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In Canada, Chevron Trying to Block Ecuadorians From Using U.N. Declaration to Support Historic Pollution Case

Wed, 01/10/2018 - 5:34pm

In a Canadian court, Chevron is trying to block submission of a legal brief over how the company’s attempt to evade paying a $9.5 billion environmental judgment in Ecuador violates both Canadian and international law regarding the rights of indigenous peoples.

In a submission before the Ontario Court of Appeal in Toronto, Ecuadorian rainforest communities cite the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples in support of their lawsuit to collect the Chevron debt in Canada. The judgment against Chevron was affirmed unanimously in 2013 by Ecuador’s highest court.

A hearing over Chevron’s attempt to block the new argument is scheduled for January 16 before the Ontario Court of Appeal in Toronto. If the submission is allowed, the Ecuadorians plan to use the U.N. Declaration during a critically important appellate hearing scheduled for April that will help determine whether they can seize the assets of a Chevron subsidiary in Canada to force the company to comply with the Ecuador judgment.

“Chevron’s attempt to deny the latest legal petition concerning indigenous rights from being heard is gutless and a sign of the company’s increasing desperation,” said Patricio Salazar, the lead Ecuadorian lawyer for the affected communities.

“The arguments that Chevron is trying to suppress outline in clear terms the numerous ways in which the company has violated international law by polluting indigenous ancestral lands and then deliberately obstructed legitimate efforts to seek compensation through the courts,” said Salazar.

In the legal brief, the Ecuadorian communities cite several provisions of the United Nations Declaration to support their lawsuit to seize Chevron assets in Canada. These include “the right to … prompt decisions through just and fair procedures for the resolution of conflicts” and “fair and equitable compensation” for their territories that have been damaged by oil extraction and other environmental harms. 

The U.N. General Assembly approved the Declaration On The Rights of Indigenous Peoples in 2007 by the overwhelming vote of 144-4. The document since has been adopted as domestic law by both Canada and Ecuador, but it obviously did not exist for several years after the litigation against Chevron began in 1993.

Chevron, which sold its assets in Ecuador during the trial, recently had its General Counsel threaten the Ecuadorian communities with a “lifetime of litigation” if they persist in pursing their claims. The case has lasted a whopping 24 years largely because of Chevron’s forum shopping and use of at least 60 law firms and 2,000 legal personnel to file thousands of procedural motions to delay the process at almost every important juncture.

Chevron’s attempt to deny the Ecuadorians the right to file arguments based on indigenous rights – as distinct from simply filing its own legal brief to oppose it – is unusually aggressive, although not surprising given the company’s long record of trying to undermine the claims of the communities. Chevron was found guilty by three layers of courts of Ecuador of having deliberately dumped billions of gallons of toxic oil waste as a cost-saving measure, causing a spike in cancer rates and creating a public health catastrophe. Conditions are so bad that locals call the area the “Amazon Chernobyl”.

For more than two decades, Chevron has tried to block the Ecuadorian communities who live in the Amazon from pressing their claims. The latest Chevron maneuver is to assert that its assets in Canada are immune from collection because they are held by a wholly-owned subsidiary. The communities won the judgment after a hard-fought trial that lasted from 2003 to 2011 and produced 105 technical evidentiary reports relied on by the court to confirm Chevron’s responsibility for the dumping of toxic waste.

Given that Chevron only operates in Canada through its wholly-owned subsidiary, the company is effectively trying to block the indigenous groups from collecting their judgment on a technicality that could negatively impact indigenous rights throughout the world, said Luis Yanza, a community leader in Ecuador and one of the architects of the lawsuit.

“People should justifiably be horrified at the implications of Chevron’s arguments, which could lead to corporate impunity for acts of environmental destruction the world over,” said Yanza, who works with the Front for the Defense of the Amazon, the group that brought the lawsuit on behalf of the dozens of affected Ecuadorian communities.

The latest legal submission cites the U.N. Declaration to argue that if Chevron escapes liability by placing its assets in a subsidiary, then all 400 million indigenous peoples on the planet would effectively have their rights curtailed when they try to obtain compensation from private companies for environmental harms. Chevron operates its oil production operations only through 1,500 wholly-owned subsidiaries around the world.

The submission by the Ecuadorians also cites recent decisions by Canada’s Supreme Court that provide constitutional protection to indigenous rights in the country. “The special relationship of indigenous peoples to their lands has been recognized repeatedly by Canadian courts,” according to the submission.

Canadian indigenous leaders, including former National Chief Phil Fontaine and Grand Chief Ed John, met in September with community leaders in Ecuador's Amazon and toured Chevron’s former production sites before condemning the company for failing to address its pollution problem and for trying to delay the justice process. They also laid a wreath and said prayer at the gravesite of legendary local nurse Rosa Moreno, who recently died of cancer due to exposure to pollution after treating hundreds of local residents for oil-related illnesses over a three-decade career.

Greenpeace co-founder Rex Weyler, who also visited the affected area, sharply criticized Chevron for its failure to address the concerns of the communities in Ecuador where it operated. Chevron in recent years was found to have fabricated evidence to evade paying the Ecuador judgment, leading to a criminal complaint being filed before the United States Department of Justice. (See this article on the case by Weyler.)

Chevron repeatedly has been accused of calculating that it is cheaper to pay hundreds of lawyers to extend the litigation rather than pay for a comprehensive clean-up of the damage it caused to the indigenous and farmer communities in the rainforest, said Salazar.

OppenheimerFunds Supports Dallas Community During Distribution Symposium

Wed, 01/10/2018 - 2:34pm

OppenheimerFunds employees supported the local community in Dallas this week during the firm’s Distribution Symposium, a semi-annual conference for more than 250 members of the firm’s Distribution team. Attendees helped with hurricane relief and math literacy efforts by volunteering with Trusted World and Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Dallas. OppenheimerFunds also provided both organizations with a $10,000 grant.

“For the past seven years, our employees have rolled up their sleeves to help support the cities that host our Distribution team conferences,” said John McDonough, Head of Distribution and Marketing at OppenheimerFunds. “This year, we are proud to partner with Trusted World and Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Dallas to help advance the positive contributions they make in these local communities and beyond.”

Trusted World is a global non-profit organization that provides free resources to both local and national organizations serving individuals and families in need. Attendees assisted in packing 4,000 meal kits that will be distributed to families recovering from recent natural disasters. In addition, the firm donated 16,000 meal kits to the organization.

“We are pleased to partner with OppenheimerFunds to help those affected by recent hurricanes,” said Michael Garrett, CEO for Trusted World. “Each package assembled during the firm’s Distribution Symposium can help families by providing them with six nutritionally complete meals."

Attendees also supported Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Dallas by assembling 60 Robotics IQ Kits for use in their Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics program. In addition, the firm donated 115 Robotics IQ Kits to the organization.

“Math literacy is a crucial skill for our Club members to develop throughout their education,” said Charles English, President & CEO of Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Dallas. “The school supplies and robotics kits donated by OppenheimerFunds will help our clubs achieve this goal.”

To further support math literacy, OppenheimerFunds also partnered with WorldVision to host a SchoolTools event where conference attendees filled 200 backpacks with school supplies and personalized notes. The backpacks were donated to Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Dallas.

The firm’s corporate philanthropy and community initiatives include its 10,000 Kids by 2020 program, which aims to introduce 10,000 students to math literacy programs over the next few years through nonprofit partnerships and active employee volunteerism. The firm works closely with organizations including the National Museum of Mathematics, Boys & Girls Club, MATHSWORLDUK and Cross-Cultural Solutions, which provides impactful and sustainable service opportunities and skills based volunteer programs.

OppenheimerFunds is one of the world’s leading global asset managers, with nearly 2,000 employees and more than 170 investment professionals in offices including New York, Dallas, Denver, London, Rochester and Seattle. In 2012, OppenheimerFunds established its Dallas location through its acquisition of SteelPath, an innovator in developing midstream energy investment products as one of the first firms to market with MLP-focused open-end mutual funds.

OppenheimerFunds Distribution Symposium Volunteer Highlights





Amount Donated

January 2011

Dallas, TX

Dallas Children’s Hospital

Created murals for hospital walls


August 2011

Chicago, IL

Chicago Cares to benefit Woodson South Elementary School

Refurbished local school facilities


January 2012

Fort Worth, TX

USO Dallas

Assembled and donated backpacks for troops


August 2012

Salt Lake City, UT

Boys & Girls Club of Greater Salt Lake

Built and donated bicycles


January 2013

New York, NY

Breezy Point Relief Fund

Assembled and donated care packages


August 2013

Laguna Nigel, CA

Las Palmas Elementary School

Refurbished local school facilities


January 2014

Dallas, TX

Flood victims

Provided various types of assistance


August 2014

Washington, DC

Boys Town

Made campus improvements, organized donated items, created backpacks, repaired kitchen facilities


January 2015

Atlanta, GA

USO Council of Georgia

Gathered and donated care packages for troops


August 2015

San Diego, CA

Support the Enlisted Project (STEP)

Built 75 wheelchairs for donation


August 2015

San Diego, CA

Ronald McDonald House

Stuffed ~100 teddy bears for children


January 2016

Atlanta, GA

Hands On Atlanta

Assembled 600 snack packs and hygiene essential kits


July 2016

Boston, MA

Boston Cares

Constructed 30 toddler beds and packed 100 blankets and 100 superhero capes


January 2017

Atlanta, GA

Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro Atlanta

Assembled and donated 300 College Bound Care packages


August 2017

San Diego, CA

Operation Homefront

Created 400 baby care packages for local military families


August 2017

San Diego, CA

Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater San Diego

Helped build 20 model solar cars with children from Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater San Diego and donated 100 model solar car kits to the organization’s STEM program


January 2018

Dallas, TX

Trusted World

Attendees packed and donated 20,000 meal kits to be distributed to families recovering from recent natural disasters.


January 2018

Dallas, TX

Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Dallas

Assembled and donated 175 Robotics IQ Kits for the organization’s STEM program.




 #  #  #

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 December 29, 2017.

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 offerings, and is a signatory of the UN PRI. OppenheimerFunds and its subsidiaries offer a broad array of products and services to clients, who range from endowments and sovereigns 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

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.

Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption Names New Chair and Vice Chair

Wed, 01/10/2018 - 2:34pm

The Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption announced today that Mary Schell,  chief public affairs officer for The Wendy’s Company, has been elected as chair of its board of trustees. Todd Penegor, president and chief executive officer of The Wendy’s Company, has been elected vice chair.

Schell, who has been a member of the board since 2001, has been with The Wendy’s Company for more than 22 years. A graduate of Miami University of Ohio, she also serves on the boards of directors of National Council of Chain Restaurants at National Retail Federation, National Restaurant Association, Ohio Chamber of Commerce, Jo Ann Davidson Ohio Leadership Institute and Miami University Dolibois European Center.

“Mary’s commitment to the Foundation’s mission and the children and youth that we serve is both sincere and passionate,” said Rita Soronen, president & CEO of the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption. “Her service to the board has been instrumental to the Foundation’s success thus far and we look forward to her leadership into 2018.”

“I am honored to serve in this new capacity,” Schell said. “The Foundation has dedicated itself to focused, strategic growth in the coming years in order to fully achieve its mission of dramatically increasing adoptions from North America’s foster care systems. It is a privilege to serve at this critical time.”

Penegor, who has been a member of the board since 2016, has been with The Wendy’s Company since 2013 and the president and chief executive officer since 2016. Previously, he held several key leadership positions at the Kellogg Company, including vice president of Kellogg Company and president of U.S. Snacks. He is a graduate of Michigan State University and also serves on the Michigan State University Eli Broad College of Business financial advisory board.

“Todd’s deep organizational leadership experience and his commitment to financial stewardship are incredibly valuable to this board position,” Soronen said. “He also remains personally dedicated to the work that Dave Thomas started and actively contributes to carrying it forward.”

“It is a privilege to serve on this board,” Penegor said. “As the CEO of The Wendy’s Company, I can think of no better way to honor Dave Thomas’ legacy, than to serve in this role. All children deserve a loving home and a permanent family, and I’m honored to work with Rita and the entire board to achieve the critical and life-changing mission of the Foundation.”

The Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption, through its signature programs and strategic awareness efforts addresses the needs of children in foster care waiting to be adopted while driving adoptions for the longest waiting children. 

About us: The Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption is a national nonprofit public charity dedicated exclusively to finding permanent homes for the more than 150,000 children waiting in North America’s foster care systems. Created by Wendy’s® founder Dave Thomas who was adopted, the Foundation implements evidence-based, results-driven national service programs, foster care adoption awareness campaigns and innovative grantmaking. To learn more, visit davethomasfoundation.org or call 1-800-ASK-DTFA.

Leveraging Technology for Financial Wellness

Wed, 01/10/2018 - 11:34am

Join us for a webinar hosted by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation and supported by JPMorgan Chase & Co., where representatives from University of North Carolina Center for Community Capital and nonprofit Leaders in Financial Technology (nLIFT) will discuss the potential for technology innovation in the financial services sector – fintech – to increase financial inclusion in the United States.

"Leveraging Technology for Financial Wellness" will explore key trends in fintech investment and adoption – including barriers to adoption – among low- and moderate-income consumers, and the roles that financial institutions, fintech companies, and non-profit intermediaries can play in meeting the needs of underserved consumers.

The webinar will also feature new work from nLIFT around nonprofits leadership in fintech innovations to help facilitate financial inclusion. Register for the webinar today!

3 McKinney Capital & Advisory Team Members Join San Diego Chapter of Mona Foundation

Wed, 01/10/2018 - 8:34am

Late in the summer of 2017, McKinney Capital & Advisory partnered with Mona Foundation to host the Aloha Sunday Fundraiser at the San Diego Surf Polo Club. This event was the “coming out” party for the San Diego Chapter of Mona Foundation and was focused on providing those in attendance an opportunity to become better acquainted with the Foundation. With three members of the McKinney team now as members of the new San Diego Chapter (Lori McKinney, CFO; Nour-Dean Anakar, Director, International Business Development; and Diana Baker, Culture & Operations Manager), there are already talks of partnering for more exciting fundraising events for 2018.

Nour-Dean Anakar, current board director of the San Diego Chapter of Mona Foundation, shares, “I decided to support Mona Foundation any way I can because children’s education in underdeveloped countries is an essential building block for positive change. Mona has clearly demonstrated that through the Foundation’s support, global impact on access to education for young girls, and gender equality is undeniable.”

Lori McKinney was nominated to be the Treasurer of the San Diego Chapter of Mona Foundation in 2017. The most recent member to join Mona Foundation from McKinney, Diana Baker, was attracted to the Foundation initially based on what they stand for: that the key to alleviating global poverty and achieving sustained community transformation lies in universal education and gender equality . Diana truly connected with the Foundation because of the selflessness of its board members and advocates, the professionalism of the operations, and their vision for the future. She had been looking to join a philanthropic organization that she felt truly reflected her own values but also had the operational foundation to succeed. Having worked in start-ups in the past, Diana built a keen sense for what needs to be present in an organization to be successful and she saw all those attributes within Mona Foundation. As a member of the San Diego Chapter, Diana is enthusiastic about the future of the children of our world because she can see the impact the foundation has already had and will continue to have in the years to come.

About Mona Foundation:
Mona Foundation was founded in 1999 by a small group of people committed to making life better for all of our children. The Foundation supports grassroots educational initiatives that provide education to all children, increase opportunities for women and girls, and emphasize service to the community. Its goal is to alleviate global poverty and support community led transformation such that no child ever goes to bed hungry, is lost to preventable diseases, or is deprived of gift of education for lack of resources. 

About McKinney Capital & Advisory: 
McKinney Capital & Advisory is an all-in-one commercial real estate wealth management firm. We create opportunities for investors, companies, and owners to maximize their value and return on investment. Our mission is to inspire strategic transformation in our world through commercial real estate investments, brokerage, and asset management.

Speaker Proposals Now Being Accepted for COMMIT!Forum 2018: Brands Taking Stands – The Long View, Oct. 23-25 in Washington

Tue, 01/09/2018 - 8:32am

The Corporate Responsibility Association and CR Magazine are now accepting presenter proposals for the 2018 COMMIT!Forum conference to be held at MGM National Harbor Oct. 23-25. Submission deadline is March 15.

The theme for COMMIT!Forum 2018 (http://www.commitforum.com) is “Brands Taking Stands -- The Long View,” focusing on strategies adopted by the many companies now looking past short-term, quarterly, share-boosting practices that long have dominated corporate culture.  

“Corporate responsibility practitioners are well positioned as companies build for the future, but there is an acute need for peer-to-peer support, research and practical tools to emphasize an environmental, social and governance (ESG) agenda amid relentless pressure from shareholders to to prioritize profit today,” said Dave Armon, CEO of the Corporate Responsibility Board, which publishes CR Magazine, manages the Corporate Responsibility Association and produces COMMIT!Forum.

Proposals from prospective speakers, presenters, panelists and other thought leaders should be completed via the COMMIT!Forum site or emailed to info@crboard.com for review. Access the Presenter Prospectus hereSubmissions are due by March 15.

Key themes for COMMIT!Forum 2018 conference include:

– Corporate Responsibility No Longer Optional: Best-in-Class Innovation and Business Practices
– Leadership Requirements: The Corporate Vision, Voice and Influence
– Tilting on the Fulcrum: Balancing Short Termism with the Long View
– Corporate Responsibility Brand vs. Corporate Brand
– From Measurement to Meaning: The Timestamp of Corporate Responsibility Outcomes
– Emerging Issues & Emerging Voices
– Connective Issues: A Focus on the Issues Companies Face Regardless of Industry or Sector

COMMIT!Forum will feature two days of dynamic and engaging speakers, panelists, conversations and interviews. In addition, many presenters will use the conference to announce new corporate initiatives or release significant research findings on corporate responsibility, talent acquisition, progress toward the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and more. Conference attendees bring an array of corporate responsibility experience and expertise as they seek to learn and engage. To maximize the audience experience, the conference agenda will be fast paced and designed to cover a variety of topics and issues.

A key feature of COMMIT!Forum is the Awards and Recognition Dinner where recipients of the Responsible CEO of the Year Awards will be announced. Nominations for this prestigious award may be submitted here.

We welcome submissions by CEOs, CR practitioners and senior leaders on topics related to Brands Taking Stands. If your proposal is accepted, COMMIT!Forum’s executive producer will work with prospective presenters to identify where topic fits into the agenda and how to best showcase content at the conference, whether a main stage panel discussion, one-on-one interview, “issue table,” break-out session or other format.

View the Presenter Prospectus here. Submissions are due by March 15.

About COMMIT!Forum

Corporate Responsibility Board publishes CR Magazine, manages the Corporate Responsibility Association and produces COMMIT!Forum. The company is a unit of 3BL Media of Northampton, Mass., formed in 2009 to serve corporations, nonprofits, NGOs and service providers active in corporate citizenship and sustainability initiatives. In addition to the 3BL Media news and content distribution platform, the company also operates TriplePundit, CSRwire, Ethical Performance, Justmeans, ReportAlert and Social Earth.

Under CEO Armon, the Corporate Responsibility Board team also includes Lynne Filderman, SVP, Business Integration + Strategic Partnerships and Executive Producer of COMMIT!Forum; John Howell, VP Content for CRA; Jen Boynton, Editor-in-Chief, CR Magazine; Craig Rossein, Business Development Director; and Margie Kuchinski, Events and Marketing Manager.

Financing the SDGs

Tue, 01/09/2018 - 8:32am

The green bond market is worth $100bn, but $1trn is needed to fund the low-energy transition by 2020. Ethical Corporation recently commissioned a briefing into the growing state of green finance, which goes into depth on the important role it has to play in tackling climate change and assesses what it will take to move the global financial system on to a more sustainable footing.

Click here to download the complimentary briefing

Key themes of the briefing include:

  • What needs to be done for green finance to go mainstream

  • How fintech is financing the SDGs

  • Innovating to make an impact – green finance disruptors

  • Turning risk into climate rewards for developing countries

  • The role forests have to play in limiting climate change and the lack of current funding to end deforestation

Click here to download the complimentary briefing

Smithfield Foods Achieves Industry-Leading Animal Care Commitment, Unveils New Virtual Reality Video of Its Group Housing Systems

Mon, 01/08/2018 - 11:31am

Smithfield Foods, Inc. is proud to announce that it has fulfilled its industry-leading commitment of providing group housing systems for pregnant sows on all company-owned farms in the United States. Smithfield also released a 360-degree, virtual reality video that transports viewers to a company sow farm. The video can be viewed at SmithfieldFoods360.com.

“Smithfield’s leadership in animal care is reflected in today’s landmark announcement,” said Kenneth M. Sullivan, president and chief executive officer of Smithfield Foods. “Achieving this goal is a testament to the fact that, at Smithfield, we keep our promises. We stand committed to continue leading the industry in both animal care and transparency.”

In 2007, Smithfield became the first company to commit to group housing systems. Since then, the company has invested more than $360 million to complete the transition.

In addition to the efforts on U.S. company-owned farms, Smithfield recommends that all of its contract sow growers in the United States transition to group housing by the end of 2022. Smithfield is providing guidance and expertise to contract growers when requested to help them through the conversion process.

Worldwide, Smithfield has pledged to convert all company sow farms by 2022. Operations in Poland and Romania have already completed their conversions to group housing systems, and Smithfield’s joint ventures in Mexico are currently working toward the 2022 goal.

For more information on sow housing at Smithfield, please visit smithfieldfoods.com/sowhousing.

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.


Schwarzman College Awarded LEED Gold Certification

Mon, 01/08/2018 - 8:31am

Schwarzman College is pleased to announce the award of LEED Gold certification (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) under the LEED-New Construction system, a globally recognized symbol of sustainability achievement. The system provides a framework to create healthy, highly efficient and cost-saving green buildings.

Set on the campus of Tsinghua University, one of China’s most prestigious universities, Schwarzman College opened its doors with the inaugural class of Schwarzman Scholars in 2016. Designed by Robert A.M. Stern Architects, the 200,000 square foot campus houses one of the most advanced higher-education facilities in the world and is one of the first LEED Gold–certified academic buildings in China.

“While creating the program, it was important that the building of Schwarzman College be a representation of the innovation and positive global impact that the program as a whole will have for the future,” said Stephen A. Schwarzman, Founding Trustee of Schwarzman Scholars. 

With support of the USGBC (U.S. Green Building Council), a non-profit organization that promotes sustainability in building design, construction and operation, Schwarzman College joins the more than 1,000 LEED-certified buildings in Greater China.

“LEED is a transformative tool that ensures a building is designed and operating to achieve high performance in key areas of human and environmental health while enhancing the triple bottom line - people, planet and profit,” said Mahesh Ramanujam, president and CEO, USGBC. “By prioritizing sustainability, Schwarzman College is leading the way in global excellence and performance improvement, and helping USGBC continue toward our vision of a sustainable built environment within a generation.”

The College has also committed to RESET Certified air quality monitoring, which uses a cloud-based tool focused on health and regeneration to provide accurate metrics regarding the performance of indoor air filtration. RESET makes air quality data easily available to all occupants of the building.

“The Schwarzman Scholars Program provides an advanced educational experience in a building with exceptionally good indoor air quality, designed to optimize the health and performance of scholars” said Raefer Wallis, Founder of RESET. “Achieving RESET Certification ensures scholars have access to accurate, up to date data on both indoor and outdoor air quality, and, ensures that the building’s high-efficiency filtration system continues to perform over time.”

To ensure the success of Schwarzman College LEED and RESET commitments, Schneider Electric, a leading provider of energy management, generously contributed HVAC and control equipment critical to achieving exemplary performance.

About Schwarzman Scholars:

Schwarzman Scholars was inspired by the Rhodes Scholarship, which was founded in 1902 to promote international understanding and peace, and is designed to meet the challenges of the 21st century and beyond. Blackstone Co-Founder Stephen A. Schwarzman personally contributed over $100 million to the program and is leading a fundraising campaign to raise an additional $500 million from others to endow the program in perpetuity. Schwarzman Scholars has already raised $516 million towards this $600 million goal. The endowment will support up to 200 Scholars annually from the U.S., China and around the world for a one-year Master’s Degree program at Tsinghua University in Beijing. Scholars chosen for this highly selective program have demonstrated exemplary leadership qualities and their potential to bridge and understand cultural and political differences. They will live in Beijing for a year of study and cultural immersion, attending lectures, traveling, and developing a better understanding of China. Learn more at www.schwarzmanscholars.org, like us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/SchwarzmanScholars and follow us on Twitter at @SchwarzmanOrg.

Media Contact:
Christine Anderson
(o) +1 646-313-6500
(m) +1 917-697-8795

AmerisourceBergen Foundation Launches Municipal Support Program to Help Combat Opioid Abuse

Fri, 01/05/2018 - 2:23pm

The AmerisourceBergen Foundation today announced the launch of a municipal support program that aims to promote the safe disposal of opioids by providing communities nationwide with resources to deactivate expired or unused prescription medications. 

As part of the program, the AmerisourceBergen Foundation – a not-for-profit charitable organization focused on supporting health-related causes that enrich the global community and the philanthropic arm of AmerisourceBergen Corporation – will distribute drug deactivation resources to municipalities that are actively working to prevent opioid abuse and misuse. The disposable resources use a new technology, which – when combined with water – effectively deactivate opioids, rendering them ineffective for misuse and providing a safe solution for site-of-use disposal. 

“The epidemic of opioid abuse demands action, attention and a collaborative approach. The safe disposal of unused prescription medications is a critical component in combating the issue, as it reduces the risk for misuse, abuse and diversion,” said Gina Clark, President of the AmerisourceBergen Foundation who is also Executive Vice President and Chief Communications & Administration Officer at AmerisourceBergen. “At AmerisourceBergen and the AmerisourceBergen Foundation, we are united in our responsibility to create healthier futures. Through this program, we will provide communities with the resources needed to deactivate prescription medications in a safe and effective manner, and help advance their efforts to prevent opioid abuse.” 

As a global healthcare solutions leader, AmerisourceBergen plays a critical role in the pharmaceutical supply chain, working as a link between manufacturers and healthcare providers to help ensure patients have access to the medications they need, when they need them. 

In order to support the Foundation’s new program, AmerisourceBergen will leverage its network of distribution centers to provide communities across the country with access to the drug deactivation resources.

Municipal entities that are interested in applying for the drug deactivation resources or learning more about the program can visit the AmerisourceBergen Foundation website at: www.amerisourcebergenfoundation.org

About the AmerisourceBergen Foundation

Established in 2014, the AmerisourceBergen Foundation focuses on health and wellbeing initiatives that improve patient outcomes including pharmaceutical accessibility programs, pharmaceutical adherence programs and health improvement research. The Foundation aims to enhance healthcare delivery and improve access. The AmerisourceBergen Foundation is a separate not-for-profit charitable organization distinct from AmerisourceBergen Corporation. For more information on the AmerisourceBergen Foundation, visit: www.amerisourcebergenfoundation.org.

About AmerisourceBergen

AmerisourceBergen provides pharmaceutical products, value-driving services and business solutions that improve access to care. Tens of thousands of healthcare providers, veterinary practices and livestock producers trust us as their partner in the pharmaceutical supply chain. Global manufacturers depend on us for services that drive commercial success for their products. Through our daily work—and powered by our 20,000 associates—we are united in our responsibility to create healthier futures. AmerisourceBergen is ranked #11 on the Fortune 500, with more than $150 billion in annual revenue. The company is headquartered in Valley Forge, Pa. and has a presence in 50+ countries. Learn more at amerisourcebergen.com.

2018 World Changing Women’s Summit

Fri, 01/05/2018 - 11:23am

Conscious Company Media’s inaugural World-Changing Women’s Summit will be a powerful gathering of female professionals who are passionate about using business as a force for good in the world. This first-of-its-kind gathering will bring together female CEOs, founders, entrepreneurs, executives, investors, thought leaders, and more to move the needle on how we as a society can encourage more women in positions of power to have a positive impact. The event will be designed to facilitate intimate peer-to-peer connection, deep-dive discussions, and raw, intergenerational conversations that will educate and inspire attendees to do more through their work.

Conversation topics will include:

  • Developing yourself as a truly authentic, conscious leader

  • Scaling your company while both staying sane and true to your values

  • Bringing more purpose into your work

  • Developing thriving and inclusive cultures at work

  • Best practices for raising capital

  • Tools for resilience in the face of challenging circumstances

  • Creating more impact in the world

Who will attend?
The Summit is open to any woman or gender non-conforming person who identifies as a change agent and leader in her/their community, especially founders, CEOs, executives, investors, and intrapreneurs involved with conscious businesses.

Why is it different?
This event will acknowledge growing evidence that supports the importance of rest and rejuvenation. 1440 Multiversity is located deep in the redwoods and built around the notion of self-care in concert with connection and growth. Their gourmet kitchen focuses on healthy, nutrient-rich meals, and a program of yoga, meditation, art, and massage will be available to all summit attendees.

Top Seven Reasons To Attend:

  1. Connection: Connect deeply with like-minded peers in a safe space

  2. Support: Discover the support that you need to take on the challenges that you’re facing and have the opportunity to support others who are equally challenged

  3. Rejuvenation: Find the space to rejuvenate in a restorative environment with on-site yoga, fitness and wellness centers

  4. Inspiration: Hear new, inspirational ideas to help you breakthrough old patterns of thinking and behavior

  5. Education: Learn about new resources, best practices, and key insights from the best and brightest in the field

  6. Elevation: Elevate your capacity to lead and take your business or role to the next level

  7. Food: No seriously, the food at 1440 is extraordinary.

More information on speakers, content, and agenda can be found at: https://consciouscompanymedia.com/womens-summit. We’re happy to extend a 30% discount to the CSR community, and look forward to seeing you at the Summit!

2018 International Women's Day Forum

Thu, 01/04/2018 - 2:22pm

Our eighth annual International Women's Day Forum, Partner With Purpose: Business for Gender Equality, hosted by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation and the U.S. Department of State, will gather the business community, civil society, and government representatives to advance women’s and girls’ empowerment around the globe.

Achieving full gender equality means overcoming a host of complex issues, including many institutional and societal barriers that prevent progress. Tackling these challenges will require creativity and innovation from across sectors.

This year’s forum will focus on how private and public stakeholders can combine their resources, skills, and expertise for greater sustainability and impact. Equality is in reach, but will only be realized through collaboration.

Join more than 300 stakeholders March 6-7, 2018 at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in Washington, DC and share how you’re working to achieve gender equality in the workplace, marketplace, and community.

This year's annual International Women's Day Forum topics will include:

• Workforce and Skills Development

• Leadership, Diversity, and Inclusion

• Entrepreneurship and Value Chain


• Women in Tech

• The Digital Divide

• Financial Inclusion and Access to Capital

• Women’s Health

• Girls’ Education

• The Care Economy

• Gender-Based Violence

• Gender Data

• Building Capacity of Displaced Girls and Women

• And more!

Learn more and register with early bird pricing between now and February 2!

Consumers Energy Starts Operations of Cross Winds® Energy Park II in Michigan’s Thumb

Thu, 01/04/2018 - 2:22pm

Consumers Energy announced today that Cross Winds® Energy Park II in Tuscola County’s Columbia Township began serving customers and contributing 44 megawatts of renewable energy in Michigan.

“With excitement and pride, we have ‘flipped the switch’ for Phase II of our Cross Winds Energy Park to meet more of Michigan’s demand for energy with renewable wind energy, a clean source that benefits the entire state. The project also firmly supports Consumers Energy’s goal of fulfilling our triple bottom line of people, planet and profits,” said Dennis Dobbs, Consumers Energy’s vice president of enterprise project management, engineering and services.

“I am extremely thankful to the residents and elected officials who welcomed our investment in their community, and I’m especially pleased to announce the project was completed with zero safety incidents.” 

The $90 million Cross Winds Phase II employed 250 workers during construction. Its 44-megawatt capacity is enough to serve about 17,000 residents. 

The project went operational on schedule six months after its groundbreaking and three weeks after Newsweek gave Consumers Energy the top score for Michigan companies in its annual “Green Rankings.”

Cross Winds Energy Park Phase II project is: 

  • Part of a total investment of $345 million comprised of 81 wind turbines in total – including the first phase of Cross Winds – and can produce up to 155 megawatts of renewable energy, enough to serve about 60,000 residents.

  • Helping Consumers Energy meet the needs of large businesses that choose to go 100 percent renewable.

  • Contributing to Consumers Energy’s commitment to add $5 billion into the state’s economy over five years through Pure Michigan Business Connect by buying goods and services from Michigan companies.

Consumers Energy worked with lead contractor White Construction to construct the 19 turbines that are 499 feet tall and make up Phase II of Cross Winds Energy Park.  

Phase III plans have been approved for Consumers Energy’s Cross Winds Energy Park by Columbia and Akron townships. This final phase of the park is expected to go into commercial operation in 2020. Phase I of the energy park began operations in 2014.

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

Brian Wheeler, 517-740-1545, or Katie Carey, 517-740-1739

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/

This news release contains “forward-looking statements.” The forward-looking statements are subject to risks and uncertainties that could cause Consumers Energy's results to differ materially. All forward-looking statements should be considered in the context of the risk and other factors detailed from time to time in Consumers Energy's Securities and Exchange Commission filings.

‘Listen Learn Care Foundation’ Unveiled As New Name of Former Office Depot Foundation

Thu, 01/04/2018 - 2:22pm

The independent Office Depot Foundation, which for more than two decades has served the global community with its charitable giving, has a new name:  the Listen Learn Care Foundation.

Foundation President Mary Wong announced the new Foundation name today, emphasizing that the Listen Learn Care Foundation will continue with the mission and activities that Wong and the Foundation have built for more than 20 years with the generous support of its many donors.

“We are excited to launch the Listen Learn Care Foundation name, which will carry on the legacy and traditions of the Office Depot Foundation, but will no longer be linked to the Office Depot company,” Wong said.  “We are continuing with business as usual and will be reaching out to the community for support in the weeks and months ahead and look forward to an enthusiastic response.”

Wong noted that the Listen Learn Care Foundation’s signature programs will continue under its new name.  These include:

The Foundation’s National Backpack Program will continue in 2018.  It will mark the 18th year of the program, which began in 2001 and has donated more than 4 million backpacks and sackpacks to deserving children since that time. The Foundation also plans to expand its current program of filling these same sackpacks with food so these children do not go hungry when not in school.

The Difference Makers Leadership Forum (formerly known as Weekend in Boca) will take place on March 22 and 23, 2018, at the Old School Square Center for the Arts in Delray Beach.

The Listen Learn Care Foundation Women’s Symposium is scheduled for May 3 and 4, 2018, at the Seminole Casino Coconut Creek.

The Foundation’s Difference Maker Movement, which was launched earlier this year, will continue to enroll members in the Difference Maker! Network, which entitles them to a variety of special benefits and programs. 

Randy Pianin, Chair of the Foundation’s Board of Directors, noted that the Board and organizational structure of the Foundation remain stronger than ever.  “We are thrilled to introduce our new name to our partners and friends in the community.  The Board enthusiastically supports the Foundation and its President, Mary Wong.  We look forward to charting a course for an exciting future.”

Foundation partners applauded the Listen Learn Care Foundation’s new name. “We look forward to continuing our partnership with the newly named Listen Learn Care Foundation, working together to serve children, families and communities across the country,” said Jody Thomas, Executive Director of the National Foundation for Women Legislators.

The Listen Learn Care Foundation’s new headquarters are at 7700 Congress Ave., Suite 1111, Boca Raton, FL 33437.  It can be reached by phone at 561-922-6951.

The Foundation’s website is www.listenlearncare.org.  It can be found on Facebook at www.facebook.com/ListenLearnCareFoundation/, on Twitter as @ListenLearnCare, on Instagram as ListenLearnCareFoundation and on LinkedIn at https://www.linkedin.com/company/listen-learn-care/.  The Foundation’s YouTube channel can be found at www.youtube.com/user/ODFListenLearnCare.

About the Listen Learn Care Foundation

The Foundation has applied for a name change with the IRS and remains an independent foundation − tax exempt under IRC Sec. 501(c)(3). In keeping with its mission, Listen Learn Care®, the Foundation supports a variety of programs that give children tools to succeed in school and in life; build the capacity of nonprofit organizations through collaboration and innovation; help women succeed in business; and help communities prepare for disasters, as well as recover and rebuild afterwards.  For more information, visit www.listenlearncare.org.

UNFCU Foundation Announces 2018 Grant Recipients

Thu, 01/04/2018 - 11:22am

UNFCU Foundation announced today that it has given grants to 13 organizations that align with its mission to sustain a path out of poverty through education and healthcare for women and children in developing countries and disadvantaged communities in the United States. In addition to the 11 causes supported in 2017, UNFCU Foundation selected The BOMA Project and Women for Women International as grantees in 2018.

“Our 2018 grantees have made remarkable progress in reducing extreme poverty and gaps in inequality,” said Pamela Agnone, president and director of the UNFCU Foundation.  “We look forward to further expanding their impact in the year ahead, so we can empower more women and youth to break the cycle of poverty in their communities.”

The organizations and projects supported by UNFCU Foundation in 2018 are:

  • Batey Relief Alliance, providing job skills training and health services to lift families out of extreme poverty in the Dominican Republic
  • The BOMA Project, providing financial, business, and life skills training for ultra-poor women in Northern Kenya so they can support themselves and their families
  • The Floating Hospital specialized psychological services, counseling, and job mentoring for women suffering domestic abuse in New York’s inner city
  • Keep a Child Alive program for HIV/AIDS-affected families in the Namuwongo province of Kampala, Uganda
  • Trickle Up initiative to help indigenous women in Guatemala start their own small businesses
  • UN Foundation Girl Up campaign to provide educational, economic, and life skills training for girls in Guatemala
  • Women for Women International, teaching poor women living in conflict areas in Nigeria how to build and manage savings groups to support their micro-businesses

About UNFCU Foundation

UNFCU Foundation is a New York-based, non-profit corporation established by the United Nations Federal Credit Union (UNFCU) with a mission to sustain the path out of poverty through healthcare and education for women and children. Since its launch in 2015, the Foundation has benefitted more than 15,000 women and youth across nine countries through the provision of access to critical healthcare, basic education, and livelihoods training. To learn more, follow UNFCU Foundation’s progress on YouTube, on Twitter at @UNFCUFoundation, and on Facebook at facebook.com/unfcufoundation.

Stowe Beam Named SCS Global Services’ Vice President of Environmental Certification Services

Wed, 01/03/2018 - 2:21pm
SCS Global Services (SCS) is pleased to announce that Mr. Stowe Beam has been promoted to Vice President of the company’s Environmental Certification Services division. In this role, he will oversee the operations of the division, which manages a wide range of pioneering and internationally recognized third-party certification programs and services for the green building, furniture, energy, life cycle assessment, apparel, consumer products, and mineral extraction industries. In addition, Stowe is joining the SCS Executive Team, which provides strategic oversight for the company’s broader environmental and sustainability auditing, certification and consulting services.

Stowe has been with SCS for more than a decade. Hired initially to conduct field auditing, he has advanced rapidly to assume positions of increasing leadership within the company, including program management, new technology development, and corporate business development.

“Stowe is an extremely gifted individual, capable of undertaking any task, no matter the technical difficulty... READ MORE

Video: Green Building Certification at SCS Global Services

Video: AGRION Interviews Stowe Beam of SCS Global Services

Video: Presidio Commencement Speech: Stowe Beam, MBA

Contact Stowe Beam at sbeam@scsglobalservices.com or +1.704.604.2668.

National Grid to Present the “Not Impossible Ignition Award” to OffGridBox

Wed, 01/03/2018 - 2:21pm

 National Grid will recognize OffGridBox with the “Not Impossible Ignition Award” at CES® (Consumer Electronics Show) in Las Vegas on January 11, 2018. The Not Impossible Awards celebrate the work and stories of people who exemplify innovation in technology. OffGridBox is a modular, compact unit that provides renewable energy and treated water in off-the-grid areas. They will be one of five recipients to receive the award and the only business recognized for their strides in the energy industry.

“OffGridBox is doing impressive work [through their power grid backup and rural electrification projects] around the world to ensure sustainable, reliable electricity,” said Dean Seavers, US President, National Grid. “We share similar core values and are proud to support an organization [finding innovative ways] to improve lives and do the right thing.”

Each Not Impossible Award winner will receive mentorship and resources to incubate and accelerate their work. They will also have access to strategic partnerships across the Not Impossible network comprised of leaders from a diverse group of industries and backgrounds.

“We are honored to receive this award from Not Impossible and National Grid,” said Emiliano Cecchini, Founder and CEO, OffGridBox. “OffGridBox and National Grid have similar missions to deliver access to cleaner energy in an affordable way. At OffGridBox, we are dedicated to finding innovative means of providing basic services like connectivity and clean water to the billions of people who need them and we are thrilled to receive support from likeminded organizations.”

To learn more about the Not Impossible Award ceremony and other honorees, please visit: http://www.notimpossible.com/awards.

About National Grid

National Grid (LSE: NG; NYSE: NGG) is an electricity, natural gas, and clean energy delivery company that supplies the energy for more than 20 million people through its networks in New York, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island. It is the largest distributor of natural gas in the Northeast. National Grid also operates the systems that deliver gas and electricity across Great Britain. 

National Grid is transforming its electricity and natural gas networks to support the 21st century digital economy with smarter, cleaner, and more resilient energy solutions. Read more about the innovative projects happening across our footprint in The Democratization of Energy, an eBook written by National Grid’s US president, Dean Seavers. 

For more information please visit our website. You can also follow us on Twitter, watch us on YouTube, friend us on Facebook, find our photos on Instagram.

CONTACT: Media Relations – 781-907-3980

A Peek Under the Package: Disruptive Technology Innovations Changing the Future of Sustainable Packaging

Wed, 01/03/2018 - 2:21pm

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation Corporate Citizenship Center, in partnership with Tetra Pak Inc., is hosting a “peek under the package” webinar exploring the future of sustainable packaging. Panelists will discuss emerging and future technologies and innovations across the life cycle related to sustainable packaging – including materials, products and applications – that have the potential to disrupt the fast-moving consumer goods and packaging industries. Panelists will also discuss how to bring consumers along as new strategies and innovations are adopted as part of securing a resource abundant future.

Register here: https://www.uschamberfoundation.org/event/peek-under-package-disruptive-technology-innovations-changing-future-sustainable-packaging