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DTE Energy and Consumers Energy Accelerate Plans for Cleaner Energy in Michigan

Fri, 05/18/2018 - 3:08pm

Consumers Energy and DTE Energy today said they are accelerating plans to produce cleaner energy in Michigan, targeting at least a 50 percent Clean Energy Goal by 2030– achieved through a combination of investments in at least 25 percent renewable energy, and the remaining through energy efficiency.

In the past year, both DTE Energy and Consumers have announced plans to reduce carbon emissions by more than 80 percent in the coming decades. Leveraging the already aggressive framework established in Michigan’s 2016 bipartisan energy law, the state’s two largest energy companies are advancing their plans to invest in Michigan. This is in conjunction with an agreement by Clean Energy, Healthy Michigan (CEHM) to place aside a ballot proposal to increase the state’s renewable portfolio standard.

Michigan’s two energy companies have been cited as industry leaders in their commitment to transform the way they produce energy: retiring coal plants and increasing wind and solar generation.  Both DTE and Consumers will demonstrate how they will achieve the 50 percent Clean Energy Goal by 2030 in their respective Integrated Resource Plans.

DTE Energy Chairman and CEO Gerry Anderson and Consumers Energy CEO Patti Poppe released the following statement:

“We appreciate that Tom Steyer and the sponsors of Clean Energy, Healthy Michigan have taken the time to understand our commitment to carbon reduction and how Michigan’s energy plan puts the tools in place to achieve this goal in a thoughtful and affordable manner. Our two companies are overwhelmingly in favor of renewable energy and are focused on bringing additional energy efficiency opportunities to our customers. We will continue to work within the framework put forward by our legislature and regulators to build on our environmental initiatives to benefit all residents of the state.”

About DTE Energy

DTE Energy (NYSE:DTE) is a Detroit-based diversified energy company involved in the development and management of energy-related businesses and services nationwide. Its operating units include an electric utility serving 2.2 million customers in Southeastern Michigan and a natural gas utility serving 1.3 million customers in Michigan. The DTE Energy portfolio includes non-utility energy businesses focused on power and industrial projects, natural gas pipelines, gathering and storage, and energy marketing and trading.  As one of Michigan's leading corporate citizens, DTE Energy is a force for growth and prosperity in the 450 Michigan communities it serves in a variety of ways, including philanthropy, volunteerism and economic progress. Information about DTE Energy is available at dteenergy.comtwitter.com/dte_energy and facebook.com/dteenergy.

About Consumers Energy

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.

For further information, members of the media may contact:

Stephanie Beres, DTE Energy, 313.235.5555

Megan M. Brown, Consumers Energy, 517.788.6538

Sappi North America Opens 2018 ‘Ideas that Matter' Call for Entries

Fri, 05/18/2018 - 3:08pm

 Sappi North America, a leading producer and supplier of diversified paper and packaging products, today announced the call for entries for its 2018 Ideas that Matter grant program, inviting designers to show the world how design – specifically print – can play an important role in changing lives for the better. Sappi established the Ideas that Matter grant program 19 years ago to fund designers who apply their creative talents to causes that address significant issues facing our society.

For nearly two decades, Sappi has witnessed firsthand how the creative and integrated work of designers can change society. Sappi remains committed to the belief that good ideas inspire people to take action, and great ideas change the world. Though many media choices are available, print is at the heart of influential and effective messaging and a perfect complement to promote positive social causes.

“I am continually impressed by the amazing projects that are submitted each year. Over the course of the Ideas that Matter program, Sappi has financed more than 500 charitable programs designed to better our lives, our communities and our planet,” said Patti Groh, Director of Marketing Communications, Sappi North America. “From national nonprofits to local community initiatives, the breadth, quality and impact of projects we’ve supported have made a meaningful difference in people’s lives across the globe. We’re honored to annually provide support for the work of designers and nonprofits who aim to drive social change through design.”

This year’s panel of judges include:

  • Maurice Woods, Senior Experience Designer, Microsoft and Founder/Executive Director, Inneract Project
  • Justin Ahrens, Principal and Creative Director, Rule29
  • Jacinda Walker, Founder and Creative Director, designExplorr
  • Terry Marks, Principal, tmarks
  • Julia Zeltser, Creative Director and Principal, Hyperakt

Ideas that Matter Come to Life

Ideas that Matter is the only grant program of its kind in the paper industry and is a key part of Sappi’s corporate social responsibility efforts. Since 1999, the program has provided $13 million to support causes that change lives, communities, and ultimately, the planet.

The 2017 winners included Studio Usher for ProPublica; Smokefire Media for Center for Neighborhood Leadership; Jewel Clark for Creative Reaction Lab; The Vignelli Center for Design Studies at Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT); Urban Minds for 8 80 Cities; IDEO.org; Eastern Michigan University School of Art & Design for Riverside Art Center/Fly; Re-nourish for Prosperity Gardens, Inc.; Gala Narezo and Chantal Fischzang for Mawuni; and Dress Code for Vera Institute of Justice (VERA).

Information on previous winners can be viewed on Sappi's Ideas that Matter website.

Selection Criteria and How to Enter

Ideas that Matter proposals are evaluated on creativity, potential effectiveness and practicality by an annually selected, independent panel of judges who are influential in the design industry.

The call for Ideas that Matter submissions is open to individual designers, design firms, agencies, in-house corporate design departments, design instructors, individual design students and design student groups. Only applicants in North America may apply. Grant awards range from $5,000 to $50,000 USD per project. Each application must include an IRS 501 (c) 3 letter or Canadian equivalent of the applicant's nonprofit organization.

Applications for the 2018 program must be submitted and postmarked no later than July 6, 2018.Judging takes place in August, grants are announced in September and awards are distributed in October.

To obtain an entry form or for more information on the Ideas that Matter grant, please click here or call 800-882-4332.

About Sappi North America
Sappi North America, headquartered in Boston, is a market leader in converting wood fiber into superior products that customers demand worldwide. The success of our four diversified businesses – high quality Coated Printing Papers, Specialised Cellulose, Release Papers and Specialty Packaging – is driven by strong customer relationships, best-in-class people and advantaged assets, products and services. Our high quality Coated Printing Papers, including McCoy, Opus, Somerset and Flo, are the key platform for premium magazines, catalogs, books and high-end print advertising. We are a leading manufacturer of Specialised Cellulose used in a wide range of products, including textile fibers and household goods, and one of the world's leading suppliers of Release Papers with our Ultracast, PolyEX, Classics and Neoterix lines for the automotive, fashion and engineered films industries. Our Specialty Packaging products, such as LusterPrint and LusterCote, represent an important asset in the food packaging and labeling industries. Customers rely on Sappi for high technical, operational and market expertise; products and services delivered with consistently high quality and reliability; and, state-of-the-art and cost-competitive assets and innovative spirit.

Sappi North America is a subsidiary of Sappi Limited (JSE), a global company headquartered in Johannesburg, South Africa, with more than 12,000 employees and manufacturing operations on three continents in seven countries and customers in over 150 countries around the world. Learn more about Sappi at: www.sappi.com.

Mohawk Group’s New Flagship Showroom in New York Showcases Sustainable and Wellness Design

Fri, 05/18/2018 - 3:08pm

Mohawk Group’s new flagship location in the Fashion District of New York City expresses the company’s commitment not only to stylish and innovative floor coverings but also to sustainable and wellness design. Designed by Gensler, the 13,000-square-foot showroom in Manhattan features an open layout that integrates distinctive company branding, inviting workspaces and meeting spaces, and new display techniques to uniquely and effectively showcase a revolving lineup of featured commercial flooring products based on Mohawk Group’s latest collections.

Clean lines, biophilic design, ample natural lighting and a modern, yet comfortable aesthetic pay tribute to the showroom’s setting in the heart of the city. Within the core of the installation, vignettes framed by black steel cubes invite customers to learn more about the inspiration behind Mohawk Group’s highlighted collections. The cube concept manifests itself throughout the space, including the meeting rooms.

“This beautiful space showcases our commitment not only to a better customer experience, but also to the importance Mohawk places on corporate social responsibility and employee health and wellness,” said George Bandy Jr., vice president of sustainability and commercial marketing. “Visitors and colleagues alike get to experience the aesthetic and biophilic merits of this breathtaking environment and leave feeling refreshed and inspired. Our desire to achieve multi-faceted certifications like WELL and LEED challenge us to do better every day, not just in product manufacturing, but in the way that we support our associates and customers as well.”

Mohawk Group is currently seeking WELL and LEED certifications for the new showroom. The WELL Building Standard, created by the International WELL Building Institute (IWBI), focuses exclusively on the ways that buildings, and everything in them, can improve comfort, drive better choices and generally enhance, not compromise, the health and wellness of their users. To help achieve this certification, Mohawk Group is implementing specific employee-focused initiatives, including establishing indoor herb and plant gardens, and serving organic fruits, vegetables and healthy snacks, while also offering complimentary gym memberships to employees.

Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) is a rating system devised by the United States Green Building Council (USGBC) to evaluate the environmental performance and sustainable design of a building. LEED buildings save energy, water and resources; generate less waste; and support human health. As part of this certification process, Mohawk Group specified daylight harvesting light sensors with energy efficient LED lighting, low-flow faucets, and products that were either Red List-free with a Declare Label or had an Environmental Product Declaration and/or Health Product Declaration.

“Mohawk Group partnered with our team to create an elevated and multi-functional space that focuses on product education, accessibility and interactive touch points for its clients and sales team,” said Jean Anderson, NCIDQ, IIDA, principal and design director at Gensler. “The immersive and compelling new showroom ingeniously connects clients and designers to intuitively experience the Mohawk Group brand.”

As a leading global architecture, design and planning firm, Gensler has designed over 110 million square feet of LEED certified space to date. A recipient of USGBC’s Leadership Award for Organizational Excellence, Gensler has designed more than 700 LEED certified projects. It has made Interior Design magazine’s “Top 100 Giants” list for 35 consecutive years.

The showroom includes easily accessible storage areas for architect folders and flooring samples for both commercial hard and soft surface. Offerings from the company’s hospitality brand, Durkan, are also highlighted in and around the showroom. Mohawk Group’s innovative Visual Interactive Studio (VIS) is located on-site, providing 2-D floor perspectives, 3-D room scenes and high resolution renderings of designer’s unique flooring creations, culminating in a fully immersive virtual experience. The flagship space’s color palette and overall design concept will inspire and influence the company’s other showroom spaces as well.

The new showroom reinforces Mohawk Group’s position as a leader in the commercial flooring industry, reflecting the company’s commitment to believe in better design, innovation, sustainability, project solutions and operational excellence. Mohawk Group’s New York sales team will be based out of the space year-round.

The Mohawk Group showroom is located on the sixth floor of 125 W. 25th St., New York, NY 10001.

About Mohawk Group

Mohawk Group, the world’s leading producer and distributor of quality commercial flooring, delivers industry-leading style, cutting-edge innovation, unmatched service and superior sustainability. As the commercial division of Mohawk Industries, Mohawk Group has a heritage of craftsmanship that spans more than 130 years. The company’s enduring family of brands—Mohawk, Karastan and Durkan—are widely regarded as the most trusted names in the commercial flooring business. Together, these brands function beautifully, delivering the perfect flooring solution for all markets and price points. Rounding out its esteemed product offering, Mohawk Group also offers a full spectrum of hard surface flooring products and installation accessories that exceed the most rigorous performance standards. For more information, visit MohawkGroup.com.

Greenpeace Founder Blasts Chevron and U.S. Judge Kaplan for “Intimidation” Campaign Against Ecuadorian Villagers

Thu, 05/17/2018 - 3:06pm

Greenpeace co-founder and writer Rex Weyler has published an expose of a SLAPP-style intimidation campaign orchestrated by Chevron and U.S. trial judge Lewis A. Kaplan against Indigenous peoples of Ecuador and an American lawyer, who helped win a $12 billion judgment against the company for oil pollution in the Amazon rainforest.

Published on the Greenpeace International website, the article criticizes Chevron and its corporate law firm, Gibson Dunn, for “fabricating evidence, lying and other criminal misconduct” to evade paying the Ecuador judgment.  Chevron operated in Ecuador from 1964 to 1992. In 2011, after an eight-year trial in Ecuador –where Chevron insisted the trial take place– the company was convicted of dumping billions of gallons of toxic waste into waterways and abandoning 900 unlined toxic waste pits.  (See the summary of evidence against Chevron.)

In the region known locally as the “Amazon Chernobyl,” cancer rates have skyrocketed. Legendary nurse Rosa Moreno, who operated the lone clinic in the region, recently died of cancer. Since Chevron fled Ecuador and has refused to pay the judgment, the affected Indigenous peoples are moving to seize company assets in Canada, where they have achieved three consecutive and unanimous appellate court victories.

After visiting the impacted area in Ecuador, Weyler earlier reported on Chevron's “ecological crimes”.  Regarding the lawsuit heard in Kaplan’s New York courtroom, Weyler writes: “These days, when powerful corporations get caught breaking the law, polluting the Earth, violating human rights, or all of these crimes simultaneously, they don’t pay the fine and make amends like normal citizens. They attack.

“Corporate lawyers spend millions to assault victims with SLAPPs (Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation)... The purpose of a SLAPP is not necessarily to win in court, but rather to intimidate, harass, demonize and bankrupt the weaker opponent.” 

Weyler called the Chevron “racketeering suit” against the Ecuadorians and Donziger possibly “the most vindictive SLAPP in history” given that the company has spent an estimated $2 billion on at least 60 law firms and hundreds of lawyers. Weyler also pointed out that Greenpeace itself has been the victim of two new SLAPP-style suits designed to chill the group’s advocacy.

Weyler also used the platform to criticize U.S. trial Judge Lewis A. Kaplan, who ruled in favor of Chevron in the company’s SLAPP suit based largely on false testimony from an admittedly corrupt witness paid $2 million by the company. (See here for background on Chevron’s fraud during the civil "racketeering" proceeding or RICO trial.)

Weyler describes Kaplan as a “judge acting as a prosecutor” on behalf of Chevron; Kaplan held undisclosed investments in Chevron during the trial.  Weyler quotes noted lawyer John Keker calling Kaplan’s “racketeering” trial against Donziger a “Dickensian farce” that violated basic standards of due process. 

Other highlights of Weyler ‘s article include: 

**Kaplan allowed Chevron to pay $2 million to an admittedly corrupt Ecuadorian witness, Alberto Guerra, who claimed under oath he attended a meeting in Ecuador where Donziger offered a bribe to ghostwrite the judgment.  The witness later recanted much of his testimony, and a computer forensic analysis proved he was lying; Kaplan never corrected his decision.

**Through much of the RICO proceeding, Kaplan mocked the Ecuadorians by calling them the “so-called” plaintiffs.  He referred to their case as a “game” and “not bona fide litigation” despite the fact the Ecuador court proceeding lasted eight years, generated 220,000 pages of evidence, and relied on 105 technical evidentiary reports.

**Federal rules typically limit a deposition to one day or possibly two in extraordinary cases.  Kaplan forced Donziger to sit for 19 days of depositions at the hands of Chevron’s large legal team, which engaged in tag team questioning while dozens of lawyers watched in person and dozens more over an Internet feed.

**Kaplan appointed his close friend and former law partner, Max Gitter, to rule over depositions in the case as an officer of the court.  Gitter – notoriously biased in favor of Chevron -- was paid entirely by the oil company into a private account and the bill likely ran well into the millions of dollars. Kaplan has refused Donziger’s repeated requests for disclosure of the amount and to take discovery of Gitter to determine the full contours of his relationship with Chevron. (Here is background on the secret Chevron payments to Gitter.)

**Kaplan tried to issue an unprecedented worldwide injunction purporting to block enforcement of the Ecuador judgment and he did so prior to even holding an evidentiary hearing. The injunction, which clearly violates international law, was overturned unanimously on appeal one day after oral argument.

**Kaplan allowed Chevron to serve subpoenas on Amazon Watch, Google, Microsoft and others, seeking email accounts to track the activities of some 100 lawyers, students, journalists, and academics who supported the case -- all part of the company's intimidation campaign, said Weyler.

**During the RICO trial, Kaplan prohibited Donziger and other defendants from even mentioning any evidence “related to the existence of pollution in Ecuador,” although pollution comprised the entire point of the underlying lawsuit that Kaplan was purporting to rule on. 

** Kaplan accepted testimony from anonymous witnesses, whose identities were never disclosed to the defendants, Donziger and two Ecuadorian citizens.

Although Chevron had sued Donziger for a record $60 billion in damages, the company dropped this claim on the eve of trial to avoid a jury. Now, Chevron is attempting to force the lawyer to reimburse Chevron $32 million in legal fees for its expenses during the non-jury trial – an amount Donziger says would bankrupt him. “Chevron is extremely angry at the success of the lawsuit in Ecuador and Canada,” said Donziger, "and is now doing anything it can in the U.S. to intimidate counsel into silence, including threatening to impose punitive financial penalties.”

Smithfield Foods Releases Latest Section of 2017 Sustainability Report, Shares New Programs and Companywide Commitment to Food Safety and Quality

Thu, 05/17/2018 - 12:05pm

Smithfield Foods, Inc. released the Food Safety and Qualitysection of its 2017 Sustainability Report, which provides robust information about the company’s leading approach to producing safe, high-quality products. This section focuses on programs and achievements that underscore a culture of food safety, and highlights new product offerings that reflect Smithfield’s transformation into a world-class consumer packaged goods and protein company. 

“We’re focused on making high-quality food that continues to earn the trust of our consumers while meeting an increasing desire among the public to know more about how our products are made,” said Kenneth M. Sullivan, president and chief executive officer for Smithfield Foods. “Demonstrating transparency about our products, and what goes into making them, is key to our success.” 

Smithfield’s 2017 Sustainability Report provides in-depth information about innovations, programs, and achievements in food safety and quality, including:

  • A revitalized food safety initiative that builds upon the company’s philosophy that all employees have a role to play in making safe, high-quality foods.
  • Investments of more than $50 million in capital projects that enhance food safety and quality as well as production efficiency.
  • Investment of $25 million in a new line of meal kits sold at retail stores to meet evolving consumer demands for complete meal solutions.
  • Reformulated best-selling products with all-natural ingredients and the introduction of a new product category of fresh, never frozen, meatballs.

“Smithfield has a strong companywide culture of absolute food safety responsibility, which aims to assure that food safety and quality is owned by every person, every day,” said Stewart Leeth, vice president of regulatory affairs and chief sustainability officer for Smithfield Foods. “We continue to strengthen our culture through top-level commitment, day-to-day best practices, ongoing improvements, and innovative processes.”  

The Food Safety and Quality section is the third of a multiphase release of Smithfield’s 2017 Sustainability Report, following Animal Care and Environment that were released earlier this month. Smithfield will publish its Helping Communities and People sections next week, along with the full report.

To view a video about Smithfield’s food safety and quality program, click here.

To read the full Food Safety section of the report, please visit smithfieldfoods.com/foodsafety.

About Smithfield Foods
Smithfield Foods is a $15 billion global food company and the world's largest pork processor and hog producer. In the United States, the company is also the leader in numerous packaged meats categories with popular brands including Smithfield®, Eckrich®, Nathan’s Famous®, Farmland®, Armour®, Farmer John®, Kretschmar®, John Morrell®, Cook’s®, Gwaltney®, Carando®, Margherita®, Curly’s®, Healthy Ones®, Morliny®, Krakus® and Berlinki®. Smithfield Foods is committed to providing good food in a responsible way and maintains robust animal care, community involvement, employee safety, environmental and food safety and quality programs. For more information, visit www.smithfieldfoods.com.

SC Johnson Switzerland Named 2018 Best Workplace

Thu, 05/17/2018 - 12:05pm

SC Johnson Switzerland today announced it has been recognized as a 2018 Best Workplace by the Great Place to Work® Institute for the second consecutive year. The organization earned the No. 18 spot in the ranking.

“Being named a Best Workplace is a testament to the dedication, teamwork and talent of SC Johnson people,” said Fisk Johnson, Chairman and CEO of SC Johnson. “Congratulations to the team for earning this recognition for the second consecutive year.”

SC Johnson Switzerland was noted for maintaining a high score on the Institute’s annual Trust Index assessment, which measures the level of trust within an organization.

The Switzerland team joins SC Johnson Italy, Venezuela, Germany, Greece, United Kingdom, Mexico, Canada, Central America and Turkey on the 2018 list of Best Workplaces.

The Best Workplaces list is the world’s largest annual study of workplace excellence. The ranking is determined by the results of an employee opinion survey and information provided about company culture, programs and policies.

In the United States, SC Johnson has been included 29 times in Working Mother magazine’s list of the “100 Best Companies for Working Mothers” for its programs and benefits that support working parents including paid family leave, schedule flexibility and advancement of women.

Also in 2017, the company received a perfect score of 100 percent on the Human Rights Campaign Corporate Equality Index. This HRC honor marked the 13th time the company earned a perfect score and its 16th year of recognition on the workplace equality list.

Contact:

SC Johnson Global Public Affairs

USPublicAffairs@scj.com

262-260-2440

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

GSSI and the CGF Join Forces on a Benchmark and Recognition Tool for Social Compliance Schemes in the Seafood Sector

Thu, 05/17/2018 - 9:05am

At last month’s Seafood Expo Global in Brussels, The Consumer Goods Forum (CGF)’s Sustainable Supply Chain Initiative (SSCI) and the Global Sustainable Seafood Initiative (GSSI) announced their collaboration to provide a benchmark and recognition tool for social compliance schemes in the seafood sector.

The CGF Social Sustainability Committee selected the seafood sector as one of the priority supply chains for their social sustainability workstream. Correspondingly, the GSSI Steering Board identified social compliance as a key priority area for the seafood sector.

GSSI and SSCI will have a more meaningful impact within the industry by joining forces, avoiding duplication by building on existing efforts and aligning market expectations towards third-party auditing and certification programmes. Similar to GSSI’s Global Benchmark Tool, the SSCI Benchmark will allow the industry to have access to a list of credible, robust auditing and certification programmes. In close collaboration, the two organisations will develop a social compliance benchmark that takes into account the specificities of the seafood sector and the special nature of work in food harvesting, will be underpinned by ILO Conventions and Recommendations and UN Guiding Principles, and is aligned with the CGF’s Priority Industry Principles on Forced Labour.

Herman Wisse, Managing Director, GSSI said,

“We are thrilled to be collaborating with the CGF’s Sustainable Supply Chain Initiative on such an important initiative for the industry. Addressing social compliance has long been on the horizon for GSSI and to do this now with the CGF will deliver great value to the seafood industry. Utilizing GSSI’s global partnership to support the development of the SSCI Benchmark Tool for social compliance schemes brings us one step closer to our vision of more sustainable seafood for everyone.”

Hugo Byrnes, Vice President Product Integrity, Ahold Delhaize said,

"We are proud today to announce the collaboration between the Sustainable Supply Chain Initiative and the Global Sustainable Seafood Initiative. Together, we will support the industry in their efforts to tackle social compliance issues in the seafood sector in a harmonised manner. We will build on the experience and the stakeholder network of both organisations to drive this collaboration forward over the coming months." 

Dr. Darian McBain, Global Director of Sustainability, Thai Union said, 

“The collaboration between the Sustainable Supply Chain Initiative and the Global Sustainable Seafood Initiative to develop a benchmark and recognition tool for social compliance schemes represents an extremely positive step forward for the seafood industry. The development of this benchmark will help safeguard the well-being of the 56 million people directly employed in fisheries and aquaculture.” 

This cross-industry collaboration will bring together a broad representation of members of the aquaculture and wild harvest sectors, primary processors, retailers, manufacturers and relevant stakeholders to provide a unique opportunity for market alignment and harmonisation of efforts. Stakeholder engagement with the seafood sector will be crucial throughout the process. In the coming months, GSSI and SSCI will be holding a joint webinar to provide an update and overview of next steps to all GSSI Partners, the CGF members and all interested parties.

ABOUT THE SUSTAINABLE SUPPLY CHAIN INITIATIVE

The Sustainable Supply Chain Initiative (SSCI) promotes good social and environmental practices in global supply chains by benchmarking third-party auditing and certification schemes and recognising robust schemes. By providing an open source list of recognised schemes, the SSCI delivers clear guidance on which schemes cover key sustainability criteria and apply robust verification practices. The SSCI improves transparency in the market, facilitates decision-making on schemes at both buyer and supplier level and helps to reduce audit duplication. The Initiative will initially focus on social compliance with a view to expanding the scope to environmental compliance. The SSCI is facilitated by The Consumer Goods Forum. For more information, visit www.theconsumergoodsforum.com/initiatives/sustainable-supply-chain-initiative 

ABOUT THE CONSUMER GOODS FORUM

The Consumer Goods Forum (“CGF”) is a global, parity-based industry network that is driven by its members to encourage the global adoption of practices and standards that serves the consumer goods industry worldwide. It brings together the CEOs and senior management of some 400 retailers, manufacturers, service providers, and other stakeholders across 70 countries, and it reflects the diversity of the industry in geography, size, product category and format. Its member companies have combined sales of EUR 3.5 trillion and directly employ nearly 10 million people, with a further 90 million related jobs estimated along the value chain. It is governed by its Board of Directors, which comprises more than 50 manufacturer and retailer CEOs. For more information, please visit: www.theconsumergoodsforum.com.

ABOUT THE GLOBAL SUSTAINABLE SEAFOOD INITIATIVE

The Global Sustainable Seafood Initiative (GSSI) is a global platform and partnership of seafood companies, NGOs, experts, governmental and intergovernmental organizations working towards more sustainable seafood for everyone. GSSI's mission is to ensure confidence in the supply and promotion of certified seafood, as well as, to promote improvement in seafood certification schemes. This is achieved through GSSI’s Global Benchmark Tool, underpinned by the FAO Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries and other FAO guidelines. The Global Benchmark Tool provides clarity on, and transparency in, seafood certification by recognizing robust and credible certification schemes, and supporting them in identifying areas for improvement. The Benchmark Process is open to all certification schemes. For more information, visit www.ourgssi.org

New Mexico Homeownership to Get $4.6 Million Boost

Wed, 05/16/2018 - 3:05pm

Wells Fargo & Company (NYSE:WFC), NeighborWorks®America and its network member, Homewise, today announced the NeighborhoodLIFT® program will expand for all 33 counties in the state of New Mexico with a $4.6 million commitment by Wells Fargo to boost homeownership.

“This investment by Wells Fargo to expand NeighborhoodLIFT throughout the state of New Mexico will make a meaningful difference for many families,” said Rio Rancho Mayor Greggory D. Hull. “New Mexico is a wonderful place to live, and I am thankful to Wells Fargo, NeighborWorks and Homewise for working together to expand this innovative program for our community.”

The 2018 New Mexico NeighborhoodLIFT program follows a similar LIFT event in 2015 that created 221 homeowners in Albuquerque, N.M., by offering homebuyer education plus down payment assistance grants in as part of a $4.7 million commitment by Wells Fargo. Overall, Wells Fargo has conducted 58 LIFT program events in the U.S. since 2012 that have created more than 17,550 homeowners.

Registration now open for homebuyer event in Albuquerque, N.M., June 1–2

The Wells Fargo NeighborhoodLIFT program will begin with a free event June 1–2 from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. at the Albuquerque Convention Center, located at 401 2nd St. NW in Albuquerque. To learn more about the eligibility requirements and to register, visit www.wellsfargo.com/lift or call (866) 858-2151.  Pre-registration is strongly recommended.

At the event, the first 100 homebuyers who participate each day will have an opportunity to reserve a $100 gift voucher to be awarded upon completion of homebuyer education. In addition, prospective homebuyers may participate in financial education sessions at the homebuyer event. Participating homebuyers can obtain mortgage financing from any participating lender, and Homewise will determine eligibility and administer the down payment assistance grants.

“The NeighborhoodLIFT program is another example of our commitment to New Mexico and our efforts to build better communities through sustainable homeownership,” said David Hockmuth, Wells Fargo New Mexico region bank president. “The program will help hardworking families and individuals get on the path to achieve successful and sustainable homeownership.”

To be eligible, annual incomes must not exceed 80 percent of the local area median income in the county where the home is being purchased. In addition, there are special parameters for veterans and service members, teachers, law enforcement officers, firefighters and emergency medical technicians who may reserve $10,000 down payment assistance grants within eligibility requirements including earning up to 100 percent of the area median income.

Approved homebuyers will have up to 60 days to finalize a contract to purchase a home in New Mexico.

“This innovative public-private collaboration will create about 430 more homeowners in New Mexico,” said Gary Wolfe, regional vice president, western region, NeighborWorks America. “The required homebuyer education classes provided by certified professionals better prepare NeighborhoodLIFT homebuyers to achieve their goal of sustainable homeownership.”

To reserve the full grant amount, participants buying a primary residence with the NeighborhoodLIFT program must commit to live in the home for five years.

“We are excited to team-up with the NeighborhoodLIFT program for New Mexico families that will provide homebuyer education and down payment assistance to help them achieve sustainable homeownership,” said Laura Altomare, chief communications officer of Homewise. “The NeighborhoodLIFT program offers New Mexico families an affordable and accessible way to realize their homeownership goals.”

Since February 2012, LIFT programs have helped create more than 17,550 homeowners in 58 communities. A video about the NeighborhoodLIFT program is posted on Wells Fargo Stories.

About Homewise and NeighborWorks America

Homewise is a chartered member of NeighborWorks America, a national organization that creates opportunities for people to live in affordable homes, improve their lives and strengthen their communities. NeighborWorks America supports a network of more than 245 nonprofits, located in every state, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. Visit www.homewise.org, or http://www.neighborworks.org/ to learn more. 

About Wells Fargo

Wells Fargo & Company (NYSE: WFC) is a diversified, community-based financial services company with $1.9 trillion in assets. Wells Fargo’s vision is to satisfy our customers’ financial needs and help them succeed financially. Founded in 1852 and headquartered in San Francisco, Wells Fargo provides banking, investments, mortgage, and consumer and commercial finance through 8,200 locations, 13,000 ATMs, the internet (wellsfargo.com) and mobile banking, and has offices in 42 countries and territories to support customers who conduct business in the global economy. With approximately 265,000 team members, Wells Fargo serves one in three households in the United States. Wells Fargo & Company was ranked No. 25 on Fortune’s 2017 rankings of America’s largest corporations. News, insights and perspectives from Wells Fargo are also available at Wells Fargo Stories.

Major Beauty Players Unite for SPICE to Collectively Shape the Future of Sustainable Packaging

Wed, 05/16/2018 - 12:03pm

The members of the Sustainable Packaging Initiative for Cosmetics (SPICE), co-founded by the global beauty group L’Oréal and leading environmental sustainability consulting firm Quantis, are pleased to officially announce the launch of this sustainability initiative for cosmetics industry actors. SPICE members have joined together to work towards a common goal: to collectively shape the future of sustainable packaging.

Many actors in the cosmetics industry are increasing their level of commitment to work towards a sustainable future for beauty. These leaders are taking measures to progress on their path to sustainability as responsible companies, and to willingly respond to the increasing number of consumers, investors and other stakeholders who want to know more about the environmental performance of products on the market. Packaging is a visible reminder that products have an impact on the environment. These stakeholder groups expect transparency - facts and metrics - to understand if cosmetics brands are making commitments and to learn how they plan on achieving these targets to reduce impacts on the environment.

Companies face considerable methodological issues when it comes to measuring the environmental footprint of their products. The results from product environmental footprints help companies make eco-design choices and to credibly communicate with consumers. SPICE was created to address these issues and provide solutions to these challenges in a collective manner by many of the industry’s major actors.

SPICE is co-founded by L’Oréal and Quantis and now counts 11 current members including cosmetic companies Avon Products, Inc., Clarins Group, Coty Inc., L’Occitane en Provence, L’Oréal, LVMH, Shiseido, Sisley, as well as Cosmetic Valley (French “competitiveness cluster” for perfumes and cosmetics) and FEBEA (French Federation of Beauty Companies). SPICE remains open to additional members. Cosmetics products manufacturers as well as cosmetics packaging suppliers can join the initiative as corporate members.

These members will work together, guided by the sustainability experts at Quantis, to develop and publish business-oriented methodologies and data to support resilient decision making to improve the environmental performance of the entire packaging value chain. These developments will be the result of collective working sessions where members will share experience and knowledge for the benefit of the initiative and eventually to drive cosmetics packaging sustainability achievements on a grand scale. 

More specifically, the work delivered from SPICE will help the cosmetics industry make significant progress in three key areas: 1) guiding sustainable packaging policy development based on robust and harmonized methodology, recognized by the sector; 2) driving packaging innovation based on objective eco-design criteria to progress towards more sustainable solutions; and 3) meeting consumers’ expectations by improving communication and providing more clarity on the environmental performance of products. 

"L'Oréal's commitment to be a co-founder of SPICE was driven by the willingness to collectively share on sustainable development progress and to allow cosmetics industry players to work more effectively together,” states L’Oréal’s Global Head of Packaging & Development Philippe Thuvien. “Beyond the development of a robust methodology of environmental footprint assessment, SPICE will ultimately increase the eco-design of our products and will provide the clarity consumers expect to help them make more sustainable cosmetic purchases," adds Philippe Bonningue, Head of Sustainable Packaging at L’Oréal.

To provide more clarity, understanding and transparency, SPICE will explore the following topics: recycled materials, bio-based plastics, finishing and decorating processes, tertiary packaging and distribution, reusable/rechargeable/refillable packaging and take-back programs, recycling disruptors, and end-of-life streams by country. Based on its expertise on product environmental performance and experience leading sector specific initiatives, Quantis will share its know-how and guide the discussions on the above topics to capture, consolidate and prioritize the members’ knowledge to enable them to define and deploy clear actions and developments. 

"’If you want to go far, go together’ the proverb says and this applies to SPICE. We are honored to co-found SPICE with the ambition to guide a large number of businesses and brands to do just that,” comments Dimitri Caudrelier, Director of Quantis France.Packaging is key for the cosmetics industry and companies need robust information and recognized frameworks to make resilient decisions. SPICE will be a key factor in driving their sustainability transformation.”

To learn more about the SPICE initiative and how it will shape the future of cosmetics packaging, go to www.open-spice.com

To learn how to become a member of SPICE, go to https://open-spice.com/about-spice/how-to-join/

* END *

About L’Oréal

L'Oréal has devoted itself to beauty for over 100 years. With its unique international portfolio of 34 diverse and complementary brands, the Group generated sales amounting to 26.02 billion euros in 2017 and employs 82,600 people worldwide. As the world's leading beauty company, L'Oréal is present across all distribution networks: mass market, department stores, pharmacies and drugstores, hair salons, travel retail, branded retail and e-commerce.

Research and innovation, and a dedicated research team of 3,885 people, are at the core of L'Oréal's strategy, working to meet beauty aspirations all over the world. L'Oréal's sustainability commitment for 2020 "Sharing Beauty With All" sets out ambitious sustainable development objectives across the Group's value chain.

For more information: http://mediaroom.loreal.com/en/

About Quantis

Quantis guides top organizations to define, shape and implement intelligent environmental sustainability solutions. In a nutshell, our creative geeks take the latest science and make it actionable. Our team of talents delivers resilient strategies, robust metrics, useful tools, and credible communications for a more sustainable future. 

A sustainability consulting group known for our metrics-based approach to sustainability, Quantis has offices in the US, France, Switzerland, Germany, Italy and Colombia and has a diverse client portfolio that spans the globe, including AccorHotels, BASF, Danone, the European Commission, GE, General Mills, Intel, Kering, the Kraft Heinz Company, L’Oréal, Mondelēz International, Nestlé, Unilever, Veolia and more.

We are Quantis: sustainability’s scientists, experts, strategists, innovators and visionaries.

(re)discover Quantis at www.quantis-intl.com

Must-Attend Event: U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation's Resilience Forum 2017

Wed, 05/16/2018 - 6:02am

Register today for Promoting Resilience and Cross-Sector Collaboration for a Sustainable Future, June 26 in Washington, D.C. Reserve your spot today to learn from top business and disaster preparedness response experts.

Promoting Resilience and Cross-Sector Collaboration for a Sustainable Future will take a comprehensive look at the different social drivers that impact a community's ability to prepare and respond. Starting with a holistic approach to community development, experts will discuss best practices to creating resiliency plans.

Register today to join us on June 26. At this event, you will learn:

• The different social drivers that impact a community's ability to prepare and respond.

• Best practices to creating resiliency plans.

• How the private sector can engage to support the adaptability of the community, including financing, infrastructure, and materials reuse.

We're only a few weeks away, so reserve your spot today! https://www.uschamberfoundation.org/event/promoting-resilience-and-cross-sector-collaboration-sustainable-future

Letter from Founder of DS Healthcare Group (DSKX) - Revised Tender Offer Terms, Shareholder Update, and Support for Transaction

Tue, 05/15/2018 - 9:01pm

GLOBE NEWSWIRE -- A shareholder action group along with founder of DSHealthcare Group (DSKX), today issued the following letter to shareholders. 

Dear Fellow Shareholder,

In a recent press release, Medilogistics Corp. announced a tender offer to purchase all outstanding shares of DS Healthcare common stock. Following this announcement, Medilogistics made arrangements to improve the terms of the offer in order to insure a substantial recovery for DSHealthcare shareholders. 

Subsequent to DS Healthcare’s delisting from the NASDAQ, Khesin has taken steps to protect shareholders and recover losses sustained in theevents following a series of false press releases set in motion by former legal counsel. This included some of the following: 1) In an effort to revitalize the company and restore shareholder confidence, Khesin retained Yasuhiro Fujiwara as the new Chief Executive Officer (formerly the President of Merrill Lynch Asia) and transitioned himself into the role of Founder and Innovator so that he could commit his time on brand architecture and product development while Fujiwara would be responsible for everything related to legal and finance. 2) Khesin structured a transaction with Evercare ProHealth Technologies to inject the company with $2 million in capital (and a commitment from Evercare to invest up to $20 million to grow the brand in Asia) in order to aggressively grow the business operations and presence in Asia and 3) Initiated a lawsuit against defendants Fox Rothschild, LLP, CKR Law, and Szaferman Lakind Blumenstein & Blader PC in order to recover losses due to their legal malpractice and the ensuing damages that resulted from their actions. The company has calculated that the actual damages resulting directly from the actions of the defendants are between $69 million and $103 million, before punitive damages. 

For reasons unknown, Fujiwara resigned after only 2 months and the Board has remained in control of the company while leaving the company without a CEO or any leadership (despite many frantic calls from shareholders). Whats more is that the Board and any remaining executives at the company are all, without exception, former clients or employees of the the owner/principle of Evercare (Carl Kalithasan Sevasamy, when he was yet a broker at Aegis Capital). This has created a particularly unusual conflict of interest wherein the Board that is at DS Healthcare is really just representing Evercare and acting on their behalf while making it appear as though they are acting on behalf of DS Healthcare and its shareholders. While this alone is a problem, it is particularly grievous considering the result after nearly two years at the helm of this company. Shareholders should consider what has this Board and management achieved and what benefit have they attained for us shareholders while managing a turnaround? All that remains is that any remaining business operations have come to a grinding halt and the stockprice is exactly zero and has remained so for months (except for the small increase in the last few days when the tender offer was announced, unrelated to the current Board). 

Despite these catastrophic results for us shareholders, the Board andmanagement have achieved a total of zero value creation in any other area. Here are just a few examples:

• In a December 21, 2016 8K filing the company has indicated: “After due deliberation, the Board of Directors of the Company decided not toappeal the Nasdaq Hearing Panel Delisting decision received December 21, 2016. Not withstanding the foregoing, the Board determined to seek the Company’s common stock to be listed on either the OTCQX or the OTCQB markets. In addition, the Board has authorized management to seek otherlisting venues for the Company’s securities.” Now almost a year anda half later, the company is not even trading on the Pink Sheets. Shareholders continue to have no trading market whatsoever for ourshares. 

• As soon as Evercare planted their Board members and executives sothat they could control the company, Evercare only made a $500k payment to DS Healthcare but never paid the remaining $1.5 million as required by the agreements that were signed while Khesin was still CEO. Yet the Board has allowed Evercare to retain exclusive rights in major markets even though Evercare is entirely in breach of the agreement and has never fulfilled their promise to invest $20 million to develop the Asian market. 

• The Board is selling or giving away assets that belong to DSHealthcare shareholders to Evercare at prices dictated by Evercare instead of selling at auction or some other venue to obtain fair marketvalue. In addition, all of the laboratory equipment was just given to Evercare which they are using in their building in Boca Raton, FL to this day. 

• Even in the latest 8K filed on May 4, 2018, in which the Board presents a plan of no value to shareholders, the Board slipped in a shocking an announcement how they simply gave away the E-Commerce business to Evercare (Evercare would receive half of the profit). The DS online store is the highest margin business since products are sold at full retail prices. 

• The company has not only failed to grow the business but has failedto maintain existing operations. Shareholders are aghast that all major distribution accounts (including Costco) are gone simply because the company won't produce and supply inventory even for the high-margin DS online store. 

• Numerous shareholders have asked the Board and management why they are not supplying existing distributors and the answer given is that thecompany does not have capital. However, numerous shareholders who are part of shareholder action group personally offered capital (as have other shareholders) on numerous occasions in writing and the company and/or the Board rejected all offers or did not respond. Meanwhile the company has accumulated a list of angry customers and burned relationships with distributors.

• The company went completely dark and does not update shareholders with any announcements as is required of a public company. Shareholdersare left to wonder on their own as they watch the business decline and the stock remain at zero. In addition, the company is no longer publishing audited financial statements. 

• The Board has placed the company in default of all major agreements with the risk that the company can be forced into Chapter 7 bankruptcy by its suppliers at any time. 

The above is just a small summary of issues that plaque the company. No value was created in any area. As just one shocking example of incompetence, the company's main website www.dslaboratories.com which consumers around the world rely on for product information, at the time of this writing only displays "Expired Account" and has been down for the last 30 days. Indeed the current management team and Board is unable to insure that the main DS Laboratories brand website is operating. The only conclusion as to the actions of the Board is that they are creating conditions that would lead to “shareholder fatigue” so that the Board can further their plan as to whatever they ultimately plan to do for the benefit of Evercare, but certainly there is nothing on the horizon for us, DS shareholders. It is time for shareholders to take a sobering look at these results and to consider that at best the current Board and management team has demonstrated a complete inability to maintain the company’s business or create value, (much less grow it) and at worst they are engaged in intentional misconduct, self dealing,and gross negligence - either way, the situation is really bad. It may also simply be the case that the company cannot realistically achieve a turn-around after the damages that were caused by the defendants in the above mentioned lawsuit. 

Unfortunately shareholders are left with few options. One remaining pathway to recover shareholder losses is the ongoing lawsuit against the defendants described above. Khesin has been spearheading this lawsuit and believes that we can expect a large recovery given the spectacular legal malpractice committed by these law firms. Since whatever was left of the business has been decimated by the current Board, we believe that the best hope to recover losses for shareholders is to insure that money obtained in the lawsuit against former council is distributed to shareholders rather than permitted to go to the company’s completely failed operations.

In order to facilitate this, the new offer from Medilogistics nowincludes 80% of all funds recovered in the lawsuit (which would be automatically distributed to current shareholders) in addition to a payment of $0.07. This is the best course of action and Khesin supports this transaction. The alternative would result in shareholders getting nothing for our shares.

The tender offer with the new terms is a logical step for shareholders. Khesin will continue the successful conclusion to our lawsuit to see shareholders recover losses. Shareholders have had enough frustration and disappointment and its time to close this chapter and move on.

If you have any questions or comments, please call 347-276-2598 to speak to a group representative.

Daniel Khesin
DS Healthcare Group
347-276-2598

Gildan Donates $570,000 to Refurbish Majoncho Sosa Community Park in Honduras

Tue, 05/15/2018 - 6:01pm

Gildan Activewear Inc. (GIL: TSX and NYSE) is announcing the opening of a newly refurbished community park in San Pedro Sula, Honduras, which was inaugurated yesterday by President Juan Orlando Hernández, Gildan representatives and members of the community.  This park is the largest in the city, and second largest in the country, providing a modern, multi-sport recreational space to unite families and promote sporting activity as part of the “Parques para una Vida Mejor” (Better Life Parks) program.

“We are very pleased to be able to help promote exercise and sport as a healthy lifestyle alternative to the citizens of San Pedro Sula,” said Claudia Sandoval, Vice President, Corporate Citizenship. “We believe that active living through sport and fitness can provide a healthy outlet for youth, create a greater sense of community and encourage people to improve their physical health. The recreational sports facilities can provide a safe place for families and members of the community to play and be together in a positive environment.”

The “Parques para una Vida Mejor” (Better Life through Parks) program created by the government in partnership with the private sector aims to recover public spaces encouraging citizen coexistence and healthy recreation. This is the 55th park to be inaugurated nationally and the investment of $570,000 USD was donated by Gildan, the largest private employer in the area. The facility features energy efficient LED lighting and has multi-purpose fields, playgrounds, a running track, kiosks for the sale of food, bathrooms, as well as rest zones and green picnic areas.

The creation of these multi-sport recreational areas will offer youth avenues for recreation and positive interaction, leading them towards sports and fitness as an outlet. The parks also serve to provide safe, open spaces where people can pursue physical activity, towards the prevention of disease and overall improvement in the health of the population of Honduras.

About Gildan

Gildan is a leading manufacturer of everyday basic apparel which markets its products in North America, Europe, Asia-Pacific and Latin America, under a diversified portfolio of Company-owned brands, including Gildan®, American Apparel®, Comfort Colors®, Gildan® Hammer™, Gold Toe®, Anvil®, Alstyle®, Secret®, Silks®, Kushyfoot®, Secret Silky®, Therapy Plus™, Peds® and MediPeds®, and under the Under Armour® brand through a sock licensing agreement providing exclusive distribution rights in the United States and Canada. Our product offering includes activewear, underwear, socks, hosiery and legwear products sold to a broad range of customers, including wholesale distributors, screenprinters or embellishers, as well as to retailers that sell to consumers through their physical stores and/or e-commerce platforms. In addition, we sell directly to consumers through our own direct-to-consumer platforms.

Gildan owns and operates vertically-integrated, large-scale manufacturing facilities which are primarily located in Central America, the Caribbean Basin, North America, and Bangladesh. With over 50,000 employees worldwide Gildan operates with a strong commitment to industry-leading labour and environmental practices throughout its supply chain in accordance with its comprehensive Genuine Responsibility™ program embedded in the Company's long-term business strategy. More information about the Company and its corporate citizenship practices and initiatives can be found at www.gildancorp.com and www.genuinegildan.com, respectively.

Investor inquiries: 
Sophie Argiriou
Vice-President, Investor Communications
(514) 343-8815
sargiriou@gildan.com

Media inquiries: 
Garry Bell
Vice-President, Corporate Communications and Marketing
514-744-8600
gbell@gildan.com

Sodexo Named as One of the Best Companies for Multicultural Women for 10 Consecutive Years

Tue, 05/15/2018 - 3:01pm

 Sodexo, a food and facilities management company committed to improving Quality of Life, announced today that it has been recognized for 10 consecutive years by Working Mother as one of the 2018 Best Companies for Multicultural Women-- an honor that recognizes U.S. companies that create and use best practices in hiring, retaining and promoting women of color.

“We are thrilled to be recognized again by Working Mother for our initiatives focused on multicultural women,” said Rohini Anand, PhD, SVP, Corporate Responsibility & Global Chief Diversity Officer, Sodexo. “Over the past five years, we have seen significant improvements in representation within leadership roles at Sodexo. We are proud of our success and look forward to continuing to make progress in this area.” 

From 2012–2017, the number of women of color in executive roles at Sodexo increased 27 percent. Currently in the United States, women represent 40 percent of Sodexo’s 20-member executive team, of which, 20 percent are women of color. In addition, out of the total number of women on the executive team, 50 percent are women of color. Sodexo’s focus on supporting and advancing multicultural women is reflected in their programs and initiatives—for example their Women of Color Initiative, which launched in 2015 to promote the development, engagement, and visibility of high-potential women of color globally.

Sodexo’s leadership and commitment to diversity and inclusion has been consistently recognized by external organizations and notable diversity publications. Most recently, Sodexo was named to Bloomberg’s 2018 Gender-Equality Index (GEI) — its first sector-neutral list of 104 global companies, and recognized on three of FORTUNE Magazine lists in 2017, including World’s Most Admired Companies, Change the World and the FORTUNE 500.

Key findings of the Working Mother Multicultural Women data report include:

  • The 2018 Best Companies employ more than 2.7 million workers at 25,000 worksites in 10 industries across 50 states.

  • Multicultural women make up 23% of the total workforce at the Best Companies, increasing one percentage point over last year.

  • A total of 88% of all women participated in career counseling programs at the Best Companies, including white women (88%), black women (83%), Latinas (84%) and Asian women (78%).

  • Leadership development is gaining traction at the Best Companies with 68% offering sponsorship programs and 72% offering business development programs to women.

The Working Mother Best Companies for Multicultural Women application is only available to companies that have at least 500 U.S. employees. The winners were selected based on their answers to an extensive questionnaire covering representation; hiring, attrition and promotion rates; recruitment, retention and advancement programs; and company culture. The Working Mother Research Institute created a scoring algorithm based on the previous year’s benchmark results to determine the winners.

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

About Sodexo North America
Sodexo North America is part of a global, Fortune 500 company with a presence in 80 countries. Sodexo is a leading provider of integrated food, facilities management and other services that enhance organizational performance, contribute to local communities and improve quality of life of 15 million customers in corporate, education, healthcare, senior living, sports and leisure, government and other environments daily.  The company employs 133,000 people at 13,000 sites in all 50 U.S. states and Canada and indirectly supports tens of thousands of additional jobs through its annual purchases of $9.2 billion in goods and services from small to large American businesses. In support of local communities across the U.S., the Sodexo Stop Hunger Foundation has contributed close to $30 million over the past 20 years to help feed children in America impacted by hunger.  To learn more about Sodexo, visit SodexoInsights.com and connect with us on Facebook and @SodexoUSA on Twitter.

Global CSR Executives to Discuss How Businesses “Walk the Talk” and Drive Results at June 12 BBB Forum in NYC

Tue, 05/15/2018 - 8:59am

On June 12, 2018, the BBB Foundation of Metro New York will present its eleventh BBB Forum on Corporate Responsibility, with the theme Purpose and Performance: Walking the Talk. This elite half-day program is attended by business leaders and their advisers working in corporate responsibility, sustainability, corporate communications and public affairs, as well as other interested executives. It will take place at Scandinavia House, Victor Borge Hall, 58 Park Avenue at 38th Street in Manhattan, from 8:00 AM to 12:30 PM. This year’s Forum speakers will discuss how business leaders identify and achieve corporate responsibility and sustainability goals that drive business value.

The 2018 BBB Forum is generously supported by Major Sponsor EY; Benefactor Sponsors MLB Advanced Media, Nielsen, and Yext; and Media Supporter 3BL Media.

To kick off the 2018 BBB Forum, keynote speaker Brendan LeBlanc, Partner, Americas Climate Change and Sustainability Services, EY, will speak to the Forum’s overall “purpose and performance” theme by providing an overview of the historical challenges and new developments in measuring and communicating drivers of non-financial performance and long-term value creation.

Following the keynote, a featured panel of top thought leaders will discuss corporate responsibility trends, sharing insights from their perspectives about how businesses are connecting purpose with performance now:

  • Laura Gitman, moderator, Senior Vice President, BSR

  • Jonathan Atwood, Vice President, Sustainable Business & Communications, Unilever North America

  • Heidi DuBois, Global Head of Corporate Social Responsibility and Social Finance, BNY Mellon

  • Amanda Gardiner, Vice President, Global Sustainability and Social Innovation, Pearson plc

Mike Fisher, Chief Technology Officer of Etsy, Inc., is the Featured Speaker who will follow the panel.  He will discuss Etsy’s corporate responsibility journey, with a focus on how technology has an impact on his company’s CSR goals and outcomes, including a look at responsible energy use. 

After his initial remarks, he will be joined onstage by Ilyssa Meyer, Manager, Public Policy and Research, Etsy, Inc.  She will share insights about Etsy’s experience as a “brand taking a stand” in the policy and advocacy sphere, in conversation with Mike Fisher.

Two special reports will conclude this half-day event: 

  • Daniel Aronson, Founder of Valutus, will discuss finding the value in values - how businesses can monetize the value of corporate responsibility and sustainability efforts.

  • Roger Osorio, Executive Coach & Program Leader from IBM, will deliver a talk about identifying clearly defined, measurable results to find and solve real problems standing in the way of achieving CSR goals.

BBB Forum 2018 Event Supporters include: Advertising Self-Regulatory Council, BSR, CDP, Council of Better Business Bureaus, CSRHub, Global Compact Network USA, Governance & Accountability Institute, Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility, Manhattan Chamber of Commerce, New York Society of Association Executives, NYCharities.org, Partnership for New York City, The Robert Zicklin Center for Corporate Integrity – Baruch College, Social Accountability International, Sustainability Practice Network, United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, World Business Council for Sustainable Development (list in formation).

Cost to attend:

BBB Accredited, CBBB National Partners, Event Supporter Guests, Nonprofits:
$90 per person until May 30, $125 per person after that.

Non-BBB Accredited:
$160 per person until May 30, $195 per person after that.

Please register in advance. Space is limited. Register now to assure seating.

Details & online registration:

bbb.org/new-york-city/bbb-forum-2018

Registration by phone & more information:

Call: 212-358-2829

Email: llewis@newyork.bbb.org 

About BBB Foundation of Metropolitan New York
Metro New York’s BBB Foundation is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization established in 1967. It provides educational programs and services for businesses, charities and consumers; encourages informed consumer support of charities; promotes transparency and accountability; conducts research; and provides educational intern opportunities to students who are potential business and charity leaders.  It operates the BBB Charity Accountability Program, which publishes BBB Charity Reports on about 760+ Metro New York area charities based on performance against the 20 BBB Standards for Charity Accountability. BBB Charity Reports are available online at ny.give.org.


About BBB Serving Metropolitan New York
For more than 100 years, Better Business Bureau has been helping consumers find businesses, brands and charities they can trust. In 2017, people turned to BBB more than 160 million times for BBB Business Profiles on more than 5.2 million businesses and Charity Reports on 11,000 charities, all available for free at bbb.org. There are local, independent BBBs across the United States, Canada and Mexico. BBB Serving Metropolitan New York was founded in 1922, and serves New York City, Long Island, and the Mid-Hudson region. Visit bbb.org for more information.

KeyBank Releases Corporate Responsibility Report and 2017 Community Benefits Plan Results

Mon, 05/14/2018 - 2:54pm

KeyBank has released its 2017 Corporate Responsibility Report, highlighting progress in the areas of responsible banking, responsible citizenship and responsible operations. Included in the report are the first year results of the five-year National Community Benefits Plan, under which KeyBank invested $2.8 billion in communities. KeyBank executives said the investment exceeded the goals for 2017 by 21% and represents a strong start for the five-year plan.

“I’m pleased that in 2017 we surpassed our expectations for the community benefits plan,” said Beth Mooney, Chairman and CEO of KeyCorp (NYSE: KEY). “Thriving communities have stable neighborhoods with affordable housing, growing small businesses, and jobs. The community benefits plan is designed to help provide support in all of those areas.”

Highlights from the first year of the community benefits plan include:

  • KeyBank invested more than $1.9 billion in community development projects including developments that will provide affordable housing, revitalize and stabilize neighborhoods, and support vital community service initiatives.
  • KeyBank originated $390 million in small business loans to low-to-moderate income borrowers and/or in low-to-moderate income neighborhoods.
  • KeyBank provided $443 million in mortgage lending to low-to-moderate income communities.
  • KeyBank made $38 million in philanthropic investments in neighbors and neighborhoods across KeyBank’s 15-state footprint in 2017. These included significant grants to organizations such as JumpStart, Inc., Local Initiatives Support (LISC), Say Yes to Education and Micro Enterprise Services of Oregon. Philanthropic investments included KeyBank Foundation grants supporting thriving students, a thriving workforce, and thriving neighborhoods. Additionally, the First Niagara Foundation, an independent foundation that works in collaboration with KeyBank, invested $6.7 million in education, mentoring, workforce development, and neighborhood revitalization.

KeyBank’s 2017 report describes the bank’s commitment to its Corporate Responsibility priorities: operating with integrity; driving performance; growing talent; and, strengthening community. These priorities are demonstrated throughout the report in KeyBank’s approach to diversity and inclusion, financial wellness for clients and communities, transformative philanthropy and sustainable operations. To view the full Key Corporate Responsibility Report, visit: www.key.com/crreport  

“Consistency and commitment are the cornerstones of KeyBank’s corporate responsibility efforts,” said Bruce Murphy, executive vice president and head of Corporate Responsibility. “What is exciting to me is the depth and breadth of investments in communities stretches from Maine to Alaska, from our workforce to the marketplace. The community benefits plan is an important part of our approach but, as the 2017 Corporate Responsibility Report details, the commitment runs even deeper.”

About KeyCorp

KeyCorp's roots trace back 190 years to Albany, New York. Headquartered in Cleveland, Ohio, Key is one of the nation’s largest bank-based financial services companies, with assets of approximately $137.0 billion at March 31, 2018.  Key provides deposit, lending, cash management, and investment services to individuals and businesses in 15 states under the name KeyBank National Association through a network of approximately 1,200 branches and more than 1,500 ATMs. Key also provides a broad range of sophisticated corporate and investment banking products, such as merger and acquisition advice, public and private debt and equity, syndications and derivatives to middle market companies in selected industries throughout the United States under the KeyBanc Capital Markets trade name. For more information, visit https://www.key.com/. KeyBank is Member FDIC.

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EFI Welcomes Rouge River Farms to Its Growing Family of Ethical Suppliers

Mon, 05/14/2018 - 2:54pm

Rouge River Farms joins a fast-growing network of certified growers that have made a commitment to improve labor conditions, food safety and pest management through Equitable Food Initiative’s workforce development program.

The company’s farming and packing operations in Clewiston, Florida, became EFI's first certified grower shipper on the East Coast after meeting more than 300 rigorous indicators, based on independent assessment by third-party certifier SCS Global Services.

Rouge River Farms is a year-round sweet corn grower with operations in Florida, Georgia and Virginia, as well as in Ontario, Canada, where it grows and packs bulk and value-added sweet corn. Certified sweet corn featuring EFI’s Responsibly Grown, Farmworker Assured™ label is now available in selected Costco Wholesale locations east of the Mississippi River, and farmworkers receive a premium from sales of the EFI-labeled brand.

As a 30-year-old company that has grown its roots from a roadside stand to a multi-national operation, Rouge River understands the importance of transparency and customer satisfaction. Robert Reesor, president of Rouge River Farms, remarked, “We have always made food safety and quality a priority, but EFI’s process for skill-building and workforce development programming allows us to place an even greater emphasis on the task, knowing that every employee understands and executes on that process.” Reesor continued, “With the EFI leadership team model, we were able to fully engage all levels of our staff even more deeply around food safety, as well as working conditions and pest management.”

“Through the evaluation audit process, Rouge River Farms has demonstrated that it has the full commitment of management and an engaged leadership team – both of which are essential to meet the rigorous requirements of EFI certification and make transparency a priority,” said Bonnie Holman, sustainability program manager at SCS Global Services.

Rouge River Farms has earned EFI’s 28th certification, helping to consolidate a compliance model that drives business performance, engages employees to ensure food safety and empowers consumers to make informed choices. Unlike other certifications, EFI also requires ongoing training, which is part of a model for continuous improvement that is always raising the bar. The certification of the Florida operation is Rouge River’s first, and plans are being made to certify additional growing operations.

To date, EFI has helped certify 10 grower-shippers representing 39 commodities and impacting more than 26,000 farmworkers.

About EFI

Equitable Food Initiative is a nonprofit certification and skill-building organization that seeks to increase transparency in the food supply chain and improve the lives of farmworkers. EFI brings together growers, farmworkers, retailers and consumers to solve the most pressing issues facing the fresh produce industry. Its unparalleled approach sets standards for labor practices, food safety and pest management while engaging workers at all levels on the farm to produce Responsibly Grown, Farmworker Assured™ fruits and vegetables. For more information about Equitable Food Initiative, visit www.equitablefood.org.  

Media Contact: LeAnne R. Ruzzamenti, (202) 524-0540, leanne@equitablefood.org

About Rouge River Farms

Rouge River Farms provides fresh sweet corn to the market year-round. Established 30 years ago, the company has grown to the point where it now distributes to many valued grocery chains in Canada and the United States. It has growing locations in Florida, Georgia and Virginia in the United States, as well as Ontario in Canada. Rouge River Farms works to ensure that product is harvested at the premium date, cooled immediately and then loaded for transport. Handling produce in the proper way and transporting it as quickly as possible helps to ensure that what ends up on consumer plates at the end of the day is of the utmost quality and freshness. For more information about Rouge River Farms, visit www.rougeriverfarms.com

About SCS Global Services

SCS Global Services has been a global leader in third-party quality, environmental and sustainability verification, certification, auditing, testing and standards development for more than three decades. Its programs span a cross-section of industries, recognizing achievements in energy, manufacturing, green building, food and agriculture, forestry and more. For more information about SCS Global Services, visit www.scsglobalservices.com

Media Contact: Linda Brown, (510) 504-0026, lbrown@scsglobalservices.com

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