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Mohawk Group’s Lichen Wins Interior Design Best of Year Award for Modular Carpet

Thu, 12/07/2017 - 1:26pm

Mohawk Group’s Lichen modular carpet, which merges leading concepts in biophilic design and sustainability, took home a coveted Best of Year Award from Interior Design magazine over the weekend in New York.

Approximately 250,000 online votes determined the winners in the 12th annual Best of Year (BoY) Awards, which honor the world’s outstanding projects and products in 113 design categories. Over 1,000 design professionals and enthusiasts representing the U.S., Mexico, Poland, Brazil, China, Israel and around the world gathered for the ceremony, which was held at the IAC Building designed by Frank Gehry.

The Lichen Collection won in the flooring: carpet/modular category and was an honoree in the green innovation category.

“With the development of Lichen, we pushed the envelope with tufting and yarn innovation, new sustainability directives and a compelling biophilic design, culminating in an expressive product that resonates with people on an emotional level,” said Royce Epstein, Mohawk Group’s director of design segment. “The response to Lichen has been overwhelmingly positive; people have embraced it with enthusiasm, especially because of the rich texture and joyful color palette that comes straight from nature.”

The Lichen Collection, which was debuted to the architecture and design community this summer at NeoCon, is the first floor covering to achieve Living Product Challenge Petal Certification from the International Living Future Institute (ILFI). Designed by Jason F. McLennan, founder of the Living Product Challenge, and his team at McLennan Design, the collection is inspired by the idea of “Nature’s Carpet” and assemblages of multi-hued, multi-textured lichens and their regenerative role in our ecosystem.

Earlier this year, Lichen captured a Best of NeoCon Gold award for modular carpet, a Metropolis Likes at NeoCon award, and Nightingale Awards for best of competition and gold in carpet. Additionally, it was recognized as a workplace carpet honoree in the Interior Design HiP Product Award competition.

“We are honored and delighted that our net positive Lichen has again earned a prestigious award in its short time in the marketplace,” said George Bandy, Mohawk’s vice president of sustainability. “We are excited that this groundbreaking collection has been recognized by yet another community, this time for its design attributes. Lichen is an extraordinary marriage of sustainability and design and we are thrilled that it is being applauded as a leader in both sectors.”

Mohawk Group and its hospitality brand, Durkan, were also recognized in other BoY categories in this year’s program. Lineate, an enhanced resilient tile (ERT) that combines ombré gradations of color with textile-like striations for a richly dimensional visual, was an honoree in the flooring: hard category. Raffish, created using Durkan’s exclusive Synthesis technology and characterized by bold, painterly brushstrokes and vivid colors, was an honoree in the flooring: carpet/broadloom category.

All winners and honorees are featured in this month’s issue of Interior Design magazine and online at InteriorDesign.net.

Click here to watch a video about Mohawk Group’s award-winning Lichen Collection.

About Mohawk Group
Mohawk Group, the world’s leading producer and distributor of quality commercial flooring, delivers industry-leading style, cutting-edge innovation, unmatched service and superior sustainability. As the commercial division of Mohawk Industries, Mohawk Group has a heritage of craftsmanship that spans more than 130 years. The company’s enduring family of brands—Mohawk, Karastan and Durkan—are widely regarded as the most trusted names in the commercial flooring business. Together, these brands function beautifully, delivering the perfect flooring solution for all markets and price points. Rounding out its esteemed product offering, Mohawk Group also offers a full spectrum of hard surface flooring products and installation accessories that exceed the most rigorous performance standards. For more information, visit www.mohawkgroup.com.

Nominations Open for 2018 CR Magazine 11th Annual Responsible CEO of the Year, Lifetime Achievement Awards

Thu, 12/07/2017 - 10:26am

Nominations are now being accepted for CR Magazine’s 11th annual Responsible CEO Award and Lifetime Achievement Award, given to corporate leaders committed to a progressive environmental, social and governance (ESG) agenda.

These prestigious awards will be presented at COMMIT!Forum, the leading event for corporate responsibility and sustainability practitioners, Oct. 23–25 at MGM National Harbor, just minutes from the nation’s capital. The judging panel is comprised of past Responsible CEO winners.

“Our 2017 winners included CEOs who personally led their companies to address important social issues like the opioid epidemic, groundbreaking research to treat burn victims and transforming corporate culture around sustainability and safety,” said Dave Armon, publisher of CR Magazine.  “Being selected by fellow CEOs and honored by peers makes these awards extremely meaningful for the winners.

Both public and private companies are invited to nominate their CEO.  There is no entry fee.  The nomination form can be found on the CR Magazine website. Nomination must be submitted by April 30, 2018, to be eligible for judging.

Winners of the 2017 Responsible CEO of the Year Awards were:

Lifetime Achievement -- Donald W. Slager, President and CEO, Republic Services, Inc.

CEOs of the Year -- Roger A. Krone, Chairman and CEO, Leidos, and Kenneth M. Sullivan, President and CEO, Smithfield Foods, Inc.

CEO of the Year, Municipal/Nonprofit -- Anthony Haines, president and CEO at Toronto Hydro Corporation.

Most Innovative CEO of the Year -- Tom Szaky, Founder and CEO, TerraCycle, Inc.

All award winners were nominated by fellow members of the CR community and selected by an independent judging panel comprised of previous winners and other industry leaders including:

Emanual Chirico, Chairman and CEO, PVH Corp.

William Cho, President and CEO, LG Electronics USA

Gale Klappa, Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer, Wisconsin Energy

Terri Ludwig, President and CEO, Enterprise Community Partners, Inc.

James Murren, Chairman and CEO, MGM Resorts International

Richard Shadyac, President and CEO, ALSAC

To determine the winners, judges considered several dimensions of the aforementioned standards including the scope of the CEO’s impact on their organization and community, the extent to which the CEO drove this initiative, and the individual reputation or professional risk taken by the CEO.

About the Corporate Responsibility Board
The Corporate Responsibility Board LLC publishes CR Magazine, organizes COMMIT!Forum and manages of the Corporate Responsibility Association. CR Board is a unit of 3BL Media, a Northampton, Massachusetts, company formed in 2009 to serve corporations, nonprofits, NGOs and service providers active in corporate citizenship and sustainability initiatives.

New Report From Silicon Valley Community Foundation Helps Companies Align With the U.N.’s Sustainable Development Goals

Wed, 12/06/2017 - 4:24pm

Eliminating poverty. Achieving universal access to energy. Ending inequality in education. These are just some of the objectives of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), a United Nations framework to address the world’s most pressing social, environmental and economic challenges by 2030.

A new report from Silicon Valley Community Foundation – The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals: A Why, When and How Guide for Business – will help business leaders understand the Sustainable Development Goals and the key role that businesses play in addressing them, and will help companies map their way forward with the SDGs.

Although experts say achieving the SDGs can unlock trillions of dollars in new market value, the agenda is uncharted territory for most businesses.

“The U.N.’s Sustainable Development Goals are relatively new, and many business leaders are still trying to figure out what the goals mean for their companies,” said Stuart Burden, vice president of corporate responsibility at SVCF. “In this practical guide, we hope to get business people talking about the SDGs and putting plans in place that catalyze real change. With the right tools, businesses can harness their capacity for innovation, strategic partnerships and finance to play a key role in making the world a better place by 2030.”

Along with the U.N. member states that will use the goals to frame their political policies over the next decade, the SDGs explicitly call on businesses to play an active role. Many are well-positioned to do so, but they may not know how to begin. 

Over the past 10 years, SVCF has helped more than 100 companies leverage philanthropy to address local and global challenges. With this report, SVCF hopes to help companies take these efforts a step further by aligning with a global push for a brighter future.

Written by a journalist with a background in corporate social responsibility, the report details why the SDGs matter to the private sector and how businesses can get involved with the agenda. Featuring tips from social entrepreneurs and case studies from some of America’s best-known companies — including Marriott International, Kimberly-Clark, Cisco and Airbnb — the report gives both startups and large businesses the tools they need to get started. Experts offer advice for each step of the process, including:

  • Define priorities: Tips help companies craft an SDG approach that aligns with their business goals. 
  • Get input: Engage internal and external stakeholders around the SDGs with inspiration from established technology companies and startups alike.  
  • Set goals: Case studies demonstrate how to turn priorities into actionable, time-bound goals that align with the SDGs.

SVCF will celebrate the launch of its report on Dec. 13 from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the Autodesk Gallery in San Francisco. CSR leaders will share their experiences with integrating the SDGs into their companies in a moderated discussion, and discuss ways to move this bold new framework forward. Register for free here.

Read the full text of the report.

About Silicon Valley Community Foundation

Silicon Valley Community Foundation advances innovative philanthropic solutions to challenging problems. We engage donors and corporations from Silicon Valley, across the country and around the globe to make our region and world better for all. Our passion for helping people and organizations achieve their philanthropic dreams has created a global philanthropic enterprise committed to the belief that possibilities start here. Learn more at siliconvalleycf.org

Canada’s National Indigenous Federation Backs Ecuadorian Amazon Communities in Lawsuit to Hold Chevron Accountable for Environmental Damage

Wed, 12/06/2017 - 4:24pm

In a setback to Chevron’s campaign to evade a $9.5 billion liability owed to rainforest communities, the national indigenous federations of Canada and Ecuador signed a formal protocol today to work together to hold the oil major accountable for the dumping of billions of gallons of toxic oil waste and for causing ongoing violations of Indigenous rights in both countries.

The protocol was announced in a pubic ceremony in Ottawa at the annual December meeting of the Assembly of First Nations (AFN), Canada’s national indigenous federation that includes the chiefs of 634 nationalities in the country. It was signed by Perry Bellegarde, National Chief of the AFN, considered one of the most important indigenous organizations in the world; Jamie Vargas, the National Chief of Ecuador and the President of that country’s indigenous federation, known as CONAIE; and Carmen Cartuche, the President of the Front for the Defense of the Amazon (FDA), the community-based organization in Ecuador’s Amazon that brought a historic lawsuit against Chevron in 1993 on behalf of indigenous and farmer communities.

“Any violation of Indigenous rights is a violation against all Indigenous peoples,” said AFN National Chief Bellegarde. “This protocol puts Chevron and all corporations on notice that we are watching and we will be vigilant in protecting our rights and our territories. We stand with our brothers and sisters in Ecuador in calling for full respect for our rights, our peoples and our traditional territories.”

 “This protocol is a profound step forward for Indigenous groups in both Ecuador and Canada to hold an irresponsible corporate polluter accountable for its actions in destroying indigenous lands and cultures in the Amazon and around the world,” said Vargas of Ecuador’s CONAIE, who is currently leading a national march of indigenous groups in Ecuador to pressure the national government to respect First Nations territorial rights.

Cartuche, whose group (known as the FDA for its Spanish acronym) has led the lawsuit since its inception and is currently trying to collect the judgment in Canadian courts, said, “We want to thank our Canadian brothers and sisters for standing with our communities in their historic struggle to hold Chevron accountable. We look forward to developing joint programs to ensure that Chevron pays a high price for the environmental crimes it committed in Ecuador and for any violations of human rights no matter where they occur.”

The agreement is supported by a resolution passed overwhelmingly today by hundreds of chiefs who attended a plenary session of the AFN.  The resolution promises cooperation between the federations and calls on Chevron to cease attacking community leaders and their representatives in Ecuador as part of the company’s avowed “demonization” strategy to evade paying the judgment.

The cooperation protocol between the two national federations and the FDA is potentially a major blow to Chevron’s efforts to evade the environmental liability, imposed by three layers of courts in Ecuador in 2013 after the company was found responsible for the dumping billions of gallons of toxic oil waste onto indigenous ancestral lands as a cost-saving measure.  Cancer rates in the area have skyrocketed and the cultures of five indigenous groups (Cofan, Secoya, Huaorani, Kichwa, and Siona) have been decimated, according to evidence before the Ecuador court.

The protocol is also historic in that it represents the first time that the AFN, known as the most influential national Indigenous federation in the world, has signed a bilateral protocol with the national indigenous federation of a Latin American nation.

Although Chevron had insisted the environmental trial take place in Ecuador and had accepted jurisdiction there, the company later refused to pay the judgment and threatened the Indigenous peoples with a “lifetime of litigation” if they persisted. The case is now in Canadian courts, where the affected communities have won three consecutive appellate decisions in their effort to seize Chevron assets to force the company to comply with the rule of law and pay the Ecuador judgment.

Chevron shareholders and environmental groups worldwide also have blasted company management for its mishandling of the case. Chevron has an estimated $15 billion of assets in Canada, or more than enough to pay for the entirety of the judgment which is now worth $12 billion with accrued interest under Canadian law.

The cooperation protocol grew out of an invitation issued by Ecuadorian indigenous groups to their Canadian counterparts to visit the affected area in Ecuador, where Chevron abandoned roughly 1,000 unlined oil waste pits after operating in the country from 1964 to 1992.  It was during the trip to Ecuador last September, which included former Canadian National Chief Phil Fontaine and Grant Chief Ed John, that the groups decided to form a political alliance.

Representatives of the federations said they would work together to jointly monitor Chevron’s ongoing activity in Canada on Indigenous territory to ensure the company was not repeating its mistakes in Ecuador or engaging in a bait in switch by trying to respect indigenous rights in Canada while violating them in Ecuador, said representatives of both groups. Chevron has several pending projects on Indigenous lands in Canada that require the consent of nationalities to move forward. 

Fontaine, Ed John, and Greenpeace Co-founder Rex Weyler were sharply critical of Chevron on the trip to Ecuador. Weyler accused the company of committing “ecological crimes” on indigenous territory while Fontaine said, “It is clear that Chevron has caused significant harm to the environment and to the health of indigenous peoples and must be held accountable. It is unconscionable that they have been allowed to shirk their responsibility for as long as they have. Times have changed and the rights of indigenous peoples across the world must be recognized and respected.”

Grand Chief Ed John said, “No legal case should take 25 years, especially one involving indigenous rights and environmental justice. We plan to work with indigenous groups in Ecuador and Canada to ensure Canadian courts resolve this case so the impacted communities can obtain justice and Chevron’s unethical policy of forum shopping ends.”

Chevron has become notorious for spending massive sums of money to resist the judgment, using at least 60 law firms and 2,000 legal personnel at an estimated cost over several years of at least $2 billion. Chevron has tried to obtain impunity in Canada by claiming its assets cannot be seized because they are held by a subsidiary even though it is wholly-owned by the company.  That particular issue is scheduled for argument in April before the Ontario Court of Appeal.

Chevron also retaliated against the Ecuadorian indigenous groups by suing the plaintiffs in the case and their lawyers in the United States, claiming the entire case was a “racketeering” conspiracy designed to extort money from the company. That case backfired against Chevron when evidence later emerged that the fabricated evidence and committed fraud by paying an admittedly corrupt witness $2 million.

In all, 21 appellate judges in Ecuador and Canada have rejected Chevron’s arguments and ruled in favor of various aspects of the claims of the Ecuadorian indigenous groups. Not a single appellate judge in either of the two countries has sided with Chevron.

Consumers Energy Delivers $2.6 Million Check to General Motors for Energy Efficiency Measures

Wed, 12/06/2017 - 4:24pm

General Motors Flint Complex has received a $2.6 million incentive payment from Consumers Energy for energy efficiency upgrades, part of the energy provider’s commitment to helping businesses across Michigan lower their energy costs. Consumers Energy President and CEO Patti Poppe presented the incentive check to GM officials at the Flint Assembly plant today.

“Our mission at Consumers Energy is to help Michigan businesses be competitive and grow jobs by lowering their energy costs and we are committed to providing energy solutions for all Michigan businesses including flagship employers like General Motors,” Poppe said. “We are proud to give GM Flint a $2.6 million check and congratulate them on their dedication to improving the community and our planet.”

The incentive payment is the result of energy efficiency improvements to the plant in 2017. GM Flint Complex completed 28 projects at the Flint complex, estimated to reduce enough electricity to power 350 houses and heat 2,100 homes. The 28 projects are expected to save GM $1.12 million each year. Since Consumers Energy’s rebate program began, GM has received $11.5 million in energy incentives.

“The GM Flint team recognizes the importance of being environmental stewards and our strong relationship with Consumers Energy allows us to maximize our opportunities to be good corporate citizens and serve as leaders in the energy conservation business within GM,” said Michael Perez, GM Flint Assembly plant manager. 

Consumers Energy has helped Michigan customers save over $1 billion through energy efficiency programs since 2009. Learn more about energy efficiency at www.ConsumersEnergy.com/mybusiness, including information on over 400 rebates available to schools and businesses.

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.

Check out Consumers Energy on Social Media Facebook | Twitter YouTube

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

Media Contacts:

Consumers Energy
Katie Carey

Brian Wheeler

General Motors 
Liz Trudeau

UN Honors Global Competition Winners for Ideas on Protecting the Environment - Inaugural Young Champions of the Earth Celebrated

Wed, 12/06/2017 - 1:24pm

During this week’s United Nations Environment General Assembly in Nairobi, Kenya, six young people from across the globe were honored as the first-ever Young Champions of the Earth by UN Environment for their outstanding ideas on environmental protection. The new award is sponsored by Covestro, a leading manufacturer of materials for sustainable development.

Click to tweet: The @UNEP has selected the top six #YoungChamps ideas on how to protect the environment. Each of the  winners will receive $15,000 in seed funding and expert mentoring from @CovestroGroup. Read more: http://bit.ly/2A1TpzU.

The Young Champions of the Earth awards are given to individuals between the ages of 18 and 30 who offer novel solutions to today’s pressing environmental challenges. Each winner (listed below) receives $15,000 in seed funding, expert mentoring, needs-based training and access to powerful networks to help them implement their plans over the coming year. Twenty-nine-year-old Kaya Dorey was selected as the Young Champion for North America, in recognition of her sustainable apparel business, called NOVEL SUPPLY CO.

Dorey and the other winners received their prizes at a gala event December 5,  where they were addressed by UN Environment Head Erik Solheim and singer/songwriter Ellie Goulding, who was appointed by UN Environment as a Global Goodwill Ambassador for her environmental and social justice activism.

The master of ceremonies was model, actor and film producer Dia Mirza, UN Environment’s Goodwill Ambassador for India who has been recognized for her contribution to environment conservation. 

Richard Northcote, Covestro chief sustainability officer, told the assembly that the success of the first Young Champions of the Earth competition meant Covestro would continue to support the UN Environment initiative.

Helping to tackle complex global challenges
“As one of the world’s leading contributors of materials for sustainable development, it was an easy decision for Covestro to partner with UN Environment to inspire and motivate young people across the world to contribute to the UN Sustainable Development Goals [SDGs] and help tackle some of the complex social and environmental challenges we all face,” said Northcote.

His colleague Rebecca Lucore, head of corporate social responsibility and sustainability for Covestro in North America, added: “We are helping to foster young, innovative eco-entrepreneurs who are committed to the three Ps – people, planet, prosperity – and are translating the global SDGs into local action in regions around the world.”

“Young Champions are living proof that amid today’s environmental and economic crises, there are incredible opportunities for innovative solutions, fresh approaches and inspirational leadership. This is a fantastic partnership founded on a shared passion for empowering aspiring change-makers,” said Solheim, underlining both partners’ commitment to support young talents in implementing their bright ideas.

The Young Champions of the Earth for 2017, selected for their outstanding potential to create positive environmental impact, are:

North America – Kaya Dorey
Closed-loop apparel manufacturing hub

Europe – Adam Dixon
Phytoponics: a hydroponic growing system for the commercial greenhouse

Latin America & the Caribbean – Liliana Jaramillo Pazmiño
Native plants for green roofs in Quito

West Asia – Omer Badokhon
Biogas for all: improving rural livelihoods with sustainable energy

Africa – Mariama Mamane
Innovative eco-management of water hyacinth

Asia Pacific – Eritai Kateibwi
Te Maeu Project: a modular hydroponics food-growing system for Pacific islands

Details of their winning submissions are available on the Young Champions section of the UN Environment website at www.unep.org/youngchampions.

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

OppenheimerFunds Announces Senior Sustainable Investing Appointment

Tue, 12/05/2017 - 1:22pm

OppenheimerFunds, a leading global asset manager, today announced the appointment of Aniket Shah as Head of Sustainable Investing. In this new position, Shah will be responsible for working with OppenheimerFunds’ portfolio managers and investment product specialists to further integrate sustainable investing practices across all aspects of the firm’s business activities to better serve investors. He will report to Sharon French, OppenheimerFunds Head of Beta Solutions.

Art Steinmetz, Chairman and CEO of OppenheimerFunds, stated, “As investor demand for sustainable investing strategies continues to rise, expanding our ESG capabilities to further meet client needs remains an ongoing strategic priority for the firm.”

Shah brings an extensive range of experience in the sustainable finance and investing space to OppenheimerFunds. For the last three years he served as Head of Financing for Sustainable Development for the United Nations Sustainable Development Solutions Network, where he was responsible for working with governments, investors, corporations and non-governmental organizations on ESG integration and sustainable development financing issues.

Before that, Shah was part of Investec Asset Management’s Global Multi-Asset Investment team and was a senior member of the firm’s Investment Institute. He has also served as Program Manager and Special Assistant to the Director at The Earth Institute at Columbia University. Shah currently is a Senior Fellow at the Columbia Center for Sustainable Investing and Chairman of the Board, Amnesty International USA.

“As sustainable investing continues to establish itself as a critical investing channel for a growing number of clients, developing a framework to implement sustainable practices throughout the firm has become increasingly important to our success in ESG,” said French. “Aniket’s depth of expertise, diverse global public and private sector background and extensive knowledge of sustainable investing dynamics will significantly advance our position with clients and better orient us for growth in sustainability going forward.”

OppenheimerFunds is a signatory of The United Nations-supported Principles for Responsible Investment (UN PRI). The UN PRI is recognized as the world’s leading network of asset managers and financial market participants committed to incorporating sustainable investment practices in the investment decision-making process.

In ESG, OppenheimerFunds provides investors with a variety of distinct active and beta strategies that provide both focused and broad-based exposure to US domestic and global sustainable investment opportunities.

  • For equity exposure, the firm’s ESG Revenue-Weighted ETFs focus on domestic large-cap and global large- and mid-cap equities with strong ESG practices.
  • For fixed income, OppenheimerFunds’ recent acquisition of SNW expanded the firm’s ESG product set into high-quality municipal bonds. The SNW Impact Overlay provides fixed income portfolios in a customized, low-cost and tax-efficient way with a focus on impact investing opportunities related to the environment, education, housing, healthcare, social improvement, energy efficiency and infrastructure improvements, among others.

About OppenheimerFunds

OppenheimerFunds, Inc., a leader in global asset management, is dedicated to providing solutions for its partners and end investors. OppenheimerFunds, including its subsidiaries, manages more than $246 billion in assets for over 13 million shareholder accounts, including sub-accounts, as of November 30, 2017.

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

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


Shares of Oppenheimer funds are not deposits or obligations of any bank, are not guaranteed by any bank, are not insured by the FDIC or any other agency, and involve investment risks, including the possible loss of the principal amount invested. The stocks of companies with favorable ESG practices may underperform the stock market as a whole.

Before investing in any of the Oppenheimer funds, investors should carefully consider a fund’s investment objectives, risks, charges and expenses. Fund prospectuses and summary prospectuses contain this and other information about the funds, and may be obtained by asking your financial advisor, visiting oppenheimerfunds.com or calling 1.800.CALL OPP (225.5677). Read prospectuses and summary prospectuses carefully before investing.

Oppenheimer funds are distributed by OppenheimerFunds Distributor, Inc.

225 Liberty Street, New York, NY 10281-1008

© 2017 OppenheimerFunds, Inc.  All rights reserved.

Hilton Prize Coalition Recognizes 25 Fellows: Emerging Humanitarian Leaders to Watch

Tue, 12/05/2017 - 10:22am

The Hilton Prize Coalition, an independent alliance of the 22 winners of the Conrad N. Hilton Humanitarian Prize, recognizes its 2017 class of Fellows for completing a Hilton Prize Coalition Fellowship with leading international non-governmental organizations (INGOs). These 25 emerging leaders demonstrated high potential by making significant early-career contributions to their organizations and to the humanitarian field overall.  

While working alongside one or more Coalition member organizations, Fellows made contributions in a variety of ways, including fieldwork around intergenerational health policy, development of policy briefs on nutrition innovation and stunting, research around climate change and disaster risk reduction, collaboration with corporate partners through marketing and fundraising, and digital technologies. Over the course of their placements, which lasted anywhere from three months to a year, Fellows also completed more than 200 hours of training in interdisciplinary topics including disaster readiness.

This year’s cohort came from diverse backgrounds and represented eight countries:  Brazil, France, India, Mexico, South Korea, Tanzania, the United Kingdom and the United States. Some of the Fellows are recent graduates with NGO volunteer experience, while others have started careers and are developing as subject-matter experts.

“By providing young professionals an opportunity to work with prize-winning organizations, the Hilton Prize Coalition Fellows Program is creating a pipeline of humanitarian leaders who have a collaborative mindset as well as subject-matter expertise,” said Scott Jackson, Global Impact president and CEO. Global Impact is the secretariat for the Hilton Prize Coalition and its Fellows Program.

2017 Class of Fellows:

  • Samantha Acosta: HelpAge USA

  • Judith Bagachwa: HelpAge Tanzania

  • Sarah Baker: SOS Children’s Villages USA

  • Hrithik Bansal: BRAC USA

  • Chloe Baury: ECPAT International

  • Shanifa Bennet: Covenant House New York

  • Desiree Dickerson: Women for Women International

  • Alyssa Gutnick: Handicap International US

  • Danielle Harris: Landesa

  • Elizabeth "Ruby" Holmes: Handicap International US

  • Chytanya Kompala: PATH

  • Alexandre Leal: International Rehabilitation Council for Torture Victims (IRCT)

  • Adaiana Lima: ECPAT International

  • Catherine May: PATH/Heifer International*

  • Marcus Miller: SOS Children’s Villages USA

  • Ahlam Awad Mohammed: The Task Force for Global Health

  • Megan O'Leary: Hilton Prize Coalition Secretariat*

  • Ana Rabogliatti: Operation Smile

  • Mich Rakotomalala: Operation Smile

  • Marcie Roth: Handicap International US

  • Kevin Gil Hwan Ryu: ECPAT International

  • Meriam Salem: Hilton Prize Coalition Secretariat*

  • Harry Shepherd: IRCT

  • Joshua Tobing: SOS Children’s Villages USA

  • Sheetal Tuladhar: BRAC USA/BRAC Nepal

*indicates Collaborative Fellow, working with multiple organizations

Click here for bios of the Hilton Prize Coalition Fellows

To date, several Fellows have been offered positions with hosting organizations following their placements, including Danielle Harris. Harris recently completed a contract position as a business development assistant at Landesa. Program Manager Colleen O’Holleran, who manages Landesa’s fellowship and internship programs said, “The Hilton Prize Coalition Fellowship Program is a win-win, giving rising development professionals key on-the-job experience and equipping Landesa with a valuable resource to advance its core mission.”

Approaching its third year, the Hilton Prize Coalition Fellows Program seeks to develop a robust pipeline of humanitarian leaders who value collaboration and understand the importance of increasing effectiveness throughout the sector. Candidates for Hilton Prize Coalition fellowships are recruited from partnering academic programs or nominated by Coalition member organizations on a rolling basis. 

About The Hilton Prize Coalition 

The Hilton Prize Coalition is an independent alliance of the 22 winners of the Conrad N. Hilton Humanitarian Prize, working together to achieve collective impact. Through three signature programs—the Fellows Program, the Collaborative Models Program and the Storytelling Program—the Coalition leverages the resources, talents and expertise of each of its members to innovate and establish best practices that can be shared with the global NGO and donor communities. Working in more than 170 countries, the Coalition is governed by a board comprised of the leaders of the Prize-winning organizations and led by an Executive Committee and a Secretariat, Global Impact.

To learn more about the Hilton Prize Coalition, visit prizecoalition.charity.org, or contact prizecoalition@charity.org. Follow the Hilton Prize Coalition on Twitter and LinkedIn, or “Like” us on Facebook.  

Press Contact:
Hilton Prize Coalition
Jennifer Balios
T: 703-815-8079


FFAR Awards $9.4 Million to Spur Next Leap in Agriculture: Improved Soil Health to Optimize Economic and Environmental Results for U.S. Farmers

Tue, 12/05/2017 - 10:22am

The Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research, a nonprofit established through bipartisan support in the 2014 Farm Bill, today announced a $9.4 million grant to the Soil Health Institute, the Soil Health Partnership and The Nature Conservancy to improve soil health and, ultimately, support positive economic and environmental outcomes for American farmers. The grant will be matched by General Mills, Grantham Trust, Midwest Row Crop Collaborative, Monsanto, Nestlé Purina PetCare Company, The Samuel Roberts Noble Foundation, Walmart Foundation, the Walton Family Foundation, and individual donors for a total investment of nearly $20 million.

The goal of this project is to support collaborative research and education that accelerates adoption and benefits of soil health management systems nationally. Soil health is a critical component of a productive and sustainable agricultural system. Farming practices that improve soil health can increase profitability while protecting natural resources like air and water for communities.

However, there is no standardized measurement for soil health in the United States; instead, different sets of measurements and methods can conflict and confuse farmers and field conservationists. Furthermore, many landowners of rented farmland are not aware of the benefits soil health improvements can deliver. This project will help the industry adopt standardized measurements to evaluate and improve soil health while expanding education and tools for local farmers, agronomists, and landowners.

“If we can unlock the potential of healthy soil, we can move closer to a sustainable agricultural system for everyone,” said Sally Rockey, Ph.D., executive director of FFAR. “The Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research is pleased to harness the power of collaboration by supporting three leading organizations in this space for the long-term benefit of our nation’s farmers and food system.”

Collaborators will take an integrated, three-pronged approach. The Soil Health Institute will develop and test soil health measurements; the Soil Health Partnership will implement and evaluate soil health promoting practices on working farms; and The Nature Conservancy will work with non-operator landowners to encourage use of science-based soil health practices. The partners believe significant engagement with farmers and landowners will catalyze greater adoption of soil health promoting practices that benefit productivity, farmer livelihoods, and the environment.

“The needs for advancing soil health are far greater than any single organization can provide – public or private," said Wayne Honeycutt, President and CEO of the Soil Health Institute. "That’s why this project is so important. It leverages public funds authorized by Congress through the Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research with resources provided by other foundations and corporations through the combined capacities of the Soil Health Institute, Soil Health Partnership, and The Nature Conservancy.  This kind of partnership creates a way to advance soil health for the benefit of all who need safe, high-quality products from agriculture, natural resources to sustain human and all other life, thriving communities, and a strong economy.  In other words, it benefits everyone.”

“American agriculture has made extraordinary strides in technology and productivity in this century, but the next frontier is in soil health,” said Nick Goeser, director of the Soil Health Partnership. “This grant represents one of the largest investments ever made in soil health, one of the best tools we have to optimize productivity while minimizing environmental impact. It will allow us to expand our program to include more farmers who want to benefit from our body of work analyzing how practices like growing cover crops, reducing tillage and using advanced nutrient management can help family farms survive and thrive.”

“With a shared commitment to science and the improved soil health and productivity of America’s farmlands, we are pleased to be part of this collaboration,” said Larry Clemens, director of The Nature Conservancy’s North America Agriculture Program. “This grant awarded by the Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research and matched by generous contributors will not only advance the science of soil health, but we expect to see an increase in the adoption of on-field soil health practices. By engaging farmers and the landowners they rent from, we can help increase farm profitability and protect water and land resources.” 

FFAR is supporting this collaborative project through its Healthy Soils, Thriving Farms Challenge Area, which aims to increase soil health by building knowledge, fueling innovation, and enabling adoption of existing or novel practices that improve soil health.


Press Contacts

Madeleine O’Connor, Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research

202.590.7613 | moconnor@foundationfar.org

Byron Rath, Soil Health Institute

919.230.0343 | brath@soilhealthinstitute.org

Christine Griffiths, The Nature Conservancy

912.222.3297 | cgriffiths@tnc.org

Jenna Rose, Soil Health Partnership

573.808.0815 | jenna@rosemedia.biz 

About the Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research

The Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research, a 501 (c) (3) nonprofit organization established by bipartisan congressional support in the 2014 Farm Bill, builds unique partnerships to support innovative and actionable science addressing today’s food and agriculture challenges.  FFAR leverages public and private resources to increase the scientific and technological research, innovation, and partnerships critical to enhancing sustainable production of nutritious food for a growing global population. The FFAR Board of Directors is chaired by Mississippi State University President Mark Keenum and includes ex officio representation from the U.S. Department of Agriculture and National Science Foundation. Learn more: foundationfar.org.

About the Soil Health Institute

The Soil Health Institute's (www.soilhealthinstitute.org) mission is to safeguard and enhance the vitality and productivity of soil through scientific research and advancement. An evolution of the Soil Renaissance, an initiative established in 2013 by the Noble Foundation and Farm Foundation to advance soil health and make it the cornerstone of land use management decisions, the Soil Health Institute serves as the primary resource for soil health information.

About the Soil Health Partnership

The Soil Health Partnership is a farmer-led initiative that fosters transformation in agriculture through improved soil health, benefiting both farmer profitability and the environment. With more than 100 working farms enrolled in 12 states the SHP tests, measures and advances progressive farm management practices that will enhance sustainability and farm economics for generations to come. SHP brings together diverse partners to work towards common goals. At least a ten-year scientific program administered by the National Corn Growers Association, the SHP’s vision is driven by initial and continuing funding and guidance from NCGA, Monsanto, the Walton Family Foundation, the Midwest Row Crop Collaborative, General Mills and USDA, with technical support from The Nature Conservancy and the Environmental Defense Fund. For more, visit soilhealthpartnership.org.

About The Nature Conservancy

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

SC Johnson Takes Action to Save Racine Area Water

Mon, 12/04/2017 - 7:22pm

SC Johnson today announced a donation of $35,000 to the Root-Pike Watershed Initiative Network (Root-Pike WIN). The donation will support Root-Pike WIN’s restoration projects, with the goal of significantly reducing runoff pollution, flooding issues, and habitat degradation that threaten area streams and Lake Michigan.

 “Issues like soil erosion and storm water runoff have to be addressed because clean water is essential so communities and the environment can thrive,” said Kelly M. Semrau, Senior Vice President – Global Corporate Affairs, Communication & Sustainability at SC Johnson. “We partner with Root-Pike WIN to ensure that the health our area’s major watersheds will continue to improve.”

A watershed is an area of land where surface water from yards and farm fields drain into a common location. In Racine County, some of the major watersheds are Lake Michigan, the Root River, the Pike River and the Wind Point Watershed.

“Protecting our community’s watersheds is a collective effort,” said Dave Giordano, Executive Director at Root-Pike WIN. “We appreciate SC Johnson’s continued support of Root-Pike WIN’s plan to protect, restore and sustain our local watersheds, which will ultimately have a significant impact on water quality for our area.”

SC Johnson has supported Root-Pike WIN with a total of $300,000 since 2006. One project the Root-Pike WIN is leading is a ravine and wetland restoration for the Colonial Park Ravine of the Root River in Racine. Currently, there are issues with streambank erosion, pollutants from storm water runoff and invasive plant species. In 2018, Root-Pike WIN will work to restore the ravine and wetland by reducing sediment, nitrogen and phosphorus from flowing into the Root River, while planting native vegetation and increasing fish spawning grounds.

In the last 18 months, Root-Pike WIN has advanced more than 40 projects and recommendations in the watershed restoration plans. More than $1.5 million in project implementation funding has also been secured.

SC Johnson works to make lives better in the communities in which it does business. Since 1937, the company has given 5 percent of all pretax profits to charities.

For more information on Root-Pike WIN’s restoration plan, visit http://www.rootpikewin.org 



SC Johnson Global Public Affairs



About SC Johnson

SC Johnson is a family company dedicated to innovative, high-quality products, excellence in the workplace and a long-term commitment to the environment and the communities in which it operates. Based in the USA, the company is one of the world's leading manufacturers of household cleaning products and products for home storage, air care, pest control and shoe care, as well as professional products. It markets such well-known brands as GLADE®, KIWI®, OFF!®, PLEDGE®, RAID®, SCRUBBING BUBBLES®, SHOUT®, WINDEX® and ZIPLOC® in the U.S. and beyond, with brands marketed outside the U.S. including AUTAN®, TANA®, BAMA®, BAYGON®, BRISE®, KABIKILLER®, KLEAR®, MR MUSCLE® and RIDSECT®. The 131-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

Philips and Dell on Revolutionizing Global Supply Chains – Complimentary Webinar

Mon, 12/04/2017 - 4:21pm

For most companies their greatest risks and impacts lie within their supply chains. To truly address areas such as; GHG emissions, Human Rights violations and water usage companies need to work with a whole host of partners.

In a 1-hour webinar debate, you will hear from businesses on how they are driving large scale change in partnership with suppliers, industry associations, NGOs and competitors.

Join Philips, Dell and the Responsible Sourcing Network and your peers for an exclusive one-hour webinar (December 12th, 10am EST). Be part of the discussion, join us here: http://events.ethicalcorp.com/rbs-ny/webinar/

Learn how to:

  • Understand how you can transform your outputs without jeopardising the business

  • Identify the right partners to drive change; suppliers, NGOs, academia, start-ups and competitors

  • Hear how to convince the leadership to go against decades of business thinking

Can’t join? Sign up anyway to receive the full post-webinar recordings: http://events.ethicalcorp.com/rbs-ny/webinar/

15 Whole Kids Foundation® Supplier Partners Contribute Over $950K to Kids’ Nutrition and Health

Mon, 12/04/2017 - 1:20pm

Today, Whole Kids Foundation announced the 2017 Growing Healthy Kids Campaign raised $3,542,448, with 15 supplier partners investing more than $950,000 to support children’s nutrition and health.

Because Whole Foods Market covers all of the foundation’s operational costs, 100 percent of every dollar donated directly supports Whole Kids Foundation programs that give schoolchildren in the U.S., Canada and the U.K. better access to fresh fruits and vegetables, as well as educational opportunities to learn about where their food comes from.

“The generosity of our supplier partners is humbling; each of them invests in this work because of a deep and authentic passion for the health of our children,” said Nona Evans, Whole Kids Foundation executive director and president. “Without their support, we wouldn’t have the ability to grant nearly as many school salad bars and gardens, both of which are in high demand, innovate new tools for inspiring families like the Starting with Soil App or support teachers through nutrition education and cooking classes.”

As part of this year’s Growing Healthy Kids Campaign, lead sponsors Rudi’s Organic Bakery and Annie’s each donated $75,000, or the equivalent of about 25 school salad bars, to support the foundation’s work. While core sponsors Applegate, Organic Valley, Clif Kids, Stonyfield, King Arthur Flour, Barbara’s, Back to Nature, Tom’s of Maine, Health Warrior, Nature’s Path, Bellwether’s Farms, Earth’s Best and La Croix each donated $50,000, or the equivalent of about 25 school gardens.  

“I have been so impressed with the team at Whole Kids Foundation and the true impact they have had in the few years we have partnered with them,” said Shane Emmett, CEO at Health Warrior. “For example, the number of salad bars has doubled since we joined the team, and given that kids with salad bars eat three times the fruits and vegetables, the benefits are truly exponential!”

Many of this year’s supplier partners have been contributing to the Growing Healthy Kids Campaign for several years, including Applegate, who has given $220,000 over the past five years, Annie’s and Rudi’s, who have each given $195,000 over the past four years and Organic Valley who has given $170,000 over the past four years.

Tom’s of Maine has invested $90,000 in Whole Kids Foundation over two years in support of educating children and their families about where their food is sourced and how to eat healthier.

“At Tom’s of Maine, one of our core values is giving back. For decades, we’ve done that by investing 10 percent of profits to promote healthy families and the planet,” said Matt Smith, Associate Marketing Director of Tom's of Maine. “As a Growing Healthy Kids partner, we are proud to be part of the Whole Kids Foundation journey to bring naturally, healthy lives to families across the country.”

Since 2011, Whole Kids Foundation’s programs have impacted 9,713 schools, funding 4,224 school gardens and 5,093 school salad bars. Additionally, Whole Kids Foundation has reached 14,371 teachers with its healthy teacher education program and granted 529 educational honey beehives.

About Whole Kids Foundation®

Whole Kids Foundation, a Whole Foods Market foundation, is based in Austin, Texas, and operates as an independent, nonprofit organization. By empowering schools and inspiring families, the Foundation aims to help children reach optimal health through the strength of a healthy body fueled by nutritious food.  For more information on the Foundation’s programs, including school gardens, salad bars and nutrition education for teachers, visit wholekidsfoundation.org

Conscious Business Movement to Unite in World-First Virtual Summit

Mon, 12/04/2017 - 10:20am

The broader conscious business movement will come together online in a world-first virtual event from January 8 - 12, 2018.  More than 25 best practice sessions, thought leader interviews, and world changer roundtables will be live-cast over five days in this first-ever gathering featuring the diverse array of leaders working on various aspects of the future of business.  Though the approaches vary, this group is united by the belief that business and the workplace will be the source of the next great leap forward for humanity.

World changing results are the result of highly functioning teams, which are composed of highly conscious leaders.  Recognizing this, the Summit agenda is organized into 3 main categories of content in alignment with this Me, We, World process for sustainable impact. Each day of the summit focuses on one of the five unique and essential areas of a conscious business program: Conscious Leadership, Mission and Purpose, Workplace Culture, CSR and Sustainability, and Personal Development.  The organizers have bookended the event to start with the “Me” on leadership and end on the “Me” of self-development. In the heart of the week is our “We” focus on workplace culture and every day ends with a session focusing on “WORLD” impact.  By structuring our program in this way attendees will learn how make the link between the individual, the team and the wider stakeholders in the community and the environment.

The Summit is being organized by leaders from Conscious Company Media, Conscious Leaders Academy, and Thrive Consulting Group, who recognised the need for a global event to bring the broader conscious business movement together.  Making the summit virtual eliminates the barriers and expense of booking flight and hotel and investing in time out of the office and away from family.  The event is free to attend live and on-demand access can be purchased. The Organizers hope that this format will ensure the broadest possible participation from around the globe.

The event will provide a snapshot of the conscious business movement in the present moment.  It intends to show us where we stand at the beginning of 2018, and where movement leader believe we should focus our efforts to make real progress in 2018. When thousands of business leaders, entrepreneurs and movers and shakers consider innovation at the intersection of sustainability, conscious leadership and purpose-driven business, we will unlock the formula to make a real and lasting impact in the world – while being more profitable than ever.

More information on the world summit on conscious business can found at: https://consciousbusinessworldsummit.com

Conscious Business Movement to Unite in World-First Virtual Summit

Mon, 12/04/2017 - 10:20am

The broader conscious business movement will come together online in a world-first virtual event from January 8 - 12, 2018.  More than 25 best practice sessions, thought leader interviews, and world changer roundtables will be live-cast over five days in this first-ever gathering featuring the diverse array of leaders working on various aspects of the future of business.  Though the approaches vary, this group is united by the belief that business and the workplace will be the source of the next great leap forward for humanity.

World changing results are the result of highly functioning teams, which are composed of highly conscious leaders.  Recognizing this, the Summit agenda is organized into 3 main categories of content in alignment with this Me, We, World process for sustainable impact. Each day of the summit focuses on one of the five unique and essential areas of a conscious business program: Conscious Leadership, Mission and Purpose, Workplace Culture, CSR and Sustainability, and Personal Development.  The organizers have bookended the event to start with the “Me” on leadership and end on the “Me” of self-development. In the heart of the week is our “We” focus on workplace culture and every day ends with a session focusing on “WORLD” impact.  By structuring our program in this way attendees will learn how make the link between the individual, the team and the wider stakeholders in the community and the environment.

The Summit is being organized by leaders from Conscious Company Media, Conscious Leaders Academy, and Thrive Consulting Group, who recognised the need for a global event to bring the broader conscious business movement together.  Making the summit virtual eliminates the barriers and expense of booking flight and hotel and investing in time out of the office and away from family.  The event is free to attend live and on-demand access can be purchased. The Organizers hope that this format will ensure the broadest possible participation from around the globe.

The event will provide a snapshot of the conscious business movement in the present moment.  It intends to show us where we stand at the beginning of 2018, and where movement leader believe we should focus our efforts to make real progress in 2018. When thousands of business leaders, entrepreneurs and movers and shakers consider innovation at the intersection of sustainability, conscious leadership and purpose-driven business, we will unlock the formula to make a real and lasting impact in the world – while being more profitable than ever.

More information on the world summit on conscious business can found at: https://consciousbusinessworldsummit.com

LIXIL and TEPCO Energy Partner Establish Joint Venture to Promote Eco-Friendly Net Zero Energy Houses (ZEH)

Fri, 12/01/2017 - 4:12pm

LIXIL Corporation (LIXIL) and TEPCO Energy Partner, Incorporated (TEPCO EP) have established a joint venture company, LIXIL TEPCO Smart Partners, Inc., to promote the building of eco-friendly net zero energy houses (ZEH)1 in Japan. Business operations will begin on October 1, 2017.

The joint venture company will launch a new packaged service that provides photovoltaic power generation systems and electric power retail services for consumers who buy LIXIL housing materials and products for ZEH, including high-performance windows, doors, and building structures. This type of service is the first of its kind in Japan.

While energy conservation efforts in Japan are progressing, household energy consumption continues to rise. The Japanese government has set a goal for more than half of all newly- constructed detached houses to be ZEH by 2020, and almost all newly-built houses by 2030. However, ZEH accounted for only about 4.3%2 of newly built detached houses in fiscal 2016, indicating a low rate of adoption.

Aiming to create comfortable and healthy living spaces and supporting efforts to curb global warming, LIXIL and TEPCO EP began discussions in June 2017 on how they can use their respective strengths to provide new products and services that promote the wider adoption of ZEH. As a result of these discussions, LIXIL and TEPCO EP will combine their resources and know-how to establish a business model that minimizes the higher construction costs for ZEH, one of the main issues limiting their adoption. This includes leveraging LIXIL’s rich lineup of materials and fixtures for homes - from windows with high thermal insulation to water-conserving toilets and photovoltaic power generation systems - and TEPCO EP’s wide-ranging expertise and technologies, which it has developed through providing energy-related services to approximately 20 million customers, primarily in Tokyo and the surrounding Kanto region.

Through the new joint venture company, LIXIL and TEPCO EP will provide a wide range of services to customers who are considering building a new house. This includes providing loans payable in installments for photovoltaic power generation systems to customers building a ZEH equipped with designated LIXIL products. As part of this model, the customer will assign the right to sell electricity generated by the photovoltaic system to the new joint venture company. The value of the electricity sold will, in turn, offset the customer’s monthly loan installments in whole or in part. Through this business model, the initial cost of the customer’s solar power system when purchasing a ZEH will be reduced. In addition, the new joint venture company will also provide grid-sourced electricity at lower cost to homes where designated LIXIL products have been installed, further promoting the adoption of ZEH.

Through LIXIL TEPCO Smart Partners, LIXIL and TEPCO EP will promote the adoption of ZEH, creating comfortable and healthy living spaces, and support efforts to curb global warming.

1A Net Zero Energy House (ZEH) is a house with net zero annual primary energy consumption, achieved by enhancing the efficiency of thermal insulation and equipment (energy conservation), and generating energy through photovoltaic power generation systems and other means (energy creation).

2Calculated based on the documents from Sustainable Open Innovation Initiative and Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport 

The L’OCCITANE Group and Burkina Faso: A Long-term Commitment to Improving the Lives of Burkinabe Women

Fri, 12/01/2017 - 1:12pm

The L’OCCITANE Group has been working to improve the lives and working conditions of Burkinabe women for more than 30 years. To measure the impact of its ongoing support, the natural cosmetics and well-being products group conducted a study with Business Call to Action (BCtA), a global inclusive business platform hosted by the United Nations Development Programme.

Through this study, the L’OCCITANE Group is now able to better understand the status of these women. These are females with whom the group has been working for more than 30 years through its collaboration in Burkina Faso. BCtA’s Impact Measurement Services (BIMS) provided the support required to conduct a study across 1,890 women, representing four different regions of Burkina Faso. The study has revealed the following core results:

  • 84% of these women are now able to contribute to family finance management, thanks to their increased income.

  • 43% of women farmers participated in the literacy program provided by L’OCCITANE. In Burkina Faso’s rural areas, the general literacy rate is under 15% for women, and L’OCCITANE aims to address this challenge by offering its literacy program.

  • 75% of women in Burkina Faso now enroll all (or most of) their under 14-year-old children in school, regardless of their gender.

For Charlotte Jonchère, Philanthropy Manager at the L’OCCITANE Group: “It was important for us to measure the results of the initiatives that we have been driving for many years now. We are glad to observe that much has already been achieved and we look forward to what the future has in store.”
BCtA Programme Manager, Paula Pelaez, added: “Through our Impact Measurement Services, the L’OCCITANE Group is able to use impact data to strengthen training modules for shea producers; to reach a larger number of women producers located further away from the union centres; and to improve its strategies for joint programming with the women producer unions.”
L’OCCITANE Group and Burkina Faso, a fascinating story:
 The relationship between the L’OCCITANE Group and Burkina Faso started in the 1980s when Olivier Baussan, the founder of the L’OCCITANE en Provence brand, discovered the properties of shea butter during a trip to Burkina Faso. Since then, the company has been working with the women who produce shea butter in Burkina Faso with a genuine objective of positive and sustainable growth for both parties.

  • Through its goal to support the shea producer women’s union, the L’OCCITANE Group works with its partners to:

  • Protect the shea tree and achieve 100% organic production in 2018.

  • Improve working conditions and quality thanks to mechanisation.

  • Decrease environmental impact during the process by developing eco-technologies adapted to shea.

Encourage the diversification of incomes in order to limit women’s dependency by helping them to developing their portfolio of clients and enable the development of other profitable activities.

L’OCCITANE en Provence created the L’OCCITANE Foundation in 2006 in order to drive the brand’s philanthropic initiatives. Through the Foundation, two major projects have been carried out to support the communities where L’OCCITANE works, thereby promoting women’s independence and improving their socio-economic status:

  • Project 1: Strengthening women’s basic knowledge and skills (literacy).

  • Project 2: Social micro-financing training to increase women’s access to credit, whilst reinforcing their knowledge about financial and economic management, as well as important health issues such as hygiene and sanitation.

About The L’OCCITANE Group 
The L’OCCITANE Group is a leading natural ingredient-based cosmetics and well-being products company. A global leader in the premium beauty market, L’OCCITANE produces and retails high quality products that are produced using cutting-edge technology. The Group has four brands: L’OCCITANE en Provence, Melvita, Erborian and L’OCCITANE au Brésil, and offers products that are rich in natural ingredients of traceable origins, while also respecting the environment.
About Business Call to Action (BCtA)
Launched at the United Nations in 2008, BCtA aims to accelerate progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by challenging companies to develop inclusive business models that offer the potential for both commercial success and development impact. BCtA is a unique multilateral alliance between key donor governments including the Dutch Ministry of Foreign AffairsSwedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida)Swiss Agency for Development and CooperationUK Department for International DevelopmentUS Agency for International Development, and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Government of Finland, and the United Nations Development Programme — which hosts the secretariat. For more information, please visit www.businesscalltoaction.org 

Media Contacts:
Anne-Sophie Bouygues: Anne-sophie.bouygues@elanedelman.com 
Luisa Vittadini: Luisa.vittadini@elanedelman.com 
Business Call to Action
Aimee Brown: aimee.brown@undp.org

The 2017 Corporate Philanthropic Practice Conference

Fri, 12/01/2017 - 1:12pm

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

Northern Trust to Provide Investment Advisory Services to Texas Parks and Wildlife Foundation

Fri, 12/01/2017 - 10:12am

Northern Trust announced that its Foundation and Institutional Advisors Group (FIA) has been selected to provide investment and strategic advisory services for Texas Parks and Wildlife Foundation (TPWF).  TPWF provides private support to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department to ensure that all Texans, today and in the future, can enjoy the wild things and wild places of Texas.

“We are committed to stewarding our financial resources as diligently as the natural resources we are dedicated to conserving,” said TPWF Executive Director Anne Brown. “Northern Trust has an excellent reputation, and we anticipate a productive collaboration that will further our mission to care for the wild things and wild places of Texas.”

“We are proud to manage the assets of Texas Parks and Wildlife Foundation on behalf of the state of Texas,” said Darius A. Gill, National Practice Executive, Northern Trust Foundation & Institutional Advisors group.  “It is gratifying to work with an organization focused on conserving natural resources and broadening outdoor recreation for current and future generations.”

Northern Trust’s Foundation & Institutional Advisors (FIA) group serves nonprofit organizations through sophisticated investment management solutions, strategic insights and world-class resources.  Northern Trust provides investment advice, asset servicing and related services to help nonprofit organizations achieve financial and philanthropic goals cost-effectively, collaborating with board and investment committee members to assist with investment oversight. More information about Northern Trust Foundation and Institutional Advisors can be found at www.northerntrust.com/FIA.

Northern Trust Wealth Management specializes in Goals Driven Wealth Management backed by innovative technology and a strong fiduciary heritage. Northern Trust Wealth Management is ranked among the top 10 U.S. wealth managers, with $284 billion in assets under management as of September 30, 2017, and a wide network of wealth management offices across the United States.
The Northern Trust Company is an Equal Housing Lender.  Member FDIC.

About Northern Trust

Northern Trust Corporation (Nasdaq: NTRS) is a leading provider of wealth management, asset servicing, asset management and banking to corporations, institutions, affluent families and individuals. Founded in Chicago in 1889, Northern Trust has offices in the United States in 19 states and Washington, D.C., and 23 international locations in Canada, Europe, the Middle East and the Asia-Pacific region. As of September 30, 2017, Northern Trust had assets under custody/administration of US$9.7 trillion, and assets under management of US$1.1 trillion. For more than 125 years, Northern Trust has earned distinction as an industry leader for exceptional service, financial expertise, integrity and innovation. Visit northerntrust.com or follow us on Twitter @NorthernTrust.
Northern Trust Corporation, Head Office: 50 South La Salle Street, Chicago, Illinois 60603 U.S.A., incorporated with limited liability in the U.S. Global legal and regulatory information can be found at https://www.northerntrust.com/disclosures.

Texas Parks and Wildlife Foundation raises private funds to advance Texas’ proud outdoor traditions and conserve our state’s wildlife, habitat, recreational areas, and natural resources. Since 1991, Texas Parks and Wildlife Foundation has raised more than $170 million in private philanthropy to ensure that all Texans, today and in the future, can enjoy the wild things and wild places of Texas.

For a listing of Media Contacts click here