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Tetra Tech’s Vincent Holloway Discusses Advanced IT Solutions for the U.S. Department of Defense

Mon, 06/22/2020 - 9:46am

Technology Solutions

Vincent Holloway is Vice President, Defense Information Technology (IT) Services in Tetra Tech’s Arlington, Virginia, office. He has more than 30 years of experience working with the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) in various technical, management, and leadership positions. His experience includes more than 20 years as an Army Signal Corps Officer in technical and tactical assignments around the world, including his final assignment at the Defense Information Systems Agency. Vincent also worked with clients as a DoD and Army consultant for 15 years on the development, acquisition, and deployment of enterprise IT solutions across echelons. Throughout his career, he has demonstrated expertise in IT law and policy, technical program management, operational testing, telecommunications and network engineering, software acquisition management, and tactical network operations.

Vincent holds a bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering from the University of Kentucky, a master’s degree in Business Administration from Boston University, a law degree from American University, and a Master of Laws degree from Hofstra University.

What is your background in the DoD?

I started as an Army Signal Corps Officer and worked in various command and staff assignments over a 20-plus-year career. My first job was as an electrical engineer testing Army radio systems, most notably the SINCGARS radio. I learned quickly that I did not like being stuck in the lab and moved on to tactical and technical assignments where I remained for a large part of my career. I have had significant experience leading soldiers and managing tactical operations from platoon to corps signal brigade levels. I loved working and being with soldiers. In between my tactical assignments at Fort Gordon, Germany, and Fort Hood, I had the opportunity to lead teams and organizations responsible for developing Army software products, testing C3 systems, and conducting oversight of DoD IT programs and operations. Since retiring from the Army, I have continued supporting the DoD in various program management and strategic consulting roles in policy development, enterprise IT operations, and system acquisitions.

What changes have you seen in how the DoD develops and deploys new technology to the field?

Early in my career, I was on the receiving end of many equipment fieldings. Some of the equipment worked and some of it we left in the motor pool. Back then, I never really understood the process of acquisition decisions and the behind-the-scenes technical trade-offs. In the tactical world, we began to see improvements when the Army established the Acquisition Corps and the DoD issued the DoD 5000 series of directives and instructions. When implemented, DoD 5000 was a major improvement, but resulted in fielding obsolete technology because the process was longer than the technology cycle. The DoD quickly learned it just could not afford to keep pace with communication and IT using the then-current requirements and acquisition processes.

Today, the DoD is fielding IT faster now than at any point in their history. They are leveraging their authorities to tailor acquisitions and speed capabilities to the field. It appears that government and military solicitations are adopting open source technologies, commercial standards, and best practices, which is a good thing. This shift is resulting in commercial technology solutions driving operational capabilities rather than operational requirements driving military technology development. It enables the government to buy the latest technology off-the-shelf rather than to develop the technology from scratch. In the world of IT and cyber, this is a major and significant shift. I think the Army’s approach of using capability set fieldings and the integrated tactical network is the right one which is giving our soldiers the superior technologies and tools in a timely manner to fight and win in the cyberspace domain.

What do you see as the biggest challenge facing the DoD as it deploys IT into the cyber domain?

There are many challenges. We must remain keenly focused on securing our data, platforms, applications, systems, and services within and outside the DoD Information Network (DoDIN). I read a report that said the DoDIN gets more than 1 billion daily intrusions into its networks. So, keeping pace with the dynamic, emerging threats in cyberspace, and deploying technologies to ensure our freedom of maneuver in cyberspace will continue to be a challenge. These technologies include hardware and software solutions designed to detect, identify, and respond to friendly and enemy actions that deny us full use of the cyber domain and interfere with the Department’s ability to execute warfighting, business, and intelligence operations. As I see it, the biggest challenges are selecting the right technology solutions, integrating the solution into the network architecture, scaling the solution across the enterprise, and then continuously updating the capability to meet emerging and future threats.

What do you think is the next major leap in defense industry communications and IT?

If I knew the answer to that question, I would patent it. Artificial intelligence, machine learning, autonomous systems, cybersecurity, and 5G Wireless continue to be the buzz and focus across the DoD. You also see discussions around browser isolation, assured identity, robotic process automation, blockchain, and software-defined radios and networking. All are important technologies, but I would challenge the defense industry to think more broadly. How about assured mobile connectivity? How about space-based computing platforms and services? How about software-defined everything?

I can envision a future where there is no need to deploy a terrestrial network because it is already there. Where commercial and military IT has indistinguishably converged into a single capability where ground, sea, and air mobile forces just turn on their equipment and they are securely connected to a global information infrastructure. I can also envision a future where there is no fixed, ground-based communications or computing infrastructure on the battlefield. An environment where unmanned tactical networks are flown into an area of operations, hover in the atmosphere during an operation, and redeploy for use in other operations. While we should continue to develop ground-based capabilities, the real leap in warfighting communications technology will likely occur in space to provide assured connectivity to data, storage, and computing power globally.

How can Tetra Tech help defense clients solve their IT and cybersecurity challenges? 

I think Tetra Tech’s Leading with Science® approach really captures what we bring. Using science and engineering disciplines and methodologies, we endeavor to take the guesswork out of decisions for our clients. Tetra Tech provides information assurance, information systems security, certification and accreditation, risk management, and other security services. We have worked with organizations across the DoD, including the Joint Staff, Joint Staff Support Center, Defense Logistics Agency, Missile Defense Agency, and the Services. Our expertise and innovative approaches help our clients understand their system, application, and network vulnerabilities, and enable informed decision-making about mitigation strategies to protect their enterprise IT infrastructure.

We also have significant experience in application development; data analytics; cloud engineering and operations; public key infrastructure; certification and accreditation; network operations; intrusion detection; incident response; and computer forensics across the federal space. We have helped clients such as the Federal Aviation Administration, National Science Foundation, the Department of Veterans Affairs, Department of State, and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration understand the health of their IT enterprise, see and respond to actions and activities on their systems and networks, and most importantly, ensure they are not used as an attack vector into our national information infrastructure. As IT capabilities and disciplines converge onto the Cyber domain, Tetra Tech brings broad knowledge and experience across federal government IT and proven approaches and solutions that can be readily applied to the unique environment of the DoD.

HACR Commemorates Juneteenth

Fri, 06/19/2020 - 6:41pm

The Hispanic Association on Corporate Responsibility (HACR) issued the following statement regarding the observance of Juneteenth, a holiday recognizing the final emancipation of African American slaves in the United States:   

“We honor and commemorate Juneteenth, marking 155th anniversary of the official end of slavery in the U.S. nearly two and a half years after the Emancipation Proclamation,” said Cid Wilson, president & CEO of HACR. “This day is an opportunity for all communities, including our Hispanic community, to observe, recognize, and reflect on the history and contributions of the African American community”. 

The Latino community includes over five million Afro-Latinos in the U.S., who have long celebrated Juneteenth. HACR encourages corporate America to reflect upon this day in our shared history, and to engage with historically underrepresented employees through their Employee Resource Groups to gain a greater understanding and promote a more inclusive workforce.  

On this day, we laud the resilient spirit of our African Americans brothers and sisters and reaffirm our commitment to advancing diversity in corporate America and our society as a whole. We have come a long way since June 19, 1865, when Union General Gordon Granger led thousands of federal troops to Galveston, Texas to announce that the American Civil War had ended, and the 250,000 slaves living in Texas were free. But we still have a long ways to go. Together, our communities will continue to advocate for equality, justice, and inclusion.

About HACR

Founded in 1986, the Hispanic Association on Corporate Responsibility (HACR) is the nation’s leading corporate advocacy organization representing 14 national Hispanic organizations in the United States and Puerto Rico. Its mission is to advance the inclusion of Hispanics in Corporate America in the areas of Employment, Procurement, Philanthropy, and Governance. Through our corporate leadership advancement programs, Symposium best practice conferences, research initiatives, and public communications, HACR is illuminating The Power of Hispanic Inclusion™ throughout Corporate America. 

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HACR Praises Supreme Court Ruling Protecting DACA Recipients

Fri, 06/19/2020 - 3:41pm

The Hispanic Association on Corporate Responsibility (HACR) issued a statement following the Supreme Court’s decision yesterday to uphold the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program (Department of Homeland Security v. Regents of the University of California): 

“HACR commends the Supreme Court’s decision to uphold DACA and protect the program beneficiaries,” said Cid Wilson, president and CEO of HACR. “This ruling is not only the right decision for DREAMers, who have done nothing wrong other than make positive contributions to our country, but it also aligns with our mission to advance the inclusion of Hispanics in Corporate America, which encompasses DREAMers. This ruling provides nearly 800,000 young residents of the U.S. with the freedom to build personal and professional lives without fear of deportation.”

‘Over the last three years, some companies have hesitated to hire candidates who are DACA recipients because of the uncertainty surrounding the program’s status. This decision removes those barriers and allows DREAMers to pursue corporate careers with confidence. We thank those companies who issued statements of support for the DACA program and call for all companies to increase their hirings of DACA recipients,’ concluded Wilson.

While this is a major win for the continuation of the DACA program, the protection is temporary. We maintain the need for a lasting solution for DREAMers, who are susceptible to the shortcomings of a broken immigration system through no fault of their own. We will continue to advocate for their permanent legal protection and a pathway to full American citizenship through measures such as the DREAM Act. 

This decision comes on the heels of the Supreme Court’s landmark legislation to provide federal protections against workplace discrimination for LGBTQ+ employees. We applaud this defense of civil rights for workers of all sexual orientations and gender identities and celebrate with the LGBTQ+ members of our Hispanic community. 

Now is the time to insist upon diversity and inclusion in Corporate America. These rulings and their intersection are stepping stones to a workforce representative of the population it serves, and HACR stands in celebration with DREAMers and the LGBTQ+ community.” 

About HACR

Founded in 1986, the Hispanic Association on Corporate Responsibility (HACR) is the nation’s leading corporate advocacy organization representing 14 national Hispanic organizations in the United States and Puerto Rico. Its mission is to advance the inclusion of Hispanics in Corporate America in the areas of Employment, Procurement, Philanthropy, and Governance. Through our corporate leadership advancement programs, Symposium best practice conferences, research initiatives, and public communications, HACR is illuminating The Power of Hispanic Inclusion™ throughout Corporate America. 

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"No Single Entity Can Solve This Challenge Alone": An Honest Conversation About Racial Inequity

Fri, 06/19/2020 - 3:41pm

Originally published on jnj.com

It's time to have hard and heartfelt conversations about the state of racism and inequity. At home. With friends and loved ones. With other members of your community. In the workplace.

At Johnson & Johnson, these conversations have been taking place across the company in response to recent events. And they will continue to be held with employees at all levels, and across all parts of the company.

It's something that Michael Sneed, Executive Vice President, Global Corporate Affairs & Chief Communication Officer, is heartened and proud to see taking place at a company that he has called his career home since 1983, when he took a job as a marketing assistant for consumer products.

Sneed shared some of the perspectives he's gained during this lengthy career when he recently joined a conversation with government leaders, as a panelist for a discussion held by the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation (CBCF), Black America–The Double Pandemic. He joined experts to share thoughts and ideas for how to address the damaging impact that the COVID-19 pandemic is having on the Black community.

We sat down with Sneed to learn more about his participation in the CBCF event, what Johnson & Johnson is doing to help tackle disparities when it comes to COVID-19 and other health conditions, how he has watched the company evolve to be more inclusive and diverse over the past three decades—and what work still remains to be done.

Q: 

What would you say are the areas of greatest need when it comes to addressing health disparities among Black Americans?

A: 

Sadly, we see disparities that are unfavorable to Black Americans in nearly every facet of our society—in business, where only 3.2% of senior leaders are Black; in government, where there are currently no Black governors; and in general prosperity, based on the fact that an average Black family possesses one-tenth the wealth of an average white family. These are just a few of countless examples. We live in a deeply unequal society.

Health statistics follow suit. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), younger Black Americans are living with or dying of many conditions typically found in white Americans at older ages, including heart disease and high blood pressure.

Tragically, we’ve also seen how disproportionately Black Americans have been affected by the current pandemic. According to the CDC, they have represented 33% of hospitalized patients, compared to 18% in the surrounding community. Death rates are also notably higher.There are many systemic reasons for this inequity, including adequate access to care, affordability of care and education.

I’m particularly passionate about improving access because, as a teenager, I spent summers and weekends working at a nursing facility my grandmother founded to help serve Chicago’s Black community. I watched as they opened their arms to every person that walked through the door, creating a place of acceptance, inclusion and hope.

Whether it’s through equipping more grassroots community health workers and facilities like my grandmother's, or exploring innovative options, such as mobile care vans or remote health, we must find better ways to reach these high-risk, low-income patients.

Q: 

Johnson & Johnson is investigating a potential COVID-19 vaccine candidate. How is the company working to ensure that the potential vaccine would be available to underserved populations, both abroad and in the U.S.?

A: 

While COVID-19 has left an impact on nearly every segment of society, it has been particularly devastating in underserved communities. So as we work to accelerate the development of a safe and effective vaccine, it is just as urgent for us to ensure we can provide access to it worldwide, including for the most vulnerable populations.

That’s why we are not only increasing our manufacturing capacity to provide more than one billion doses of a potential vaccine, but also preparing to deliver it on a not-for-profit basis for emergency pandemic use.

As a global healthcare leader, it’s the right thing to do.

Q: 

What other work is the company doing to help address the high infection and mortality rates from COVID-19 within the Black community?

A: 

We’ve been working to address health inequities in communities of color for some time, and COVID-19 makes our work all the more urgent.

During this pandemic, we've been taking action through several new programs aimed at gaining stronger data and insights, driving better education and awareness and increasing access to testing and health services for communities of color.

For instance, through a partnership with CareMessage, Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHC) and community clinics throughout the U.S. are receiving free access to a COVID-19 messaging platform to send critical information to more than 3 million Black, Latino and Native American patients in urban and rural areas. This platform is currently being used in 23 states, and more than 11 million COVID-19-related text messages have been sent to date.

Q: 

Can you also speak about the work Johnson & Johnson has been doing when it comes to diversifying its clinical trials? How is this work being applied to COVID-19 research?

A: 

We have found that although Black Americans make up 13% of the U.S. population, they are frequently underrepresented in clinical trials. In studies for potential oncology treatments, for example, Black Americans represent less than 5% of clinical trial participants. This leaves huge gaps in our understanding.

So with COVID-19, and other conditions, there are several specific actions we’re taking to increase enrollment of underrepresented populations, including everything from creating a detailed outreach plan for these communities to educating underserved populations across the U.S. about clinical trials and the importance of participating in them.

Our clinical trial sites are also being carefully selected to ensure we are better able to recruit and enroll diverse populations.

Diversifying clinical trial representation won’t be a quick or simple solution, but we're partnering on various fronts to help make it happen.

Q: 

The company is also dedicated to helping address the high maternal mortality rate among women of color in the U.S. Can you tell us about this work, both on a policy and community level?

A: 

Every year, more than 700 women in the U.S. die during or shortly after childbirth, while thousands more experience severe complications that often lead to perinatal mood disorders. Sadly, Black women and women living in rural areas are most at risk.

Currently, we're very active in trying to help shape better government policy in the area of maternal health. We were excited to see the Preventing Maternal Deaths Act signed into law in December 2018, and have consistently weighed in to support the maternal health community’s appropriations priorities and numerous pieces of legislation that aim to address this crisis. In March of this year, Johnson & Johnson was the only company to endorse the Black Maternal Health Momnibus Act of 2020. This legislation contains nine bills that aim to fill gaps in our existing legislative framework to comprehensively address Black maternal health in America.

We’ve also convened the Coalition for Equitable Maternal Health, which will officially debut on Capitol Hill in the near future. The group is comprised of organizations like the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), March of Dimes and Black Mamas Matter, with the goal of uniting to advocate for the needs of America’s Black expectant mothers.

Q: 

You recently participated in a Congressional Black Caucus Foundation panel about COVID-19. What were the biggest takeaways for you from that discussion?

A: 

I had two observations. First, COVID-19 has exposed the fragility of our healthcare system. We need stronger public health infrastructure so that all communities can thrive economically and socially. These three areas are all connected and provide the key to sustaining strong communities.

My second observation was the strong sense of urgency surrounding this moment. This is a pivotal time for our country and nations around the world. There is hunger among all quarters—government, the private sector and civil society—that says we cannot let this moment pass without pursuing profound and sustainable change.

Q: 

You've had an admirable and lengthy career at Johnson & Johnson. How have you seen the company evolve as it pertains to helping drive diversity across the workforce, especially at the leadership level?

A: 

Thankfully, valuing diversity and inclusion has long been a part of the fabric of Johnson & Johnson. I’m always struck by the fact that the company employed female scientists as early as 1908, when most companies wouldn’t have entertained the idea.

During my career with the company, I’ve seen us continue to make great strides in this area. Most notably, we have built a global workforce that much better reflects the communities in which we operate. Our global Diversity & Inclusion strategy is providing a more consistent experience for underrepresented employees around the world, and we have trained our teams on how to live—and work—more inclusively. To date, more than 105,000 employees have completed unconscious bias training globally.

That being said, this is a perpetual journey—no company can ever be diverse or inclusive enough. We still need to do a better job of helping more people of color break into leadership positions. While this isn’t a problem that’s unique to Johnson & Johnson, it’s one we can’t turn a blind eye to either.

Q: 

You have a personal anecdote that I found very moving about a list you started to keep when you joined the company. How that list has changed over time?

A: 

When I came to Johnson & Johnson as a young Black man fresh out of business school, I was ready to contribute, yet longed for a connection with and the guidance of people who looked like me. In the early days of my career, I kept a list of every Black director and vice president that I met. It was a very short one.

However, the confidence and belief that the company was trying to do the right thing kept me going most of the time. Today, that list is much longer.

Even with the imperfections that I still sometimes see in our organization, I am inspired by our commitment to constantly be better. And this commitment has only been strengthened through recent events, and I look forward to seeing my list continue to grow as we support systemic change both inside and outside the company.

Q: 

Johnson & Johnson has been leading very candid discussions across the company in light of George Floyd’s death. Can you tell us more about this?

A: 

To me, what makes this company special is not that we’re perfect, but that we genuinely value justice and equality—and want to strive to become our best self.

This sometimes requires hard but honest conversations and painful soul searching, which we've been doing through a series of global Our Credo Conversations in which we’ve challenged all of our leaders and teams to host discussions about racial injustice.

These can feel daunting, but only through open dialogue can we build shared understanding and work to drive progress together.

Q: 

The company recently announced it was committing $10 million to fight racism and injustice. How will this commitment be used?

A: 

There are so many individuals and organizations doing tremendous work to address issues of racial injustice, and we know that no single entity can solve this challenge alone. As a corporate leader, we have an important role to play in enabling these broader missions.

That’s why we’ve committed $10 million over three years to help fight racism in the U.S. This will begin with an extension of our support for the National Museum of African American History and Culture and its key initiatives, such as the new "Talking About Race” online program, which provides the tools and guidance needed for educators, parents and people committed to creating a more equitable world to have powerful dialogues about race.

In the coming months, we will continue to identify and announce additional partnerships to advance the cause of social justice.

Q: 

Are there organizations that you feel are doing great work when it comes to fighting racism and injustice that people should consider researching themselves to help be better allies?

A: 

There are a number of really good organizations. One that people might consider looking into is the Southern Poverty Law Center. Their mission focuses on fighting hate and bigotry, and seeking justice for the most vulnerable members of society.

Another is an organization that Johnson & Johnson has a long-standing partnership with, the National Urban League, which focuses on economic empowerment, equality and social justice.

Alkermes: Our Responsibility to Combat Discrimination and Racism

Fri, 06/19/2020 - 3:41pm

Originally published on LinkedIn

Last week, more than 1,000 Alkermes employees came together virtually to listen to our colleagues who volunteered to share their stories of how racism and bias have impacted their lives. We are grateful to them for their openness and willingness to share the challenges they face. As a company that believes in equality and justice, we have a responsibility to combat discrimination and racism in all forms in our communities. While an important and impactful discussion, this was only the first of many to come as we continue to take action to help eliminate discrimination in all its forms. There is much to be done.

Read more from Alkermes here

Our World Is Telling Us Something

Fri, 06/19/2020 - 12:40pm

A global pandemic … 500-year flooding near our global headquarters … civil unrest in response to continued racism, inequality, and injustice.

Our world is trying to tell us something. It’s telling us we must do better.

But where do we start? Which critical challenge do we choose to put our finite resources into?

Dow’s response is to take a holistic approach, looking at these challenges as interconnected issues, not isolated problems. We know, for example, that Black people are disproportionately affected by COVID-19. At the same time, marginalized people and communities are more likely to experience the negative impacts of climate change and waste challenges.

To address inequality and create a more sustainable world, we must heed the advice of our Chief Sustainability Officer, Mary Draves, in her recent blog post and listen to nature. It’s telling us to do better.

That’s why we’re taking action by collaborating and investing in global efforts to take care of our world – addressing climate change, plastic waste, and inequality simultaneously.

It is with this in mind that we feel now is the right time to announce our accelerated efforts to …

  • Lead the materials science industry toward a carbon-neutral world, mitigating the impacts of climate change,

  • And to eliminate plastic as a source of waste, helping the world to recover the value of plastic through the implementation of circular economy solutions.

Protect the Climate

As part of our action plan to put us on a path to net zero by 2050, we are committed to implementing and advancing technologies to manufacture our products using less resources.

  • By 2030, Dow will reduce our net annual carbon emissions by 5 million metric tons versus our 2020 baseline – a 15% reduction, in addition to the 15% we’ve already reduced since 2006.

  • By 2050, Dow intends to be carbon neutral.

Stop the Waste

We are committed to investing and collaborating in key technologies and infrastructure to significantly increase global recycling.

  • By 2030, Dow will help “stop the waste” by enabling 1 million metric tons of plastic to be collected, reused and recycled through our direct actions and partnerships.

Close the Loop

We are committed to working directly with our customers, brand owners and the value chain to help redesign and promote reusable or recyclable packaging applications.

  • By 2035, Dow will help “close the loop” by having 100% of our products sold into packaging applications be reusable or recyclable.

These new sustainability targets align to what we see as Dow’s purpose: To deliver a sustainable future for the world through our expertise in materials science and in collaboration with our partners.

Our founder, Herbert H. Dow, was famous for saying “if you can’t do it better, why do it?” This quote greets employees and visitors on the wall at our headquarters, reminding everyone of the challenge we pose to ourselves every day.

Creating better solutions to navigate these generational challenges is what we do best. And we look forward to working with our partners, customers and stakeholders to do just that, better.

Learn more about our new sustainability targets.

Jim Fitterling, Chairman and CEO

Going Beyond 'Fair Trade' With Hershey's Sustainable Cocoa Strategy

Fri, 06/19/2020 - 12:40pm

Originally published by Hershey

More than eight years ago, Hershey made an ambitious, important commitment to reaching 100 percent certified and sustainable cocoa by 2020. As we shared in a recent blog, we fully met that commitment by the start of 2020 – and are excited to keep our sustainability momentum going over the decade ahead.

It's a great feeling to achieve a big goal, especially in these globally challenging times. All of us at Hershey are proud to reach this major milestone, and I take personal pride in the role I have played in pushing this work forward during the past few years. At the same time, we know this global challenge can only be addressed with strategies that go beyond any single approach.

That’s why our commitment to sustainable sourcing goes much further than our focus on certification. Hershey’s $500 million Cocoa For Good program raises our ethical and social responsibility to our cocoa-producing communities by addressing issues like child labor, poverty, lack of education, and climate change. And I’ve seen firsthand the positive impact our programs have on farmers, families and their communities.

Creating sustainable solutions

Our Cocoa For Good strategy uses 100 percent certification as the base for a broader set of investments and changes addressing poverty, malnourishment, environmental health, and income opportunity in rural farming communities in Cote d’Ivoire and Ghana.

We source exclusively from cocoa suppliers certified by organizations such as Fairtrade USA, and Rainforest Alliance. It ensures we’re only working with farmer groups empowered with the resources, administrative systems, and local infrastructures necessary to meet the high standards of certification.

We get to work directly with more professionalized farmer groups that allow farmers to voice their needs and speak up about their challenges from a more powerful, collective negotiating position. This creates more avenues for them to gain access to credit or inputs like fertilizers and crop protections through suppliers and their certifying organizations.

From there, our collaborations with NGOs and others building relationships on the ground in West Africa ensures cocoa farmers receive the tools they need to succeed. Our social investments are driving efforts such as:

  • Enhanced protection, detection and remediation of child labor. We are scaling our Child Labor Monitoring and Remediation Systems (CLMRS), the leading way to detect, remediate and eliminate child labor, across our entire West African cocoa sourcing supply chain by 2025. This includes engaging trusted members of farmers’ own communities in auditing farmers’ work practices and following up with them to find ways to help them lessen their reliance on the work of children (and keep children in school).

  • Education and skills training for adult workers to help address the shortages of skilled cocoa-field laborers that contribute to child labor issues.

  • Specialized guidance on environment- and productivity-related actions to boost farmer income. This includes consultation on things like how to produce more yield on the same plot of farm land, climate–smart farming techniques, agroforestry and crop diversification, as well as training farmers and their families on additional income-generating activities unrelated to farming (with a focus on empowering women to improve their livelihoods).

  • Improvements in West African children’s nutrition, well-being and educational opportunities through investments in school and classroom development, many interrelated initiatives designed to further address the root causes of child labor.

  • Infrastructure improvements in villages and better pathways for farmers to voice their concerns to local community members who can help them access necessary resources or request new systems or tools that can better their circumstances.

I have seen these efforts uplift the incomes of thousands of cocoa farmers in our supplier base as well as their well-being.

Far from finished

Hershey is in a unique position to combine our business focus with our social heart to make a major difference in the lives of rural farmers. And I am proud to be able to lead many of these initiatives happening on the ground in West Africa.

We went all-in with our commitment to sourcing certified and sustainable cocoa because we fully believe that the high standards of certification lead to better, safer farming conditions and environments for rural cocoa workers and their families.

But I also know that high standards are not enough to lift poor farmers out of poverty and sustainability depends on more substantive, systemic changes. We’re happy to be making a major contribution by staying on track with the ambitious sustainability goals of our half-billion-dollar Cocoa For Good initiative.

Enviva Partners, LP Announces Appointment of Jeff Ubben, Chairman of ValueAct Spring Fund, to Board of Directors

Fri, 06/19/2020 - 12:40pm

Enviva Partners, LP (NYSE: EVA) (“Enviva,” the “Partnership,” “we,” “us,” or “our”) today announced that the sole member of the Partnership’s general partner has appointed Jeffrey W. Ubben, Chairman of ValueAct and Co-Portfolio Manager of its Spring Fund, to the general partner’s board of directors. 

The ValueAct Spring Fund focuses its investments on purpose-driven companies that use sustainable business models to solve global environmental and societal problems.

“Jeff and the ValueAct Spring Fund have been supportive stakeholders and great partners to me and the Enviva team since their first visit to our plants, ports, and forestry operations to learn more about Enviva’s mission to fight climate change by reducing global utilities’ lifecycle greenhouse gas emissions,” said John Keppler, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Enviva.  “I am delighted that Jeff has accepted the invitation to join our board and I believe the productive relationship we have built, combined with Jeff’s unparalleled investment acumen and unwavering focus on impacting ESG outcomes through active capital management, will provide an ongoing catalyst for Enviva’s ability to continue delivering long-term value to our broad set of stakeholders.”

“I am excited to extend the partnership and track record we have built with John and the Enviva team,” said Jeff Ubben, Chairman of ValueAct. “ValueAct has been committed to consistently increasing its investment in Enviva alongside the company’s growth and durable distribution profile and we believe there is tremendous opportunity ahead.  Given the world’s commitment to phasing out coal and de-carbonizing our future, there are few companies better positioned than Enviva to innovate and deliver practical solutions to the environmental challenges we face as a society and create long-term shareholder value in this space. I look forward to working alongside my fellow board members and management to support Enviva’s vital contribution to a Net Zero world.” 

“Enviva has strived to set a benchmark in sustainability, and I am thrilled that we will continue to have the support of Jeff and his colleagues at the ValueAct Spring Fund given their expertise in socially-responsible investing, sustainability, and energy,” said Dr. Jennifer Jenkins, Vice President and Chief Sustainability Officer of Enviva.  “Solving the climate crisis is one of the most urgent issues for humanity today, and — while we have made substantial progress — we also have a long way to go. I look forward to the continued good work we will do together with Jeff, providing sustainable biomass fuel and helping enable the transition to a renewable, low-carbon electricity grid around the world.” 

“We especially applaud the progress by Jennifer and the Enviva team on their entire body of work from policy implementation to thought leadership,” said Eva Zlotnicka, Managing Director of the Spring Fund and Head of Stewardship at ValueAct Capital. “Core to ValueAct Spring Fund’s investment philosophy and to our board participation is engagement with portfolio companies on authentic impact metrics that are simultaneously material to the business, to investors, and to stakeholders, including the environment. Enviva has risen to this challenge and proven a business model that, among other tangible impacts, enables the conversion of coal-fired power plants to biomass, reducing lifecycle carbon emissions by more than 85 percent.”

Jeffrey W. Ubben is a Founder and the Chairman of ValueAct Capital where he is Portfolio Manager of the ValueAct Spring Fund and is a member of the firm’s Management Committee. Mr. Ubben is a director of The AES Corporation, where he is a member of the Compensation and Financial Audit Committees, of AppHarvest, and of Nikola Corporation. He is the former chairman and director of Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, Inc., and a former director of Catalina Marketing Corp., Gartner Group, Inc., Mentor Corporation, Misys plc, Sara Lee Corp., Twenty-First Century Fox Inc., Valeant Pharmaceuticals International, Willis Towers Watson plc, and several other public and private companies. Prior to founding ValueAct Capital in 2000, Mr. Ubben was a Managing Partner at Blum Capital Partners for more than five years. In addition, Mr. Ubben serves on the boards of Duke University, The Nature Conservancy’s NatureVest, and the E.O. Wilson Biodiversity Foundation, and formerly served as Chair of the National Board of the Posse Foundation for nine years. He has a B.A. from Duke University and an M.B.A. from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University.

About Enviva Partners, LP

Enviva Partners, LP (NYSE: EVA) is a publicly traded master limited partnership that aggregates a natural resource, wood fiber, and processes it into a transportable form, wood pellets.  The Partnership sells a significant majority of its wood pellets through long-term, take-or-pay off-take contracts with creditworthy customers in the United Kingdom and Europe.  The Partnership owns and operates seven plants with a combined production capacity of approximately 3.5 million metric tons of wood pellets per year in Virginia, North Carolina, Mississippi, and Florida.  In addition, the Partnership exports wood pellets through its marine terminals at the Port of Chesapeake, Virginia and the Port of Wilmington, North Carolina and from third-party marine terminals in Mobile, Alabama and Panama City, Florida.  The Partnership has agreed to the Georgia Biomass Acquisition and the Greenwood Acquisition, which would add two operating plants and production capacity of approximately 1.4 million metric tons of wood pellets per year, after the expansion of the Greenwood Plant, in Georgia and South Carolina and a third-party marine terminal in Savannah, Georgia.

To learn more about Enviva Partners, LP, please visit our website at www.envivabiomass.com and follow us on social media @Enviva.

Cautionary Note Concerning Forward-Looking Statements

Certain statements and information in this press release may constitute “forward‑looking statements.”  The words “believe,” “expect,” “anticipate,” “plan,” “intend,” “foresee,” “should,” “would,” “could” or other similar expressions are intended to identify forward‑looking statements, which are generally not historical in nature. These forward‑looking statements are based on the Partnership’s current expectations and beliefs concerning future developments and their potential effect on it.  Although management believes that these forward‑looking statements are reasonable as and when made, there can be no assurance that future developments affecting the Partnership will be those that it anticipates.  All comments concerning the Partnership’s expectations for future revenues and operating results are based on the forecasts for its existing operations and do not include the potential impact of any future acquisitions.  The Partnership’s forward‑looking statements involve significant risks and uncertainties (some of which are beyond the Partnership’s control) and assumptions that could cause actual results to differ materially from the its historical experience and its present expectations or projections.  Important factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those in the forward‑looking statements include, but are not limited to: (i) the volume and quality of products that it is able to produce or source and sell, which could be adversely affected by, among other things, operating or technical difficulties at the Partnership’s wood pellet production plants or deep-water marine terminals; (ii) the prices at which the Partnership is able to sell the its products; (iii) the Partnership’s ability to successfully negotiate and complete and integrate drop-down and third-party acquisitions, including the associated contracts, or to realize the anticipated benefits of such acquisitions; (iv) failure of the Partnership’s customers, vendors and shipping partners to pay or perform their contractual obligations to it; (v) the Partnership’s inability to successfully execute its project development, expansion and construction activities on time and within budget; (vi) the creditworthiness of the Partnership’s contract counterparties; (vii) the amount of low-cost wood fiber that it is able to procure and process, which could be adversely affected by, among other things, disruptions in supply or operating or financial difficulties suffered by the Partnership’s suppliers; (viii) changes in the price and availability of natural gas, coal or other sources of energy; (ix) changes in prevailing economic conditions; (x) unanticipated ground, grade or water conditions; (xi) inclement or hazardous environmental conditions, including extreme precipitation, temperatures and flooding; (xii) fires, explosions or other accidents; (xiii) changes in domestic and foreign laws and regulations (or the interpretation thereof) related to renewable or low-carbon energy, the forestry products industry, the international shipping industry or power, heat or combined heat and power generators; (xiv) changes in the regulatory treatment of biomass in core and emerging markets; (xv) the Partnership’s inability to acquire or maintain necessary permits or rights for the Partnership’s production, transportation or terminaling operations; (xvi) changes in the price and availability of transportation; (xvii) changes in foreign currency exchange rates or interest rates, and the failure of the Partnership’s hedging arrangements to effectively reduce its exposure to the risks related thereto; (xviii) risks related to the Partnership’s indebtedness; (xix) the Partnership’s failure to maintain effective quality control systems at its production plants and deep-water marine terminals, which could lead to the rejection of the Partnership’s products by its customers; (xx) changes in the quality specifications for the Partnership’s products that are required by its customers; (xxi) labor disputes; (xxii) the Partnership’s inability to hire, train or retain qualified personnel to manage and operate its business and newly acquired assets; (xxiii) the effects of the exit of the United Kingdom from the European Union on the Partnership’s and its customers’ businesses; (xxiv) the Partnership’s inability to borrow funds and access capital markets; and (xxv) viral contagions or pandemic diseases, such as the recent outbreak of a novel strain of coronavirus known as COVID-19.

For additional information regarding known material factors that could cause the Partnership’s actual results to differ from projected results, please read its filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (the “SEC”), including the Annual Report on Form 10-K and the Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q most recently filed with the SEC. Readers are cautioned not to place undue reliance on forward-looking statements, which speak only as of the date thereof. The Partnership undertakes no obligation to publicly update or revise any forward-looking statements after the date they are made, whether as a result of new information or future events or otherwise. 

Investor Contact:
+1 (240) 482-3856
ir@envivapartners.com

Comerica Bank and National Business League Announce $1 Million Commitment to Support Black-Owned Small Businesses

Fri, 06/19/2020 - 9:40am

Comerica Bank today announced its $1 million commitment over four years to the National Business League as part of a national partnership that will launch the Black Capital Access Program (BCAP), an access to capital initiative to assist Black businesses across the country.

This innovative small business program is set to pilot over the next three months and will reach Comerica’s five primary markets of Arizona, California, Florida, Michigan and Texas. The program will become available in all 50 states in 2021.

A one-stop online platform for Black-owned businesses, BCAP will offer access to a capital toolkit, wide variety of technical services, financial planning information, webinars and more.

“Small businesses face a myriad of inherent challenges to open their doors and remain viable, and the current conditions due to COVID-19 only deepened those issues especially among African American business owners,” said Curt Farmer, Chairman and CEO, Comerica Incorporated and Comerica Bank. “We believe our partnership with the National Business League will become crucial in helping many Black-owned businesses and entrepreneurs recover and survive this turbulent time.”

The National Business League fights for legislation and policy to promote the growth of Black businesses, while aggressively finding solutions to challenges and business problems in the marketplace. As a nonprofit, non-partisan and non-sectarian trade organization, the National Business League collaborates with policy makers and CEOs to advance Black communities’ economic interest supported by research, data and evidence, while at the same time holding the public and private accountable.

“Capital access remains the most important factor limiting the establishment, expansion and growth of Black-owned businesses,” said Ken L. Harris, Ph.D., President/CEO National Business League, Inc. “As part of the organization’s mission to eliminate institutional, structural and systemic barriers to capital, it is important to develop public and private partnerships to address the financial burden on Black entrepreneurs who are trying to keep their businesses thriving in today’s economy, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Our mission with the launch of the Black Capital Access Program presented by Comerica Bank is to assist Black-owned businesses with their capital needs and resources, and we are thankful to Comerica for its extensive support and national partnership.”

The BCAP aims to ensure that Black-owned businesses will benefit from being capitalized, to create and grow sustainable enterprises that are consistently bankable and investment ready in the digital economy.

"We believe strongly that investing financially as well as connecting our team members to offer a wide range of technical resources will enable the NBL’s Black Capital Access Program to effectively reach and serve businesses in need,” said Irvin Ashford, Jr., Chief Community Officer, Comerica Bank. “We proudly support the 120-year mission of the National Business League and its mission to deliver critical services to Black-owned businesses.”

Comerica’s $1 million investment to kickstart the BCAP includes a $150,000 financial contribution and in-kind and technical support valued at $100,000 for four years.

Comerica Bank has been helping small businesses succeed for more than 170 years. Comerica’s small business relationship managers are part of a decision-making team with the local credit authority so they can go to bat for all small businesses and entrepreneurs. Comerica serves the bank’s communities with 435 banking centers throughout its footprint.

About Comerica Bank
Comerica Incorporated (NYSE: CMA) is a financial services company headquartered in Dallas, Texas, and strategically aligned by three business segments: The Commercial Bank, The Retail Bank, and Wealth Management. Comerica focuses on relationships, and helping people and businesses be successful. In addition to Texas, Comerica Bank locations can be found in Arizona, California, Florida and Michigan, with select businesses operating in several other states, as well as in Canada and Mexico. Comerica reported total assets of $76.3 billion at March 31, 2020 and celebrated its 170th anniversary in August 2019. Follow on Facebook: www.facebook.com/Comerica, Twitter: @ComericaBank and Instagram: @comerica_bank.

About The National Business League
The National Business League is the first and largest nonprofit, non-partisan, and non-sectarian, Black business professional and trade association, founded August 23, 1900 by the iconic Booker T. Washington. The NBL has more than 120,000 members nationwide, with 4 regional offices in Atlanta, GA, Detroit, MI, Los Angeles, CA, and Washington, DC, and more than 360 local league chapters across the country. The organizations provide access to 2.6 million Black businesses throughout the United States, celebrating 120 years of service. Follow on https://nationalbusinessleague.org/, Twitter: theNBL1900, Instagram: NBL1900 Facebook: theNBL1900.

TotalDECOM Releases Tetra Tech-Sponsored Cross-Industry Learnings Report

Fri, 06/19/2020 - 9:40am

TotalDECOM Releases Tetra Tech-Sponsored Cross-Industry Learnings Report

TotalDECOM released its Cross-Industry Learnings report in June 2020, sponsored by Tetra Tech. It offers a thorough look at the cost reductions and innovations made in decommissioning across sectors, including oil and gas, energy, and nuclear, that increase productivity and deliver economic growth.

The report collates learnings from various workshops held over the past year as part of the cross-industry initiative led by the UK Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA), Oil and Gas Authority, National Nuclear Laboratory, and the Environment Agency. It covers topics from technical innovation to late-life asset management, and more.

It has been a privilege for our team at Tetra Tech to work collaboratively with a myriad of stakeholders, including government agencies, suppliers, operators, and academia, all of whom have engaged in and continue to share best practices. We are particularly proud of our long-standing partnerships with key players like Sellafield Ltd and the NDA on decommissioning projects led by intense knowledge sharing. To that end, we recently supported our energy expert, Simon Sjenitzer, to share his expertise with the NDA.

The report provides decommissioning industry stakeholders with a thorough look at how healthy collaboration can improve policies and processes for the betterment of project outcomes and societal impact.

Read the Cross-Industry Learnings report.

United Airlines Strengthens Onboard Mask Policy to Further Protect Passengers and Employees Against COVID-19 Spread

Fri, 06/19/2020 - 9:40am

United Airlines has announced that, along with other Airlines for America (A4A) members, it will strengthen mandatory mask policies to further mitigate against the spread of COVID-19 and help continue to keep passengers and crew safe. While the overwhelming majority of passengers are complying with United's mandatory policy, starting on June 18, any passenger that does not comply when onboard a United flight will be placed on an internal travel restriction list. Customers on this list will lose their travel privileges on United for a duration of time to be determined pending a comprehensive incident review.

United currently requires all passengers to wear a face covering onboard its flights and expects that policy to remain in place for at least the next 60 days. The only exceptions to this policy are individuals who have a medical condition or a disability that prevents them from wearing a face covering, those who cannot put on or remove a face covering themselves and small children. Customers are expected to wear a mask for the duration of the flight, except when eating or drinking.

"Every reputable heath institution says wearing a mask is one of the most effective things people can do to protect others from contracting COVID-19, especially in places like an aircraft where social distancing is a challenge," said United's Chief Customer Officer, Toby Enqvist. "We have been requiring our customers to wear masks onboard United aircraft since May 4 and we have been pleased that the overwhelming majority of passengers readily comply with our policy. Today's announcement is an unmistakable signal that we're prepared to take serious steps, if necessary, to protect our customers and crew."

Under this new policy, if a flight attendant notices or is informed of a customer onboard who is not wearing a face covering and that passenger does not fall within an exception, the flight attendant will proactively inform the customer that for the health and safety of everyone, face coverings are mandatory for all customers and crew on board. They will also offer to provide the customer with a mask if needed. If the customer continues to be non-compliant, flight attendants will do their best to de-escalate the situation, again inform the customer of United's policy, and provide the passenger with an In-Flight Mask policy reminder card. If a customer continues to not comply, the flight attendant will file a report of the incident, which will initiate a formal review process. Any final decision or actions regarding a customer's future flight benefits will not occur onboard but instead take place after the flight has reached its destination and the security team has investigated the incident.

"U.S. airlines are very serious about requiring face coverings on their flights. Carriers are stepping up enforcement of face coverings and implementing substantial consequences for those who do not comply with the rules," said A4A President and CEO Nicholas E. Calio. "Face coverings are one of several public health measures recommended by the CDC as an important layer of protection for passengers and customer-facing employees."

In April, United became the first major U.S.-based airline to require flight attendants to wear a face mask while on duty, and beginning in May, expanded that mandate to include all employees and customers on board. This includes front-line workers like pilots, customer service agents and ramp workers when on board an aircraft, along with any other United employees traveling using their flight benefits.

"Wearing a mask is a critical part of helping make air travel safer," said Dr. James Merlino, Chief Clinical Transformation Officer at Cleveland Clinic. "The more people in a given space wearing masks, the fewer viral particles are making it into the space around them, decreasing exposure and risk."

The airline's mask policy is an important part of the United CleanPlus program, which brings together one of the most trusted brands in surface disinfection - Clorox - and the country's top medical experts - Cleveland Clinic - to inform and guide United's new cleaning, safety and social distancing protocols. As part of this program, United is taking a layered approach to help protect passengers and employees on board. In addition to requiring masks, United Airlines planes have HEPA grade filters that recirculate air every 2-3 minutes, and the airline is using electrostatic sprayers to disinfect the cabin before flights.

In addition to the onboard actions, United has implemented dozens of other new procedures at other points in the travel journey including offering touchless check-in for baggage at more than 200 locations, asking customers to complete a health assessment at check-in, installing sneeze guards and adjusting the boarding process. 

For full information on the United CleanPlus program, please visit united.com/cleanplus

About United

United's shared purpose is "Connecting People. Uniting the World." For more information, visit united.com, follow @United on Twitter and Instagram or connect on Facebook. The common stock of United's parent, United Airlines Holdings, Inc., is traded on the Nasdaq under the symbol "UAL".

PNC Commits More Than $1 Billion To Help End Systemic Racism and Support Economic Empowerment of African Americans and Low- And Moderate-Income Communities

Thu, 06/18/2020 - 6:40pm

The PNC Financial Services Group, Inc. (NYSE: PNC) today announced a commitment of more than $1 billion to help end systemic racism and support economic empowerment of African Americans and low- and moderate-income communities.

"We are living in one of the most important civil rights movements of our time. Each of us has a role to play in combatting racism and discrimination, and PNC is committed to driving real change in areas in which we can make the greatest impact," said Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer William S. Demchak.

PNC has a long history of supporting economic empowerment efforts. The company has earned an "Outstanding" rating under the Community Reinvestment Act since those examinations began more than 40 years ago, and has been nationally recognized for the impact of PNC Grow Up Great®, a bilingual multi-year initiative launched in 2004 that helps prepare children from birth to age 5 for success in school and life, with a particular emphasis on helping children, families and others in diverse and low- and moderate-income neighborhoods.

PNC's expanded commitment, announced today, will provide more than $50 million in additional charitable support for national and local work that will help eliminate systemic racism and promote social justice; expand financial education and workforce development initiatives; and enhance low-income neighborhood revitalization and affordable housing, with funding allocation led by the PNC Foundation Board of Directors, PNC's Regional Presidents and Community Development Banking teams.

PNC's commitment also includes more than $1 billion in community development financing and capital for neighborhood revitalization, consumers and small businesses; enhancements to PNC's existing matching gift program to include support for qualifying non-profit organizations that support economic empowerment and social justice educational efforts; and a commitment to fully engage PNC employees in support of qualifying social justice and economic empowerment non-profits through volunteerism, with up to 40 hours paid time off annually to do so.

"This is about much more than writing a check. This is about PNC doing what it does well – putting our capital to work in the communities we serve and providing innovation through products and services, with a special focus on helping African Americans buy homes, which we recognize is an important factor in wealth accumulation," Demchak said. "We are also going to make a positive impact through employee volunteerism. We've seen incredible success from our employee volunteerism through our Grow Up Great program, and that's what we're going to do here as well.

"Today's announcement is just one step toward PNC furthering its commitments and building on the meaningful work that the company has done in this space," Demchak said. "Diversity and Inclusion are fundamental tenets of PNC's culture. We are also committed to an intensified focus on the recruitment, retention and advancement of African American talent; a more comprehensive and sustained effort to create a more inclusive culture at PNC; and a focus on internal systems to improve racial equality.

"Within our own company, we are having more candid, transparent and quite frankly, more difficult conversations about the challenges facing our black colleagues and customers and what we must do to change that," he said. "We have a responsibility to act – a responsibility to each other, our clients, communities and shareholders. We need to seize this moment and use our voices, our influence and our resources to address racism, discrimination, bigotry, bias and economic and health disparities that plague our country."

Demchak said this includes recognizing the role that democracy plays in the fight for social justice, citing PNC's contribution earlier this month of $200,000 to the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law in support of the organization's work to ensure voting access for all communities, particularly African Americans and other voters of color; and PNC's role as a signatory to Time to Vote – a nonpartisan coalition of U.S. companies working to increase voter participation.

The PNC Foundation, which receives its principal funding from The PNC Financial Services Group, actively supports organizations that provide services for the benefit of communities in which it has a significant presence. The foundation focuses its philanthropic mission on early childhood education and community and economic development, which includes the arts and culture.

The PNC Financial Services Group, Inc. is one of the largest diversified financial services institutions in the United States, organized around its customers and communities for strong relationships and local delivery of retail and business banking including a full range of lending products; specialized services for corporations and government entities, including corporate banking, real estate finance and asset-based lending; wealth management and asset management. For information about PNC, visit www.pnc.com.

Study: Consumers Are Four to Six Times More Likely to Buy From, Trust, Champion, Defend Brands With a Strong Purpose

Thu, 06/18/2020 - 6:40pm

A global study analyzing the business value of brands having a well understood Purpose has revealed a strong business benefit as consumers are four to six times more likely to buy from, trust, champion, and defend companies with a strong Purpose.

The 2020 Zeno Strength of Purpose Study, commissioned by Zeno Group, the global, integrated communications agency, surveyed more than 8,000 individuals across 8 markets (United States, Canada, United Kingdom, France, China, India, Singapore, Malaysia). As part of the study, consumers rated their perceived strength of Purpose of more than 75 brands. Zeno then performed a correlation and regression analysis to understand the relationship between consumers’ perceptions of a brand’s Purpose and their attitudes and intended behavior toward them.

Zeno found that when a brand is perceived to have a strong Purpose, consumers were:

  • Four times more likely to purchase from the brand;

  • Six times more likely to defend that brand in a challenging moment;

  • Four and a half times more likely to recommend (champion) the brand to friends and family;

  • Four times more likely to trust the brand.

Globally, France and the UK emerged as the countries most likely to trust, champion and defend a brand with a strong Purpose; consumers in Malaysia, India and Singapore were most likely to buy from a brand with a strong Purpose.

The survey also found that the benefits of a strong Purpose held across regions and generations, with 82% of consumers saying they took action to support a company or brand when they believed in its Purpose, sharing positive opinions of that brand with others, encouraging others to support or buy it, or starting to buy from the brand themselves.

Elements of Purposeful Brands

Zeno asked survey respondents to identify the top attributes of purposeful brands and uncovered eight key elements:

  • Fair treatment of all employees

  • Products or services that reflect the needs of people today

  • Ethical and sustainable business practices

  • Support for important social causes

  • Creation of new job opportunities

  • Diverse and inclusive culture

  • Issue advocacy

  • Strong set of values 

In North America and Europe, respondents ranked “fair treatment of employees” as the number one element of a purposeful brand. In Asia, consumers rated making “products and services that reflect the needs of people today” as the top element of a purposeful brand.

The Purpose Paradox

Consumers have also raised the bar and are looking to companies to advance progress on important issues within and outside of their operational footprint. Ninety four percent of global consumers say it is important that the companies they engage with have a strong Purpose. However, a significant gap exists as only 37% believe companies today actually do. Moreover, 83% of consumers surveyed globally said companies should only earn a profit if they have a positive impact, implying consumers have developed an expectation for brands and companies to have a higher calling beyond earning profits and rewarding shareholders.

“By evaluating over 75 global companies, this is truly the first study of its kind directly linking the strength of a brand’s Purpose to reputation and business benefits. The data proves that consumers expect companies to have a more meaningful reason for being and are making decisions about what to buy and where to work with an eye toward supporting those that share their values,” said Alison DaSilva, Managing Director, Purpose & Impact at Zeno Group. “Yet, companies are leaving equity and opportunity on the table as the majority of consumers do not believe companies today have a clear and strong Purpose. It has never been more important for companies to not only articulate their Purpose, but to consistently demonstrate that Purpose in how they operate, support issues and engage with all stakeholders.”

Holding Brands Accountable

The study also found the so-called “cancel culture” expressed in respondents’ replies, as nearly eight-in-ten (76%) global consumers indicated they will act against brands whose Purpose, values or behaviors they disagree with, by no longer buying from the brand, switching to a competitor, or discouraging others from buying  or supporting it. 

The cancel culture behavior appears strongest among younger generations, with 88% of Gen Z and 85% of Millennials saying they were more likely to act negatively towards a brand they disagreed with. Primary actions included sharing their opinions with family and friends, whereas Boomers and Matures were more likely to act with their wallets, saying they would stop buying from the brand altogether.

The inclination for consumers to act against brands or companies they disagreed with was stronger in Eastern countries (China, 92%; Malaysia, 91%; Singapore, 89%). Meanwhile, in the United States, Canada, France, and the United Kingdom, consumers were slightly more forgiving of brands when they disappointed.

Younger Generations: Valuing Purpose

While respondents across generations recognized the strength and importance of Purpose, younger generations were most likely to champion on behalf of brands with a strong Purpose. Findings included:  

  • 92% of Gen Z and 90% of Millennial respondents say they would act in support of a purposeful brand – at least 10 percentage points higher than other generations surveyed.

  • 87% of Gen Z and 84% of Millennials state it’s a CEO, Founder, or Owner’s responsibility to drive a brand’s Purpose – six-to-three percentage points higher than all respondents.

  • 70% of Gen Z and Millennials feel a brand should have a Purpose they personally believe in – 22 percentage points higher than Boomers and Matures.

  • Across all survey questions, Gen Z led all generations in their positive affirmation of a brand’s Purpose.  

“When it comes to Gen Z – teens and 20-somethings – the stakes for brands couldn’t be higher, as many of these young people are in fact their own brands.  They expect brands to live their Purpose with action and to responsibly and consistently wield their economic and social power for good,” said Therese Caruso, Managing Director, Global Strategy & Planning at Zeno Group. “Gen Z’s number one ambition is to build a better world through the strength of collective action.  Those brands that do not put authentic and actionable Purpose at their core risk losing one of the most influential youth generations on the planet.”  

About the Research

Zeno Group conducted an online survey among 8,255 respondents 18+ years old across 8 global markets (United States, Canada, United Kingdom, France, China, India, Singapore, Malaysia) in 4 languages to understand the evolving role of brand purpose in consumers’ lives. The survey fielded from October 2, 2019 through December 7, 2019. The margin of error is ± 1 percent at a 95 percent confidence level.

About Zeno Group
Zeno Group is a global, integrated communications agency, born from PR. The award-winning agency is committed to work that delivers true business value for clients across consumer, corporate, health and technology industries. Zeno was named the 2019 Agency of the Year and Midsize Agency of the Year by both PRWeek and PRovoke Media (formerly known as The Holmes Report). Zeno also received high commendation as 2018 PRWeek US Midsize Agency of the Year and 2017 International Agency of the Year and named a Best Place to Work by PRWeek in 2016 and 2017. Additionally, the firm was named 2017 Midsize Agency of the Year and Global Consumer Agency of the Year by PRovoke Media. Zeno was also recognized at the Cannes International Festival of Creativity in 2018, winning a Bronze PR Cannes Lion, and in 2016, winning a Gold Cannes Lion and a Bronze PR Cannes Lion.

Zeno is a DJE Holdings Company. For more information, visit us at www.ZenoGroup.com.

Cox Enterprise's Jill Campbell Chosen for Exec. Leadership Honor Roll

Thu, 06/18/2020 - 3:39pm

Originally published by Cox Enterprises

Experience, talent and leadership. These are just a few of the traits that led to Jill Campbell being selected to OnBoard’s Executive Leadership Honor Roll. As EVP and chief people and operations officer for Cox Enterprises, Campbell is one of three Georgia-based female business leaders who represent talented women in the pipeline for future corporate board positions.  

Recognizing Role Models 
Campbell and the other honorees were recognized as influential Georgia business leaders for their professional and personal excellence.  

“The OnBoard 2020 Executive Leadership Honor Roll class spotlights three outstanding women who exemplify board candidates for public companies,” said Kelly Gay, chair and CEO of OnBoard and a corporate director herself. “Kali Wilson Beyah, Jill Campbell and Dr. Maureen Schumacher are true role models and accomplished executive women paving the road for themselves and others.”  

Awarding Excellence 
OnBoard is the leading authority and catalyst for women in the boardroom for Georgia companies. This award has been given annually since 2007. 

To be eligible for the Executive Leadership Honor Roll, a candidate must be Georgia-based and hold a significant leadership role that makes her eligible for corporate board membership. OnBoard prioritizes women who excel in their professional roles, as validated by their colleagues, while also helping to prepare the next generation of female leaders through active advocacy and mentoring. 

To learn more about OnBoard and the Executive Leadership Honor Roll program, visit www.onboardnow.org. 

Dow Sets Targets to Reduce GHG Emissions, Stop Plastic Waste, and Drive Toward a Circular Economy

Thu, 06/18/2020 - 3:39pm

Dow (NYSE: DOW) on June 17, 2020 announced aggressive new commitments to address both climate change and plastic waste on its path toward becoming the most innovative, customer-centric, inclusive and sustainable materials science company in the world. The Company also issued its 2019 Sustainability Report for the 17th consecutive year, outlining progress and results aligned to its 2025 Sustainability Goals.

“Today’s announcement is the next step in our sustainability journey that began more than 30 years ago. Climate change and plastic waste are among the greatest technical, social, and economic issues the world has ever faced, and our products and technology are critical to addressing both,” said Jim Fitterling, Dow chairman and chief executive officer. “At Dow, we have a responsibility and an opportunity to lead in addressing these global challenges. A sustainable future is attainable, but only if we continue to tackle these issues head-on, hold ourselves accountable, and work together to enable new science- and technology-based solutions that directly address both climate change and plastic waste.”

Dow’s new sustainability targets, which align to and build upon its 2025 Sustainability Goals, include:

  • Protect the Climate: By 2030, Dow will reduce its net annual carbon emissions by 5 million metric tons, or 15% from its 2020 baseline. Additionally, Dow intends to be carbon neutral by 2050, in alignment with the Paris Agreement. The Company is committed to implementing and advancing technologies to manufacture products using fewer resources and that help customers reduce their carbon footprints.

  • Stop the Waste: By 2030, Dow will help “stop the waste” by enabling 1 million metric tons of plastic to be collected, reused or recycled through its direct actions and partnerships. The company is investing and collaborating in key technologies and infrastructure to significantly increase global recycling.

  • Close the Loop: By 2035, Dow will help “close the loop” by having 100% of its products sold into packaging applications be reusable or recyclable. Dow is committed to redesigning and offering reusable or recyclable solutions for packaging applications.

In addition to numerous actions Dow has already taken around the world to achieve its sustainability targets, Dow confirmed today it has entered into new renewable power agreements for its manufacturing facilities in Argentina, Brazil, Texas, and Kentucky, securing 338 more megawatts of power capacity from renewable sources, representing an expected reduction of more than 225,000 metric tons of CO2e. The Company is on track to exceed its target to source 750 MW of renewable power capacity by 2025.

Many Dow products lower customers’ emissions more than the carbon emissions used to produce them, through lighter and more fuel efficient autos; more energy efficient buildings; and food that stays safe and fresh longer – all critical for a world set to add 2 billion people by 2050.

Today Dow also introduced a new line of mechanically recycled plastic resins for flexible and rigid plastic packaging applications which have the potential to reduce carbon and energy footprints of applications by up to 20-30 percent.

Dow’s plastic waste goals are designed to ensure that its investments and collaboration, including its commitments to and investments in the Alliance to End Plastic Waste and Circulate Capital, have clear targets to stop waste from getting into the environment and to lead the materials science industry toward a circular economy. Click here for more examples of Dow’s actions to advance recycling technologies, help customers design products for recycling and support infrastructure and education projects.

“Reducing the impact of climate change and eliminating plastic waste are societal challenges that are closely linked. As a producer of technologies that are essential to a low carbon economy, we are developing and investing in new production processes that are low-emission and optimally efficient. And we’re now looking at waste as a resource that will enable us to continue to innovate sustainable materials,”said Mary Draves, Dow vice president and chief sustainability officer.

Dow will also collaborate with leading academics, NGOs, auditing experts, technology partners and others in industry to incentivize the development and commercialization of low-carbon products and technologies that ultimately lower global GHG emissions and to ensure that companies are able to account for those GHG reductions. Dow intends to share more information about this collaboration later this year.

As outlined in Dow’s 2019 Sustainability Report released on June 17, the Company has made significant progress against its 2025 Sustainability Goals. For example, since 2006, Dow has:

  • Reduced its GHG emissions by 15 percent,

  • Incorporated a carbon price into its business planning,

  • Invested in renewable power capacity – Dow is the number one user of clean energy in the chemicals industry and ranks among the top 25 global corporations in terms of renewable power use.

View the full report here.

About Dow

Dow (NYSE: DOW) combines global breadth, asset integration and scale, focused innovation and leading business positions to achieve profitable growth. The Company’s ambition is to become the most innovative, customer centric, inclusive and sustainable materials science company. Dow’s portfolio of plastics, industrial intermediates, coatings and silicones businesses delivers a broad range of differentiated science-based products and solutions for its customers in high-growth market segments, such as packaging, infrastructure and consumer care. Dow operates 109 manufacturing sites in 31 countries and employs approximately 36,500 people. Dow delivered sales of approximately $43 billion in 2019. References to Dow or the Company mean Dow Inc. and its subsidiaries. For more information, please visit www.dow.com or follow @DowNewsroom on Twitter.

PepsiCo Releases 2019 Sustainability Report; Highlights Progress Toward Helping to Build a More Sustainable Food System

Thu, 06/18/2020 - 12:39pm

PepsiCo, Inc. (NASDAQ: PEP) today published its 2019 Sustainability Report, highlighting progress toward its sustainability goals and reaffirming the company's agenda to help build a more sustainable food system.

"Today's global environmental and societal pressures are bringing into sharp focus the need for systemic change," said Ramon Laguarta, PepsiCo's CEO and Chairman. "These challenges not only require deeper commitment from the private sector, they also require demonstrated and sustained action. As a global food and beverage leader, we have a responsibility to use our scale and influence to help tackle long-term challenges, including addressing the threats to our food system which have been further strained by the unfolding pandemic. We're making significant progress that I'm very proud of. We know it will take even more, however. From how we grow food and make products, to inspiring positive change – we are committed to help build a better future for people and the planet."

The 2019 Sustainability Report shares progress across the priority areas where PepsiCo believes it can have the most meaningful impact: agriculture, water, climate, packaging, products, and people. Highlights include:

  • Delivering Safe Water Access: PepsiCo believes water is a human right and its philanthropic arm The PepsiCo Foundation has helped more than 44 million people in underserved communities around the world gain access to safe water through distribution, purification and conservation programs since 2006, far surpassing its goal to reach 25 million by 2025. Building on the success of these programs, PepsiCo has set an ambitious new target to reach a total of 100 million people by 2030 and will focus its near-term work on water distribution, sanitation, and hygiene programs to bolster public health in the wake of COVID-19.

  • Sourcing Ingredients through More Sustainable and Resilient Agriculture: On farms around the world, PepsiCo is working to improve farmer livelihoods, while raising standards for efficient resource use, environmental consciousness, and worker rights. Through the company's Sustainable Farming Program (SFP), in 2019, nearly 80% of PepsiCo's farmer-sourced agricultural raw materials, like potatoes, whole corn, oranges, and oats were verified as sustainably sourced, meeting the SFP's robust criteria, progress towards meeting its goal to reach 100% by the end of 2020.

  • Accelerating Climate Action: PepsiCo reduced its absolute GHG emissions by 6% across its global value chain in 2019. In April 2020, PepsiCo affirmed its plans to accelerate action on climate change by signing the UN's Business Ambition for 1.5°C pledge, joining other leading companies in committing to set science-based emissions-reduction targets across its entire value chain, aimed at limiting global warming to 1.5°C, while also developing a long-term strategy for achieving net-zero emissions by 2050. This builds on PepsiCo's announcement earlier in the year that the company is shifting to 100% renewable electricity through a diverse portfolio of solutions for direct operations in the U.S., its largest market. Nine countries in PepsiCo's European business operations already use 100% of their electricity from renewable sources.

"As we look to the decade ahead, global efforts to mitigate climate change and support a more sustainable and inclusive future are more crucial than ever," said Simon Lowden, PepsiCo's Chief Sustainability Officer. "From providing access to safe water in underserved communities, to working with farmers to grow crops more sustainably, to innovating around packaging, we remain focused on our long-term agenda. It will require agility, collective action and collaboration, and as we think about our approach, we're determined to embrace an important lesson of COVID-19: The world can mobilize quickly when working together toward a shared goal. We know building a more resilient food system is possible, and we'll continue working with partners around the world to catalyze change for a better tomorrow."

The all-digital and interactive 2019 Sustainability Report is accompanied by a summary, highlighting progress against goals, and other downloadable resources. Detailed information about the company's current policies and performance related to specific key issues can be found in a dedicated ESG topics section of the company's website.

The report and downloadable assets are available here.  

Earlier this month, PepsiCo also published its inaugural Human Rights Report, outlining its commitment, approach, and progress in advancing respect for human rights. Over the past decade, PepsiCo has taken targeted action to identify, prevent and address potential human rights impacts across its value chain. Following the inaugural report, PepsiCo is committed to regularly reporting and bringing greater transparency to its progress and work relating to Human Rights. To read the full PepsiCo Human Rights Report visit our Human Rights ESG topics page

About PepsiCo

PepsiCo products are enjoyed by consumers more than one billion times a day in more than 200 countries and territories around the world. PepsiCo generated more than $67 billion in net revenue in 2019, driven by a complementary food and beverage portfolio that includes Frito-Lay, Gatorade, Pepsi-Cola, Quaker and Tropicana. PepsiCo's product portfolio includes a wide range of enjoyable foods and beverages, including 23 brands that generate more than $1 billion each in estimated annual retail sales.

Guiding PepsiCo is our vision to Be the Global Leader in Convenient Foods and Beverages by Winning with Purpose. "Winning with Purpose" reflects our ambition to win sustainably in the marketplace and embed purpose into all aspects of the business. For more information, visit www.pepsico.com.

Cautionary Statement

This release contains statements reflecting our views about our future performance that constitute "forward-looking statements" within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Forward-looking statements are generally identified through the inclusion of words such as "aim," "anticipate," "believe," "drive," "estimate," "expect," "goal," "intend," "may," "plan," "project," "strategy," "target" and "will" or similar statements or variations of such terms and other similar expressions. Forward-looking statements inherently involve risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from those predicted in such statements, including the impact of the spread of COVID-19; future demand for PepsiCo's products, as a result of changes in consumer preferences or otherwise; changes in laws related to the use or disposal of plastics or other packaging of PepsiCo's products; changes in, or failure to comply with, applicable laws and regulations; imposition or proposed imposition of new or increased taxes aimed at PepsiCo's products; imposition of labeling or warning requirements on PepsiCo's products; PepsiCo's ability to compete effectively; political conditions, civil unrest or other developments and risks in the markets where PepsiCo's products are made, manufactured, distributed or sold; PepsiCo's ability to grow its business in developing and emerging markets; uncertain or unfavorable economic conditions in the countries in which PepsiCo operates; the ability to protect information systems against, or effectively respond to, a cybersecurity incident or other disruption; increased costs, disruption of supply or shortages of raw materials and other supplies; water scarcity; business disruptions; product contamination or tampering or issues or concerns with respect to product quality, safety and integrity; damage to PepsiCo's reputation or brand image; failure to successfully complete, integrate or manage acquisitions and joint ventures into PepsiCo's existing operations or to complete or manage divestitures or refranchisings; PepsiCo's ability to recruit, hire or retain key employees or a highly skilled and diverse workforce; loss of, or a significant reduction in sales to, any key customer; disruption to the retail landscape, including rapid growth in the e-commerce channel and hard discounters; climate change or legal, regulatory or market measures to address climate change; potential liabilities and costs from litigation, claims, legal or regulatory proceedings, inquiries or investigations; and other factors that may adversely affect the price of PepsiCo's publicly traded securities and financial performance. For additional information on these and other factors that could cause PepsiCo's actual results to materially differ from those set forth herein, please see PepsiCo's filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, including its most recent annual report on Form 10-K and subsequent reports on Forms 10-Q and 8-K. Investors are cautioned not to place undue reliance on any such forward-looking statements, which speak only as of the date they are made. PepsiCo undertakes no obligation to update any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.

Press Contact: pepsicomediarelations@pepsico.com

L'Oréal Launches Project to Help with Sustainable Transformation

Thu, 06/18/2020 - 12:39pm

L’Oréal has launched a €150 million program to protect the environment and support vulnerable women following the Covid-19 pandemic.

The global beauty firm has created “L’Oréal for the future” to help support vulnerable women who were the first victims of the social and economic crisis generated by the pandemic.

The €50 million charitable endowment fund is expected to support field organisations and local charities in the fight against poverty, help women achieve social and professional integration, provide emergency assistance to refugee and disabled women, prevent violence against women and support victims. 

The L’Oréal Group, which has historically committed to supporting women, realises women are disproportionately affected by the Covid-19 crisis, particularly in terms of job and income loss.

The group will also contribute to repairing damaged natural ecosystems and efforts to prevent climate change, ploughing €100 million into environmental impact investing as part of its “Sharing Beauty with All” sustainable development programme.

Half of the money will be used to finance marine and forest ecosystem restoration projects; restoring one million hectares of degraded ecosystems, capturing 15 to 20 million tonnes of CO2 and creating hundreds of job opportunities by 2030.

The remaining €50 million will go towards helping to finance circular economy projects to help tackle climate change.

Jean-Paul Agon, CEO of L’Oréal, said: “Over the coming months, our societies will face social crises giving rise to situations of great human suffering, particularly for the most vulnerable. At the same time, we are fully aware that environmental challenges are increasingly pressing. It is essential not to step back from the sustainable transformation that the world needs.

“We therefore wish to reaffirm our commitment to the environment and to the preservation of biodiversity, and to help mitigate the social crisis for women. These two causes reflect the values and the historic commitment of L’Oréal.”

Alexandra Palt, chief corporate responsibility officer of the L’Oréal Group, said: “The Covid-19 crisis spares no one, but it also exacerbates existing inequalities, with particularly devastating effects on people who were already struggling socially or economically or are victims of abuse, especially women.

“It is essential that we take action to support the most vulnerable women. This social crisis has not eclipsed the need for a strong commitment to the environment.

“If we are to find a sustainable and inclusive way to move past this crisis, we must also focus on preventing climate change and the erosion of biodiversity, which now threaten to even more profoundly and violently shake our lives, our societies, and our economies, once again with women as the first victims.”

L’Oréal plans to present its new sustainability programme for 2030 in late June, which will complete the “L’Oréal for the future” plan.

5 Ways to Support Small Businesses As They Re-Enter the Market

Thu, 06/18/2020 - 12:39pm

As the economy slowly re-opens, small businesses can finally welcome back customers and staff under strict safety guidelines. It will take a while for them to get back on solid financial footing. To do so, it will take a great deal of support from both consumers and financial institutions like Comerica Bank.

Patricia Alexander, Comerica Vice President, Business Banking, makes the impact of small businesses on the economy very clear, calling them “the engine of America,” generating 44 percent of U.S. economic activity and warning many of them will not re-open their doors due to financial distress.

While the challenge is tough, consumers can provide some real lifelines to help ensure as many small businesses as possible can stay afloat, revive and thrive.

Here are five ways Alexander says consumers should support small businesses:

  1. Quite simply, buy their products and services to provide the cashflow they need to operate. In Alexander’s words, “To help these businesses, consumers should aggressively patronize them.”

  2. Post positive reviews on social media. “We need to have a sense of urgency. We need to talk them up,” said Alexander. “People need to see if it is safe to go out again.”

  3. Be patient with the challenges of re-starting a business and the operational changes needed to follow new safety guidelines. This is a new normal.

  4. Take the initiative to seek them out. “Organizations like the Michigan Minority Supplier Development Council, and the National Business League are a few resources that can help consumers locate these critical businesses,” Alexander advises.

  5. It’s not just enough to occasionally patronize small businesses. “Consumers need to renew and reaffirm their commitment to small businesses,” said Alexander. That means becoming regular customers or patrons, providing a reliable income for small business operators that will help them rebuild their operations.

Of course, Comerica Bank is also taking strong steps to support its small business customers to the extent where Alexander has been compelled to expand and realign her position in managing customer relationships.

“We’ve always been keenly customer-focused,” she explained. “The recent pandemic has underscored the need for complete transparency and a huge sense of urgency. Always anticipating the future needs of customers allows me to navigate through financial matters, regardless of the degree of complexity, while finding mutually, beneficial solutions in a timely manner.”

Alexander is celebrating 39 years with the company dating back to June 1981 before Comerica merged with the former Manufacturer’s Bank. She is also Chairman of the Michigan African American Initiative through Comerica with the goal of developing new relationships and expanding current ones.

Comerica itself has broadened its services in support of small businesses in financial duress and encourages customers to reach out if they are experiencing financial hardship as a result of COVID-19.

Additionally, Comerica continued to provide loans through the support of the U.S. Small Business Administration loan programs such as the Paycheck Protection Program and Economic Injury Disaster Loans. And more help could be on the way with the upcoming Main Street Lending Program.

Comerica is also continuing to offer its business customers services that include a vast array of Treasury Management products such as fraud prevention tools, cash management services and commercial credit cards, merchant services for payment collection and processing investment services to optimize income and a myriad of checking and savings products to handle daily operations, according to Alexander.

For businesses that don’t have a facade or building, Comerica also offers a merchant card service that can be used during events at remote locations. Businesses are provided with a card slide mechanism so they can collect payment on-site from customers using merchant or credit cards.

If small businesses are to retain their place as the engine of America, it’s going to take the type of support Comerica is providing along with a strong commitment from consumers to continue to patronize them and spread the positive word about the goods and services they found.

“Most importantly,” says Alexander, “we need to be patient because this is a new world we’re living in.”

For more information highlighting small business, visit www.comerica.com/insights

American Forest Foundation Welcomes WestRock Foundation as a Family Forest Carbon Program Partner

Thu, 06/18/2020 - 12:39pm

Today, the American Forest Foundation (AFF) announced WestRock, a leading provider of differentiated paper and packaging solutions, through its WestRock Foundation, has committed to supporting family forest owners addressing climate change by investing in the development of the Family Forest Carbon Program (FFCP), a new program created by AFF and The Nature Conservancy (TNC).

Families and individuals own the largest portion – 38 percent – of the forestland across the United States, more than the federal government or forest industry. These families support the resources and benefits Americans count on from forests – wildlife habitat, clean water, wood supplies and carbon sequestration – and have an opportunity to further enhance those benefits through increased sustainable forest management and improved practices.  

 “WestRock’s sustainability platform is built on our commitment to people and communities, to our customers and to a better planet,” said Kevin Hudson, WestRock Foundation board member and Senior Vice President, Forest & Recycle Fibers, WestRock. “The Family Forest Carbon Program provides an avenue to address these three key areas by improving the health of our forests and wood fiber supply, tackling climate change and supporting the communities in which we source our wood fiber. We are excited to work with AFF and TNC who are leading the way on conservation innovation here in the U.S.”

“Family forest owners want to do what’s right by their land, yet these individuals often hit roadblocks, such as cost, when it comes to taking action to improve their forests in ways that make a meaningful impact,” said Tom Martin, President and CEO of AFF.  “WestRock’s leadership and Foundation investment to help develop this program will open the door for forest owners to be part of a solution needed for our planet.”

The Family Forest Carbon Program is a new approach to climate change mitigation that more readily opens carbon markets to small family forest owners. Carbon markets have traditionally been cost prohibitive to small forest holdings, those between 20 and 1,000 acres, and complex to navigate. The Family Forest Carbon Program provides a path to participation, simplifying the process and reducing cost, providing technical assistance and creating incentives for family forest owners to adopt enhanced management practices. This will help landowners maximize sustainable forest practices that can further reduce carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and improve the productivity of their lands, ultimately keeping working forests as forests.

The WestRock Foundation’s investment will enable expansion of the Family Forest Carbon Program in Pennsylvania where it is currently being piloted. It will also support further scientific development of the program’s carbon accounting methodology, which is being validated by Verra, the non-profit organization that oversees the Verified Carbon Standard (VCS).  This development and validation is a critical step in the advancement of the pilot into broader availability for landowners.

Companies interested in learning how they can be a part of this effort should visit, the Family Forest Carbon Program webpage. 

Media Contacts:

About the American Forest Foundation
The American Forest Foundation (AFF) is a national non-profit conservation organization that protects and measurably increases the clean water, wildlife habitat, and sustainable wood supplies that come from family-owned forests. AFF works with partners, leading businesses, policymakers, and landowners directly, to address key issues such as conserving biodiversity, reducing risk of catastrophic wildfire, and addressing the threat of climate change. To learn more about the American Forest Foundation, visit www.forestfoundation.org.

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

About WestRock
WestRock (NYSE:WRK) partners with our customers to provide differentiated paper and packaging solutions that help them win in the marketplace. WestRock’s team members support customers around the world from locations spanning North America, South America, Europe, Asia and Australia. Learn more at www.westrock.com.

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