive feedback showing how they compare with other applicants; however, the names of applicants that do not make the list are kept confidential. Company profiles and data come from submitted applications and reflect 2017 data.

ABOUT WORKING MOTHER MEDIA

Working Mother Media (WMM), a division of Bonnier Corp., publishes Working Mother magazine and its companion website, workingmother.com. The Working Mother Research Institute, the National Association for Female Executives and Diversity Best Practices are also units within WMM. WMM’s mission is to serve as a champion of culture change, and Working Mother magazine is the only national magazine for career-committed mothers. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Pinterest. 

Shares of Oppenheimer funds are not deposits or obligations of any bank, are not guaranteed by any bank, are not insured by the FDIC or any other agency, and involve investment risks, including the possible loss of the principal amount invested. 

Before investing in any of the Oppenheimer funds, investors should carefully consider a fund’s investment objectives, risks, charges and expenses. Fund prospectuses and summary prospectuses contain this and other information about the funds, and may be obtained by asking your financial advisor, visiting oppenheimerfunds.com or calling 1.800.CALL OPP (225.5677). Read prospectuses and summary prospectuses carefully before investing. 

Oppenheimer funds are distributed by OppenheimerFunds Distributor, Inc. 

225 Liberty Street, New York, NY 10281-1008 

© 2018 OppenheimerFunds Distributor, Inc. All rights reserved.

SC Johnson Celebrates 30 Years on Working Mother’s 100 Best Companies List

Tue, 09/25/2018 - 12:41pm

SC Johnson today announces it has been named to Working Mother magazine’s list of 100 Best Companies for the 30th year. Reaching this milestone, the company becomes one of just six global companies and the only Wisconsin-based company to be included on the list 30 times or more. SC Johnson is recognized on this prestigious list by Working Mother magazine for creating programs and benefits that support working parents.

“As a dedicated, single parent myself, I understand the importance of creating a workplace where people can be successful at work and at home,” said Fisk Johnson, Chairman and CEO of SC Johnson. “SC Johnson is honored to be recognized by Working Mother as one of the best companies for working parents for the 30th time.”

According to the U.S. Department of Labor*, in 2017 more than 71 percent of all mothers with children under age 18 were working or looking for work, increasing the demand for workplaces that go the extra mile to support working moms. SC Johnson provides an array of opportunities and benefits that are competitive in each local marketplace. Among them include its Childcare Learning Center, flexible work schedules, generous maternity, paternity and adoption leave, and a recreational center.

“Each year, we look forward to celebrating the 100 Best Companies and shine a spotlight on the Top 10 Companies for the work they are doing on behalf of working parents and caregivers,” said Subha Barry, president of Working Mother Media. “The programs and policies for working parents created by all of the 100 Best set a standard of excellence, and we applaud them for continuing to innovate and address the needs of this important talent sector.”

Working Mother magazine will showcase the selected companies at this year’s WorkBeyond Summit Oct. 8-9 in New York City. The complete list of the 2018 Working Mother 100 Best Companies can be found here.

In addition to this latest award, SC Johnson in 2018 received Best Workplace recognition from the Great Place to Work® Institute in Italy, Venezuela, Germany, Greece, United Kingdom, Mexico, Canada, Central America, Turkey, Switzerland, Nigeria, India and Brazil, along with regional awards in Europe and Latin America. In 2017, the company received a perfect score of 100 percent on the Human Rights Campaign Corporate Equality Index.

About SC Johnson

SC Johnson is a family company dedicated to innovative, high-quality products, excellence in the workplace and a long-term commitment to the environment and the communities in which it operates. Based in the USA, the company is one of the world's leading manufacturers of household cleaning products and products for home storage, air care, pest control and shoe care, as well as professional products. It markets such well-known brands as GLADE®, KIWI®, OFF!®, PLEDGE®, RAID®, SCRUBBING BUBBLES®, SHOUT®, WINDEX® and ZIPLOC® in the U.S. and beyond, with brands marketed outside the U.S. including AUTAN®, TANA®, BAMA®, BAYGON®, BRISE®, KABIKILLER®, KLEAR®, MR MUSCLE® and RIDSECT®. The 132-year-old company, which generates $10 billion in sales, employs approximately 13,000 people globally and sells products in virtually every country around the world. www.scjohnson.com

About Working Mother Media

Working Mother Media (WMM), a division of Bonnier Corp., publishes Working Mother magazine and its companion website, workingmother.com. The Working Mother Research Institute, the National Association for Female Executives and Diversity Best Practices are also units within WMM. WMM’s mission is to serve as a champion of culture change, and Working Mother magazine is the only national magazine for career-committed mothers. Follow us on FacebookTwitterLinkedIn and Pinterest.

https://www.bls.gov/news.release/famee.nr0.htm

Attorney Steven Donziger Files Human Rights Petition Claiming U.S. Judiciary Failed to Protect Him From Vicious Chevron Retaliation Campaign

Tue, 09/25/2018 - 12:41pm

Renowned U.S. human rights attorney Steven Donziger, who has helped impoverished communities in the Ecuadorian Amazon maintain a global litigation and advocacy effort against Chevron for over 25 years, filed a petition with the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IAHCR) on Monday. The petition details how Donziger (bio here) has suffered a massive campaign of retaliatory litigation and media attacks from Chevron that has been facilitated by U.S. judicial and other institutions. Chevron has openly bragged of its efforts to “demonize Donziger,” has frozen Donziger’s bank accounts, and recently asked a U.S. court to imprison him.

(Here is the full copy of Donziger’s petition.)

The new petition raises broader issues of the ability of corporations to abuse the legal process to silence critics and punish adversaries with “Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation,” or SLAPPs. The SLAPP problem has been identified for decades, but recent years have seen a massive uptick in such cases. Greenpeace, Human Rights Watch, and other organizations recently launched a national campaign to raise awareness and push back on SLAPPs, using the Twitter hashtags #SLAPPtaskforce and #ProtectTheProtest. The groups identify Chevron’s attacks on Donziger as the seed from which a whole new generation of attacks has grown.

Judicial harassment of human rights defenders by corporations and governments is also a high-profile issue for human rights organizations and UN agencies at the global level. The UN has a dedicated research office or “rapporteur” focused on the problem, and organizations including Amnesty InternationalGlobal Witness, and Frontline Defenders regularly issue reports expressing alarm at the growing incidence of retaliation. Global Witness recently indicated that it would be closely monitoring the Donziger case.

While the retaliation and outright “demonization” of Donziger has been driven by Chevron, acting as a private party hoping to “taint” the legitimacy of the $12 billion environmental liability that four layers of Ecuadorian courts have imposed on the company, the petition asserts that ultimately responsibility lies with the U.S. institutions which have tolerated, facilitated, and at times openly encouraged the attacks.

In one example of the problematic judicial conduct in the case, in September 2010, U.S. federal judge Lewis A. Kaplan mocked Donziger from the bench as a supposed “plaintiff’s lawyer” with a big “imagination” for daring to sue Chevron in Ecuador. Shortly thereafter, Chevron filed a civil “racketeering” lawsuit against Donziger and the U.S. judge, Lewis A. Kaplan, took extraordinary steps to assign it to himself. At the first hearing in the racketeering case, Kaplan praised Chevron as “a company of considerable importance to our economy” and worried that U.S. consumers would be hurt by enforcement of the Ecuadorian environmental liability. “I don’t think there is anybody in this courtroom who wants to pull his car into a gas station to fill up and finds that there isn’t any gas there because [Donziger’s clients have enforced their environmental judgment] in Singapore or wherever else,” the judge said.

Kaplan refused to seat a jury—unprecedented in a racketeering case—and ultimately decided the merits of Chevron’s claims himself, in a 500-page decision that concluded that the Ecuadorian environmental judgment was tantamount to “extortion” by Donziger against Chevron. The court acknowledged it could not stop efforts to enforce the judgment in other countries, but issued the lengthy decision in response to Chevron’s calls for “a freestanding determination” of the facts as Chevron saw them, that the oil company could then use to try to shut down enforcement efforts elsewhere.

Kaplan’s judgment was decided under a low civil standard of proof—“more likely than not”—even though it purported to find Donziger responsible for criminal acts under U.S. federal law that normally require findings “beyond a reasonable doubt.” Other authorities, such as the lawyer “grievance” committee in New York which regulates the licensing of attorneys, are now seeking to strip Donziger of his license to practice law based on this alleged criminal responsibility. The New York state court hearing the matter has preliminarily decided it can invoke “collateral estoppel,” refusing to hear any of Donziger’s evidence or claims of innocence on account of Judge Kaplan’s decision, even though many of Kaplan’s findings have been contradicted by four layers of Ecuadorian courts and effectively disproven in collateral proceedings. 

“What seems to be happening to Steven Donziger, given evidence in the public domain, is a serious case of judicial harassment - a sham process, wrapped up by the gentile world of the New York Bar as legitimate,” said Simon Taylor, a co-founder and director of Global Witness. “Instead, the attacks on Steven seem to have all the hallmarks of the kind of bullying and persecution we have documented and witnessed in countries around the world, where threats to corporate interests result in vicious counter-attacks.  I am particularly concerned about what appears to be a continuing effort, invoking collateral estoppel, to deny Mr Donziger a public hearing to defend himself and to provide evidence.

“Mr Donziger now appears to have joined a long list of the persecuted, and I am particularly shocked that this is taking place in New York—a jurisdiction with a proud reputation for its fight against corruption and the corrupt,” Mr. Taylor added. “The fact that this is happening on the basis of highly suspect evidence, and possibly false witness testimony, raises the distinct possibility that Mr. Donziger is being framed.  It is critical that this ‘process’ be monitored by all concerned to protect the rule of law and the maintenance of free, open, and accountable societies - and that is precisely what we will be doing.”

The central evidence in the racketeering trial against Donziger was testimony from a witness recruited by elite corporate espionage firms on behalf of Chevron. The witness had an acknowledged history of paying and receiving bribes and had actively sought to “sell” false testimony and corrupt outcomes to both parties in the Ecuadorian environmental lawsuit. Chevron has paid him in excess of $2 million, despite legal and ethical prohibitions on paying “fact” witnesses. While Judge Kaplan credited the witness’ testimony in the racketeering trial, the witness later admitted to intentionally lying on the stand in that trial, and the core of his testimony (claiming that a bribe was agreed to but never paid in the Ecuador case) was disproven by a forensic analysis of the Ecuadorian judge’s courthouse hard drives.

Donziger presented the petition with the assistance of Forum Nobis PLLC, a human rights firm in Washington, D.C. that also represents the Ecuadorian communities that brought the environmental lawsuit in Ecuador. Aaron Marr Page, the managing attorney at the firm who also litigates cases involving the denial of human rights in U.S. state and federal courts, said that the case illustrated the critical role of the Inter-American Commission as regards national justice systems, especially in cases involving “important” domestic political and economic interests, situations of vast disparities of resources, and other factors involved in the Donziger case.

“Americans hate to hear this, but our court systems, including our appellate and other curative mechanisms, aren’t flawless,” said Page.  “Just as in other systems in the hemisphere that we have no problem criticizing, cases in our own system do sometimes go off the rails. The involvement of ‘a company of considerable importance to our economy,’ as the courts characterized Steven’s case, can in particular often lead to skewed results.”

Page added that certain features of the U.S. justice system made it particularly vulnerable to abuse, including the availability of the “civil racketeering” action—called by one judicial critic “the litigation equivalent of a thermonuclear device”—as well as the enormous financial costs of litigating in a system distinguished by its elaborate document discovery protocols and motion practice burdens, which can make it impossible less well-resourced human rights defenders to fight off even the most bogus claims . “It all leads to the cynical aphorism all lawyers dislike but recognize: ‘you get the justice you pay for,’” said Page. Chevron is reported to have spent well over $1 billion in legal fees and expert costs in its prosecution of the civil case against Donziger.

In the four years since the racketeering judgment, Chevron has kept up a steady press of discovery requests, contempt motions, and other legal harassment techniques to keep Donziger tied up in court. “I know this is all an attempt to silence legitimate advocacy and help Chevron escape from its responsibility for the hundreds of toxic waste pits abandoned at its former operations sites in Ecuador,” Donziger said. “But that doesn’t make it any easier to bear personally, especially when the attacks are starting to threaten my ability to provide for my wife and son.” 

A particularly disturbing feature of the racketeering trial was that Chevron, two weeks prior to trial, agreed to forfeit “all money damages claims” against Donziger because that allowed Judge Kaplan to refuse to seat a jury and instead decide the merits of Chevron’s claims himself. It was widely reported at the time that mock juries assembled by Chevron’s legal team were rejecting the company’s claims. Despite having forfeited its money damages claims, Chevron later moved Kaplan to order $33 million in money judgments against Donziger. After Judge Kaplan began granting these requests, Chevron froze Donziger’s bank accounts and has recently asked Kaplan to send Donziger to jail until he complies with certain requests to transfer his property to Chevron.

The Inter-American petition raises claims of denial of due process on multiple grounds, and violation of the rights to freedom of association, expression, privacy, and property, as guaranteed by the American Declaration of the Rights and Duties of Man and other international agreements. The petition already has received significant attention from the leading civil society groups already mentioned, as well as leading First Amendment lawyers, environmentalists, and Indigenous leaders around the world.

The following media articles detail the treatment by Mr. Donziger by U.S. authorities over the last few years:

The following videos discuss the merits of the underlying environmental litigation that Mr. Donziger assisted with in Ecuador:

(Here is the press release from Forum Nobis, reposted by the Amazon Defense Coalition.)

CED to Honor Six Business Leaders and Companies at Awards Dinner in New York City

Tue, 09/25/2018 - 9:40am

Tomorrow, the Committee for Economic Development of The Conference Board (CED) will honor six business leaders who have led their companies with distinction. A decades-long CED tradition, this year’s Distinguished Performance Awards Dinner at The Pierre Hotel will honor the following individuals and companies before an audience of nearly 500 business, civic, and policy leaders:

  • Ellen R. Alemany, Chairwoman and CEO of CIT Group, will receive the Peter G. Peterson Business Statesmanship Award. The Award was established in honor of Peter G. Peterson, one of CED’s longest serving Trustees. It recognizes a corporate executive and company that champion issues in the interest of the public good, and that hold themselves to the highest standards of ethics and integrity. Presenting her with the Award is Thomas B. Michaud, President and CEO of Keefe, Bruyette & Woods, A Stifel Company.

  • Michele Buck, President and CEO of The Hershey Company, will receive the Corporate Citizenship Award. The Award is presented to a company that demonstrates a strong commitment to corporate responsibility practices, and whose leader actively engages in supporting and expanding those efforts. Presenting her with the Award is Ted Mathas, Chairman and CEO of New York Life.

  • Greg Case, Chief Executive Officer of Aon, will receive the Owen B. Butler Education Excellence Award. The Award was established in 2013 in honor of Brad Butler, former Chairman and CEO of Procter & Gamble, and former Chairman of CED. The Award recognizes an individual and company that make an exceptional commitment to quality education and workforce development programs. Presenting him with the Award is Edward B. Rust, Jr., Chairman Emeritus of State Farm Insurance Companies.

  • Emanuel “Manny” Chirico, Chairman and CEO of PVH Corp., will receive the CED Leadership Award. The Award honors a CED Trustee who demonstrates exceptional service to the organization and the special contributions that he or she has made to its policy research and programmatic activities. Presenting him with the Award is Ronald A. Williams, Chairman and CEO of RW2 Enterprises, LLC, and former Chairman and CEO of Aetna.

  • Beth Mooney, Chairman and CEO of KeyBank, will receive the Leadership in Diversity Award. The Award honors a business leader and company that foster diversity in  the workplace and for their efforts to champion underrepresented groups. This Award aligns with CED’s Advancing Women in Corporate Leadership initiative, which encourages corporations to increase the number of women in leadership positions. Presenting her with the Award is Randall Stephenson, Chairman and CEO of AT&T.

  • Julie Sweet, Chief Executive Officer of Accenture North America, will receive the Excellence in Public Policy Award. The Award recognizes an individual and company that advocate policies that address society’s key concerns, including long-term economic growth, educational excellence, sustainability, corporate governance, and innovation. Presenting her with the Award is Mike Gregoire, Chairman and CEO of CA Technologies.

“In both their companies and communities, CED’s 2018 Honorees exemplify leadership at the highest level,” said Bernard C. Bailey, President of CED. “By showcasing their extraordinary work, we inspire executives across the country to further strengthen the fabric between business, government, and society – a core component of CED’s mission."

Here, read more about this year’s honorees and introducers.

About the Committee for Economic Development

Founded in 1942, the Committee for Economic Development of The Conference Board (CED) is a nonprofit, nonpartisan, business-led public policy organization that delivers well-researched analysis and reasoned solutions to our nation’s most critical issues. CED’s work is grounded on seven core principles: sustainable capitalism, long-term economic growth, efficient fiscal and regulatory policy, competitive and open markets, a globally competitive workforce, equal economic opportunity, and nonpartisanship in the nation’s interest. View our latest research on sustainable capitalism, education, immigration, infrastructure, campaign finance, tax reform, and health care here: www.ced.org.

Global Sustain Group: ESG Responsible Investments, From Niche to Mainstream?

Tue, 09/25/2018 - 9:40am

Recently the ESG / SRI Investments is gaining momentum. The ESG / SRI market, in terms of assets under management, number of ESG relevant funds, number of Asset Owners and Asset Managers that integrate ESG factors into their investment strategies, as well as the number of UN PRI Members, grow at a stable pace the last years. Moreover, the mainstream global and European market leaders of the global investment industry started gradually to commit to ESG products, after having seen the growing market trend in this relative new investment segment.

ESG VS Mainstream Investing. Why to integrate ESG Metrics into the investment strategy and why ESG investment approach could have potentially also a better Return on Investment (ROI)? 

  • ESG Market in terms of assets under management, new funds, new market players, is growing the last years and there is an ongoing positive trend.

  • ESG funds perform in general well and in some cases outperform in comparison to mainstream funds.

  • The policy at EU level (Sustainable Finance Legislative Package) but also at national level (Initiatives in France, Netherlands, Luxemburg, Germany etc.) support Sustainable Finance and ESG Investments as a topic encouraging such a way of investing. The national Financial Supervisory Authorities in various EU member states started already survey asking Investors, Insurance Firms, Asset Managers on ESG Investments.

  • ESG Metrics give the possibility to identify gaps in corporate governance, potential regulatory (also litigation), reputation, environmental, social, operational, market, sectoral and other risks and vulnerabilities in companies, that the financial KPIs do not show. 

  • ESG give you the chance to evaluate and analyze the non-financial KPIs and how sophisticated is the company’s strategy.

  • ESG is more for mid-term and long-term strategy.

After the positive signal of the Paris Agreement on Climate Change by a vast majority of states and despite the negative signals on topic by the Trump Administration, the policy side especially in EU is willing to support and boost the topic of sustainable finance and responsible investments by proposing also a new regulation. EU can be proud that on that topic is ahead of USA and far ahead of Asia. But how will the new EU Sustainable Finance Initiative and the relevant proposed legislative sustainable finance package proposed by European Commission will impact the investment industry? Is the new proposed EU regulatory framework enough as condition to boost the ESG Investments market or do we need something more than that?

In May 2018, the Commission presented a package of measures as a follow-up to its action plan on financing sustainable growth. The package includes three proposals aimed at:

  • A unified EU classification system (taxonomy) of ESG relevant Investors, Asset Managers and Funds Establishing a unified EU classification system of sustainable economic activities 'taxonomy' setting the basis for the establishment of common standards.

  • Investors and Asset Managers’ Duties & Disclosures. The proposed Regulation will introduce consistency and clarity on how institutional investors integrate environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors in their risk processes, how their investments relate to ESG factors and targets and explain how they comply with these.

  • Introducing carbon footprint for Investors and Asset Managers. creating a new category of benchmarks which will help investors compare the carbon footprint of their investments.

  • Inform and advise better clients (esp. individuals) about ESG factors regarding investment process and decision.  The aim is to amend Delegated Acts under the Markets in Financial Instruments Directive (MiFID II) and the Insurance Distribution Directive.

The European Parliament and Council will review the proposals before the final texts are agreed upon, which is expected in early 2019 and Member States then have two years to implement the proposed legislation.

The Gap in ESG. Exactly because the ESG market is growing and because ESG is not yet regulated and there are no common recognized international standards about which funds and products can be considered as ESG relevant, which Asset Management Firms can be considered as ESG Asset Managers and which persons at the Asset Management Firms can be considered that have the expertise to be called ESG portfolio and fund managers, it is relative easy at the moment to name a fund ESG, therefore, there is at the moment a Gap and a Risk in the ESG industry, that should be mitigated and solved as soon as possible. The membership of an Investor or Asset Manager at the United Nations Principles for Responsible Investment Initiative (UN PRI), is the minimum but cannot be considered anymore as enough condition an Investor or Asset Manager to be called ESG relevant. There is a need for regulation and adoption of common international standardization. The proposed EU legal framework on sustainable finance is contributing in that direction but first it will take time, second it will be valid only in EU and third it does not solve the problem of standardization of the industry, which is necessary. It must be also discussed and clarified which of the existing and applied ESG relevant investment strategies, all of them are some of them (exclusion, inclusion, best in class, norms based screening, ESG Integration, Sustainability Themed Investing, Corporate Engagement/Shareholder Activism, Impact Investing) are accepted and recognized all as equally ESG relevant, since not all are the same complex, not all follow the same ESG criteria and processes and not all lead to same results.  For e.g. a fund that integrates only the G (Governance) factor from the ESG metrics in its investment strategy or just excludes (exclusion investment strategy) a few sectors (e.g. defense, gaming industries) from its investment universe in is not in reality at same level ESG with a fund that strictly integrates all 3 ESG factors in its investment strategy and it is fully ESG. Though at the moment both are considered equally ESG funds.

Except the policy initiatives at EU level (recent proposed packaged on sustainable finance) or national level in various EU member states, which support  Sustainable Finance and ESG Investments and the good performance of quite a few ESG funds the last years, also the economic changes and trends in the real economy in various sectors lately regarding the three elements of ESG (Environment, Social, Governance) confirm that, there are positive signals also in the real economy and good cases, which could potentially contribute to a swift to a more ESG Investment Philosophy. The transition to the use of more clean energy and less fossil fuels, the gradual growth of sharing mobility and electric mobility (electric cards, electric bikes), the adoption of the concept of smart cities by more and more cities, the digitalization of the state, the cities and the corporate word (E), the shareholders positive activism is adopted more and more and also the gradual understanding by the corporations, investors and banks that a transparent and well - functioning corporate governance scheme is important for the minimization of the risks, the performance and growth (G) and the same is valid for the gender diversity, the company to be a good work place for its employees and all its stakeholders, is considered as part of the society and should think not only of the shareholder value but of the stakeholder value (S) confirm the above.

The ESG Investment market is still a niche with a positive trend to become potentially and gradually a more mainstream segment under the conditions of appropriate regulation and adoption of well - defined common international standards on which funds can be considered as ESG relevant, to avoid the potential risk of a new ESG this time market “bubble”. 

Global Sustain Group / Global Sustain GmbH (https://globalsustaingroup.com/) is organising for 3rd consecutive year in cooperation with Forum for Responsible Investment (FNG – the leading Association for ESG Investments in Germany, Austria, Switzerland & Lichtenstein), Investment Bank Berlin (IBB) and International Bankers Forum (IBF) the 3rd ESG Responsible Investments, Green Finance & Brands Forum 2018 (http://sustainabilityforum.de/) in Berlin on 26.9.2018 with the motto this year “ESG, from Niche to Mainstream?”. 

References:

WIPO and IFPMA Launch New Online Patent-Search Resource to Help Health Agencies Procure Medicines

Tue, 09/25/2018 - 3:40am

WIPO and the research-based pharmaceutical industry today launched a new online tool designed to help procurement agencies better understand the global patent status of medicines.

The Patent Information Initiative for Medicines (Pat-INFORMED) is a unique resource where patent holders provide information about patents covering approved medicines through a free, open access database.

This new public database became operational today, along with a platform where procurement agencies can make direct enquiries to companies. 

Pat-INFORMED is a partnership between WIPO and the International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers and Associations, IFPMA, the global trade association representing the research-based pharmaceutical industry. Pat-INFORMED originated in the industry’s efforts to add clarity to patent information about medicines.  WIPO’s globally recognized expertise in the organization and public dissemination of patent data will make an important contribution to the accessibility of patent information.

WIPO is hosting the database and providing the resources to ensure its continued development, while IFPMA is working closely with the 20 leading research-based biopharmaceutical companies that have backed this initiative to help ensure a consistent and coordinated approach.

“WIPO is committed to increasing the transparency of the patent system and ensuring it works to benefit humankind.  As a public-private partnership focusing on access to key patent information, Pat-INFORMED will facilitate the procurement of important medicines and thereby support better health outcomes for people across the globe.  Such partnerships are critical to success in the field of public health," said WIPO Director General Francis Gurry.  “WIPO is pleased to be contributing its extensive expertise in making complex patent information simpler and more accessible and looks forward to further collaboration with the pharmaceutical industry to ensure the success of this initiative.”

While information about patent applications and grants reside in the public domain, resources that directly link patents to medicines already on the market are scarce and limited. Tools that directly link granted patents to medicines are only available publicly in certain countries (e.g. the USA’s ‘Orange Book’) or through private third-party databases. Pat-INFORMED aims to help close these gaps and make patent research easier, faster and more accessible to a wider array of health workers.

Importantly, Pat-INFORMED also offers procurement agencies a direct communication channel for follow-on enquiries to participating companies.  Each of the participating companies, currently 20, has agreed to engage in discussions with official procurement agencies that are seeking  more detailed information about granted patents on specific products.

So far, Pat-INFORMED houses information on over 14,000 individual patents, for 600 patent families and 169 INNs, unique names that are globally recognized and used to identify pharmaceutical substances or active pharmaceutical ingredients within medicines that cover a wide range of conditions. 

“This initiative is a practical way of reducing the complexity around access to patent information, something health experts have long been calling for. By easing access to patent information for public health authorities, Pat-INFORMED can help them take more informed decisions about procurement options available to them, and will be an important contribution to global health,” said Thomas Cueni, Director General IFPMA.  “The task of retrieving and uploading over 14,000 individual national patents has been considerable; but now that the process and platform are in place, I’m confident that we can continue to increase the database’s scope to more INNs than the current 160.”

“More-efficient procurement processes save lives by getting medicines to people more quickly,” said Wesley Kreft, Director, Global Supply Chain, i+solutions, a Netherlands-based not-for-profit organization specializing in medical supply chain management for developing countries, including many recipients of Global Fund grants. Speaking of his work, Mr. Kreft said:  “Pat-INFORMED has the potential to reduce by 30 percent the time required to procure medicines for low and middle income countries.”

Pat-INFORMED features patent information for small molecule drugs within oncology; hepatitis C, cardiovascular, HIV, diabetes, and respiratory therapy areas; and any products on the WHO Essential Medicines List that are not within these therapy areas. In a second phase, the initiative will extend to all therapeutic areas and explore the inclusion of complex therapeutics.

The launch took place at an event on the sidelines of the 2018 Assemblies of the Member States of WIPO. 

About WIPO

The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) is the global forum for intellectual property policy, services, information and cooperation. A specialized agency of the United Nations, WIPO assists its 191 member states in developing a balanced international IP legal framework to meet society's evolving needs. It provides business services for obtaining IP rights in multiple countries and resolving disputes. It delivers capacity-building programs to help developing countries benefit from using IP. And it provides free access to unique knowledge banks of IP information.

About IFPMA

IFPMA represents research-based pharmaceutical companies and associations across the globe. The research-based pharmaceutical industry's two million employees discover, develop, and deliver medicines and vaccines that improve the lives of patients worldwide. Based in Geneva, IFPMA has official relations with the United Nations and contributes industry expertise to help the global health community find solutions that improve global health.

MUFG Releases 2017 Corporate Social Responsibility Report

Mon, 09/24/2018 - 9:40pm

MUFG today announced the release of its 2017 Corporate Social Responsibility report. MUFG is committed to giving back to the people and places it serves. This vision is carried out by the MUFG Union Bank Foundation which makes philanthropic investments where the need is greatest in the various communities in which it operates. The report details the foundation’s philanthropic endeavors from April 1, 2017, to March 31, 2018. 

In 2017, MUFG’s charitable contributions supported various areas important to the bank, among them are affordable housing, economic development and education. In total, the bank donated more than $17 million. In addition, the bank encourages employees to support causes they care about by matching donations up to $2,500 per individual, per year. MUFG employees contributed roughly $1.2 million, bringing the matched total to $2.4 million.

Highlights of the report include the following:

  • $17.5 million in donations supporting nonprofit organizations in targeted sectors

  • $900 million in loans to support small businesses and farms

  • $211 million of discretionary spending to diverse businesses

  • $2.4 billion+ in lending and investments to support affordable housing

  • 200+ internship program graduates from the bank’s five student-run high school branches since 2011

“Throughout 2017, we identified unique opportunities to drive long-term, systemic change for individuals, families, businesses and communities,” said Julius Robinson, Head of Corporate Social Responsibility for the Americas, MUFG Union Bank. “Our corporate social responsibility activities operate under the same high standards that define the culture at MUFG.”

About MUFG Union Bank, N.A.

As of June 30, 2018, MUFG Union Bank, N.A. operated 355 branches, consisting primarily of retail banking branches in the West Coast states, along with commercial branches in Texas, Illinois, New York, and Georgia, as well as 22 PurePoint Financial Centers.  We provide a wide spectrum of corporate, commercial, and retail banking and wealth management solutions to meet the needs of customers.  We also offer an extensive portfolio of value-added solutions for customers, including investment banking, personal and corporate trust, global custody, transaction banking, capital markets, and other services.  With assets of $123.8 billion, as of June 30, 2018, MUFG Union Bank has strong capital reserves, credit ratings and capital ratios relative to peer banks.  MUFG Union Bank is a proud member of the Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group (NYSE: MUFG), one of the world’s largest financial organizations with total assets of approximately ¥299.1 trillion (JPY) or $2.7 trillion (USD)¹, as of June 30, 2018. The corporate headquarters (principal executive office) for MUFG Americas Holdings Corporation, which is the financial holding company, and MUFG Union Bank, is in New York City. The main banking office of MUFG Union Bank is in San Francisco, California.

Brand Authenticity Conference in Berlin

Mon, 09/24/2018 - 9:40pm

Explore how CSR and sustainability are driving brand value and business results across all industries today at the International Trademark Association’s first Brand Authenticity conference.

As consumers demand that their brands represent their values, being transparent about a commitment to CSR has become a central strategy for many brand owners. Ideal for legal and business professionals, and government relations, advertising and marketing specialists, this two-day conference will focus on how all stakeholders play a role in advancing consumer trust and protecting brand value. In particular, it offers brand counsel the information and tools to be conversant with CSR-related issues and be an even more effective strategic partner for business teams and clients.

The conference program will include keynote speakers, networking opportunities and sessions offering expert insight on timely topics such as:

  • The value of CSR and sustainability

  • The intersection of trademark protection and regulatory requirements in the new green landscape

  • How fighting counterfeiting improves our communities and the environment

  • Sustainability’s impact on financial ratings and investment decisions

  • Diversity and inclusion for brands and brand professionals

  • Update on green-related court decisions in Europe

The expert roster includes speakers from: Abercrombie & Fitch Co. (United States); Anheuser-Busch InBev S.A. (Belgium); Elipe Limited (United Kingdom); Fjallraven (Sweden); German CSR-Forum (Germany); LEGO System A/S (Denmark); TOMS Shoes Inc. (United States); and others.

To learn more and to register, please visit www.inta.org/2017berlin.

Textile Sustainability Conference

Mon, 09/24/2018 - 9:40pm

Textile Exchange's annual Textile Sustainability Conference is a global event taking place outside of Washington, D.C. on Oct. 9-13. This year's theme is "United by Action: Catalyzing the Sustainable Development Goals in Textiles." Industry thought leaders from around the globe will gather to create action and develop a 2030 roadmap for the textile industry.

The Agenda structure offers two full conference days, and additional pre- and post-conference days dedicated to in-depth workshops. The series of workshops will take the expected 400+ industry leaders through multiple sessions of insight and information, sending them home with actionable solutions they can immediately implement into their daily business.

Second Annual World-Changing Women’s Summit Announced for January 28 – 30, 2019

Mon, 09/24/2018 - 6:39pm

 Conscious Company Media (CCM) launches the World-changing Women™ platform, designed to inspire and empower extraordinary women to have a positive impact through business. The platform’s anchor product, the World-changing Women’s Summit, is back for a second year with renewed vigor and an even deeper commitment to female business leaders. The three-day event takes place January 28-30th at 1440 Multiversity in Scotts Valley, CA and features an impressive list of speakers including Kim Jordan, co-founder of New Belgium Brewing; Alfa Demmellash, co-founder and CEO of Rising Tide Capital; Sheryl O’Loughlin, CEO of Rebbl, former CEO of Clif Bar, and co-founder of Plum Organics; and Akaya Windwood, President of Rockwood Leadership Institute.

Meghan Dunbar French, CEO and Co-Founder of Conscious Company Media, creator of the World-changing Women platform, and host of the World-changing Women’s Summit and Podcast says, “Feedback from last year’s World-changing Women’s Summit attendees was so overwhelmingly positive that we’re back for a second year with an even more robust curation of content. We’re expecting to sell out the 2019 event with exceptional female founders and CEOs from all over the world and are so looking forward to this event that builds a true place of community for conscious female business leaders.”

Leading female professionals in conscious business will gather for three days to dive deep and have raw conversations about critical topics such as:

  • Developing yourself as an authentic, conscious leader in the workplace

  • Bringing more purpose into the workplace

  • Developing a more inclusive workplace culture

  • Managing the stress of work-life integration

  • Scaling your company while staying true to your values

“Every woman who is up to something or knows she could be up to something should attend this summit,” says Lynne Twist, internationally recognized author of Soul Of Money & founder of The Pachamama Alliance.

On top of the profound response to the World-changing Women’s Summit, CCM saw a real market demand for ways to engage women in business who are yearning to be heard and create change. As a result, they’ve launched the entire World-changing Women™ platform, an integrated mix of content and events — including the World-changing Women’s Summit, the World-changing Women podcast, and the World-changing Women’s issue of Conscious Company Magazine — to support female business leaders with what they need to succeed in conscious business.   

The World-changing Women Podcast, hosted by French Dunbar, features interviews with extraordinary, fearless women in business who had the courage to follow their dreams of starting a business to make the world a better place. Season 1 includes interviews with the likes of Eileen Fisher, Tami Simon, Sheryl O’Loughlin, Kim Jordan, Lynn Jurich, Robyn Sue Fisher, and many more. They share personal stories of starting companies, the hard-fought wisdom they’ve learned along the way, and their insights on how to thrive in the business world. Available on Apple Podcast, Stitcher, Spotify, Google Play, and other premium podcast outlets.

This powerful platform will reach female CEOs, entrepreneurs, founders, professionals, and executives who work in conscious business, providing the opportunity to get in front of some of the most important female decision makers in the world; women who are at the helm of multi-million-dollar organizations and are key influencers in their communities.

About Conscious Company Media

Conscious Company Media is a membership community of change-makers on a mission to redefine success in business. Through story-telling, education, events, and membership, we inspire and enable business leaders to continually advance toward creating more value for all stakeholders while pursuing a purpose beyond profit. Since 2015, our quarterly print magazine, online content, World-Changing Women’s Podcast and events like the World-Changing Women’s Summit and the Conscious Company Leaders Forum have been uniting individuals, companies, and social entrepreneurs around the world who use the power of business as a force for positive change. The print magazine is sold in over 1,500 retail locations around the country, including Whole Foods Markets, Barnes and Noble, Sprouts, and more. To learn more or become a member, visit https://consciouscompanymedia.com/.

The Hershey Company Launches “The Heartwarming Project”

Mon, 09/24/2018 - 6:39pm

The Hershey Company is launching The Heartwarming Project, an initiative dedicated to helping kids and families build meaningful social connections. The project, which builds on the power of the company’s beloved brands to create connections, packages research, school programs and home activities geared toward creating more inclusive communities.

Meaningful connections and friendships are essential in today’s complex world, and The Hershey Company believes the smallest heartwarming gestures - whether it’s having dinner-time conversation with family, helping someone in need, or welcoming a new neighbor to the community – make a big difference in melting the distance between people.

“Building connections with those around us has never been more important for our children, and the future of our communities,” said Todd Tillemans, President, U.S., The Hershey Company. “The Heartwarming Project is a testament to the unique role Hershey plays in our culture, and how we can bring people together.”

To help build communities of empathy, inclusion, and kindness the company is collaborating with Boys & Girls Clubs of America, the Making Caring Common Project at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, and WE. The Heartwarming Project includes access to resources such as an online toolkit for families to get involved and learn about the power of heartwarming gestures, tips for building empathetic and resilient kids, and ways to join national campaigns for connection. Download tools and follow the power of connection at heartwarmingproject.com and via #TheHeartwarmingProject.

About The Hershey Company 
The Hershey Company, headquartered in Hershey, Pa., is an industry-leading snacks company known for bringing goodness to the world through its iconic brands, remarkable people and enduring commitment to help children succeed. Hershey has approximately 17,000 employees around the world who work every day to deliver delicious, quality products. The company has more than 80 brands around the world that drive more than $7.5 billion in annual revenues, including such iconic brand names as Hershey’s, Reese’s, Kit Kat, Jolly Rancher, Ice Breakers and SkinnyPop.

For more than 120 years, Hershey has been committed to operating fairly, ethically and sustainably. Hershey founder, Milton Hershey, created the Milton Hershey School in 1909 and since then the company has focused on helping children succeed. To learn more visit www.thehersheycompany.com.

Hewlett Packard Enterprise and the World Economic Forum Help Solve World Hunger by 2030

Mon, 09/24/2018 - 6:39pm

Today at the World Economic Forum (the Forum) Sustainable Development Impact Summit, Hewlett Packard Enterprise (NYSE: HPE) and the Forum committed to help solve for world hunger by 2030 through the innovative application of technology. HPE and the Forum are calling on public and private organizations to join them in an open collaboration to find solutions that will eliminate food insecurity and sustainably, nutritiously and inclusively feed a growing population.

The mission to solve world hunger by 2030 is the first of several global challenges HPE and the Forum are addressing under Tech Impact 2030, an open collaboration to bring together industry, technology, academia and government leaders to power meaningful societal change by the year 2030.

“HPE believes that technology has the ability to power real societal improvements if applied innovatively and adopted universally,” said Antonio Neri, President and CEO, HPE. “To spark progress, we need a new approach; one that will translate bold ideas into practical solutions. That’s why we are partnering with the Forum to bring together the right minds, resources and focus to achieve real-world change, now.”

Tech Impact 2030

Tech Impact 2030 marks a first-of-its-kind collaboration for the Forum as it seeks to support complex and systemic global challenges. By drawing on the Forum’s diverse suite of partners and experience in addressing global challenges, as well as HPE’s technology and industry expertise, Tech Impact 2030 aims to break down siloes and find new ways to apply technology to positively contribute to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals set by the United Nations General Assembly.

“Open collaboration is the fastest way to inspire true innovation and implement change,” said Dominic Waughray, Head of the World Economic Forum Centre for Global Public Goods. “The introduction of Tech Impact 2030 demonstrates what can be achieved when we apply the convening power of the Forum to operationalize the technology vision of an action-oriented partner, like HPE.”

Over the next several months, HPE and the Forum will introduce additional challenges in key industries including financial services, healthcare, transportation and manufacturing. Each challenge will pose a social, economic or environmental problem that could be tackled by convening experts and applying existing and innovative technology in disruptive ways.

HPE and the Forum will bring these leaders together to scope, frame and deliver concrete outcomes.

Solve World Hunger by 2030

The United Nations reports that nearly 800 million people worldwide are undernourished and forecasts the world’s population will grow to 8.5 billion by 2030. Looking beyond 2030, the Forum estimates that the global population will grow to 9.8 billion people by 2050, requiring a staggering 70 percent more food than is consumed today. HPE and the Forum can provide tools, technology and foresight to help solve this staggering reality.

Through Tech Impact 2030, HPE and the Forum aim to accelerate the transformation of food systems through the innovative application of technology. Building on the work of the Forum’s food system initiative, the work will be focused on improving yield, productivity and sustainability across the entire agricultural ecosystem – fields, factories, grocery stores and the dinner table.

During the SD Impact Summit, HPE and the Forum will kick off a series of working sessions under Tech Impact 2030, convening leaders to set an actionable roadmap. Attendees, HPE and the Forum will contribute ideas, commit to forward progress and agree upon 24-month “sprints” – progressive milestones toward the goal of solving world hunger.

As a first step, HPE and the Forum are already collaborating with Purdue University’s College of Agriculture, a leader in enhancing food security and optimizing ag-tech around the world. Purdue is working closely with HPE to enable disruptive technologies, such as IoT sensors and autonomous tractors, to make digital and precision agriculture possible.

Joining Tech Impact 2030

HPE and the Forum believe that partnership is essential to achieving real change. Organizations interested in signing on to Tech Impact 2030 can learn more at https://news.hpe.com/tech-impact-2030/or reach out to TechImpact2030@hpe.com.

About Hewlett Packard Enterprise

Hewlett Packard Enterprise is a global technology leader focused on developing intelligent solutions that allow customers to capture, analyze and act upon data seamlessly from edge to cloud. HPE enables customers to accelerate business outcomes by driving new business models, creating new customer and employee experiences, and increasing operational efficiency today and into the future.

About World Economic Forum

The World Economic Forum, committed to improving the state of the world, is the International Organization for Public-Private Cooperation. The Forum engages the foremost political, business and other leaders of society to shape global, regional and industry agendas. The Forum believes that progress happens by bringing together people from all walks of life who have the drive and the influence to make positive change.

Editorial contact

Lindsey Berryhill, HPE Global Communications

lindsey.berryhill@hpe.com  

Amplio Recruiting Commits to Hiring Ten Thousand Refugees Across the U.S. By 2023

Mon, 09/24/2018 - 3:39pm

Amplio Recruiting, a multi-city staffing agency based in Atlanta, will be inducted into the Tent Partnership for Refugees, a global network of companies leveraging their core business to help refugees, to stake its claim in actively supporting this distressed population.

Amplio will be joining the Tent Partnership at their joint event with the World Bank Group on September 24, 2018. The event is a high-profile opportunity for business leaders to announce new commitments to help address the global refugee crisis.

At the event, Amplio will be announcing its commitment to hiring and placing ten thousand refugees into full-time jobs and open 16 additional U.S. locations by 2023. Amplio Recruiting is excited to begin this new relationship with Tent as the first staffing company committed to connecting businesses with refugee employees in the partnership.

With over 25.4 million refugees worldwide, the refugee crisis is one of the defining challenges of our time.

“This induction is an important recognition for the work our teams have done to help great companies hire dependable employees from the refugee workforce across the US,” says Chris Chancey, CEO of Amplio Recruiting. 

Other members of the Tent Partnership including Starbucks, LinkedIn and Airbnb will also be participating in the event to discuss the imperative role of businesses in refugee support. These global businesses are addressing the global refugee crisis by engaging refugees in their core business activities as employees, producers, investees and customers. In doing so, these businesses thrive as they advance social impact, build their brand and enhance their bottom line.

“We believe this partnership will provide strong direction for the work that lies before us. We’re grateful to stand alongside so many incredible Tent members to provide support and stability for the refugee community in the US,” says Chancey.

About Amplio Recruiting:

Amplio Recruiting is a multi-city staffing agency staffing companies with the dependable refugee workforce. Located in Atlanta, Dallas, Houston and Raleigh, Amplio Recruiting has placed more than 1000 refugees in long-term jobs since its establishment in 2014.

Amplio recruits committed members of the refugee community to bring dependability and efficiency to companies, while also decreasing the turnover rate for our partner companies. For more information about Amplio and its partner companies, visit www.ampliorecruiting.com.

About Tent Partnership for Refugees

The Tent Partnership for Refugees, founded by Chobani’s Hamdi Ulukaya, is mobilizing the private sector to improve the lives and livelihoods of more than 25 million refugees forcibly displaced from their home countries.

Ulukaya launched Tent with the belief that the private sector is uniquely positioned to address the global refugee crisis by mobilizing the networks, resources, innovation, and the entrepreneurial spirit of the business community. There are over 100 companies in the Tent Partnership supporting refugees across 34 countries. Learn more about Tent: www.tent.org

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Nornickel’s Copper Plant Sees the Launch of The Sulphur Project

Mon, 09/24/2018 - 3:39pm

Nornickel’s most ambitious environmental initiative, The Sulphur Project, aimed at radically improving the environment in its regions of operations, was launched at Nornickel’s Copper Plant on the 10th September.

Present at the ceremony were Nornickel’s President, Vladimir Potanin, and Sergey Menyailo, Vladimir Putin’s Siberian Envoy.

“The President has supported our initiative from the start, implementing it into government regulations. We envision the project to be completed by 2023.” Potanin said. “Implementing this project will allow us to hold our heads high and be proud of our work.”

“We must create normal [environmental] conditions for people if we want to develop. The fact that today Nornickel is launching such an ambitious project, is not only the will of the company’s board of directors but is a requirement of our times. Citizens are directly impacted by ecological issues - business and politics are ready to tackle these head on.” Sergey Menyailo declared.

1.5 to 1.7 million tonnes of sulphur dioxide per year is projected to be captured from now to 2023. Its by-product: elemental sulphur and gypsum, of which Nornickel will acquire 280,000 and 5 million tonnes per year respectively.

The Sulphur Project is mainly aimed at the Copper Plant and The Nadezhda Metallurgical Plant (NMP), in Nornickel’s Polar Division. The modernisation and expansion of production capacities at the Copper Plant, for processing sulphur dioxide emissions, will increase elemental sulphur production by 3.5 times.

Toxic production at the Copper Plant will be shut down and blister copper production will be moved outside Norilsk city limits to the NMP. The installation of continuous converting facilities at the NMP will allow the Plant to become an enterprise, housing and utilising large volumes of sulphur dioxide-rich emissions. The Sulphur Project will finally be completed once a recycling plant has been built at the NMP, where captured sulphur dioxide will be turned into sulphuric acid, neutralised by limestone to produce gypsum. 

Nornickel has carried out a global ecological program since 2013. The first stage was completed successfully in 2016 with the Nickel Plant’s shut down. The smelting of nickel concentrate was then moved to the NMP, the capacities of which were improved to 2.4 million tonnes. The Talnakh Enrichment Plant was also modernised, its production capacities improved by more than 35%, producing up to 10.2 million ores per year. This modernisation improved the metal content in the concentrate and reduced sulphur dioxide emissions. 

The Kola Peninsula has also gone through radical changes. Nornickel’s Kola MMC no longer burns concentrates, instead, the metal is now briquetted and then sent to be smelted. A project aimed at separating copper and nickel metal concentrates from poor to rich, will be completed at the Kola MMC in 2019. This will reduce sulphur dioxide emissions on Norway’s border by 50%, since 2015.

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