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Alkermes Announces 3rd Annual ALKERMES PATHWAYS RESEARCH AWARDS℠ Program and 2019 Recipients

Mon, 06/29/2020 - 1:01pm

Alkermes plc (Nasdaq: ALKS) today announced that applications are now being accepted for the annual ALKERMES PATHWAYS RESEARCH AWARDSSM. The competitive grants program is designed to support the next generation of researchers working on the front lines to advance understanding and awareness of central nervous system (CNS) disorders. In its third year, the Pathways program will provide grants to junior investigators who have demonstrated their commitment to helping those living with substance use disorders (SUD), schizophrenia, or bipolar disorder. The application period is now open and will run through October 30, 2020.

“With millions of people impacted by central nervous system disorders1, the need for advancements in this field remains critical,” said Craig Hopkinson, M.D., Executive Vice President, Research & Development and Chief Medical Officer at Alkermes. “Alkermes underscores its commitment to addressing the complex challenges patients face by helping promising researchers explore innovative ideas that have the potential to improve treatment options, outcomes, and lives.”

The 2020 Pathways program will provide funding for up to ten research projects with grant amounts of up to $100,000 per project. Alkermes has reserved four awards for research focused on SUD and four awards for research focused on schizophrenia. Two awards have also been reserved for research focused on bipolar disorder, which is a new addition to the Pathways program this year.

In 2019, Alkermes awarded grants to eight recipients in recognition of their outstanding work and creative ideas to advance research and help support those living with CNS disorders. The recipients of the 2019 Pathways program grants include:

  • Caroline A. Arout, Ph.D., New York State Psychiatric Institute at Columbia University Irving Medical Center, for assessing effects of repeated high-cannabidiol cannabis administration on experimental pain and abuse liability in humans

  • Michael S Breen, Ph.D., Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, for research on functional and translational implications of A-to-I RNA editing in schizophrenia

  • Xi Chen, Ph.D., Harvard Medical School, McLean Hospital, for In vivo research observing brain lactate changes in first-episode schizophrenia using 3-T magnetic resonance spectroscopy

  • Gregory F. Corder, Ph.D., University of Pennsylvania, for research on prevention of neurodevelopmental disabilities associated with neonatal opioid withdrawal

  • Victor Philippe Mathis, Ph.D., Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, for research defining the role of cortical inputs to the habenula in the control of midbrain dopamine neurons and addiction-related behaviors

  • Amanda McCleery, Ph.D., University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior, for research on the impact of aripiprazole medication adherence on learning and neuroplasticity in recent-onset schizophrenia: A comparison of long-acting injectable and oral formulations

  • Jose M Rubio, M.D., Zucker School of Medicine at Hofstra/Northwell, for assessing biomarkers of relapse in schizophrenia during antipsychotic maintenance: A proof-of-concept study

  • Cody A. Siciliano, Ph.D., Vanderbilt University, for research assessing neural mechanisms of cognitive dysfunction and alcohol abuse vulnerability

“Despite effective treatments for psychotic symptoms, functional outcomes for people with schizophrenia are often disappointing,” said grant recipient Amanda McCleery, Ph.D., UCLA Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior. “The Pathways grant not only provides me with an excellent opportunity for mentored training in clinical trial methods, but also will allow me to gain a more nuanced understanding of the developmental trajectory of schizophrenia.”

“The Pathways grant will serve as a launching pad for my long-term aspirations of researching novel pathways involved in the control of opioid-seeking behavior and potentially identifying druggable targets for the development of new addiction therapeutics,” said Victor Mathis, Ph.D., Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. “I am grateful for Alkermes’ commitment to developing the next generation of researchers and striving to improve the lives of those affected by SUDs and other CNS diseases.”

To qualify, junior investigators must be M.D.s, Ph.D.s, or equivalent, within five years of initial academic appointment or current post-doctoral fellows, and affiliated with a medical or research institution within the U.S. Applicants are evaluated by an independent review committee comprised of specialists in psychiatry, neurobiology, pharmacology and behavioral science from academic research centers.

For more information on the Pathways program, including 2020 program information, visit www.PathwaysResearchAwards.com.

About Alkermes plc
Alkermes plc is a fully integrated, global biopharmaceutical company developing innovative medicines in the fields of neuroscience and oncology. The company has a portfolio of proprietary commercial products focused on addiction and schizophrenia, and a pipeline of product candidates in development for schizophrenia, bipolar I disorder, neurodegenerative disorders and cancer. Headquartered in Dublin, Ireland, Alkermes plc has an R&D center in Waltham, Massachusetts; a research and manufacturing facility in Athlone, Ireland; and a manufacturing facility in Wilmington, Ohio. For more information, please visit Alkermes’ website at www.alkermes.com.

Note Regarding Forward-Looking Statements
Certain statements set forth in this press release constitute “forward-looking statements” within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995, as amended, including, but not limited to, statements concerning the expected timing, operation and/or potential impact of the ALKERMES PATHWAYS RESEARCH AWARDSSM program, the funding provided by the program and the research supported by such funding. The company cautions that forward-looking statements are inherently uncertain. Although the company believes that such statements are based on reasonable assumptions within the bounds of its knowledge of its business and operations, the forward-looking statements are neither promises nor guarantees and they are necessarily subject to a high degree of uncertainty and risk. Actual performance and results may differ materially from those expressed or implied in the forward-looking statements due to various risks, assumptions and uncertainties. These risks, assumptions and uncertainties include, among others, changes in funding, timing or parameters of the ALKERMES PATHWAYS RESEARCH AWARDSSM program, the nature of any findings or results arising from the research supported by the program and those risks, assumptions and uncertainties described under the heading “Risk Factors” in the company’s Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended Dec. 31, 2019 and in subsequent filings made by the company with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), which are available on the SEC’s website at www.sec.gov. Existing and prospective investors are cautioned not to place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements, which speak only as of the date hereof. Except as required by law, the company disclaims any intention or responsibility for updating or revising any forward-looking statements contained in this press release.

ALKERMES PATHWAYS RESEARCH AWARDSSM is a service mark of Alkermes, Inc.

[1] Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. (2019). Key substance use and mental health indicators in the United States: Results from the 2018 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (HHS Publication No. PEP19-5068, NSDUH Series H-54). Rockville, MD: Center for Behavioral Health Statistics and Quality, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. Accessed on March 20, 2020 from https://www.samhsa.gov/data/.

Tetra Tech’s Brian Thorne Discusses Planning and Designing Military Infrastructure

Mon, 06/29/2020 - 10:01am

Defense Services

Brian Thorne, an expert in military planning, design, and construction oversight, has nearly 25 years of experience leading infrastructure projects. A retired Army Major with 22 years of service with the Army National Guard, Brian now provides exceptional leadership and project management skills to his Department of Defense (DoD) clients.

Brian Thorne is Tetra Tech’s go-to resource when working with the DoD. Over the past 10 years, Brian has led planning and design of military facilities and infrastructure to support foreign military sales (FMS) initiatives under extremely aggressive schedules. He partners with his clients to achieve consensus early on in the project to maximize available funding, minimize changes needed later, and meet FMS delivery schedules. Leveraging his military training, Brian brings result-oriented leadership, communication, and problem-solving skills to meet or exceed client expectations. During his tenure at Tetra Tech, Brian has managed planning and design task orders for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Middle East District totaling more than $75 million.

What are some of the common needs and challenges you see with your DoD clients?

Our clients need to have the right facilities and infrastructure to support their training, combat mission, or whatever it is that they are trying to accomplish. I think my military background helps me understand their needs faster and immediately build trust because I’ve also worn the uniform.

What are the key factors in helping your clients achieve their goals and objectives?

I am able to multitask and focus on what’s important because I am organized and regimented. My time in the military trained me to manage the unexpected and overcome challenges, skills that are equally important as a project manager in industry. I have honed these skills over time so that they have become an automatic part of my job. My responsibility, as a team leader, project manager, and task order manager is to ensure the end user is happy.

If our clients don’t succeed, then we don’t succeed. My staff and I use master action item lists and detailed project schedules to keep clients informed regarding the key issues. These lists and schedules also help us stay on track with our clients and focus on the issues at hand to get them resolved expeditiously. Generally, the third time you discuss a plan is when you get the real answer, or what the client is really thinking. In client meetings, we use visuals, site plans, or floor plans and refine them every day over a one- to two-week period. We show them what the plan or design could look like and confirm with the client that we correctly understand the client’s needs. Our team understands that the first idea may not be the final solution.

How do you help your clients achieve consensus among multiple stakeholders?

We give our clients the confidence that we know what we’re doing as professional engineers and architects and that we’re here to help them achieve their objectives. You have to provide solutions to their problems. When clients tell you they want something “bigger,” you have to explain what the implications are going to be—our role is to collect information and come up with a consensus.

Often, when we’re doing planning charrettes, we make changes on the fly with the client right there. Our team knows that just because that’s the site plan today, it doesn’t mean that it’s going to be tomorrow. We stay loose and flexible and adapt to changing needs and ideas because plans evolve over several iterations before we reach a decision. Infrastructure is generally one piece of many line items in a program, and when you’re dealing with a program manager, they frequently don’t concern themselves with it unless there is a schedule issue. For me, having been in the military, getting it right means something. While some projects may involve just a facility or a water line, I know our projects are important regardless of the scope.

How do you meet tight deadlines?

You meet tight deadlines by supplying the resources that are needed—you have to be proactive. We work very quickly through expedited schedules, and we’re willing to do it because we understand that success resides in getting a delivered facility that’s commissioned, accepted, and ready to support the program. A lot of our schedules are aggressive from the start, but by applying higher-level resources and selecting the right team, we’re able to meet the requirements. The way I see it, teaming with good soldiers who are confident in their ability to deal with unexpected situations and can lead when necessary helps get the job done.

Quality assurance is another factor we use to ensure that we’re delivering a product that meets the task order requirement. We know our clients are busy, so we help them by assuring them we will meet the project requirements and deadlines, which gives them one less thing to worry about. We drive the project, agree to a schedule, and keep our clients up to date by having weekly meetings. We also coordinate with our counterparts throughout the week to keep the project on track. Moving review meetings around and providing interim submittals to help expedite the process are examples of how we accomplish being flexible, meeting deadlines, and being a partner—it’s all part of how we execute our task orders.

Report: Schneider Electric's Promise of Action for a Sustainable Future

Fri, 06/26/2020 - 3:55pm

Our promise to future generations: we will be part of the solution, taking urgent actions now to co-create a brighter future for everyone, everywhere. A future where access to energy and digital are basic human rights. We’ll align with United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and measure our impact with transparency. In fact, our 2019 progress is highlighted throughout this report.

We designed this site so that you can explore it with a smaller environmental footprint. You won’t see fancy graphics, videos, or even that many colors. But there’s one thing you will see: progress.

Our Promise

Make an Impact This Pride Month With United Airlines

Fri, 06/26/2020 - 12:55pm

Even though the way we celebrate pride is different this year, it's as important as ever to work toward a better future for those who continue to stand up to injustice and inequality. Join us by donating your miles to partner charities or campaigns that benefit LGBTQ causes in the communities we serve.

Last year, with your help, we raised more than 1 million miles. This year, take pride in your miles by donating to organizations like:

  • Transgender Law Center, which works to change laws, policies and attitudes for transgender and gender nonconforming people

  • The Trevor Project, which provides crisis intervention and suicide prevention for LGBTQ youth

  • Born This Way Foundation, which supports creating an accepting, kinder and inclusive world

We'll match your donations mile-for-mile, up to 500,000 miles, per campaign. Together, let's make an impact, drive change and continue the movement that started 51 years ago with the Stonewall uprising.

Donate now

What Does the World Need From Hershey?

Fri, 06/26/2020 - 12:55pm

2019 SUSTAINABILITY REPORT

2019 was a special year for The Hershey Company. As we celebrated our 125th anniversary, we had the opportunity to explore our rich heritage and the legacy of our founder, who instilled in our business core values that connect us to one another and to the world. The energy within Hershey was tangible as you experienced the connectedness, passion, positivity and the deep pride and appreciation we have for each other and this special company.

As I write this note, the world is experiencing an unparalleled and rapidly evolving global pandemic. In this unprecedented time, our people and our business remain grounded in our purpose to make more moments of goodness. This grounding has allowed us to focus on what is most important—the health and safety of our colleagues, family and friends and our commitment to continue making those moments of goodness in people’s lives even when physical connection is limited.

Our company is wrapped in a deep legacy of caring for our people and communities. But it is no longer enough to consider what our company is able to do for the world. Now we must answer: what does the world need from Hershey?

We continuously meet with a variety of stakeholders—consumers, retailers, investors, governments and NGOs—all asking how we, and other companies, are making a positive impact on society’s most pressing issues. This Sustainability Report seeks to address those questions.

Our products rely on a global supply chain and agricultural ingredients. Climate change poses a significant, increasing pressure on these resources and the communities where we source them. This is why we committed to the Science Based Targets Initiative in January 2019 and are well on track for the January 2021 deadline to announce our target.

We continue to make good progress within our Cocoa For Good strategy, but we know there is a long way to go to resolve some of the most pressing issues facing cocoa-growing communities, including child labor. In 2019, we began publishing on our website the findings from our Child Labor Monitoring and Remediation Systems (CLMRS) work. We will continue this practice as we expand CLMRS to cover 100 percent of our cocoa supply chain in Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire in the coming years.

Last year, we published our first comprehensive human rights policy that outlines our commitment to respect human rights throughout our value chain. We’ve also begun deploying a new human rights training program to help ensure everyone across our organization understands our values and how they personally can impact human rights across our business.

The Hershey Company has more than 125 years of experience managing through tough, fast-moving and unprecedented moments—two World Wars, economic depressions and recessions, and other momentous events. Each time, we planned. We took action. We learned and adapted. And we kept our focus on making the best decisions for our employees, our partners, our stockholders, our communities and the consumers we serve.

Today, we draw on that same spirit to keep our company resilient through new challenges that are disrupting economies and societies. I remain confident in the strength and resiliency of our business over the long-term, and in our remarkable leaders and employees who are executing our strategies, reacting to current changes and capitalizing on the opportunities this change presents.

We love making the brands that become part of people’s moments big and small. Going forward, it’s this purpose that inspires us to win so that we can continue to make more moments of goodness.

-Michele Buck
Chairman, President and CEO, The Hershey Company

Read more in Hershey's 2019 Sustainability Report

Cox: Our Commitment to Social Justice and Human Rights

Fri, 06/26/2020 - 12:55pm

Cox recently announced the establishment of a $1 million fund to help organizations that support social justice and civil and human rights. After taking input from employees on which organizations the fund should support, we are pleased to announce Cox will donate to the following national organizations:  

We're also giving to two Atlanta institutions where Cox has long-standing relationships: The National Center for Civil and Human Rights (NCCHR) and the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Action.  

Additionally, we committed to supporting the Ad Council’s Racial Equality campaign with $1 million in donated advertising time on Cox Communications’ network. The support will help spread the message of racial justice through the Ad Council's new campaign, Love Has No Labels. 

Cox has a long legacy of giving to organizations like 100 Black Men of Atlanta, the African American Partnership of United Way of Greater Atlanta and HBCU Rising, a mentoring program that addresses the gross underrepresentation of African Americans in our nation’s scientific fields. We will continue to support organizations like these in the future. 

Cox is also proud of its longstanding support of the National Center for Civil and Human Rights, and along with other corporate and civic leaders, was a key donor in preventing the auction of Dr. King’s manuscripts, writings and books so they could stay in the city of Atlanta.  

We’re pleased to support long-standing partners such as the National Urban League with this new gift and help organizations responding to the current calls for equality under the law.   

Actions Speak 
We also know change starts within our own walls. We have taken several steps in our journey toward a more inclusive and welcoming Cox. This includes employee listening sessions, training, new resources and more. Discrimination has no home in our hearts or our company. Our Purpose is to make the world a better place, and we are committed to that today and in the future. 

A Major Milestone for Our LGBTQ+ Communities

Fri, 06/26/2020 - 12:55pm

Originally published by Adobe

At Adobe, we believe everyone deserves respect and equal treatment. We have been reminded of the gravity of this belief by the senseless acts of violence waged against the Black community.

Last year, Adobe joined more than 200 major employers in filing an amicus brief urging the Supreme Court to recognize anti-discrimination protections for members of the LGBTQ+ community. Recently, the United States Supreme Court said, “An employer who fires an individual merely for being gay or transgender defies the law.” This guarantee of legal equality in employment is a great step forward for another group that has experienced discrimination and violence, and it should be celebrated as a major milestone.

This decision comes at an important time as we celebrate Pride month in the United States. Pride originated 50 years ago from the Stonewall uprising, which protested the persecution of the gay community by police. It is a timely reminder for the United States and global dialogue happening today. This year, Adobe is focused on empowering our communities, practicing resilience, and demonstrating solidarity through a series of events. 

Adobe is also calling on the United States Senate to pass the Equality Act to ensure that all members of the LGBTQ+ community are protected under federal civil rights laws, at work and in other aspects of their lives.

We stand united with our LGBTQ+ employees and communities, today, and always.

Qualcomm Named to 100 Best Corporate Citizens of 2020

Fri, 06/26/2020 - 12:55pm

We are proud to announce that Qualcomm has been named in 3BL Media’s annual 100 Best Corporate Citizens ranking, which recognizes outstanding environmental, social and governance (ESG) transparency and performance among the 1,000 largest, U.S. public companies.

The 100 Best Corporate Citizens ranking is based on 141 ESG transparency and performance factors in eight pillars: climate change, employee relations, environment, finance, governance, human rights, stakeholders, and society, and ESG performance. Using a methodology developed by 3BL Media, all Russell 1000 Index companies are researched by ISS ESG, the responsible investment research arm of Institutional Shareholder Services. There is no fee for companies to be included in 100 Best Corporate Citizens.

To compile the ranking, corporate data and information is obtained from publicly available sources only, rather than questionnaires or company submissions. Companies have the option to verify data collected for the ranking at no cost. Data and information used in the 2020 edition of the 100 Best Corporate Citizens ranking is from March 6, 2019 to March 13, 2020.

“Achieving the transformational targets in the Paris Agreement and UN Sustainable Development Goals in this decade means we need all companies to embed ESG issues into their business,” said Dave Armon, CEO of 3BL Media. “The best corporate citizens of 2020 are leaders, demonstrating how transparency, ambitious goals, robust strategies and accounting for all stakeholders builds business and social value.”

For access to the complete 100 Best Corporate Citizens of 2020 ranking and methodology visit: https://100best.3blmedia.com/

Schneider Sustainability Report 2019 - 2020: Development Action for a More Inclusive World

Thu, 06/25/2020 - 6:53pm

Schneider Sustainability Report 2019 - 2020 Development

At Schneider Electric, we believe that access to energy and digital are basic human rights. To date, 840 million people in the world still lack access to electricity1. This figure is down from 1.2 billion in 2010, indicative of significant progress made in the last decade. We must do even more.

Market economy will not last without more inclusiveness. It’s not a matter of ideology, it is a hard realism that calls us to a collective action, for both governments and companies. Our aim is to build a constructive dialogue to advance social inclusion, pilot and scale innovative, inclusive micro-economic business models, and contribute to inform macroeconomic policies.2  - Emmanuel Faber Co-chairman, Business for Inclusive Growth

In addition to achieving universal energy access, sustainable development is also about improving the living standards of local populations. This means promoting economic development in rural areas and supporting skills training. Schneider’s efforts include affordable solutions; impact investing; entrepreneurial opportunities; and engaging communities, employees, and non-profits around the topic of energy. 

As Schneider works toward its ambitious development targets, the company also helps advance the following United Nations (U.N.) Sustainable Development Goals:

  • SDG 1 (to end poverty)

  • SDG 4 (to advance quality education)

  • SDG 7 (to ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable, and modern energy for all)

Learn more about the progress we made in these critical areas in 2019.

Sustainable development means leaving no one behind.

To help establish the developing world, Schneider takes meaningful action to ensure our business is mindful of all populations — including vulnerable countries and segments of society. We act as ambassadors for a just transition where a healthy economy and a clean environment co-exist.3

In September 2019, Schneider joined the global Business for Inclusive Growth (B4IG) coalition, sponsored by the French Presidency of the G7 and overseen by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) to strengthen our commitment to tackling inequality. 

Among 34 leading international member companies, we help pool and strengthen private sector efforts to reduce inequalities linked to opportunity, gender, and territories, and to build greater synergies with government-led efforts. 

References

1“Business pledging against inequalities at the G7 summit 2019,” OECD, 2019. 
2“Tracking SDG7: The Energy Progress Report Highlights,” a joint report between the International Energy Agency, International Renewable Energy Agency, United Nations Statistics Division, World Bank Group, and World Health Organization, 2019. 
3“What is Just Transition?,” Just Transition Alliance, 2019.

Schneider Electric's 2019 Circular Economy Highlights

Thu, 06/25/2020 - 6:53pm

The responsible use of resources is central to our identity. Circularity is a model that offers efficiencies that build upon themselves; over the past year, circular principles helped us outpace our own expectations toward our sustainability progress.

Schneider Sustainability Impact results

Circular economy is part of our 2018 – 2020 Schneider Sustainability Impact (SSI). The SSI covers 21 impacts that align with United Nations (U.N.) Sustainable Development Goals. Together with the global community, we are working to alleviate poverty, protect the planet, and bring about global peace and prosperity. Here is our 2018 and 2019 progress against our 2020 goals.

Partnering for circularity

One-planet compatibility is a concept that promotes people and organizations using finite resources in a way that respects Earth’s ability to replenish those resources. In 2019, Schneider joined with Global Footprint Network (GFN) to highlight the powerful competitive advantage of one-planet-compatible companies. By partnering with GFN, we’ve been able to gauge our activities through ecological footprint accounting. This helps us answer “yes” to the question: “Are our products and services aligned with moving customers and humanity out of ecological overshoot?” 

Energy is one of five levers that can move Earth Overshoot Day. Our joint research3 with GFN4 revealed that technologies available today — including those that we and our partners offer — can help move the date. With energy management, industrial automation, and renewable electricity, humanity can act now to move Earth Overshoot Day forward 21 days. And with cross-sector innovation, cutting CO2 emissions by half could move the date by 93 days. 

Our initiatives at the end of 2019

We’re one of the few companies in the industrial sector to be part of the New Plastics Economy Global Commitment coordinated by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation5. We’ve committed to doubling the quantity of recycled plastics in our products by 2025, to align with goals put forth in France’s Circular Economy Roadmap6, and we’ve banned single-use plastics in our facilities around the world. The latter progress was the result of our new Act For Green program, which encourages our employees to share their ideas to advance Schneider’s sustainability mission.

At the end of 2019, we launched a pilot program to enhance our waste reduction goals: our Green Packaging Project. With this new initiative, we can reduce the use of plastic film in packaging by 97,000 square meters — enough to cover 14 soccer fields. With regard to cardboard, this program will also help us conserve about 74 tons of raw material. 

In addition to reducing our use of plastic and conserving resources, we’ve made great strides in ensuring the materials we do use are used to their fullest: since 2012, we’ve increased the amount of waste we recover from 8% to 95%. This means that in 2019, we’ve kept 11,000 tons of waste out of landfills — more than the weight of the Eiffel Tower. Our progress in this area has led to 193 of our sites labeled toward zero waste to landfill. 

Read the full 2019 Circular Economy Highlights from Schneider Electric in its 2019 - 2020 Sustaianbility Report

SB'20 Long Beach

Thu, 06/25/2020 - 6:53pm

The business case is clear. Purpose-led brands attract customers, fulfill employees, and outperform competitors.

At Sustainable Brands, we believe purpose is the driving force of a thriving business, and sustainable innovation separates leaders from the pack. Year after year, we bring together our global community of change agents to share the latest developments in sustainable business, to collaborate around solutions to difficult obstacles, and to inspire a new generation of business leaders.

For the past decade, we’ve laid the foundation for a regenerative future. Now, we’re moving forward with even greater conviction to restore ourselves, our brands, our businesses, and our planet. 

Now is the time to move your brand toward becoming a positive force for a regenerative economy. Your business can do well AND do good. The Sustainable Brands community is the only place to find trusted leadership with a depth of understanding of the landscape, shared ambition to shape a new direction, and insightful tools to take action. Join the change agents who are co-creating the framework for a flourishing future at SB’20 Long Beach.

3BL community members receive an exclusive 20% off all pass types! Register using the code “ptr3bl” to take advantage of this special offer.

Location: Long Beach Convention Center
Dates: June 1 - 4, 2020 9:00am-5:00pm PT

$1.2 Million Awarded to Hitzke Development and Bridge Housing Partners to Build Affordable Housing for Veterans

Thu, 06/25/2020 - 3:53pm

 LISC San Diego announced today that $1.2 million has been awarded to Hitzke Development and BRIDGE Housing Partners for pre-development on the Tranquility at Post 310 new construction project.

Tranquility at Post 310 is a 43-unit veterans development located at the site of the current American Legion Hall Post 310 in the emerging neighborhood of Southeastern San Diego.

Once completed, the project will feature 25 full-wrap, permanent supportive-housing units for households earning 30% or less of the area median income, and 16 remaining units for veteran households earning no more than 50% to 60% of the area median income.

BRIDGE Housing Partners has participated in the development of more than 17,000 homes and apartments in California and the Pacific Northwest, with total development cost of over $3 billion.

Based in San Marcos, Hitzke Development has taken lead roles in developing more than 1,500 apartments and affordable homes throughout San Diego County.

The contribution is part of a $3 million investment by CIT to support the Local Initiatives Support Corporation of San Diego (LISC)'s Neighborhood Catalyst Fund. CIT’s investment, which was announced in April, is expected to help create 1,350 affordable housing units for low-to-moderate income residents of San Diego County.

“This partnership provides CIT the unique opportunity to create sustainable housing and enrich the lives of veterans for years to come,” said Claudia Lima, director of Community Lending and Investments for CIT. “We’re grateful for the chance to partner with LISC San Diego and drive transformable change across the region.” 

Said LISC San Diego executive director Ricardo Flores: “LISC is grateful for CIT’s partnership as we work to  make an impact across the region and serve neighborhoods of opportunity. This investment enables us to provide housing to our veterans and revitalizing the Southeastern San Diego community.”

About LISC:

A non-profit funding agency founded in 1991, LISC San Diego has invested $232 million in grants, loans, and equity investments in the city’s low-income communities. This investment has leveraged $1 billion in total development costs, leading to the creation of more than 6,000 affordable rental housing units for San Diego’s most vulnerable families and the development of 1 million square feet of retail and commercial space.                                                            

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Moody's Analytics Offers Free Online Portal for Processing PPP Loan Forgiveness Requests

Thu, 06/25/2020 - 3:53pm

June 25, 2020 /3BL Media/ - Moody’s Analytics has added new capabilities to its small business loan application and lending portal to help banks process loan forgiveness applications under the CARES Act Paycheck Protection Program (PPP).

Designed to help financial institutions manage and streamline the loan forgiveness process, the portal is available for free to all lenders seeking to process loan forgiveness applications and documents. The portal allows lenders to digitally gather the required information and documents, track the status of borrowers and their documents in real time, and receive alerts on each submission.

“Banks faced an unprecedented challenge rolling out the PPP loan program to support their customers. We are proud to have supported our customers in those efforts. Now, with the new capabilities in our online portal, we’re ready to help lenders work more efficiently with small business owners seeking PPP loan forgiveness.”

John Baer, Managing Director

Learn more about the Moody’s Analytics Free Online Portal for PPP Loans, one of a number of Moody’s Analytics solutions helping leaders across industries make better decisions in the COVID-19 environment.

Cox Curbs Loneliness for Older Adults With One Call a Day

Thu, 06/25/2020 - 12:53pm

Cox Communications announced on June 11 its One Call a Day initiative, a virtual volunteer program that connects Cox employees with seniors for daily touch base calls. 

Particularly vulnerable during this crisis, older adults are subject to even more stringent social distancing guidelines leaving them severely isolated.  With the help of Cox volunteers, isolated seniors around the country have received surprise calls offering support, encouragement, and much-needed human connection.  

"Many studies pointed to a loneliness epidemic even before COVID-19 with illness, mobility, and the complexity of technology making this more acute for seniors," said Gaston Vaneri, senior vice president of brand strategy for Cox. "Now, being classified as an at-risk group and being isolated from loved ones, the problem is exacerbated."

The phone conversations range from what's for dinner and current events of the day to bragging on grandchildren, parenting advice and trips down memory lane.   Regardless of the topic, conversations spark a meaningful connection in a time of severe isolation. 

"I may get more out of it than Joe, my match," said Eric Wall, a recruiter for Cox Enterprises. "He has so much life experience and offers great perspective on what's going on in today's world. Having served in the Navy, I have a strong bond with Joe, who served in the National Guard. I am willing to do anything I can do to encourage him and make him laugh through this crazy time."

Cox started One Call a Day in California, matching employee volunteers with aging adults affiliated with local veterans' groups and senior facilities. The program now has over 50 active volunteers matched with participating seniors from New York City, Washington DC, Ohio, Louisiana, South Dakota, Colorado, Arizona and California.  The One Call a Day volunteer program will expand into new Cox markets including Rhode Island, Virginia, and Florida. 

"To know someone cares and you are not alone can change the trajectory of your day and even your outlook on life," said Vaneri.  "Our employees are making a simple phone call, but the impact is beyond measure."

One Call a Day is a part of a larger focus on driving greater human connection. The company's campaign shares the stories of members of San Diego Oasis, a senior community center in San Diego that closed due to the pandemic leaving hundreds of seniors at home alone. The staff at San Diego Oasis quickly acted to virtualize curriculum offered by professors and experts in history, humanities, language, technology, art, finance, fitness, and more. A short film captures the importance of connection and the real power of technology to bring us closer to one another at a time when it's needed.

One Call a Day and Virtual Senior Center come on the heels of Cox's recent Connection Project campaign called #NowMoreThanEver, a non-branded campaign which began the COVID-19 period by reaching people with messages of connection. From shopping carts, asking people to "help a senior they know get the things they need" to pizza boxes prompting them to call grandma, the effort was aimed to inspire people to reach out to communities, friends and family.

For more information on ways in which Cox is serving communities amid COVID-19, visit https://www.cox.com/residential/support/coronavirus-response.html.

About Cox Communications
Cox Communications is committed to creating meaningful moments of human connection through broadband applications and services. The largest private telecom company in America, we proudly serve six million homes and businesses across 18 states. We're dedicated to empowering others to build a better future and celebrate diverse products, people, suppliers, communities and the characteristics that makes each one unique. Cox Communications is the largest division of Cox Enterprises, a family-owned business founded in 1898 by Governor James M. Cox.

For further information:
Shana Keith, Shana.Keith@cox.com

The People Behind Today’s Responsible Brands: Teresa Coles Talks With Andy DiOrio on His Experiences Working for Hallmark, AMC Theatres and Sprint, and How They Channel Human Connections for Good.

Thu, 06/25/2020 - 9:53am

Never before has it been more imperative that companies look within to explore the social conscience of their brand. Today’s extraordinary societal upheavals will likely drive a deeper, more critical look at the authenticity of responsible brands everywhere. Those that have long believed in genuine human connections – and demonstrated their humanity in tangible, honest ways – can serve as models moving forward.

I was honored to speak recently with Andy DiOrio, APR, founder and chief communicator for DiOrio Communications and a veteran communications leader that has worked for multiple billion-dollar brands. He shed light on how three unique brands from his experience have shared DNA that is ultimately about connecting and caring for people, and how they bring that belief system to life in believable and compelling ways.

UNDERSTANDING THEIR TRUTH

Teresa Coles, Riggs Partners: Every successful organization must understand what lies at its core, and how to channel that inner truth as a driver for organizational success. You’ve worked with three major, seemingly dissimilar brands that have been very effective at this: Hallmark, AMC Theatres and Sprint. How would you describe their respective core beliefs?

Andy DiOrio, APR, DiOrio Communications: Hallmark has long focused on what they call an “emotionally-connected” world; the company works to make a genuine difference in every life, every day. AMC, during my time there, identified its core purpose as simply making smiles happen. This was part of what the team called an “AMC amazing entertainment experience.” Sprint focuses on the belief that mobile connectivity can help bring families and friends more closely together, for good. 

TC: What is the common thread among their belief systems?

AD: At first glance, these companies in manufacturing, entertainment and telecommunications seem unrelated. But even with very different missions and visions, there’s a common undercurrent. They're focusing on how to make your life easier, and what benefit they can bring to your life. With Hallmark, caring outreach makes a difference. At AMC, they’re going to make you smile as part of your experience. And finally, with Sprint, it’s about bringing families together. And the common thread that ties all three together is they’re showing they truly care about you, the consumer.

TC: These companies seem to be about connecting the human spirit.

AD: Correct. And the manifestation of core beliefs like this needs to be authentic. The 2020 Edelman Trust Barometer indicates that 64 percent of consumers are belief-driven; they need to see a company care about something more than its business. But organizations need to be careful not to “truth wash;” that is, to just make a splashy promise and then let it wash away. If someone digs deep into a brand, they need to find out what the organization stands for, its motivation behind its purpose, and how it puts words into actions that make an impact.

DEMONSTRATING THEIR BELIEFS

TC: How does their shared commitment to forging human connections play out? What are some interesting ways these brands have channeled particular areas of business as demonstrations of that commitment? 

AD: AMC, for example, has been particularly innovative in reflecting its beliefs within its workplace culture. AMC brings people together in a theater, right? It’s a very communal experience. When they moved offices, the company rebranded its headquarters as not another home office, but rather a Theatre Support Center, with its main purpose to provide a central location that supports its theatres. The singular building has an open floorplan that features two-story screens on multiple floors to run movie trailers, welcome guests and host company events. Employees essentially walk into a giant theater experience, which completely exemplifies what they're trying to do, and who they need to support.

TC: What about corporate social responsibility efforts in general?

AD: All three companies offer robust programs for employees to volunteer in each community, with charities of their choice. As one example, Sprint has done a good job of living into the efforts – making them about more than just philanthropic activity that gets reported as stats and charts and graphs, but instead about making a real difference in people’s lives. For example, in 2018 they surmised their partners had generated philanthropic impact worth an estimated $49 million that year and causes that benefitted. Sprint highlighted the impact the efforts have in their CSR communications products. It’s important to tell the full story in this way, not just report on the numbers. That’s how people get excited about the work. 

ENGAGING STAKEHOLDERS

TC: How are these brands engaging with employees in a way that helps them share the company’s belief system? 

AD: Hallmark rolled out an employee advocacy program called “brand champs.” It brought ready-made, approved information about the company to employee phones so they could easily share with their respective social media networks. Essentially, employee brand ambassadors would open an app on their phone and have pre-approved images and words to send out to their main social media channels. In a year, the program achieved more than two million impressions. It helped put power in the hands of employees. I think it’s a great example for many organizations, as long as the culture supports it.

TC: What about other stakeholders? For example, how are these brands sharing what they stand for with suppliers? 

AD: For Hallmark, high standards are not just on a wish list; they are a must have part of its supply chain. During my tenure, overseas partners knew if they weren’t meeting Hallmark’s standards, the company would look for a different supplier. How the workers making Hallmark products are treated is equally as important as the product itself. Hallmark makes sure that not only are its products manufactured safely and soundly, but also ethically, and that its workers are being taken care of as well. As a Hallmark employee, it meant something to know the company cared about and connected with its workers all across the world; that Hallmark did business with good partners verses perhaps the cheapest partner.

TC: What lessons can other, perhaps smaller, organizations take away from these Fortune 500 companies?

AD: Corporate social responsibility is not just for big brands and billion-dollar enterprises. I think if you remove the word corporate and just focus on social responsibility, it tears down some of those walls. For example, take a laundromat owner who’s thinking, “this doesn't apply to me; people just come in and spend a few quarters to wash and dry their clothes.” Instead, that laundromat owner could focus on what she’s really providing. She enables people to be clean and feel good about themselves. So maybe she takes some of her profits each year and helps purchase clothing for the homeless. It’s an excellent example of linking your core business to something that helps people in the community. Even on this small scale, a laundromat owner can position the business to make a tangible, societal difference. 

TC: It’s clear there’s a real need for organizations of any size to build an intentional culture that stands for something.

AD: Absolutely. What's universal among consumers is that, regardless of what they’re buying, they expect brands they support to act with a conscience. They have the power to choose, the power to switch, the power to avoid and the power to boycott their buying based on what a business does or doesn’t stand for. Whether dealing with a laundromat or a large enterprise, consumers want to feel good about the products and services they choose. It really is all about human connection and showing you care about a greater cause. 

About Riggs Partners
Riggs Partners is a creative marketing consultancy that specializes in helping clients build Responsible Brands, aligning organizational health, business strategy and brand marketing. The company also founded CreateAthon. For more information, visit www.riggspartners.com.

Yum! Invests $100 Million to Fight Inequality by Unlocking Opportunity for Employees and Communities

Thu, 06/25/2020 - 9:53am

Hello everyone, 

The events of 2020 have made it even clearer that one of the most pressing issues we face together in society is inequality and the lack of access and opportunity that goes with it. Around the world, this unfortunate reality has many faces, and it pressures the lives of too many individuals, families and communities. Though addressing inequality is challenging and complex and there is no easy fix, as the world’s largest restaurant company, we’re at an inflection point where our actions can, and should, make real and lasting change.

A global initiative

Today, I’m proud to announce Yum! Brands’ global Unlocking Opportunity Initiative with a $100 million commitment over the next five years. This initiative builds on more than 20 years of investing in our people-first culture. Across KFC, Pizza Hut, Taco Bell and The Habit Burger Grill, and alongside our franchisees, we will tackle inequality with an emphasis on three areas that can unlock opportunity for our employees, frontline restaurant teams and communities around the world: equity and inclusion, education and entrepreneurship.

  • Equity & Inclusion

    Difference should not stand in the way of opportunity. Every day our brands have the privilege to serve and employ people of every race, ethnicity, gender identity, sexual orientation, age and background. As such, we remain steadfast against all forms of discrimination and inequality – both conscious and unconscious – that thwart opportunity for our people. We are deepening our investments in efforts to produce equity, fairness, inclusion and belonging inside our company, across ALL aspects of our brands and throughout our franchise businesses. I’m pleased this effort will build on work already in progress to advance gender parity in leadership and continue expanding our inclusive leadership training across all corporate offices, franchisees and restaurants around the world.

  • Education

    Everyone should have the opportunity to build a positive future. However, far too many lack access to the kind of education and on-the-job and transferable skills training that can change the trajectory of lives, families and communities. We commit to be a force for change in this area while we continue our multimillion-dollar scholarship programs and the rollout of our world-class Heartstyles leadership development program. In addition, we will expand access and funding of education and skills training, which both empower restaurant team members to build their best lives and uplift our communities.

  • Entrepreneurship

    Entrepreneurship and small businesses are essential to create opportunity and resilient communities. Each of our brands was created by entrepreneurs with a dream to share a delicious meal and make a better life. Many of our franchisees share the same passion, whether they started with our brands as restaurant employees, customers or growth-minded businesspeople. To unlock opportunity, we will create pathways to entrepreneurship for restaurant employees wanting to lead a business, franchise or social enterprise, as well as for small businesses and social entrepreneurs looking to make a meaningful difference in their communities. 

With the unwavering support of our Board of Directors and Global Leadership Team, and working with our 2,000-plus franchisees, we plan to advance these efforts inside our brands and beyond our business in communities and with key partners addressing the regional and local challenges of inequality. As we have for many years through the Yum! Foundation, we will also find opportunities to partner with our franchisee community to unlock opportunity for those most affected by inequality. 

Tackling inequality and racial injustice in the United States

Our global efforts will start in the U.S., our largest market comprising more than 40% of our global sales and half of our franchisees. In addition, the majority of restaurant employees within our system in the U.S. are people of color, which makes fighting systemic inequality and racism a top priority. The three levers of our Unlocking Opportunity Initiative will guide our efforts.

The past few weeks have shown me the immediacy of the need to address inequality in the U.S., and I have been enlightened and humbled by conversations with many employees. They have opened my eyes to the resolve we will need in order to grow through our collective discomfort and arrive squarely on the side of history that uplifts Black communities and others in crisis along with everyone else. Building on our ongoing inclusion efforts, starting from the inside out, Yum! and our U.S. brands will:

1. Increase representation of Black, Latinx, people of color and women among our executive and management ranks, franchisees and suppliers. This builds on our initiative to advance women in leadership. In the coming months, we will set targets that inspire and hold us accountable for aggressive progress over time.

2. Continue rolling out inclusive leadership and anti-racism training across our system, including company and franchise restaurants.

3. Partner with U.S. franchisees on implementing the Unlocking Opportunity Initiative, leveraging and expanding involvement in Yum!’s inclusion advisory group – the Leading Inclusion for Today & Tomorrow (LIFT2) Council.

4. Ensure Black, Latinx and diverse representation in leadership and account teams at our U.S. agencies.

5. Invest in entrepreneurship, education and social justice in communities throughout the U.S. that have been historically marginalized and cities where our corporate offices are located, including Louisville, Kentucky.

While the road ahead will not be easy, I’m more confident and convicted than ever that with the strength of our culture, we will meet the challenges head-on. I am proud to see our company courageously coming together to shape a future with more equality, fairness and opportunity for all. We simply can’t miss this historic moment to do our part to unlock opportunities that improve the lives of the people who run our restaurants and serve our local communities.

Thank you to those of you who are asking questions.

Thank you to those of you who have had the courage to speak up and share your concerns.

Thank you to those of you who have brought forward solutions.

Thank you to those of you who are educating yourselves and others.

Thank you to those of you who are committed to being allies to your colleagues with different backgrounds.

Thank you to those of you who are simply keeping open minds.

Thanks to you, we will seize this moment.

We need each and every one of you on this journey to make a difference for our frontline team members and communities and leave a legacy of meaningful opportunities for the next generation.

—  David Gibbs, Yum! CEO

Field to Market and U.S. Cotton Trust Protocol Announce Partnership to Advance Sustainable Outcomes for Cotton

Thu, 06/25/2020 - 9:53am

Field to Market: The Alliance for Sustainable Agriculture and the U.S. Cotton Trust Protocol announced a new agreement today that formalizes a partnership between the two organizations to document and accelerate sustainable outcomes for U.S. cotton production. The new partnership strengthens the ability of cotton growers and the value chain to drive continuous improvement, combining two of the industry’s leading sustainability assessment frameworks.

“Field to Market is pleased to join forces with the U.S. Cotton Trust Protocol to enable the industry to meet its sustainability goals and credibly communicate results,” said Rod Snyder, president of Field to Market. “Through this collaboration, Field to Market is committed to scaling access to our sustainability tools and analytics and enabling growers and the broader cotton value chain to measure environmental outcomes while identifying opportunities for improvement.”

In a memorandum of understanding signed this week, Field to Market and the U.S. Cotton Trust Protocol have committed to:

  • Scale grower access to sustainability measurement by enabling farmers enrolled in the U.S. Cotton Trust Protocol to utilize metrics from Field to Market’s Fieldprint® Platform, allowing growers to analyze the connection between agronomic practices and sustainability outcomes;

  • Track U.S. cotton’s sustainability journey through continued publication of Field to Market’s National Indicators Report, which will communicate progress against the industry’s established environmental targets; and

  • Foster an increased level of collaboration by participating in each other’s meetings and work sessions.

Together, Field to Market and the U.S. Cotton Trust Protocol will assess progress against the U.S. cotton industry’s established environmental targets. By 2025, the industry aims to achieve targeted reductions in soil loss, water use, greenhouse gas emissions, and energy use, alongside increased land use efficiency and soil carbon.  The Trust Protocol completed a successful project pilot in 2019, and has begun fully implementing its programs in 2020, with a goal to enroll at least 500 producers by December 2020.

“Sustainability is a growing priority for the U.S. cotton value chain, from consumers, brands, retailers to textile manufacturers,” said Ken Burton, Executive Director of the U.S. Cotton Trust Protocol. “The U.S. Cotton Trust Protocol looks forward to collaborating with Field to Market to scale our collective sustainability impact, meet our industry targets and strengthen the sustainability of U.S. Cotton.”

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CONTACT

Carter Purcell, Field to Market, (202) 297-8345, cpurcell@fieldtomarket.org

Marjory Walker, National Cotton Council, (901) 274-9030, mwalker@cotton.org

About Field to Market

Field to Market: The Alliance for Sustainable Agriculture brings together a diverse group of grower organizations; agribusinesses; food, beverage, restaurant and retail companies; conservation groups; universities and public sector partners to focus on defining, measuring and advancing the sustainability of food, fiber and fuel production. Field to Market is comprised of nearly 140 members representing all facets of the U.S. agricultural supply chain, with members employing more than 5 million people and representing combined revenues totaling over $1.5 trillion.

About The U.S. Cotton Trust Protocol

The U.S. Cotton Trust Protocol is a cotton production assessment system established by U.S. cotton producers and industry organizations to provide a mechanism by which U.S. cotton producers can assess and verify their current production practices and measure their progress toward long-term sustainability goals. The Trust Protocol is managed and implemented by a single member LLC governed by producers, brands/retailers, conservation and wildlife civil societies, ginners, merchants, cooperatives, textile manufacturers, cottonseed crushers/handlers, and cotton warehouses.  The Trust Protocol’s IT development and support is provided by The Seam, a Memphis-based technology company who also is a qualified data management partner with Field to Market.

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