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Updated: 46 min 36 sec ago

Mobility: A Powerful Engine for Sustainability, Inclusion and Economic Prosperity

46 min 36 sec ago

Continent by continent and country by country our lives came to a grinding halt when the pandemic started spreading around the world. Movement of people, goods, and services were drastically reduced. By April, the number of air travelers dropped over 80% compared to the year prior, and at some point more than half of the world’s airplanes were grounded. Automobile traffic fell 70% in countries under lockdown orders. All of this in an effort to battle the virus and flatten the curve.

The enforced slowdown highlighted a dramatic reduction in air pollution as depicted in striking aerial photos of the world’s major cities.

Mobility is an essential enabler for economic development, societal inclusion, prosperity and wellbeing. Although recent events has seen the rapid uptake of digital technology which will continue to serve us well, it cannot replace the need for face-face contact and the distribution of goods and services.

As we emerge from isolation and resume movement around the world, among many questions we should ask is: How can we make mobility more sustainable?

The answer is through digitalization, technology, material science innovation and a new era of collaboration. The pandemic has made it more apparent than ever that we need to accelerate the drive towards low-carbon mobility.

This industry trend aligns with Dow’s recent announcement of Sustainability Targets, including aggressive carbon reduction goals. This is where Dow science, expertise and passionate people step in – working closer than ever with customers and industry stakeholders to bring the possibilities to life.

And that’s why we announced our new MobilityScience platform this week. We’ve organized our technologies under one platform to open new avenues of collaboration and accelerate innovation. Our wide range of technologies improve performance in electric vehicles, hybrids, and traditional powertrains, while opening the door to new design concepts for the future of transportation.

We look forward to showcasing how Dow’s material science can contribute to a new era of more sustainable mobility that keeps our economies moving, brings us closer together as a people, and improves quality of life around the world.

COVID-19's Resurgence, Commercial Real Estate, and Tourism

3 hours 46 min ago

Originally published by Northern Trust

Carl offers thoughts on the progress of the pandemic.

I belong to an international economic association that meets annually during the summer.  We had been set to gather in Madrid earlier this month, but COVID-19 forced us to scuttle those plans.  Fortunately, we were able to share conversation via video conference; unfortunately, we had to schedule those discussions at odd hours to accommodate members from around the world.  There is nothing more stimulating than a 3 a.m. lecture on modern monetary theory.

Many of the presenters began their segments with a review of the pandemic’s progress through their regions.  Some (Australia, Japan) are well past peak rates of infection; others (Brazil, India) are seeing cases increase rapidly.  As we discussed in our recent essay covering the four curves of recovery, the path of the virus will have a critical impact on economic performance in the quarters ahead.

On that front, the United States is not faring well.  The U.S. is almost alone among countries in having seen contagion fall from a peak, only to accelerate a second time.  A handful of U.S. states have witnessed a significant increase in cases during the past several weeks.  In general, the areas that reopened earlier and were more relaxed about enforcing preventative measures have seen the biggest outbreaks.

In response, some places have slowed their reopening schedules and reinforced requirements for masks and social distancing.  The risk of renewed closures is rising.  Even if communities stick to reopening plans, consumers may hesitate to go out again amid the renewed risk of infection.  After gaining nicely over the past month, restaurant reservations in some of the hotter spots for COVID-19 have fallen off.

The economic consequences of the resurgence in cases could be substantial.  More people will be out of work for longer, and more firms will face bankruptcy.  Policy will be challenged to address a more prolonged period of business interruption.

Earlier this year, some public health officials predicted that the pandemic would burn itself out by summer.  Unfortunately, it still appears too hot to handle.

Re-Building
For decades, cities have raced to enhance their skylines with tall structures.  A strong architectural profile, it is thought, projects the image of a strong economy and society.  And filling those buildings with office workers adds to the vitality of the central business district.  But as the global economy emerges from the COVID-19 lockdown, our relationships with commercial property will evolve in important ways. 

The office sector entered the crisis in reasonably balanced condition, with steady vacancy rates and solid rental rates.  But most office-based businesses have transitioned their employees to working remotely, leaving landlords in an unusual position: Office spaces are leased and furnished, with no one showing up to them.  Most office tenants are still paying rent, but most are also taking a hard look at when—and whether—to return.

The recession is weighing on tenants’ prospects.  Property manager JLL reported that as the crisis took hold, more than 42% of its 8,500 tenants had inquired about rent relief.  The requests came from all types of businesses and all property classes, with ground-floor retail occupants of commercial buildings feeling the greatest stress.  Moody’s Analytics forecasts a vacancy increase from 16.8% in 2019 to 19.4% by the end of 2020.

“The lockdown is leading businesses to question their office needs.”

The long-term outlook for the office market is tentative.  The lockdown has proven the viability of remote work for many sectors.  In years to come, location strategy shifts may lead to less demand for office spaces, especially in dense, higher-rent areas. 

The industrial sector is more resilient.  One immediate effect of the lockdown has been a greater reliance on e-commerce for shopping and delivery.  Goods sold online must be stored and fulfilled in warehouses, bolstering demand for warehouse space.  Outside of warehousing, industrial properties also stand to benefit from trade tensions.  As global supply chains are called into question, demand for local production is poised to increase, which would increase demand for production facilities. 

Multifamily residential properties are holding up well thus far.  The National Multifamily Housing Council reported that 92.2% of renters had fully or partially paid their June rent as of June 20, consistent with the figure in 2019 and building on the already-strong 90.8% who had paid in May.  However, other surveys suggest landlords of smaller properties are seeing a higher rate of non-payment.  Thus far, U.S. households are benefitting from a greater ability to maintain income by working from home, the economic incentive payments made in April and expanded unemployment insurance.  Stress will build as one-time stimulus payments are spent and limited-time supports expire before tenants can return to work. 

We will watch with keen interest whether the lockdown experience changes tenant preferences.  The appeal of living in a small but centrally located apartment is diminished when offices and nearby amenities are all closed.  Workers who can work remotely may come to prefer the extra space and greater affordability of living in a more remote location.  Early readings from the areas surrounding London suggest buyers are moving toward lower-cost areas.

Turning to retail, the outlook worsens.  The long-running trend toward e-commerce has reduced demand for in-person retail shopping.  The vacancy rate for retail locations has been elevated for years; now, as businesses fall behind on rent, it will rise further.

Not all retail tenants are troubled.  Essential businesses like grocery stores and pharmacies have stayed open.  Garden and home improvement stores are finding even more businesses as consumers pay greater attention to their homes.  But not all tenants have been so fortunate.  Many businesses are now reopening with dramatically altered business models, like restaurant dining rooms sitting empty and masked barbers working by appointment only.

“Hotels and many retailers are at the mercy of the virus.”

Commercial rent delinquencies have spiked in the retail sector.  The outlook for these portfolios is tough; while people will continue to visit businesses, much of the altered demand will persist.  The most accessible, visible locations will find occupants, while less-desirable locations will struggle.

Hotels are another sector facing a long journey back to normal.  Though they entered the crisis on sound footing, they are a highly cyclical sector that experienced an overnight collapse in demand.  Tourist nights in hotels will return mildly as more destinations reopen.  The outlook for business travel, however, is much more cautious: Employers do not want to place their employees at risk by asking them to travel, nor are many businesses open with workers on-site to receive visitors.

Across asset classes, relief for tenants has been limited.  With cash flows going to zero, making the rent is beyond many businesses’ capacity.  The Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) allowed for small businesses and restaurants to use up to 40% of loan proceeds to pay non-payroll expenses like rent, but the program is already winding down.  Central bank interventions are holding the cost of debt low, but businesses must be creditworthy to qualify for loan approvals and bond issuance.

Owners of commercial properties have little recourse.  While they are within their rights to evict a non-paying tenant, they would then be left with a vacant space that will be difficult to fill.  Many banks that hold commercial property loans on their balance sheets are offering to work with borrowers to defer principal payments.  Commercial mortgages packed into commercial mortgage backed securities (CMBS), however, are less flexible.  Working out a modification for CMBS loans is a complex and slow-moving process that may not end in the borrower’s favor.  This week, the U.S. House of Representatives called upon the Treasury and Federal Reserve to extend a credit lifeline and simplify repayment plans for commercial property owners.

With all these words of caution in place, many old aphorisms about property markets still stand: “They aren’t making any more land.”  “Location, location, location.”  Opportunistic buyers are finding deals, such as Canadian asset manager Brookfield recently launching a new fund to purchase commercial properties in Europe.  Throughout modern history, city living has stayed in demand due to cities’ combination of commerce, convenience and culture.  Those dynamics will remain in place, especially in well-connected global cities

More than three months into the lockdown, many of us are forgetting what offices and hotel rooms look like.  Reopening post-COVID will require adaptability, not merely to social distancing, but to a new understanding of where and how we live and work.

Hotspots
Vaibhav reviews the hit to global tourism.

A few days ago, I had my mid-year review discussion with my manager.  Among several other important exchanges, he asked me to plan some “time off” this summer.  I think he deliberately avoided using the word “vacation.”  While our company policies support getting away from our computer screens for a while, our possibilities are limited this year. 

Restrictions on travel introduced in response to COVID-19 are gradually being lifted.  Domestic flight services have resumed.  According to the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), as of June 15, about 22% of world destinations have eased travel restrictions, compared to just 3% in mid-May, with Europe leading the way.  But about 65% of locations (141 destinations) still have their borders fully closed to foreign visitors.

“Tourism accounts for more than 10% of global GDP.”

The $8.9 trillion travel and tourism sector, equivalent to 10.3% of world gross domestic product (GDP) and the source of employment for 330 million people, has taken a serious hit.  From tour guides to street vendors and airlines to hotels, businesses dependent on tourist spending are incurring heavy losses.  Inbound arrivals have tanked and are likely to remain depressed this year.  Oxford Economics and UNWTO expect arrivals to fall by over 50% in 2020.  In a worst-case scenario where intercontinental travel restrictions remain in place until November, the UNWTO expects international arrivals to drop by over 70%, contributing to about 200 million job losses.

Regions with high dependency on tourism dollars are the most affected.  More than 25 countries rely on tourism for substantial amounts of their GDP.  In some cases, the dependency is well above one-fourth of national output.  Caribbean and South East Asian economies like the Maldives, British Virgin Islands and Dominica are the most reliant on tourism.  Among developed markets, already vulnerable European nations like Greece, Portugal, Spain and Italy are the most dependent.  China figures prominently, not just as a frequent destination, but also as the largest outbound travel market.  Chinese visitors took 150 million international trips in 2019.

Many governments have responded swiftly to soften the blow of COVID-19 on this hard-hit, labor-intensive sector.  Interventions thus far include incentive programs to airlines, new loan schemes for tourism businesses, cash flow assistance to travel agencies and wage subsidies to retain jobs.  These relief measures might prevent the sector from falling into a deeper hole but won’t help businesses emerge from it. 

Enduring travel restrictions aren’t the only factor that will hold back tourism.  Fears of contracting COVID-19 and drained consumer confidence amid the unprecedented economic contraction will also continue to weigh on the sector. 

With international travel unlikely to normalize anytime soon, countries are turning inward.  Owing to their high domestic travel share, large countries like the U.S., Japan, China and Australia are less vulnerable to international travel restrictions.  Paired with stringent safety norms, initiatives to restart and promote domestic tourism policies are nations’ best bet; this is one of the few benefits of nationalism in these times.  Many countries are running campaigns promoting virtual tourism, which could offer minor solace but would still confine travelers to their four walls.

“Domestic tourism is the best hope for the sector’s revival this year.”

Sidelined globetrotters are missing the holiday vibes and reminiscing by watching travel videos on their electronic devices.  During my “time off,” I will probably enjoy some of those videos myself—from the comfort of my living room.

Information is not intended to be and should not be construed as an offer, solicitation or recommendation with respect to any transaction and should not be treated as legal advice, investment advice or tax advice. Under no circumstances should you rely upon this information as a substitute for obtaining specific legal or tax advice from your own professional legal or tax advisors. Information is subject to change based on market or other conditions and is not intended to influence your investment decisions.

© 2020 Northern Trust Corporation. Head Office: 50 South La Salle Street, Chicago, Illinois 60603 U.S.A. Incorporated with limited liability in the U.S. Products and services provided by subsidiaries of Northern Trust Corporation may vary in different markets and are offered in accordance with local regulation. For legal and regulatory information about individual market offices, visit our terms and conditions page

IBM's 2019 Corporate Responsibility Report: IBM and Good Tech

3 hours 46 min ago

IBM’s 2019 Corporate Responsibility Report: IBM and Good Tech

From research labs to the boardroom, responsible stewardship and trust have been hallmarks of IBM’s culture for more than a century. 

The annual IBM Corporate Responsibility Report, published on June 29, details IBM’s performance and progress in 2019 and beyond on a wide variety of issues. Those include how the company operates with trust and transparency: how it supports its employees, the company’s social impact, protecting the environment, responsible supply chain management and governance.

In his letter introducing the report, IBM CEO Arvind Krishna notes that 2020 has presented the world and IBM with new challenges, including the COVID-19 pandemic and social upheaval from enduring racial injustice. “Over its 109-year history, IBM has helped the world weather many storms,” he writes. “That history gives us confidence that we will help society to navigate these challenging times and emerge from them stronger.”

The following examples cover just three of the many areas IBM’s work has addressed:

Response to COVID-19. IBM has shared resources, formed alliances and deployed solutions to help meet the complex, urgent challenges of COVID-19. That includes responding to the supply chain constraints that occurred as the pandemic spread rapidly in spring 2020. Many hospitals and government agencies scrambled to find and purchase masks, gowns and other vital medical supplies, often from nontraditional suppliers. Buyers needed to assess the credibility of new suppliers quickly and simplify the process of locating essential items.

IBM responded with the launch of Rapid Supplier Connect, a blockchain-based network made available at no cost in the U.S. and Canada through August 2020. The system features a streamlined onboarding process, validation checks and inventory information in nearly real time. Organizations buying medical supplies, the report said, could “assess the credibility of new suppliers quickly, and simplify the process of locating essential items.”

AI Ethics Board. Because Artificial Intelligence is a major focus for IBM, the company has taken steps to ensure that AI progress in line with its corporate values. IBM has established an internal AI Ethics Board, which the report describes as being “comprised of a cross-disciplinary team of senior IBMers, co-chaired by IBM’s Chief Privacy Officer and AI Ethics Global Leader, and reports to the highest level of the company.”

The AI Ethics Board is intended to deal with the difficult questions that surround a technology with so much potential. While many of the perceived issues with artificial intelligence can be resolved through training and education, this board is positioned to deal with the truly challenging problems.

AI “focals” have also been established within the company to streamline the Board’s efforts. The end result is an approach to ethics that emphasizes accountability and is fully integrated with IBM and its culture.

Sustainability. IBM has invested heavily in conserving energy as part of the company’s overall environmental goals. According to the report, the company’s energy consumption declined by 4.5% in 2019, and “electricity from renewable sources now accounts for 47% of IBM’s total electricity consumption.”

IBM will also contribute to all 17 of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. Announced by the U.N. in 2015, these goals have a global focus, aiming to “build an inclusive and sustainable world,” as described in the report. They go beyond reducing emissions, requiring action against social and economic inequality.

IBM is well suited to help contribute to this global effort.  Given IBM’s experience with supply chains, emphasis on social impact, commitment to diversity, and the company’s technological expertise, the company is well suited to the task of striving for the 17 goals and the mission to build a better world.

Learn more in the full report, “IBM and Good Tech: Modeling responsible stewardship in the digital age,” available at ibm.org.

Join JLL, Yorkshire Water, Net Impact Amsterdam at Reuters Events Sustainability Reporting & Comms Europe 2020 Virtual Event

6 hours 46 min ago

The time to share ideas and practical solutions to shape the future of sustainability reporting and communications is of upmost importance. With increasing focus and pressure on the impacts and future scenarios that companies disclose, we are keen to help you and your peers in this critical area of business.

 At this year’s Reuters Events Sustainability Reporting and Comms Europe  virtual event we will convene some of the leading minds in sustainability reporting, finance, communications and ESG investment to help bring new ideas to you and your peers.

See latest speaker line-up here

Speaker included:

  • Richard Batten, Global Chief Sustainability Officer, JJL

  • Andrea Palmer, Founder, Net Impact Amsterdam

  • Gordon Rogers, Head of Sustainability, Yorkshire Water

  • Delphine Gibassier, Associate Professor of Accounting for Sustainable Development, Audencia Business School

  • Gergely Jancsár, Head of Sustainability, MOL Group

Join more 4,000+ business leaders, investors, and industry bodies from the comfort of your desk.

Register for free here

Best regards,
Ana

Ana Uzcanga
Ethical Corporation – Project Director
Reuters Events
+44 (0) 207 375 7213 

Read Announcement

Following Emergency Pandemic Response, the Tomorrow Rising Fund by the Schneider Electric Foundation Focuses Support on Recovery and Resiliency

Wed, 07/01/2020 - 7:03pm

Two months after launching the Tomorrow Rising fund to support Covid-19 emergency relief in April 2020, Schneider Electric’s Foundation moves forward to support recovery and resiliency through education and training programs.

The Tomorrow Rising Fund was launched to support emergency and longer-term reconstruction related to Covid-19 in all the countries where Schneider Electric operates. The Schneider Electric Foundation appealed to its leaders and employees to get involved and all their donations have been matched by the Group. Other external stakeholders and partners have also contributed. 

Response, Recovery and Resilience as key priorities

The Fund underlines Schneider Electric’s sustainability commitments by upholding the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to fight poverty, and promote good health and well-being, clean water and sanitation, decent work and economic growth and quality education.

The Tomorrow Rising Fund focuses on three priorities:

  1. Response: crisis support for the immediate needs of low-income people in difficulty living close to Schneider Electric sites;

  2. Recovery: funding of education and vocational skills projects to rebuild pandemic-impacted communities, as part of the Group’s commitment to train 1 million disadvantaged people by 2025;

  3. Resilience: connecting Schneider Electric employees and charitable partners through its ambitious global VolunteerIn program. 

Learn more about the Tomorrow Rising Fund and Schneider Electric Foundation

Xylem Closes $1 Billion Inaugural Green Bond

Wed, 07/01/2020 - 1:03pm

 Xylem Inc. (NYSE: XYL), a leading global water technology company dedicated to solving the world’s most challenging water issues, today announced the successful closing of its inaugural green bond offering of $1 billion in senior unsecured notes. The offering, which received strong support in the market, consisted of $500 million of 1.950% senior notes due in January 2028 and $500 million of 2.250% senior notes due in January 2031.

The proceeds will fund green projects that help improve water accessibility, water affordability, and water systems resilience, in alignment with Xylem’s Green Finance Framework.

“Solving the world’s toughest water challenges already puts sustainability at the heart of our business, and this bond offering brings sustainability to the center of our funding strategy,” said Mark Rajkowski, Xylem’s Chief Financial Officer. “We’re very pleased by the market’s enthusiastic interest in the bond. It both expands liquidity at attractive rates and provides funding capacity for green projects that are important to our customers, employees, shareholders and communities.”

This is the second sustainability-driven financing completed by the Company, which previously executed an $800 million revolving credit facility with a sustainability-linked pricing mechanism in March 2019. The successful offering further enhances Xylem’s robust liquidity position, and maximizes flexibility in an evolving macro-economic environment.

The green bond offering builds on the strength of the Company’s sustainability track-record, and aligns with its ambitious 2025 sustainability goals, which include the commitment to save more than 16.5 billion cubic meters of water through the use of advanced technologies.

The eligible projects Xylem will invest in are further described in the Company’s Green Finance Framework and are in alignment with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. These eligible projects include eco-efficient- and/or circular economy-adapted products, production technologies and processes, and solutions that advance sustainable water and wastewater management, including communities’ resiliency against the impacts of climate change.

Given that the majority of Xylem’s technologies, products and solutions address these topics, the proceeds of the offering provide exceptional financing versatility.

“Technology is playing an increasingly important role in solving water issues and stewarding society’s shared water resources,” said Claudia Toussaint, Xylem’s General Counsel and Chief Sustainability Officer. “Xylem, with its long history of innovation, is applying the powerful capabilities of digital technology, integrated management and data analytics to make water systems more eco-efficient and sustainable. When we create more positive sustainability outcomes, we generate economic value while also creating value for society.”

Sustainalytics, a leading provider of ESG and corporate governance research and ratings, reviewed Xylem’s Green Finance Framework, and provided a Second Party Opinion which can be viewed here.

Xylem’s 2025 sustainability goals, which underscore Xylem’s commitment to sustainability, include:

  • Save more than 16.5 billion cubic meters of water through the use of advanced technologies;

  • Prevent over 7 billion cubic meters of polluted water from flooding communities or entering local waterways;

  • Reduce the CO2 footprint associated with the water cycle by over 2.8 million metric tons

  • Provide access to clean water and sanitation solutions for at least 20 million people living at the base of the global economic pyramid; and

  • Use 100% renewable energy and 100% process water recycling at its major facilities.

View Xylem’s Green Finance Framework here.

View Xylem’s Sustainability Report, including the full list of its 2025 goals, here.

In addition to its annual Sustainability Report, Xylem will report annually on the allocation of the proceeds of this offering, and on the impact of the portfolio of eligible projects, until the proceeds of the Green Financing are fully allocated.

ING served as sole Green Structuring Advisor. For the offering of the notes, BNP Paribas Securities Corp., Citigroup Global Markets Inc., J.P. Morgan Securities LLC, and ING Financial Markets LLC, served as joint active book-running managers. Wells Fargo Securities LLC served as passive book-runner.

About Xylem

Xylem (XYL) is a leading global water technology company committed to solving critical water and infrastructure challenges with technological innovation. Our more than 16,000 diverse employees delivered revenue of $5.25 billion in 2019. We are creating a more sustainable world by enabling our customers to optimize water and resource management, and helping communities in more than 150 countries become water-secure. Join us at www.xylem.com.

CONTACT

 

Houston Spencer +1 (914) 323-5723 Houston.Spencer@xyleminc.com Media Matt Latino +1 (914) 323-5821 Matthew.Latino@xyleminc.com

Behind Every Rapid Response Is a Strong Regulatory Strategy

Wed, 07/01/2020 - 1:03pm

Originally published by CRB

During a global pandemic, the pharmaceutical industry must juggle the need for speed and the need to protect patient safety. A strong regulatory strategy makes it possible to accelerate drug development without getting slowed down by compliance considerations. 

Because COVID-19 potentially affects the lungs, the heart, the gastrointestinal system, the liver, and so many other systems in the body, the breadth of medicines that might be effective against it is huge. Drug companies representing every corner of the pharmaceutical industry have responded to COVID-19, from developers of cutting-edge mRNA vaccine platforms to manufacturers of historically low-profile “commodity drugs.” As of this writing, there are 140 COVID-19 vaccines under development, with study subjects volunteering by the thousands. The insights uncovered from all of this research will impact not only COVID-19 patients but also patients across other diseases. 

Accelerated drug development is not without risks. When the FDA launched their Coronavirus Treatment Acceleration Program (CTAP) in early May “to move new treatments to patients as quickly as possible,” experts watched with some trepidation. Sure enough, regulators have just revoked their emergency use authorization of chloroquine phosphate and hydroxychloroquine sulfate, citing too many adverse events and too few known benefits against COVID-19. This goes to show that however great the emergency, safety, and efficacy, testing cannot be fast-tracked without risking further harm to human health. 

Meanwhile, we are relying on imperfect, non-pharmaceutical interventions to minimize the disease’s spread. We are at a critical inflection point between the need for speed and the need to protect patient safety. We will not know the outcome for some time. One thing is certain, however: our current health crisis is teaching us how to prepare for a faster, safer, and more flexible pharmaceutical response to the next one. These lessons will reshape our industry in significant ways. 

To seize the full potential of these trends, drug developers need one thing above all else: a strong, detailed, forward-thinking regulatory strategy. This is the key to marshaling the best of our industry’s evolving scientific methodologies, platform technologies, and processes in the fight against life-threatening diseases. With such a strategy in place and with expert guidance to help you put it into action, you will have what you need to increase your response time in the face of unexpected health crises.

1. Rapidly pivot between modalities as new health needs emerge

The big idea: 

  • This isn’t about squeezing unrelated products into a single building. A true multi-modal facility is designed to meet the variable needs of carefully selected and highly compatible manufacturing processes, like viral vectors and monoclonal antibodies. By taking advantage of the manufacturing and regulatory similarities between these products, operators can pivot a production suite much more quickly from one to the other—sometimes within hours. 

  • Multi-modal suites are especially well-suited for developers with evolving pipelines who need the flexibility to go where the science takes them, or contract research organizations (CROs) looking for ways to stay responsive to their clients’ needs in a turbulent, ever-changing marketplace.

Why a regulatory strategy is necessary: 

  • If it is done well, a regulatory strategy can help you design your multi-modal facility so that it remains continuously validated and compliant, even as you license individual products moving through your pipeline. 

  • A consistent and well-defined process is the crux of rapid changeover, which requires a deep understanding of the regulatory compatibility between products.

2. Close and automate your processes for improved speed and quality control

The big idea: 

  • As more drug developers embrace the potential of multi-modal manufacturing, process control through increased closure and automation will become ever more critical. The more humans you can remove from your process, the more you can reduce or eliminate the risks of contamination. 

  • Advanced equipment designed to close and automate production activities is increasingly expected in a facility designed for speed, quality, and continuous validation.

  • Even the smallest additional or unnecessary step could put your process at risk. Understanding the technologies that exist across the market and how they might help you limit your risks is very important to the design of a consistent and resilient process.

Why a regulatory strategy is necessary: 

  • Your approach to assessing risk and communicating with regulatory agencies is key to designing an initial process, applying a process across multiple modalities, and/or matching a process to the right facility. If you can demonstrate not only that your products will be safe but also that you’ve taken all appropriate measures to design a process that will make them safer, then you are likely to move more smoothly through the FDA approval process. 

  • A risk-based approach will provide the insight you need to improve a process (by adding automation, for example) without losing compliance. 

  • To prove that you are managing your risks and are capable of producing reliable products, you need to demonstrate how you have integrated your process and facility design (with the necessary segregation, HVAC installation, etc.), and how you have implemented all necessary protocols (with proper infrastructure to support rapid decontamination, gowning, material flow, cleaning, etc.).

  • In existing facilities, it’s important to consider how you will update or expand one part of your process while operations continue smoothly elsewhere in your facility; here, too, your regulatory strategy can help you coordinate these complexities and ensure successful operations.

3. Identify appropriate partners to accelerate your response time

The big idea: 

  • A strategic partnership is an increasingly popular way to move more efficiently through clinical trials and on to full production. This approach is suitable not only for small companies seeking manufacturing capacity but also for larger companies that need specific technologies. 

  • High-profile companies that are engaged in the COVID-19 response, such as partners BioNTech and Pfizer, are examples of this approach. This trend will continue to grow as companies look for ways to improve their speed-to-market. 

  • This is part of an overall movement towards a decentralized drug development process, and it goes beyond the research lifecycle. In many scenarios, multiple partners are linked to form an end-to-end commercial manufacturing process: Partner A provides bulk production, Partner B handles filling, Partner C packages and distributes, etc.

Why a regulatory strategy is necessary:

  • Unless you have the capacity and experience to develop and apply both a preliminary and a continuous robust quality assessment, partnership can be a risky business. 

  • You need to understand a potential partner’s capabilities, utilities, and regulatory history. Do they have the right infrastructure in place? Will they be able to do process development and mobilize quickly enough? Are you confident that this partnership will produce a safe, consistent, reliable product according to regulatory criteria? 

  • These partnerships are evaluated continuously as a part of a strategy to ensure product quality. Guidance from knowledgeable experts is expected from the regulatory agency to thoroughly assess the quality and safety of a potential partner. This ensures product quality and availability. It is important to prepare for those mission-critical issues that will move your product smoothly through regulatory approval.

Some predictions claim that we could have safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines and treatments by Christmas. But even conservative predictions indicating that we will have a vaccine in eighteen months would beat historic vaccine development timelines by several years. Only time will tell if we succeed at moving that quickly while successfully managing the significant risks involved. 

What we know for sure is that this crisis has changed the world of drug development. 

The time has come for us to consider the long-term decisions we will make as an industry in order to ensure that we can respond more rapidly, flexibly and safely to whatever health threats might wait around the corner.

A strong and proactive regulatory strategy is key to that mobilization effort and will play an increasingly important role in shaping the future of our industry—wherever that future may take us. 

Adobe Sign Enhances E-Signatures for Healthcare and Life Sciences

Wed, 07/01/2020 - 1:03pm

Originally published by Adobe

Now more than ever, we recognize that your company needs to minimize business interruption, maintain business continuity, and build resilience for the future. This is especially critical for highly regulated industries like financial services, government, as well as healthcare and life sciences. Security and compliance have never been more important, especially as employees rapidly move to working remotely.

Recently, we’ve announced new advancements in Adobe Sign that include readiness for industry standards in digital documents and e-signatures in healthcare and life sciences. These enhancements can help companies be even more productive by adopting e-signatures. 

This is especially important for companies that need to comply with the US FDA regulation, 21 CFR Part 11, which oversees the use of digital documents and e-signatures in healthcare and life sciences. The business of healthcare and life sciences is highly regulated, and with these enhancements users can sign critical forms without worrying if the full digital process meets 21 CFR Part 11 requirements. This allows you to focus on helping your remote teams stay productive, not the technology.

Here’s how Adobe Sign meets the needs for health and life sciences right now: 

  • With the newly enhanced Fill & Sign, users can select templates stored in Sign, complete their authored fields, and initiate a self-signing workflow that uses settings like identity authentication, reason for signing, and more. The entire workflow helps businesses meet compliance requirements for 21 CFR Part 11.

  • IT admins can use new, expanded life sciences settings in Sign to comply with 21 CFR Part 11 and work better with regulated workflows like patient consent.

  • We’ve also been working with Montrium, a global leader in life science compliance, to create a handbook and accelerator pack for 21 CFR Part 11 compliance documentation to get Sign customers up and running faster than ever.

  • Devices or locations can’t be a barrier to getting work done, whether that’s signing a document or getting feedback on a time-sensitive document. According to The Total Economic Impact of Adobe Sign, a commissioned study conducted by Forrester Consulting on behalf of Adobe in August 2019, Sign users saw a 96 percent reduction in the time it takes to get documents signed and finalized—from seven days to two hours.

“At Montrium, we believe that life sciences organizations deserve services and solutions that are as modern, well-designed, easy-to-use and accessible as the ones we use in our personal lives. Now, with the new enhancements to Adobe Sign, we’re pleased to help life sciences organizations jump-start use of e-signatures for GxP and other processes,” said Michael Zwetkow, Montrium Vice President – Professional Services & Alliances

In addition to these enhancements for life sciences, we’re continuing to invest in helping customers of all sizes and industries be more productive and secure with the broad set of tools in Sign:

  • Users now get even quicker access to their most recently used document templates from the home screen.

  • Hover-over actions in the Sign home page give users instant access to the most commonly used actions like adding a signature reminder or downloading a completed agreement.

  • The signing experience on mobile devices is easier than ever with optimized data entry for numbers and dates.

Learn more about signing up for a trial of Sign here. If you’re already a Sign customer, these enhancements are automatically available to you to start using today.

We recognize that technology can play a critical role by helping you enable remote work without sacrificing productivity or collaboration. We’re here to help you and your remote teams get up and running quickly in these unprecedented times. We hope that Sign can help you manage your documents and e-signatures a little easier today.

Finalised Agenda and Line-up for Transform: Sustainable Procurement & Circularity Released

Wed, 07/01/2020 - 1:03pm

All 40+ CEOs, CPOs, CSO and senior industry experts, and 20+ sessions have now been finalised for next week’s inaugural Reuters Events Transform: Sustainable Procurement & Circularity virtual conference (7-8th July).

Look at the finalised agenda, speakers and timings here 
 
This year, as we begin to adapt to the impacts of Covid-19 pandemic, and we take stock of the ongoing climate emergency, deepening social inequalities and biodiversity loss, we’ve been ambitious with the topics we’re addressing – adding further sessions, discussions, and live Q&As to ensure it reflects our research and the needs of our community. It’s now more important than ever that businesses collaborate, innovate and invest to lead the change to a new sustainable future.
 
With over 3,000 global sustainability, procurement, supply chain and circularity professionals convening here online next week, Transform: Sustainable Procurement & Circularity is the meeting point to fully understand how to business can put resilience and sustainability at the heart of its recovery. Confirm your place today to ensure you are part of the movement by signing up here for free.

Registration is closing soon, but it’s not too late, you can sign up here now!

Best,
Alexia Croft
Project Director
Ethical Corporation – Reuters Events
+44 (0) 20 8078 6978

Read Announcement

The IOC Joins Global Un Dialogue, Reiterates Role of Sport in Post-COVID World

Wed, 07/01/2020 - 10:03am

International Olympic Committee

Launched by the UN Secretary-General, António Guterres, #UN75 is a global dialogue initiative that generates discussions in all spheres of society about the challenges the world is currently facing. Views, concerns and ideas expressed during these sessions will be presented by the UN General Assembly to world leaders at the official commemoration of the UN’s 75th Anniversary in September 2020.

The focus of today’s conversation, named “Multilateralism in the time of Covid-19”, was the impact of COVID-19 on culture, sport and tourism.

In her opening statement, the Director-General of the United Nations Office at Geneva (UNOG), Tatiana Valovaya, explained that these three sectors were chosen “because they have suffered the most as a result of the pandemic. The economic and social consequences for these spheres of activity are tremendous”.  

“Unfortunately, all major sports events had to be cancelled or postponed. All of us were looking forward to the Olympic Games this year but, as a result of the pandemic, they had to be postponed,” she added.

THE ROLE OF SPORT IN THE POST-COVID-19 WORLD

“The post-coronavirus world will benefit from sport. And we are ready to contribute to shaping it, we are ready to make the world a better place through sport,” said the IOC President in a video message, calling upon governments of the world to include sport in their post-coronavirus support programmes because of the essential contribution that sport brings to society.

“Sport is contributing to the recovery from the crisis and to creating a better world on the health, the social and the economic side,” commented President Bach. “Sport creates jobs, generates business activity, plays a significant economic role in many countries, all of which are vital elements as countries look to reopen their economies.”

The IOC President also stressed that no concrete results can be achieved without solidarity, a key value promoted by sport: “The first lesson we all learnt from this crisis is that we need more solidarity. Solidarity within societies and solidarity among the nations of this world. We must be united in our solidarity,” Bach concluded.

BUILDING SOCIAL INCLUSION

The role of sport as a powerful enabler to build inclusive societies and foster gender equality was also widely discussed during the session. “Women in sport should not be left behind in the recovery phase. Vulnerable communities and parts of our society need to be taken into consideration when we talk about post-COVID recovery and we need to build on the successes that have already been achieved,” said three-time Olympian in shooting and Olympic bronze medallist in 2012 Danka Bartekova.

This message was echoed by Marta Vieira da Silva, a Brazilian football player and UN Goodwill Ambassador, who joined the dialogue: “We are coming together in creative ways to mitigate the negative effects of the pandemic on our societies and the world of sport. Let’s not forget the women and girls in this process. Our gains cannot be lost. We want to make a better future for all a reality, a future where women and girls can study, work, govern, and enjoy sport on an equal playing field,” she said.

Over the last few months, the IOC has been working closely with all the stakeholders of the Olympic Movement to ensure that gender equality remains high on their agenda despite the impact of the pandemic, which is already being felt harder by women and girls in many areas of life due to gender inequalities. Particular attention has been given to the implementation of the recommendations of the IOC Gender Equality Review Project, which, since its launch in March 2018, has provided National Committees (NOCs) and International Federations (IFs) with a solutions-based approach to achieving gender equality on and off the field of play. A series of webinars is also planned over the summer to ensure that women and girls are actively taking part in sport recovery plans.[EM1] 

ATHLETES’ PERSPECTIVE

Today’s discussion was also an opportunity to reflect on the important role that professional athletes have taken in society throughout the crisis, acting as role models to motivate their communities to stay active. These athletes have also been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, however; and it is important to note the role that international sports organisations must play to support their mental well-being.

“For us athletes, the lack of access to sports facilities and to a normal training schedule, and the isolation from our teammates and the wider athlete community, has led us to struggle to stay fit,” explained Danka Bartekova.

This struggle was voiced clearly in the results of a survey recently conducted by the IOC, in which staying mentally fit was listed among the biggest challenges faced by athletes during the pandemic.

Since the beginning of the health crisis, the IOC has endeavoured to provide additional resources and tips to athletes on how to stay positive during isolation through its dedicated Athlete365 platforms and engaged in regular conversations during tailored webinars. 

Perdue Farms Releases FY2020 Company Stewardship Report

Wed, 07/01/2020 - 10:03am

Perdue Farms is pleased to announce the release of its Fiscal Year 2020 Company Stewardship Report focusing on the four areas - Food, Environment, Animal Care, and People and Partners. This new report highlights a year of the company elevating its commitment to alleviating food insecurity, offering consumers greater access to its products through e-commerce, advancing its industry leading-animal care commitments and providing chickens greater outdoor access.

Released during the company’s centennial year, the report notes progress made in the key areas of environment, communities and people, and reinforcing the company’s stewardship platform: We believe in responsible food and agriculture®. The report also highlights how the company’s sustainability efforts align with the 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

“Over the past year, we have continued to make advances in animal care, product innovation and environmental stewardship. Much of that progress would not have been possible without the support and involvement of others. Indeed, a theme of teamwork and partnership is woven throughout our report,” said Chairman Jim Perdue.

“From one of our newest acquisitions, Panorama Meats’ support of rangeland conservationists, to bioenergy partnerships, joint research with an animal welfare advocacy group, and volunteer and financial contributions to the many non-profits serving our communities, this has been a year that illustrates that we are truly all in this together,” said CEO Randy Day. “As this report was being compiled, our company, the country and the world was faced with the unprecedented challenges brought by the COVID-19 pandemic. Through partnering with the government, communities, our associates, farmers and customers, we faced these challenges and developed solutions together. As we navigate into our second century, this unprecedented challenge only serves to reinforce our commitment to our vision ‘to be the most trusted name in food and agriculture products®.’”

Report highlights include:

  • People and Partners: The company continued to make progress in being a responsible employer, investing in associates’ growth, safety and well-being. 

    • Enrolled 88 associates in the online Penn Foster Online High School Diploma program that allows them to earn an accredited high school diploma at no cost and five students graduated.

    • Received 19 industry safety awards, including the “Award of Distinction” for 10 of the company's operations, the highest honor from the Joint Industry Safety and Health Council.

    • Hosted first company-wide Day of Understanding in conjunction with CEO Action for Diversity & Inclusion to encourage tough conversations and bridge cultural divides.

  • Food: The company continued a legacy of product innovation with a new way for consumers to buy its products and the introduction of new products from its portfolio of brands.

    • Perdue Farms entered the e-commerce space, offering a selection of the company’s most popular premium protein brands for sale directly to consumers at perduefarms.com.

    • The PERDUE® brand introduced first-of-its-kind PERDUE® CHICKEN PLUS™, a veggie-and-chicken blended product line of nuggets, tenders, and patties, and expanded its free-range product offerings under the PERDUE® HARVESTLAND® label, securing its position as the leader in raising animals with outdoor access.

  • Environment: The company made progress toward achieving its 2022 environmental sustainability goals and being good stewards of the environment, while taking a few steps back in reaching goals for reducing greenhouse gases and water use.

    • Perdue Farms reduced solid waste by 3.4% in part by becoming the first poultry company in the U.S. to achieve GreenCircle Zero Waste to Landfill certification by diverting 8.4 million pounds of waste.

    • Entered a 20-year partnership to create renewable natural gas and natural soil health solutions from poultry organics to benefit the health of the Chesapeake Bay watershed.

    • Niman Ranch set the ambitious goal of building the largest network of independent farmers supporting pollinators over the next decade and committed $200,000 for farmers to build pollinator habitat on their land.

  • Animal Care: The company continued its industry-leading animal care initiatives, commitment to transparency and hosted its fourth Animal Care Summit

    • Outpaced the industry in raising chickens with outdoor access and achieved goal of providing outdoor access at 25 percent of chicken houses by January 2020. Converted 700 chicken houses from conventional growing operations to meet free-range standards, including adding windows, environmental enrichments, and safe outdoor access.

    • Announced new initiatives to further enhance chicken health and comfort at all stages including first-ever research partnership with Mercy for Animals.

  • Communities: Perdue Farms and the Franklin P. and Arthur W. Perdue Foundation made a meaningful impact in the communities where the company operates through financial support, community giving, hunger relief and disaster recovery support, associate volunteerism and working with stakeholders to make meaningful change.

    • Perdue elevated its commitment to alleviate food insecurity and established a five-year sustainability goal to donate a minimum of 20 million pounds of protein by 2025. Since 2000, Perdue has donated more than 80 million pounds of protein, or the equivalent of 304 million servings, to regional book banks serving its communities and beyond.

    • The Perdue Foundation delivered more than $1.3 million in grants and support to 93 non-profit organizations, including a $1 million grant to 10 Feeding America-affiliated food bank partners to launch our food insecurity initiative, “Delivering Hope To Our Neighbors®”, in celebration of the company’s Centennial anniversary.

  • Farmers: Perdue Farms invested $155,000 to support programs that provide opportunities for the next generation of farmers and agricultural leaders.

    • The Perdue Foundation supported the National Future Farmers of America organization with a $15,000 grant that enabled the organization to provide its iconic blue jackets to 177 students across 35 states.

    • Niman Ranch’s Next Generation Foundation awarded 29 scholarships totaling more than $140,000 to students from Niman Ranch’s network of farm and ranch families.

The report is available at www.responsiblefoodandagriculture.com formatted as highlights for convenient web access and in an e-book format.

###

About Perdue Farms
We’re a fourth-generation, family owned, U.S. food and agriculture company in our 100thyear of business. Through our belief in responsible food and agriculture, we are empowering consumers, customers and farmers through trusted choices in products and services. 

The PERDUE® brand is the number-one brand of fresh chicken in the U.S., and the company is the leader in organic chicken in the U.S., and Perdue AgriBusiness is an international agricultural products and services company. Now in our Centennial year, our path forward is about getting better, not just bigger. We never use drugs for growth promotion in raising poultry and livestock, and we are actively advancing our animal welfare programs. Our brands are leaders in no-antibiotics-ever chicken, turkey and pork, and in USDA-certified organic chicken. Learn more at corporate.perduefarms.com.

Price Outweighs Access as Top Consumer Barrier to Eating Healthy, as Revealed in a New Global Report from The Consumer Goods Forum, BCG and Nielsen

Wed, 07/01/2020 - 10:03am

Today, The Consumer Goods Forum (CGF), together with Boston Consulting Group (BCG) and Nielsen Global Connect, published a revealing report on the state of consumer health, nutrition and wellbeing around the world. How the Consumer Industry Can Boost Healthier Eating, marks the first in a series of reports from CGF’s Collaboration for Healthier Lives Coalition--a global movement led by manufacturers, retailers, public health authorities and academic institutions to empower global consumers to adopt healthier lives.

To create this report, CGF and BCG amassed 15 interviews from global CEOs within the retail and consumer packaged goods (CPG) industry. To gather a robust, global snapshot of today’s consumer, Nielsen Global Connect and BCG in 2019 , surveyed 7,000 global consumers from China, France, Mexico, Turkey, the UK and the US, across a wide range of demographics. The result: a comprehensive study that captures powerful and telling global sentiment from both the consumer and business landscape.

“Health is becoming a business imperative. By taking CEO and citizens’ perspectives, this report enables us to understand how companies can take action on their own and with others to have a meaningful impact. We invite everyone to join the Collaboration for Healthier Lives Coalition to build a more sustainable and inclusive economy”, said Isabelle Grosmaitre, One Planet. One Health Initiatives Catalyst, Danone and Marcus Osborne, Vice President, Walmart Health, and CGF’s Collaboration for Healthier Lives Coalition Co-Chairs.

KEY INSIGHTS
According to the How the Consumer Industry Can Boost Healthier Eating Report:

  • Price Outweighs Access as Top Consumer Barrier to Eating Healthy,
    Despite 80% of consumers citing price as a barrier to buying healthy food, 85% said they would shop more often at a retailer that is actively promoting healthy solutions.  That said, it should be stated that low-income or rural communities were the most likely to feel they were not achieving a healthy lifestyle.

  • Achieving a healthy balanced diet is a global struggle for consumers
    Nearly one-fourth (23%) of consumers admit to struggling to achieve a healthy, balanced approach to diet

  • Consumers, CEOs Recognise Diet and Hygiene as Key Health Metrics
    CEOs stated that a healthier diet is both a moral and a business imperative for the industry.  In fact, interviewed CEOs believed their most material impacts on consumer nutrition would come from increased transparency and health education, proactive company actions—especially in affordability, formulation and the accessibility of healthier foods—and the use of government regulation to ensure a level playing field. They felt that some of these initiatives would be effective in isolation, while others would benefit from industry or industry-government collaboration.

“Consumers have become increasingly interested in health and wellness in recent years, yet a myriad of hurdles often get in the way of intention matching action”, said Olivier Lamare, Retail Leader, Nielsen. “As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to shift consumer habits toward the price- and health-conscious, retailers and manufacturers have an opportunity to win on transparency, price and taste--and help fuel healthier lifestyles”.

Khaled Tawfik, BCG Managing Director and Partner, said, “We at BCG consider Collaboration For Healthier Lives important for three reasons: the broad commitment from manufacturers, retailers, public health institutions, civic societies, and academics to contribute to a common goal of healthier consumption; its practical impact through working on the ground where people shop in the localities; and its potential to scale impact through working together, lifting and shifting what works across geographies, and digitally activating efforts to reach the younger population. Our research confirms that consumer expectations of the industry on this topic are high and we are very happy to support the CGF and its members on this important topic”.

The full report is available online at CGF’s Global Learning Mechanism.

- 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 55 manufacturer and retailer CEOs. For more information, please visit: www.theconsumergoodsforum.com.

About Boston Consulting Group
Boston Consulting Group partners with leaders in business and society to tackle their most important challenges and capture their greatest opportunities. BCG was the pioneer in business strategy when it was founded in 1963. Today, we help clients with total transformation—inspiring complex change, enabling organizations to grow, building competitive advantage, and driving bottom-line impact.

To succeed, organizations must blend digital and human capabilities. Our diverse, global teams bring deep industry and functional expertise and a range of perspectives to spark change. BCG delivers solutions through leading-edge management consulting along with technology and design, corporate and digital ventures—and business purpose. We work in a uniquely collaborative model across the firm and throughout all levels of the client organization, generating results that allow our clients to thrive.

About Nielsen
Nielsen Holdings plc (NYSE: NLSN) is a global measurement and data analytics company that provides the most complete and trusted view available of consumers and markets worldwide. Nielsen is divided into two business units. Nielsen Global Media, the arbiter of truth for media markets, provides media and advertising industries with unbiased and reliable metrics that create a shared understanding of the industry required for markets to function. Nielsen Global Connect provides consumer packaged goods manufacturers and retailers with accurate, actionable information and insights and a complete picture of the complex and changing marketplace that companies need to innovate and grow.

Our approach marries proprietary Nielsen data with other data sources to help clients around the world understand what’s happening now, what’s happening next, and how to best act on this knowledge.

An S&P 500 company, Nielsen has operations in over 100 countries, covering more than 90% of the world’s population. For more information, visit www.nielsen.com.

Media Contacts: 

Boston Consulting Group
Eric Gregoire, Global Media Relations Senior Manager, BCG
gregoire.eric@bcg.com
T +1 617 850 3783 

Nielsen
Genevieve Aronson, VP Communications, Nielsen
Genevieve.Aronson@Nielsen.com

The Consumer Goods Forum
Lee Green, Director, Communications, The Consumer Goods Forum
l.green@theconsumergoodsforum.com

Sustainable Supply Chain Initiative (SSCI) and Global Sustainable Seafood Initiative (GSSI) Launch Public Consultation on At-Sea Operations Social Benchmarking Criteria

Wed, 07/01/2020 - 10:03am

Marking a significant milestone in a two-year partnership, The Consumer Goods Forum’s (CGF) Sustainable Supply Chain Initiative (SSCI) and the Global Sustainable Seafood Initiative (GSSI) are pleased to launch a public consultation on their jointly developed social compliance criteria under the At-Sea Operations scope of the SSCI benchmark. The criteria, developed by industry leaders, experts and stakeholders from the SSCI and the GSSI, cover social and scheme management requirements specifically for third-party social compliance schemes evaluating At-Sea Operations in the seafood sector. 

The SSCI and the GSSI welcome comments from the public as part of their commitment to engaging multiple stakeholders, upholding transparency and building trust in certification standards. All stakeholders are invited to partake in the consultation until 31 August 2020 on the SSCI website where they can view benchmarking documents and leave comments. Feedback can also be emailed to ssci@theconsumergoodsforum.com

This milestone comes at a critical moment, as the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has clearly put a light on the various social sustainability risks that exist within the complex global supply chains. The seafood industry is particularly concerning: as one of the largest sectors in the world, employing 260 million people, and with existing concerns ranging from operational health and safety to forced labour, it was already one of the most at-risk industries from a sustainability perspective prior to the COVID-19 outbreak. The pandemic has the potential to make the situation worse for those already vulnerable to poor working conditions; in the seafood industry, these workers are the ones not only in direct employment but also in less visible levels of the supply chain—especially those employed in the informal economy and migrant workers—where the social safety net may be lacking or altogether absent.

As the COVID-19 continues to spread and impact the world, the SSCI and the GSSI’s shared concern for social sustainability in the seafood industry continues to grow as well. With the effects of the pandemic threatening the income security, working conditions and personal health of these already vulnerable individuals, now is a critical time to act. In a pandemic, a sustainable seafood industry—one that protects natural spaces, reducing the risk of further outbreaks, and keeps working environments clean and healthy—is essential for slowing the spread of disease, speeding up recovery, and building back stronger.

About the SSCI and the GSSI

The Sustainable Supply Chain Initiative (SSCI), a CEO-led Coalition of Action from The Consumer Goods Forum (CGF), is committed to building trust by offering clear guidance on which third-party social compliance audit schemes and programmes are credible, trustworthy and meet industry expectations for sustainability. Its benchmarking scope currently covers the Manufacturing & Processing sector and will soon cover Primary Production and, with the GSSI, the Seafood sector. The Global Sustainable Seafood Initiative (GSSI) is a global public-private partnership that helps ensure confidence in the supply and promotion of certified sustainable seafood, as well as promote the improvement of seafood certification schemes, through its GSSI Global Benchmark Tool, which benchmarks seafood certification schemes against environmental sustainability criteria.

The SSCI and the GSSI started working together in 2018 to help build trust in sustainability standards for the seafood industry worldwide by bringing together the SSCI’s social compliance background and the GSSI’s expertise working with environmental auditing schemes in the seafood sector. Both initiatives offer benchmark tools with the same value proposition of providing the industry with access to a list of credible auditing and certification programmes. Their collaboration is supported by the IDH, The Sustainable Trade Initiative.

- 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 55 manufacturer and retailer CEOs. For more information, please visit: www.theconsumergoodsforum.com. 

Contact

www.tcgfssci.com 

Thomas van Haaren
Senior Manager, SSCI
ssci@theconsumergoodsforum.com 

Eva van Heukelom
Technical Manager, GSSI
eva.vanheukelom@ourgssi.org 

Madelaine VanDerHeyden
Communications, SSCI
m.vanderheyden@theconsumergoodsforum.com 

Olivier Herspberger,
Communications, GSSI
olivier.hersperger@ourgssi.org

Why Diversity Is Essential to the National Bone Marrow Donor Pool

Tue, 06/30/2020 - 7:02pm

It’s a fact. Minorities have more difficulty finding matching bone marrow or blood stem cell donors because of the lack of participation by minorities to join the donor pool. 

For many patients who are suffering from a blood cancer or blood disorder (like leukemia, lymphoma or sickle cell disease), a bone marrow or blood stem cell transplant is often the only hope of beating the disease.  In 30 % of cases, a familial matching donor may be an option. However, for the other 70 %, these patients need to find an unrelated match. 

When a patient’s doctor starts the search for a matching bone marrow donor, they will generally look at 10 specific  human leukocyte antigen (HLA) markers to determine a match. Most require at least a 9 out of 10 match, but a 10 out of 10 is best. The closer the match, the better the chance that the patient’s immune system will recognize the donated cells as its own and allow them to grow and make new healthy blood cells. 

WHAT DOES THIS MEAN FOR PEOPLE OF COLOR AND OTHER MINORITIES?
When it comes to matching HLA types, a patient’s ethnic background is important in predicting the likelihood of finding a match. This is because HLA markers used in matching are inherited. Some ethnic groups have more complex tissue types than others. So a person’s best chance of finding a donor may be with someone of the same ethnic background. It is very hard for patients to find a matching bone marrow donor, and for a patient of color, it is even more difficult due to the lack of diversity on the bone marrow registry.

Ethnic minorities are sadly underrepresented in the national bone marrow donor pool. These groups across the board face challenges in finding their lifesaving matches. 

WHAT IF NO MATCH IS FOUND?
If no match is found in the global donor pool, that doesn’t mean a match doesn’t exist. It just means that the person who could be a match is just not registered yet. A perfect match could still be out there. For this reason, many families partner with DKMS to host bone marrow donor drives in hopes of finding their second chance. 

WHAT CAN I DO TO HELP? 
Spread the word 

DKMS is an international nonprofit dedicated to helping patients find their lifesaving bone marrow donor to treat their blood cancer or disorder. The more people who know about the demand for bone marrow donors, the better the chances are for the patients who need them.

HOST A VIRTUAL DONOR DRIVE
Get your family and friends involved. Although we’re not facilitating any physical drives (due to COVID-19), you can set up your own virtual donor drive.

REGISTER NOW

UPS Publishes 18th Annual Sustainability Report Highlighting Progress

Tue, 06/30/2020 - 7:02pm

UPS Sustainability Report

UPS (NYSE:UPS) today announced the launch of its 18th annual Sustainability Report, “Accelerating Sustainable Solutions.” The digital Report is fully interactive and details efforts that took place during 2019 to advance the company’s 2020 and 2025 sustainability goals in alignment with its enterprise strategy.

Most notable is surpassing four goals one year ahead of schedule, including:

  • $123.8 million in charitable contributions,

  • 21.7 million employee volunteer hours,

  • 15.4 million trees planted, and,

  • a 3.1% reduction in auto accident frequency.

“UPS established sustainability goals in 2016 to address our environmental impacts, advance industry-leading safety programs, and strengthen the communities where we live and work,” said Suzanne Lindsay-Walker, UPS chief sustainability officer (CSO) and vice president of environmental affairs. “We believe our customers and stakeholders deserve the most credible information about our sustainability performance. That’s why we are an industry leader in comprehensive sustainability reporting and disclosure that meets global standards.”

In addition, UPS is expanding our disclosure for investors by introducing our first Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (SASB) report. The report allows investors to more easily compare companies within and across industries. It also highlights UPS’s commitment to further align business imperatives with sustainability strategies, including the company’s ongoing efforts with alternative fuels.

In the last decade, UPS has invested more than $1 billion in alternative fuel and advanced technology vehicles and supporting infrastructure. The company is now the largest user of renewable natural gas in the transportation industry and has a specialized alternative fuel and advanced technology fleet of more than 10,300 vehicles. Recently, UPS announced plans to purchase more than 6,000 natural gas trucks through 2022. And, in January, UPS announced an investment in the UK-based technology startup Arrival and committed to buy 10,000 of its electric vehicles.

The UPS Foundation Surpasses Goals

Working in concert with UPS Sustainability programs, The UPS Foundation supports both environmental and social goals, and today also announced the company has surpassed tree planting and employee volunteer goals. Since 2015, more than 15.4 million trees have been planted in 58 countries, helping to provide sources of food, jobs, protection from weather, climate events and erosion, and cleaner air for generations to come. The achievement is the result of UPS employee engagement and collaboration with leading environmental non-profit organizations supported by funding from The UPS Foundation, including the Arbor Day Foundation, The Nature Conservancy, Earth Day Network, Keep America Beautiful, National Park Foundation and World Wildlife Fund. 

Likewise, the company has surpassed its goals for employee volunteerism fueled by a 60 percent increase in volunteer hours since 2011, providing volunteer hours representing more than $533 million in support to thousands of non-profit organizations around the world. UPS was recently named a 2020 honoree of The Civic 50 by Points of Light, the world’s largest organization dedicated to volunteer service. The award recognizes UPS as one of the 50 most community-minded companies in the U.S.

Also in the area of social responsibility, UPS has taken action to address racial inequality by mobilizing its workforce and network of non-profit organizations to drive meaningful results. New, focused efforts include support of legislation against hate crimes, funding for programming to support employment, education, small businesses, advocacy and reform, and a new pledge of one million UPS employee volunteer hours to support mentorship and educational programming in underserved Black communities.

As a proud leader in corporate sustainability, UPS has issued an annual sustainability report every year since 2003 and sought external assurance annually since 2009. UPS completed its first materiality assessment in 2011 and continues its legacy of transparency and disclosure by reporting to the Comprehensive level of the GRI Standards framework. The separate GRI Content Index, externally assured by Deloitte & Touche LLP, provides details about UPS’s sustainability management approach, data and policies.

Review UPS’s latest Sustainability Report by clicking here.

About UPS

UPS (NYSE: UPS) is a global leader in logistics, offering a broad range of solutions including transporting packages and freight; facilitating international trade, and deploying advanced technology to more efficiently manage the world of business. UPS is committed to operating more sustainably – for customers, the environment and the communities we serve around the world. Headquartered in Atlanta, UPS serves more than 220 countries and territories worldwide. UPS was awarded America’s Best Customer Service company for Shipping and Delivery services by Newsweek magazine; Forbes Most Valuable Brand in Transportation; and top rankings on the JUST 100 list for social responsibility, the Dow Jones Sustainability World Index, and the Harris Poll Reputation Quotient, among other prestigious rankings and awards. The company can be found on the web at ups.com or pressroom.ups.com and its corporate blog can be found at ups.com/longitudes. The company’s sustainability eNewsletter, UPS Horizons, can be found at ups.com/sustainabilitynewsletter. Learn more about our sustainability efforts at ups.com/sustainability. To get UPS news direct, follow @UPS_News on Twitter. To ship with UPS, visit ups.com/ship.

About The UPS Foundation

Since its founding in 1907, UPS has built a legacy as a caring and responsible corporate citizen, supporting programs that provide long-term solutions to community needs. Founded in 1951, The UPS Foundation leads its global citizenship programs and is responsible for facilitating community involvement to local, national, and global communities. In 2019, UPS and its employees, active and retired, donated more than $123.8 million to charitable causes around the world. The UPS Foundation can be found on the web at UPS.com/Foundation and @UPS_Foundation on Twitter.

# # #

NRG Power Value: Safety and Well-Being

Tue, 06/30/2020 - 1:02pm

Safety and Well-being are part of the core values at NRG and have always been a priority. As many team members adjust to a new home workplace dynamic, this value has taken on strengthened meaning. Working behind the scenes is benefits analyst, Janelle C., who supports many of our employee programs, including those related to wellness.

Janelle collaborates with vendors and helps employees take advantage of programs that support their overall mental and physical well-being. One example is the Virgin Pulse Global Challenge, known to NRG employees as the GET MOVING Challenge, with teams currently competing across the company. Last year’s winning team was from the Limestone Generating Station in Texas.

Janelle says some of her personal go-to wellness activities include “taking my dog for long walks, staying connected with friends via Zoom, and stepping away from my desk for short meditation sessions.” 

A home fitness app is a new tool she’s embraced. “It creates a personalized fitness training program based on your goals and the equipment you have readily available.” Currently, all NRG employees have free access to the app.

Beyond helping our employees stay active and healthy, Janelle’s ideal summer day includes the sun, the beach, and a good read.

About NRG Power Values

Here at NRG, five key power values drive our company forward:  Safety and Well-Being, Customer-Focus, Inclusion and Diversity, Accountability, and Collaboration.

More specifically, it’s our employees who empower these values in meaningful ways, bringing the power of energy to our organization and to the customers we serve. Each month, we profile an individual employee, showing how our values are uniquely taking hold each day.

Read more here

Kohler Co. Issues 2019 Global Social Impact Report

Tue, 06/30/2020 - 1:02pm

Kohler Co. Issues 2019 Global Social Impact Report

Kohler Co., a global leader in the innovation and design of plumbing products, engines and generators, released its 2019 Social Impact Report. The Report highlights initiatives where Kohler can make the biggest impact on the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Key areas of focus are providing equitable access to safe water and sanitation and responsible consumption and production. Kohler’s efforts to improve its environmental performance are highlighted including a 43% reduction in greenhouse gas emission intensity and a 48% reduction in waste to landfill since 2008. 

"Kohler has always been guided by the idea that our best can be better. That’s why we are committed to applying our resources and expertise across our organization to improve the lives of people and the communities where we live and work,” said Laura Kohler, senior vice president of human resources, stewardship and sustainability at Kohler Co. “Our associates are taking action and implementing solutions to pressing global challenges including clean water and sanitation – an issue that is even more critical given the current global health crisis - and supporting disaster relief with innovative products and efforts. We are also highly focused on applying advanced technologies and processes to further reduce our manufacturing footprint.”

To maximize impact and reach, in 2019 Kohler formalized its sustainability and social impact efforts into three core areas:

Better Lives 

Innovation for Good, Kohler’s internal incubator, hosted its second annual I-Prize competition. Kohler associates from around the world developed business ideas that meaningfully enhance lives and reduce environment impact. Three global semifinal competitions were held throughout the year with 10 teams advancing to the I-Prize final – where they competed for incubation funding.  While this year’s four finalists are working on their projects, the 2018 Kohler Power team winner has begun developing and testing its automated blending device to power water filtration sites with a combination of solar energy and generator power.

Better Communities

Kohler launched its inaugural Water Impact Project to study pressing water and sanitation-related issues, discover and implement solutions, and share findings to encourage others to join the company’s efforts. Kohler’s partnership with World Vision is an example of how the Water Impact Project helped a small community in India’s Randerhi Village increase access to safe water. After studying the water needs of the village, Kohler built a centralized kiosk with a large-scale reverse osmosis filtration system that can provide 500 liters of safe water each hour—enough for the entire community. 

Better Planet 

In 2019, Kohler continued to emphasize product life cycle and environmental impacts related to supply chain, operations and customer use and end of life and now provides clear, easy-to-understand environmental and human health data on the products it manufactures. Transparency documents, like Environmental Product Declarations (EPDs) and Declare labels, are available for plumbing products by visiting Kohler’s Transparency website. Declare labels, similar to food ingredient labels, detail the material composition of plumbing fixtures and help inform consumers about the safety of the products they use every day. In the coming year, Kohler plans to provide the first Declare labels and EPDs for its faucet products, and has committed to screening all of its Kitchen and Bath products using Design for Environment (DfE) methodology by 2021.

To view Kohler’s 2019 Social Impact Report in its entirety, please visit kohlercompany.com/BelievingInBetterReports

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About Kohler Co.

Founded in 1873 and headquartered in Kohler, Wisconsin, Kohler Co. is one of America’s oldest and largest privately held companies comprised of more than 38,000 associates. With more than 50 manufacturing locations worldwide, Kohler is a global leader in the design, innovation and manufacture of kitchen and bath products; engines and power systems; luxury cabinetry, lighting and tile; and owner/operator of two of the world’s finest five-star hospitality and golf resort destinations in Kohler, Wisconsin, and St. Andrews, Scotland. Kohler’s Whistling Straits golf course will host the 2020 Ryder Cup. The company also develops solutions to address pressing issues, such as clean water and sanitation, for underserved communities around the world to enhance the quality of life for current and future generations. For more details, please visit kohlercompany.com

FedEx Courier Personifies Passion in Support of Food Bank

Tue, 06/30/2020 - 1:02pm

Ever see someone in need, just trying to make ends meet? It’s an all-too common sight, especially in the midst of the pandemic. Seeing people in need happens daily for FedEx driver Steve Warner as he goes out making deliveries in the community. But what can one person do?

Steve put his passion for helping people to work and decided to champion a food drive in the midst of the pandemic. With support from his leadership, and help from his team mates, they replicated their typical Christmas holiday food drive to help meet the critical need for food due to the pandemic.

"Even though we work for a Global Company, our employees raise their families in Tulsa and the surrounding communities. This is where we call home." said Daniel Braswell, a member of the management team where Steve works. "When our people are out on the road seeing businesses closed, schools closed, we know there are people struggling. It gives us all the urge to help. Steve is a perfect example of someone who cares about others in need and is willing to help do something about it."

FedEx team members abide by the “Purple Promise.” The promise states: “I will make every FedEx experience outstanding.” For 20 years Steve has been delivering on this promise with a passion that delivers for his customers and his community.

Read more stories like Steve's on FedExCares.com

World's Biggest Digital Olympic Workout Introduces Half a Billion People to #Stayactive on Olympic Day

Tue, 06/30/2020 - 1:02pm

International Olympic Committee

Over 141 athletes from 47 sports disciplines took part in both live workouts and a special edition Olympic Day video showcasing a range of moves to challenge all abilities, from squats with Canadian Olympic ice hockey champion Natalie Spooner to headstands with USA gold medallist gymnast Kyla Ross.

All the activities across all social media handles created worldwide dialogue and excitement. The @Instagram account shared the Olympic Day activity with its community of 428 million followers. Additionally, across Olympic social media handles, 14.5 million people interacted with inspiring Olympic Day content.

“Continue training, do not give up, the Olympic dream is coming,” said Boxer Wessam Salamana, who hopes to be part of the IOC Refugee Olympic Team at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020. Also, 12 Refugee Athletes Scholarship-holders held an inspiring workout at the refugee camp in Kakuma, Kenya, where they are currently pursuing their training against all the odds, sending a powerful message of hope and resilience to the world.

Tonga’s summer and winter Olympian Pita Taufatofua started the global digital workout from his homeland in the South Pacific. The workout then travelled across all the time zones all the way to Honolulu, where it ended many sweat-filled hours later with USA decathlon champion Bryan Clay.

India’s Rio 2016 women’s badminton silver medallist PV Sindhu introduced fans to daily meditation, and reigning men’s Olympic marathon champion Eliud Kipchoge – the first person to break the fabled two-hour marathon mark – encouraged followers not to believe in “limits”.

National Olympic Committees (NOCs) and International Federations (IFs) showed their celebration with active involvement. The Brazilian NOC led a month of activities, inspired by the 100-year anniversary of its first Olympic gold, and the British Olympic Association led a five-day campaign to inspire children, teachers and families to try a new sport. The French Olympic Committee encouraged people to walk, run or cycle 2,024m, symbolising the upcoming Olympic Games Paris 2024.

Elsewhere, the International Gymnastics Federation (FIG) was among the many IFs to encourage multiple Olympic champions to run live workouts on their own Instagram Live accounts. Others, such as the International Canoe Federation (ICF), hosted Q&As, while the International Sport Climbing Federation (IFSC) put the focus on mental health in sport.

Worldwide Olympic Partners and Rights-Holding Broadcasters (RHBs) also engaged and encouraged their different audiences to stay active and celebrate the Olympic values through their many channels. Notably, Alibaba broadcast the #StayStrong livestream organised by the Chinese Olympic Committee and the Beijing 2022 Organising Committee, featuring over 350 Chinese athletes and medallists from different generations, with athletes such as Yao Ming, Liu Guoliang, Xu Haifeng, Guo Jingjing and Fu Mingxia. This activation alone accumulated 85 million video views, including 32 Olympians and more than 350 athletes.

In addition, athlete ambassadors from worldwide Olympic partners Toyota and Coca-Cola hosted online activations across the globe. Team Toyota athletes Marcus Fernaldi Gideon and Yamamoto Seito participated in the live workout from Indonesia and Japan respectively; Team USA athletes hosted live chats in partnership with the mobility company; and football player and Coca-Cola athlete Desire Oparanozie hosted a live workout from Nigeria. Others amplified the Olympic Day campaign, promoting their athletes and the message across their social platforms.

“Olympic day is to bring us all together, it unites all of us in the spirit of sport, it’s about unity. It's a good opportunity for everyone to just build yourself, keep growing and get better; and we will get better, because that's the whole point!” said Mikel Thomas, a three-time Olympic hurdler from Trinidad and Tobago as he completed his epic 40-minute live workout.

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The International Olympic Committee is a not-for-profit independent international organisation made up of volunteers, which is committed to building a better world through sport. It redistributes more than 90 per cent of its income to the wider sporting movement, which means that every day the equivalent of 3.4 million US dollars goes to help athletes and sports organisations at all levels around the world.

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For more information, please contact the IOC Media Relations Team:
Tel: +41 21 621 6000, email: pressoffice@olympic.org, or visit our web site at www.olympic.org.

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