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OppenheimerFunds Supports Atlanta Community During Distribution Symposium

Wed, 01/09/2019 - 10:57am

OppenheimerFunds, a leading asset manager, supported the local community in Atlanta this week during the firm’s Distribution Symposium, a semi-annual conference for more than 250 members of the firm’s Distribution team. In partnership with Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro Atlanta, employees assembled supplies that support the organization’s arts, teen services, healthy lifestyles and learning center programs. OppenheimerFunds also provided the organization with a $60,000 grant.

“2019 marks OppenheimerFunds’ 60th year and in recognition of that milestone, we are delighted to make a $60,000 contribution to the Boys & Girls Club of Metro Atlanta,” said John McDonough, Head of Distribution and Marketing at OppenheimerFunds. “It is organizations such as the Boys and Girls Clubs and many diverse nonprofits with whom we work that make such an impact across the communities where our employees and clients live and work.” 

“The generous grant provided by OppenheimerFunds will allow the Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro Atlanta to continue programs that help prepare and inspire children in Atlanta for a better future,” said Nicole Pietro, Senior Vice President for Resource Development and Marketing, Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro Atlanta. “The supplies donated by the firm will support crucial programs that benefit the nearly 3,000 children served by our 24 clubs across the region.”

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

 

OppenheimerFunds Distribution Symposium Volunteer Highlights

Date

Location

Organization

Activity

Amount Donated

January 2011

Dallas, TX

Dallas Children’s Hospital

Created murals for hospital walls

$10,000

August 2011

Chicago, IL

Chicago Cares to benefit Woodson South Elementary School

Refurbished local school facilities

$10,000

January 2012

Fort Worth, TX

USO Dallas

Assembled and donated backpacks for troops

$10,000

August 2012

Salt Lake City, UT

Boys & Girls Club of Greater Salt Lake

Built and donated bicycles

$10,000

January 2013

New York, NY

Breezy Point Relief Fund

Assembled and donated care packages

$10,000

August 2013

Laguna Nigel, CA

Las Palmas Elementary School

Refurbished local school facilities

$10,000

January 2014

Dallas, TX

Flood victims

Provided various types of assistance

$10,000

August 2014

Washington, DC

Boys Town

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

$10,000

January 2015

Atlanta, GA

USO Council of Georgia

Gathered and donated care packages for troops

$10,000

August 2015

San Diego, CA

Support the Enlisted Project (STEP)

Built 75 wheelchairs for donation

$10,000

August 2015

San Diego, CA

Ronald McDonald House

Stuffed ~100 teddy bears for children

$10,000

January 2016

Atlanta, GA

Hands On Atlanta

Assembled 600 snack packs and hygiene essential kits

$10,000

July 2016

Boston, MA

Boston Cares

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

$10,000

January 2017

Atlanta, GA

Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro Atlanta

Assembled and donated 300 College Bound Care packages

$10,000

August 2017

San Diego, CA

Operation Homefront

Created 400 baby care packages for local military families

$10,000

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

$10,000

January 2018

Dallas, TX

Trusted World

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

$10,000

January 2018

Dallas, TX

Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Dallas

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

 

$10,000

July 2018

Chicago, Illinois

Boys & Girls Clubs of Chicago

Assembled and donated 800 backpacks filled with school supplies

$10,000

July 2018

Chicago, Illinois

Cradles to Crayons

Assembled and donated 400 infant clothing packages and 3,000 hat and glove packages

$10,000

January 2019

Atlanta, GA

Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro Atlanta

Assembled and donated 320 bins filled with 3,500 items for the organization’s arts, teen services, healthy lifestyles and learning center programs

$60,000


 #  #  # 

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 $213 billion in assets for over 13 million shareholder accounts, including sub-accounts, as of December 31, 2018.

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

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

About Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro Atlanta 

Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro Atlanta’s mission is to save and change the lives of children and teens, especially those who need us most, by providing a safe, positive and engaging environment and programs that prepare and inspire them to achieve Great Futures. Through 20+ Clubs in 10 metro counties, trained and professional staff serve nearly 3,000 youth (ages 6-18) daily through programs that foster academic success, healthy lifestyles and character and leadership development. BGCMA also oversees Camp Kiwanis, a 160-acre outdoor residence camp. While the cost to effectively serve those who need us most is approximately $5,700 per member, families are asked to pay between $60 and $135 per child each year based on income; and no child is turned away due to inability to pay. For more information, please visit www.bgcma.org.

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
© 2019 OppenheimerFunds Distributor, Inc. All rights reserved.

Consumers Energy Provides $10 Million to Help Families in Michigan With Winter Heating Bills

Wed, 01/09/2019 - 10:57am

Consumers Energy announced today that it has now contributed $10 million to help customers in need to pay their energy bills -- part of the energy provider’s ongoing efforts this winter to help Michigan residents stay safe and warm.

“Our Triple Bottom Line commitment to people, the planet and Michigan’s prosperity means that we’re looking out for the people we serve, particularly those who face hardship,” said Patti Poppe, Consumers Energy’s president and chief executive officer. “We’re pleased that we can provide help for thousands of Michigan families to ensure they have the power they need during another cold winter.”

Consumers Energy provided $8 million to help eligible customers with energy bills in December, in addition to a $2 million contribution in October.

Together, the money will help up to 7,000 households enter Consumers Energy’s CARE program or facilitate them receiving additional aid to pay energy bills. The CARE program allows customers to get on a path to self-sufficiency by providing an affordable payment plan with monthly credits and gradual forgiveness of past-due balances to reward on-time payments. Participants also qualify for energy-saving tools, including free in-home energy efficiency upgrades.

The company has been sharing information with customers this winter about how to reduce energy use and find available assistance in their communities to help with bills. Natural gas use for Consumers Energy’s residential customers was more than 20 percent higher in November 2018, compared to the previous year, due to colder-than-normal temperatures.

Consumers Energy encourages people who are facing hardship with energy bills or other needs to call 2-1-1, a free service in all Michigan counties that connects people with resources to help in their community.

Those who call 2-1-1 can be referred to one of the eight nonprofit organizations that are receiving the $10 million of financial support from Consumers Energy. They are United Way of Jackson County, TrueNorth Community Services, The Salvation Army, The Heat and Warmth Fund (THAW), Michigan Community Action Agency, The Society of St. Vincent de Paul in the Archdiocese of Detroit, United Way for Southeastern Michigan, and Michigan Veterans Trust Fund.

“We want the people who we serve – our friends and neighbors – to know help is available now,” Poppe said.

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.

Need help paying your bill?

CALL 2-1-1: Dial 2-1-1 first to find out what resources are available in your community. Learn more at www.mi211.org.

CONSUMERS ENERGY: Learn about Consumers Energy’s CARE program: www.ConsumersEnergy.com/CARE

# # #

Media Contacts: Brian Wheeler, 517-788-2394, or Debra Dodd, 517-545-8711

About Consumers Energy
Consumers Energy is one of the nation's largest combination utilities, providing electricity and/or natural gas to 6.7 million of Michigan's 10 million residents, in all 68 Lower Peninsula counties.

Check out Consumers Energy on Social Media Facebook | Twitter YouTube

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

Medtronic Foundation Recognizes 12 Bakken Invitation Honorees for Driving Positive Change in Healthcare

Wed, 01/09/2019 - 10:57am
The Medtronic Foundation today announced 12 individuals from around the world as recipients of the 2018 Bakken Invitation. This Medtronic Foundation program recognizes and connects people who “live on, give on and dream on” through their advocacy, contributions to innovation and volunteerism after overcoming health challenges with the help of medical technology.   Named after the late Earl Bakken, who understood the impact of medical technology on his own life and its ability to give years of “extra life” to a variety of philanthropic efforts, the Bakken Invitation was launched six years ago to connect empowered patients who affect social change, transform healthcare and inspire others. The 2018 honorees will convene today in Hawaii, Earl’s home in recent years for five days of inspiring workshops. During the multi-day retreat, they will receive leadership skills training, connect and share ideas with other like-minded individuals and be recognized for their achievements by the Medtronic Foundation.   This year’s recipients are from 12 different countries and represent multiple diseases and medical conditions. The 2018 honorees include:
  • Eduardo Caminada Jr., Brazil

  • Giovanna Campioni, Italy

  • Candice Coghlan, Canada

  • Amber Huett-Garcia, United States

  • Komal Kanitkar, India

  • Christine Katusiime, Uganda

  • George Kwayu, Tanzania

  • YongWoo Lee, South Korea

  • Roland Malkin, United Kingdom

  • Ashley Ng, Australia 

  • Raican Dan Stoian, Romania

  • Rui Zhang, China

“I’m honored to participate in the Bakken Invitation as I believe in its mission to affect positive social change – only through collaborations such as these can we continue to make important strides forward,” said recipient Eduardo Caminada Jr. “Every day, I see the ways public education and awareness activities can make a difference not only in the minds of individuals to reduce stigma surrounding a disease, but also in influencing government and policy stakeholders.”   “The Bakken Invitation is just one example of how the Medtronic Foundation is empowering patients and elevating their perspectives and experiences,” said Paurvi Bhatt, Medtronic Foundation president. “We recognize that positive change in healthcare is only possible when the powerful insight, influence and skills of patients is put into action. That’s why we’re proud to equip these patients with tools to catalyze their work as leaders and further position them to transform healthcare in meaningful and sustainable ways for years to come.”   Learn more about the 2018 honorees at http://www.foundation.medtronic.com/us-en/index/civic-engagement/bakken-home-page.html and see highlights during the event on the Medtronic Foundation’s Facebook and Twitter.   About the Bakken Invitation The Bakken Invitation furthers the community-minded vision of the late Medtronic co-founder Earl Bakken. Bakken had a pacemaker, insulin pump and several heart stents, which he says gave him years of “extra life” to continue his community involvement. He regularly asked medical technology recipients, “What are you doing with your extra life?”   Since its inception in 2013, the Bakken Invitation has honored more than 70 individuals and invested approximately $1 million to support their work across the globe.   About the Medtronic Foundation Medtronic plc is the sole funder of Medtronic Foundation, whose focus is on expanding access to quality chronic disease care among underserved populations worldwide, as well as supporting health initiatives in communities where Medtronic employees live and give.    For more information please visit www.medtronic.com/foundation

Chevron Blasted for Trying to Seize Computer and Cell Phone of Prominent U.S. Environmental and Human Rights Activist

Tue, 01/08/2019 - 1:54pm

Chevron CEO Michael Wirth has launched a highly unusual campaign by the company to seize the computer, cell phone and passwords of prominent American human rights and environmental advocate Steven Donziger after he helped Indigenous groups and farmer communities win a historic $12 billion environmental judgment against the company. 

The latest move by Chevron comes at a time when Wirth has been subject to withering criticism by numerous institutional shareholders and environmental groups over his mishandling of the Ecuador judgment, which has been confirmed by four courts in the South American nation that found the company deliberately dumped billions of gallons of life-threatening oil waste into the rainforest. Chevron also has spent an estimated $3 billion to hire at least 2,000 lawyers to attack the judgment but still faces an enforcement action against company assets in Canada, where that country’s Supreme Court recently backed the Ecuadorian communities in a critical decision.

Chevron officials and its corporate defense lawyers at the Gibson Dunn law firm in the U.S. also were hit with an embarrassing criminal referral letterto the Department of Justice over allegations that they bribed an admittedly corrupt witness as part of an illegal scheme to evade paying the Ecuador judgment. Wirth authorized millions in Chevron payments to the corrupt witness, who later admitted he perjured himself repeatedly under oath in U.S. federal court after being coached for a staggering 53 days by a Gibson Dunn team. (For more on Gibson Dunn’s history of fraud and ethical violations, see here.)

Donziger characterized the latest Chevron move to try to penetrate his electronic devices an attempt “to retaliate against me personally and to distract attention from the fact Wirth has lost a major environmental case and put his own shareholders at risk by wasting billions of dollars in legal fees.”

“This is about using SLAPP-style intimidation to silence legitimate advocacy by a company embarrassed that it was held accountable by Indigenous peoples,” said Donziger, who pointed out that 17 appellate judges in Ecuador and 12 in Canada have affirmed all or parts of the Ecuador trial court judgment.

The latest Chevron move also comes after the company admitted it was running a “demonization” campaign against Donziger and froze his personal bank accounts and harassed several of his family members and supporters with document requests and demands for sworn depositions. Donziger has asked that Judge Lewis A. Kaplan, who is overseeing Chevron’s request, hold him in voluntary civil contempt to allow an immediate appeal should the company be allowed to proceed with its plan.

“Chevron's attempt to wholesale seize my electronic devices and review years of protected correspondence with my clients as well as my intimate and private communications with friends and family is totally out of bounds and clearly violates the Constitution,” said Donziger. “One would think that the CEO running America’s third-largest company would have something better to do than authorize lawyers to attack a human rights advocate who works out of his apartment. It shows the degree of Chevron’s pettiness. Wirth is embarrassed because our team of human rights lawyers has helped formerly voiceless peoples shine a huge spotlight on the company’s environmental crimes."

In 2009, a high-level Chevron official conceded the company’s defense strategy in the case was to “demonize Donziger” and to tie up the case in Ecuador (where Chevron insisted the trial be held) with procedural gamesmanship. At one point, Chevron lawyers filed 39 duplicative motions in 50 minutes and threatened the Ecuador trial judge with jail if he did not rule in favor of the company. Chevron also tried to pressure Ecuador’s President to quash the case in exchange for a $750 million aid package it hoped to offer via the U.S. State Department.

Four layers of courts in Ecuador have affirmed the pollution judgment against Chevron, including the country’s Constitutional Court in an 8-0 decision issued last July.  All found that Chevron (when operating as Texaco from 1964 to 1992) deliberately dumped billions of gallons of benzene-laced oil waste into the Amazon, creating a humanitarian catastrophe that has led to thousands of deaths according to several independent health evaluations. Chevron took out an estimated $25 billion in profits over the course of its operations in Ecuador and has reaped billions more by delaying a final resolution of the litigation, said Donziger. The company reported profits of $4 billion in the third quarter of 2018.

Despite numerous adverse court rulings, Chevron continues to claim it was the victim of fraud in Ecuador based on the testimony of its paid Ecuadorian witness, Alberto Guerra. Guerra claimed Donziger approved the offering of a bribe to the Ecuador trial judge, but he later admitted he lied and a forensic report proved his claim that the judgment was “ghostwritten” was false. (See here.) Donziger, a Harvard Law graduate who never had a single client complaint in 25 years of law practice, categorically denied the allegations and says they were a Chevron attempt to frame him with the taint of criminality as a way to evade paying the judgment.

The trial brought by Chevron before Kaplan, held without a jury in 2013, was widely considered to have been rigged to favor the company. The judge refused to consider any of the environmental evidence against Chevron. He also refused to seat a jury of impartial fact finders, allowed Chevron to violate attorney-client privilege by taking possession of Donziger’s case file, and repeatedly made inappropriate comments from the bench in favor of Chevron. He also refused to hear Donziger’s counter-suit against Chevron (see here) which laid out facts showing the company had engaged in a racketeering scheme targeting his clients and their counsel.

Kaplan himself has been criticized widely – including by Greenpeace co-founder Rex Weyler in a detailed article -- for his pro-Chevron rulings in the case and for allowing the company to make millions of dollars of secret payments to a court official who repeatedly favored the company. For details of Chevron’s fraud in its targeting of Donziger and the Ecuadorian Indigenous peoples and farmer communities, see here.

Donziger recently filed a petition with the Inter-American Commission On Human Rights challenging the failure of the New York judiciary to protect his due process rights. He has been backed by Global Witness and other prominent human rights groups that have expressed “serious concern” about his mistreatment by Kaplan. Greenpeace co-founder Weyler called him a “hero of the environmental movement” while prominent U.S. trial lawyer Rick Friedman has likened his mistreatment by U.S. judicial authorities to what one often sees in authoritarian nations.

Other supporters of Donziger and the Ecuadorians include Harvard Law Professor Charles Nesson, First Amendment lawyer Martin Garbus, Pink Floyd founder Roger Waters, former National Chief of Canada Phil Fontaine, Grand Chief Ed John of British Columbia, Amazon Parliament Chief Rafael Pandam, producer and actor Trudie Styler, media consultant Karen Hinton, Amazon Watch founder Atossa Soltani, and Simon Taylor and Patrick Alley, founders of Global Witness.

Markstein Appoints Public Relations Veteran Sheila McLean to Head New Washington, D.C. Office

Tue, 01/08/2019 - 10:54am

Markstein, a full-service marketing communications agency, today announced the opening of its Washington, D.C. office and appointment of Sheila McLean as president, Mid Atlantic. McLean will lead D.C. operations as Markstein expands to serve its rapidly growing issues/crisis, public affairs and advocacy work.

McLean brings decades of award-winning experience working in social purpose, sustainability, issues management, public affairs, media, corporate reputation and advocacy. Prior to joining Markstein, she spent 17 years with MSL, serving as the North America Social Purpose and Sustainability practice director and as managing director of the Detroit office. She led Safety and Environmental Affairs at Chrysler Corp., where she developed and launched an industry-leading child safety program. She also served as a communications officer for the C.S. Mott Foundation and a senior policy and external affairs advisor to Michigan Gov. John Engler.

“Our expansion into Washington, D.C. is a direct result of our high performing team’s impactful work, which has fueled the steady growth of this agency,” said Eileen Jaffe Markstein, chief executive officer. “With Sheila at the helm in D.C., we are well-positioned to continue elevating our agency’s success. Her award-winning experience and deep commitment to exceptional client service is a perfect fit for Markstein and our clients.”

Eileen and Danny Markstein co-founded Markstein in 2003, growing the firm to a team of almost 40 today. Markstein provides a full suite of marketing communications services, including public relations, public affairs, digital influence, crisis communications, sports marketing, creative development and media planning and buying. The firm has experienced double digit growth each of the last seven years, and is a certified Woman Business Enterprise and Woman-Owned Small Business. The Birmingham Business Journal named Markstein a Best Place to Work in 2016 and 2017.

“Markstein’s integrated approach and strong cultural commitment to talent and client service differentiates the agency,” McLean said. “As an independent firm with a proven track record, Markstein is poised for exponential growth. Clients increasingly are seeking partners who deliver business results and are agile enough to adapt to the rapidly-changing market.”

Markstein works across a variety of industries with clients including Walmart, Encompass Health, Colonial Pipeline, Diversified Gas & Oil, Aviation Works 4U, Tenet Healthcare, Royal Cup Coffee & Tea, Thompson Tractor Company, Mayer and The World Games 2021 Birmingham.

About Markstein
Markstein, a full-service marketing communications agency, generates impactful results for its clients with its strategy-first, messaging-centric approach. We combine meaningful research and strategic thinking with proactive outreach to control messages, shape perceptions and motivate behavior among diverse audiences toward desired outcomes. Markstein, a certified woman-owned business, was founded in 2003 and serves clients nationwide from its Birmingham, Ala. headquarters and Washington, D.C. office. To learn more visit markstein.co.

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Read Announcement

SC Johnson Keeps Global Promise, Expands Ingredient Transparency to Latin America

Tue, 01/08/2019 - 7:53am

Today, SC Johnson is fulfilling a worldwide commitment made nearly 10 years ago by expanding its industry-leading global ingredient transparency program to Latin America and delivering transparency to consumers everywhere around the world who use its products.

SC Johnson has led the industry toward greater transparency and continues to disclose beyond industry standards. The company has also led the charge with governmental bodies for positive reform of chemical management and disclosure. When the company first announced its ingredient transparency plan, regulations requiring ingredient disclosure did not exist.  

“Ten years ago, SC Johnson made a commitment to global ingredient transparency. Today, by expanding our program to Latin America, we have fulfilled that commitment,” said Fisk Johnson, Chairman and CEO of SC Johnson. “By keeping our promise, we have brought ingredient transparency around the world, and in the process, we have helped motivate the industry toward greater transparency.”

For example, SC Johnson began disclosing product-specific fragrance ingredients in 2015. Two years later, in 2017, Procter and Gamble, Unilever and Reckitt Benckiser announced plans to increase their own products’ fragrance disclosure.

SC Johnson’s pioneering approach began in earnest in 2009, with ingredient disclosure programs launched in the U.S. and Canada. In 2016, the company’s European ingredient transparency program was unveiled at WhatsInsideSCJohnson.com. One year later, the Asia Pacific market was added to SC Johnson’s global ingredient transparency program. Latin America is the final piece of the puzzle.

“While some companies have been slow to incorporate ingredient transparency with their products, SC Johnson has always led from the front,” said Ken Cook, President of Environmental Working Group. “I applaud Fisk Johnson for his steadfast commitment to consumers as a global leader in ingredient transparency.”

SC Johnson’s leadership in ingredient transparency has paved the way for others in the industry to follow its lead. In 2015, SmartLabel® was unveiled as a digital tool to access a greater range of product ingredients, five years after SC Johnson began disclosing ingredients. SC Johnson has also led the way in advocating for product transparency at the federal and state levels, including strong support for strengthening the U.S. Toxic Substances Control Act and advocating for California’s Cleaning Product Right to Know Act, which was signed into law in 2017 and made California the first state to require ingredient disclosure on product labels and online for cleaning products. SC Johnson has set a bold example in ingredient transparency that has led to meaningful change.

“The demands for transparency are not going to decrease and there are a lot of enabling technologies like blockchain that will make traceability and transparency much easier for everybody and more affordable,” said Joel Makower, Chairman and Executive Editor of GreenBiz Group. “So as those increase and become more available, I think that will also lead to more demands for transparency.”

Leadership in Transparency

The disclosure of product ingredients is just one of many transparency initiatives SC Johnson has pursued. Over the last decade, the company:

  • Was the first company to share a comprehensive list of fragrance ingredients used in its products in 2012. The SC Johnson Exclusive Fragrance Palette excludes about 2,400 ingredients that don’t meet the company’s high standards even though they meet industry standards and are legal in commerce.

  • Led the industry when it added website product-specific fragrance disclosure in 2015.

  • Began disclosing in 2017, on a product-specific basis, the presence of 368 potential skin allergens that may occur in its products. This goes beyond regulations and far beyond what most companies share.

  • Was the first in its industry to make the rigorous science behind its ingredient selection program clear and available to the public in 2018. The peer-reviewed Greenlist™ program assesses the human health and environmental impacts of more than 3,500 ingredients used in its global product portfolio and considers both the hazard and risk associated with the use of these ingredients in its products.    

  • Became in 2018 the first major consumer packaged goods (CPG) company to globally disclose fragrance ingredients down to .01 percent of the product formula across its portfolio of brands.

Consumers today expect more from companies, including information about the ingredients in the products they use. According to a recent global public opinion study, 74 percent of consumers worldwide expect companies to provide product transparency on their products and services.[i]

“I’m immensely proud of the dedication and work by the people of SC Johnson to deliver global ingredient transparency,” Johnson said. “Through these efforts, SC Johnson continues to work hard to earn the goodwill of consumers. As a family company, we’re committed to honoring those values and maintaining that trust.”

“Over recent years, we have seen a lot of shifting in the area of ingredient transparency,” said Mary Mazzoni, Senior Editor of 3BL Media and TriplePundit. “For example, consumers now care about the ingredients in the products they buy, how those ingredients will affect their personal human health and, increasingly, the health of the environment.”

Making Information Available to Global Consumers

SC Johnson’s global ingredient transparency program now provides information for more than 8,700 products used in nearly every country in the world in 35 languages. By meeting this important commitment, SC Johnson is now able to offer unparalleled access to nearly 6 billion consumers, providing a comprehensive list of product ingredients for the company’s many iconic brands.

For anyone wanting to know what’s in an SC Johnson product and why, all the details are available at WhatsInsideSCJohnson.com – written in clear and straightforward terms including the purpose of each ingredient. This simple, easy-to-navigate, mobile-friendly platform enables consumers to pull up a product they are considering, see the ingredients listed in a clear and understandable format, and ultimately make the choice that is right for their families.

With its unique global reach, SC Johnson is once again raising the bar for the industry while giving more consumers around the world the tools and information they need to make informed choices. SC Johnson encourages other companies to join in disclosing their own ingredients to consumers around the world.

Fragrance Transparency Leadership

Currently, the fragrance industry uses 3,700 fragrance ingredients approved by the International Fragrance Association (IFRA). In 2012, SC Johnson took the review of fragrance ingredients a step further with the creation of its Exclusive Fragrance Palette that narrowed the acceptable fragrance ingredients from 3,700 to approximately 1,300 used in SC Johnson products.

In 2015, SC Johnson was the first U.S. CPG company, working with its core fragrance suppliers, to offer product-specific fragrance ingredient disclosure. This drove a sea change across the fragrance industry that is leading to greater fragrance ingredient transparency down to the component level.

SC Johnson in 2018 became the first major CPG company to globally disclose fragrance ingredients down to .01 percent of the product formula across its portfolio of brands. This action continues the company’s decade-long journey to transform industry efforts when it comes to ingredient transparency.

Allergens Transparency

In 2017, SC Johnson fulfilled a commitment it made to disclose the presence of 368 potential skin allergens by product on its ingredient website. This level of transparency goes well above and beyond current regulatory and industry standards. Other companies use similar ingredients, but only disclose per the EU 26 regulatory requirements, which only requires companies to list 26 potential skin allergens. SC Johnson takes care to use ingredients with potential skin allergens only in amounts so low that it would be highly unlikely to create a new skin allergy or trigger a skin allergy reaction.

To determine its comprehensive list of potential skin allergens, SC Johnson scientists analyzed more than 3,000 data sets from public and industry sources for potential skin allergens identified on country regulatory lists, fragrance industry lists, the European Scientific Committee on Consumer Safety reviews, dermatology clinic data and individual supplier safety data sheets. The company then shared its findings for validation with experts in the fields of dermatology, immuno-toxicology, fragrance toxicology and allergens.

Greenlist™ Criteria Program

Building upon the company’s transparency commitment to tell the whole story about the ingredients it uses and the rigorous science that informs those choices, SC Johnson in 2017 began sharing publicly the scientific criteria behind the company’s Greenlist™ ingredient selection program. The Greenlist™ program helps the company continually improve its products by choosing ingredients to better protect human health and the environment. People can now see, in detail, the care that goes into choosing each of the ingredients that are used in SC Johnson products.

SC Johnson’s Greenlist™ program has guided the company’s product development for nearly two decades. Every ingredient in every SC Johnson product goes through the rigorous Greenlist™ program, which is centered around a peer-reviewed, four-step evaluation of its potential impact on human health and the environment. The Greenlist™ program looks at both hazard and risk to select the ingredients the company uses, and at what concentration, if at all. It’s grounded in best-in-class data collection and driven by the company’s commitment to continually improve its products.

As part of the Greenlist™ program, SC Johnson maintains a list of ingredients that are not allowed in its products. This list is termed the “Not Allowable” list. It includes over 200 unique raw materials in roughly 90 material categories, and over 2,400 fragrance materials. These materials all meet legal and regulatory requirements — and are often used by other companies in the industry – but simply do not meet SC Johnson standards. You can find more information about SC Johnson’s Greenlist™ program in its 26thannual Sustainability Report, The Science Inside.

Industry Leadership

Calling for reform of chemical management rules at the federal level, SC Johnson was an early supporter of bipartisan efforts to update and modernize the federal Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) to achieve a credible, risk- and science-based federal program for managing chemicals in commerce that inspire confidence in the safety of chemicals used in consumer products. SC Johnson was one of the first CPG companies to publicly testify in support of strengthening the tools available to screen all chemicals in commerce, evaluate the risks of high-priority substances and regulate certain conditions of use where necessary. In 2016, following the signing into law of the Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21stCentury Act, SC Johnson was singled out for leadership in championing this reform by then-U.S. President Barack Obama.

SC Johnson also supported the development and legislative approval of the Cleaning Product Right to Know Act of 2017 by the California Assembly, and partnered with NGOs, industry groups and local legislators to advance the disclosure legislation. This legislation created an industry-wide ingredient communication program for manufacturers of consumer and institutional air care, automotive, general cleaning, polish and floor maintenance products – enhancing ingredient transparency for consumers by requiring full ingredient disclosure on product labels with enhanced disclosure on manufacturer websites.

Also in 2017, SC Johnson added SmartLabel® for many of its popular U.S. brands. The SmartLabel® program offers consumers easy and instantaneous access to detailed information about products — just like on the WhatsInsideSCJohnson.com website — so they can make informed decisions about the products they bring into their homes. By providing consumers with additional places to find information about its products, SC Johnson is continuing to build consumer trust.

Transparency – What’s Next

With its ingredient disclosure commitment met, SC Johnson is not stopping. Transparency will continue to be a priority as the company continually strives to be the most trusted company in its industry through greater transparency.

“We aren’t done with transparency by a longshot,” Johnson said. “Transparency is ingrained in our values and helps us remain focused on how we operate as a global company to earn the trust of consumers around the world.”

For more information and supporting multimedia assets, visit https://www.multivu.com/players/English/8452051-sc-johnson-ingredients-transparency-whatsinside/

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®, BAYGON®, BRISE®, KABIKILLER®, KLEAR®, MR MUSCLE® and RIDSECT®. The 133-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

[i] 2017 GlobeScan Radar

Click here to read the SC Johnson and GlobeScan white paper "Building Trust: Why Transparency Must Be Part of the Equation"

Maersk, P&G, ING on Delivering Net-Positive Ambition - Complimentary Webinar

Tue, 01/08/2019 - 7:53am

We’ll be hosting a webinar debate on how companies can change strategies and set ambitious targets to deliver a net-positive impact future.

The free online webinar will take place on Thursday 17 January, at 12 pm GMT/1pm CET and feature exclusive ideas and insights from:

  • John Kornerup Bang, Head, Sustainability Strategy & Chief Advisor, Climate Change, Maersk

  • Virginie Helias, Vice President Global Sustainability,  P&G    

  • Lois Guthrie, Director, Redefining Value, WBCSD

  • Leon Wijnands, Global Head of Sustainability, ING

  • Moderated by: Aris Vrettos, Director, Open Programmes and International Markets, Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership (CISL)

Key areas of discussion will include:

  • Set new ambitious targets and visions that deliver a net-positive impact (social & environmental)

  • Understand how you can tackle climate change challenges and be the industry leader

  • Drive new thinking and innovations across all areas of the business to accelerate change

  • Get your shareholders and investors’ backing

Can’t join? Sign up anyway to receive the full post-webinar recordings

Kind Regards,
Brenda

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IWBI™ and Steve Leung Designers Announce Plans to Jointly Advance Human Health and Wellness Through WELL™

Mon, 01/07/2019 - 4:52pm

The International WELL Building Institute™ (IWBITM) and Hong Kong-based Steve Leung Designers Ltd. (SLD) has announced plans to jointly advance the uptake of building practice that places human health and wellness in the center of decision making in design and construction through SLD’s global network of architects and designers as well as its project portfolio. The collaboration underscores the important role of architects and designers as professional leaders whose design expertise can positively impact human health in the buildings and communities where we spend our time.

“The WELL Building Standard™ (WELL™) has generated global momentum across the real estate continuum because its scientific and technical research underpinnings help the AEDC community efficiently and seamlessly prioritize human health and wellness in the spaces where we work, live, learn and play,” said Rick Fedrizzi, Chairman and CEO of IWBI. “The rapid adoption of WELL in more than 40 countries has occurred because of the expertise and resources of our professional communities, who are advocating – and delivering – places and spaces that can help people thrive.”

As part of this joint initiative, SLD restates its commitment to promote both WELL and WELL v2, the newest version of the global rating system, and to pursue WELL throughout its project portfolio. SLD has over 600 architects and designers with projects in more than 100 cities throughout the world, providing a significant platform for WELL’s global uptake, establishing SLD as a leader in wellness real estate.

IWBI will facilitate necessary training opportunities for members of the SLD team to become WELL Faculty™ to enhance the WELL-related capability and expertise of SLD’s officers and the design teams. In addition, IWBI and SLD will support SLD’s professionals in their pursuit of WELL AP credentials.

“A good design is not only about aesthetics, but also taking environmental protection, health and social issues into consideration, to create space that foster well-being for all” said Kenny Sui, CEO of SLD.

Launched in October 2014 after six years of research and development, the WELL Building Standard is the premier standard for buildings, interior spaces and communities seeking to implement, validate and measure features that support and advance human health and wellness. More than 260 million square feet are currently participating in WELL across virtually every building type in 43 countries around the world.

About Steve Leung Designers:
Founded in 1997 by Steve Leung, a renowned architect, interior and product designer, SLD is an internationally renowned and award-winning interior design services and interior decorating & furnishing services provider headquartered in Hong Kong, with four branch offices in Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Shenzhen. With over 600 devoted designers and professionals, SLD provides multi-discipline services embracing architectural design, interior design, decorating & furnishing design, product design and other related consultancy services, working on a wide spectrum of design projects which have successfully penetrated into over 100 cities across the world.

About IWBI and WELL:
The International WELL Building Institute™ (IWBI™) is leading the global movement to transform our buildings and communities in ways that help people thrive. The WELL v2™ Pilot is a recently launched version of its popular WELL Building Standard™ (WELL™), and the WELL Community Standard™ pilot is a district scale rating system that sets a new global benchmark for healthy communities. WELL is focused exclusively on the ways that buildings and communities, and everything in them, can improve our comfort, drive better choices and generally enhance, not compromise, our health and wellness. IWBI convenes and mobilizes the wellness real estate community through management of the WELL AP™ credential, the pursuit of applicable research, the development of educational resources and advocacy for policies that promote health and wellness everywhere.  For more information about IWBI and WELL, please visit us here.

Media Contacts:
SLD: cherry.chan@steveleung.com
IWBI: Yan Tai, yan.tai@wellcertified.com

CEO, Interface to Join Assistant Secretary-General, UN Environment at Responsible Business Summit

Mon, 01/07/2019 - 10:51am

I’m excited to share with you that Jay Gould, CEO, Interface will join Satya Tripathi, Assistant Secretary-General of the UN Environment on stage. Both will be sharing their vision on climate action and achieving net positive impact at Ethical Corporation’s 2019 Responsible Business Summit New York (March 18-19).

The two day event will be 2019’s must attend event for professionals and businesses looking to take the lead in shaping the future of [sustainable] business.  This year you too can be part of the change - Discover the full unrivalled agenda topics and speaker line-up here

Over 500 delegates will attend and 80+ senior level speakers including:

  • James F. Kenny, Mayor, City of Philadelphia

  • Satya Tripathi, assistant secretary-general, UN Environment

  • Jay Gould, CEO, Interface

  • John Kern, SVP, supply chain operations, Cisco 

  • Kurt Summers, treasurer, City of Chicago

  • Tom Linebarger, Chairman & CEO, Cummins

  • Anne Van Riel, head of sustainable finance Americas, ING

  • Jostein Solheim, executive vice president, F&R, Unilever

  • Daniel Wild, CEO, RobecoSam

  • Marilyn Ceci, managing director, head of green bonds, JP Morgan

  • Andy Pharoah, vice president, corporate affairs, strategic initiatives & sustainability, Mars

  • Virginie Helias, vice president global sustainability, P&G

  • Tom Murray, vice president, EDF

  • Jon Mitchell, Mayor, City of New Bedford

  • Michael Garland, assistant comptroller - corporate governance and responsible investment, New York City Comptroller

  • Hervé P. Duteil, managing director, CSO, Americas, BNP Paribas

  • Ernesto Ciorra, chief innovability officer, Enel

View the full updated speaker line up here

Best regards,
Ed

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South Carolina’s State Board of Education Approves Discovery Education’s Math Techbook for Statewide Use

Fri, 01/04/2019 - 4:45pm

Following a comprehensive evaluation, the South Carolina State Board of Education has approved the Algebra 1, Geometry, and Algebra 2 editions of Discovery Education’s Math Techbook for statewide use as a core instructional resource through its state adoption process. South Carolina’s adoption of the Math Techbook empowers the state’s school systems to use State Board of Education approved instructional materials funding to purchase and integrate this innovative digital curriculum into teaching and learning.

Currently used by approximately 5.6 million students across all 50 states and Canada, Discovery Education’s award-winning Techbooks are fully interactive, comprehensive digital textbooks.  Updated regularly at no cost, the South Carolina Math Techbook is 100 percent aligned to South Carolina College-and Career-Ready Standards for Mathematics and provides educators detailed lesson plans, embedded formative assessments, hands-on activities, digital simulations, and robust teacher supportsthat immerse students in instruction.

Through interactive features that change the reading level of text and enable text to be read aloud, the Math Techbook encourages all learners. The Math Techbook adopted by the state of South Carolina also connects students to mathematics through real-world problems worth solving, combines conceptual understanding, procedural fluency, and application to help all students develop a long-lasting mastery of mathematics.  The Math Techbook has been independently verified by EdReports.org to meet the highest levels of mathematical content and pedagogy.

“The South Carolina State Board of Education’s adoption of the Math Techbook will help educators make math more exciting and engaging for students across the state,” said Vice President of Education Partnerships Rob Warren.  “The team at Discovery Education thanks the Board of Education for their rigorous review of the Math Techbook, and we look forward to working with South Carolina’s teachers and administrators to bring this exciting digital curriculum to students.”

The Math Techbook is the latest Discovery Education digital curriculum to be approved by the South Carolina State Board of Education. In 2016, the state adopted the Chemistry and Physics editions of the Science Techbook and 2015, the elementary and middle school Discovery Education Science Techbook courses, as well as the Biology course for high school, were adopted.

Educators using the Math Techbook will be supported by the Discovery Education Community as they transform students’ learning experiences with dynamic digital media. A global community of education professionals, the Discovery Education Community connects members across school systems and around the world through social media, virtual conferences, and in-person events, fostering valuable networking, idea sharing and inspiration.

For more information about Discovery Education other digital resources and professional learning services, visit www.discoveryeducation.com, and stay connected with Discovery Education on social media through Facebook, follow us on Twitter at @DiscoveryEd, or find us on Instagram and Pinterest.

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About Discovery Education:
As the global leader in standards-based digital curriculum and content for K-12 classrooms worldwide, Discovery Education is transforming teaching and learning with award-winning digital textbooks, multimedia content and the largest professional learning community of its kind. Serving more than 5 million educators and 51 million students, Discovery Education’s services are available in approximately half of U.S. classrooms and primary schools in the UK, and more than 90 countries around the globe. Inspired by the global media company Discovery, Inc., Discovery Education partners with districts, states, and like-minded organizations to captivate students, empower teachers, and transform classrooms with customized solutions that increase academic achievement. Explore the future of education at DiscoveryEducation.com.

Stephen Wakefield, Discovery Education
Stephen_Wakefield@discovery.com Maria José Sanabria, Discovery Education
Maria_Sanabria@discovery.com

Black Enterprise Names Aflac to Prestigious Diversity List

Fri, 01/04/2019 - 1:45pm

 Aflac, the leader in voluntary insurance sales at U.S. worksites, is once again listed on Black Enterprise’s 2018 prestigious list of the 50 Best Companies for Diversity. This marks the 12th time that Aflac has appeared on this annual list.

“Aflac has long been a leader in the area of diversity and inclusion, and we are pleased that Black Enterprise has once again acknowledged our devotion to maintaining a fair workplace that focuses on community,” Aflac Chairman and CEO Dan Amos said. “Our commitment to diversity makes us a stronger, more caring company, demonstrating our desire to build a workforce that represents our customers. At Aflac, diversity isn’t just a business proposition; it is simply the right thing to do.”

Aflac’s workforce is comprised of 34 percent African-Americans and 45 percent ethnic minorities, while African-Americans make up 12 percent of Aflac’s officers, with 27 percent of officers being ethnic minorities. Of Aflac’s entire workforce, 67 percent are women.

According to Black Enterprise, to compile the list, Black Enterprise’s editorial research team, in partnership with the Executive Leadership Council, sends surveys to the nation’s top 1,000 publicly traded companies to get an in-depth look at the ethnic and gender composition, as well as their programs designed to foster an inclusive working environment. The annual survey focuses on African-Americans but includes other ethnic minority groups as defined by the U.S. Census Bureau. Any information provided by companies on diversity efforts targeted toward women, LGBT, the disabled and veterans is used as secondary, supporting data.

About Aflac  

When a policyholder gets sick or hurt, Aflac pays cash benefits fast. For more than six decades, Aflac insurance policies have given policyholders the opportunity to focus on recovery, not financial stress. In the United States, Aflac is the leader in voluntary insurance sales at the worksite. Through its trailblazing One Day PaySM initiative, for eligible claims, Aflac U.S. can process, approve and electronically send funds to claimants for quick access to cash in just one business day. In Japan, Aflac is the leading provider of medical and cancer insurance and insures 1 in 4 households. Aflac insurance products help provide protection to more than 50 million people worldwide. For 12 consecutive years, Aflac has been recognized by Ethisphere as one of the World's Most Ethical Companies. In 2018, Fortune magazine recognized Aflac as one of the 100 Best Companies to Work for in America for the 20th consecutive year and included Aflac on its list of World’s Most Admired Companies for the 17th time. Aflac Incorporated is a Fortune 500 company listed on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol AFL. To find out more about Aflac and One Day PaySM, visit aflac.com or aflac.com/espanol.

Aflac herein means American Family Life Assurance Company of Columbus and American Family Life Assurance Company of New York. WWHQ | 1932 Wynnton Road | Columbus, GA 31999.

CONTACT Jon Sullivan +1 (706) 763-4813 jsullivan@aflac.com Media contact David A. Young +1 (706) 596-3264 dyoung@aflac.com Analyst and investor contact

Host Hotels & Resorts, Inc. Named to Dow Jones Sustainability Index North America and GRESB Hotels Sector Leader, and Winner of NAREIT’s Lodging/Resorts Leader in the Light Award

Thu, 01/03/2019 - 7:40pm

Host Hotels & Resorts, Inc. (NYSE: HST), the nation’s largest lodging real estate investment trust (the “Company”), today announced that it has been named to the Dow Jones Sustainability Index (DJSI) North America for the second consecutive year, joining the top 20 percent of the largest and most sustainable North American companies of the S&P Global Broad Market Index across 58 industries. The Company also achieved Sector Leader for Hotels, Green Star status and a 5 Star Rating from the Global Real Estate Sustainability Benchmark (GRESB); and received the National Association of Real Estate Investment Trusts’ (NAREIT) Lodging/Resorts Leader in Light award. Additionally, for the first time, the Company released a 2018 Corporate Responsibility (CR) Highlights report, which provides a summary of results and progress over the last reporting year along with future commitments.

“We are truly honored by this sustainability leadership recognition,” said Joanne Hamilton, Executive Vice President of Human Resources and a champion of the Corporate Responsibility initiatives at Host. “Our focus has always been bringing long-term value to our investors, employees, stakeholders and community. Our program has had a milestone year and we look forward to continuing our progress.”

Notable CR achievements highlighted within the 2018 report include:

• Achieving 2020 environmental targets three years ahead of schedule, including a greenhouse gas target verified by the Science Based Targets initiative.

• Integrating Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (SASB) standards in its 10-K filing, which was recognized as best practice by SASB.

• Strengthening its connection with local communities, including supporting over 150 charities of which 60% were employee-selected and organizing employees to participate in 10 service events, volunteering 460 hours.

• Investing $38 million in projects with sustainable attributes.

• Mapping its CR strategy and programs to align with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and with its hotel management company CR platforms.

• Establishing a renewable energy target of 30 percent of the Company’s total electricity consumption by 2025 and setting an internal price of carbon to help inform investment decisions in energy efficient technologies and renewable energy.

In 2019, the Company will be working to establish new company goals and accompanying policies. To read more, please view the 2018 CR Highlights report on the Company website in the Corporate Responsibility section.

DJSI North America

For the second consecutive year, the Company was named to DJSI North America joining the top 20 percent of the largest and most sustainable North American companies of the S&P Global Broad Market Index across 58 industries. The Company received a score of 64/100, which falls in the 83rd percentile. It is the only lodging REIT listed on the North America Index. Launched in 1999, the DJSI World represents the gold standard for corporate sustainability and is the first global index to track the leading sustainability-driven companies based on RobecoSAM’s analysis of financially material Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) factors and S&P DJI’s robust index methodology. 

GRESB

In addition to maintaining GRESB Green Star leadership status for six consecutive years and a 5 Star Rating for three out of the three years since it was added to scorecards, the Company earned a score of 90/100. The Company was also named Hotels sector leader and ranked second in United States/Listed companies. More than 75 institutional investors use the ESG data and GRESB’s analytical tools to improve the sustainability performance of their investment portfolios, engage with managers and prepare for increasingly rigorous ESG obligations. GRESB Investor Members represent over $18 trillion in institutional capital.

NAREIT

NAREIT's annual Leader in the Light Awards honor NAREIT member companies that have demonstrated superior and sustained sustainability practices. The Company received NAREIT’s Lodging/Resorts Leader in the Light award, which is the highest achievement for all Lodging/Resorts REITs and real estate companies. This is the fourth time the Company has received this honor—awarded in 2014, 2015, 2017 and 2018. NAREIT’s judging criteria for the Leader in the Light awards include results from the GRESB assessment. For more information, please visit DJSI’s website, GRESB’s website and NAREIT’s website.

About Host Hotels & Resorts

Host Hotels & Resorts, Inc. is an S&P 500 company and is the largest lodging real estate investment trust and one of the largest owners of luxury and upper-upscale hotels. The Company currently owns 88 properties in the United States and five properties internationally totaling approximately 52,000 rooms. The Company also holds non-controlling interests in 3 domestic joint ventures. Guided by a disciplined approach to capital allocation and aggressive asset management, the Company partners with premium brands such as Marriott®, Ritz-Carlton®, Westin®, Sheraton®, W®, St. Regis®, Le Méridien®, The Luxury Collection®, Hyatt®, Fairmont®, Hilton®, Swissôtel®, ibis® and Novotel®, as well as independent brands in the operation of properties in over 50 major markets. For additional information, please visit the Company’s website at www.hosthotels.com

* This press release contains registered trademarks that are the exclusive property of their respective owners. None of the owners of these trademarks has any responsibility or liability for any information contained in this press release. 

The Scotts Miracle-Gro Foundation Launches Grassroots Grants With KidsGardening to Bring Garden Benefits to More Children

Thu, 01/03/2019 - 1:39pm

Today, The Scotts Miracle-Gro Foundation announced the opening of its Gro More Grassroots Grants with KidsGardening, inviting schools and nonprofit organizations from across the country to apply for funds to support their youth garden programs. The Grassroots Grants initiative, now in its ninth year, will focus its support on garden and greenspace projects that connect more children with the life-enhancing and transformative benefits of gardening.

The Scotts Miracle-Gro Foundation’s emphasis to support more youth garden programs comes at a critical time. The challenges facing today’s youngest generation are significant, and problems with children’s social, mental and physical health are on the rise. However, The Scotts Miracle-Gro Foundation and KidsGardening believe strongly in the positive effects that gardening can have on a child’s life, including increased emotional well-being, love of fresh fruits and vegetables, more physical activity and better academic performance.

“Our work with communities over the past decade has allowed us to see firsthand the positive experiences that gardening can bring to young children,” said Jim King, president and chairman of The Scotts Miracle-Gro Foundation. “From directly connecting kids with nature to giving them increased access to fresh food, now more than ever, it’s our responsibility to help connect more children with the powerful benefits of gardens.”

Edible gardens to pollinator habitats, urban farms to sensory gardens, the Gro More Grassroots Grants will support all types of community-driven garden and greenspace projects that directly engage youth. Grant funding will support the creation of new gardens and also the expansion of existing ones. The 2019 application is available now at https://kidsgardening.org/2019-gromore-grassroots-grant/.

“We strive  to give parents and educators the tools they need to get more kids playing, learning, and growing in a garden, ”  said Helen Rortvedt, executive director of KidsGardening. “We hear everyday about shovel-ready youth garden programs in need of support, and we are thrilled to work with The Scotts Miracle-Gro Foundation to support so many worthy programs across the country this year. If your youth garden program needs resources, we can’t wait to read your application.”

The Gro More Grassroots Grant application will be open until February 15, 2019, at 11:59 p.m. EST. 175 grants, ranging from $500 to $1,000, will be awarded based on youth engagement, community impact, and sustainability, among other factors. Winners will be announced on the first day of spring, March 20, 2019. For more information, visit www.scottsmiraclegrofoundation.org.

About The Scotts Miracle-Gro Foundation

The mission of The Scotts Miracle-Gro Foundation is to inspire, connect and cultivate a community of purpose. The Foundation is deeply rooted in helping create healthier communities, empower the next generation, and preserve our planet. The Foundation is a 501(c)(3) organization that funds non-profit entities that support its core initiatives in the form of grants, endowments and multi-year capital gifts. For more information, visit www.scottsmiraclegrofoundation.org.

About KidsGardening

Our mission is to ensure all kids have access to a garden in which to play, learn and grow, engaging their natural curiosity and wonder. We inspire, support and connect educators and families by providing garden grants, lessons and curriculum, and by cultivating a community of practice. For more information, visit www.kidsgardening.org.

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Circular Economy Webinar - Complimentary

Thu, 01/03/2019 - 10:36am

With increasing pressure on natural and man-made resources, innovative companies are taking a lifecycle assessment approach and tackling circularity from as early as product development, with the goal of reaping the reputational and commercial benefits.

In this one-hour debate, four senior leaders are ready to share their strategies for transitioning from a linear to a circular economy. Join Ethical Corporation on Thursday, January 10th, at 9am ET for their free online webinar with:

  • John Coyne, Vice-President and General Counsel, Unilever

  • Susan Muigai, Executive Vice President, People and Corporate Affairs, Walmart

  • Brendan Edgerton, Director, Circular Economy, WBCSD

  • Deanna Bratter, Senior Director of Public Benefit and Sustainable Development, Danone

Key areas of discussion will include:

  • Implementing circularity principles from product development

  • Cross-industry & regulatory collaboration: delivering successful programmes through partnerships

  • Measurement and comparability of circular performance

  • Closing the loop to shape a new economy. Is it possible by 2030?

Can’t join? Sign up anyway to receive the full post-webinar recordings

Best regards,
Ed

Leading Corporate Social Responsibility Provider, YourCause, Acquired by Blackbaud

Wed, 01/02/2019 - 7:31pm

YourCause, a market leader in enterprise philanthropy, corporate social responsibility and employee engagement technology, announced today that it has been acquired by Blackbaud (NASDAQ: BLKB), the world’s leading cloud software company powering social good.

Blackbaud purchased YourCause for approximately $157 million and the acquisition closed Wednesday, January 2, 2019.

YourCause stands out as an innovative, flexible, and scalable software provider with a diverse customer portfolio, including Fortune 500 companies and small businesses alike. Eight million people can engage with YourCause’s solution, which processes more than $245,000 in donations every business hour and has coordinated, tracked and rewarded more than 30 million volunteer hours.

YourCause’s Plano, Texas-based team of 155 employees will join Blackbaud. “The inspiration for YourCause began in 2007 with the story of a boy in war-torn Uganda who had suffered unimaginable tragedy, my desire to help and my realization that the tools to connect individuals like myself to the causes and organizations needing support across the globe were lacking,” YourCause CEO Matthew Combs said. “Joining Blackbaud, the leader in the social good software space, will enable us to connect enterprises, individuals, and nonprofits to more efficiently support social causes of every size, anywhere in the world.”    

After implementing YourCause solutions, customers show growth as high as triple-digit percentages in volunteers, donations, engagement and more. These reported successes demonstrate a larger trend: overall ability to attract employees and customers alike by strengthening a company’s reputation.

“We understand that business success today is more than finances; it’s also critical to engage on social issues,” said Mike Gianoni, president and CEO of Blackbaud. “In a time where 84 percent1 of Americans believe businesses shoulder a responsibility to bring social change, providing those businesses with the right tools not only helps attract and retain customers and employees – but it helps to build a better world.”

The acquisition of YourCause positions Blackbaud as the industry leader in providing solutions to both nonprofit organizations and for-profit companies committed to social issues. “Together, we have a unique opportunity to innovate for the social good space at a larger scale and with greater velocity,” said Kevin McDearis, chief products officer at Blackbaud. “Combining YourCause’s comprehensive solutions for maximizing global social impact with Blackbaud’s unparalleled leadership in delivering cloud solutions for social good will enable companies around the world to create a culture that engages and inspires employees and customers, while driving business success and powering measurable outcomes.”

In the near term, YourCause customers will benefit from Blackbaud’s longstanding connections to the nonprofit community and deep investments in research and development to accelerate innovation of the YourCause solutions they use today. Blackbaud customers will benefit from a marked expansion and acceleration of workplace giving and volunteering while building a source of new donors, volunteers and advocates. In the future, Blackbaud is eager to combine YourCause’s product vision with its own, align YourCause’s capabilities to Blackbaud’s technical standards, and introduce expanded innovation to the market.

“YourCause is an extraordinary company whose leading SaaS platform has brought together the best product and service offerings to support corporate philanthropy,” said Marco Ferrari, managing director at Providence Strategic Growth (PSG), YourCause’s majority shareholder and the growth equity affiliate of Providence Equity Partners. “We are thrilled to have had the opportunity to partner with the YourCause leadership team to help scale the business over the course of our investment. Under Blackbaud’s ownership, the team is well-positioned to innovate even faster and to continue to make a positive impact on the world.”

Blackbaud is headquartered in Charleston, South Carolina, with operations around the globe. YourCause is headquartered in Plano, Texas.

Shea & Company, LLC and Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP acted as financial and legal advisors to the YourCause shareholders in connection with the transaction.

For more information, visit www.YourCause.com.

1Global Strategy Group’s ‘Business & Politics: Do They Mix?’ report

About YourCause
YourCause is a Plano, Texas-based Software as a Service (“SaaS”) provider of the CSRconnect Employee Engagement Platform (“CSRconnect”) and the GrantsConnect Corporate and Foundation Grants Management Platform (“GrantsConnect”), an integrated, fully hosted solution for corporations to more effectively deploy and manage their employee giving, volunteering, disaster relief, grant management, fundraising, and overall corporate social responsibility and philanthropy programs. Ranked on the Inc. 5000 list for four consecutive years, and named a best place to work in Dallas, YourCause is rapidly expanding its operations through the ongoing deployment of end-to-end solutions for enterprises, nonprofits, and do-gooders. YourCause’s Transparent Giving model allows the company to maximize impact across its Global Good Network benefitting millions of nonprofits around the world. For more information, visit www.YourCause.com, or email info@YourCause.com.

About Blackbaud
Blackbaud (NASDAQ: BLKB) is the world's leading cloud software company powering social good. Serving the entire social good community—-nonprofits, foundations, companies, education institutions, healthcare organizations and individual change agents—Blackbaud connects and empowers organizations to increase their impact through cloud software, services, expertise, and data intelligence. The Blackbaud portfolio is tailored to the unique needs of vertical markets, with solutions for fundraising and CRM, marketing, advocacy, peer-to-peer fundraising, corporate social responsibility, school management, ticketing, grantmaking, financial management, payment processing, and analytics. Serving the industry for more than three decades, Blackbaud is headquartered in Charleston, South Carolina and has operations in the United States, Australia, Canada and the United Kingdom. For more information, visit www.Blackbaud.com, or follow us on Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook.

About Providence Strategic Growth Capital Partners L.L.C.
Providence Strategic Growth (“PSG”) is an affiliate of Providence Equity Partners (“Providence”). Established in 2014, PSG focuses on growth equity investments in lower middle market software and technology-enabled service companies, primarily in North America. Providence is a premier global asset management firm that pioneered a sector-focused approach to private equity investing with the vision that a dedicated team of industry experts could build exceptional companies of enduring value. Since the firm's inception in 1989, Providence has invested in more than 180 companies and is a leading equity investment firm focused on the media, communications, education and information industries. Providence is headquartered in Providence, RI, and also has offices in New York and London. For more information on PSG, please visit https://www.provequity.com/private-equity/psg, and for more information on Providence, please visit www.provequity.com.

Forward-looking Statements
Except for historical information, all of the statements, expectations, and assumptions contained in this news release are forward-looking statements that involve a number of risks and uncertainties. Although YourCause attempts to be accurate in making these forward-looking statements, it is possible that future circumstances might differ from the assumptions on which such statements are based. In addition, other important factors that could cause results to differ materially include the following: general economic risks; uncertainty regarding increased business and renewals from existing customers; continued success in sales growth; management of integration of acquired companies and other risks associated with acquisitions; risks associated with successful implementation of multiple integrated software products; the ability to attract and retain key personnel; risks related to our dividend policy and share repurchase program, including potential limitations on our ability to grow and the possibility that we might discontinue payment of dividends; risks relating to restrictions imposed by the credit facility; risks associated with management of growth; lengthy sales and implementation cycles, particularly in larger organization; technological changes that make our products and services less competitive; and the other risk factors set forth from time to time in the SEC filings for Blackbaud, copies of which are available free of charge at the SEC’s website at www.sec.gov or upon request from Blackbaud’s investor relations department. All Blackbaud product names appearing herein are trademarks or registered trademarks of Blackbaud, Inc.

Charlotte’s Bank of America Stadium Wins Award for Improving Fan Comfort While Conserving Energy

Wed, 01/02/2019 - 4:30pm

Bank of America Stadium, home of the Carolina Panthers®, won a 2018 Energy Efficiency Leader award and recognition from Trane and Ingersoll Rand leaders for outstanding commitment to energy conservation. Panthers’ president, Tom Glick, and vice president of stadium operations, Scott Paul, accepted the award yesterday during a ceremony at the stadium.

“Fan comfort can go hand-in-hand with efforts to reduce the stadium’s energy use,” said Paul. “Our fans invest time and money to see their favorite team. Their game day experience can be fun and enjoyable, while also respecting the environment.”  

Managers of the 75,523-seat football stadium set out to improve fan comfort, reduce costs, and lower the venue’s energy use. The solution included a comfort system facelift, which reduces the stadium’s energy costs by $80,000 per year.    

“The Bank of America Stadium team shows unwavering commitment for the Charlotte community,” said Ron Payne, district general manager for Trane, a brand of Ingersoll Rand. “By focusing on energy efficiency and the fan experience at the same time, they demonstrate what it means to be an Energy Efficiency Leader.”

Energy Savings Is Good News for Fans and Footprint

The Bank of America Stadium upgrades also align with North Carolina’s statewide goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 40-percent by 2025; buildings are one of the state’s most energy-reliant sectors. These upgrades reduce the stadium’s energy usage by 1.7 million kilowatt hours per year, which is equivalent to taking 271 cars off the road or powering 190 homes each year, in terms of greenhouse gas emissions.

Bank of America Stadium’s 33-acre footprint stretches across uptown Charlotte, and has extensive energy demands, including heating and cooling in suites, concessions and other indoor areas.

The stadium facilities team worked with Trane to upgrade the venue’s pumps and primary cooling system, including a Tracer® Ensemble™ building management system and remote monitoring for suite-level temperature control. The upgrade includes a new compressor, which adds more efficiency. 

Bank of America Stadium and Ingersoll Rand share a commitment to environmental responsibility and customer comfort. In addition to working with Ingersoll Rand’s Trane and compressed air technology and services businesses, the stadium also uses Club Car® vehicles for transport within the stadium.

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About Ingersoll Rand

Ingersoll Rand (NYSE:IR) advances the quality of life by creating comfortable, sustainable and efficient environments. Our people and our family of brands—including Club Car®Ingersoll Rand®Thermo King® and Trane®—work together to enhance the quality and comfort of air in homes and buildings; transport and protect food and perishables; and increase industrial productivity and efficiency. We are a $14 billion global business committed to a world of sustainable progress and enduring results. For more information, visit www.ingersollrand.com.

What Works in Employee Financial Wellness Programs

Wed, 01/02/2019 - 4:30pm

Join the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation for a webinar on financial wellness programs (FWP) and learn how your business can benefit by creating or expanding your FWP for your employees.

Nearly a quarter of America’s workers deem their financial stress as high or overwhelming, and about 40 percent of workers report they have more financial strain now, than at the beginning of the Great Recession. Employees’ financial stresses manifest themselves at work, resulting in absenteeism and lower productivity. Employers are recognizing the need to implement a FWP for their workforce and the number and sophistication of workplace FWPs has increased since the Great Recession. Employers now face an abundance of options and little objective guidance on how to choose the right program. This webinar will help employers of ranging industries, sizes, backgrounds and interests to learn about workplace FWPs and receive the tools and resources needed to introduce one to your employees. 

Register and learn more here: https://goo.gl/Ry6kS4

Ecolab Investing in Renewable Power Project With Clearway Energy Group

Tue, 01/01/2019 - 10:28am

Ecolab Inc., the global leader in water, hygiene and energy technologies and services that protect people and vital resources, has signed an agreement to support Clearway Energy Group’s 419-megawatt (MW) wind farm, Mesquite Star, in Fisher County, Texas. Construction of the Mesquite Star wind farm is scheduled to begin in the first half of 2019.

Through a virtual power purchase agreement (VPPA) – Ecolab’s first – the company will support construction of 100 MW of new renewable electricity capacity within the Mesquite Star wind farm. The renewable electricity generated under Ecolab’s 100 MW VPPA is expected to cover 100 percent of the company’s annual domestic energy use and builds upon the 5 MW of community solar subscriptions in Minnesota that Ecolab signed with Clearway in 2015. 

“We continually work to improve the sustainability footprint of our customers’ and our own operations, and the renewable electricity generated from the Mesquite Star wind farm will help us reduce our greenhouse gas emissions 25 percent by 2020 versus a 2015 baseline,” said Emilio Tenuta, vice president of Corporate Sustainability, Ecolab.    Mesquite Star is one of more than 60 utility-scale wind and solar projects that Clearway is developing in the U.S. to help utility and corporate purchasers achieve renewable energy goals. Clearway’s footprint of renewable energy projects, including assets owned through affiliate Clearway Energy, Inc., totals 4.1 gigawatts (GW), including 2.8 GW of wind, 1.1 GW of utility solar and more than 300 MW of distributed and community solar.   “We are proud to have Ecolab as a partner on the Mesquite Star wind farm,” said Craig Cornelius, CEO of Clearway Energy Group. “Our work together is a testament to the power and potential of the growing corporate VPPA market-- and one of many ways that Clearway is consistently building out projects in our 9.5 GW pipeline of utility solar and wind projects.”    Ecolab’s VPPA agreement with Clearway is part of a broader trend among corporate buyers. In the past year alone, VPPA contracts for 5 GW of renewable energy have been signed in the United States.

About Ecolab

A trusted partner at nearly three million customer locations, Ecolab (ECL) is the global leader in water, hygiene and energy technologies and services that protect people and vital resources. With annual sales of $14 billion and 48,000 associates, Ecolab delivers comprehensive solutions, data-driven insights and on-site service to promote safe food, maintain clean environments, optimize water and energy use, and improve operational efficiencies for customers in the food, healthcare, energy, hospitality and industrial markets in more than 170 countries around the world. FOr more information, visit www.ecolab.com

Follow us on Twitter @ecolab, Facebook at facebook.com/ecolab, LinkedIn at Ecolab or Instagram at Ecolab Inc.  

About Clearway Energy Group

Clearway Energy Group is accelerating the world’s transformation to a clean energy future. Built for 21st century energy markets and focused on providing customers with the power they need and the customer experience they deserve, Clearway was created

and staffed with functions specific to renewable energy generation and distribution. With assets across 28 states, more than 500 employees and the capacity to power about 2.7 million homes, Clearway is bringing reliable and clean power to market from day one.  The Company is headquartered in San Francisco, CA with offices in Carlsbad, CA; Scottsdale, AZ; Houston, TX; and New York City, NY. For more information, visit www.clearwayenergygroup.com

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NHBSR 2018 Sustainability Slam