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The Lemelson Foundation and Partners Release Tools to Help Inventors and Entrepreneurs Integrate Sustainability From the Start

Wed, 10/11/2017 - 11:52am

The Lemelson Foundation today announced the release of an integrated package of new educational and business management toolkits for invention-based entrepreneurs. Sustaining Our Planet: A Toolkit for Entrepreneurs has been created by leading organizations in the field of entrepreneurship development- NESsT, Presidio Graduate School and VentureWell.  The suite of materials – all available for free download -  makes it easier for entrepreneurial inventors to integrate sustainability at all stages of product and business development.  

Entrepreneurs around the world are committed to building businesses that improve lives, protect the planet and generate profits. Companies that manage social and environmental performance can outperform those that do not, as research by Harvard Business School and others have demonstrated. 

The Lemelson Foundation, NESsT, Presidio Graduate School and VentureWell have joined forces to make sustainability more accessible to inventors and entrepreneurs throughout the product development and business growth process. The organizations are united in the belief that not only does our collective future depend on all inventors and entrepreneurs integrating environmental stewardship into products and business plans but also that those who do will experience the biggest market success.

Sustaining Our Planet: A Toolkit for Entrepreneurs is the culmination of a set of investments made by Lemelson in 2014, when the Foundation awarded grants to NESsT, Presidio Graduate School (formerly Pinchot University) and VentureWell.  “These toolkits deliver on our goal to help inventors and entrepreneurs reduce the potential for negative impact throughout their product and business development process,” said Carol Dahl, executive director of The Lemelson Foundation.  “We believe the most successful inventors, inventions, and associated businesses will be those who deliver the most value while consuming the fewest resources.”

Because each of the three organizations works with students and entrepreneurs at different stages of professional development – from early-stage ideation to the establishment of profit-making enterprises – the tools are distinct but complementary.

  • Early design and prototyping.
    VentureWell’s “Inventing Green: A Toolkit for Sustainable Design” was developed for engineers and makers of tangible products. VentureWell’s tools use systems thinking and a life-cycle analysis to help product developers consider the materials, production, distribution, and end-of-life of a product. Ideally used during a product’s early design and prototyping stages, the toolkit can reveal opportunities for inventors to design products and business models that reduce negative impacts throughout the product lifecycle. A complementary video series offers an overview of these concepts and examples of ventures that have successfully applied them. The components of the toolkit can be used together, a la carte, or mixed with other resources. http://go.venturewell.org/inventing-green-1

  • Extending the Value of Business Model Canvas (BMC):
    Presidio Graduate School’s “Sustainability Booster for BMC” is based on the premise that social and environmental performance need to be integrated in every aspect of a company’s work in order to avoid problems and take advantage of holistic efficiencies early on. The tool provides a set of 30 carefully curated questions that business students, entrepreneurs, and business leaders should take into account to make their business model more socially, environmentally, and economically sustainable. The toolkit offers helpful guided examples and is built as a plug and play enhancement for the well-known “Business Model Canvas” (BMC). It is highly adaptable for many different situations, and is effective for startups and existing enterprises alike.  https://info.presidio.edu/booster/

  • Simplifying life-cycle assessment:
    NESsT’s “I2E Inventing Green” is an online tool that goes deep into life-cycle assessment for companies that have begun early production and sales of a product or service. The I2E Inventing Green tool then takes it a step further by enabling users to manage and track their progress with quantifiable metrics that are connected to both economic success and generation of social and environmental impacts. The NESsT tool is ideal for companies that are validating their business model or preparing to scale, and want to capture top-line metrics for internal planning and external reporting but they find existing assessment tools too burdensome. www.nesst.org/i2e-green-tool 

“Many inventor entrepreneurs – especially if they’re working in under-resourced parts of the world – need easy-to-use tools to assess the life-cycle and biodiversity impact of products and services, and develop a plan to improve their environment impact over time,” said Nicole Etchart, co-founder and co-CEO of NESsT. “Our online portal helps emerging companies understand that managing and measuring environmental sustainability is both feasible and beneficial, and we can walk them through each step of how to do it.”

“Our tool enables entrepreneurs to bake a triple bottom line into their business models, products and services, considering the positive value for people, planet, and profit,” said Marsha Willard, core faculty at Presidio Graduate School. “We’re hoping to help entrepreneurs realize they can reduce supply chain risk, reach new markets, and deliver innovative products while addressing social and environmental issues and being financially successful.”

“It can be a daunting challenge for nascent entrepreneurs to think about the environmental impact of each phase of a product’s life. They need to consider materials they use, how they produce and distribute the product, and how to eventually dispose of or reuse it. Our toolkit makes that life-cycle thought process possible, even when a company is just a twinkle in someone’s eye,” said Phil Weilerstein, President VentureWell. 

About The Lemelson Foundation
Based in Portland, The Lemelson Foundation uses the power of invention to improve lives. Inspired by the belief that invention can solve many of the biggest economic and social challenges of our time, the Foundation helps the next generation of inventors and invention-based businesses to flourish. The Lemelson Foundation was established in the early 1990s by prolific inventor Jerome Lemelson and his wife Dorothy. To date the Foundation has made grants totaling more than $200 million in support of its mission. For more information, visit http://www.lemelson.org.

About NESsT
NESsT invests in social enterprises that generate dignified jobs for people most in need. NESsT uses an engaged approach providing tailored financing and business development support to social entrepreneurs in emerging markets as they go through the tough transition from startup to fully scaling businesses. Through their businesses, these social entrepreneurs empower people in their communities with the hard and soft skills, technology and ongoing support they need to improve their livelihoods. NESsT has invested in 170 social enterprises that have improved the lives of more than 509,000 people. www.nesst.org.

About Presidio Graduate School
Presidio Graduate School (PGS) is a community of innovative, passionate, and committed change-makers who aim to leave the world a better place for future generations. Based on the belief that real change happens at the intersection of private enterprise, the public sector, commerce and the common good, PGS is an accredited, nonprofit graduate school founded in 2002, offering several unique degree programs — three MBAs, the only sustainable MPA, and one of the only dual MBA/MPAs — as well as several certificates, all taught with systems-thinking methodology at the core. www.presidio.edu

About VentureWell
VentureWell is a non-profit organization that supports the creation of new ventures from an emerging generation of science and technology inventors and supports the innovation and entrepreneurship ecosystems that are critical to their success. We’ve funded or trained over 4,500 science and technology inventors and innovators and nurtured nearly a thousand of their startups reaching millions of people in over 50 countries. www.venturewell.org

BNP Paribas Takes Further Measures to Accelerate Its Support of the Energy Transition

Wed, 10/11/2017 - 2:51am

BNP Paribas is committed to bringing its financing and investment activities in line with the International Energy Agency (IEA) scenario, which aims to keep global warming below 2°C by the end of the century. To achieve this goal, the world must reduce its dependence on fossil fuels, starting with oil and gas from shale and oil from tar sands whose extraction and production emits high levels of greenhouse gases and has harmful effects on the environment.

Accordingly, BNP Paribas is today announcing a new global financing policy with regard to the exploration, production and transport of non-conventional hydrocarbons:

> BNP Paribas will no longer do business with companies focused on oil and gas from shale and oil from tar sands operations, this will include:

  • Business relations with producers primarily engaged in the exploration and production of oil and gas from shale and/or oil from tar sands

  • Business relations with clients primarily engaged in the distribution, marketing or trading of oil and gas from shale and/or oil from tar sands.

BNP Paribas will no longer finance projects that are mainly involved in the transportation and export of oil and gas from shale and oil from tar sands

  • No financing of LNG terminals that predominantly liquefy and export gas from shale,

  • No financing of pipelines that primarily carry oil and gas from shale and/or oil from tar sands, and no business relations with companies that derive the majority of their revenue from these activities.

BNP Paribas will not finance oil or gas exploration or production projects in the Arctic region.

These measures mean that BNP Paribas will gradually cease to finance a significant number of players who are not actively part of a transition to a lower carbon economy. The Group will continue to support its clients in the energy sector who are taking significant steps towards energy transition.

Jean-Laurent Bonnafé, Chief Executive Officer of BNP Paribas, stated: "We’re a long-standing partner to the energy sector and we’re determined to support the transition to a more sustainable world. As an international bank, our role is to help drive the energy transition and contribute to the decarbonisation of the economy. As we have announced, we’re committed to working with and supporting those energy sector partners who have decided to make environmental issues a central part of their business policy.”

These far-reaching measures will reinforce the actions already taken by the Group to combat climate change, notably in the energy sector:

  • A target of €15 billion in financing for renewable energy projects by 2020,

  • Investment totalling €100 million in start-ups specialising in energy transition (energy storage, energy efficiency, etc.),

  • A highly ambitious policy on Green Bonds,

  • Withdrawing from financing of coal mines and coal-fired power plants, and no longer supporting coal energy sector companies that are not pursuing a policy of diversifying their energy sources.

 Read Jean-Laurent Bonnafé's editorial on LinkedIn:


About BNP Paribas
BNP Paribas is a leading bank in Europe with an international reach. It has a presence in 74 countries, with more than 192,000 employees, including more than 146,000 in Europe. The Group has key positions in its three main activities: Domestic Markets and International Financial Services (whose retail-banking networks and financial services are covered by Retail Banking & Services) and Corporate & Institutional Banking, which serves two client franchises: corporate clients and institutional investors. The Group helps all its clients (individuals, community associations, entrepreneurs, SMEs, corporates and institutional clients) to realise their projects through solutions spanning financing, investment, savings and protection insurance. In Europe, the Group has four domestic markets (Belgium, France, Italy and Luxembourg) and BNP Paribas Personal Finance is the leader in consumer lending. BNP Paribas is rolling out its integrated retail-banking model in Mediterranean countries, in Turkey, in Eastern Europe and a large network in the western part of the United States. In its Corporate & Institutional Banking and International Financial Services activities, BNP Paribas also enjoys top positions in Europe, a strong presence in the Americas as well as a solid and fast-growing business in Asia-Pacific.

Group BNP Paribas

Julia Boyce – +33 (0)1 43 16 82 04 – julia.boyce@bnpparibas.com

Coralie France-Savin – +33 (0)1 40 14 94 89 – coralie.francesavin@bnpparibas.com

Renato Martinelli – +33 (0)1 58 16 84 99 – renato.martinelli@bnpparibas.com

Sarah Worsley – +33 (0)1 40 14 65 14 – sarah.worsley@bnpparibas.com

BNP Paribas USA
Mylene Benmoussa – +1 212 841 2351 – mylene.benmoussa@us.bnpparibas.com          

BNP Paribas UK
Alexandra Umpleby – +44 207 5952436 – alexandra.umpleby@uk.bnpparibas.com

Art to Action: The Sustainable Path

Wed, 10/11/2017 - 2:51am
An evening of art, empowerment and transformation Join us at the exquisite Waterfall Mansion and Gallery for an exclusive viewing from artists around the globe. All proceeds will support UNFCU Foundation whose mission is to sustain the path out of poverty through healthcare and education for women and children in New York City and developing countries. Ending poverty is also the top UN Sustainable Development Goal and the source of inspiration for all of the artwork that will be shown at this reception.  Our 2016 Women’s Empowerment Award presentation will honor Ritu Sharma, author, activist, co-founder and former president of Women Thrive Worldwide. To purchase tickets, visit www.unfcufoundation.org

Consumers Energy Foundation Commits $200,000 to Habitat for Humanity of Michigan, Supporting Affordable Housing

Tue, 10/10/2017 - 2:51pm

The Consumers Energy Foundation announced today that it has contributed $200,000 to Habitat for Humanity of Michigan, supporting its mission to provide safe and affordable housing to residents across Michigan.

“Consumers Energy, our foundation, employees and retirees are committed to the communities we serve, and we are proud to work with Habitat to build bright futures for families across our state,” said Carolyn Bloodworth, secretary/treasurer of the Consumers Energy Foundation.

The Consumers Energy Foundation is contributing $200,000 to Habitat’s Neighborhood Revitalization Initiative. The effort aims to increase the number of families living in safe, decent, affordable housing, and develop relationships within communities.

In all, Consumers Energy and its charitable foundation have contributed over $1 million to Habitat for Humanity of Michigan since 2001.

Over 20 Consumers Energy employees from the Grand Rapids area helped on two Habitat for Humanity projects in Grand Rapids this summer. “It’s one way we can give back to the community and Consumers Energy has had a long relationship with Habitat for Humanity across Michigan”, said Mark Luehmann, an employee who helped organize the volunteer efforts.

A look at Consumers Energy’s support for Habitat for Humanity by the numbers:

  • 205 – Habitat homes in Michigan have received over $272,000 in energy efficiency incentives since 2013 through Consumers Energy’s Helping Neighbors program, making home ownership more affordable. Upgrades include attic insulation, lighting and more.

  • $100,000 – Consumers Energy’s support this year for Habitat for Humanity of Michigan’s annual Home Run for Habitat campaign. Habitat affiliates in Michigan have raised $1 million through Home Run for Habitat since 2012, which Consumers Energy has matched with another $700,000.

  • 350 -- Consumers Energy employees who have volunteered this year in company-sponsored Habitat projects across the state. Several company employees also sit on the leadership boards of Habitat affiliates.

“We are so thankful for our relationship with Consumers Energy and its Foundation,” said Sandra Pearson, president and CEO of Habitat for Humanity of Michigan. “Consumers Energy’s steadfast support allows us to be innovative to meet the needs of homeowners, from increasing energy efficiency to doing priority home repairs to increase health and safety in the home. We look forward to continuing the good work that Consumers has made possible thanks to their generous contribution.”

“Habitat for Humanity’s commitment to build energy- efficient, sustainable homes has brought them to the forefront in Michigan,” said Ted Ykimoff, executive director of Consumers Energy’s energy efficiency program. “We want to continue to work and collaborate with Habitat on projects that are energy efficient and bring affordable housing to all.”

The Consumers Energy Foundation is the philanthropic arm of Consumers Energy.  It provides funding for a variety of areas including education, community, civic and cultural development, social services, the environment, and emerging issues.

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

What Works in Employee Financial Wellness Programs

Tue, 10/10/2017 - 11:51am

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

Renowned Aboriginal Rights Lawyer Peter Grant Joining Case Against Chevron on Behalf of Ecuadorian Communities

Tue, 10/10/2017 - 11:51am

Peter Grant, the renowned Canadian aboriginal rights lawyer who recently helped to win a major case before the country’s Supreme Court, is joining the legal team of indigenous groups in Ecuador who are moving to enforce a $12 billion environmental judgment against Chevron in Canadian courts.

“I am honored to represent indigenous persons who have been harmed by the highly irresponsible oil activities of Chevron in the Amazon rainforest of the Ecuador,” said Grant, who just returned from a tour of the affected area of the South American nation with Canadian indigenous leaders Phil Fontaine and Ed John and Greenpeace Co-Founder Rex Weyler.

(See here for a CBC story on the Ecuador visit by Grant and here for comments from Fontaine and Ed John backing collection of the Ecuador judgment.)

“We are going to urge all courts in Canada to reject Chevron’s obstructionist tactics and move this case to a final resolution as soon as possible,” said Grant, who works out of Vancouver. “Twenty-four years of litigation is simply too long for any case, particularly one involving vulnerable First Nations groups who are suffering from cancers and other dramatic health impacts from oil contamination.”

Grant will make his first appearance on the matter today in the Ontario Court of Appeal where argument is scheduled for an 11th hour effort by Chevron’s lawyers to impose a $1 million costs order on the impoverished indigenous groups. The underlying environmental claims originally were filed in 1993, but Chevron has used at least 60 law firms and 2,000 lawyers to retaliate against the indigenous groups and to obstruct justice and delay the process both in Ecuador and other countries, said Aaron Marr Page, the longtime U.S. lawyer for the affected communities. 

After Chevron lost the underlying case in Ecuador – the country where it insisted the trial be held and where it had accepted jurisdiction – the company began to attack Ecuador’s entire judiciary as unfit and refused to pay the judgment. Since then, Chevron has sued lawyers, environmental groups, bloggers and other supporters of the Ecuadorians in retaliation for their involvement and threatened the indigenous groups with a “lifetime of litigation” if they persist in trying to enforce the judgment.

Due to Chevron’s strategy of delay, the Canada enforcement action is now in its fifth year without even a trial to resolve the issues. The case has gone to the Canada Supreme Court on a jurisdictional question, has been heard twice by the Ontario Court of Appeals on various technical issues, and twice at the trial level on ancillary motions brought by Chevron. No Canadian court has forced Chevron to put in evidence related to its “fraud” defense so the ultimate issue of enforcement can be resolved. The indigenous groups maintain Chevron’s fraud defense is a function of the company’s fabricated evidence.

“It is obvious the indigenous groups in Ecuador who won the judgment are now getting the major run-around from Chevron and its army of lawyers in Canada,” said Page. “They at least need to be given a chance to present the overwhelming evidence against Chevron on which the Ecuador court decision was based and the lies and deceit Chevron has used to try to block enforcement and intimidate adversary counsel.” 

Grant, who has represented aboriginal groups in Canada for four decades out of his Vancouver-based law firm, said his goal was to recast the battle for compensation in terms of indigenous rights. He also said he planned to show the court that Chevron has “committed fraud on courts in Ecuador and the United States” by presenting fabricated evidence from a company witness paid a $2 million bribe for false testimony.

Grant previously worked closely with Fontaine and law professor Kathleen Mahoney to help settle the residential schools case on behalf of indigenous victims in Canada who had been taken from their homes and forced into boarding schools. Just last week, he was on the winning side in a Canada Supreme Court decision regarding confidentiality of information related to abuses in that program.

In representing the Ecuadorians, Grant joins forces with well-known Canadian lawyer Alan Lenczner. Lenczner has represented the Ecuadorian indigenous groups in Canada since 2012 and was the lawyer who won a unanimous Canada Supreme Court decision in 2015 denying a Chevron attempt to block the enforcement action on jurisdictional grounds.

Representatives of the affected communities said they were “thrilled” to have Grant join the case.

“To pair Peter Grant with Alan Lenczner is great news for our side as we attempt to compete with Chevron’s large team of lawyers in Canada whose sole goal seems to be to delay and obstruct the process,” said Luis Yanza, a Goldman Prize recipient and Ecuadorian community leader.  “Peter’s credentials in aboriginal rights and his passion for justice are without parallel.

“We again urge Canadian courts to hold Chevron’s feet to the fire so this case can be resolved on the merits as soon as possible, as our people are suffering,” said Yanza.

Global Sustain and CIIM Join Forces

Tue, 10/10/2017 - 11:51am

The Global Sustain Group and the Cyprus International Institute of Management (CIIM) announce their strategic collaboration. The central focus of this cooperation is the provision of executive training and professional development in corporate responsibility and sustainability in Cyprus, through seminars and trainings to corporate executives, graduate and post-graduate students. 

“We are very proud to collaborate with CIIM and join forces in the Cypriot market in the field of corporate responsibility and sustainability executive training. In CIIM we see a trusted experienced partner with a long-standing track record of executive education and we are looking forward to a successful and mutually beneficial partnership” said Michael Spanos, Managing Director of the Global Sustain Group.

Dr. Theodore Panayotou, Director of CIIM, stated “We are welcoming the Global Sustain Group as an associate expert in our educational family. Through this collaboration with an experienced and well-established corporate responsibility and sustainability partner, we expect to add value to our executive training courses, complement our educational curricula. 

Global Sustain Group and CIIM organized their first executive training on Corporate Responsibility and Sustainability Strategy and Reporting in CIIM premises in Nicosia on September 19. The next executive training seminar has been scheduled for March 2018.

About CIIM-Cyprus International Institute of Management 
CIIM is a non-profit international business school established in 1990 by a group of visionary business leaders and team of prominent academics coming from the world’s top business schools. It specializes in postgraduate management education, at a level of excellence by international standards. It offers internationally accredited MBA & and Masters in Public Sector Management as well as several Masters in Business Management, in Financial Services, in Human Resources Management and in Business Intelligence and Data Analytics. It also offers a large spectrum of executive education programmes, ranging from management development for young managers to executive leadership and management academies for business leaders. CIIM draws top-calibre academics, management gurus and practitioners from the global pool of expertise and practice and makes their talent and experience available in Cyprus. For more information please visit: http://www.ciim.ac.cy/

B Lab Honors 28 Best for the World Funds

Tue, 10/10/2017 - 11:51am

This week B Lab released the 2017 Best for the World Fund list, which recognizes private debt and equity funds that are setting the measurement and management bar in impact investing. A full list of honorees is published by B the Change, B Lab’s online publication.

This year’s list includes 28 Best for the World Funds: the top performers among all funds to receive the rigorous GIIRS Impact Rating in the past year. GIIRS Impact Ratings provide a framework of impact measurement and management that helps investors and companies assess their performance against a rigorous, comprehensive standard, the B Impact Assessment.

GIIRS was launched six years ago to meet a core need to scale the impact-focused capital markets — a credible, independent evaluation of the impact of companies and investment funds. Since its launch, GIIRS has rated more than 100 investment funds and 1,000 portfolio companies. GIIRS Impact Ratings and the B Impact Assessment were designed and are administered by the global nonprofit B Lab.

The 2017 Best for the World Funds list recognizes the top three emerging market funds and the top three developed market funds by both Impact Business Model and Operations Rating. A fund’s Operations Rating reflects the fund’s portfolio performance on “typical ESG measures,” like companies’ governance practices, treatment of workers, environmental management, and support for broader community (like supply chains, community NGOs, etc). All companies in business have an operational impact, and all companies are evaluated on that impact.

The Impact Business Model (IBM) component of the GIIRS Impact Rating applies to any portfolio that invests in companies with a business model to solve a social or environmental problem, or provide a service or good that benefits the companies’ customers. An example of such a business model would be educational or health services, or a company providing off-grid energy systems in rural communities or financial services to small or medium enterprises.

The 2017 Best for the World Funds list also recognizes Top Performing Funds in each of the five impact areas of the B Impact Assessment - Governance, Environment, Workers, Community, and Customers.

“The Best for the World Funds are using data that captures the impact of their portfolio companies’ operations and business models to make decisions, drive sustainable growth, and to distinguish themselves in the market. They are not just measuring their impact, they are managing it,” says Amanda Kizer, manager of the GIIRS Impact Ratings program at B Lab.  “These funds recognize the importance of using a credible, rigorous model to manage and report on impact, and have set the standard as more players enter the impact investing space” added Flory Wilson, Director at B Lab.

The 2017 Best for the World Funds account for more than $1.3 billion in committed capital that will be invested in companies across all areas of social and environmental impact. The funds operate in 40 countries and over 70 industries to have boundary-breaking positive impact around the world. Learn more about how this year’s honorees were selected.


B Lab is a nonprofit organization that serves a global movement of people using business as a force for good.  Its vision is that one day all companies compete not only to be the best in the world, but the best for the world and society will enjoy prosperity for all for the long term.  

B Lab drives this systemic change by: 1) building a community of Certified B Corporations to make it easier for all of us to tell the difference between “good companies” and good marketing; 2) passing benefit corporation legislation to give business leaders the freedom to create value for society as well as shareholders; 3)  Helping tens of thousands of businesses, investors, and institutions manage for impact by using the B Impact Assessment and B Analytics to manage their impact—and the impact of the businesses with whom they work—with as much rigor as their profits; 4) Inspiring millions to join the movement through story-telling on bthechange.com

For more information, visit www.bcorporation.net.

B the Change is a Medium publication, produced by B Lab in collaboration with the community of Certified B Corps and the movement of people using business as a force for good. B the Change exists to inform and inspire people who have a passion for using business as a force for good in the world. We want to dramatically broaden and deepen engagement with entrepreneurs, managers, employees, investors and citizens in one of the most important discussions of our time. 

Read all B the Change stories at http://www.bthechange.com

Landsec Leads the Way with Science-Based Targets

Tue, 10/10/2017 - 5:50am

As environment, industry and finance ministers gathered in Paris to sign what was about to become a historic climate deal, Landsec executives were plotting their own move to take responsibility for our changing planet. For it was at the UN’s COP 21 gathering in the French capital that those running the UK’s largest commercial property company – with a portfolio of assets, including shopping centres and offices, worth some £14.4 billion – decided the time was right to take their environmental impacts more seriously.

As the only real estate business represented at the UN meeting back in late 2015, it had an opportunity to cement itself as a true leader in tackling climate change and knew it needed a bold goal to achieve it. So, rather than making incremental improvements in the operational efficiency at each of its 120 different assets, the business decided to align its ambitions with the best available science. “Adopting a science-based target seemed like the obvious next step for a company like ours,” says Tom Byrne, Landsec’s Energy Manager.

The number of companies setting science-based targets for reducing corporate carbon emissions continues to grow. They are bold, ambitious and leading goals which, if met, will keep the average global temperature increase below the 2oC threshold beyond which most of the world’s best scientists say the world will face irreversible environmental damage. So far, more than 70 businesses have set such targets, adhering to the strict criteria of the Science Based Targets initiative, with a further 230 committed to do so in the future.

Since 2013, energy saving measures by Landsec have helped result in a carbon intensity (kgCO2/m2) reduction of 19%. By 2030, that must come down by 40%, in line with the science, and setting it on a path to achieve an 80% carbon intensity reduction by the middle of the century.

The company hopes that this will be achieved in a number of ways, not least the use of technology and innovation. For example, the natural ventilation system that has been installed at the 154,000m2 Bluewater Shopping Centre in Kent, has allowed for the air conditioning to be turned off, saving 13% energy.

The low-carbon fuel cell installed at 20 Fenchurch Street – London’s ‘Walkie Talkie’ building – cost £4 million, but contributes 7% of the entire building’s electricity needs. Landsec are also committed to improving the amount of onsite renewable technology with a new target to achieve 3 MW capacity by 2030. Current capacity has doubled to 1.4 MW this summer with their largest installation to date, a 785 kWp solar PV system at White Rose Shopping Centre in Leeds. The system provides 20% of all landlord power, reducing costs for customers and increasing the asset’s resilience, and has become the largest of its kind in the UK.

Elsewhere, site specific energy reduction assessments continue to find more energy reduction opportunities. The 65 projects agreed last year cost around £2.4 million, but will save customers 7.7m kWh of energy and £877,000 a year in reduced energy bills, with a ROI of under 3 years.

This year, more projects have been identified across the portfolio – projects that will “continue to nudge the dial,” says Byrne. But it is the other more innovative “unknowns” that offer the step change needed for a business like Landsec, he says. “We need to be trialling new technologies and using new models.”

Adopting a bold, science-based target is a move that has had a much bigger impact than first realised, he adds, transforming energy management programmes, which rather than purely focus on operational activities are much more strategic. There is now a more stringent set of requirements for making sure new developments are more sustainable, and a new Responsible Property Investment Policy demands a consideration of sustainability when acquiring new assets, meaning carbon, as well as costs, are formally considered by the Investment Committee.

“Our staff have really got behind it too,” adds Kate Attwooll, Sustainability Executive “We have a long history of creating jobs and opportunities and our people are very passionate about that. But things like energy efficiency have always been seen as a bit too tech-y to really bring our teams together. But that’s changing. We have new training programmes to make sure that everybody knows sustainability matters.” Group-wide KPIs focused on energy management have certainly helped to focus the mind, especially when performance determines bonuses – not only for the CEO and board, but for junior execs too.

The 13.2% reduction in energy intensity achieved across Landsec’s portfolio has seen tenants avoiding energy and carbon costs of £2.9m, when compared to 2013/14, every year. Meanwhile, new developments are increasingly being marketed using their efficiency and wellbeing credentials. The Zig Zag development, featured natural light levels, ventilation, renewable energy and rainwater harvesting, and was billed as “the thoughtful building,”

And ultimately, Landsec’s renewed focus on climate change is about risk mitigation, encouraging innovation along the supply chain, collaborating with partners in new and interesting ways and building a brand strength that will continue to make the business an employer and landlord of choice. “Sustainability is about ensuring that Landsec is in existence, and healthy, in five, ten and 20 years time,” says Robert Noel, the company’s Chief Executive. “We must anticipate the changing requirements of our customers, our communities, our employees and our partners and ensure we keep them in balance.”

Click here to read the full case study, including analysis by Institute of Business Ethics and a look at Landsec's Westgate retail destination.

FCA US “Women of Color” Gain Recognition at Annual STEM Event

Mon, 10/09/2017 - 2:50pm

FCA US LLC technical business leaders received honors for their career achievements at the annual Women of Color STEM Conference held October 5-7 in Detroit. 

The Women of Color Conference honors the significant achievements of women in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) professions. The conference ensures that the accomplishments of outstanding women in technical fields are highly visible to industry professionals, government officials and students.

"The Women of Color Awards celebrate some of the country’s most promising and influential female business and community leaders,” said Kelly Tolbert, Head of Diversity, FCA US LLC. “FCA US is proud that our women leaders are consistently recognized among such accomplished honorees."

FCA 2017 Women of Color Award Recipients

Chairman’s Award: Recognizes an elected or appointed leader who makes innovative financial or diversity decisions and recommendations to corporate or community leadership

  • Keera Riddick – Electrical Engineering Components 

Technology All-Stars Award: Recognizes accomplished professionals who have demonstrated excellence in the workplace and in their communities.

  • Sohaila Feizy-Marandy – Interior Electromechanical Design

  • Mary Camilla Raju – PentaSAP Procurement

Technology Rising Stars Award: Recognizes young professionals who are helping to shape technology for the future.

  • Paulina Almada – Powertrain Automatic Transmissions

  • Pallavi Annabattula – Computational Fluid Dynamics

  • Gabriela Perea Aguirre – HVAC Systems

  • Tianna Barnes – Quality Control, Warren Stamping Plant

  • Shin Boulware – EMC Components

  • Caron Drake – World Class Manufacturing, Jefferson North Assembly

  • Lora Faraon – Electrical Engineering

  • Hong Geng – Powertrain Virtual Engineering Programs

  • Aisha Johnson – Human Machine Interface & Ergonomics

  • Erika Keeling – Pressroom, Sterling Stamping Plant

  • Divya Myneni – Active Noise Cancellation

  • Dr. Neeharika Anantharaju – Vehicle Safety/Crash Engineering

  • Nikkita Soni – Digital Marketing

  • Sangeeta Theru – Powertrain HIL & Validation Tools

Over the years, FCA US employees consistently have earned important technical professional recognition from various diversity organizations, including Black Engineer of the Year, Women of Color, HENAAC Great Minds in STEM and others, reflecting the Company’s strong commitment to developing its diverse workforce.

Additionally, the Company actively supports initiatives that aim to increase the number of college-bound minority students in the STEM pipeline. For instance, FCA US partnered with Florida International University (FIU) to sponsor a STEM education initiative called “Engineers on Wheels.” The program features mobile classrooms, bringing hands-on engineering and science experiments and experiences to South Florida K-12 schools, and to the community at large. FIU annually graduates the largest number of Hispanic engineers in the U.S., and is one of the country’s top institutions for graduating African-American engineers.
FCA US LLC is a North American automaker based in Auburn Hills, Michigan. It designs, manufactures, and sells or distributes vehicles under the Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep®, Ram, FIAT and Alfa Romeo brands, as well as the SRT performance designation. The Company also distributes Mopar and Alfa Romeo parts and accessories. FCA US is building upon the historic foundations of Chrysler Corp., established in 1925 by industry visionary Walter P. Chrysler and Fabbrica Italiana Automobili Torino (F.I.A.T.), founded in Italy in 1899 by pioneering entrepreneurs, including Giovanni Agnelli. FCA US is a member of the Fiat Chrysler Automobiles N.V. (FCA) family of companies. (NYSE: FCAU/ MTA: FCA).

FCA, the seventh-largest automaker in the world based on total annual vehicle sales, is an international automotive group. FCA is listed on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol “FCAU” and on the Mercato Telematico Azionario under the symbol “FCA.”

Follow FCA US news and video on:
Company blog: blog.fcanorthamerica.com
Company website: www.fcanorthamerica.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/FiatChrysler.NorthAmerica/
Instagram: www.instagram.com/FiatChrysler_NA
Twitter: www.twitter.com/FiatChrysler_NA
Twitter (Spanish): www.twitter.com/fcausespanol
YouTube: www.youtube.com/fcanorthamerica
Media website: media.fcanorthamerica.com


For more information, please visit the FCA US LLC media site at http://media.fcanorthamerica.com.

Covestro's Lucore on THINC30: Taking the Global UN Sustainable Development Goals Local

Mon, 10/09/2017 - 11:49am

Rebecca Lucore, head of sustainability and corporate social responsibility at Covestro LLC and a leading voice in Corporate America for citizen philanthropy, calls for the collective harnessing of human capital – people’s purpose and passion – to drive change and help meet the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs) in a new Huffington Post blog.  

Click to tweet: Have #purpose, act local, impact global at #THINC30 says @CovestroGroup’s @LucoreRebecca in @HuffingtonPost blog: http://bit.ly/2wyGNut.  

Globally, Covestro signed on to the UN SDGs when they were first introduced in the fall of 2015. Now, with its upcoming THINC30 Summit in November, Covestro is “taking the global goals local” by introducing them to businesses, organizations and individuals throughout southwestern Pennsylvania. In doing so, the company aims to galvanize participants to think and act collectively in order to secure the region’s economic, social and environmental sustainability by 2030. 

In her piece, Lucore says, “People who use their ‘purpose’ and drive change around their passions can do great things, including pulling up cities. And when we harness that type of change occurring in cities, we can collectively change regions, countries and affect the UN SDGs. Starting local can mean affecting global.”

Read the full blog post at http://bit.ly/2wyGNut

In her role, Lucore is responsible for innovating new approaches to social programs, philanthropy and donations, community relations and partnerships and sustainability initiatives in North America. She also oversees i3 (ignite, imagine, innovate), Covestro’s U.S corporate social responsibility program that aims to spark curiosity, to envision what could be and to help create it. Its three focus areas – i3 STEM, i3 Engage and i3 Give – leverage the company’s current and future workforce, the communities in which it operates, and its partners and collaborators to create sustainable and lasting impacts. 

About Covestro LLC:

Covestro LLC is one of the leading producers of high-performance polymers in North America and is part of the global Covestro business, which is among the world’s largest polymer companies with 2016 sales of EUR 11.9 billion. Business activities are focused on the manufacture of high-tech polymer materials and the development of innovative solutions for products used in many areas of daily life. The main segments served are the automotive, construction, wood processing and furniture, electrical and electronics, and medical industries. Other sectors include sports and leisure, cosmetics and the chemical industry itself. Covestro has 30 production sites worldwide and employed approximately 15,600 people at the end of 2016.

Find more information at www.covestro.us

Forward-Looking Statements

This news release may contain forward-looking statements based on current assumptions and forecasts made by Covestro AG. Various known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors could lead to material differences between the actual future results, financial situation, development or performance of the company and the estimates given here. These factors include those discussed in Covestro’s public reports which are available at www.covestro.com. The company assumes no liability whatsoever to update these forward-looking statements or to conform them to future events or developments.

This press release is available for download from our website. Click here to view all our press releases.

Editor’s Note: Follow news from Covestro on Twitter: www.twitter.com/CovestroGroup

“Our Vision Is a World That Runs Entirely on Green Energy”

Mon, 10/09/2017 - 5:49am

Following a profound strategic transformation from black to green energy and recent divestment of the oil and gas business, the Danish energy company DONG Energy is changing its name to Ørsted and boosting their vision for a green future. 

“DONG was originally short for Danish Oil and Natural Gas. With our profound strategic transformation and the divestment of our upstream oil and gas business, this is no longer who we are. Therefore, now is the right time to change our name,” says Chairman of the Board of Directors Thomas Thune Andersen and continues:
“Our vision is a world that runs entirely on green energy. Climate change is one of the most serious challenges facing the world today, and to avoid causing serious harm to the global ecosystems, we need to fundamentally change the way we power the world by switching from black to green energy,” Thomas Thune Andersen concludes.
CEO Henrik Poulsen says: 

“2017 will be remembered as the year when offshore wind became cheaper than black energy, as demonstrated by the recent tenders for offshore wind in Germany and the UK. It has never been more clear that it is possible to create a world that runs entirely on green energy. The time is now right for us to change our name to demonstrate that we want to help create such a world.”

From green transformation to green growth

Over the past decade, the company has transformed from an energy company based on coal and oil to a global leader in renewable energy. The company has increased earnings considerably, while reducing the use of coal in its power stations and building out new offshore wind farms. Since 2006, carbon emissions have been reduced by 52%, and by 2023, they will have been reduced by 96% compared to 2006.

Henrik Poulsen says:
“Today, we’re dedicated to green energy. Our focus going forward will be on green growth based on our existing business platforms in offshore wind, biomass, green customer solutions and advanced waste-to-energy solutions. We’ll also explore new green growth opportunities to strengthening our existing platform, if they support our vision, provide a strong competitive position and create value for our shareholders.”

Greenpeace Founder Rex Weyler: Chevron Showing “Disrespect” In Canada Toward Amazon Indigenous Groups

Sun, 10/08/2017 - 2:49pm

On the eve of a critical court hearing in Canada, Greenpeace Co-founder and author Rex Weyler harshly criticized Chevron for showing “hostility” and “disrespect” toward Amazon indigenous groups in Ecuador to whom the company owes a $9.5 billion environmental judgment after admitting to dumping billions of gallons of toxic waste onto their ancestral lands.
"In fifty years of environmental work," said Weyler, "I never before have witnessed a corporation treat it's victims with the hostility and disrespect shown by Chevron against the indigenous communities in the Amazon.
“Chevron now wants the very indigenous communities it harmed with toxic pollution to pay for the company's own court costs in Canada,” added Weyler. “This corporation and its lawyers appear to have no moral compass.”
(A court hearing in Canada over Chevron’s attempt to block enforcement of the environmental judgment in Ecuador will take place at 10:00 a.m. Tuesday, October 10 in Toronto at the Ontario Court of Appeal, 130 Queen Street West.  A public show of solidarity in support of the Ecuadorian indigenous groups is scheduled to begin at 9 a.m. in front of the courthouse.)
Weyler, who recently toured Chevron’s contaminated sites in Ecuador with Canadian national Indigenous leaders Phil Fontaine and Grand Chief Ed John, is referring to the latest attempt by the oil major to avoid paying a 2011 court judgment for its pollution in the Ecuadorean Amazon. Three levels of Ecuadorean courts – in the country where Chevron insisted the trial be held and where it had accepted jurisdiction -- confirmed that Chevron's pollution led to destroyed lands, polluted rivers and water supplies, cancer, birth defects, and other health impacts on the indigenous and farming communities. Chevron has no assets in Ecuador.
In a recent article on the Greenpeace International website, Weyler wrote: "After perpetrating what is probably the worst oil-related catastrophe on Earth - a 20,000 hectare death zone in Ecuador, known as the 'Amazon Chernobyl' - the Chevron Corporation has spent two decades and over a billion dollars trying to avoid responsibility. Chevron has probably spent more money trying to weasel out of this case than any corporation in world history."
Ecuador’s highest court in 2013 denied a Chevron appeal and ordered the company to pay $9.5 billion for clean-up and reparations, but the company has threatened the indigenous groups with “a lifetime of litigation” if they persist in enforcing their judgment. The indigenous groups now have been litigating for five years in Canada trying to seize Chevron’s assets to force compliance with Ecuadorian law under what are normally routine foreign judgment enforcement procedures.
Ecuadorian indigenous groups already have a unanimous decision from Canada’s Supreme Court in 2015 backing their effort, but Chevron has hired four major Canadian law firms to try to erect a series of procedural and technical roadblocks to delay resolution of the case. Chevron used at least 60 law firms and 2,000 lawyers to try to kill off the case in the United States and Ecuador, to no avail.
Chevron’s latest attempt to impose a million-dollar costs order on the impoverished indigenous groups is retaliation for efforts to collect the environmental judgment – a request called “unconscionable” by Aaron Page, a longtime lawyer for the Ecuadorians. If the Chevron costs order is approved, the enforcement case in Canada likely will end given that the indigenous groups have no funds to pay it, said Page.
“Chevron’s latest request that the very people it poisoned must now pay the company’s court costs not only is preposterous, it is unconscionable,” said Page, a human rights lawyer who has represented the affected communities since 2005. “Chevron’s indigenous victims live in huts or makeshift houses with no running water while the company pays its Canadian lawyers $1,000 per hour to try to harass them. Now Chevron wants to charge the indigenous groups to keep the courthouse doors open in Canada.”
National Chief Fontaine also urged Canadian courts to reject Chevron’s request for a costs order.
“Canada’s judges need to keep the courthouse open for impoverished groups as well as the rich and powerful,” said Fontaine, who three times was elected National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations of Canada, which represents 640 nationalities. “They also need to decide whether they are on the side of a major corporate polluter or on the side of access to justice for the people whose lives were grievously harmed by Chevron in ways I have seen with my own eyes. I would like to think the days of aboriginal groups being denied access to the courts in Canada are long since over.”
Under interest provisions in Canadian law, the judgment against Chevron is now worth $12 billion or a fraction of the $50 billion BP has paid out for its much smaller and accidental spill in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010. Chevron, which operated in Ecuador under the Texaco brand from 1964 to 1992, was found by Ecuador’s courts to have deliberately discharged 15 billion gallons of benzene-laced to toxic oil waste into waterways as a cost-saving measure.
Ecuador’s courts also found that Chevron abandoned roughly 1,000 open-air toxic waste pits gouged out of the jungle floor, many with pipes that flow into nearby streams relied on by the local population for drinking water. The pits still contaminate groundwater and rivers and streams, according to findings by Ecuador’s courts which reviewed 64,000 chemical sampling results and 105 expert evidentiary reports. Here is a summary of the overwhelming evidence against Chevron.
"Canada has a treaty relationship with Ecuador, that compels Canadian courts to honor the Ecuadorean decision awarding compensation to Chevron's victims,” added Weyler. “Those victims have a right, under Canadian and international law, to collect that judgment in Canada. Chevron is now trying to bully Canadian courts just as they have bullied their victims in Ecuador. The Canadian judicial system, however, remains independent, and should not be intimidated by Chevron's corporate power."
"This tragic story reveals almost unthinkable corporate irresponsibility, intimidation, and arrogance, not just by Chevron executives, but by their 60 law firms, 2,000 lawyers and paralegals, six public relations firms, squads of private investigators, thugs and bribed witnesses," said Weyler.
Weyler will attend the hearing on Tuesday with former National Chief Fontaine and other supporters of the Ecuadorian indigenous groups. "If we sometimes wonder why significant ecological progress appears so monumentally difficult," said Weyler, "this blood-curdling case will give us some clues."
“Chevron’s attempt to impose their own legal costs on impoverished indigenous communities is a cynical attempt to block access to justice for some of the most vulnerable people on Earth,” added Weyler. “Chevron’s maneuver is designed to obtain impunity for one of the world’s worst corporate polluters. Canadian courts should have no part of this charade.”
Luis Yanza, a longtime Ecuadorian community leader and Goldman Prize winner, thanked the Canadians for offering support to the affected communities.
“We really appreciate the solidarity of our Canadian brothers and sisters,” said Yanza, who helps coordinate the 80 affected indigenous and farmer communities who led the case into court in 1993. "The principles underlying this case affect indigenous peoples in Ecuador and Canada and indeed throughout the world.
“For us, it is mind-boggling that one of the wealthiest fossil fuel companies on the planet is now trying to penalize some of the poorest people on the planet with a costs payment for trying to collect money the company owes them,” added Yanza. “That just seems backwards.”

Republic Services Announces $99 Million Economic Impact in Oregon

Fri, 10/06/2017 - 2:46pm

Republic Services of Oregon announced today the results of a study of its annual economic impact in the state. The study measures the direct and indirect economic impact of the Company’s subsidiaries and operations statewide in 2016, including tax revenues, payroll expenditures and supplier purchases, as well as multiplier effects when income is reinvested into the local economy.

“With a focus on environmentally responsible operations, Republic Services of Oregon strives to be a good neighbor to the communities we serve across the state,” said Gregg Brummer, area president. “Our impact helps us create good-paying jobs, invest in sustainable solutions and position Oregon’s economy for its bright future. We remain devoted to serving residents, businesses and municipalities throughout Oregon with a mind toward sustainability, stewardship and respect, and we are committed to doing our part to move the state forward.”

Republic employs more than 500 people in Oregon and serves 260,000 customers across the state. Republic also operates more than 40 collection trucks powered by compressed natural gas (CNG), three hauling companies, two recycling centers and one landfill. In addition, Republic serves 35 counties and municipalities – including Portland – statewide.

According to the study, Republic’s economic impact in Oregon includes:

  • 1,400 direct and indirect jobs; 1.8 jobs created for every full-time employee

  • $59,000 average salary, which is 121% of the statewide average

  • $99 million in total Gross State Product (economic impact)

  • $77 million in total labor income impact (payroll)

  • $8.5 million in total annual tax revenue impact

  • $50 million in direct purchases

Nationwide, Republic’s gross domestic product impact is estimated at $9.5 billion annually. This includes creating 106,500 direct and indirect jobs, and generating more than $1.4 billion in annual tax revenues for local, state and federal governments.

The economic impact study was conducted by Arizona State University’s W.P. Carey School of Business, through the L. William Seidman Research Institute. The independent research team used an IMPLAN input-output model to estimate statewide multiplier effects, based upon data provided by Republic and other publicly available resources.

To view the full economic impact of Republic in the state of Oregon, go to https://www.facebook.com/RepublicServices/.

About Republic Services
Republic Services, Inc. (NYSE: RSG) is an industry leader in U.S. recycling and non-hazardous solid waste. Through its subsidiaries, Republic’s collection companies, recycling centers, transfer stations and landfills focus on providing effective solutions to make proper waste disposal effortless for its 14 million customers. We’ll handle it from here.™, the brand’s promise, lets customers know they can count on Republic to provide a superior experience while fostering a sustainable Blue Planet™ for future generations to enjoy a cleaner, safer and healthier world.

For more information, visit the Republic Services website at RepublicServices.com. “Like” Republic on Facebook at www.facebook.com/RepublicServices and follow on Twitter @RepublicService


Chevron “Unconscionable”: Oil Giant Attempting to Block Indigenous Groups With Costs Order On Eve of Critical Court Hearing Over Company’s Pollution In Ecuador

Fri, 10/06/2017 - 2:46pm

Oil conglomerate Chevron, which faces a large environmental liability to indigenous groups in the Amazon after it dumped billions of gallons of toxic oil waste onto their ancestral lands, is being slammed by Canadian aboriginal leaders and environmentalists for trying to block a critical court hearing in Toronto by imposing a massive costs order on its impoverished adversaries.

Chevron for years has engaged in forum shopping to evade paying a $9.5 billion environmental judgment in Ecuador in the venue where the company insisted the trial be held, forcing the indigenous groups to chase it into Canada to try to seize assets to pay for the court-mandated clean-up. Although the First Nations groups won their case and have a unanimous Canada Supreme Court decision backing their enforcement effort, Chevron for years has “tried to block the forward progress at every turn in Canada,” said Aaron Marr Page, a lawyer for the Ecuadorian communities. 

“Chevron’s latest request that the very people who the company poisoned must now pay for the company’s court costs used to evade a legitimate judgment not only is preposterous, it is unconscionable,” said Page. “Chevron’s indigenous victims live in huts or makeshift houses with no running water. Their lands reek with oil contamination left by Chevron, and their communities are wrecked by cancer. Now they are being told by Chevron to pay nearly $1 million of the oil company’s legal fees to keep the courthouse doors open in Canada.”

The environmental claims against Chevron, originally filed 24 years ago in New York, have forced the oil major to spend an estimated $2 billion to hire 60 law firms and 2,000 lawyers to try to delay a resolution of the case. Already, three layers of courts in Ecuador – where Chevron accepted jurisdiction – have found the company dumped billions of gallons of toxic waste into the rainforest, decimating indigenous groups and causing an outbreak of cancer that has killed or threatens to kill thousands of people. 

Legal argument over Chevron’s extraordinary request to force the impoverished indigenous groups to pay the company’s court costs is scheduled for 9:30 a.m. Tuesday, October 10 in Toronto at the Ontario Court of Appeal at 130 Queen Street West. Chevron could use any costs order to freeze enforcement of the Ecuador judgment against company assets – leading to effective impunity for a major corporate polluter, say lawyers for the indigenous groups.

(For a summary of the overwhelming evidence against Chevron in Ecuador and to see photos of the environmental damage, see here and here.)

Several prominent Canadian indigenous and environmental leaders, including former Assembly of First Nations National Chief Phil Fontaine, Grand Chief Edward John, and Greenpeace Co-founder Rex Weyler, plan to attend the October 10 hearing to support the Ecuadorian communities and to make statements to the media on their behalf. 

“Canadian courts should see Chevron’s attempt to impose an exorbitant costs payment on impoverished indigenous communities on Ecuador for what it is – an attempt to block access to justice for some of the most vulnerable people on Earth,” said Weyler, who recently posted an article on the Greenpeace International website that criticizes Chevron for its “arrogance” and “irresponsibility” in Ecuador. “Chevron’s latest maneuver is designed to obtain impunity for one of the world’s worst corporate polluters. Canadian courts should have no part of this charade.”

“Canada’s judges need to keep the courthouse open for impoverished groups as well as the rich and powerful,” said Fontaine, who three times was elected National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations of Canada, which represents roughly 640 nationalities. “They also need to decide whether they are on the side of a major corporate polluter or on the side of access to justice for the people whose lives the company grievously harmed in ways that I have seen with my own eyes. I would like to think the days of aboriginal groups being denied access to the courts in Canada are long since over.”

Chevron, which generated roughly $250 billion annually for several years since the lawsuit was filed, has used the dozens of law firms to try to pound the indigenous groups of Ecuador into submission, but without success. After losing the liability case in Ecuador, Chevron fled the country with its assets and has yet to pay even a single dollar to the communities for a clean-up even though it donates millions of dollars for social service projects around the world. The Ecuadorian indigenous communities came to Canada, where Chevron owns interests in several oil fields and refineries, for collection under what normally would be routine foreign judgment enforcement procedures.

“But there is nothing routine about this, given that Chevron has provided a blank check to its army of Canadian lawyers to do all they can to block courts from dealing with the merits of the case,” said Page.

At the invitation of the affected communities, Weyler, Fontaine and Ed John recently toured the area of the Amazon where Chevron operated under the Texaco brand from 1964 to 1992. Grand Chief Ed John also urged Canadian courts to allow the affected Ecuadorians to litigate their enforcement claims to conclusion without erecting financial barriers.

“Courts in Ecuador have decided that Chevron should pay $9.5-billion to Indigenous communities for massive damages it caused to their lands in the Amazon,” said Grand Chief John, a lawyer and one of the drafters of the United Nations Declaration On the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. “Chevron has taken steps to avoid paying for the damages including selling its assets in Ecuador. Indigenous peoples are seeking redress in Canada’s courts. However Chevron is demanding that Canadian courts should force Ecuador Indigenous peoples pay for its legal costs incurred in Canada. Canadian courts should reject Chevron’s demands and proceed with the issue of ensuring Chevron pays the $9.5-billion which Ecuadorian courts have determined as proper compensation for remediation and other measures to be undertaken for the safety and health of Indigenous communities.”

Under interest provisions in Canadian law, the judgment is now worth $12 billion. The amount is still a fraction of BP’s $50 billion liability for the far smaller 2010 Deepwater Horizon spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Chevron General Counsel R. Hewitt Pate threatened the indigenous communities in Ecuador with a “lifetime of litigation” if they persisted in their claims.

“When Chevron lost the case in Ecuador, its CEO and top managers squelched its Ecuador debt like common criminals,” said Weyler.

Despite the unanimous decision in 2015 from Canada’s Supreme Court giving the green light to enforce the judgment in Canada, Chevron has tied up the case in technical issues, claiming that its wholly-owned subsidiary in Canada should not be held accountable.  Chevron also has filed actions in other countries to try to collaterally attack the Ecuador judgment, even though Chevron had insisted the trail be held in Ecuador and had promised to pay any adverse judgment.

Luis Yanza, a longtime Ecuadorian community leader and Goldman Prize winner, thanked the Canadians for offering support to the affected communities.

“We really appreciate the solidarity of our Canadian brothers and sisters,” said Yanza, who helps coordinate the 80 affected indigenous and farmer communities who led the case into court in 1993. "The principles underlying this case affect indigenous peoples in Ecuador and Canada and indeed throughout the world.

“For us, it is mind-boggling that one of the wealthiest fossil fuel companies on the planet is now trying to penalize some of the poorest people on the planet with a costs payment for trying to collect money the company owes them and refuses to pay,” added Yanza. “That just seems backwards.”

iPoint Joins UN Global Compact

Fri, 10/06/2017 - 11:46am

iPoint-systems gmbh, the market-leading provider of software and consulting for environmental and social product compliance, and sustainability, is proud to announce that it has become a signatory of the United Nations Global Compact (UNGC), the world’s largest and most widely embraced voluntary corporate sustainability initiative.

With this action, iPoint commits to aligning its corporate strategy, day-to-day operations, and organizational culture with ten universally accepted principles in the areas of human rights, labor, environment, and anti-corruption, and to engaging in collaborative projects which advance the broader development goals of the United Nations, particularly the Sustainable Development Goals.

“We are excited and proud to become a participant of the UN Global Compact,” states iPoint CEO and founder Joerg Walden. “iPoint places sustainability at the forefront of everything that it does, and our current solutions already enable us to actively contribute toward securing a sustainable future and sustainable products,” he adds. “Since our vision and our long-term strategy are also already very much in line with the principles of the UN Global Compact, it was a logical step for iPoint to join this initiative and thus underline our commitment both as a company and a corporate citizen to accelerate the transition towards a sustainable future,” Walden explains. “We look forward to working with other like-minded companies and organizations around the globe to promote the UNGC’s Ten Principles.”

About UN Global Compact
Launched in 2000, the UN Global Compact has emerged as a truly global initiative, with more than 9,000 participating companies from 163 countries, as well as over 4,000 non-business participants (as of October 2017). The UNGC’s Ten Principles are derived from: the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the International Labour Organization’s Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work, the Rio Declaration on Environment and Development, and the United Nations Convention Against Corruption. A key requirement for participation in the UN Global Compact is the annual submission of a Communication on Progress (COP) report that describes a company’s or organization’s efforts to implement the UNGC’s Ten Principles. For further information, visit www.unglobalcompact.org.

About iPoint
iPoint-systems is a leading provider of software and consulting for environmental and social product compliance, sustainability, and digital circular economy. 45,000 companies around the globe rely on iPoint for managing, tracking, analyzing, and reporting data across the whole value creation network. iPoint’s software and consulting services support you in meeting and staying one step ahead of regulations and requirements such as REACH, RoHS, WEEE, ELV, EHS, Conflict Minerals- and Modern Slavery-related laws, as well as other trending developments and challenges governing product, supply chain, and enterprise stewardship. iPoint’s holistic, circular perspective envisages a continuous, digital system lifecycle management process that supports not only compliance with the law, but also the sustainability of products, value chains, and brands. For more information visit www.ipoint-systems.com/

2017 Women's Empowerment Principles Forum

Fri, 10/06/2017 - 11:46am

Measuring Success, Making It Count: Business Investing in Women and Girls Around the world, the business community champions women and girls’ empowerment. Join us on March 14—15, 2017 at the United Nations Headquarters and Grand Hyatt in New York City for our Women’s Empowerment Principles Forum.

This year’s event, Measuring Success, Making It Count, will explore the role of the private sector in achieving the sustainable development agenda. We will look at different ways of measuring outcomes of initiatives to support women and girls and how to use data to drive discourse and action. This high-level event is a joint convening of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation, United Nations Office for Partnerships, UN Women, and the UN Global Compact. It builds on past years’ celebrations of International Women’s Day and the annual events of the Women’s Empowerment Principles. We invite you to come together with more than 400 cross-sector leaders and innovators to elevate these important topics! Registration Open!

*Registration cost is $375 for both days. Registration will close by Tuesday, March 7 end of day. Registrations cannot be accommodated after 3/7/17 due to new UN security protocol*

Learn more here: https://www.uschamberfoundation.org/event/2017-womens-empowerment-principles-forum

Tetra Tech Broadens High-End Sustainable Infrastructure Design Capabilities With the Acquisition of Glumac

Thu, 10/05/2017 - 5:45pm

Tetra Tech, Inc. (NASDAQ: TTEK) announced today that it has acquired Glumac, a leader in sustainable infrastructure design. The company has more than 300 employees and incorporates innovative sustainable technologies and solutions into each of its designs, including the design and engineering of Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) standard and Net-Zero infrastructure.

“Our clients, now, more than ever, are looking for sustainable solutions to their infrastructure needs,” said
Dan Batrack, Tetra Tech’s Chairman and CEO. “With the addition of Glumac, Tetra Tech can offer additional technically differentiated green infrastructure capabilities to our customers that not only conserve resources, but also reduce their operating costs.”

“We are very excited to join Tetra Tech,” said
Steven Straus, Glumac’s President. “Tetra Tech complements our current services while offering more in-depth engineering capabilities and broader access to customers in new geographies. We look forward to continuing to provide our combined client base with industry-leading technical solutions.”

About Glumac (www.glumac.com)

Glumac specializes in cost-effective, sustainable design for all types of projects worldwide including sustainable design, building engineering, and energy analysis.

About Tetra Tech

Tetra Tech is a leading provider of consulting and engineering services differentiated by Leading with Science® in providing innovative technical solutions to our clients. We support global commercial and government clients focused on water, environment, infrastructure, resource management, energy, and international development. With 16,000 associates worldwide, Tetra Tech provides clear solutions to complex problems. For more information about Tetra Tech, please visit tetratech.com, follow us on Twitter (@TetraTech), or like us on Facebook.

Any statements made in this release that are not based on historical fact are forward-looking statements. Any forward-looking statements made in this release represent management’s best judgment as to what may occur in the future. However, Tetra Tech’s actual outcome and results are not guaranteed and are subject to certain risks, uncertainties and assumptions ("Future Factors"), and may differ materially from what is expressed. For a description of Future Factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from such forward-looking statements, see the discussion under the section "Risk Factors" included in the Company’s Form 10-K and 10-Q filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Source: Tetra Tech, Inc.

Partners in Preservation: Main Streets “Open House Weekend” Planned in Cities Across America

Thu, 10/05/2017 - 5:45pm

Main streets across the country participating in Partners in Preservation: Main Streets will host “Open House Weekend” events, October 7-9, featuring family-friendly activities ranging from block parties and live music, to walking tours and art exhibits. During the events, guests will be able to learn about the program, the districts’ histories and the importance of Main Street restoration efforts. Delta Air Lines is the official sponsor of the Partners in Preservation: Main Streets Open House Weekend.

Created in 2006 by American Express and the National Trust for Historic Preservation, Partners in Preservation is a community-based partnership to raise awareness of the importance of preserving historic places and their role in sustaining local communities. The program recently launched its 2017 campaign, which will award $2 million in preservation grants to historic sites on U.S. main streets. The public will determine which sites will receive funding by voting for their favorite main streets through October 31 at VoteYourMainStreet.org, the online voting portal hosted by National Geographic Travel.

“American Express has long advocated for historic preservation and the Shop Small movement, engaging the public in activities that help commercial corridors thrive,” said Timothy J. McClimon, president of the American Express Foundation. “Open House Weekend is a great opportunity for communities to learn about their diverse histories, promising futures, and the Partners in Preservation: Main Streets campaign.”

“Main streets are the heart of our communities, and the creative, communal events and programming they offer are their pulse,” said Stephanie K. Meeks, president and CEO of The National Trust for Historic Preservation. “Partners in Preservation Open House Weekend will bring people together to celebrate all the ways our main streets are special, and demonstrate why supporting their revival is so important.”

For more information about local Open House Weekend events, visit VoteYourMainStreet.org/OpenHouse and share the love via social media using #VoteYourMainStreet.

Why Main Street Matters

Main Street continues to unite Americans. According to a recent survey from Morning Consult1, commissioned by American Express, more than three quarters (79 percent) say that preserving Main Street is important and that the idea of Main Street is what makes America beautiful.

Moreover, Main Street is vital in connecting Americans to each other, four-in-five (86 percent) say that Main Street contributes to the wellbeing and enjoyment of a community.

Americans also consider these thriving commercial districts to be a significant driver of local economies, four-in-five (84 percent) say it is important to the neighborhood’s economic success, with nearly two-thirds (63 percent) seeking out historic Main Street districts when traveling for sightseeing, shopping or dining.

Among those identifying as managers at small businesses2, approximately two-thirds say that Main Street preservation plays a factor in the success of small businesses in the area (65 percent) and would consider Main Street when choosing where to lease a space (68 percent).

Partners in Preservation is a call-to-action, inspiring citizens to continue caring for historic places at the heart of their communities. When we support our local historic sites and main streets, we drive development, preserve character, attract visitors and propel commerce.


About Partners in Preservation

Partners in Preservation is a program in which American Express, in partnership with the National Trust for Historic Preservation, awards preservation grants to historic places across the country.

Through this partnership, American Express and the National Trust for Historic Preservation seek to increase the public's awareness of the importance of historic preservation in the United States and to preserve America's historic and cultural places. The program also hopes to inspire long-term support from local citizens for the historic places at the heart of their communities.

About American Express

American Express is a global services company, providing customers with access to products, insights and experiences that enrich lives and build business success. Learn more at americanexpress.com, and connect with us on facebook.com/americanexpressinstagram.com/americanexpresslinkedin.com/company/american-expresstwitter.com/americanexpress, and youtube.com/americanexpress.

Key links to products, services and corporate responsibility information: charge and credit cardsbusiness credit cardsPlenti rewards programtravel servicesgift cardsprepaid cardsmerchant servicesAccertifycorporate cardbusiness travel, and corporate responsibility.

About the National Trust for Historic Preservation

The National Trust for Historic Preservation, a privately funded nonprofit organization, works to save America’s historic places: www.savingplaces.org.

About Main Street America

Main Street America has been helping revitalize older and historic commercial districts for more than 35 years. Today it is a network of more than 1,600 neighborhoods and communities, rural and urban, who share both a commitment to place and to building stronger communities through preservation-based economic development. Main Street America is a program of the nonprofit National Main Street Center, Inc., a subsidiary of the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

About Delta Air Lines

Delta Air Lines serves more than 180 million customers each year. In 2017, Delta was named to Fortune’s top 50 Most Admired Companies in addition to being named the most admired airline for the sixth time in seven years. Additionally, Delta has ranked No.1 in the Business Travel News Annual Airline survey for an unprecedented six consecutive years. With an industry-leading global network, Delta and the Delta Connection carriers offer service to 315 destinations in 54 countries on six continents. Headquartered in Atlanta, Delta employs more than 80,000 employees worldwide and operates a mainline fleet of more than 800 aircraft. The airline is a founding member of the SkyTeam global alliance and participates in the industry’s leading transatlantic joint venture with Air France-KLM and Alitalia as well as a joint venture with Virgin Atlantic. Including its worldwide alliance partners, Delta offers customers more than 15,000 daily flights, with key hubs and markets including AmsterdamAtlanta, BostonDetroitLos Angeles, Mexico City, Minneapolis/St. PaulNew York-JFK and LaGuardiaLondon-HeathrowParis-Charles de GaulleSalt Lake CitySeattle, Seoul, and Tokyo-Narita. Delta has invested billions of dollars in airport facilities, global products and services, and technology to enhance the customer experience in the air and on the ground. Additional information is available on the Delta News Hub, as well as delta.com, Twitter @DeltaNewsHubGoogle.com/+Delta, and Facebook.com/delta.

About National Geographic Partners LLC

National Geographic Partners LLC, a joint venture between National Geographic Society and 21st Century Fox, combines National Geographic television channels with National Geographic’s media and consumer-oriented assets, including National Geographic magazines; National Geographic Studios; related digital and social media platforms; books; maps; children’s media; and ancillary activities that include travel, global experiences and events, archival sales, catalog, licensing and e-commerce businesses. A portion of the proceeds from National Geographic Partners LLC will be used to fund science, exploration, conservation and education through significant ongoing contributions to the work of the National Geographic Society. For more information, visit http://www.nationalgeographic.com/ and find us on FacebookTwitterInstagramGoogle+YouTubeLinkedIn and Pinterest.


1Morning Consult conducted an online survey of 2,201 adults from September 12-15, 2017. Results from the full survey have a margin of error of +/- 2%.

2Defined as a business with fewer than 500 employees. 

20K Meals and Critical Supplies Delivered to Puerto Rico to Aid in Disaster Relief

Thu, 10/05/2017 - 5:45pm

Last week, Food Bank For New York City sent approximately 20,000 meals and critical supplies to its sister food bank, Banco de Alimentos de Puerto Rico. JetBlue and its partner, Atlas, delivered the items to Puerto Rico, where they’ll be distributed to victims of Hurricane Maria.

Packages that included bottled water, shelf stable food, and other needed supplies, like diapers and feminine hygiene products, were wrapped and made ready for distribution before being loaded into trucks headed for JFK Airport. 

“Sandy taught us that in a disaster the first thing you want to know is that you are not forgotten, and sending needed supplies is an important way to show New York stands with Puerto Rico,” said Food Bank For New York City President and CEO Margarette Purvis. “When Hurricane Maria hit, we immediately knew we needed to help our sister Food Bank in Puerto Rico, but like many New Yorkers, we didn’t know how we could get supplies to those who needed them most. All great solutions require collaboration, that’s something we know every day in the fight to end hunger. It’s inspiring to see so many New Yorkers come together to help our friends and family in need.”

“JetBlue crewmembers regularly volunteer at Food Bank’s Community Kitchen.  When we heard about the citywide effort to support relief efforts in Puerto Rico, we immediately jumped in, along with our partner, Atlas,” said Icema Gibbs, director of corporate social responsibility, JetBlue. “JetBlue is supporting recovery efforts in Puerto Rico and the Caribbean and we have asked our customers and crewmembers and community to do the same.”

Food Bank also opened collection sites across the City to accept donations of food and supplies for ongoing shipments to the Caribbean. New Yorkers can find drop-off sites and lists of needed items at: http://www.foodbanknyc.org/new-yorkers-united/

About Food Bank For New York City

Food Bank For New York City has been the city’s major hunger-relief organization working to end hunger throughout the five boroughs for more than 30 years. Nearly one in five New Yorkers relies on Food Bank for food and other resources. Food Bank takes a strategic, multifaceted approach that provides meals and builds capacity in the neediest communities, while raising awareness and engagement among all New Yorkers. Through its network of more than 1,000 charities and schools citywide, Food Bank provides food for more than 61 million free meals for New Yorkers in need. Food Bank For New York City’s income support services, including food stamps (also known as SNAP) and free tax assistance for the working poor, put more than $110 million each year into the pockets of New Yorkers, helping them to afford food and achieve greater dignity and independence. Food Bank’s nutrition education programs and services empower more than 50,000 children, teens and adults to sustain a healthy diet on a low budget. Working toward long-term solutions to food poverty, Food Bank develops policy and conducts research to inform community and government efforts. To learn more about how you can help, please visit foodbanknyc.org.  Follow us on Facebook (FoodBankNYC), Twitter (@FoodBank4NYC) and Instagram (FoodBank4NYC).