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Leveraging Technology for Financial Wellness

Wed, 05/02/2018 - 5:05pm

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!

Smithfield Foods Releases Animal Care Section of 2017 Sustainability Report, New Virtual Reality Video of Hog Operations

Wed, 05/02/2018 - 11:05am

Today, Smithfield Foods, Inc. released the Animal Care section of its 2017 Sustainability Report focusing on the company’s industry-leading practices to keep animals safe, comfortable, and healthy. Starting today, Smithfield will issue its 17th Sustainability Report in segments organized by the pillars of its comprehensive sustainability program each week during the month of May.

To support the release of the Animal Care section of this new report, Smithfield has also released a new 360-degree virtual reality video, which transports viewers to one of the company’s wean-to-finish hog farms. The company leveraged this technology earlier this year – the first protein company to do so – to take viewers inside a company sow farm.

The 2017 Sustainability Report provides in-depth information about Smithfield’s specific leadership positions in the area of animal care, including:

  • First company to commit to group housing systems for pregnant sows on company-owned farms. Today, all pregnant sows on company-owned farms globally, including joint ventures in Mexico, are housed in groups.
  • First and only company in the industry to report antibiotics usage (since 2007).
  • First pork producer to develop and implement a comprehensive, systematic animal welfare management program.
  • First protein company to release virtual reality videos of its hog farms.

“This past year marked a tremendous milestone for Smithfield with the completion of our sow housing conversion,” said Stewart Leeth, vice president of regulatory affairs and chief sustainability officer for Smithfield Foods. “We invested more than $360 million and ten years into our transition to group housing systems for pregnant sows on company-owned farms and fulfilled that commitment right on schedule in 2017. We were proud to make this commitment a decade ago, a first in the industry, and even prouder now to have fulfilled it.”

In addition to information about these topics, the report also includes details about Smithfield’s ongoing research to investigate alternatives to antibiotics, including a new vaccine research lab, results of internal and third-party animal care audits, and the company’s efforts to continually enhance its animal care management system.

“Our approach to animal care is rooted in the fundamental philosophy that the healthier our animals, the healthier our company,” said Kenneth M. Sullivan, president and chief executive officer for Smithfield Foods. “Our bold initiatives create value for our business, our contract growers and supply chain partners, as well as the industry as a whole. Our animal care practices and policies underpin our focus on producing good food the right way.”

To view a video about Smithfield’s animal care program, click here.

To read the Animal Care section of the report in its entirety, please visit www.smithfieldfoods.com/animalcare.

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.

Pact Launches <em>Energy for Prosperity</em>, a New Global Initiative to Improve Energy Access in Developing Communities

Wed, 05/02/2018 - 11:05am

Today, Pact announced the launch of a new global initiative called Energy for Prosperity (E4P) to improve energy access in low- and middle-income communities as part of the organization’s integrated approach to development.

Globally, more than 1 billion people lack access to energy. For these ­­­communities, energy poverty presents a major roadblock to progress, in areas from education and livelihoods to health and food security. 

With a focus on innovation and social enterprise, Pact helps people gain access to affordable, reliable and sustainable electricity. Pact collaborates with governments, companies, investors and other civil society organizations to work toward a future in which all people have the skills and resources they need to enjoy the many benefits of modern energy.

Energy for Prosperity began in Myanmar, with the Ahlin Yaung project, which has established renewable energy committees in 76 villages to train people to install and maintain solar home systems and manage a revolving fund, which provides the initial capital to purchase the solar home systems. The Ahlin Yaung project is working to bring renewable energy to 1 million people in rural villages by 2021. So far through Ahlin Yaung, more than 200,000 people across central Myanmar have gained access to electricity, through solar home systems as well as through the electrification of community-prioritized places.

About half say they are using the electricity to be more productive, such as running businesses longer and more efficiently, and approximately 80 percent say their children, now able to read and study past sunset, have gained educational benefits. The Ahlin Yaung fund is now also financing mini-grid and grid connections, as well as aquaculture projects to promote the productive use of energy and further improve economic opportunity.

“The launch of this expanded global initiative aligns with Pact’s ongoing transformation, in which the organization is building and leveraging new ways of doing and funding development, in recognition of the fact that current models are not sufficient to resolve the systemic challenges that perpetuate poverty,” said Matthew Cullinen, Senior Director, Energy for Prosperity.

“As a leading implementation partner for national development agencies, Pact will continue to offer the highest quality implementation operations throughout the world. In addition, Pact is committed to building long-term, multi-stakeholder platforms to overcome the structural impediments and financial barriers that prevent communities from gaining access to energy.”

This is taking the form of products and services that remove demand distortions and supply constraints, reduce the cost and complexity of energy project development and product distribution, and create the enabling environment for connecting supply and demand in new ways.

Energy for Prosperity includes both donor-funded and private sector initiatives to increase energy access. Some of Pact’s renewable energy partners to date have included Chevron, Shell, Engie and ABB.

Pact is also the host of a new initiative called Smart Power Myanmar (SPM). With financial support from The Rockefeller Foundation, Pact will accelerate access to renewable energy for poor and vulnerable people in Myanmar by bringing together key players in the public and private sectors, spurring economic growth and transforming lives in rural communities. 

The Smart Power Myanmar facility will build a viable, decentralized renewable energy ecosystem by ensuring the right incentives and policies are created to expand the reach of productive power to those who live without sufficient access, with a focus on customer-centered solutions, long-term socio-economic development and systemic change. The Smart Power Myanmar facility aims to mobilize hundreds of millions of dollars to support the rollout of thousands of mini-grids and other rural electrification solutions that are in line with Myanmar’s National Electrification Plan. In addition to The Rockefeller Foundation, the facility’s founding members include The World Bank, USAID and Yoma Strategic Holdings.

More information


About Pact – Pact is the promise of a better tomorrow for communities challenged by poverty and marginalization. We serve these communities because we envision a world where everyone owns their future. To do this, we build systemic solutions in partnership with local organizations, businesses and governments that create sustainable and resilient communities where those we serve are heard, capable and vibrant. On the ground in nearly 40 countries, Pact’s integrated, adaptive approach is shaping the future of international development. Visit us at www.pactworld.org.

About The Rockefeller FoundationFor more than 100 years, The Rockefeller Foundation’s mission has been to promote the well-being of humanity throughout the world. Together with partners and grantees, The Rockefeller Foundation strives to catalyze and scale transformative innovations, create unlikely partnerships that span sectors, and take risks others cannot – or will not. For more information, please visit www.rockefellerfoundation.org.

Surfrider Foundation and REEF Establish Better Beach Alliance to Protect Clean Water and Healthy Beaches

Tue, 05/01/2018 - 8:04pm

Today, the Surfrider Foundation, a leading nonprofit organization dedicated to the protection and enjoyment of our ocean, waves and beaches, and REEF, one of the world’s premier beach footwear and apparel brands, announced the launch of the Better Beach Alliance to fuel industry-wide support for the protection of our coasts.

The Better Beach Alliance was developed in collaboration to expand three key areas of impact, including number of beach cleanups, trash removal and volunteers. The collective goal is to engage 30,000 volunteers in 1,500 beach cleanups to remove 150,000 pounds of plastic pollution and trash from the nation’s coastlines in 2018. As the founding sponsor of the Better Beach Alliance, REEF’s commitment will also contribute to Surfrider’s plastic pollution efforts, with a focus on reducing the consumption of single-use plastics.

"Surfrider is a force for good that continually inspires REEF and directly connects to our passion to keep our ocean and beaches clean for everyone to enjoy,” says Mike Matey, REEF VP of Marketing. “By joining resources, we hope to accelerate our impact and encourage more brands and communities to get involved.” 

The launch of the Better Beach Alliance underscores REEF’s recently reinvigorated mantra, Beach Freely. The new mantra lends itself to the brand’s updated impact strategy to help keep beaches clean for everyone to enjoy. In addition, Beach Freely embraces a connection between our beaches and well-being. By protecting the beach from harmful pollutants, people can create clean and beautiful places to be restored from life's daily stress and pressure.

“REEF has taken their Surf Industry Coastal Defender support to another level to protect the world’s beaches,” said Dr. Chad Nelsen, CEO of the Surfrider Foundation. “Beaching freely requires clean water and healthy beaches and REEF’s support will help Surfrider’s network step up our game to reduce plastic pollution.”

As the founders of the Better Beach Alliance, REEF and Surfrider hope to bring together industry and communities to play a critical role in enacting meaningful change to our planet. For more information on how to get involved in the Better Beach Alliance, visit Surfrider.org or find your nearest Surfrider chapter at Surfrider.org/chapters.


REEF is the global footwear and apparel brand that encourages people everywhere to Beach Freely. United by the spirit of the beach since 1984, REEF designs innovative and comfort-driven products to celebrate the freedom and fun of the beach lifestyle.

REEF® and Reef Beach Freely™ are trademarks of South Cone, Inc.

About Surfrider Foundation
The Surfrider Foundation is a nonprofit grassroots organization dedicated to the protection and enjoyment of our world’s oceans, waves and beaches through a powerful network. Founded in 1984 by a handful of visionary surfers in Malibu, California, the Surfrider Foundation now maintains over 500,000 supporters, activists and members, with more than 160 volunteer-led chapters and student clubs in the U.S., and more than 450 victories protecting our coasts. Learn more at surfrider.org.

What Do You Do When You Are Investing in Your Workforce but Your Suppliers Are Not?

Tue, 05/01/2018 - 8:04pm

With an increasingly globalized economy, many multi-national corporations (MNCs) find it more profitable to outsource production of goods and services to companies operating in countries where manufacturing inputs and labor costs are lower. However, as these efforts continue to grow in size, some MNCs find it challenging to ensure that their products are sourced in an ethical manner. 

Suppliers often try to maximize profits by investing very little in their workforce, keeping wages low, providing little to no benefits, and subjecting workers to abuses and unsafe working conditions. The further downstream you go in certain supply chains, the more pervasive the problems are.  In addition to guidance from OECD and the U.N. Global Compact, there is a plethora of supplier codes available aimed at addressing these issues. Nonetheless, MNCs must partner with their suppliers and commit to influencing and educating them on the importance of investing in improved labor conditions to increase workers’ productivity and professional success.

Supply chain challenges are too complex to be solved by one organization alone.

Our experience implementing workforce development programs has taught us that partnerships with MNCs, suppliers, and other stakeholders is critical to promote a more efficient supply chain and resilient sourcing communities.  In an innovative public-private partnership, Global Communities, through USAID worked together with Haitian textile manufacturers to improve the manufacturing skills of more than 2,000 Haitian workers involved in the textile industry, focusing on upgrading their skills, from basic workplace skills to improved garment manufacturing techniques.

Beyond Monitoring

Today, many MNCs invest in programs that go beyond supplier audits to improve labor conditions within their supply chains. ILO Better Work, HerProject, and Women In Factories are all programs supported and funded by MNCs.  They provide workers with the training necessary to be successful in the workplace. However, these programs are often ineffective at helping low-skilled workers, at scale, build a career or advance professionally. In addition, paying for and scaling these types of programs can be a challenge, as they are usually costly, which typically limits supplier adoption and overall program sustainability.

Global Communities believes that more can be done to create a highly skilled and productive workforce, particularly at downstream tiers of the supply chain.

So, what more can MNCs do to achieve these goals? Here are some new ways Global Communities seeks to partner with MNCs, suppliers, and other stakeholders to promote a more efficient supply chain and resilient sourcing communities:

1. Establish clear career pathways and support continuous learning

Workers at the most downstream level of the supply chain tend to be the most vulnerable.  They are those often laboring in underground mines, agriculture fields, and production assembly lines, among others. In many cases, they are illiterate or undereducated, yet they represent an essential component of the supply chain. How can their skills be professionalized to help them build a career or advance professionally, if they so choose?

Global Communities suggests that MNCs and their suppliers need to go beyond training and create formal career pathways that begin with jobs at the very bottom of a supply chain. Such an approach requires: involvement of many stakeholders to assess the ways in which various sectors of the supply chain operate; identification of specific skill sets and competencies needed at every level of a career path; and, creation of short-term, business-driven micro-credentials that workers can provide to current and potential employers as evidence of the training they have received, along with related competencies.  This is expertise that the organization possesses and will use to transform the supply chain.

For instance, using an integrated youth-led market-systems model, Global Communities in partnership with Mastercard Foundation is working to create economic opportunities and entrepreneurship in Ghana’s construction sector for more than 23,000 disadvantaged youth and service providers across the value chain. The program is part of the Youth Forward Initiative which combines market-relevant skills training, mentorship, internships and access to financial services to help young people transition out of poverty and into sustainable livelihoods.

The purpose of creating clear career pathways is to afford workers, especially those at the bottom of the career ladder, the opportunity to move up within a career path or transfer to adjacent sectors based on their competencies. In addition, formalizing the process will elevate the perceived value of these jobs.

Furthermore, Global Communities’ workforce intervention is centered on the belief that a skilled workforce is central to the quality of a supplier’s goods and services, competitiveness, productivity and innovation.  Therefore, workers must remain current on new and ideally proven accepted practices.  Global Communities encourages MNCs to create partnerships with suppliers, donors and other stakeholders to co-invest in solutions that identify and address performance gaps. In fact, there are a variety of technology solutions on the market designed to help companies and workers achieve such goals. However, it will be crucial to adapt these technologies to workforce needs within critical links of any given supply chain.

2. Invest in technology

Inevitably, technology will continue to disrupt supply chain operations, as we currently know them. Artificial intelligence, blockchain, and robotics are sure to dominate the future of operations and the market will require higher-skilled workers.  MNCs that want to be ahead of the curve are already investing in technologies that improve efficiencies and transparency within their supply chains.  

Although in its infancy, blockchain technology is leading the way in supply chain innovations at a very fast pace.  According to Fortune, Walmart has already run a successful pilot to track its pork supply chain in China with Hyperledger Fabric, a blockchain program developed by IBM. In the coffee value chain, Bext360 is using Bextmachines to track and verify that Ethiopian farmers earn living wages and will share outcomes with Moyee Coffee and its European customers. Likewise, BHP Billiton is using a blockchain solution to better manage its mining processes and enhance its communication with suppliers, based on SupplyChain247.

As new technologies make their way into the supply chain, it is important that sourcing markets have the appropriate talent pool to leverage, operate, and manage them. As such, it is imperative that MNCs invest in ecosystems that generate these talents and build their workers’ capacities.

3. Determine the Return on Investment

Calculating key performance indicators to determine the Return on Investment (ROI) is a common business practice used to measure the efficiency and profitability of an investment.  Global Communities adheres to this same business concept as part of its strategy when working in the supply chain as a way to boost program performance, sustainability and adoption. Failing to demonstrate the ROI of any investments heightens the probability that suppliers and other stakeholders will not adopt such practices, or that they will never get off the ground in the first place.  As MNCs invest in these programs, they must also allocate funding for evaluation that goes beyond outputs to make sure that ROI performance is verified and that programs are strengthened and adjusted as learning occurs.

Fairmount Santrol Launches Twelfth Corporate Responsibility (CR) Report

Tue, 05/01/2018 - 11:03am

Fairmount Santrol (NYSE:FMSA) is pleased to announce the release of its twelfth annual Corporate Responsibility (CR) Report, Do Good. Do Well. Always. The 2017 report was prepared in accordance with the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) Standards: Core Option. To meet these guidelines, in 2014 and again in 2017, the Company conducted an assessment and engaged internal and external stakeholders to identify and prioritize Fairmount Santrol’s most significant sustainability-related impacts, risks and opportunities.

The theme of this year’s report, Do Good. Do Well. Always. highlights the Company’s commitment to Sustainable Development (SD), as well as the many accomplishments achieved by Fairmount Santrol Family Members in 2017. This report also demonstrates the Company’s ability to focus on long-term value creation, and commitment to remain as an employer and business partner of choice. 

The Company invites you to view the full 2017 CR report online at cr.fairmountsantrol.com.

Selected highlights include:


  • Family Members achieved 96 percent of the 2017 SD Team goals, including donating over 12,000 hours of volunteer time and assisting in Hurricane Harvey relief efforts.

  • Temporarily shifting job responsibilities to quickly reopen four idled mines enabled the Company to capture market opportunities, demonstrating our productivity and agility. 


  • Increasing the amount of sand shipped via unit trains – single-product trains that are given priority handling – significantly reducing delivery time, fuel consumption, greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and shipping costs.

  • Funding and/or participating in the planting of more than 99,400 trees to offset greenhouse gas emissions.


  • Constructing a new in-basin facility in West Texas to capture market opportunities, while leveraging the Company’s unique culture and commitment to SD initiatives to attract local new hires.

  • Successfully testing and launching several new value-added products including, but not limited to, Accel™ dust-preventing polymeric sand, which reduces on-site dust and haze up to 90 percent compared with traditional polymeric sand.

“Our commitment to Sustainable Development – to Do Good. Do Well. - continues to be a key part of our unique culture, driving value for our people, the business, and our valued partners. As we continue to grow, we’re reminded that our sustained success comes from our dedication to all three pillars: People, Planet and Prosperity. Our Family Members are living by these values every day, Always.” said Jenniffer Deckard, President and Chief Executive Officer.

About Fairmount Santrol

Fairmount Santrol is a leading provider of high-performance sand and sand-based product solutions used by oil and gas exploration and production companies to enhance the productivity of their wells. The Company also provides high-quality products, strong technical leadership and applications knowledge to end users in the foundry, building products, water filtration, glass, and sports and recreation markets. Its expansive logistics capabilities include a wide-ranging network of distribution terminals and thousands of rail cars that allow the Company to effectively serve customers wherever they operate. As one of the nation’s longest continuously operating mining organizations, Fairmount Santrol has developed a strong commitment to all three pillars of sustainable development, People, Planet and Prosperity. Correspondingly, the Company’s motto and action orientation is: “Do Good. Do Well.” For more information, visit FairmountSantrol.com.

Forward-Looking Statements

This press release contains statements which, to the extent they are not statements of historical or present fact, constitute “forward-looking” statements within the meaning of Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended, and the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. All forward-looking statements involve risks and uncertainties that may cause actual results to differ materially from those expressed or implied in the forward-looking statements. Important factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those anticipated or implied in forward-looking statements are described in Fairmount Santrol’s Form 10-K under the heading “Cautionary Statement Regarding Forward-Looking Information,” as well as the information included in Fairmount Santrol’s Current Reports on Form 8-K and other factors that are set forth in management’s discussion and analysis of Fairmount Santrol’s most recently filed reports with the SEC. Additional important factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those indicated by forward-looking statements include risks and uncertainties relating to: the merger not being timely completed, if completed at all; if the merger is completed, the impact of any undertakings required by the parties in order to obtain regulatory approvals; prior to the completion of the merger, Fairmount Santrol’s and/or Unimin’s respective businesses experiencing disruptions due to transaction-related uncertainty or other factors making it more difficult to maintain relationships with employees, business partners or governmental entities; the industry may be subject to future regulatory or legislative actions that could adversely affect Fairmount Santrol’s and/or Unimin’s respective businesses; and the parties being unable to successfully implement integration strategies. While Fairmount Santrol and/or Unimin may elect to update forward-looking statements at some point in the future, Fairmount Santrol and Unimin specifically disclaim any obligation to do so, even if estimates change and, therefore, you should not rely on these forward-looking statements as representing our views as of any date subsequent to today.

Additional Information

FAIRMOUNT SANTROL STOCKHOLDERS ARE ENCOURAGED TO READ THE UNIMIN REGISTRATION STATEMENT AND ANY OTHER RELEVANT DOCUMENTS FILED WITH THE SEC, INCLUDING THE PROXY STATEMENT/PROSPECTUS THAT IS PART OF THE REGISTRATION STATEMENT BECAUSE THEY CONTAIN IMPORTANT INFORMATION ABOUT THE MERGER. The final proxy statement/prospectus will be mailed to the record holders. Investors and security holders will be able to obtain the documents free of charge at the SEC’s website, www.sec.gov, or from Fairmount Santrol at its web-site, FairmountSantrol.com.

Participants in Solicitation

Fairmount Santrol and its respective directors and executive officers may be deemed to be participants in the solicitation of proxies in respect of the Merger. Information concerning Fairmount Santrol’s participants is set forth in the proxy statement, dated April 6, 2017, for Fairmount Santrol’s 2017 Annual Meeting of stockholders as filed with the SEC on Schedule 14A. Additional information regarding the interests of such participants in the solicitation of proxies in respect of the Merger is included in the Registration Statement and proxy statement/prospectus and other relevant materials filed with the SEC.

CSE Celebrates 10 Years of Executive Sustainability Education in North America

Tue, 05/01/2018 - 11:03am

Over the past 10 years, more than 6,000 executives from leading organizations including NASA, Coca-Cola, Walmart, Timberland, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, Microsoft, L’Oréal, Chevron, Cigna, PWC, T–Mobile, Procter & Gamble, and Macy’s were certified as sustainability professionals. 

CSE successfully delivered on the 8th and 9th of March in Atlanta and on 26th and 27th in Toronto the Advanced Version 2018 of the Certified Sustainability Practitioner Program. These high level professional trainings were fully booked, and once again CSE brought together professionals from different countries, fields and companies who joined this two-day workshop, eager to further develop and enhance their business strategies through CSR frameworks. 

“The workshop was delivered by dynamic and knowledgeable instructors. It was a very comprehensive and practical training, attended by participants from all sectors of the economy,” says Prof. Stephan Vachon, who attended the Toronto training.  Vachon is chair of the Masters of Environment and Sustainability program at the Ivey Business School, the #1MBA program in Canada, and top-ranked globally.  “I recommend it to anyone who wants a thorough and up-to-date overview of sustainability aspects in businesses.” 

Additionally, professionals from 3 continents, North America, Europe and the Middle East, are participating in the quickly approaching global event in NYC this June 11-12, in order to become certified and recognized as Sustainability CSR-P Practitioners by CSE and the Chartered Management Institute (CMI). 

CSE is in preparations for this third in a row Global Advanced Certified Sustainability (CSR) Practitioner Program (CMI Approved) in North America. For its fourth training in Houston on the 27th and 28th of September, the advanced training will focus on the UN SDGs, GRI Standards, sustainability reporting trends according to CSE research, national and international legislation and other key challenges in sustainability.  Stay tuned for the promising event in Houston! 

Rosalinda Sanquiche
CSE North America

New 2018 CSR Customizable Planner Available for Complimentary Download

Tue, 05/01/2018 - 8:03am

CyberGrants, corporate social responsibility and grantmaking software providers released a new, customizable CSR planner for download. Based in Google Drive, this planner is meant to help track and organize CSR initiatives for organizations of all sizes in 2018. The customizable planner includes daily, weekly, and monthly observations as well as resources and reminders for CSR planning.

The planner also includes:

  • Built-in Checklists: Each checklist is editable so organizers can include any company-specific or personal tasks. Checklists come with strategic insights from the CyberGrants team to help along with the planning process.

  • Google Drive Enabled: Built right into Google Drive’s Spreadsheet Application so planners can be shared, viewed, and edited via mobile. Google Drive includes auto-saving so no changes go unsaved.

  • Daily, Weekly, & Monthly Holidays: The most important national observances are built into the calendar to help encourage planning efforts throughout the year. Monthly resources are included along each of these monthly formatted reminders.

“We are always trying to improve our services to those who are taking initiative to do good things in their communities. While CyberGrants has excellent consulting teams, it helps to have a little digital reminder to support you throughout the week and keep all CSR events organized,” said Nita Kirby, Director of Client Strategy at CyberGrants.

Downloads are available for free access via: http://offers.cybergrants.com/2018-csr-planner.

To learn more about CyberGrants and the services they provide, please visit the support center to speak with a representative: http://www.cybergrants.com/speak-with-an-expert/.

About CyberGrants

CyberGrants is a leading provider of software-as-a-service (SaaS) solutions for corporate social responsibility management. CyberGrants’ mission is to provide innovative software and services in the most secure and efficient way. With nearly 20 years experience, CyberGrants has delivered grants management software and corporate philanthropy program software to many of the largest companies and foundations in the world, including more than 50% of the Fortune 100. For additional information on CyberGrants, visit www.cybergrants.com.


Electronic Payments Made Through the Benevity Platform Reach an All-Time High of 87 Percent

Tue, 05/01/2018 - 8:03am

 Benevity,  Inc., the global leader in corporate social responsibility and employee engagement software, today announced that electronic payments made to charities and nonprofit organizations through its platform have reached an all-time high—a direct result of the company’s leadership in making corporate giving more democratic, simple and streamlined on a global scale. 87 percent of total employee and corporate donations processed through Benevity are sent electronically, providing charities and nonprofits with the most accurate, reliable, efficient and cost-effective way of receiving funds. Benevity’s rate of electronic disbursements leads the industry by more than two times and has become a benchmark of scalability for vendors in the corporate giving space. 

For the past 10 years, part of Benevity’s social mission has been to bring much-needed scale and efficiency to the charitable landscape through best-in-class technology that modernizes the way charities process and receive donations. By aggregating monthly payments to each charity across all clients and donors, and automating essential but non-strategic tasks like tax receipting and reporting, Benevity minimizes manual administration associated with processing paper checks and issues that lead to lost checks, delays in receiving funds, and inaccuracies—all of which can have reputational risk for companies, threaten funding for charities and reduce the amount of funding that can be applied toward the social issues being addressed. Electronic payments play a key role in this mission, enabling donors to easily give to causes around the world—including countries that no longer accept checks—and to verify that funds have been disbursed to the intended recipient in a timely and accurate way.  

For example, when there was a dramatic increase in the level of giving in response to disaster relief efforts in the fall of 2017, Benevity bundled close to 100,000 individual transactions into a single $9.65 million dollar disbursement to the world’s leading humanitarian organization, allowing them to further their mission of caring for those in need while minimizing their backend office administration. 

“The CSR space is one of the few industries that has continued to rely on checks as the primary means of distributing funds. This has reduced both the number of charities that can benefit from a program, as well as the accuracy and timeliness of payment—hampering companies’ ability to scale their Goodness programs,” said Bryan de Lottinville, Benevity Founder and CEO. “When corporations embrace a platform approach, they can open up their giving, matching, volunteering and grantmaking programs to include more causes from around the world, helping to build a more inclusive, authentic and purpose-driven company culture and brand.” 

The Benevity Causes Portal includes a global database of almost 2 million charities and nonprofits. Benevity leads the industry in disbursing funds electronically. Currently, 100 percent of international donations and 87 percent of total donations processed through the company’s platform are sent electronically. 

In addition to automating and aggregating fund disbursement, tax receipting, tracking and reporting, Benevity also provides charities with donor reporting, and the ability to publish targeted content to Benevity’s client giving sites, which corporations use to engage their employees in charitable campaigns, events and projects.  

"There are many third-party giving platforms out there, but in my experience, Benevity is one of the best,” said Trina Jones, Managing Director, Health in Harmony. “Benevity makes everything easy with disbursement notifications, clear reporting with donor and contact information, and more. After working with the Benevity team, I know that they are receptive and truly want to create the best experience for nonprofits and companies. Plus, our corporate partners clearly have a lot of trust in Benevity’s platform, which in turn allows us to tap into corporate giving programs—like those that offer employee matching—on a much larger scale.”   

Charitable organizations and nonprofits interested in more information about Benevity can visit https://causes.benevity.org/.   

About Benevity 
Benevity, Inc., a B Corporation, is the global leader in online workplace giving, matching, volunteering and community investment software. Many of the world’s most iconic brands rely on Benevity’s award-winning cloud solutions to power corporate “Goodness” programs that attract, retain and engage today’s diverse workforce by connecting people to the causes that matter to them. With software that is available in 17 languages, to more than four million users around the world, Benevity has processed over 2 billion dollars in donations and 10 million hours of volunteering time this year to almost 150,000 charities worldwide. 

SC Johnson Named No. 1 2018 Best Workplace in Central America

Mon, 04/30/2018 - 5:02pm

SC Johnson Central America has been recognized as the top 2018 Best Workplace by the Great Place to Work® Institute, ranking No. 1 on this year’s list of companies. This is the 11thconsecutive appearance in the rankings for SC Johnson Central America, and the third consecutive year being ranked No. 1.

“Promoting a culture of respect, inclusion and engagement is incredibly important to us, and SC Johnson Central America embodies those values,” said Fisk Johnson, Chairman and CEO of SC Johnson. “I congratulate the people of SC Johnson Central America for this well-deserved recognition.”

SC Johnson Central America received the highest score on the Great Place to Work® Institute’s culture audit, which evaluates a company’s unique values. The Best Workplaces list is the world’s largest annual study of workplace excellence. The ranking is determined by the results of an employee opinion survey and information provided about company culture, programs and policies.

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

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

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


About SC Johnson

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

iCause Partners With the Recovery Center of Medina County

Mon, 04/30/2018 - 5:02pm

In the Summer of 2017, the Recovery Center of Medina County opened with the goal of strengthening communities through supporting those in recovery. The organization quickly grew and expanded to offer a variety of resources for not only those in recovery, but also their family members, caregivers and more. After partnering with EDWINS Leadership and Restaurant Institute, RCMC began offering advanced services, classes and cutting edge programming to expand their reach in the community.

RCMC is dedicated to serving those in need of recovery resources by providing access to peer support counseling, meetings, life skills and coaching, legal aid, help with locating sober homes and detox facilities, housing and job placement.

The center is not only a place for recovering from substance abuse issues but is also committed to providing the tools necessary to succeed in long-term recovery. The main goal of the Recovery Center is to become a one stop shop for addiction, recovery referrals and resources. It seeks to train, employ and empower those in recovery.

Four years ago, Chef Brandon Chrostowski, Chef Gilbert Brenot and General Manager Michael Flaherty opened EDWINS Leadership & Restaurant Institute: a non-profit French fine dining restaurant geared at teaching and mentoring previously incarcerated individuals and recovering addicts to learn and gain a career in culinary & hospitality.  The program has had immense success and critical acclaim in the rehabilitation and recovery community, and Brandon himself was recognized as one of CNN’s “Heroes” in 2016.

This spring marked one of the most anticipated restaurant openings of the year:  Sérénité Restaurant.  Working in conjunction with the Recovery Center of Medina County and open to anyone in the recovery community wishing to learn the techniques of classic French cuisine and service while earning a living, assistance with job placement, all within an environment of strength and support.

Students will be paid to attend, just like they would be a normal restaurant job, however, over the course of 8 months they will learn every position of the restaurant, complete a short apprenticeship at another fine restaurant, as well as help with job placement upon completion.  Students will also have full access to all of our resources and support that is being built through the Recovery Center of Medina County, including peer support, life skills & coaching, recovery support & sponsorship, legal aid, team building exercises & events, and mentorship.

"We have many programs and events to support the recovery community and we are always looking for volunteers to help out at the center. iCause is the perfect fit for our organization because it allows us to manage events and volunteers in one place. iCause's concept of strengthening and building communities also ties in well with our mission to connect and empower those in recovery." Jessica Hazeltine, Administrative Manager

iCause is a global marketplace for cause with a focus on making an impact and building communities.  Nonprofit sustainability is the main goal with engagement and incentives for individuals, nonprofits, educational institutions, CSR companies, and philanthropists.

This partnership is the one of many on the road to increasing cause engagement!

Learn more about the Recovery Center of Medina County: medinarecoverycenter.org

Learn more about iCause: events.icause.com

Media Contact

Name: Brandy Bright, Director of PR & Media, iCause PBC

E-Mail: brandy.bright@icause.com

Location: Cleveland, Ohio  

Disclaimer: iCause PBC is the source of this content.

Mass Transit Goes Green: Electrified Bus Programs Delivering on the Promise of Zero-Emission Transportation Options for Cities

Mon, 04/30/2018 - 5:02pm

Growing interest in high efficiency, pollution-reducing transit options is propelling investment in new electrified mass transit projects across the United States. Reflecting this trend, Black & Veatch announced it has completed the charging station infrastructure that powers Washington, D.C.’s new electrified mass transit project – the latest move by U.S. cities to reimagine how to sustainably move people across urban landscapes and experience the benefits of clean transportation, both on and off the bus.

The Washington D.C. Circulator System project combines 14 of Proterra’s Catalyst E2 buses, each having a Proterra-provided 50kw charger installed by Black & Veatch along with the related infrastructure. Powered entirely by high-capacity batteries, the buses benefit riders and non-riders alike by eliminating a projected 244,000 pounds of carbon dioxide emission each year. For taxpayers, there’s a bonus: the 14 EV buses will cut the fleet’s fuel and maintenance bills by more than $6 million over the transit vehicles’ typical 12-year life cycle, while displacing nearly 90,000 gallons of diesel fuel annually.

 U.S. cities purchase an estimated 5,000 public transit buses each year, and due to the benefits city officials increasingly are prioritizing electrification of their mass transit offerings. Some 850 municipal electric buses are on order, and there are active proposals for hundreds more. Seattle will roll out 120 new electric buses by 2020, for instance, while Los Angeles is buying 95 electric buses for $138 million – a tenet of that city’s quest to replace its 2,300-bus fleet with EVs by 2030. Keeping many such buses rolling is Black & Veatch’s market-leading design and deployment of more than 1,000 charging sites nationwide, including the large-scale, heavy-duty charging infrastructure electric buses require.

As industry leaders gather this week in Long Beach, California, for a summit about advanced transportation technology, infrastructure solutions like the one being deployed in the nation’s capital are crucial to meeting rising demands for electric vehicles. Success of these projects requires deep collaboration across all stakeholders including transit agencies, utilities, permitting authorities, charging technology providers, engineering and construction services.  Each project in the built environment brings unique challenges and adds to lessons learned to the benefit of the next transit electrification phases.

According to Black & Veatch’s 2018 Strategic Directions: Smart Cities & Utilities Report survey, more than half of smart services providers said the need for charging infrastructure — both via depots and on-route — was the most prohibitive barrier to large-scale electric fleet adoption. The Washington, D.C. project, and others underway, demonstrates that electric buses have lower maintenance costs than their diesel or hybrid counterparts and could change minds about cost. Not long ago, electric buses that were priced at about $1 million apiece have dropped to around $750,000, with upfront cost parity when considering total cost of operation.  As demand and production volume increase, economies of scale will widen that gap in favor of electrification. Over time, transit agencies that don’t electrify will be polluting more and spending more on their legacy fleets.

“With the arrival electrified transit, public transit agencies and utilities must work in concert to develop infrastructure roadmaps that guide them beyond early pilots toward mass deployment. Each system is different and will seek to optimize the best combinations of on-route and depot charging technologies,” said Paul Stith, Director of Strategy & Innovation for Black & Veatch’s Transformative Technologies business and an expert in sustainable transportation and energy storage solutions. “Partnering with an organization with deep EV infrastructure and utility experience like Black & Veatch will ensure infrastructure won’t hold back aggressive EV adoption.”

Editor’s Note:

  • At the Advanced Clean Transportation Expo on May 4 in Long Beach, California, Paul Stith will share his insights during a panel session about costs and considerations for developing charging infrastructure for medium- and heavy-duty commercial vehicles. Stith will discuss engineering and permitting matters involving EVSE installation during the Black & Veatch-sponsored session.

About Black & Veatch 
Black & Veatch is an employee-owned, global leader in building critical human infrastructure in Energy, Water, Telecommunications and Government Services. Since 1915, we have helped our clients improve the lives of people in over 100 countries through consulting, engineering, construction, operations and program management. Our revenues in 2017 were US$3.4 billion. Follow us on www.bv.com and in social media.

Black & Veatch Media Contact Information:

JIM SUHR | +1 913-458-6995 P | +1 314-422-6927 M | SuhrJ@bv.com

24-HOUR MEDIA HOTLINE | +1 866-496-9149

Chevron Fabricated Evidence in U.S. Court to Evade $12b Liability to Indigenous Peoples of Ecuador, Report Says

Mon, 04/30/2018 - 2:02pm

A controversial U.S. trial-level judge ignored undisputed evidence that Chevron paid at least $2 million for false witness testimony and fabricated other evidence to obtain a discredited civil “racketeering” (or RICO) decision that company lawyers are now trying to use in Canada to block enforcement of the $12 billion pollution judgment from Ecuador, according to a report Chevron’s RICO Fraud

Written by lawyers for the Ecuadorian Indigenous peoples and farmer communities that won the environmental judgment against Chevron, the report comes on the heels of a tough week for the oil major in Canadian courts. A three-judge panel in the Court of Appeal of Ontario shut down a Chevron lawyer when he tried to suggest the RICO matter should stop a lawsuit brought by the Ecuadorians to seize company assets in the country to enforce their judgment. The Ecuadorians seeking to force Chevron to comply with the judgment have now won three consecutive appellate court victories in Canada, including one before the country’s Supreme Court. 

A fourth consecutive favorable decision in Canada for the Ecuadorians – the Ontario appellate court is expected to rule this summer after argument on April 17-18 – would allow them to try to seize Chevron assets currently held by the company’s wholly-owned Canadian subsidiary to pay for their judgment. The pollution judgment against Chevron issued in 2011 based on 105 technical evidentiary reports showing the oil major dumped billions of gallons of cancer-causing oil waste onto Indigenous ancestral lands. It was later affirmed unanimously by Ecuador’s highest court in the venue where the company insisted the trial be held.

To try to block the asset collection effort, Chevron has tried to argue Chevron Canada is a separate and independent company even though 100% of its shares are owned by Chevron. The decision is critical because of all of Chevron’s estimated $15 billion to $25 billion worth of assets in Canada are held by Chevron Canada. (See this summary of the evidence against Chevron.)

The report about Chevron’s fraud rebuts 12 false or distorted findings by U.S. trial judge Lewis A. Kaplan in the RICO case. The findings were based primarily on discredited testimony from an admittedly corrupt Chevron witness paid $2 million by the company to claim that lawyers for the Ecuadorians offered a bribe to the Ecuador trial judge in exchange for “ghostwriting” the judgment. The Chevron witness, Alberto Guerra, later admitted he had lied on the stand after being coached for 53 days by Chevron’s lawyers. (See here and here for media reports.)

The report also documents Judge Kaplan’s hostility toward the Ecuadorians and their lawyers in a proceeding that amounted to a “Dickensian farce”, according to a legal motion filed by prominent U.S. lawyer John Keker, who participated in the case (see here for background). Kaplan refused to seat a jury and committed numerous procedural violations to favor Chevron, including allowing secret testimony from witnesses whose identities were concealed from the defense, according to the report. Kaplan also authorized Chevron to secretly pay the fees of a court official while failing to disclose his financial ties to Chevron while presiding over the trial.

The report is being put in the public domain after dozens of law scholarsenvironmental groups, and human rights organizations urged reversal of Judge Kaplan’s ruling on the grounds that it failed to consider Chevron’s fabrication of evidence and overstretched the authority of the U.S. to judiciary to interfere with court decisions in other countries, said Patricio Salazar, a lawyer who represent the Ecuadorians. A U.S. appellate court later affirmed Kaplan’s RICO decision without any independent review of his problematic findings.

Just last week – apparently in response to the fact the Canadian court refused to hear argument about the RICO findings – Judge Kaplan again tried to bar the Ecuadorian rainforest villagers from collecting on the judgment in the entire world, even in Canada. That trial-level decision, like many Kaplan has issued, was widely condemned as a violation of international law and is seen by experts as an attack on Canada’s sovereignty, which has its own laws governing the enforcement of foreign judgments. A previous attempt in 2011 by Kaplan to issue an order from his trial court purportedly barring enforcement of the Ecuador judgment in the entire world was overturned on appeal in the United States.

Both Chevron and Judge Kaplan seem increasingly anxious over recent setbacks for the oil giant in what is shaping up to be a historic campaign by the Ecuadorian Indigenous peoples and farmer communities who live in the affected area. 

Last December, the Amazon Defense Coalition of Ecuador (FDA) – the NGO group enforcing the judgment – signed a joint protocol with Canada’s powerful national Indigenous federation (Assembly of First Nations) to hold Chevron accountable for causing environmental harms in both countries. Canada National Chief Perry Bellegarde and former Canada National Chief Phil Fontaine sat in court in Toronto with the Ecuadorians; Fontaine and Grand Chief Ed John harshly criticized Chevron for failing to address the concerns of the Indigenous peoples after a tour of the affected area last September.

Another prominent Canadian Indigenous leader, Cree lawyer Willie Littlechild, blasted Chevron over its Ecuador pollution problem two weeks ago before a plenary session of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues in New York. "This is considered the world's worst oil-related environmental catastrophe," he said. "The peoples of the region have not only seen their ancestral lands drastically reduced and restricted, but also poisoned, degraded, and destroyed." 

The Chevron fraud report explains how the paid-for Chevron witness, Alberto Guerra, admitted under oath in a separate arbitration proceeding that he lied on the stand before Judge Kaplan. Later, a forensic analysis by one of the world’s leading computer experts scientifically debunked Guerra’s ghostwriting story. Both of these critical developments were ignored by Judge Kaplan, who has been subject to harsh reviews by lawyers across a number of cases for his perceived pro-business bias and lack of neutrality. 

Guerra’s changing stories about a bribe were honed in daily coaching sessions with Chevron lawyers at the U.S. law firm of Gibson Dunn & Crutcher that spanned several weeks, according to Guerra’s own admissions. Chevron is still paying Guerra a large salary, housing costs, health care and his personal income taxes while maintaining him in a secret location in the U.S., according to court records. The company agreed to pay Guerra $12,000 monthly for no work other than being a witness under the company’s control, according to his contract with Chevron. 

(For more background about the corrupt acts committed by Chevron and Guerra, see here and here. For background on the many procedural flaws in Judge Kaplan’s RICO proceeding, see here.) 

The Ecuadorians have long claimed that Chevron officials and its outside lawyers conspired to fabricate false evidence through Guerra’s testimony and present it to U.S. courts as part of a long-running campaign to evade paying the Ecuador liability, which was issued based on overwhelming evidence in the venue where the company had accepted jurisdiction. Lawyers for the villagers also have asked the U.S. Department of Justice to investigate whether the payments to Guerra violated criminal statutes. (See here for a criminal referral letter of Chevron to the DOJ.) 

The forensic analysis, conducted under the auspices of an international investor arbitration panel overseeing a lawsuit filed by Chevron against Ecuador’s government, proved the Ecuador trial judge opened and saved a Word document that became the judgment more than 400 times over a three-month period prior to its issuance. This contradicts Chevron’s claim based on the Guerra testimony that the judgment was written by the plaintiffs and given to the judge on a flash drive. 

The report also names some of the individuals at Chevron law firm Gibson Dunn who orchestrated the fabrication of evidence on behalf of the company. They include Randy Mastro, the former deputy mayor of New York City under the administration of current Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani. Gibson Dunn advertises itself as a “rescue squad” for scandal-plagued clients, but the firm frequently has been criticized and sanctioned for ethical violations.

In the Chevron case, a federal judge in Oregon scolded the firm for trying to harass a non-profit group that was working to assist the Ecuadorian legal team. In an echo of its current problems in the Chevron case, Gibson Dunn recently was sanctioned by the High Court of London for fabricating evidence to help frame a political opponent of a client from Djibouti. Montana’s Supreme Court also accused the firm of engaging in “legal thuggery” and fined it $9.9 million.

Other amicus briefs filed before U.S. courts (see here and here) argue that Judge Kaplan’s RICO decision violates international law and amounts to an unconstitutional SLAPP-style lawsuit. SLAPP lawsuits are designed by corporate or governmental entities to harass opponents and to silence criticism in violation of Free Speech guarantees in the U.S. Constitution and international law.

After an eight-year trial that lasted from 2003 to 2011, the Ecuador court found that Chevron dumped billions of gallons of toxic waste into the rainforest when it operated more than 400 well sites (under the Texaco brand) from 1964 to 1992. The company’s sub-standard operational practices decimated Indigenous culture and caused an outbreak of cancer that has killed or threatens to kill thousands of people, according to independent health studies

As evidence against it in Ecuador mounted, Chevron began to attack the country’s courts while threatening the villagers with a “lifetime of litigation” if they persisted. “We will fight this until hell freezes over, and then fight it out on the ice,” said Chevron’s General Counsel, Charles James. Chevron has used at least 60 law firms and 2,000 lawyers to defend the company since the inception of the case; Donziger litigated pro se in the RICO case for several months against 114 lawyers from Gibson Dunn.

Worldwide Evidence Foods From Saltwater Agriculture are Better for Humans and Climate

Fri, 04/27/2018 - 4:58pm

Ethical Markets released today its 2018 Green Transition Scoreboard® finding $9.3 trillion of private investments in green sectors worldwide, cumulatively since 2007. This 2018 report: "CAPTURING CO2 WHILE IMPROVING HUMAN NUTRITION & HEALTH" also focuses on how productive capture of CO2 is making useful products and how expanding production of food in saltwater agriculture can achieve both better human nutrition and reduce climate risk.

The report’s lead author, science policy veteran Hazel Henderson, CEO of Ethical Markets says ”We found over-investment in the planet’s 3% freshwater, overlooking the other 97% saltwater and the many varieties of salt-loving (halophyte) plants that already provide human food, grown on the 40% of degraded and desert lands, e.g. the highly-nutritious grain: quinoa, available in many supermarkets.” 

The report‘s co-author, Tim Nash, Founder of Good Investing, assembles the research on the private investments in green sectors the Scoreboard tracks in Renewable Energy, Efficiency, Life Systems, Green Construction and Corporate Green R&D. Tim adds, “Green sectors are continuing to grow rapidly, outperforming most traditional sectors. At this rate, we will surpass $10 trillion of private investments in the global green economy this year”. 

Many investors, start-ups and new opportunities are found in all green sectors, as well as in these new approaches: the rapidly-growing plant protein markets serving the widespread growth of vegetarianism, as well as in new uses for carbon and CO2, citing hundreds of statistics and references. 

The report shows that these trends in better nutrition and increased carbon capture and re-use are also good news for the planet. "Pinpointing these investments and opportunities for desert-greening and using CO2 to make plastics, cement and other useful products only requires a new perspective...beyond existing cognitive biases including herd behavior in markets and theory-induced blindness! "says Henderson". 

About Ethical Markets, Certified B Corporation (www.ethicalmarkets.com): 
Founded in 2004 with a mission to reform markets and metrics while helping accelerate the global transition from fossil-fueled early industrialism to cleaner, healthier, inclusive knowledge-richer green societies everywhere. Its "Ethical Markets" TV series is distributed globally to colleges and libraries by www.films.com or free at www.ethicalmarkets.tv. This global, network of networks connects ethical investors, asset managers, green entrepreneurs, NGO leaders and academics. It sponsors the asset EthicMark® Awards for Advertising that uplifts the Human Spirit and Society, with nominations for its 2018 Awards now open at www.ethicmark.org, where past winning campaigns can also be viewed. A full list of information services at www.ethicalmarkets.com. 

SC Johnson Canada Recognized for Workplace Excellence

Fri, 04/27/2018 - 1:58pm

SC Johnson Canada has been recognized as a 2018 Best Workplace by the Great Place to Work® Institute. The organization, which has been included on the list of Best Workplaces 11 times since 2006, ranked No. 45 on this year’s list of companies.

“I congratulate the team in Canada for being recognized as a great place to work,” said Fisk Johnson, Chairman and CEO of SC Johnson. “Earning a spot on this year’s list is a testament to the policies and procedures the team has put in place to foster a culture of respect, trust and pride.”

SC Johnson Canada’s success can be attributed to its commitment to being a fair employer with progressive policies that create an environment of respect and camaraderie. The Best Workplaces list is the world’s largest annual study of workplace excellence. The ranking is determined by the results of an employee opinion survey and information provided about company culture, programs and policies.

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

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

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



SC Johnson Global Public Affairs



About SC Johnson

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

International Paper and the Nature Conservancy Join Forces to Advance the Science of Climate Smart Forestry

Fri, 04/27/2018 - 10:58am

International Paper and The Nature Conservancy (TNC) announced an agreement to collaborate on the development of ‘natural climate solutions’- the conservation, restoration and improved forest management techniques that increase carbon storage and avoid greenhouse-gas emissions in forest landscapes. The collaboration will focus on the expansion of Reduced-Impact Logging for Carbon (RIL-C) and its integration with forest certification.

RIL-C is a set of practices pioneered by TNC that balance the economic needs of forest-based communities and businesses with environmental goals, especially climate mitigation. The collaboration will initially focus on implementing these practices in key priority tropical forest regions.

Better forest management is one of our planet’s most promising natural climate solutionsi, with the potential to reduce vast amounts of greenhouse gas emissions. Forest certification can ensure sustainable, socially equitable and legally sourced timber production from natural forests, while strengthening a business model that values working forests and helps combat deforestation.

“We are committed to advancing sustainable forest management and are thrilled to work with TNC on this exciting project,” said Sophie Beckham, senior manager, Natural Capital Stewardship, International Paper. “Our investments in forest restoration and ensuring the health of working forests help increase forest carbon stocks and mitigate climate change.”

TNC’s Managing Director for Global Lands, Justin Adams, added: “About half of the planet’s remaining forests are managed for timber production. Improved forest management can not only reduce the direct impacts of logging and improve productivity, but can also increase the likelihood that forests remain forests.”

Funding provided by International Paper will help develop toolkits that will include carbon emissions measurement guidelines to detect various levels of forest degradation and impacts on biodiversity and regional best practices that avoid emissions while maintaining forest harvests. By accounting for carbon emissions data, forest managers will have a more detailed and accurate snapshot of a forest’s environmental role and economic potential.

This project is an example of the next generation of conservation measurement tools that are revealing large conservation opportunities while simultaneously supporting economic livelihoods.

The Nature Conservancy is a global conservation organization dedicated to conserving the lands and waters on which all life depends. Guided by science, we create innovative, on-the-ground solutions to our world's toughest challenges so that nature and people can thrive together. We are tackling climate change, conserving lands, waters and oceans at an unprecedented scale, providing food and water sustainably and helping make cities more sustainable. Working in 72 countries, we use a collaborative approach that engages local communities, governments, the private sector, and other partners. To learn more, visit www.nature.org or follow @nature_press on Twitter.

International Paper (NYSE: IP) is a leading global producer of renewable fiber-based packaging, pulp and paper products with manufacturing operations in North America, Latin America, Europe, North Africa, India and Russia. We produce corrugated packaging products that protect and promote goods, and enable worldwide commerce; pulp for diapers, tissue and other personal hygiene products that promote health and wellness and papers that facilitate education and communication. We are headquartered in Memphis, Tenn., and employ approximately 52,000 colleagues located in more than 24 countries. Net sales for 2017 were $22 billion. For more information about International Paper, our products and global citizenship efforts, please visit internationalpaper.com.

The Nature Conservancy
Kirsten Weymouth Ullman, Senior Media Relations Manager – Global Communications
+ 1 703.841.5371

International Paper
Thomas J. Ryan
+ 1 901.419.4333

Conservancy-led research indicates that forests offer the largest natural climate solution available: reducing deforestation, restoring forests, and improving forest management can achieve two-thirds of natural climate solutions’ mitigation potential, particularly in the tropics. Griscom, B., Adams, J., Ellis, P., Houghton, R.A., Lomax, G., Miteva, D.A., W. H. Schlesinger, D.S., Woodbury, P., Zganjar, C., Blackman, A., Campari, J., Conant, R.T., Delgado, C., Elias, P., Hamsik, M., Kiesecker, J., Landis, E., Polasky, S., Putz, F.E., Sanderman, J., Siikamäki, J., Silvius, M., Wollenberg, L., Fargione, J., Conservancy, T.N., Nichols, M., 2017. Natural climate solutions. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. doi:10.1073/pnas.1710465114

oekom Corporate Responsibility Review 2018: Ongoing Upwards Trend in Sustainability Management

Fri, 04/27/2018 - 10:58am

ISS-oekom’s Corporate Responsibility Review 2018, the annual report on sustainability in corporate management published today, affirms the continued upward trend in improved corporate sustainability observed in recent years. According to the report, the share of companies in industrialized countries with “good” and “very good” ratings stands at 17.2 percent - slightly higher compared with the previous year. Moreover, and for the first time since launch of the Corporate Responsibility Review in 2009, the group of companies with a “medium” assessment, at 43.6 percent, is larger than the share of companies assessed to have an “inadequate” sustainability performance. The latter group now stands at 39.2 percent, which is the lowest level to date. A comparable trend, but at a lower level, can be observed for companies in emerging markets.

The widely regarded annual report by ISS-oekom, one of the world's leading ESG research and rating agencies, is now in its 10th year and is based on the results of the oekom Corporate Rating. Its publication also marks the 25th anniversary of the company, which was founded in 1993 as oekom research and which joined the Institutional Shareholder Services (ISS) group of companies in March of this year.  

Tops and Bottoms by Industries
The best rated sector in the industrialized countries is the Household & Consumer Goods sector, with an average rating of the included companies of 43.07 points (on a scale of 0 to 100), closely followed by Health Care Facilities & Services with a 41.18 point average. Taking third place is the Semiconductors sector with 40.51 points. At the other end of the scale, the Retail industry (24.53 points) and, as in the previous year, the Real Estate industry (23.48 points) had the lowest average points. The clearest drop in the average rating was in the Automotive and Food & Beverages sectors which dropped 6.35 points and 1.79 points, respectively, over the previous year. 

Country Distribution and the Top Rated
The countries with the highest number of locally-headquartered companies ranked in the top three positions within their respective sectors were Germany and France (12 companies each). They are followed by the U.K. with 10 companies and Switzerland and the U.S., each with nine companies in the top three positions.

German companies that occupy first place in their respective industries are Evonik Industries, Drägerwerk, Henkel, SAP and Deutsche Bahn. French companies in first place are Valeo, Peugeot, Schneider Electric, Amundi, CNP Assurances and Sanofi. U.K. companies that have received the highest ratings in their industry are Berkeley Group Holdings, Coca-Cola European Partners, Relx and British Land Company.

Opportunities and Risks: Product Evaluation and Climate Management
In addition to the evaluation of the Corporate Ratings, the CR Review 2018 also contains evaluations from ISS-oekom’s Sustainability Solutions Assessments and Carbon Risk Ratings. 

The Sustainability Solutions Assessment assesses information and data on the extent to which a company’s product and service portfolio contribute to achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Of the more than 2,300 companies covered, nearly 36 percent have been assessed as actively contributing to achieving the SDGs with their products and services, while the products and services of 22 percent of the companies do not address the goals. 

In contrast to these generally positive trends, the assessment of the climate-related performance of companies as reflected in the Carbon Risk Ratings shows a different result: at the end of 2017, the average oekom Carbon Risk Rating (oCRR) score for all companies in the corporate rating universe was just 25.7 points on a scale of 0 (worst) to 100 (best). Only 5.6% were considered to be "climate performers" while only 2.8% were judged to be climate leaders".

25 Years as a Leading Monitor of Sustainability
Overall, the results of the ISS-oekom CR Review show that the general, upward trend towards implementing corporate sustainability practices and policies continues. The concept of sustainable development now has a completely different status than it had when ISS-oekom was founded 25 years ago - not only among companies but also among investors and the public. This development can be credited to the many actors who, over a generation, have emphasized the need and benefits of this approach from a variety of perspectives.

“There is growing consensus today with regard to the understanding that ecological and social issues can be material for the long-term success of a company and thus represent central starting points for investors in order to optimally adjust the risk-return ratio,” said Robert Haßler, co-founder and Head of ISS-oekom. ”We believe our work has contributed to the fundamental improvements evidenced today and compared with the early 1990s.”

The CR Review 2018 can be downloaded here

About the oekom Corporate Responsibility Review
As an annual report on global corporate responsibility, the oekom Corporate Responsibility Review has been documenting the key developments in integrating sustainability criteria into corporate management since 2009. The analyses of the overall ESG performance and evaluation of controversies are based on approximately 1,600 major international companies based in the industrialized countries and around 800 companies in the emerging markets. Also, the assessment within the oekom Sustainability Solutions Assessment refers to a group of more than 2,300 companies. Wherever possible, individual evaluations refer to the entire oekom universe. 

About ISS-oekom
Since March 2018, ISS-oekom has been a member of the ISS family, providing high quality solutions for sustainable and responsible investment and corporate governance. Originally founded in 1993 and formerly known as oekom research, the company is one of the world’s leading ESG research and rating agencies for sustainable investments with an unsurpassed rating methodology and quality recognition. ISS-oekom analyzes businesses and countries with respect to their environmental social and governance performance. As an experienced partner of institutional investors and financial service providers, we analyse the level of responsibility exercised by equity and bond issuers towards society and the environment. Under the new ownership, ISS-oekom completes the ESG research and RI services offerings of ISS, making it a worldwide pure-player in the area of RI Research & Solutions. ISS-oekom is headed by Robert Haßler, former CEO and co-founder of oekom-research.

More information: www.oekom-research.com and www.issgovernance.com

Dieter Niewierra, Media & Communications Lead

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