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ITV Recognised as Top Community Investor

Mon, 03/05/2018 - 1:56pm

ERM Announces Acquisition of BrownFlynn, Ltd.

Fri, 03/02/2018 - 1:49pm

ERM, the world’s leading sustainability consultancy, has completed the acquisition of BrownFlynn Ltd (BrownFlynn). BrownFlynn is the leading U.S. corporate sustainability and governance consulting business based in Cleveland, Ohio.

Established in 1996, BrownFlynn advises Fortune 500 and privately held businesses on all aspects of corporate sustainability advisory services, setting strategy, helping them navigate reporting frameworks and ratings, undertaking materiality assessments and setting bold goals and KPIs, communicating progress through design and storytelling and monitoring environmental, social and governance (ESG) trends.  Further, BrownFlynn is a pioneer in integrated reporting and the first U.S. certified Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) trainer. The firm has developed proprietary tools to support their clients’ assessment processes, reporting and engagement with stakeholders, providing the capability to deliver on the full life cycle of client needs.

ERM is building the leading position in the corporate sustainability and governance consulting market, combining commercial acumen, technical expertise and deep understanding of societal pressures to respond to client, investor and stakeholder needs.  With the acquisition of BrownFlynn, ERM strengthens its U.S. presence to a global capability as it partners with the key international standard bodies, industry organizations and investor groups. This acquisition also complements ERM’s strengths in data management and technical solutions in addressing the sustainability challenges facing companies and stakeholders today.

“With BrownFlynn joining the ERM Group, we further establish our full life cycle set of offerings to our clients in the sustainability advisory arena,” explained Keryn James, ERM’s CEO. “As the market for sustainability and governance consulting matures, ERM is now well advanced in building the leading position. BrownFlynn is a market pioneer and for over 20 years has established an impressive business in the U.S. ERM is glad to continue this journey together with their fantastic leadership and team.”

Barb Brown and Margie Flynn, BrownFlynn’s founders and principals, explained that, “In ERM, we recognized a shared commitment to delivering client excellence and vision for being a global leader. Our entire team is delighted to join ERM and contributing to making that a reality.”

About ERM
ERM is the leading global provider of environmental, health, safety, risk, social consulting services and of sustainability related services. It has 160 offices in 40 countries and territories, employing more than 4,500 people. ERM provides services to a wide range of sectors including Oil & Gas, Energy, Power, Chemicals, Manufacturing, Mining and High Tech/Telecoms as well as selected parts of the Infrastructure market. Over the past five years ERM has worked for more than 50 per cent of the Global Fortune 500 delivering innovative solutions for business and selected government clients helping them understand and manage the sustainability challenges that the world is increasingly facing.

About BrownFlynn
Founded in January 1996, BrownFlynn is the leading corporate sustainability and governance consulting firm in the United States. The firm, based in Cleveland, Ohio, advises Fortune 500 and privately held companies on corporate sustainability and governance issues. BrownFlynn partners with clients so they can achieve positive and tangible social, environmental, and economic impact—leading to sustained value.

For more information, please contact:

David Dusing
ERM Managing Partner -- Midwest
David.dusing@erm.com

Barbara O. Brown | Margie Flynn
BrownFlynn Founders & Principals
barbb@brownflynn.com | margief@brownflynn.com

Consumers Energy Presents Energy Efficiency Incentive Check to Gerald R. Ford International Airport

Fri, 03/02/2018 - 10:49am

The Gerald R. Ford International Airport is being recognized for having one of the best and most energy-efficient airports in the region. Consumers Energy presented a rebate check for $151,631 to the Gerald R. Ford International Airport (GFIA) today, as part of the company’s energy efficiency program which is saving the airport energy and money.

GFIA received the rebates for six projects totaling $151,631 and 2,140,991 kilowatt hours in annual savings – enough electricity to power nearly 300 Michigan homes for a year. The six projects include the most recent completion of the Gateway Transformation Project Phase One, work in the Airport’s parking garage, and upgrades in the Field Maintenance and Airport Rescue Firefighting facilities.

“Our airport is proud to receive recognition for being energy-efficient, and we are grateful to have partners like Consumers Energy who help us recognize areas where we can improve and be more resourceful,” said GFIA President & CEO Jim Gill. “As we continue to expand our footprint during upcoming construction and make technology upgrades and improvements, we want to be as green as possible.”

Consumers Energy has helped Michigan customers save more than $1.5 billion through energy efficiency projects since 2009.

“Our commitment to world class performance delivering hometown service means we work every day helping customers like GFIA with creative solutions to reduce energy consumption. This is good for the planet, and also lowers energy bills which ultimately benefits Michigan’s economy,” said Lisa Gustafson, executive director of business customer care for Consumers Energy, who presented today’s check.

About The Gerald R. Ford International Airport

The Gerald R. Ford International Airport (GFIA) is the second largest and busiest airport in Michigan. The Airport served over 2.8 million passengers in 2017 and over 7,000 travelers pass through GFIA each day. The Gerald R. Ford International Airport offers nonstop service to 24 major market destinations with more than 120 daily nonstop flights, and the Airport is managed and operated by the Gerald R. Ford International Airport Authority. GFIA generates over $3.1 billion in annual economic output throughout West Michigan, and employs over 2,000 people. For more information on GFIA visit: www.flyford.org or follow the airport on Twitter: @FlyGRFord

Contact

Tara Hernandez, Marketing and Communications Director

O: (616) 233-6053 | thernandez@grr.org

Ocado Repurposes Uniforms Through Unique Partnership

Thu, 03/01/2018 - 4:47pm

More than a third of us wear a uniform at work. The problem with that is, as with most garments, when uniforms reach the end of their life they are merely tossed in the bin. In fact, a staggering 90% of the 33 million corporate garments given to staff every year end up in landfill. That adds up to 15,000 tonnes of clothing. The cost of waste disposal alone comes to £1.2m in Landfill Tax.

But recycling or recovering old uniforms is not easy. Polyester, the material of choice for most corporate uniforms, is infinitely recyclable. But collecting branded clothing throws up a number of security and brand reputation issues; it is no wonder so much ends up buried in the ground.

Ocado, the world’s biggest pure-play online retailer, has been determined to do something to not only reduce the environmental impact of its staff uniforms – but to do so in a way that directly benefits people too.

More than 5,600 people at Ocado wear a uniform for work each day. When those uniforms are no longer needed, they are sent to HMP Northumberland. There, the garments, which would otherwise have been incinerated, are totally transformed. Unwanted fleeces, trousers and polo shirts are de-branded and turned into raw materials. These are then turned into new products which are sold online, with proceeds going to charitable recycling projects.

“We take the same approach to uniform refashioning as we do with redistributing food waste; we try not to offload our responsibilities on to somebody else,” says Head of Corporate Responsibility, Suzanne Westlake.

Ocado needed a partner that could manage a large volume of material and treat the de-branding process carefully and securely. But it also wanted a partner that aligned with its core values and strategy. “We firmly believe in supporting education projects, and in taking responsibility for our waste,” adds Westlake. “With a uniform rebrand on the horizon, we had a lot of good quality materials for offenders to work with. There's no point in sending partners rags – people can't learn a trade if the material they're working with isn’t of a certain standard.”

The process – including designing and cutting new patterns and machine-stitching finished products – constitutes a complete manufacturing process. And that is crucial because it means the work being done to design Ocado products counts towards offenders’ studies for a Performing Manufacturing Operations qualification (PMO), equivalent to a Level 2 NVQ.

In the last three years, 17 offenders have successfully completed the PMO, with another 61 now enrolled on the course. Everybody that has been offered the six-month course has voluntarily taken the opportunity, and so far the course success rate is 100%.

“Not all of our projects are end-to-end, so it’s nice to work on the Ocado stuff and see the finished garments evolve from raw fabric,” says Ian, an offender at HMP Northumberland. He has spent the last 15 months gaining the PMO qualification and progressing to be a supervisor. “When I first came in, I knew nothing about textiles. I wouldn’t have thought you could do this kind of thing with an old jacket. These projects make your mind tick over and help you feel more useful.

“I’ve learnt more in here than I did on the outside.”

So far, 99 tonnes of uniform has been sent to the prison for recycling. The company has also recently donated 800 of its de-branded waterproof coats through a partnership with Sodexo, supporting a local charity that helps families in poverty and the homeless in Newcastle.

Yes, the project with HMP Northumberland is helping Ocado to reduce its environmental footprint. But the initiative is also enabling offenders to learn a trade, which in turn increases their self-esteem and boosts their chances of finding meaningful employment after release.

“Education has the power to change lives,” adds Westlake, pointing to studies that show offenders who find sustainable employment after release are 50% less likely to be re-convicted than those who do not. At working prisons, such as HMP Northumberland, 60% of offenders secure employment or training after release – 50% higher than the national average.

So, what’s next for the initiative? Well, the UK Government seems to be supportive of a more widespread adoption of such an approach. A House of Commons All Party Parliamentary Group on Ethics and Sustainability in Fashion, brought together a range of companies, including Ocado, as well as the third sector and government representatives back in 2015. There they discussed new ways to recycle and refashion more textiles to avoid landfill, including the example of what Ocado has now started.

For the HMP Northumberland partnership, there is certainly a desire to scale things up so that the offenders have even more materials to work with. At the start of the partnership, there were two items made from trousers. That has already grown into ten designs, conceived, designed and created by the programme. More elements of the old uniforms are being used in the creative process, such as fleeces and polo shirts.

“Unlike a traditional commercial contract, we’re not bound by minimum volumes or strict timelines on this,” says Westlake. “We can wait, so the partnership can grow at a pace that suits both of us.”

Ocado’s approach to dealing with a tricky and complex challenge shows how creative thinking and a partnership approach can build a long-term, replicable business model that goes beyond purely environmental impact reduction.

Listen Learn Care Foundation Announces 2018 Listen Learn Care Awards Recipients

Thu, 03/01/2018 - 4:47pm

The Listen Learn Care Foundation will present its prestigious Listen Learn Care Awards to six organizations during its upcoming Difference Makers Leadership Forum in Delray Beach.   Set to take place on March 22 and 23, the Leadership Forum has the theme “Technology Trends for Nonprofit Organizations.”

“We are delighted to announce this year’s class of Listen Learn Care Awards recipients,” says Listen Learn Care Foundation President Mary Wong.  “Each of them, in its own way, makes an extraordinary difference to the people they serve – both here in South Florida and around the world.”

The recipients include:

  • Boca Helping Hands, Boca Raton - A community-based 501(c)(3) organization that was formed in 1998 by a group of local religious congregations, the organization operates a food center and a resource center offering help for Boca Raton residents in crisis situations.

  • Child Advocates, Indianapolis - The Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) chosen by the courts in Marion County, Indiana, to represent the best interests of abused and neglected children through advocacy, monitoring, evaluation, fact-finding and mediation.

  • Gratitude Training, Pompano Beach - A powerful, exciting and impactful approach to reorienting its participants’ way of “being” to more effectively support them in reaching their goals, creating success and fully experiencing gratitude and joy.

  • Heifer International, Little Rock, Ark. - For more than 70 years, the international organization has provided livestock and environmentally sound agricultural training to improve the lives of those who struggle daily for reliable sources of food and income.

  • Junior League of Boca Raton - An organization of local women committed to promoting voluntarism, developing the potential of women and improving communities through the effective action and leadership of trained volunteers.

  • Old School Square Center for the Arts, Delray Beach - A National Historic Site in downtown Delray Beach where beautifully restored, early 20th century school buildings serve South Florida with visual and performing arts, entertainment and enrichment.  

The Listen Learn Care Awards are given to individuals, companies and/or nonprofit organizations who demonstrate outstanding creativity, innovation and achievement in serving the community of mankind.  Criteria for selection as an honoree include:

  • Boundless compassion

  • Extraordinary vision

  • Exceptional leadership ability and skills

  • Unwavering commitment and persistence in helping others 

  • Proven success in developing and implementing programs or initiatives that meet community needs.

The presentations will take place at approximately 1:30 p.m. on Friday, March 23, on the second day of the Leadership Forum, which attracts representatives of nonprofit organizations, businesses and other agencies from South Florida and beyond.  The cost to attend the Leadership Forum is $69.99 for the two-day event.

Leadership Forum sponsors include Fit Food Fresh, the Greater Boca Raton Chamber of Commerce, TD Bank, the Wyndham Hotel Boca Raton, JKG Group, and Make a Statement Events.  CSRwire is the media sponsor for the event.  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. 

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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; and help women succeed in business.  For more information, visit www.listenlearncare.org

In New Attack, Chevron Trying to Disbar Lawyer Who Helped Win Historic $9.5 Billion Judgment After 8-Year Trial

Thu, 03/01/2018 - 1:47pm

Faced with a series of stunning legal setbacks in the world’s largest environmental case, Chevron is now trying to orchestrate what appears to be a politically-motivated disbarment of American human rights lawyer Steven Donziger after he helped indigenous and farmer communities win a $9.5 billion judgment against the company over the dumping of billions of gallons of toxic oil waste onto ancestral lands in Ecuador’s Amazon rainforest.

The move comes at a time when Chevron is stepping up its attacks on the indigenous groups and their lawyers following three consecutive unanimous defeats in Canadian appellate courts – including one by Canada’s Supreme Court – in a country where the Ecuadorians are threatening to seize vital company assets to pay for their court-mandated clean-up. Just days ago, Chevron publicly attacked prominent Canadian attorney Alan Lenczner after he won the right to depose a high-level corporate official over what appear to be billions of dollars of irregular payments by the company’s Canadian subsidiary to the governments of Nigeria and Indonesia.

Chevron also recently lost an effort in the Ontario Court of Appeal to impose a $1 million costs order on the indigenous groups in an effort to prematurely end the asset seizure litigation. A three-judge panel unanimously criticized the company for trying to end-run the law rather than deal with credible allegations it had committed fraud both in Ecuador and the United States, all of which has a led to a criminal referral of the company to the U.S. Department of Justice. 

“Whenever Chevron senses that it is losing the litigation despite spending at least $2 billion in its defense, the company starts attacking the impoverished Ecuadorian indigenous peoples and their lawyers in a futile effort to silence advocacy,” said Karen Hinton, the longtime U.S. spokesperson for the Ecuadorians and the former press secretary for New York City Mayor Bill DeBlasio.  “This has been going on for years and it has never worked.”

In the bar matter, Chevron and a U.S. federal judge are seeking to summarily suspend Donziger without a hearing by claiming he is an “immediate threat to the public order” for helping to win the environmental judgment in 2011 in Ecuador’s courts after the company insisted the trial be held there and had accepted jurisdiction. Chevron’s move also comes after prominent national leaders in Canada, including former National Chief Phil Fontaine and Grand Chief Ed John along with Greenpeace co-founder Rex Weyler, heavily criticized the company’s refusal to clean up the toxic waste it dumped onto ancestral lands of the Amazon. It also comes seven years after the Ecuador judgment issued.

(Donziger’s responses to the bar complaint can be found in this 12-page letter and in this legal brief supported by these exhibits.  See here and here for comments by Greenpeace’s Weyler calling out Chevron for committing “ecological crimes” in Ecuador. Also, see Donziger’s background article criticizing Chevron.)

Chevron is demanding that the New York Grievance Committee (which governs attorney ethics) deny Donziger the opportunity to contest the findings from a highly controversial civil RICO decision in 2014 issued by U.S. trial judge Lewis A. Kaplan without a jury. After crediting the testimony of an admittedly corrupt Chevron witness (Alberto Guerra) who was paid $2 million by the company – and after insulting the villagers by calling them the “so-called plaintiffs” and saying he “got it from the beginning” before hearing evidence -- Kaplan ruled that the environmental judgment in Ecuador was obtained by fraud. The Kaplan ruling contradicts the findings of three layers of courts in Ecuador, including one by the country’s Supreme Court, all of which validated the judgment against Chevron.

(For a detailed rebuttal to the Kaplan findings and an account of the false testimony used by Chevron, see Chevron’s RICO Fraud. Also, see this press release and this referral letter to the United States Department of Justice seeking a criminal probe of Chevron.)

In a referral letter to the grievance committee, a longtime colleague of Kaplan’s – Judge P. Kevin Castel – cited the RICO findings as the basis to sanction Donziger without mentioning the paid-for witness testimony or the litany of other problems with the proceeding, described as a “Dickensian farce” by prominent trial lawyer John Keker (see here and here) and attacked in this legal brief from Earth Rights International and in the fact section of Donziger’s brief. Castel also planted the idea that Donziger should be denied a hearing where he could present critical new evidence that undermines Kaplan’s findings as well as evidence of the voluminous scientific sampling results that demonstrated Chevron’s responsibility for dumping toxic waste at more than 1,000 well sites. (See this summary of the evidence against Chevron that was largely excluded by Kaplan.)

Numerous legal observers (see herehere and here) have published evidence of Chevron’s criminality and attacked the serious flaws in the RICO proceeding, including the judge’s deep-seated personal animus toward the Ecuadorians. Kaplan’s ruling in favor of Chevron contradicts the findings of 21 separate appellate judges in Ecuador and Canada who have affirmed all or parts of the Ecuador judgment.

Castel, the referring judge, also appears to have a personal relationship with Jorge Dopico, the chief attorney of the grievance committee that is moving against Donziger. (See p. 10 of this letter.) Dopico and a staff attorney at the committee, Naomi Goldstein, ignored Donziger’s initial response from February 2017 outlining why the Kaplan decision could not credibly be used as a basis to impose attorney discipline given that Ecuador’s courts had rejected the same Chevron allegations on a far fuller evidentiary record. Dopico and Goldstein also refused Donziger’s offer to cooperate with any inquiry. 

Donziger’s supporters criticized the grievance committee for trying to sanction him without a hearing where he could present evidence.

“We see the effort by Chevron and its allies to silence Steven as a form of political retaliation designed to harm a courageous lawyer who took on Big Oil in court and won,” said Patricio Salazar, the lead Ecuadorian lawyer on the case. “The lawyers who committed wrongdoing are those from Chevron’s law firm who tried to frame Steven and the Ecuadorian indigenous peoples with false evidence. The grievance committee unfortunately is acting like an arm of a deeply self-interested corporation and a highly partisan judge, not a disinterested judicial body.

“Steven is a determined lawyer and a person of deep compassion who is beloved by his many clients in Ecuador,” added Salazar. “It is not a threat to the public order for a lawyer to use courts to try to create a world where an American company like Chevron can’t so easily stampede over vulnerable indigenous groups by dumping toxic waste. The real threat to the public order is Chevron and its refusal to pay court judgments, not Steven.”

Other lawyers familiar with Kaplan’s decision voiced similar concerns.

“The grievance committee’s action against Donziger is astonishing and could seriously stain the reputation of the grievance system in New York generally,” said Aaron Page, a lawyer involved in the case. “The findings at issue resulted not from a genuine complaint by an aggrieved client, but from a troubling strategic attack by an oil company designed to knock out disfavored adversary counsel and to taint a major environmental judgment. The grievance committee’s attack should be seen as an extension of this Chevron-led strategic attack on Donziger’s environmental work in Ecuador.”

“From the perspective of international human rights, the committee has offered itself as a platform for judicially harassing a well-known human rights defender who is challenging deeply entrenched economic interests,” added Page. “It’s a disappointing development.”

Numerous legal commentators blame lawyers from Chevron’s outside firm, Gibson Dunn & Crutcher, for the presentation of the false Guerra testimony to try to pin the stigma of criminality on Donziger. (See pp. 11-16 of Chevron’s RICO Fraud for the many problems with Guerra’s testimony.) A team of lawyers at the firm, headed by former deputy New York City mayor Randy Mastro and former federal prosecutor Avi Weitzman, coached Guerra for an almost unheard of amount of time -- 53 days -- prior to allowing him to take the stand in the RICO case.

The Gibson Dunn firm has been dogged by a series of ethics complaints in recent years, including another case where it was caught trying to frame an innocent man with false evidence. (See here.) Guerra later admitted he had perjured himself repeatedly in the RICO matter.

Chevron lawyer Mastro also negotiated the content of Guerra’s testimony in exchange for at least $2 million in benefits during a meeting in Chicago in the lead-up to the trial. Part of Chevron’s benefits package for Guerra included a monthly salary more than 20 times higher than what he had been making in Ecuador as well as a housing allowance, health care, a car, the payment of all income taxes, and payment of legal fees to obtain political asylum in the United States for himself and several members of his extended family. (See this legal filing and this press release for more background on Guerra’s corruption.)

Donziger, who also is a member of the District of Columbia bar, said he does not believe the efforts to sanction him in New York will be successful. In any event, he said he would continue his advocacy for the Ecuadorian rainforest communities regardless. “Chevron will not be able to use its intimidation campaign to silence the advocacy of me or any of the scores of people around the world who are working to hold the company accountable for its human rights violations against indigenous groups in Ecuador,” he said.

“My view is that the size of the judgment obtained by the rainforest communities of Ecuador is creating intense anxiety for Chevron,” he added. “The latest attacks are part of a long-running pattern of gamesmanship which has implications for all lawyers who do human rights work. By attacking me, Chevron hopes to impose a deep freeze on human rights advocacy generally and to discourage young people from engaging in the hard work necessary to hold powerful corporations accountable for environmental harms.”

The move against Donziger is just the latest Chevron attack in a demonization campaign that has stretched on for years and involved at least 60 law firms and 2,000 legal personnel paid by the company.

In 2009, a high-level Chevron official sent an email outlining Chevron’s long-term defense strategy in the Ecuador case was “to demonize” Donziger. The company then spent upwards of $15 million to hire the corporate espionage firm Kroll to trail Donziger and his family and prepare at least 20 reports documenting every aspect of his personal life, all in an effort dig up “dirt” on the lawyer. Several Chevron lawyers, led by Andrea Neumann of Gibson Dunn, have been speaking at industry oil and gas industry conferences to market their anti-human rights litigation playbook and to urge that Donziger be disbarred.

Later, a high-level Chevron official threatened the indigenous groups and farmer communities of Ecuador with a “lifetime of litigation” if they continued to pursue the case. Chevron General Counsel Charles James said, “We will fight this until hell freezes over, and then fight it out on the ice.” The company has continually vowed to never pay the Ecuador judgment. 

In December of last year, Donziger infuriated Chevron when he helped unite the leaders of the national indigenous federations of both Canada (which represents 634 nationalities) and Ecuador (35 nationalities) to hold the company accountable for environmental damage and violations of indigenous rights in both countries. (See here.) Donziger recently called out Judge Kaplan for engaging in a series of biased acts that leave at least the appearance of judicial corruption – including authorizing Chevron to secretly move millions of dollars in fees to the private bank account of court official Max Gitter, a personal friend of the judge who was repeatedly accused of bias in favor of Chevron.

Ecuador’s courts found that Chevron dumped at least 15 billion gallons of toxic waste into the Amazon when it operated in the country in the 1970s and 1980s, decimating indigenous groups and killing scores of people with cancer and other oil-related diseases. The trial lasted from 2003 to 2011, with the trial court judgment against Chevron being affirmed unanimously on appeal by Ecuador’s Supreme Court in 2013. (Here is a summary of the evidence against Chevron relied on by Ecuador’s courts; a summary of studies documenting high cancer rates; and, the Ecuador Supreme Court decision.)

U.S. Chamber Foundation Seeks Nominations to Recognize Top Corporate Citizens

Thu, 03/01/2018 - 10:47am

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation today began accepting nominations for its annual Citizens Awards, which recognize businesses for their positive impact on society.

“Since 2000, the U.S. Chamber Foundation has showcased how the private sector makes the world a better place through the Corporate Citizenship Awards,” said Marc DeCourcey, senior vice president for the U.S Chamber of Commerce Foundation. “We are looking for the best in business, and we encourage businesses of all sizes to submit a nomination.”

The Citizens Awards recognize the private sector’s most accomplished social and community initiatives. This year, six awards will honor businesses for specific strategic initiatives: Best Commitment to Education Program; Best Community Improvement Program; Best Disaster Response and Community Resilience Program; Best Economic Empowerment Program; Best Environmental Stewardship Program; and Best Health and Wellness Program.

Additionally, the Foundation will award two Best Corporate Steward awards—one for large businesses and another for small and middle-market businesses. These awards will honor companies for exceptional overall corporate citizenship portfolios.

The nomination process is open to businesses, chambers of commerce, and industry associations of all sizes. Details on each category’s eligibility and measurement criteria are available here.

The nomination period is open until June 29, 2018. An external review committee of experts in their fields will review the applicants and select three finalists in each category. Finalists will be announced September 2018. Winners, selected by another expert panel, will be announced at the Citizens Awards gala on November 15 in Washington, D.C.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation Corporate Citizenship Center is a leading resource for businesses dedicated to making a difference. For more than 15 years, our programs, events, research, and relationships with key NGO and governments have helped businesses make the world a better place.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation is dedicated to strengthening America’s long-term competitiveness. We educate the public on the conditions necessary for business and communities to thrive, how business positively impacts communities, and emerging issues and creative solutions that will shape the future.

SC Johnson Recognized for Environmental Leadership at 7th Annual Climate Leadership Conference

Thu, 03/01/2018 - 10:47am

SC Johnson today announced it has received a Climate Leadership Award for Excellence in Greenhouse Gas Management (GHG) Goal Setting.

SC Johnson has set an aggressive goal of further reducing GHG emissions 15 percent by 2020 from the base set in 2015. This could result in a reduction of more than 15,000 metric tons of emissions over five years.

“SC Johnson is honored to receive this award that recognizes the aggressive goals that we set and consistently meet for greenhouse gas management,” said Fisk Johnson, Chairman and CEO of SC Johnson. “Using renewable energy is part of our long-term commitment to being a leader in responsible manufacturing, and protecting environmental resources for future generations.”

This is the fourth time SC Johnson has received a Climate Leadership Award for GHG management. This year’s award is being presented on March 1 at the seventh annual Climate Leadership Conference in Denver. The conference brings together forward-thinking leaders from business, government, academia and the nonprofit community to address climate change through policy, innovation and business solutions.

“SC Johnson is part of an incredibly important group of leaders who are accelerating the shift to a more sustainable future,” said Ann McCabe, interim executive director of The Climate Registry. “We hope that their ability to bring about change will inspire and empower others to act.”

The award is presented by the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions (C2ES) and The Climate Registry (TCR) to recognize organizations that publicly report and verify organization-wide greenhouse gas inventories and set aggressive greenhouse gas emissions reduction goals.

Commitment to Alternative Energy

For the past 13 years, SC Johnson has used renewable energy sources around the world to power its facilities. Globally, 35 percent of the company’s energy use in fiscal year 2016/17 came from renewable sources. This includes wind turbines at its largest manufacturing plant in Mount Pleasant, Wisconsin, and its plant in the Netherlands; solar panels in China; production waste converted into biogas, a fuel source, in Indonesia; and the purchase of renewable energy credits.

In May 2017, SC Johnson’s manufacturing site in Bay City, Michigan, became the company’s third company-owned manufacturing site to run on 100 percent wind energy for electricity.

During that same time the company achieved a 55 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, indexed to production, compared to the company’s 2000 baseline.

About SC Johnson

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

Global Sustain Releases Global Report on ESG Market

Thu, 03/01/2018 - 10:47am

Global Sustain Group conducted and released recently a new ESG/SRI & Impact Investments Market Report and Benchmark Analysis, entitled "ESG Investing. From Niche to Mainstream".

The report provides insights of the ESG market in Europe, in USA and globally, presenting selected and approved leading asset management firms, examining their ESG strategy and investments.

The full version of the report is over 70 pages and it includes ESG/impact investments market metrics, trends, facts and figures, main ESG investment strategies, models, ESG funds’ performance ranking, benchmark analysis of some of the leading asset management firms in the sector from Europe (mainly from UK, Germany, Switzerland, France, Netherlands) and USA.

According to the report and the data provided by the Global Sustainable Investment Alliance (GSIA) in 2016, 22.89 trillion USD of assets were being professionally managed under responsible investment strategies, a growth rate of 25% since 2014. In 2016, around 26% of professionally managed assets had SRI/ESG strategy elements. It is estimated that in 2016, in Europe in terms of value, total assets of over 12 trillion EUR were managed with SRI/ESG strategies.

Global Sustain, a PRI member signatory and GRI data partner, conducts benchmark research and analysis reports using metrics based on international best practices. The methodology is based on a structured, detailed and in-depth analysis that allows the report to become an essential tool for decision making.

You may find below a summary of the Report with a detailed content outline. For the full version of the report, please do not hesitate to contact us.

In Search of Fresh Ideas About Environment

Wed, 02/28/2018 - 10:43am
For the second year running, materials manufacturer Covestro and UN Environment are calling on young innovators across the globe to submit their creative solutions to the world’s most pressing environmental challenges.

Representing every global region, seven applicants with the most promising solutions will be recognized as Young Champions of the Earth. The world’s pre-eminent environmental honor for young people was awarded last year for the first time. Each winner will receive $15,000 in seed funding, customized training, participation in a high-level U.N. meeting and global publicity.

In parallel, up to 50 applicants will be granted privileged access to an online mentoring program. A community of experts drawn from 16,000 Covestro employees will become mentors dedicated to strengthening the viability and impact of the mentees’ ideas.

By providing such technical and financial support, Covestro and UN Environment will help young people scale up their big ideas into real workable solutions for environmental problems and, in doing so, inspire others to take action.

“It’s not just a pleasure for us to continue to support UN Environment with the Young Champions of the Earth program, but a necessity because sustainability, as well as the UN Sustainable Development Goals, play such a huge part in what we do every single day at Covestro to tackle some of the complex environmental challenges we all face,” says Patrick Thomas, Covestro CEO.

"There is not a single environmental problem today that we cannot innovate our way out of. It's therefore essential that we do our best to empower and inspire young entrepreneurs," says Erik Solheim, head of UN Environment.

"When we tap into that creativity, we can unearth fresh thinking and new possibilities for the sustainable future of our Earth. Young people are the leaders of today, not just tomorrow. They are the key to a clean, green and pollution-free planet."

Interested environmentalists between the ages of 18 and 30 are encouraged to submit their big ideas here by midnight GMT on 2 April 2018.

For further information see http://web.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 2017 sales of EUR 14.1 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 16,200 people at the end of 2017.

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 

JLL Employed Transformational Approach to Responding to Puerto Rican Crisis

Wed, 02/28/2018 - 10:43am

In the aftermath of Hurricane Maria’s devastating landfall in Puerto Rico last September, JLL went into high gear on two fronts: providing emergency relief to the families of its 240 employees and activating an All Hands-on Deck response to keep its 441 client facilities operating.  Like most of the businesses operating on the island, JLL faced insurmountable challenges in meeting these needs as even the simplest request for safe drinking water or a portable generator triggered an unprecedented series of logistical obstacles.   In crafting its response, JLL drew upon its transformational approach to understanding the impact of real estate on people: The Human Experience or HX.

As one of the largest property management and facilities operators in the world, JLL is no stranger to emergency preparedness and disaster relief: its Health Safety Security & Environment (HSSE) department was on the front lines of dealing with Hurricane Harvey in Houston and more recently Irma in Miami.   However, the absolute devastation unleashed by Maria, combined with the geographic sequestration of Puerto Rico, catalyzed JLL’s internal teams to deliver a new standard in client service, which was informed and influenced by the company’s groundbreaking research about the workplace.

“What was remarkable about our efforts in Puerto Rico is that we very quickly transformed our approach to this disaster from thinking about how to help our employees on a human scale and our clients to keep the lights on, to expanding our notions of client service to becoming their on-the-ground partner,” explained Bob Best, JLL’s HSSE Lead.  “We marshalled all available resources in Puerto Rico and coordinated with our Emergency Response Team from our headquarters in Chicago, providing everything from diapers and toothpaste to a mobile doctor who navigated through unpassable roads to make ‘house calls’ to our employees.”

And what was born out of that organic humanitarian relief effort was a very effective blend of client service through the lens of being a good corporate citizen.  While the notion of partnering with clients to support their pro bono and philanthropic efforts is not new, JLL’s unique ability to serve the on-the-ground needs of the very human supply chain was inspiring.   It was also a powerful case study to reinforce the company’s global research study confirming the link between engagement and the work environment ~ a finding that is tested when the work place has been ravaged by natural disasters.

“These kind of client partnerships are growing stronger and we’re seeing the importance and benefit of how we approach them,” commented Best. “Over the ensuing weeks and months, thanks poured in to us from people that don’t work for JLL. We had an aha moment: We are no longer a vendor. We’re part of your corporate structure and you can count on us to protect your people as we would our own.”

JLL opened its office in San Juan: to make available for clients to use for its own administrative staff. It also distributed water, supplies and even satellite phones to employees of its clients.  JLL’s Supply Chain Management and Procurement (SCMP) group was instrumental in these efforts.

With advanced notice of the storms, the SCMP team provided valuable planning documents, resource lists, and supplier contacts to cover both residential and commercial needs. As storms passed and magnitude of the damage became evident, the team stepped up again to evaluate creative options for addressing situations such as long-term power outages; safety concerns in using unfamiliar equipment; the need to share information in a bi-lingual format and overcoming complex logistical obstacles due to limited access to the island.  In one of the more dramatic instances, a JLL employee and his client were discussing the desperate need to get emergency humanitarian aid to employees, friends and family on the island. The discussion set in motion a partnership - leveraging the client’s private jet and arranging for JLL volunteers to buy, package and transport supplies to airfield to be flown directly from the mainland to the island.

“Time and time again in the aftermath of the storm, we were able to leverage our most valuable supply chain asset- our deep Supplier Relationships to come up with new and creative ways to overcome challenges presented in the aftermath of the three major hurricanes that impacted out associates and clients.  This experience served to cement the bond between JLL and its community of vendors and service providers,” related Evan Jones, Senior Vice President- Supply Chain Strategy and Transformation

 “The workplace is predicted to become more occupier focused over the next ten years as an emphasis on creating memorable experiences transforms how and where people work. With 7,000 workers worldwide telling us so in our new, global study: Workplace, powered by Human Experience, this is one prediction we can safely make against a backdrop of widespread uncertainty,” stated Best, referencing JLL’s landmark study.  He continued:

“Our international research shows that both employers and employees see human experience as the main factor in determining the shape of their work environment for the foreseeable future. In the case of our response to Puerto Rico, we walked our talk, both with our own employees and those of our clients.”

First Corporate Sustainability Bond in Asia Issued by TLFF for a Natural Rubber Company in Indonesia

Wed, 02/28/2018 - 10:43am

The Tropical Landscapes Finance Facility (TLFF) today announced its inaugural transaction, a landmark US$ 95 million Sustainability Bond to help finance a sustainable natural rubber plantation on heavily degraded land in two provinces in Indonesia. The project incorporates extensive social and environmental objectives and safeguards. Planted areas will serve as a buffer zone to protect a threatened national park from encroachment.

A multi-tranche Sustainability Bond arranged by BNP Paribas (BNPP) and issued by TLFF I Pte Ltd. will fund PT Royal Lestari Utama (RLU), an Indonesian joint venture between France’s Michelin and Indonesia’s Barito Pacific Group, for climate smart, wildlife friendly, socially inclusive production of natural rubber in Jambi, Sumatra and East Kalimantan provinces.

The project involves collaboration with WWF, which has worked with Michelin and RLU to set aside remaining High Carbon Stock (HCS) and High Carbon Value (HCV) forest in the RLU concessions, as well as critical wildlife conservation and riparian areas. Out of a concession area of 88,000 hectares, roughly 45,000 hectares will be set aside for community livelihoods and conservation.

In Jambi Province, the two concession areas held by RLU and two WWF concessions form a contiguous buffer zone protecting the Bukit Tigapuluh National Park, which is one of the last places in Indonesia where elephants, tigers and orangutans co-exist. At maturity, the natural rubber plantation is expected to provide approximately 16,000 fair-wage jobs, providing a critical source of employment for local communities.

“We are honored to take this important step alongside TLFF towards establishing an impactful partnership for the development of a more sustainable rubber industry,” said David Sulaiman, President Director of RLU. “This demonstrates our commitment to a thriving, sustainable rubber market for the country and our unwavering support for local communities.”

Dr. Kuntoro Mangkusbroto, Chairperson of the TLFF welcomed the project’s alignment to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals through a holistic triple bottom-line approach that puts people and planet at the heart of all TLFF projects.

An initial 18,100 hectares of rubber were planted as of December 2017 and the TLFF bond issue will contribute to financing further development of the plantation. USAID has provided a partial credit guarantee on the transaction.

Erik Solheim, Executive Director of UN Environment expressed his delight at the progress achieved since the MoU between UN Environment and BNP Paribas signed at the One Planet Summit in Paris in December 2017 to target innovative sustainable finance of US$ 10 billion by 2025 for projects that support sustainable agriculture and forestry in ways that help solve the climate crisis rather than accentuate it.

“It is the role of banks today to make sure we can enable sustainable and impactful projects everywhere. While not without its own challenges, this transaction is proof that financial institutions can generate socially beneficial outcomes when we really work hard” said Eric Raynaud, CEO, Asia Pacific and Member of Group Executive Committee at BNP Paribas. “This complex structuring arrangement also demonstrates that our institutional investor clients have the appetite to invest in projects and companies that combine commercial and financial performance with clear environmental and social purpose and impact.” Luc Cardyn, President Director of PT Bank BNP Paribas Indonesia, added “As the Lead Manager on this groundbreaking Sustainable Bond transaction, BNP Paribas is proud to help generate economic, environmental and social benefits for Indonesia.”

ADM Capital co-founder and partner, Chris Botsford said, “reversing the current adverse trends on deforestation and climate change will take many billions of dollars. Private sector capital must be an essential part of the solution. We hope this transaction will inspire many others to step forward urgently.”

“We are delighted to be involved in this exciting and innovative funding approach” said Tony Simons, Director General of the World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF). Simons noted “A new paradigm is emerging here with high value investments that seeks to contribute substantial environmental and social dividends alongside risk shared financial returns”.

Vigeo Eiris, the ESG consulting firm, has confirmed that the Notes are ’Sustainability Notes’ with positive contribution to sustainable development, and, as the first ASEAN sustainability bond, aligned with the ICMA Sustainability Bond Guidelines. More information is available at https://tlffindonesia.org

The US$95,000,000 Fixed Rate Secured Notes comprise of the following classes: US$30,000,000 Class A Notes due 2033, US$20,000,000 Class B1a Notes 2033, US$15,000,000 Class B1b Notes due 2023, US$15,000,000 Class B1c Notes due 2025  and US$15,000,000 Class B2 Notes due 2033. The Class A notes have been assigned a Aaa(sf) rating by Moody’s.

For more information please contact:

communications@rlu.co.id

communications@tlffindonesia.org

Read more: http://bit.ly/2EYQO8l

Sustainable Retail Summit

Wed, 02/28/2018 - 10:43am

Our industry is facing a clear call to action. People are demanding sustainable products and want to live healthier lives, and they expect our industry to deliver. At the same time, the UN Sustainable Development Goals demand co-ordinated industry action. These demands, together with an uncertain political environment and ever-more complex supply chains, mean it’s harder than ever to know how to implement strategies and actions that will secure the long-term, sustainable growth of your business.

However, thanks to The Consumer Goods Forum and our Sustainable Retail Summit , there is now a unique opportunity to learn first-hand how companies are taking positive actions and collaborating to overcome today’s biggest industry challenges. From eradicating forced labor, reducing and measuring food loss and waste to supporting healthier diets and lifestyles, the Sustainable Retail Summit provides practical sessions on how to implement change and meet these challenging demands head on.

Measuring Fashion Report Delivers Results From the First Study on the Global Environmental Impacts of the Apparel and Footwear Industries

Tue, 02/27/2018 - 4:40pm

ClimateWorks Foundation, a non-governmental organization which mobilizes philanthropy to solve the climate crisis and ensure a prosperous future, together with the environmental sustainability experts and consultants at Quantis announce the release of the report, Measuring Fashion: Insights from the Environmental Impact of the Global Apparel and Footwear Industries study. The underlying study is the first of its kind to assess the environmental impacts of the global apparel and footwear industries. It considers the industries’ value chains across 7 stages - from fiber production/material extraction to end-of-life, and includes 5 different environmental indicators: Climate Change, Resources, Freshwater Withdrawal, Ecosystem Quality, Human Health.

“There is increasing pressure on fashion brands to demonstrate their sustainability. We have seen many assumptions being made about the actual environmental performance of the industry and its value chain, where the hotspots lie, and what the potential solutions may be,” Quantis senior sustainability consultant Annabelle Stamm explains. “We knew fashion’s impact was major, but we didn’t have the science-based metric view of what this really meant. This study enables us to answer some of these questions, bust some of our collective assumptions, and provide guidance to those committed to act,” she adds. 

This groundbreaking study and the insights gained are critical to guide fashion brands and businesses that are committed to setting truly sustainable goals, to make science-driven decisions, helping implement effective and meaningful actions. Understanding environmental impacts, particularly on climate, is also necessary for fashion brands committing to the Science-Based Targets initiative to get their business aligned with the global objective to limit warming to 2°C. 

The Measuring Fashion study is the first-of-its-kind for three reasons: 1/ Based on industry specific impact data from the World Apparel Lifecycle Database, which makes it comprehensive, robust, and up-to-date; 2/ Uses a multi-indicator approach to assess different impact areas such as water use and ecosystem impacts alongside greenhouse gas emissions to ensure a balanced assessment on multiple fronts; and, 3/ Provides an outlook of the evolution of impacts across time (both past and future) and connects this with specific levers for change across the value chain. 

Fast facts from the Measuring Fashion report: 

  • Combined, the global apparel and footwear industries account for 8% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions, almost as much as the total carbon impact of the EU.

  • The apparel industry alone accounts for 6.7% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions, with more than 50% coming from 3 phases: fiber production (15%), yarn preparation (28%), and the highest impact phase - dyeing & finishing (36%).

  • In a business-as-usual scenario, apparel’s climate impact is expected to increase by 49% - equal to today’s total annual greenhouse gas emissions in the United States.

  • 3 levers of change were identified – rethinking energy, disruptive reduction, and design for the future – and the report asks, “Is shifting to a circular economy enough?”

It is time for action, time for fashion to channel its innovative and creative approach toward the world’s most pressing challenge. Helen Picot, Buildings and Industry Portfolio at ClimateWorks Foundation, explains why this study will help:

“Clothing is a major part of our day-to-day consumption and we all know that fashion is getting faster and cheaper. But few consumers realize how much their new shirt or pair of shoes impacts their carbon and water footprint. This new research from Quantis and ClimateWorks Foundation reveals the most environmentally intensive links in apparel supply chains. These results can help brands, manufacturers and consumers make smarter choices about how to get on a more sustainable path.”

For more in-depth look at the study, access the Measuring Fashion: Environmental Impact of the Global Apparel and Footwear Industries study (full report and methodological considerations) here:  http://www.climateworks.org/report/measuring-fashion-global-study/ 

STEERING COMMITTEE

A Steering Committee of industry leaders and experts contributed to the Environmental Impact of the Global Apparel and Footwear Industries study by providing their valuable feedback and input. Members included: Jason Kibbey, CEO, Sustainable Apparel Coalition; Debera Johnson, Executive Director, Brooklyn Fashion + Design Accelerator, Pratt Center for Sustainable Design Strategies; Megan McGill, Program Manager, C&A Foundation; La Rhea Pepper, Managing Director, Textile Exchange; Linda Greer, Senior Scientist, NRDC. 

Steering Committee support for the report

Linda Greer, Senior Scientist, National Resource Defense Council:

"This unique study provides robust data on the environmental impacts of each step of the apparel supply chain. It directs focus to areas that matter the most so you don’t waste time on the small stuff. It empowers companies to step up and set ambitious, achievable science-based targets to reduce their climate impact."

Debera Johnson, Executive Director, Brooklyn Fashion + Design accelerator, Pratt Center for Sustainable Design Strategies: 

"What we know is only valuable when it rubs up against what other people know. This report is an invaluable resource for making change."

La Rhea Pepper, Managing Director, Textile Exchange:

"You have to have good information to make sound decisions. This report provides a great perspective on ways that we, as a textile community, can take action. We can’t allow ourselves to be overwhelmed to paralysis; every small decision and individual action adds up. This will require new business thinking and engagement. Let’s make the wisest choices!"

WEBINAR

“MEASURING FASHION WEBINAR: a look at how the global apparel and footwear industries size up to their environmental impacts”

March 28th at 5pm CET / 4pm GMT/ 11am EST / 8am PST.

Register here to join panelists from ClimateWorks Foundation, Quantis, and the NRDC to learn more about the study and how it will change the future of fashion.

SOCIAL SUPPORT

To support the outreach of the report, access our Measuring Fashion Media Kit and use/tag:
#measuringfashion
@ClimateWorks
@Quantis_intl

*END* 

About ClimateWorks Foundation
ClimateWorks Foundation is a team of researchers, strategists, collaborators, and grant-makers who are committed to climate action and believe in the power of collective philanthropy. www.climateworks.org

About Quantis
Quantis guides top organizations to define, shape and implement intelligent environmental sustainability solutions. In a nutshell, our creative geeks take the latest science and make it actionable. Our team of talents delivers resilient strategies, robust metrics, useful tools, and credible communications for a more sustainable future.

A sustainability consulting group known for our metrics-based approach to sustainability, Quantis has offices in the US, France, Switzerland, Germany, Italy and Colombia and has a diverse client portfolio that spans the globe.

(re)discover Quantis at www.quantis-intl.com

For media enquiries, contact:
Lori Gustavus
Quantis, Global Director of Communications & Marketing
lori.gustavus@quantis-intl.com
+33/ 9.63.23.04.67

Brad Weinrieb
ClimateWorks, Asst. Director of Communications
brad@climateworks.org
+1-415-317-3406

Discovery Green® Celebrates 10-Year Anniversary, 20 Years of Clean Energy With Green Mountain Energy

Tue, 02/27/2018 - 1:39pm

 Discovery Green is celebrating its first double-digit birthday with a giant green gift for its guests – two decades of pollution-free programming with 100 percent clean energy.

The park, which opened April 2008, is renewing its agreement with Green Mountain Energy Company, in continued collaboration with Infinity Power Partners, through 2028 to provide electricity for all of the facilities’ needs from concerts and movies to installations like the seasonal ice-skating rink, marking a total of 20 years of commitment to renewable energy for the 12-acre park in the heart of downtown Houston.

Discovery Green has greatly valued our partnership with Green Mountain Energy throughout our first decade, and we look forward to the next 10 years,” said Barry Mandel, president and director of Discovery Green. “Not only has Green Mountain provided us with renewable energy that helps keep Discovery Green 'green,' the company has also been supportive of many programs at the park and is the official sponsor of our Tenth Anniversary Year.”

Since first teaming up with Green Mountain ten years ago, Discovery Green has become a leading example of environmental stewardship and energy conservation in downtown Houston and for parks across the country. Over the course of the partnership, the park has avoided approximately 28.3 million pounds of carbon dioxide, or the equivalent of planting 3,300 trees or taking 3,000 vehicles off the road for a year.

By choosing renewable energy, Discovery Green is expected to avoid an additional 32.8 million pounds of carbon dioxide, for a total of 61.2 million pounds over 20 years, or the equivalent of planting 7,200 trees or taking 6,600 vehicles off the road for a year.

Discovery Green’s success highlights the benefits that come with practicing sustainability in an urban setting,” said Mark Parsons, vice president and general manager of Green Mountain. “We’re proud to be the Official Green Energy Provider for Discovery Green and help them deliver on their commitment to be an environmental leader in our community.”

To mark the milestone, Discovery Green will host multiple Tenth Anniversary Celebration events sponsored by Green Mountain through the spring, starting with the Bayou City Music Series launching March 1.

Infinity Power Partners, a Houston-based energy management and consulting firm, has assisted Discovery Green in structuring and executing the sponsorship and commercial electricity contracts with Green Mountain since 2012.

Green Mountain Energy Company
Green Mountain Energy Company is the nation’s longest serving renewable energy retailer and believes in using wind, sun and water for good. The company was founded in 1997 with the mission to change the way power is made. Green Mountain offers consumers and businesses the choice of cleaner electricity products from renewable sources, as well as a variety of carbon offset products and sustainable solutions for businesses. One of Green Mountain’s largest customers is the “world’s most famous office building,” the Empire State Building in New York City. Green Mountain customers have collectively helped avoid more than 37.7 billion pounds of carbon dioxide emissions. Follow us on facebook.com/greenmountainenergycompany or twitter.com/greenmtnenergy.

Discovery Green
Discovery Green is a highly acclaimed 12-acre park created by a public-private partnership between the City of Houston and the non-profit Discovery Green Conservancy in downtown Houston. Since opening in April 2008, the park has welcomed more than 12 million visitors. The Discovery Green Conservancy works with hundreds of programming partners to present more than 700 art, music, educational, fun and healthy events each year, most of which are presented free to the public. As a non-profit organization, the Conservancy raises all the funds needed for the programming that Houstonians enjoy.

Infinity Power Partners, LLC
Infinity Power Partners is an energy management and consulting firm that provides energy procurement solutions, risk management services, market insight and continuous account maintenance through the development of client-specific strategies. With over 100 years of combined expertise in the deregulated electricity & natural gas markets, IPP offers an unique and transparent approach to maneuvering through today’s energy related obstacles for clients across all industries.

Discovery Green. Reg. U.S. Pat. & Tm. Off.

New Report Shows More FMCG Companies Partnering with Communities to Address Local Health and Wellness Challenges

Tue, 02/27/2018 - 1:39pm

The Consumer Goods Forum (CGF) has published a new report showing that more companies are engaging with their communities on health topics. The annual Health & Wellness Pillar Progress Report highlights that last year there was a 26% rise in participation in health-related programmes amongst CGF members. The report is based on a survey of 83 CGF members, who generate a combined US$2.97 trillion in revenues.

Community engagement has been a major focus for the FMCG sector over the last year, as 85% of consumer goods companies have formed partnerships with community stakeholders.

Over 1.6 million employees participated in health and wellness programmes. Employees form key groups within local communities and improving health in the workplace is also seen as a key step towards healthier communities.

Furthermore, nearly six in ten companies (58%) said they had been involved in food bank programmes, with 180 million meals distributed and in excess of 77,400 tonnes of food donated.

The Consumer Goods Forum’s ‘Collaboration for Healthier Lives’ (CHL) initiative has pushed the issue of community health programmes and working with local public health authorities to the top of the agenda in the boardroom. The project, which aims to drive positive action within communities around the world, has encouraged FMCG companies to go out into communities and actively promote health and wellness.

In 2017, CHL initiatives have taken place in Colombia, Japan and the United States, and more are planned to be rolled-out this year in Costa Rica, Mexico and the United Kingdom. Activities have included distributing educational material in stores, engaging with local educational institutions, promoting the benefits of healthier choices and regular exercise through health fairs and free in-store health checks. As a result of these initiatives, local engagement is the major theme of this year’s Health & Wellness Pillar report, emphasising the benefits of retailer and manufacturer collaboration.

The Health & Wellness report also demonstrated that product reformulation has been a continued focus over the last year. Just under nine in ten (88%) of companies said they had introduced products that had been formulated or reformulated to support healthier diets and lifestyles. There was also a 12% rise in the number of businesses that are cutting salt and sugar in their products. 

The CGF Board Co-Sponsors Mark Schneider, CEO of Nestlé S.A and Dick Boer, Ahold Delhaize President and CEO wrote in the foreword to the report: “Our ambition to empower consumers to lead healthier lives is an important long-term objective that requires sustained effort. We are helping to improve the health of the communities we serve, but we know that there is so much more we can do together. Building upon our initial five-year plan from 2013, we now intend to strengthen our leadership in this area for the next five years and beyond.”

The Consumer Goods Forum’s Director of Health & Wellness, Sharon Bligh, commented: “This year’s annual report highlights the progress that’s being made on a community level. I would like to thank all the CGF member companies, who have shared their data in the only such global survey covering both retailers and consumer goods manufacturers, for their continuous efforts to make the health and wellness agenda relevant. I also would like to thank Mary Kearney, Senior Manager - Nutrition & Health Operations at Unilever, for her leadership as Chair for the Measurement & Reporting work stream. We are delighted to see our members’ projects reach such a large number of employees and communities”.

 Download 2018 Health & Wellness Progress Report

-ENDS-

About The Consumer Goods Forum
The Consumer Goods Forum (“CGF”) is a global, parity-based industry network that is driven by its members to encourage the global adoption of practices and standards that serves the consumer goods industry worldwide. It brings together the CEOs and senior management of some 400 retailers, manufacturers, service providers, and other stakeholders across 70 countries, and it reflects the diversity of the industry in geography, size, product category and format. Its member companies have combined sales of EUR 3.5 trillion and directly employ nearly 10 million people, with a further 90 million related jobs estimated along the value chain. It is governed by its Board of Directors, which comprises more than 50 manufacturer and retailer CEOs. For more information, please visit: www.theconsumergoodsforum.com.

For further information, please contact:

Sharon Bligh,
Director, Health & Wellness
The Consumer Goods Forum
hw@theconsumergoodsforum.com   

Veronica Cooper
Communications Officer
The Consumer Goods Forum
v.cooper@theconsumergoodsforum.com

Why North American Cities Are Putting the Brakes on Drivers

Tue, 02/27/2018 - 1:39pm

This question is increasingly challenging city planners and real estate developers across North America, where many cities have long been designed to accommodate a car culture that’s showing its age.

Amid improvements in public transit infrastructure, technology developments and changing urban demographics, cities across the continent are making efforts to curb car dependency. Take Columbus, Ohio, for example, where parking headaches had become so chronic that office vacancies rose, despite continuing demand for sophisticated redevelopment. Downtown property owners, desperate for change, seized matters into their own hands to trial what’s been hailed as the largest of its kind transit subsidy program in the U.S.: the business association is offering a free bus pass to the more than 40,000 people who work in the area.

Meanwhile, Mexico City, the biggest city in North America, has recently made waves for its subtle, but far-reaching move to cut minimum parking space requirements. These laws, which are prevalent across the continent, had required housing developers to build a certain number of parking spaces depending on how many people lived there. Now, buildings can be designed according to the amount of parking that makes sense for the neighborhood, which in transit-heavy areas, may mean close to none.

What’s happening in Columbus and Mexico City is part of a larger story. While frustration with congestion and pollution is inspiring a turn away from long-standing dependencies on cars, powerful new possibilities are emerging in the form of more supported transit, car-sharing and autonomous vehicles that together are poised to transform everything about the way we build cities and move in and around them.

Changing demographics, and a strong case for changing cities

It’s not just cities and public-private partnerships driving change. Private companies have been actively helping employees beat congestion, offering transit subsidies as well as bike-to-work schemes, corporate car sharing programs and commuter buses. Even carpooling is making a comeback.

But perhaps the biggest fundamental driver toward fewer cars can be found in the way we choose to get to the places we live and work.

“We are seeing tremendous change in real estate and mobility preferences, especially with younger generations,” says Eric Enloe, Managing Director of JLL’s Valuation and Advisory Services platform. “In urban areas, it’s not a given that millennials will have or even want a car to get to work. Access to public transportation is one of the top considerations in new office searches. And with the rise of Uber and other services, Millennials in big cities often don’t feel like they have to drive anywhere.”

People want more ways to get to work than the old single-driver commute. Employers can also benefit from offering alternatives. For example, the Columbus initiative cited above is expected to spark new interest from employees who will appreciate the chance to get to work more easily, and in turn their employers. Ultimately, the initiative is projected to decrease the office vacancy rate from roughly 15 percent to around 4 percent.

“Encouraging more sustainable transportation options also fits the culture and mold of Fortune 500 companies,” says Enloe. “Many forward-looking organizations are investing in green buildings, so supporting public transit for employees, making it easy to access car-sharing or ride their bike to work—it all goes hand in hand with a commitment to corporate social responsibility.”

For building developers, cutting the square footage dedicated to parking spaces can produce bottom-line savings and exciting new possibilities. “By saving space and costs on parking, workplace designers can create amenities, potentially creating better experiences for employees,” says Enloe.

The road ahead: Obstacle and opportunity

Commuters may want to break out of gridlock, but change could take more time in some places than in others. Much of the delay can be traced back to how public dollars are managed. Right now, the U.S. government pours far more money into parking subsidies than in commuter transit benefits, with $7.3 billion a year going to tax breaks that help more people to drive to work, compared with $1.3 billion for commuter transit benefits.

Allocating more funds to transit could not only reduce traffic and carbon emissions—it could also improve and expand transit options so that more people can benefit.

But transit isn’t the only answer, warns Enloe. “Throwing money at one solution is not enough,” he says. “Cities, property owners and developers, and citizens alike need to take a look at what mix of transportation makes most sense in their community.”

Revolutionizing cars—and cities

Changing the way we think about the future of parking in cities is about more than public transportation and bike paths. Increasingly, the bigger picture view will have yet another opportunity to consider: the oncoming autonomous vehicle revolution.

“In much the same way that the automobile changed the cities of our country in the 20th century, it’s going to change our cities again,” says Paige Pitcher of the MIT Real Estate Innovation Lab. “And it’s going to disrupt everything we thought we knew about real estate.”

Indeed, the autonomous revolution will encourage designing buildings around people, not cars, she believes. “Cars don’t just take up room on roads, they also take up space in our homes and businesses,” says Pitcher. “We have four parking spaces for every car in the U.S. – that’s trillions of real estate dollars locked up as storage.”

Pitcher analyzed seven studies predicting the reduced demand for parking resulting from autonomous vehicles. Her research forecasts parking demand will decrease 34 percent by 2035. The ultimate result: cars no longer have to drive real estate.

The potential is huge, from parking garages that don’t need space for doors to open, to paved driveways being returned to grass. “It might sound futuristic, but the autonomous vehicle revolution isn’t about robots,” she says in a TedX Talk. “It’s about people and places and property value. Cities of the last century were designed around cars. So if cars change dramatically, then so will our cities.”

To learn more about JLL’s extensive research into the Future of Cities, click here

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NHBSR 2018 Conference