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Humana Foundation Addressing Root Causes to Create Improved and Sustained Positive Health Outcomes

Tue, 03/27/2018 - 12:38pm

The Humana Foundation, philanthropic arm of Humana Inc. (NYSE: HUM) for the past 37 years, today announced the details of its planned health-focused community investing work for 2018 in its headquarters hometown of Louisville, Ky., as well as in seven additional communities where the foundation intends to make significant community investments this year.

Strategic Community Investments in ‘Bold Goal’ communities

Through the foundation’s new Strategic Community Investments work, it will invest $6.5 million in nonprofit organizations operating in eight communities, including Humana’s headquarters hometown of Louisville, Ky., plus San Antonio; New Orleans, Baton Rouge, La.; Knoxville, Tenn.; Tampa Bay, Fla.; Jacksonville, Fla.; and Broward County, Fla. Each investment will be no smaller than $500,000.

These are all communities where Humana Inc., in 2015, began pursuing its 2020 ‘Bold Goal’ to “improve the health of the communities we serve 20 percent by 2020 because we make it easy for people to achieve their best health.”

“Through our new Strategic Community Investments work, the Humana Foundation is signaling its intent to transition from a ‘funder of programs’ to an ‘investor in results,’” said Walter Woods, CEO of the Humana Foundation. “With these major investments, we intend to target community models that can be scaled for maximum impact, focused on the broader gains that will result from the achievements our partner organizations will be able to make. And they’ll need to clearly demonstrate that by detailing targets and milestones as part of the application process.”

Organizations that receive a Humana Foundation Strategic Community Investment in 2018 will then have an opportunity to receive continuing funding for one or two additional years – based on the specific results they achieve over a 12-month period.

Also starting in 2018, the Humana Foundation has begun work to identify partner organizations – at the national, regional and local level – because joining forces with like-minded entities can result in more impactful, broad-based and sustainable change.

Louisville focus for Strategic Investments:
Post-Secondary Success (sustained employment); Asset Security

“As we announced earlier this year, the Louisville investments will go to nonprofit organizations that help residents here achieve post-secondary success (sustained employment), and asset security: organizations that connect people to resources that offer training and credentialing, allowing them to be hired for a job they keep, that pays a living salary, and offers opportunity for career mobility,” Woods said. “We want more people to protect the assets they are cultivating with the goal of building financial security that will lead to financial stability and then ultimately financial mobility.”

Focus for Strategic Investments in Humana’s additional Bold Goal communities:
Food Security; Social Connection

In each of its Bold Goal communities, Humana is addressing Social Determinants of Health, particularly food security and social connection. Complementary to Humana Inc.’s Bold Goal work, the Humana Foundation will begin making Strategic Community Investments in nonprofit organizations whose results ensure that people have daily access to healthy food, and that people are making the social connections they need to improve and sustain positive health outcomes.

“In those communities outside of Louisville, the community investments we make in 2018 will go to identifying and scaling organizations with the greatest impact on improving and sustaining positive health outcomes for socially isolated and food-insecure residents,” Woods said. “These root-cause influencers on health clearly have an impact on people’s ability to live healthy lives, and we are in a position to partner with nonprofit organizations to positively impact these issues.”

Application Process: 

Any organization – or consortium of organizations – interested in applying for a Humana Foundation Strategic Community Investment must fill out a Request for Application (RFA) and submit it to the Humana Foundation no later than April 27, 2018. After reviewing all RFAs it receives, the Humana Foundation will then ask a group of finalist organizations to go through a more detailed application process in May. (A link to the online RFA will be available on the “Our Investments” page of the Humana Foundation website beginning April 1, 2018.) 

Headquarters Hometown Community Relations

Through a new Headquarters Hometown Community Relations initiative, the Humana Foundation will award an additional $2 million to Louisville-area organizations in 2018, with slightly more than $1 million of that in grants ranging from $25,000 up to a maximum of $100,000. Organizations interested in applying for one of these grants will do so later this year, when the foundation will make final details of the program available. Also as part of this program, nearly $1 million will go to established foundation partners such as Metro United Way and the Fund for the Arts.

And, building on 2017 when Humana employees reported volunteering 108,000 hours in the Louisville area, the foundation will incorporate a significant new skills-based volunteerism component into the Community Relations initiative. This will result in more Humana employees in Louisville putting their strongest business skills to work for area nonprofits. 

The focus for these grants will be organizations providing critical safety-net services as well as those focused on civic and cultural opportunities.

“As the largest employer in downtown Louisville and the largest publicly traded company based in Kentucky – we understand the unique needs and expectations of a company like ours in our headquarters hometown,” Woods added. “This program – in addition to our new Strategic Community Investments work – will improve and sustain more positive health outcomes.”

Additional Giving

The foundation will give an additional $5.5 million in 2018 through an array of popular long-standing programs such as its matching-gifts program for Humana employees, Humana Foundation scholarships to children of employees, and disaster-relief support, to name just some examples. The foundation has increased its matching gifts for all Humana employees in 2018 who choose to take advantage of the program.

The $14 million in total planned philanthropy for 2018 represents the most the Humana Foundation has contributed in a year, and is approximately 20 percent more than the foundation gave in 2017, when it awarded $11.6 million – which also represented the foundation’s highest-ever one-year giving total.

“We are making significant changes in 2018 at the Humana Foundation, in part, because the communities we serve have increasingly greater needs,” Woods said. “The Humana Foundation’s future work will address root causes and, therefore, have the potential of creating improved and sustained positive health outcomes. We’re excited not only about the results we will be able to achieve, but also the human gains that will come from achieving those results.”

About the Humana Foundation

The Humana Foundation was established in 1981 as the philanthropic arm of Humana Inc., one of the nation’s leading health and well-being companies. Located in Louisville, Ky., the Foundation seeks to co-create communities where leadership, culture, and systems work to improve and sustain positive health outcomes. For more information, visit humanafoundation.org.

Humana and the Humana Foundation are dedicated to Corporate Social Responsibility. Our goal is to ensure that every business decision we make reflects our commitment to improving the health and well-being of our members, our employees, the communities we serve, and our planet.

About Humana

Humana Inc. is committed to helping our millions of medical and specialty members achieve their best health. Our successful history in care delivery and health plan administration is helping us create a new kind of integrated care with the power to improve health and well-being and lower costs. Our efforts are leading to a better quality of life for people with Medicare, families, individuals, military service personnel, and communities at large.

To accomplish that, we support physicians and other health care professionals as they work to deliver the right care in the right place for their patients, our members. Our range of clinical capabilities, resources and tools – such as in-home care, behavioral health, pharmacy services, data analytics and wellness solutions – combine to produce a simplified experience with the goal of making health care easier to navigate and more effective.

More information regarding Humana is available to investors via the Investor Relations page of the company’s website at humana.com, including copies of:

  • Annual reports to stockholders

  • Securities and Exchange Commission filings

  • Most recent investor conference presentations

  • Quarterly earnings news releases and conference calls

  • Calendar of events

  • Corporate Governance information.

 

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Cisco to Provide Destination: Home With $50 Million Over Five Years to Help End Homelessness in Santa Clara County

Mon, 03/26/2018 - 6:37pm

(GlobeNewswire) – Destination: Home today announced that Cisco has committed $50 million over the next five years to help end homelessness in Santa Clara County. Destination: Home will utilize this significant partnership with Cisco to leverage existing public resources to build more housing for the most vulnerable residents, improve technology capacity across the homeless services sector, and invest in promising and evidence-based practices to most effectively help individuals and families in need of support and stability.  

Silicon Valley is home to some of the nation’s most prosperous communities, yet in Santa Clara County approximately 7,400 people are without home and 2,000 are considered chronically homeless — the third highest rate of chronic homelessness in the United States. To solve this crisis, there must be supportive policies in place, political and community will, and funding to acquire land and build the housing. 

This unprecedented private sector commitment from Cisco represents a unique opportunity for the community. With Santa Clara County voters approving Measure A in 2016, a $950 million housing bond with $700 million dedicated to increasing the supply of Extremely Low Income and Supportive Housing, this new funding from Cisco will give Destination: Home the ability to leverage, innovate, and fund the best solutions, programs, and approaches available to end homelessness in the region.

“We have said for a long time that it is up to all of us to end homelessness in our community,” said Jennifer Loving, CEO of Destination: Home. “Cisco has fully embraced that concept, and is stepping up in a big way to provide the type of critical private sector leadership and substantial funding that is necessary to address this crisis head on.  We couldn’t be more thrilled or grateful to have Chuck Robbins and the Cisco team at the table.” 

“We can put an end to homelessness in Santa Clara County and there is no better partner in this work than Destination: Home,” said Chuck Robbins, Chairman and CEO of Cisco. “I hope to join together with other business leaders across the technology industry so that with our collective creativity and innovative spirit, we can create a thriving community for all—including those who need our help the most.”

“One of the reasons that Silicon Valley will continue to thrive is because of the leadership of people like Chuck Robbins and generosity of companies like Cisco who invest in our community in a meaningful and compassionate way.”—Cindy Chavez, Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors.

“My deepest thanks to Chuck Robbins and Cisco for their leadership, collaboration and commitment to solving our community’s homelessness crisis. Cisco’s extraordinary gift will go a long way to helping house more of our homeless neighbors, and serves as a prime example of how our community is coming together to confront some of our greatest challenges.”—Sam Liccardo, Mayor of San Jose.

Cisco has made the first $20 million of its $50 million commitment to this work through the Cisco Fund at the Silicon Valley Community Foundation.

Additional Resources:

See how Destination: Home is changing lives.

Read the blog from Cisco Chairman and CEO Chuck Robbins.

About Destination: Home

Destination: Home is a public-private partnership serving as the backbone organization for collective impact strategies to end homelessness in Santa Clara County. The organization drives and aligns resources to create permanent housing, support technology-based solutions, and develop innovative and promising approaches to serve the most vulnerable residents in the community. As a convener, advocate, resource developer, and funder for the issue of homelessness in Silicon Valley, Destination: Home is improving how systems work together to prevent and end homelessness, while realizing the vision that no one sleeps outside.

To learn more, visit: https://destinationhomesv.org

Media Contacts:

Robyn Blum
Cisco Corporate PR
+1 408.930.8548
rojenkin@cisco.com

Ray Bramson
Chief Impact Officer, Destination: Home
408-242-6410
ray@destinationhomesv.org

Consumers Energy Employee Saves Two in Vehicle Accident

Mon, 03/26/2018 - 12:37pm

In 200,000 plus miles of travel to perform work for Consumers Energy, employee James Stratton has seen his share of accidents in the past six years. But it was usually after they had happened, when police and fire personnel had already responded.

That all changed in October, when Stratton, a journeyman pipeline welder with the company’s Enhanced Infrastructure Replacement Program, was the first responder at a vehicle accident involving a mother and her young daughter.

Headed to a work assignment in Alma, Mich., Stratton came upon a SUV on its side in a ditch along a Shiawassee County road. A woman with visible scrapes on her face was standing by the road screaming that her daughter was stuck in the backseat. 

“In the 20 seconds it took me to get to her vehicle, I was afraid of what I might find. But then I heard her daughter crying and I was relieved,” Stratton said.

He crawled into the vehicle, which was quickly filling with smoke. After shutting the vehicle off, he located the 2-year-old dangling from her car seat. After considerable effort he was able to free the little girl and climb out of the ditch, reuniting her with her mother. Fortunately neither one was severely injured, but Stratton said, “It was pretty emotional. It bothered me and stuck with me for a few days.”

Stratton credits his safety training at Consumers Energy as the reason he was able to stay calm during a potentially deadly event. “We’re trained to pay attention to every little detail at work about our safety,” he said.           

At Consumers Energy all union field employees and first line supervisors receive mandatory first aid, CPR, Automated External Defibrillator (AED) and blood borne pathogens training, which is annually reviewed. This training is also offered to other employees as requested. Mandatory training is given to about 3,000 employees annually, and to another 300 non-union employees. 

Because of his unselfish efforts, Stratton has been nominated for an American Gas Association Meritorious Service Award. He is one of five Consumers Energy employees nominated for this award based on four potential lifesaving incidents.

“James’s actions exemplify the caring professionalism we want all our employees to embrace, and we are extremely proud of him,” said Michael Romein, executive director of gas system integrity and enhancement.  “At Consumers Energy safety is always our top priority, from providing continued training, personal protective and other equipment to keep employees safe on the job, to encouraging families to learn about safety at annual events across our company. Every day we stress ‘Safety 24/7’.”

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

# # #

Media Contacts: 

Debra Dodd, (586) 918-0597 or Roger Morgenstern, (616) 530-4364

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

Check out Consumers Energy on Social Media:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ConsumersEnergyMichigan/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/consumersenergy

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/consumersenergy

Flickr: https://www.flickr.com/photos/consumersenergy/

Atelier Swarovski Promotes Conscious Luxury with New Fine Jewelry Collection Made Using Fairtrade Gold

Mon, 03/26/2018 - 9:37am

Atelier Swarovski reaffirms its commitment to conscious luxury with its latest fine jewelry collection, launched at Baselworld (March 22 – 27). Made with Swarovski Created Diamonds and Fairtrade Gold, the collection puts sustainability center-stage.

The new Atelier Swarovski Fine Jewelry collection marks the first time the brand has worked with Fairtrade Gold. The 18-karat white gold has been sourced from the Minera Limata Limitada co-operative in Peru through the Fairtrade system, which aims to promote sustainable development and reduce poverty.

Swarovski Created Diamonds have the same exceptional qualities as mined diamonds – both are 100% carbon, both have the same hardness and brilliance – but are widely accepted to have less impact on the natural world.

The new Atelier Swarovski Fine Jewelry collection marks the next step on Swarovski’s journey to becoming a leader in conscious luxury in fashion and jewelry.

For additional information, please contact:

Andrew Blakemore
PR and Marketing Assistant

Atelier Swarovski
T +44 (0) 20 7255 8496

M +44 (0) 77 2049 6603
andrew.blakemore@swarovski.com

NOTES TO EDITORS

Atelier Swarovski

  • Atelier Swarovski offers cutting-edge jewelry, accessories and home décor items which are the ultimate expression of Swarovski crystal. Pushing the boundaries of creativity, it collaborates with the finest talents in the world across fashion, jewelry, architecture and design.

  • Atelier Swarovski presents seasonal jewelry and accessories collaborations twice a year during New York, London and Paris fashion weeks, alongside its constantly evolving Core Collection. Atelier Swarovski’s home décor collections, launched at Milan Design Week in April 2016, consist of functional and decorative objects for the home.

  • Atelier Swarovski was founded by Nadja Swarovski in 2007 as a showcase for creativity, craftsmanship and the art of crystal cutting and crystal innovations. Past collaborators include Jean Paul Gaultier, Viktor&Rolf, Christopher Kane, Maison Margiela and Mary Katrantzou for jewelry, and Zaha Hadid, Daniel Libeskind and Ron Arad for home décor. www.atelierswarovski.com

Swarovski and Sustainability

  • Throughout its history, Swarovski has endeavored to remain true to its founder Daniel Swarovski’s vision of a responsible company that not only has its employees’ wellbeing at heart but also that of the environment and society as a whole.

  • This vision drives the company’s dedication to conscious luxury: producing beautiful products using responsible methods that drive positive change.

  • Atelier Swarovski has begun the use of Fairtrade Gold in its Fine Jewelry collections. Fairtrade is a global movement and strategy that aims to promote sustainable development. It empowers farmers, workers and miners and allows them the opportunity to improve their lives and plan for their future. Fairtrade is an alternative approach to conventional trade based on a partnership between producers and traders, businesses and consumers. It offers consumers a choice to empower farmers, workers and miners through their shopping decisions. Fairtrade believes in the importance to bring opportunities to those artisanal and small-scale mining organizations who have been working hard to formalize, certify and become visible in the market.

  • Atelier Swarovski is a certified member of the Responsible Jewellery Council (RJC), established by the jewelry industry to advance responsible social and environmental practices. As a member, Atelier Swarovski pledges to positively impact and influence the industry. Atelier Swarovski received RJC certification after being successfully independently audited against the RJC Code of Practice, on materials including diamonds, gold and platinum group metals.

Nestlé Reports on Its 2020 Commitments

Mon, 03/26/2018 - 6:36am

The 2017 Corporate Philanthropic Practice Conference

Mon, 03/26/2018 - 6:36am

This day and a half conference will address new ways of organizing the function of corporate philanthropy professionals and how they are being impacted by new types of skills needed to interact and support nonprofit partners. We will discuss where the corporate philanthropic sector has been, is now, and where it is headed.

As an attendee, you will learn:

• The pros and cons of using an intermediary organization for help with grantmaking
• How to deal with today’s challenging political and social environment
• Innovative best practices for better relationships, strategies and results
• Insights to manage internal and external expectations

Save $200, when you register with code: CSR200

"Xploration Station" Earns Eight Daytime Emmy Nominations

Fri, 03/23/2018 - 3:29pm

The National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences has announced the nominees for the 45th Annual Daytime Emmy Awards, and the Steve Rotfeld Productions produced block of E/I shows, Xploration Station, received eight nominations — making it the most nominated educational and informational block of programming on broadcast television this year.

Xploration Station is comprised of six half-hour, STEM-related series (science/technology/engineering/ math) that air in over 100 million homes nationwide primarily on Fox TV stations on weekends.  Five of block’s six shows were nominated across a wide variety of categories:

  • Outstanding Education or Informational Series – Xploration DIY Sci
  • Outstanding Education or Informational Series – Xploration Outer Space
  • Outstanding Travel and Adventure Program – Xploration Awesome Planet
  • Outstanding Special Class Series – Xploration Earth 2050
  • Outstanding Host in a Lifestyle/Travel/Children’s or Educational and Informational Program – Steve Spangler, Xploration DIY Sci
  • Outstanding Writing Special Class – Xploration Earth 2050
  • Outstanding Writing Special Class – Xploration Outer Space
  • Outstanding Sound Editing – Weird But True!

All of the Xploration Station shows are produced and distributed by Steve Rotfeld Productions. Weird But True! is produced in partnership with National Geographic Kids, and the series is an extension of their popular books brand.  These eight nominations join Xploration Station’s twelve previous nominations, totaling 20 nominations for the critically acclaimed E/I block since its inception in 2015. 

 “Xploration Station continues to gain momentum year after year, and it’s really exciting to see that growth recognized both by the Academy and our viewers,” said Steve Rotfeld, president of SRP, “We believe there is an audience for smart, feel-good television that can be enjoyed by the whole family, and we’re happy to deliver just that. On behalf of everyone here at SRP, I’d like to thank all the talented folks who work on these shows, and our stations and partners for making this all possible.”

For more information on how to watch Xploration Station’s shows, viewers can check their local listings here: https://www.rotfeldproductions.com/tv-schedule/

About SRP:  Steve Rotfeld Productions has been producing and distributing shows for broadcast stations and cable networks for 25 years. In addition to Xploration Station, it also produces and distributes Wild About Animals, hosted by Mariette Hartley, Awesome Adventures, hosted by Nicole Dabeau; Whaddyado, Sports Gone Wild, and Greatest Sports Legends Presents.  Its founder, Steve Rotfeld, Emmy Award winning writer/producer, has also produced cable hits, The Haney Project and Donald Trump’s Fabulous World of Golf for Golf Channel and Wild Weddings on TLC, among other series.

####

Public Relations Contact:
Stephanie Wolf
Steve Rotfeld Productions
610-520-0671
Stephanie@rotfeldproductions.com 

Trends in Corporate Responsibility and Sustainability Reporting

Fri, 03/23/2018 - 12:29pm

During a recent ReportAlert webinar, an attendee asked about trends in corporate reporting around CR and sustainability.

To answer, we have invited reporting veteran Tim Woodall and training extraordinaire Nancy Mancilla to share their observations on how corporate reporters are gearing up for 2018 and beyond. 

Hear whether integrated reporting continues gathering steam, how brands are incorporating the Sustainable Development Goals into their updates, and how the Brands Taking Stands movement is manifesting itself in ESG disclosures.

This presentation will also include a focus on two platforms designed for companies and NGOs to drive awareness of their corporate responsibility and sustainability initiatives – 3BL Media and ReportAlert.  Dave Armon, CMO of 3BL Media, will moderate the discussion.

REGISTER HERE

In Canada, Chevron Faces New Risks From $12b Ecuador Pollution Judgment As Shareholders Step up Pressure

Fri, 03/23/2018 - 12:29pm

After losing three consecutive appellate court decisions in Canada, Chevron faces significant new risk ahead of a critical court hearing next month in Toronto where it hopes to avoid a high-risk trial on enforcement of the $12 billion Ecuador environmental judgment.

Chevron’s new challenges come at a time when several institutional shareholders in the United States are intensifying pressure on new CEO Timothy Wirth to settle the case before the company’s litigation position deteriorates further. One shareholder resolution accuses Chevron management of “material mishandling” the pollution liability, which grows by $300 million annually because of interest.

“Chevron’s April court hearing in Canada is critically important to the well-being of all indigenous and farmer communities in Ecuador who have been harmed by the company’s pollution, as well as to all victims of corporate human rights abuses throughout the world,” said Greenpeace co-founder and Canada resident Rex Weyler, who is supporting the legal team for the Front for the Defense of the Amazon (FDA), the grass roots coalition in Ecuador that is enforcing the judgment for the affected communities.

Chevron must scale significant hurdles in the months ahead due to the rapid progress of the villagers in enforcing their judgment in Canada. Chevron’s risks include:

**On April 17, Chevron’s 20-odd team of lawyers will appear before the Ontario Court of Appeal to try to defend a claim that the company’s wholly-owned subsidiary in Canada (Chevron Canada) should be immunized from asset collection to enforce the Ecuador judgment. Already, the same court has ruled against Chevron unanimously on two prior occasions and the Canada Supreme Court has ruled against Chevron once on a jurisdictional question. (See here for background.)

**If Chevron loses a third time before the Ontario court, a portion of its estimated $15 billion in Canadian assets will be subject to seizure to pay for the court-ordered clean-up in Ecuador. The company also will be forced into a trial where its main defense is likely to collapse because of new evidence that it paid a witness $2 million to falsify evidence before a U.S. court, as this document explains. (See this article on how Chevron’s payments were not only unethical, but criminal.)

**Pressure on Chevron is also mounting after the company was forced by a new transparency law in Canada to disclose that it has been funneling billions of dollars from its Canadian subsidiary to the governments of Nigeria and Indonesia. The information – much of it still secret because of a protective order imposed by the oil giant -- severely undercuts Chevron’s argument in the upcoming court hearing that its subsidiary only operates in Canada and therefore its assets should be protected.

The disclosure also suggests a possible tax avoidance scheme by Chevron using its Canadian subsidiary as the vehicle -- similar to a scheme the company recently carried out in Australia, which resulted in an enormous fine being imposed on the oil giant by tax authorities in that country, said Weyler. (See here.)

**Chevron shareholders are again pestering Chevron management over the Ecuador litigation. Zevin Asset Management is among those that have advanced resolutions for Chevron’s annual meeting in May that are critical of the company’s poor performance in the case. Last year, two resolutions related to the Ecuador matter each received substantial support from major shareholders. Earlier, shareholders with a combined $500 billion in assets urged the company to settle the case. (See here.)

**Chevron also must contend with opposition from Canada’s powerful national indigenous federation, the Assembly of First Nations (AFN). The thrice-elected and longest serving national chief of the AFN, Phil Fontaine, harshly criticized Chevron while on a recent trip to Ecuador. In December, the AFN (which represents 634 nationalities) signed an agreement with Ecuador’s national indigenous federation to work together to hold Chevron accountable for environmental damage it has caused in both countries.  

In addition, Greenpeace co-founder Weyler accused Chevron of committing “ecological crimes” in Ecuador after his own visit to the region.

Chevron’s main objective in Canada is to avoid a high-stakes trial where its defense of “fraud” – based largely on false testimony from the Ecuadorian witness paid by the company – is almost certain to collapse, said Steven R. Donziger, the U.S. legal advisor to the FDA, the grass roots coalition that is enforcing the judgment.

Chevron’s apparent witness bribery also earned the company a criminal referral letter from Donziger and his Ecuadorian clients to the U.S. Department of Justice. Chevron has not publicly commented on the letter and the underlying evidence pointing to its guilt, which was turned over to the DOJ last November.

In the meantime, Chevron has continued to deploy what prominent U.S. appellate lawyer Deepak Gupta characterized as an “intimidation model” to try to deter advocates from working on the case. The company used a little-known discovery statute in the United States to sue more than 100 environmental activists, journalists, and bloggers who have tried to help the affected indigenous and farmer communities in Ecuador.

Chevron also is seeking an order requiring reimbursement of millions of dollars in legal fees from Donziger and his Ecuadorian clients for the company's work on its now discredited U.S. litigation. After losing the pollution case in Ecuador, Chevron had retaliated by suing Donziger and the villagers in New York for $60 billion -- considered the largest potential liability in American history. Chevron dropped all the damages claims on the eve of trial to avoid a jury.

Chevron in recent weeks also has attacked prominent Canadian lawyers Alan Lenczner and Peter Grant after they agreed to represent the Ecuadorians, said Patricio Salazar, the lead Ecuadorian lawyer for the FDA. "Chevron's attacks on human rights defenders as a way to evade its Ecuador pollution liability must stop," he said.

Three layers of courts in Ecuador – the venue where Chevron insisted the trial be held – found the company had deliberately dumped billions of gallons of toxic oil waste, leading to an outbreak of cancer in the region and a catastrophic public health crisis. See here for a summary of the evidence against Chevron.

After winning the Ecuador judgment, Salazar said he was optimistic that Chevron would soon be forced to pay compensation to the indigenous and farmer communities it harmed.

”Running around the world like a scofflaw debtor while indigenous groups give chase is only creating more risk for Chevron and its shareholders and is no way for a public company to act,” said Salazar. “Governments are now becoming hesitant to partner with Chevron on oil and gas projects given its long track record of environmental destruction, tax avoidance, disrespect for indigenous communities, and insensitivity to the threat of global warming.”

Donziger also indicated that the Ecuadorian communities, led by FDA President Carmen Cartuche, feel a "deep level of gratitude" for the support provided to their cause by Canadian indigenous and environmental leaders.

"Carmen and others at the community level in the Amazon asked me to convey to all Canadians their appreciation for the amazing outpouring of support being received in the country," he said. 

Biopharmaceutical Industry Marks World TB Day

Fri, 03/23/2018 - 9:28am

 IFPMA, the world body representing biopharmaceutical companies, confirms its commitment to the World Health Organization (WHO) drive to eradicate tuberculosis and its campaign “Wanted: Leaders for a TB-free world”, focusing on building commitment at all levels of the community.

The biopharmaceutical industry is dedicated to bringing effective therapies and solutions to improve access to treatment and accelerate progress to end TB for good. IFPMA endorses the World Health Organization’s End Tuberculosis Strategy[1], as well as broader efforts to end TB that are underpinned by the Sustainable Development Goals.

The biopharmaceutical industry is contributing to the TB challenge with R&D and measures to improve access to treatments. The industry’s R&D efforts focuses on finding more effective, safer, all-oral regimens to treat all forms of TB, and new vaccines for adolescents and adults. There are now over 60 R&D projects for TB medicines and vaccines in the pipeline, including seven products in phase III clinical trials. The recent breakthroughs made by Johnson & Johnson and Otsuka (bedaquiline and delamanid) for the treatment of MDR-TB are not only important innovations, they are also illustrative of new approaches being taken by biopharmaceutical companies to make broadening sustainable and responsible access a priority.

2018 is a critical year for the global TB community, including IFPMA, culminating with the first ever UN High-Level Meeting on TB on 26 September 2018. Progress is being made. Just last week, Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced at the Delhi End TB Summit a bold vision for a TB-free India by 2025. As India has the highest burden of TB in the world, IFPMA acknowledges the importance of the commitments made by India’s PM.

For further information: Morgane De Pol (m.depol@ifpma.org)

Background:

Today, tuberculosis is curable, but its long treatment regimen is demanding, often unfortunately proving challenging for patients to complete their full course. This accounts in part to today’s continued death toll, as does lack of diagnosis, weak health systems and lack of access to medicines. It also accounts for the rise of multidrug-resistant or extensively drug-resistant TB (MDR-TB and XDR-TB).

Today, the biopharmaceutical is searching for new treatments for TB. There currently 60 R&D projects for TB medicines and vaccines in the pipeline[2], including seven products in phase III clinical trials. These new products are reaching the final stages of the 10-15-year R&D process – one in which many other possible treatments or vaccines have fallen by the wayside. Innovation in the field of TB research is becoming increasingly collaborative. Today, biopharmaceutical companies are involved in more than 30 collaborators (universities, research institutes, product development partnerships, etc.) to develop innovative medicines and vaccines for TB and MDR-TB.

After a gap of 50 years, major breakthroughs by Johnson & Johnson and Otsuka have seen the light of the day: two new medicines (bedaquiline[3] and delamanid [4]) have been approved for the treatment of MDR-TB under programmatic conditions in numerous countries, with both added to the World Health Organization’s Essential Medicines List. A priority is getting these new treatments to patients by broadening sustainable and responsible access.

Both Johnson & Johnson and Otsuka collaborate with a number of local, national and global partners to expand access to treatment, diagnostics and care. Both companies have introduced responsible, innovative and clearly structured approaches to expand dissemination of their new treatments while ensuring safe and appropriate use. They include programs providing healthcare professionals training and appropriate pharmacovigilance and surveillance activities to monitor resistance. This is a crucial for the introduction of new TB regimens to ensure they remain effective for patients today as well as tomorrow.

In addition to R&D, bioharmaceutical companies are involved in over 30 partnerships to increase access to TB treatment, diagnosis and care. These programs include donations, but also manufacturing partnerships to increase local capacity. Companies are working with the Global Drug Facility[5], a unique TB-specific mechanism for pooling the procurement of medicines and diagnostics. Some initiatives also focus on reaching isolated groups with TB diagnostics through door-to-door screenings and training of health workers. Companies work with health providers to prevent medicine stock-outs in rural health centres and ensure the quality of tuberculosis medicines in pharmacies across the world with mobile labs[6].

[1] http://www.who.int/tb/strategy/end-tb/en/

[2] R&D Pipeline for Tuberculosis (IFPMA) (March 2017).

[3] Also known as SIRTURO®

[4] Also known as Deltyba™

[5] The Global Drug Facility is the largest procurer of quality-assured TB medicines and provides TB drug management technical assistance in an effort to promote equitable access to TB medicines and diagnostics. 

[6] More information on IFPMA Health Partnerships Directory

#RaiseItForward: Water For People and Absolut Elyx Invite People Around the World to Raise A Glass to Help Solve the Global Water Crisis

Thu, 03/22/2018 - 12:26pm

From World Water Day, March 22, 2018 through Earth Day, April 22, 2018, people around the world are invited to take part in a social media movement called Raise It Forward. Simply by raising a glass of anything, adding the hashtag #RaiseItForward, mentioning @WaterForPeople and @AbsolutElyx, Absolut Elyx will contribute one week of safe water to communities where Water For People works.

Throughout the month, consumers will be able to make an impact on the global water crisis in a fun and engaging way by posting a picture of their toast on their favorite social media channel. 2.1 billion people around the world don't have access to safe water and 4.5 billion lack access to adequate sanitation. Women and children spend more than four hours walking for water each day, and more than 840,000 people die each year from water-related diseases. By kicking off Raise It Forward on World Water Day, the campaign brings attention to this challenge while giving people a way to take action.

In 2015, Elyx joined forces with Water For People on a five-year partnership to bring access to safe water to more than 100,000 people worldwide. Both organizations share a commitment to integrity and sustainability, and together work to amplify the goals and urgency in solving the global water crisis. To date, over 30,000 people have been given access to safe drinking water through this partnership.

“Water For People is an amazing organization making a huge difference around the world,” said Absolut Elyx CEO, Jonas Tåhlin. “Integrity being a key value for Absolut Elyx, we are proud to support their global mission. Giving back is just part of our business model and #RaiseItForward is an easy way for the Elyx community to support our efforts and bring awareness to this cause.”

In 2017, there were over 4,800 posts across Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter which led to 672,000 liters of water donated. Celebrities, influencers, philanthropists, beverage industry professionals, and individuals around the world raised a glass to make an impact.

“#RaiseItForward is a great campaign to bring awareness to the global water crisis, while making a real difference for people who live without safe water around the world,” said Water For People CEO, Eleanor Allen. “We are grateful for the long-term partnership with Absolut Elyx. This collaboration has made a real, long-term difference for thousands of people around the world, and continues to make a greater impact year over year.”

In addition to #RaiseItForward, Absolut Elyx contributes to Water For People through events, purchases of Elyx Bottles and Elyx Boutique copper products. For every purchase made from the Elyx Boutique, a week’s worth of safe water (140 liters) is donated to those who need it. Learn more at elyxboutique.com

To learn more about this partnership, please visit waterforpeople.org/elyx

About Water For People
Founded in 1991 in Denver, Colorado, Water For People is a global nonprofit working across nine countries in Latin America, Asia, and Africa to achieve lasting quality water and sanitation services. Water For People brings together communities, local entrepreneurs, and governments to build, operate, and maintain their own reliable water and sanitation systems and services. Currently working in 30 districts with 4 million people, Water For People is growing to deliver services to over 7 million people in 50 districts globally over the next 10 years. Water For People is also working at the national level in Rwanda, Uganda, Bolivia, and Honduras. Learn more at waterforpeople.org and on Instagram @waterforpeople.

About Absolut Elyx
Absolut Elyx is the Single Estate, Copper Crafted, Luxury expression of Absolut Vodka. Every bottle is made with soft winter wheat and the most pristine water in the world, drawn from the aquifer deep beneath the ground, in Åhus, Sweden. Elyx is distilled using sacrificial copper and further rectified by hand using a copper vintage still from 1921.  Krister Asplund, Master Distiller, and his team are knowledgeable to oversee the century-old distillation process that has been passed down through generations of Swedish vodka-makers. Absolut Elyx has joined forces with Water For People to support and raise awareness for long-term solutions to the global water crisis.
Discover more about Elyx at www.absolutelyx.comwww.elyxboutique.com and on Instagram @AbsolutElyx.

Global Water Challenge Announces Next Generation of New World Program in Partnership With The Coca-Cola Foundation

Thu, 03/22/2018 - 9:26am

To commemorate World Water Day, The Coca-Cola Foundation (TCCF)  and Global Water Challenge (GWC) are pleased to announce the next generation of their ongoing partnership to advance the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)  across Eurasia, the Middle East, and North Africa through the New World Program (NWP). The NWP will provide catalytic grants totaling nearly US$1.4 million for two long-standing program pillars – water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) and youth and women’s economic empowerment. As part of the program’s fourth Generation, TCCF and GWC are excited to introduce the addition of a third program pillar that will focus on Climate Resilience with an emphasis on Marine Litter, Recycling, and Sustainable Packaging.

The catalytic NWP grant funding will be awarded through a Call for Proposals set to close on April 30, 2018. Selected projects will launch in September 2018. Funding will be awarded to organizations working in the following 14 countries: Azerbaijan, Belarus, Egypt, Georgia, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Lebanon, Pakistan, Romania, Tajikistan, Turkey, Ukraine, and Uzbekistan. Organizations that are eligible for NWP funding include: non-governmental organizations (NGOs), community-based organizations (CBOs), civil society organizations (CSOs), development cooperatives, regional development agencies, and capacity development institutes.

“GWC is proud to collaborate with The Coca-Cola Foundation to advance progress on the SDGs in partnership with communities around the world,” said Monica Ellis, CEO of Global Water Challenge.  

The NWP was originally launched in 2014 as a partnership mechanism between the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and TCCF. This will be the fourth cohort of projects mobilized through the NWP to date and the second year of programming managed by GWC. A leading not-for-profit 501(c)3 with over a decade of experience supporting high-impact WASH programming and partnerships around the world, GWC will leverage its extensive network and management expertise for the continued benefit of the NWP partnership. Organizations interested in applying for NWP grants should contact vphillips@globalwaterchallenge.org

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ABOUT GLOBAL WATER CHALLENGE:
Founded in 2006, Global Water Challenge (GWC) is a coalition of leading organizations committed to achieving universal access to improved WASH. With leading companies, civil society partners, and governments, GWC accelerates the delivery of safe water and sanitation through partnerships that catalyze financial support and drive innovation for sustainable solutions. Through GWC’s innovative public-private partnerships, over 1 million people have been reached with safe water access. More information about GWC can be found here.  

ABOUT THE COCA-COLA FOUNDATION:
The Coca-Cola Foundation is the global philanthropic arm of The Coca-Cola Company. Since its inception in 1984, TCCF has awarded more than $900 million in grants to support sustainable community initiatives around the world. More information about TCCF can be found here. 

ABOUT THE COCA-COLA COMPANY:
The Coca-Cola Company (NYSE: KO) is the world's largest beverage company, refreshing consumers with more than 500 sparkling and still brands and more than 3,800 beverage choices. Led by Coca-Cola, one of the world's most valuable and recognizable brands, our company’s portfolio features 20 billion-dollar brands, 18 of which are available in reduced-, low- or no-calorie options.  Our billion-dollar brands include Diet Coke, Coca-Cola Zero, Fanta, Sprite, Dasani, vitaminwater, Powerade, Minute Maid, Simply, Del Valle, Georgia and Gold Peak.  Through the world's largest beverage distribution system, we are the No. 1 provider of both sparkling and still beverages. More than 1.9 billion servings of our beverages are enjoyed by consumers in more than 200 countries each day. With an enduring commitment to building sustainable communities, our company is focused on initiatives that reduce our environmental footprint, create a safe, inclusive work environment for our associates, and enhance the economic development of the communities where we operate. Together with our bottling partners, we rank among the world's top 10 private employers with more than 700,000 system associates. For more information, visit Coca-Cola Journey at www.coca-colacompany.com, follow us on Twitter at twitter.com/CocaColaCo, visit our blog, Coca-Cola Unbottled, at www.coca-colablog.com or find us on LinkedIn at www.linkedin.com/company/the-coca-cola-company.

Pentair Commemorates World Water Day Through Ongoing Commitment to Sustainable Agricultural Initiatives

Thu, 03/22/2018 - 9:26am

Pentair, a leading global water treatment company focused on smart, sustainable water solutions, today commemorated World Water Day 2018 through its philanthropic work in Kenya with The Nature Conservancy’s Upper Tana-Nairobi Water Fund. World Water Day is an international observance created by the United Nations to focus attention on the importance of freshwater and advocate for sustainable freshwater resources.

The Upper Tana-Nairobi Water Fund promotes the use of sustainable agricultural practices using natural systems to manage lands upstream that filter and regulate the water supply of the Tana River to Nairobi, Kenya’s capital city. The river provides more than 95 percent of the water for Nairobi’s citizens, and hydroelectric plants on its banks generate 50 percent of Kenya’s power.

Kenyans rely on the more than 300,000 farms producing food and crops upstream on the Tana River, but unsustainable farming practices and heavy topsoil runoff compromise the waterway. Pentair is committed to overcoming these challenges by promoting carefully planned upstream conservation efforts, which are projected to stabilize these soils, rehabilitate groundwater recharge areas and increase efficiency in agricultural water applications. These changes will measurably improve freshwater delivery to Nairobi’s citizens.

“Both as a company and community partner, we remain committed to protecting Nairobi’s water source through conservation strategies and promoting natural, effective agricultural practices in partnership with Kenyan residents and The Nature Conservancy,” said Phil Rolchigo, chief technology officer, Pentair. “We’re proud to be an ongoing partner and the work and investment fuels the very purpose our company carries forward every day: the health of our global community depends on reliable access to clean water. Through our proprietary technology, our employees’ expertise and passion, dedicated corporate resources and a legacy financial commitment, we are putting our purpose into practice for millions today as well as future generations.”

Pentair serves as a founding supporter of The Nature Conservancy’s Upper Tana-Nairobi Water Fund, a public-private initiative and a first-of-its-kind partnership in Africa. The partnership also includes a comprehensive research effort to determine the next generation of resources necessary to improve Kenya’s infrastructure. This research will help to protect the river water Kenya’s people rely on to sustain their lives and their livelihood.

Pentair’s approach to protecting source water complements the company’s philanthropic efforts. The company is proud of its proven track record of implementing Project Safewater initiatives that provide sustainable access to clean, safe water to more than three million people in the developing world daily. In addition, Pentair is a leader in the agricultural industry, creating efficient technology, equipment and irrigation systems to help effectively and sustainably manage water resources.

Learn more at http://pentair.com/en/about-us/corporate-social-responsibility/project-safewater.

SC Johnson Donations are Helping to Develop Tomorrow’s Workforce

Thu, 03/22/2018 - 9:26am

Recognizing the need to continue developing students today for tomorrow’s workforce, SC Johnson is proud to support education through its philanthropic contributions, a portion of which includes science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) programs worldwide.

“The skills developed from a STEM-based education are the same skills that companies like SC Johnson need today and in the future,” said Kelly M. Semrau, Senior Vice President – Global Corporate Affairs, Communication and Sustainability at SC Johnson. “Through our charitable donations to STEM programs across the globe, we hope we can encourage young students to pursue scientific careers – an ever-growing need in our society.”

Science has played a critical role at SC Johnson and the company would have never developed and enhanced its well-known brands such as Pledge®, Glade® and Raid® without those who studied the sciences. According to the U.S. Department of Commerce, STEM occupations are projected to grow by 8.9 percent by 2024, as compared to a 6.4 percent increase for non-STEM careers. Jobs that rely on STEM skills lead innovation and development at organizations, driving global economies.

SC Johnson’s commitment to providing resources to educational programs is longstanding, and reaches many of the communities where the company operates. The company’s philanthropic donations promote scientific literacy, competency and awareness, building the necessary skills and interest to encourage students to pursue STEM-based careers. A few examples of SC Johnson’s contributions in 2017 include:

  • United States: A donation of $500,000 was made to support the renovation of the integrated science lab at the University of Wisconsin-Parkside in Kenosha, providing a facility to continue offering students the opportunity to pursue STEM education.

  • South Africa: In 2017, the second SC Johnson Science Laboratory Project was kicked off at Cosmo City West Primary School, donating a state-of-the-art science laboratory to the school.

  • Germany: SC Johnson Germany supported NeanderLAB, an organization that provides laboratory space for children from 24 area schools, enabling them to participate in classes and experiments they would not have been able to otherwise.

To learn more about SC Johnson’s long history of improving lives of people in the communities where the company operates, visit www.scjohnson.com/en/commitment/socialresponsibility/philanthropy.aspx

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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

Nonprofit Says New Genetically Modified Corn Report is Just Sleight of Hand

Thu, 03/22/2018 - 9:26am

GMO Free USA, a public interest nonprofit organization, has released a report analyzing a recent 2018 meta-analysis by Elisa Pelligrino, et al. on genetically modified (GM) corn. Pelligrino’s work is being hailed by Newsweek and Forbes as proof that GM corn is safe for humans and the environment, and has higher yields. GMO Free USA’s report uncovers numerous flaws in the meta-analysis, including the use of only a small number of studies with geographically limited data, biased studies and outdated studies, rendering the data from this meta-analysis highly unreliable.

Diana Reeves, Executive Director of GMO Free USA states, “These media reports claim that the meta-analysis used 6,000 studies, but the study’s authors only cited a total of 76 studies for 34 parameters reviewed. This is a very small number of studies with limited data, and more than a third of those studies were conducted or funded by authors with a conflict of interest. In fact, in some sections the authors relied 100% on studies done by biotech companies like Monsanto. A recent review found studies on GM corn with a conflict of interest were much more likely to have outcomes that favor the GM crop producers. You wouldn’t expect research paid for by Monsanto to find their products harmful.”

The GMO Free USA report also identifies many other questionable studies used in the meta-analysis. The type of GM corn analyzed makes its own pesticide inside the plant, that can’t be washed off. This pesticide is supposed to kill insects that eat the corn, but over time insects have developed resistance to these toxins, allowing them to feed on GM corn and survive. Upon examination, the meta-analysis reference to the earliest evidence of resistance was published in 2007. Therefore, all studies published prior to 2007 would be expected to have higher yields, reduced injury and less mycotoxins compared to studies from 2007 and after. Combining data from both before and after documented insect resistance distorts the data in favor of higher yield, reduced injury, and reduced mycotoxins, giving the impression that currently grown GM corn is more effective than it really is.

“The authors of this meta-analysis should have eliminated the biased studies and the studies that took place before insect resistance occurred. Had they done this, some of the results would show the opposite of what they found. In addition, the authors omitted some studies which, if they had been included, would have changed the results,” said Reeves.

Luan Van Le, GMO Free USA Communications Director states, “You can't rely on industry research to do a meta-analysis like these authors did, or you end up with biased conclusions. It’s curious that Newsweek and Forbes would put out poorly researched articles that mislead the public. This kind of analysis doesn’t move the GMO safety debate forward and only serves to heighten the public’s distrust. The general population is capable of understanding that the use of limited and biased data to draw broad conclusions is unscientific. This meta-analysis looks impressive to an audience that doesn’t realize it’s industry funded and irrelevant data, but really it is just sleight of hand.”

The full GMO Free USA report can be found here: https://gmofreeusa.org/news/articles/gmo-safety-meta-analysis-debunked/

GMO Free USA is a 501c3 nonprofit that educates consumers and other stakeholders about the potential hazards of GMOs. GMO Free USA advocates for the application of the Precautionary Principle and the removal of GMOs from the food supply until they are proven safe. www.gmofreeusa.org Press may contact Diana Reeves or Luan Van Le at 347.921.1466 or info@gmofreeusa.org

Link to Libraries to Host "Once Upon a Time" Celebration Gala

Wed, 03/21/2018 - 6:25pm

On Tuesday, April 10, 2018, Link to Libraries will host the signature biennial fundraising event at the Log Cabin in Holyoke. In honor of their love for books and belief in the endless possibilities they offer, especially to young readers, this year’s theme is Once Upon a Time. Join Link to Libraries for a fairy tale evening of complimentary cocktails, hors d’oeuvres and the unique opportunity to network with nearly 600 attendees.

Link to Libraries is proud to be the largest distributor of books to underserved youth in Western Massachusetts and Northern Connecticut. In fact, since their inception in 2008, they have put over 500,000 new books into the hands and homes of school children, many of whom have never previously owned a book. In addition to helping build libraries, Link to Libraries offers several programs designed to bring business leaders and volunteers into the classroom to share a love of reading and serve as mentors to students. The research is clear, books are passports to better and brighter futures. Reading aloud to children improves their chances for academic success, and through books, children gain a better understanding of themselves and of the world around them. 

You can support Link to Libraries and children across the region by attending or sponsoring this event. Due to the generosity of the Log Cabin, the event host, Link to Libraries is able to guarantee that 100% of the funds raised for this event will go directly towards purchasing books for children.

To sponsor or register for the Link to Libraries 2018 Celebration Gala please click here.

For more information about Link to Libraries, please visit linktolibraries.org.

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