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Forbes Ranks Consumers Energy As the Best Employer for Diversity in Michigan

Fri, 02/02/2018 - 12:46pm

Consumers Energy is ranked by Forbes magazine as the best employer for diversity in Michigan.

The energy provider placed 13th overall in Forbes’s list of America’s best employers for diversity from all industries across the nation, and is the only company in the “utilities” category in the top 100 of the listing.

The recognition comes on the heels of Consumers Energy receiving a perfect score on the Human Rights Campaign Foundation’s 2018 Corporate Equality Index, and being ranked the best employer in Michigan by Forbes in 2017.

“Receiving national recognition for diversity is humbling and affirming, and it’s really a result of our strong focus on people, planet and prosperity and continuously improving how we serve the people of Michigan,” said Patti Poppe, Consumers Energy’s president and chief executive officer. “Valuing and encouraging diversity helps build a workforce equipped with perspectives that serve our communities.”

Forbes determined the ranking of companies with at least 1,000 employees by anonymous surveys. Almost 30,000 American workers were surveyed about issues of gender, ethnicity, LGBTQ+, age and disability. Responses from underrepresented ethnic minorities, women and people aged 50 and older received greater weight in the diversity ranking.

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.

Forbes’s list of 250 Companies by Ranking: https://www.forbes.com/best-employers-diversity/list/#tab:rank

Employee Resource Groups at Consumers Energy: www.ConsumersEnergy.com/diversity

Related Consumers Energy News Releases:

Consumers Energy receives perfect score in national Corporate Equality Index: https://old.consumersenergy.com/News.aspx?id=8809&year=2017

Forbes ranks Consumers Energy best employer in Michigan: https://old.consumersenergy.com/News.aspx?id=8752&year=2017


Media Contacts:

Katie Carey 517-740-1739, or Terry DeDoes, 517-374-2159

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/

17th Annual Sustainability Summit

Fri, 02/02/2018 - 12:46pm

The Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) challenges and needs that require business action are growing in intensity and complexity. Sustainability professionals need to help their companies address the strategic challenges arising from the UN Sustainable Development Goals. The 17th Annual Sustainability Summit is designed to help practitioners name their pain and share potential solutions.

Join us to:

  • Break free of sustainability as a rote compliance exercise to a process that provides value to the business and its stakeholders

  • Understand how to pursue and measure the social side of sustainability

  • Gain insights to make the business case for sustainability

  • Exchange and engage with leading practitioners and subject matter experts

For more information, to register or to view the agenda, visit us at: www.conference-board.org/sustainability2018 

Save $200 when you register using code CPR200

Listen Learn Care Foundation Sponsors Leadership Forum

Thu, 02/01/2018 - 3:45pm

Like many individuals and small businesses, nonprofit organizations struggle to keep pace with the latest developments in technology – while knowing that these developments could have a profound impact on their success in accomplishing their goals.

To help nonprofits navigate these waters, the Listen Learn Care Foundation is sponsoring the Difference Makers Leadership Forum on March 22 and 23 at Old School Square Center for the Arts in Delray Beach.  Foundation President Mary Wong announced that the Leadership Forum, formerly known as the Weekend in Boca, will build upon the nine-year history of the Weekend in Boca and will feature dynamic speakers, up-to-the-minute information and ample time for networking and informal discussion of common issues shared by many organizations.

The theme of the Leadership Forum is “Technology Trends for Nonprofit Organizations. Topics include “How to Generate Revenue and Save Resources with Technology,” “Video Marketing: Share Your Story & Build an Engaged Community Online,” “Nonprofit Digital Transformation” and “Awaken the Power of Purpose.”

Leadership Forum speakers include:

  • Felecia Hatcher, Founder, Code Fever and BlackTechWeek

  • Brian Sooy, President, Aespire Branding and Design Communications

  • Kate Volman, Marketing Strategist

  • Chris McDaniel, MBA, Vice President of Sales, vTECH IO, DellEMC Premiere Partner

  • Brittany Valdes, Business Sales Specialist, Microsoft

  • Brooks Nelson, Director, Global Resilience, Corporate Citizenship Center, U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation

  • Michael Chatman, President and CEO, Cape Coral Community Foundation

  • Mary Wong, President, Listen Learn Care Foundation

Additional speakers may be announced at a later date. 

The event also will feature the presentation of the 2018 Listen Learn Care Awards to a number of individuals and organizations that excel in serving humanity.

Sponsorship opportunities are available. CSRwire is the media sponsor for the event.

Old School Square is located at 51 N. Swinton Ave. in Delray Beach.  The cost to attend the two-day Leadership Forum is $69.99 per person.  The cost includes breakfast and lunch on both days as well as all conference materials.  Parking is available in the Old School Square parking garage on NE First Avenue. Proceeds will support the nonprofit capacity-building initiatives of the Listen Learn Care Foundation.

To register for the Difference Makers Leadership Forum and for information about sponsorship opportunities, please visit www.listenlearncare.org/leadershipforum. More information is available at (561) 922-6951.


About the Listen Learn Care Foundation

The Listen Learn Care Foundation is an independent foundation − tax exempt under IRC Sec. 501(c)(3). In keeping with its mission, Listen Learn Care®, the Foundation supports a variety of programs that give children tools to succeed in school and in life; build the capacity of nonprofit organizations through collaboration and innovation; help women succeed in business; and help communities prepare for disasters, as well as recover and rebuild afterwards.  For more information, visit www.listenlearncare.org

U.S. Judge Kaplan Approved Secret Chevron Payments to Court Official Who Swayed RICO Case for Company

Thu, 02/01/2018 - 12:45pm

Chevron secretly paid at least $245,000 – and likely well over $1 million – by transferring funds to the private account of a court official who made pivotal decisions in favor of the oil giant during the lead-up to its now-discredited civil “racketeering” case against Ecuadorian indigenous villagers, according to new evidence recently produced as part of a court order.

The evidence demonstrates that Chevron sent the funds in 2013 to the account of Max Gitter, a court-appointed Special Master who at the time was working as Senior Counsel at the high-profile corporate law firm Cleary Gottlieb. Gitter is a personal friend and former law partner of Lewis A. Kaplan, the controversial federal judge who presided over the Chevron “racketeering” (or RICO) case and who repeatedly has been accused of bias in favor of the oil giant in its multiyear attempt to try to taint a $9.5 billion environmental judgment against it handed down by Ecuadorian courts.  

Gitter and an associate were secretly billing Chevron a total of $1,330 per hour for their work sitting in weeks of depositions leading up to the civil RICO trial, which began in October 2013. That amount is more than many of the indigenous peoples in Ecuador who won the judgment make in one year, said Patricio Salazar, the Ecuadorian lawyer for the Front for the Defense of the Amazon (FDA), the group that represents the affected communities.

News that Chevron secretly paid Gitter based on a threadbare bill (see here) follow a stunning admission by the company that it paid its star witness in the RICO case – held without a jury -- at least $2 million in cash and other benefits. That Chevron witness, a former Ecuadorian judge named Alberto Guerra, later admitted under oath in a separate proceeding that he lied repeatedly about key facts Kaplan cited for findings in favor of the company. Kaplan’s findings have been rejected in whole or in part in five different unanimous decisions by appellate courts in Canada and Ecuador, including the entire Supreme Courts of both countries.

(For general background, see this blog on the bias of Gitter and Judge Kaplan during the RICO case. Here is a summary of the overwhelming evidence that led to the judgment against Chevron in Ecuador, where the company accepted jurisdiction. Ecuador’s Supreme Court affirmed the judgment against Chevron in a unanimous opinion in 2013.)

Steven R. Donziger, a solo practitioner and the longtime U.S. legal advisor to the Ecuadorians who Chevron sued under RICO for $60 billion before the company dropped all damages claims to avoid a jury, said it is unethical and a sign of potential corruption for a court-appointed Special Master to receive secret payments from one party in a litigation without disclosure to the adversary party. This is particularly true when the adversary party – in this case the Ecuadorian villagers -- was alleging bias on the part of the trial judge and the Special Master and seeking the removal of both, said Donziger.

The fact the payments were transferred to Gitter directly without disclosure and were not paid through his law firm is “highly suspicious and suggests consciousness by Gitter and Chevron that what they were doing was unethical, as it clearly was,” said Donziger. The lawyer has demanded Judge Kaplan allow him and his Ecuadorian clients to depose Gitter under oath, but Kaplan has yet to rule on the request.

“These secret payments from Chevron to a powerful court official are extremely worrisome,” said Donziger. “They suggest Chevron and Gitter knew they had something to cover up. Chevron was secretly paying huge sums to a man who was an extension of the judge and who exercised enormous power over the litigation and who did so consistently in favor of the company. The secret payments were encouraged by Judge Kaplan which further discredits his deeply flawed handling of the case. This is yet another example of why Chevron’s RICO judgment, obtained without a jury of impartial fact finders and based largely on fabricated witness testimony, has now been rejected in whole or in part by no fewer than 21 appellate judges around the world. 

“Another disturbing aspect of this affair is that Special Master Gitter clearly used a seminal human rights case involving vulnerable indigenous groups to personally enrich himself, no doubt believing that he would never have to disclose his bills or the amount he was paid,” added Donziger. “It is clear that Gitter billed $1,330 per hour for his work and that of an associate. One can understand just how revolting that must be to the indigenous peoples of Ecuador whose ancestral lands were almost completely destroyed by Chevron's pollution."

Some of the facts surrounding the Chevron payments to Gitter emerged only recently when he finally disclosed some of his billing documents, almost four years after the end of the RICO proceeding. They include:

**Gitter was working as Senior Counsel at Clearly Gottlieb at the time he was Special Master but he never used the firm’s billing software. Instead, he simply sent Chevron the threadbare bill for a fixed sum ($245,425) for payment. Apparently without asking questions, the company sent Gitter a check for the full amount to his home address in upper Manhattan. Normally, such fees are paid to a lawyer’s firm. Even more unusual, another Cleary Gottlieb lawyer who worked with Gitter on the case used the firm's billing software and was paid by Chevron via the law firm.

**When in the lead-up to the RICO trial in 2013 the Ecuadorians insisted that Gitter -- who was facing credible allegations of bias -- disclose his bills and who was paying his fees, he continually refused. Only years later, when Chevron filed a highly aggressive motion insisting that Donziger personally reimburse the oil giant a whopping $33 million for legal fees, did Gitter finally disclose the secret payments.

**Gitter only released his back-up time sheets (see here) -- which seem to have been created hastily -- after Donziger insisted he be able to review them. Donziger recently filed a motion asking Kaplan to order Gitter to produce any metadata to determine when the time sheets were created.

**As part of its fee application, Chevron also is asking Kaplan to order Donziger to reimburse the company for 100% of its secret payments to a second Special Master, former state court judge Theodore Katz, and a law associate from Gitter’s firm, Justin Ormand. Both worked alongside Gitter on the RICO matter. The fees of Gitter and his two colleagues total almost $900,000, with Ormand charging roughly $420,000 and Katz roughly $213,000. Donziger claims the Chevron fee motion is another SLAPP-style intimidation effort designed to silence his advocacy and threaten him with bankruptcy.

**The bills also disclose that Ormand, the young associate at Cleary whom Gitter brought to most of the depositions, billed his time at $630 per hour. For Ormand’s work, Chevron paid Cleary roughly $394,000 without time sheets being provided (see here). Some of that total likely was distributed to Gitter as a senior lawyer in the firm. Unlike Gitter, Ormand used the firm’s billing software. (His completed time sheets, disclosed after Chevron paid his firm, are here.)

**Ormand also billed for the work of several staff members at Cleary as well as his own first-class air travel and other perks, including roughly $800 for meals in Peru over four days after Kaplan ordered depositions of certain Ecuadorians to take place in the U.S. embassy in Lima. A typical meal in Peru usually costs no more than $10, said Salazar.

**Gitter and Kaplan thus far have failed to act on multiple requests that they disclose the still-secret Chevron payments related to a separate portion of Gitter’s work in 2011 overseeing at least 20 days of depositions of Donziger and the filmmaker Joe Berlinger, who made a critically-acclaimed documentary about the case.  Those depositions were conducted by a team of approximately 20 Chevron lawyers with Gitter often taking over the questioning from Chevron. Chevron likely paid Gitter at least another $1 million for that portion of his work, which is directly related to the RICO matter, said Donziger.

Neither Kaplan nor Gitter has offered a defense to the secret payments, which Kaplan authorized after the Ecuadorians and Donziger stated they would not pay the bills of the Special Masters because of a paucity of funds. Separately, Donziger and his clients had objected to Gitter's appointment given evidence of his pro-Chevron bias and because of a conflict stemming from his long friendship with Kaplan. (See here for the objections.)

Donziger, a human rights lawyer who has advised the Ecuadorian communities since 1993 (see here for Donziger bio), has called for Kaplan’s recusal from ruling on the few remaining issues in the RICO case given his various conflicts and other problems as outlined in this legal filing. Donziger also said he plans to file a complaint about Judge Kaplan’s conduct under the federal Judicial Conduct and Disability Act, which governs ethical issues involving federal judges.

Separately, Donziger has referred Chevron officials and certain of its outside lawyers from the Gibson Dunn firm involved in the fabrication of evidence – including Randy Mastro, Avi Weitzman, and Andrea Neumann -- to the U.S. Department of Justice and the offices of three U.S. Attorneys for a possible criminal probe.  (See here for referral letter.)  Chevron’s main outside law firm, Gibson Dunn already has been sanctioned by the High Court of London for fabricating evidence to frame an innocent man who had run afoul of one of the firm’s clients. Chevron’s lawyers at Gibson Dunn coached Guerra for 53 days before he testified falsely in the RICO proceeding to try to frame Donziger in a fake fraud in Ecuador, according to this report.

Salazar, the Ecuadorian lawyer for the affected communities, said he was “astonished” to hear of the secret payments. “It is clear that Chevron was more than happy to pay 100% of the bills of Gitter because it knew he was a key part of the company’s scheme to help move the RICO case, despite massive legal and factual obstacles including outright witness bribery,” Salazar said. “News of these long-hidden payments and the circumstances around them are extremely disturbing to anybody who believes in the rule of law.”

As Special Master overseeing depositions in the RICO matter of several high-level Chevron officials, including then-CEO John Watson, Gitter continually tried to limit questioning that was likely to damage the company’s litigation position. For example, Gitter struck most questions about Chevron’s environmental contamination in Ecuador on which the court decision against Chevron was based. He also refused to permit questions about Chevron's fraudulent attempt to remediate the environmental damage in Ecuador and he ruled that any inquiries about the political pressure Chevron applied to Ecuador’s government to quash the case were off-limits. Kaplan backed virtually all of Gitter’s rulings when they were challenged.

Kaplan – who held undisclosed investments in Chevron during the trial -- also denied Donziger the right to litigate his extensive counterclaims alleging the company committed criminal violations and fraud in Ecuador and the United States. Kaplan made a number of intemperate remarks in favor of Chevron during the RICO proceeding, calling the Ecuadorian villagers the "so-called plaintiffs" and said "I got it from the beginning" regarding Chevron's allegations prior to holding even an evidentiary hearing, much less a trial. On two occasions, the federal appellate court overseeing Kaplan held extraordinarily rare hearings to consider his recusal from the case.

Donziger’s full statement in response to the news of Chevron’s secret payments to Gitter is here:

“Chevron’s secret payments to Special Master Gitter during the RICO trial are no more shocking than Judge Kaplan failing to throw out his clearly erroneous findings in the case, as proven by Chevron’s witness bribery and other fabricated evidence documented in our report Chevron’s RICO Fraud. The Chevron payments to Mr. Gitter can be added to the growing pile of unethical conduct by the oil company that has led to worldwide skepticism both of Judge’s Kaplan’s bizarre and inappropriate behavior and his flawed pro-Chevron factual findings based largely on fabricated evidence. The secret Chevron payments also suggest that Judge Kaplan and Mr. Gitter ran what looks like a pay-to-play scheme for Chevron in a taxpayer-funded U.S. federal court taking advantage of a human rights case brought by impoverished indigenous groups. This scheme was designed to help a powerful U.S. company evade its liability to the indigenous peoples it harmed in Ecuador, with the added benefit that Gitter could personally enrich himself. This is a very bad look for the federal judiciary and in my view it creates the perception, if not the reality, of official corruption. We will continue to draw the attention of the U.S. Department of Justice and foreign courts to these facts as the Ecuadorians enforce their environmental judgment. We also will continue to take all steps necessary to hold the U.S. lawyers working for Chevron at the Gibson Dunn firm, the Chevron executives who orchestrated their work, and relevant court officials involved in this abuse of power fully accountable for their unethical and possibly criminal misconduct. Ultimately, these efforts are about ensuring that the rule of law applies to Chevron and that the company will be held accountable to the people it continues to harm in Ecuador. ”

(For more background, see here for a legal brief outlining Kaplan’s bias; here for a report on how Chevron committed fraud during the RICO matter; here for comments by prominent attorney John Keker calling the RICO case a “Dickensian farce”. See this essay by Harvard lawyer Marissa Vahlsing for an insider’s view of Kaplan’s animus toward the Ecuadorians.)

Building Change Acumen

Thu, 02/01/2018 - 12:45pm

The secret to effective change, stable growth, and positive impact

The leadership skills needed to steer business towards sustainable growth have long been a focal concern for both academics and practitioners alike. Received wisdom has identified the need for strength in, for example, strategic thinking, customer focus and employee engagement. Much is on offer from business schools and consultants to help leaders develop these necessary talents. To stay ahead of the curve today, these traditional areas of expertise are simply not enough. New challenges have now been thrown into, and emerged out of, the mix which is transforming the business landscape. There is no single problem to be ‘solved,’ but a whole array of massively influential and interconnected trends that must now be factored into business decisions.

Influential and interconnected trends shaping business decisions and strategy:

  • The growing awareness that organizations must do more than focus on creating financial value. Increasing demands for business transparency and accountability are changing the parameters within which services and products must be provided. Corporate social responsibility, organizational sustainability and environmental husbandry are now key requirements for a license to operate.

  • The rapid pace of change today means that products and services may become obsolete overnight. In turn, the changing skill requirements within job families and occupations are becoming more marked and more difficult to predict.

  • Cross-functional and cross-generational workforces. This is not simply a matter of digital natives, or millennials, working alongside older workers who communicate more traditionally. Workforce demographics are changing, bringing a diverse array of skills, working expectations, and viewpoints. 

  • Digital transformation – particularly the blurred intersections of the physical and digital worlds, and how technological change is curtailing the life of current skill sets. 

  • New business models – the gig economy and pop up businesses at one end of the spectrum and increasingly complex business models, tensions and interdependencies at the other. There are new sources of competition which can include startups and companies in adjacent industries. One example of the disruptive nature of change here is the expansion of the gig economy, with increasing numbers of independent and flexible workers creating their own business value developing at the same time as autonomous vehicles are replacing couriers and taxi drivers with technology.

  • Expectations and assumptions about our workplaces, environmental psychology and concepts like mindfulness are re-shaping organizational cultures and systems in ways that redefine HR practices such as performance management, retention and succession planning.

The other key feature is that these trends are still evolving, and at an ever-increasing pace.  Recent CEB data shows that “the average organization has made a whopping five enterprises changes – such as culture change, restructuring, market expansion, leadership transition or merger/acquisition in the last three years. Change is doubtlessly accelerating.”

Re-thinking Change Management

Against this backdrop of constant and unpredictable turbulence, businesses’ requirements for change management capability have significantly increased. We have seen the emergence of change management as a profession and a discipline in its own right. This has involved the establishment of standards, methodologies, frameworks and the development and recognition of professional qualifications in change management

Yet, the complexity and unrelenting pace of change mean that change can no longer be managed by the experts alone.  Businesses need to think seriously about the development and deployment of change capability in their leaders.  So, while traditionally successful business leaders were seen to improve processes, increase efficiencies and manage financial growth, they must now be able to redefine their businesses and create new solutions which will work well in unexplored and unexperienced situations. Leaders need to be familiar with robust tools for running and changing organizations, while understanding that organizations and their environment are not separate entities but part of the same system. As well as having a broad understanding of the social, environmental and economic environment in which they operate, leaders must develop the confidence to evaluate options, challenge assumptions, and exercise responsibility through the conscious decisions they make as change leaders.

So, today’s successful business leaders need a transformed set of capabilities. In today's world, to be a successful leader, the need to lead change effectively is the supreme, the most dominant, the most overriding ability of all.  This shift means re-thinking what leaders know about change management and adapting how they work with and leverage change management in their organizations.

The confidence to ‘look over the parapet’, to find new ways to add value, through change, both for themselves and their organizations will be the key to future survival and enduring success.  Yet ‘change management’ is not always listed in a leader’s job spec. Even less often is it a core module on an MBA program.  

Building Change Acumen

So how can we best develop leaders for the future? Leaders who can ride and guide the changes their organizations will undoubtedly face, whether restructuring, competitive struggles or uncertain economies.

Firstly, a new approach to leading change needs to be developed. A top-down approach cannot work in a world where no single individual, or executive group, can have a comprehensive grasp of all that needs to happen fast enough to make change work. Interdependencies between businesses and people both cause, and require, grassroots involvement, and bottom-up accountability for change. Thus, change leaders must be in touch, must be accessible and responsive to both the near and the far contexts of their businesses.

Related to this is the development of effective networking skills. Networking is not merely a nice to have buzzword. Change programs fail when early successes remain isolated in organizational silos. Change leadership development must create a cadre of leaders who share the same vocabulary and values and who can collaborate effectively across geographic and organizational boundaries.

Much of this development relates to the “softer” skills that leaders need to communicate changes throughout the organization and make them stick. Things like being able to keep colleagues and employees engaged when things are difficult, to promote collaboration across functional and organizational boundaries, and to help people embrace change programs through dialogue and conversation, not dictation.

Building Future Leaders

Effective change leaders will be able to seek out and identify new opportunities and will be able to deliver on them, through others. They will not be afraid to redefine their businesses and will be respected for their ability to reshape their organizations successfully.  Changes in their industries won't overcome them – in fact, they will find ways to leverage those changes by mastering the technical improvements whilst at the same time understanding the personal behavioral changes needed to support the operational ones.

This positive ‘Smörgåsbord’ of evolving challenges has never before been so daunting for leaders, or indeed so exciting.

New Executive Masters in Leading Change

For those leaders who are ready to take on these challenges and committed to lead their organization through change successfully, Ashridge Executive Education has designed the Executive Masters in Leading Change.

Experienced change experts have developed this innovative two-year, part-time program with the aim to specifically address the unique challenges within organizations operating in an increasingly volatile, uncertain, complex, and fast-changing environment, where standard approaches no longer work. While the program is designed to lead to a Master's award, participants can exit at either Postgraduate Certificate or Diploma stage.  It also aims to prepare those participants who wish to take their learning to the next level for an Executive PhD in Global Leadership at Ashridge Executive Education at Hult.

Starting in September 2018, this Masters was designed for professionals with significant experience as managers and organizational leaders, change and innovation practitioners, or internal and external organizational consultants, who want a step change in how they can future-proof their organizations and effectively lead change.

A key part of the program is to learn through reflective practice and action inquiry. The highly participative nature of the workshops enables the exchange of experiences and allows the immediate application of new approaches and methodologies to your practice. 

Contact our admissions team for more information: admissions@ashridge.hult.edu 

Written by Professor Patricia Hind (MSc, PhD), January 2018

Director of the Ashridge Centre for Research in Executive Development, Academic Director of the Executive Masters in Leading Change

As an organizational behavior specialist, Patricia works with a range of clients, nationally and internationally from both the public and private sectors, specializing in leadership, organizational behavior and change management. She has worked closely on the design and delivery of programs for organizations such as Philips, BP, E.On, Barclays and Alcatel and is qualified to use a wide range of psychometric instruments. Patricia has a degree in Psychology, an MSc in Organizational Psychology and a Doctorate in Managing without Authority.

Ethics Alert and Action Seminar

Wed, 01/31/2018 - 12:43pm

The 2018 Ethics Alert & Action Seminar is designed for corporate executives charged with avoiding the financial and reputational risks associated with unethical behavior and compliance violations. Join us in New York City on June 12-13 to gain a deeper understanding of the necessary principles, policies, and practices necessary to prevent problems. With recent events in mind, we will explore the leadership qualities and conduct that are required in order to establish the right foundation for the best ethical outcomes.

Attendees will gain:

  • A better understanding of what and how to evaluate your company’s current ethics and compliance programs to ensure optimum results

  • Insights into the full implications of ethical breaches and how best to both help safeguard against them from occurring and handle the consequences when they do

  • Updated knowledge of what has changed or may change in how corporations establish and implement ethics and compliance programs as a result of events in 2017

For more information, to register or to view the agenda, visit us at: www.conference-board.org/ethics2018 

Save $200 when you register using code CPR200

Aetna Foundation’s New Awards Shine the “Spotlight” on Programs That Are Improving Community Health

Wed, 01/31/2018 - 9:43am

The Aetna Foundation today announced 10 community health programs nationwide that are receiving their newly-launched “Spotlight Award.” The award is part of the Healthiest Cities & Counties Challenge (the Challenge), an initiative launched in 2016 that supports 50 small-to-midsize cities and counties that are implementing innovative solutions to pressing public health issues in their communities. Along with the American Public Health Association (APHA) and the National Association of Counties (NACo), the Aetna Foundation selected these 50 programs because of their ability to tackle social determinants of health (SDoH) that frequently lead to chronic health issues.

The 10 Spotlight awardees will receive a $25,000 prize to further support their Challenge programs, which will help build sustainable models that can be used in other communities. In addition, five more organizations will receive a $10,000 prize as Honorable Mention awardees to help accelerate and advance their work. Some of the notable achievements from awardees include: 

  • The iGrow Food Network distributed more than 100 pounds of produce grown in local community gardens during the summer of 2017, reaching more than one-third of the target population in food deserts in Tallahassee, Florida.

  • Walk Works ChesCo! created new walking routes in Chester County, Pennsylvania to encourage residents to walk more and adopt a healthier lifestyle. The community successfully reached their goal of walking one billion steps in 2017 in just six months.

“Where a person lives has a profound impact on how they live – particularly when it comes to their health,” said Mark T. Bertolini, the chairman of the Aetna Foundation and chairman and CEO of Aetna. “The Spotlight Award recipients are outstanding examples of how important progress can be made when communities work together to look at the biggest issues facing their neighborhoods and develop healthy, home-grown solutions.”

Through the Challenge, $1.5 million in prizes will be awarded to cities and counties that are able to show measurable improvements in health outcomes over the course of several years through cross-sector partnerships. The Challenge is designed to enable participants to share successful health improvement strategies with other communities.

“Since the Challenge launched, we have seen numerous improvements and advancements in the health of the 50 participating communities,” said APHA executive director Georges C. Benjamin, MD. “The Spotlight Awards are a moment to showcase the innovative work being done in cities and counties to address social determinants of health.”

The goal of the Spotlight Award is to highlight early success stories from participants that have demonstrated significant progress since the launch of the Challenge. The selected programs have identified creative partnerships and enacted programs that address the unique health issues facing their communities in meaningful ways.

“Communities invest heavily in local residents’ health and well-being, often serving as a safety net for low-income and vulnerable residents,” said NACo president Roy Charles Brooks. “We know just as each community is unique, so too are the health challenges they face. These award winners are examples of what can be achieved when counties work with community partners to solve serious, complex public health issues.”

In 2016, the Challenge chose 50 cities and counties as HealthyCommunity50 members based on their plans to improve local health outcomes. The HealthyCommunity50 continue to compete for overall Challenge prize awards ranging from $25,000 - $500,000. Participants will be judged on their own progress and will not be competing against each other. 

Spotlight Award Winners

Lead Entity


Program Goal

State Served

Greater Bridgeport Opportunities Industrialization Center Inc.

Bridgeport Coalition United to Reach Equity

Increase health equity



Florida Department of Health

iGrow Food Network

Decrease food inequality



City of Miami

Live Healthy Little Havana

Increase health care access


Louisville/Jefferson County Metro Government

West Louisville Outdoor Recreation Initiative

Increase mental wellness and healthy behaviors


Coopers Ferry Partnership

The SMART Initiative

Increase water quality  

New Jersey

Chatham County Public Health Department

Chatham Health Alliance

Decrease obesity

North Carolina

Mecklenburg County Health Department

Village HeartBEAT

Decrease heart disease

North Carolina


Waco-McLennan County Public Health District

The Heart of Texas Urban Gardening Coalition

Increase access to, and consumption of, fresh foods


Danville Pittsylvania County United Fund

Health Collaborative

Increase healthy living


Thurston County Public Health & Social Services

Active Design for a Healthier Thurston County

Increase walkability


Honorable Mention:

Name of Organization


Program Goal

State Served

City of St. Petersburg

Food is Medicine

Increase access, availability and procurement of healthy foods


Baltimore City Health Department

Be Well, B’More

Increase physical activity



City of Jersey City

Blue Print for Violence Reduction

Increase healthy behaviors to decrease violence

New Jersey

Duke University: Durham and Cabarrus Counties

The North Carolina Healthiest Counties Cross-Sector Team

Increase health equity

North Carolina

Chester County

Walk Works ChesCo!

Increase walking


For more information on the winners, visit www.healthiestcities.org and join the conversation at #HealthiestCitiesChallenge.


The Aetna Foundation is the independent charitable and philanthropic arm of Aetna (NYSE: AET). Since 1980, Aetna and the Aetna Foundation have contributed more than $465 million in grants and sponsorships. As a national health foundation, we promote wellness, health, and access to high-quality health care for everyone. This work is enhanced by the time and commitment of Aetna employees, who have volunteered 3.8 million hours since 2003. For more information, visit www.aetnafoundation.org. 

The American Public Health Association champions the health of all people and all communities. We strengthen the profession of public health, share the latest research and information, promote best practices and advocate for public health issues and policies grounded in research. We are the only organization that combines a 140-plus year perspective, a broad-based member community and the ability to influence federal policy to improve the public’s health. Visit us at www.apha.org.

The National Association of Counties (NACo) unites America’s 3,069 county governments. Founded in 1935, NACo brings county officials together to advocate with a collective voice on national policy, exchange ideas and build new leadership skills, pursue transformational county solutions, enrich the public’s understanding of county government and exercise exemplary leadership in public service.  For more information, visit www.naco.org.

oekom research Pursues Growth Push in 2017

Wed, 01/31/2018 - 9:43am

With ongoing international efforts to build a sustainable financial system set to continue in 2018, it is going to be another dynamic year for the market. oekom research stands to benefit, as in previous years, from the resulting growth potential in sustainable investment. The sustainability rating agency has experienced substantial growth on several levels. Notable developments include the further expansion of the agency’s different departments, a substantially increased international market presence and double-digit growth in the agency’s client base. Additionally, in January 2018, Till Jung was appointed Chief Client Officer and joined the executive board.

Sustainability ratings provide incentive and benchmark for superior performance

In recent years, through initiatives such as the Paris Climate Agreement and the UN SDGs, the international community has established a solid framework of targets that must be met in order to achieve a sustainable economy and preserve the planet. The capital markets, due to their leverage, are expected to play a key role in their achievement.

2017 was marked by numerous political signals in favour of sustainable finance, to which oekom research has actively contributed. Notable examples include the work of the EU High-Level Expert Group, the G20 Financial Stability Board’s Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD), and the Climate Action 100+ initiative, which more than 200 investors have joined to date, in addition to many national or subnational initiatives and policy measures. These developments are a testimony that sustainable investment has left the niche status of its early years behind and now forms a central part of the toolset required to achieve global sustainability goals.

As the idea of sustainable finance becomes further embedded in mainstream thinking, the importance of sustainability rating agencies continues to grow. Their environmental and social expertise enables them to identify risks and opportunities that remain undetected by purely economic metrics. Such agencies represent a crucial resource for financial institutions in their efforts to redirect capital flows towards sustainable development. The signalling effect and major influence that sustainability ratings exert over capital markets and rated companies were made clear by the oekom Impact Study, published in October 2017: ESG rating houses are the strongest drivers of improvements in corporate sustainability performance.

A 25-year success story

In this regard, oekom research sees itself as both a pioneer and a leading innovator, a vision that is underpinned by growing international recognition of the agency’s work. Building on the success of the past 25 years, oekom research continues to follow its stable growth path. All departments have recently expanded and the company’s international presence has been reinforced, bringing total staff numbers to almost 120 employees. Alongside offices in Germany, France, the UK, the USA and a representation in the Netherlands, oekom research opened its new Swiss office at the end of last year.

In parallel to these internal developments, oekom research’s growing client base now counts 180 institutions worldwide. The US market has shown particularly strong demand for the depth and high quality of oekom research’s work, with numerous asset managers, foundations, family offices and faith-based institutions now relying on the rating agency’s expertise.

Till Jung joins the executive board

In January 2018, Till Jung was appointed Chief Client Officer. He joins Robert Haßler (CEO and Chairman) and Matthias Bönning (COO) on the executive board of oekom research. In his new role, Mr Jung oversees the company’s marketing and communication activities, client relations and business development. Initially joining oekom research as a research analyst in August 2004, he moved into the client relations department in May 2010 and led this area for a number of years, most recently as Head of Business Development.

Robert Haßler, CEO of oekom research, comments: “This year, oekom research can look back on 25 years of activity in the field of sustainability ratings and research. What in 1993 was still very much the work of pioneers has since developed into an indispensable component of the financial system. With our newly expanded teams, our constantly evolving market-leading rating methodology and an improved technical offering, we are ideally positioned to pursue our trailblazing role in the industry. oekom research is and remains the best possible partner for the sustainable financial market’s many players.”

About oekom research
oekom research AG is one of the world’s leading rating agencies for sustainable investments and has offices in Germany (Munich), France (Paris), United Kingdom (London), USA (New York) and Switzerland (Zurich). The agency analyses businesses and countries with respect to their environmental and social performance. As an experienced partner of institutional investors and financial service providers, oekom research identifies those equity and bond issuers whose businesses exercise a high level of responsibility towards society and the environment. Over 180 asset managers and asset owners in 13 countries regularly incorporate the rating agency’s research into their investment decisions. As such, oekom research’s analyses currently influence around USD 1.5 trillion assets under management. 

Dieter Niewierra, Media & Communications Lead
+49 89 5441 8457

Northern Trust Included in Bloomberg Gender-Equality Index

Tue, 01/30/2018 - 6:42pm

Northern Trust announced today that it is one of 104 companies included in Bloomberg’s first sector-neutral Gender-Equality Index (GEI).

For inclusion in the index, Northern Trust submitted a survey created by Bloomberg in partnership with third-party groups including Catalyst, Women’s Word Banking, Working Mother Media, National Women’s Law Center, and National Partnership for Women & Families.  Those included on this year’s index scored at or above Bloomberg’s global threshold to reflect disclosure and the achievement or adoption of best-in-class statistics and policies. 

“Northern Trust is proud to be recognized among companies that believe that transparency is a critical component of addressing gender issues,” said Connie Lindsey, head of Corporate Social Responsibility and Global Diversity and Inclusion at Northern Trust. “Northern Trust’s inclusion on Bloomberg’s GEI supports the firm’s principles and the values of our employees, clients and stakeholders.”

Women in GEI member firms comprised 46 percent of the workforce on average, earned 46 percent of the promotions, held 26 percent of senior leadership positions, and 19 percent of executive officer roles.  Furthermore, GEI member firms boasted a 33 percent increase in executive level positions from fiscal year 2014-2016 and 26 percent representation on boards.

"We commend Northern Trust and the other 103 companies included in the 2018 GEI for their efforts to create work environments that support gender equality across a diverse range of industries," said Peter T. Grauer, Chairman of Bloomberg and Founding Chairman of the U.S. 30% Club. "Their leadership sets an important example that will help all organizations innovate and navigate the growing demand for diverse and inclusive workplaces."

This year Bloomberg measured companies across a variety of sectors such as communication, consumer staples, energy, financial, health care, industrial, materials and technology.  The GEI measures gender equality across internal company statistics, employee policies, community support and engagement, and gender-conscious product offerings.  The survey is voluntary, with no associated fees.

Northern Trust is consistently recognized for exemplary business practices and was recently named to FORTUNE Magazine’s “World’s Most Admired Companies” list, and ranked #1 in Forbes Magazine’s “Best Employers for Diversity” list. 

For more information on the Bloomberg’s GEI visit https://www.bloomberg.com/professional/sustainable-finance.

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 December 31, 2017, Northern Trust had assets under custody/administration of US$10.7 trillion, and assets under management of US$1.2 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.

Learn more about CSR at Northern Trust

What Works in Employee Financial Wellness Programs

Tue, 01/30/2018 - 6:42pm

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

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

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

Which Tree? Where? Why? Farmers in India Can Now Choose From 25 Species of Trees Based on Their Usefulness for Timber, Fruit, Fuel, Fodder, Building and Medicine

Tue, 01/30/2018 - 12:42pm

While India has a world-first national policy for agroforestry, aka trees on farms, farmers in different agro-climatic zones need help with which trees to grow. A new book is now here to help.

“With multiple research initiatives underway, a lot of scientific knowledge on different species of agroforestry has been generated. Promising Agroforestry Tree Species in India is an assemblage of useful knowledge,” said Trilochan Mohapatra, secretary of the Department of Agricultural Research and Education and director-general of the Indian Council of Agricultural Research. “This book will be useful for farmers, planners, forest officials, and teachers and students of agroforestry.”

India stands at the forefront of global efforts to promote research and education in agroforestry so that more trees are planted on agricultural land. With the decline of the world’s natural forests and increasing variations in weather patterns brought about by climate change, scientists, farmers and governments are turning to trees to help make agriculture more resilient, decrease pressure on forests and increase carbon storage.

Agroforestry has traditionally been practised in India and other countries for centuries, but the world’s second-most populous nation became the first — and up until now, the only — government with a national policy on agroforestry, which was launched in 2014. The new publication, which compiles characteristics of useful trees, will complement the policy and speed up its adoption throughout the country.

“The National Agroforestry Policy of India was followed by a sub-mission on agroforestry with an investment of about USD 147 million by the Federal Government. It mainstreamed agroforestry into the agricultural agendas of state government,” said Javed Rizvi, director of the World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF) in South Asia. “Given that research in agroforestry has significantly developed in India in recent years, we saw a need to consolidate the massive amount of information about each tree species. The new publication outlines botanical characteristics, propagation for differing agroforestry systems and climatic zones, and cultural appropriateness.”
Promising Agroforestry Tree Species in India is an outcome of a long-term collaboration between Central Agroforestry Research Institute of the Indian Council of Agricultural Research, and the World Agroforestry Centre. The book identifies 25 agroforestry species based on their usefulness for timber, fuel, fodder, fruit, biofuel, raw material for industrial use and medicinal ingredients.

“Trees used in agroforestry systems are vital,” said Dr Om Prakash Chaturvedi, director of the Institute. “They reflect farmers’ choices as well as market demand. The Central Agroforestry Research Institute and All India Coordinated Research Project on Agroforestry identified important agroforestry tree species, which have been adopted by the National Agroforestry Policy and are expected to increase farmers’ use of agroforestry.”

Download the publication here

Chaturvedi OP, Handa AK, Uthappa AR, Sridhar KB, Kumar N, Chavan SB, Rizvi J. 2017. Promising agroforestry tree species in India. Jhansi, India: Central Agroforestry Research Institute; New Delhi, India: World Agroforestry Centre South Asia Regional Program.

Media information
In Jhansi, India: Dr Om Prakash Chaturvedi, Director, Central Agroforestry Research Institute; director.cafri@gmail.com
In New Delhi, India: Dr Javed Rizvi, Director, World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF) South Asia; j.rizvi@cgiar.org
In Nairobi, Kenya: Ms Jeanne Finestone, Head of Communications and Relationships, World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF); j.finestone@cgiar.org

The Central Agroforestry Research Institute is one of the national institutes under the umbrella of the Indian Council of Agricultural Research. Its mission is to improve the quality of life of rural people through integration of perennials in agriculture landscapes for economic, environmental and social benefits.

The Indian Council of Agricultural Research’s mission is to harness the power of science and innovation for food security, food safety and farmers’ prosperity and enhance the natural resources base to promote inclusive growth and sustainable development.

The World Agroforestry Centre is a centre of scientific excellence that harnesses the benefits of trees for people and the environment. Leveraging the world’s largest repository of agroforestry science and information, it develops knowledge practices for farmers’ fields through to the global sphere to ensure food security and environmental sustainability.

Global Sustain Group to Deliver a Masterclass Training on Sustainability Reporting & Compliance (New EU NFR Directive)

Tue, 01/30/2018 - 9:42am

Global Sustain Group (www.globalsustain.org) with the support of Schneider Electric UK invites you to a Sustainability Reporting & Compliance Masterclass Workshop:

"Comply with the new EU NFR / CSR Directive and the relevant UK Law on Non-Financial Reporting. Impact on Corporate Reporting."

Thursday 15 February 2018, 14:00 – 18:00 GMT, Schneider Electric UK, 80 Victoria Street, London

Workshop Programme:

  • 14:00 – 14:30: Registration & Warming Up Networking

  • 14:30 – 15:45: Training with Q&A: Michael Spanos, Managing Director, Global Sustain Group

  • 15:45 – 17:00: Training with Q&A: Yannis Salavopoulos, Managing Director, Global Sustain GmbH, Lecturer, SRH Berlin Int. Management University

  • 17.00 – 18:00: Networking Reception

Registration & Workshop Fee: 250 UK pounds plus VAT.

Payment by bank transfer only at Global Sustain Ltd bank account (HSBC: IBAN: GB98HBUK40040942177153 Swift Code: HBUKGB4B)

Registration will only be confirmed once full payment of the fees due are received.

Workshop Background

The new EU CSR/NFR Directive is already national law in UK and EU Member States. According to EU estimations, this new legal framework will affect more than 6,000 EU based companies (including UK) and thousands of SMEs through responsible supply chains and will reshape the way companies conduct corporate reporting.

Global Sustain (http://globalsustain.org/en) supports EU, UK companies and foreign companies in the UK, but also UK companies in other EU Member States to comply with the new requirements on reporting of non-financial and diversity information. This workshop will give you first-hand knowledge and guidelines on how to comply with the EU Directive and the law in the UK and other EU Member States. This topic is relevant especially for corporations and SMEs with activity in the UK market or companies that belong to a UK multinational or are suppliers companies that fall into the scope of the Directive. The EU NFR Directive is a game-changer in the expectations placed on public interest companies to disclose certain information.

Is your organization prepared for the changes? What are the implications of the EU’s NFR Directive and will your organization be in compliance?

Profiles of Trainers

Michael Spanos is the Founder & Managing Director of Global Sustain, an Expert Advisor to the European Commission on the SDGs, an AHC Group Senior Associate (USA), a member of the secretariat of the United Nations Global Compact Network and of the Advisory Board of the CEO Clubs in Greece and a member of the Stakeholder Advisory Council of FMC Corp (USA). Michael is also a visiting lecturer at the International MBA program of the Athens University of Economics and Business and the Cyprus International Institute of Management.

Yannis Salavopoulos is the Managing Director of Global Sustain GmbH and Group Head of International Affairs and a Lecturer for Sustainability Management & Public Affairs at SRH Berlin Int. Management University. He is C level Executive & Expert on Sustainability Management, Strategy, Reporting, ESG Investments. He is also the Managing Director at CAPITALS Circle Group GmbH, a Boutique Advisory in Public Affairs, Risk Management and Strategy.

Join Global Sustain for a half day training session focused on the EU NFR/CSR Directive. Discover what the implications of the EU Directive are and how your company should comply with it.

Limited seating. Early registration is strongly encouraged.

For further information please contact: paul.abela@globalsustain.org

Emerald Brand Serves Up a Sustainable Solution for Servomation

Tue, 01/30/2018 - 9:42am

Servomation and Emerald Brand have announced a partnership to deliver Emerald’s sustainable food service program to their customers throughout New York, Connecticut and Massachusetts. Servomation, headquartered in Canastota, NY, services business and industries including manufacturing, banking, insurance, hospitals and public access locations. Their customer base currently consists of over 300 self-service E-Z Markets and over 1,750 vending customer locations. 

Servomation is now delivering a cost-effective solution in sustainability from food packaging, to disposables and cleaners to new and existing clients. Emerald Brand has assisted Servomation in converting to a uniform, streamlined solution without making it cost-prohibitive. 

“We take pride in the reputation and integrity of our organization,” said Brian Bruno, President of Servomation. “We do not take our customer’s environmental concerns lightly, and Emerald has helped us provide a complete line of Tree-Free and bio-plastic alternatives whose environmental and health benefits create a paradigm shift in the disposables industry.”

 Servomation will be offering its customers a broad range of Emerald Brand products including Tree-Free™ plates, bowls, bath tissue, and napkins, bio-plastic foodservice disposables, environmental garbage liners, and more. The Emerald Sustainability Program allows companies to accomplish their social responsibility initiatives while measuring their environmental savings in a palpable way. It provides companies with quarterly Environmental Impact Statements that calculate the amount of landfill waste diverted and the number of trees, virgin fiber, water and plastic saved through use of Emerald products. Servomation’s clients will now also have access to Emerald Brand’s marketing, communication and environmental consulting teams. 

“We are looking forward to working with distribution partners like Servomation who share in our mission to promote sustainability, deliver healthier solutions to clients, and who will be on the forefront of delivering our ‘Made in the USA Farm to Paper products and programs in late 2018,” said RJ Bianculli, Managing Director at Emerald Brand. “Consumers are becoming more educated and want to know where their products are coming from, what the environmental and health implications are, and where they are being made. Servomation will be a key partner in delivering this message with Emerald in their respective markets.” 

About Emerald Brand:

Family owned and operated since 1997, Emerald Brand is committed to innovating through tree-free, sustainable and rapidly renewable solutions. From Tree-Free paper products to petroleum-free cutlery and a suite of over 250 sustainable corporate solutions, Emerald Brand is at the forefront of driving sustainability in homes and offices around the world.  Emerald Brand products are available for consumer purchase at www.emeraldbrand.com and for businesses at www.paradigm-grp.com.

Emerald Ecovations, a division of Emerald Brand, educates customers on the practice and implementation for consumable packaging and chemicals, and offers a suite of sustainable corporate solutions that help businesses adhere to new regulations and environmental mandates.

About Servomation:

Servomation Refreshments, Inc. is the Northeast’s leader in vending and office refreshments. Founded in 2007, Servomation has established a reputation for their commitment to excellence, uncompromising product quality standards, and utilization of the latest vending technology. Their team of professionals are dedicated to challenging the boundaries of innovation while continuing to foster strong customer relationships and a solid sustainable growth plan.


Global Communities Announces Initiative to Promote Sourcing Communities’ Sustainability and Resilience

Tue, 01/30/2018 - 6:42am

Global Communities has launched the Responsible Sourcing Initiative (RSI), a unique approach to partnering with civil society, governments, suppliers, and corporations to promote inclusive economic growth and resilience within vulnerable communities around the world. Under the RSI, Global Communities will pursue partnerships that will:

  1. Increase the efficiency of local suppliers, supply chain operators and service providers through training and targeted value chain, business development and marketing interventions;

  2. Improve workers’ productivity and relationships between workers and supervisors through training

  3. Promote worker wellbeing, occupational health and safety through integrated WASH and public health interventions;

  4. Facilitate community participation in corporate social investment decisions; and

  5. Improve livelihoods through inclusive economic and infrastructure development.

By participating in the RSI, Global Communities will help companies to effectively partner with communities and governments to reduce operational and reputational risks, maximize supply chain efficiency, and contribute to inclusive economic development, leading to long term business continuity and sustainability.

“A growing number of companies are contributing to economic, environmental, and social progress in the communities where they do business,” says David A. Weiss, President and CEO of Global Communities, “we look forward to partnering with them to reduce poverty and vulnerability, and to ensure that communities around the globe are able to inclusively benefit from economic opportunity.”

As an organization that envisions a world where everyone has the freedom, means and ability to live and prosper with dignity, Global Communities is uniquely positioned to help multinational companies design, implement and/or evaluate the social outcomes of sustainability and sourcing initiatives. Since its inception in 1952, Global Communities has worked with communities around the world to design and implement programs to address housing and shelter, food security and hunger, financial inclusion, water and sanitation, humanitarian assistance, and disaster recovery and reconstruction in some of the most complex and resource-constrained places in the world.

Building on this expertise and using its signature Participatory Action for Community Enhancement (PACE) methodology, Global Communities has proven expertise in bringing together companies, suppliers, governments and communities as partners to leverage assets, resources and opportunities to ensure that communities do not suffer adverse consequences from external stakeholders. The RSI also supports Global Communities’ work toward meeting the UN Sustainable Development Goals. 

For more information about the RSI and/or to explore partnership opportunities, please contact Nikki Duncan, Director, Strategic Partnerships at nduncan@globalcommunities.org

About Global Communities
Global Communities is a global non-profit organization founded in 1952 that works closely with communities worldwide to bring about sustainable changes that improve the lives and livelihoods of the vulnerable. Global Communities believes that the people who understand their needs best are the people of the community itself. Learn more at www.globalcommunities.org and @G_Communities.

Activating the SDGs Into Business Operations

Tue, 01/30/2018 - 6:42am

If the Sustainable Development Goals are to be met, business will have to play a major role. But how can companies go about integrating the SDGs into their own business operations?

To help you ensure the SDGs are aligned to your core business, 4 senior leaders are ready to share their experiences and strategies live. Join us next Wednesday, 7th February, at 2 pm BST for our free online webinar with: 

  • Pedro Ortún, Senior Advisor CSR/SDGs, European Commission

  • Mario Abreu, Vice President Environment, Tetra Pak

  • Louise Koch, Corporate Sustainability Lead, Dell

  • Aris Vrettos, Programme Director, Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership

In this 1 hour webinar, you will learn how innovative businesses are looking to drive the required shift in thinking and operations to meet the SDGs

  • Where to start: Picking the right SDGs to suit your business 

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

  • Activating the SDGs within the business

  • Discover how businesses are forecasting these future positive impacts on business, the industry, society and environment

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

Scotiabank Recognized by Junior Achievement Americas With 2017's Transforming Education Award

Mon, 01/29/2018 - 3:41pm

Scotiabank has been recognized by Junior Achievement Americas (JA) as the winner of the 2017 Transforming Education Award, the maximum recognition that JA gives to its partners at the regional level. Brent Currie, Scotiabank's Senior Vice-President of Brand Management and Marketing Services, received the award in Toronto, Ontario.

"We are pleased to partner with Junior Achievement Americas to help young people develop their entrepreneurial, labour and financial skills. This partnership reflects Scotiabank's commitment to the long-term development of Latin America and the Caribbean," said Brent Currie, Senior Vice-President, Brand Management and Marketing Services. "At Scotiabank, we're focused on our future leaders, and recognize that our involvement with Junior Achievement not only helps young people reach their infinite potential, but also helps to ensure communities are set-up for success."

Junior Achievement Americas has recognized Scotiabank for its ongoing support over the last eight years, allowing JA to not only impact the lives of thousands of young people in the region, but to generate innovations to remain relevant in the face of the needs of young people and the labour market. That is, digitalization of the content of the JA Economics for Success program, the development of the first Regional Online Innovation Camp of JA Americas, and the Road to Success initiative launching.

"We are delighted to recognize Scotiabank for its tireless support to the Latin American and Caribbean region," said Leo Martellotto, President of Junior Achievement Americas. "Thanks to Scotiabank, and in partnership with them, JA Americas was able to improve the Economics for Success program, generating version 2.0: an online platform through which students learn the same concepts of the original program but in a digital, more interactive way."

Scotiabank's CSR priority to invest in young people has been reflected through the Bank's partnership with Junior Achievement Americas, allowing students from 14 to 18 years of age to participate in national innovation camp competitions that aim to find innovative solutions to specific challenges that the business world faces. Similarly, the Road to Success program aims to help develop the infinite potential of youth in our communities by teaching kids the basic concepts of financial literacy. The initiative will continue to give students a basic understanding of the principles of finance and practical advice on budget planning and money management.

About Scotiabank
Scotiabank is Canada's international bank and a leading financial services provider in North America, Latin America, the Caribbean and Central America, and Asia-Pacific. We are dedicated to helping our 24 million customers become better off through a broad range of advice, products and services, including personal and commercial banking, wealth management and private banking, corporate and investment banking, and capital markets. With a team of more than 88,000 employees and assets of over $915 billion (as at October 31, 2017), Scotiabank trades on the Toronto (TSX: BNS) and New York Exchanges (NYSE: BNS). For more information, please visit www.scotiabank.com and follow us on Twitter @Scotiabank.

About Scotiabank's CSR
Scotiabank believes that every customer has the right to become better off. When customers succeed, businesses, communities, and entire societies benefit as well. Through our CSR strategy, Better Future, Better Off, we seek to create economic, social and environmental value that benefits every customer. Through our five commitments to Customers, Employees, Communities, the Environment and strong Corporate Governance practices, we aim to create a better future for both society and Scotiabank. For more information on our priorities and the impact we have made, please visit www.scotiabank.com/csr.

About JA Americas
As part of one of the world's largest youth-serving NGOs, JA Americas activates youth for the future of jobs. Through the delivery of hands-on, blended learning in financial literacy, work readiness, and entrepreneurship, we empower young people to grow their entrepreneurial ideas, hone their work skills, manage their earnings, and secure better lives for themselves, their families, and their communities. With 31 countries, the JA Americas network is powered by over 38,000 volunteers and mentors, who serve more than 1 million young people each year. More information at www.jaamericas.org.

“Business Must Lead” Tops Agenda at 2nd Annual Shift Forum

Mon, 01/29/2018 - 12:41pm

The collision of technology, business, politics, and culture—with a spotlight on the shifting compact between business and society—takes center stage at NewCo Shift Forum, February 26 - 28th, 2018 at the St. Regis Hotel, San Francisco. The more than 400 top business, policy, education and non-profit/community leaders, including former world leaders, state governors, the head of Facebook NewsFeed, are convening around a “Business Must Lead” agenda.

“The shifts--and rifts--we’re living through have put the existing compact between business and society on notice. In the recently released Edelman Trust Index, two-thirds of respondents said CEOs should take the lead on change rather than waiting for government to impose it. This is the trend echoed in our 2018 ‘Business Must Lead’ agenda,” said Shift Forum host and executive producer John Battelle. “Trust is eroding. Companies that put profit ahead of other stakeholders are bound to fail. In the absence of government leadership, business must pick up the slack.”

A founder of Wired magazine, Battelle convenes audiences to fuel open discourse around business and social issues. Battelle and team have curated an eclectic mix of leaders targeting gender parity both on stage and in the audience. Key underpinnings of each conversation is responsibility and accountability. Shift Forum’s 2018 confirmed speaker line-up includes:

Anat Admati – Prof. of Finance & Economics, Stanford GSB

Bill Anderson – CEO, Genentech

Pat Brown – Founder, Impossible Foods

Carol Christ – Chancellor, UC Berkeley

Chris Christie – Former Governor of New Jersey

John Chambers – Executive Chair, Cisco

Eric Garcetti – Mayor, City of Los Angeles

John Heilemann – National Affairs Analyst, NBC News and MSNBC;

Executive Producer and Host, Showtime's The Circus 

Dr. Sue Desmond-Hellman – CEO, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

John Hickenlooper – Governor of Colorado

Reid Hoffman - Co-Founder – LinkedIn, Greylock Ventures

Kevin Johnson – CEO, Starbucks

Aileen Lee - Founder and Partner, Cowboy Ventures

Karen Lynch – President, Aetna

Adam Mosseri – Head of News Feed, Facebook

Michelle Peluso – SVP, CMO - IBM

Marc Pritchard – CMO, P&G

Sarah Bloom Raskin – Former Deputy Secretary, U.S. Department of the Treasury

Ben Silberman – CEO & Co-Founder, Pinterest

Susan Sobbott – President, American Express

Laura Tyson – Distinguished Professor of the Graduate School, UC Berkeley

Cross-aisle and cross-industry, the Shift Forum is an exchange between established corporate executives, tech and startup founders, as well as the leaders driving policy and political discourse. Participants agree to follow Chatham House Rule, which allows Delegates to use the information received, but not to share the identity or affiliation of those sharing the information unless the rule has been waived. 

“It’s rare for business leaders to get a 360-degree view--an upclose on how innovation impacts business, politics, policy and workforce issues. When it comes to Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), we know it is those diverse views that prompt deeper questions and ultimately drive richer answers,” said Stacey Foreman, NewCo co-founder and executive producer.

Microsoft, Adobe, Dell Technologies and World Leadership Alliance-Club de Madrid are 2018 Shift Forum Pillar partners; Comcast NBCUniversal, EY, Jobs for the Future, P&G, Perkins Coie, and Starbucks are sustaining sponsors.

Senior leaders, including those from tech, business, academia, policy and community organizations are invited to register at Shift Forum. Audience space is intentionally limited to foster open, candid exchange.

Core Pillars, Key Conversations
Shift Forum exchanges are built around five core pillars that reflect the seismic shifts in business and society today; all have CSR undercurrents. Each topic will be anchored by provocative conversations and expanded by all participants in the room:

  • Politics & Policy. The pace of technology-driven change is dramatically outpacing government’s ability to adapt and is fueling a grand re-negotiation of the contract between society and business. What will be the new framework for our shared social compact addressing issues of inclusion, privacy, human rights? What is the government’s role in regulating the impact of technology on labor, climate and capital? Should companies of a certain size or influence be regulated as utilities are?

  • Future of Work. Policy makers, academics, business leaders and employees are facing the inescapable impact of automation and artificial intelligence (AI) on our most fundamental economic assumptions. While the debate often focuses on whether and how jobs will be lost due to AI, the more immediate issue is that millions of jobs today (drivers, cashiers, warehouse workers, and even white collar knowledge workers) are on a collision course with capitalism’s never-ending quest for efficiency and profit maximization. Will new jobs emerge to replace those that seem certain to evaporate? How can we shift our education system to anticipate the new skills a post industrial society demands?

  • Future of Democracy. Partnering with the World Leadership Alliance-Club de Madrid, the largest forum in the world of former democratic Presidents and Prime Ministers, we’ll hear from a select group of former world leaders discussing the fate--and future--of democracy in North America. A pre-conference roundtable featuring 30 leaders in business and politics will report key discussion takeaways to Shift Forum general session.

  • Business Transformation. Amidst the massive shifts, business must press forward, delivering quality experiences to its stakeholders and managing its workforce, processes, and relationships to partners and communities. What is the role of business in society? Do successful, highly profitable business have a responsibility to manage their balance sheets by metrics beyond profit and revenue?

  • Future of Food. How is the nation’s--and the world’s--trillion dollar food industry evolving  to both feed the world and avoid climate catastrophe? Innovative new food companies are challenging entrenched global brands, many calling for new approaches to sourcing, production, and regulation. How can we close the gap between healthy and affordable food? Who are the players, what are the solutions? What role does has food play in calming (or exacerbating) global unrest?

Press inquiries: stacey(at)newco(dot)co. 

About NewCo
NewCo produces a multi-platform publication, NewCo Shift, illuminating the companies, leaders, and issues driving the transition to a sustainable, positive-impact business ecosystem. NewCo Shift is defining a new approach to business journalism with content from notable writers and thinkers on the key issues impacting global business today. Join the NewCo Shift conversation online at Shift.NewCo.co or get our stories delivered to your inbox with the NewCo Daily and NewCo Weekly email newsletters.  

NewCo Festivals operate in more than 16 cities around the world in North America, Asia, Europe and Latin America. They have the focus of a business conference, the feel of a music festival, and the model of an artist open studio. Participants choose which organizations they want to explore and then gather inside the company’s home office, experiencing first-hand how these inspiring organizations drive purposeful transformation in their industries through authentic sessions hosted by founder and executive leaders.

About John Battelle
John Battelle has shaped the course of media and technology, first as a founding editor of Wired, then as the founder of The Industry Standard, and later as the founder of Federated Media Publishing (later sovrn). Over the past three decades, John Battelle has convened dozens of industry-leading executive events centered on the intersection of technology, business, and culture, including the Internet Summit (with Mary Meeker and Bill Gurley), Foursquare (with Steven Rattner), Signal (with Marc Pritchard) and the Web 2 Summit (with Tim O’Reilly). Widely respected as one of the best interlocutors in the business, Battelle’s intimate, deeply researched conversational style engages and challenges speakers and audiences alike

2017 Women's Empowerment Principles Forum

Fri, 01/26/2018 - 3:35pm

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

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

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

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

USC Shoah Foundation and Discovery Education Announce Powerful Opportunity for Students and Educators to Inspire Communities Nationwide

Fri, 01/26/2018 - 12:35pm

In an effort to spark a social movement against hatred in all forms, USC Shoah Foundation and Discovery Education, the leading provider of digital content and professional development for K-12 classrooms, today launched the fifth annual IWitness Video Challenge.                                                                   

Designed to provide actionable ways to promote equality, while also challenging bias and intolerance, the 2018 IWitness Video Challenge encourages students to make a change in communities nationwide. First, students will hear testimonies of survivors and witnesses of genocide. They will then complete a research-based and standards-aligned activity. After being inspired to counter hate, participants will develop a community action project. To be considered for the IWitness Video Challenge, students must document their experience in a video essay for submission.

“USC Shoah Foundation is proud to continue advancing the mission of the IWitness Video Challenge,” said USC Shoah Foundation Director of Education Claudia Wiedeman. “By connecting students to the voices in the Visual History Archive, the IWitness Video Challenge inspires them to act in positive and meaningful ways, and teaches them digital skills that are important for students today.”

Last year’s winners inspired their fellow classmates to celebrate their diverse identities with a project called, “Who Are You? Embracing Identity in Our Community.”

"We want the audience to learn more about themselves, to reflect on who they are and their identities, after watching our video,” said student Yu Jing Chen, one of three students who worked together on the project. “We want them to realize that they are not alone and that they should always fight for an accepting environment.”

Previous winners wrote kind notes to every student in their school, while the first winner documented her determination to stand up for undocumented workers after being moved by testimonies of Holocaust survivors who described their struggles being undocumented immigrants themselves.

Thanks to the continued support from Ford Motor Co., which is sponsoring the event as part of its commitment to innovative educational outreach, the IWitness Video Challenge will award top entries from students, teachers, and schools with scholarships and grants.

The prizes will be distributed as follows:

  • The student who creates the national winning entry will receive a $5,000 scholarship. Second place will receive a $1,000 scholarship; third place, a $500 scholarship.
  • The educator associated with the national winning entry will receive a $1,000 grant to inspire, impact and implement change in their local school.
  • The school or organization associated with the national winning entry will receive a $2,500 grant to implement change in their community.

Launched in 2013, the IWitness Video Challenge was designed around the premise that one person can make a difference. As USC Shoah Foundation founder Steven Spielberg said at the time of the inaugural launch, “we can use IWitness to show the power of random acts of kindness – the best way to teach empathy is by using the power of example.”

“As an educator, I have observed the positive differences in students’ behavior after partaking in the IWitness Video Challenge,” said Karen Wells from Midland High School in Pleasant Plains, Arkansas. “The contest has been a proven catalyst for change in our community and I plan on encouraging all of my students to submit entries this year.”

“The IWitness Video Challenge empowers youth nationwide to take a stand against hatred in all forms,” said Lori McFarling, senior vice president and chief marketing officer, Discovery Education. “Peer-to-peer influence is powerful and we are invested in providing actionable ways for students to promote equality, challenge bias and discuss tolerance. We hope that by participating in the contest, students will be able to view the world through a different lens and recognize the importance of stopping oppression everywhere.”

Submissions for the 2018 IWitness Video Challenge are being accepted now until April 13, 2018. For more information and complete rules, visit IWitness.usc.edu.

About USC Shoah Foundation

USC Shoah Foundation – The Institute for Visual History and Education is dedicated to making audio-visual interviews with survivors and other witnesses of the Holocaust and other genocides, a compelling voice for education and action. The Institute’s current collection of more than 55,000 eyewitness testimonies contained within its Visual History Archive preserves history as told by the people who lived it, and lived through it. Housed at the University of Southern California, within the Dana and David Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences, the Institute works with partners around the world to advance scholarship and research, to provide resources and online tools for educators, and to disseminate the testimonies for educational purposes. Visual History Archive® is a registered trademark of USC Shoah Foundation – The Institute for Visual History and Education Reg. U.S. Pat & Tm. Off.

About Ford Motor Company

Ford Motor Company, a global automotive industry leader based in Dearborn, Mich., manufactures or distributes automobiles across six continents. With about 197,000 employees and 67 plants worldwide, the company's automotive brands include Ford and Lincoln. The company provides financial services through Ford Motor Credit Company. For more information regarding Ford and its products worldwide, please visit corporate.ford.com.

About Discovery Education

Discovery Education is the global leader in standards-based digital content and professional development for K-12, transforming teaching and learning with award-winning digital textbooks, multimedia content that supports the implementation of Common Core, professional development, assessment tools, and the largest professional learning community of its kind. Serving 4.5 million educators and over 50 million students, Discovery Education’s services are in half of U.S. classrooms, 50 percent of all primary schools the UK, and more than 50 countries. Discovery Education partners with districts, states and like-minded organizations to captivate students, empower teachers, and transform classrooms with customized solutions that increase academic achievement. Discovery Education is powered by Discovery Communications (NASDAQ: DISCA, DISCB, DISCK), the number one nonfiction media company in the world. Explore the future of education at discoveryeducation.com.  


Charmion Kinder, Discovery Education, Charmion_Kinder@discovery.com
Josh Grossberg, USC Shoah Foundation, josh.grossberg@usc.edu