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Leaders Call on UK Prime Minister to Create Socially Just and Green Recovery From COVID-19

Tue, 06/09/2020 - 9:26am
  • Richard Curtis CBE, Paul Polman, Michael Izza and leaders of more than 100 renowned companies, charities, universities, and trade associations call on the UK Government to ensure the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are at the heart of UK Covid-19 recovery plans;

  • The Sustainable Development Goals provide us with a blueprint to end poverty and inequality, and put health, wellbeing and job creation at the heart of Covid-19 recovery plans in the UK;

  • The UK is performing well on 24% of the Sustainable Development Goal targets, and could enhance this if they were used to frame the UK’s recovery from Covid-19.

A letter sent to the UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Tuesday 9th June calls on his government to use the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to frame Covid-19 recovery plans. 

The letter references a statement made by the Prime Minister at the Financing for Development event on 28 May where he called for "fairer, greener and more resilient global economy" after Covid-19. He said that we must ‘work together to get shared goals back on track including [...] the Sustainable Development Goals’.
The letter supports this and states ‘we do not need to reinvent frameworks or agreements, we can instead use the global goals as the basis for a socially just and green recovery in the UK and abroad’.

Early evidence from the Business and Sustainable Development Commission showed that if implemented the SDGs create at least US$12tn in business opportunities in just 60 market hotspots and estimates this could be 2-3 times bigger across the whole economy.  

The letter has been coordinated by the UK Stakeholders for Sustainable Development (UKSSD) and the UN Global Compact Network UK (GCN UK) .

Signatories include: leaders of Nestle UK & Ireland, Linklaters, Clifford Chance, The Body Shop, SSE plc, HSBC Group, NatWest Group, Standard Life Aberdeen, Scottish Power, Mott MacDonald and Unilever; filmmaker Richard Curtis; the Mayor of Bristol and Mya-Rose Craig (aka Birdgirl).

The letter states that the ‘SDGs provide an internationally agreed framework, which also works at national, regional and local level, alongside and reinforcing existing plans and commitments.’

It asks that the SDGs be used ‘used to consolidate and future-proof [recovery] plans’ and goes on to recommend that they are used to:

  1. Prioritise the most vulnerable in our society and level-up regional and societal inequalities;

  2. Build coherent policies for a healthy planet and to aid the transition to net zero;

  3. Unite all sectors behind a plan to build a stronger and more resilient economy.

The SDGs are part of the UN’s 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and give a “shared blueprint for peace and prosperity for people and the planet, now and into the future”. There are 17 Goals at its centre, encompassing climate action, education and health.

Unfortunately, the UKSSD Measuring Up report, found gaps in policy or inadequate performance for 57% of targets, and 15% where there is little to no policy in place to address it, or where performance is poor. It anticipates that this situation will be worsened by the societal and economic impacts of Covid-19.

For media enquiries, please contact:
Emily Auckland, UKSSD Network Director
 
Notes to editors

About the UK Stakeholders for Sustainable Development (UKSSD)
Through collaboration and access to new insights, UKSSD brings organisations together to accelerate progress on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in the UK. UKSSD was launched in April 2016 and has grown to more than 1,000 network members, representing most sectors and industries in the UK, from grass-roots community organisations to multinational business.
We work with our partners to use their cross-sector voice to influence government and organisations on their approach to the SDGs. With shared expertise and leadership, we support them to learn from each other, develop their activities and identify new opportunities for collaboration, such as our new Food Systems Programme which launched in January 2020.

About the UN Global Compact Network UK (GCN UK)
Launched in 2000 as a special initiative of the UN Secretary-General, the United Nations Global Compact provides a framework for developing more sustainable and responsible businesses. Today, the UN Global Compact is the largest corporate sustainability initiative in the world, with more than 10,500 companies and 3,000 non-business signatories based in over 160 countries, and more than 60 Local Networks. It is a call to companies everywhere to align their operations and strategies with ten universally accepted principles in the areas of human rights, labour, environment, and anti-corruption. Its mission is to mobilise a global movement of sustainable companies and stakeholders to create the world we want.

The UN Global Compact Network UK delivers an extensive programme of activity to support UK-based UN Global Compact participating organisations. The Network promotes practical sustainability leadership, shares knowledge across sectors, and actively shapes the responsible business environment to create a world we want to live and do business in.

Read Announcement

Global Impact Releases Research Assessing Country Regulations and Response to COVID-19

Mon, 06/08/2020 - 6:25pm

Global Impact, supported by KPMG LLP, has released new research, the COVID-19 Regulatory and Response Matrix,” which details international giving in the time of COVID-19 through a centralized source of information on 124 countries and territories across the globe. The data was compiled through extensive in-country and remote research.   

As nations implemented measures to stop the spread of the virus, a tandem philanthropic response ascended to address rising needs worldwide. In this critical situation, the time-consuming process of understanding regulatory requirements per country and territory hinders a rapid response. The “COVID-19 Regulatory and Response Matrix” serves as a resource with consolidated information regarding international funding, helping to guide organizations in their philanthropic decisions. 

The matrix addresses the following areas for each country and territory:

  • How to make grants and the taxability of those grants to recipients.

  • Whether COVID-19 is classified as a state of emergency and if support for COVID-19 is considered charitable.

  • How countries are responding to COVID-19, including stimulus plans, dedicated charitable funds and contributions to global efforts. 

“Developing an international response to COVID-19 requires extensive data‑gathering across countries,” said Scott Jackson, president and CEO of Global Impact. “As a leader in growing global philanthropy, we are pleased to present this research for organizations looking to further their social impact and hope that it serves as a valuable resource for a timely, strategic philanthropic response to COVID‑19.” 

“Access to technical information during a time of such rapid changes is critical for organizations to make charitable decisions,” said Anita Whitehead, Principal of KPMG LLP’s Corporate Citizenship Services practice. “In speaking with Global Impact, it was clear that information needed by donors seeking to support international relief, was not easily accessible. There was so much online traffic related to COVID-19 that search results were distorted. It was clear that a consolidated resource was needed to help those seeking to make a positive impact during this pandemic. We appreciate partnering with Global Impact to fill this need.”  

To download the report and full research matrix visit https://charity.org/resources/covid19-regulatory-response-matrix. For information about services offered for organizations looking to expand their global philanthropic engagement contact: Global Impact at kathleen.lowenthal@charity.org and KPMG at awhitehead@kpmg.com.

About Global Impact

Global Impact works on charitable ventures to inspire greater giving. We serve as a trusted advisor, intermediary and implementing partner across the private, nonprofit and public sectors. Through these partnerships, we have raised nearly $2 billion for causes such as disaster relief and global development. Our expertise includes fundraising and partnerships, employee engagement and corporate social responsibility (CSR), and finance and business services. Global Impact’s reach and services are complemented by the work of our subsidiary company, Geneva Global. 

# # #

Press Contacts

Cassie Call
Global Impact
Tel: 571.294.2308
press@charity.org 

Anita Whitehead
KPMG LLP
Tel: 703.286.8245
awhitehead@kpmg.com

Domtar's Paper-Based Solutions Bring Variety, Creativity to Self-Isolation

Mon, 06/08/2020 - 3:25pm

Have your kids spent their days during quarantine glued to the TV or tablet? Have you “finished Netflix?” If so, it might be time to unplug and turn to paper-based solutions for enhanced productivity and entertainment.

While the global COVID-19 pandemic has most of us at home, self-isolating with our families while juggling work, distance learning and family entertainment, it might be easy to use screen time to help fill the void left by canceled plans.

Of course, screens are necessary while working and learning from home, but paper-based solutions offer a timeless approach to education, entertainment and productivity and a welcome change of pace, especially when your family needs a digital detox.

In fact, they can even be good for your health. Using paper to work and learn offers many cognitive benefits, such as increased language skills, enhanced mental development and improved memory. And when the work is done, paper-based solutions can help you be more present with your partner and family, and more mindful of your own well-being.

“There is a growing body of research that shows students understand and retain concepts better when they read about them on paper. Right now, especially, it’s important for kids and parents to remember to incorporate paper as an important tool in daily activities and learning,” says Mary Anne Hansan, president of the Paper and Packaging  Board.

With that said, we invite you to turn off your TV, close your laptop, put down your phone and try using paper to give yourself a much-needed break from technology.

Consider these paper-based solutions for:

Family Time

  • Read a book together — According to Reading Rockets, “children learn to love the sound of language before they even notice the existence of printed words on a page. Reading books aloud to children stimulates their imagination and expands their understanding of the world. It helps them develop language and listening skills and prepares them to understand the written word.”

  • Keep a family diary —This historic time provides an opportunity to record the changes in your family’s life, such as new things you’re doing as a family or your feelings about the world around you. A family diary can create a special memory of an unusual time for the next generation to read.

  • Write letters to family members — Have you been physically distancing from loved ones? Have your children practice their handwriting by writing a special letter to someone they love; they could also paint or draw a special picture to enclose with the letter.

  • #drawdrawdraw with Nissan — Nissan launched its #drawdrawdraw campaign during the pandemic to offer a creative outlet to people bored at home. Learn about the campaign, and find printable sketches that you and your kids can color.

  • Color, draw and play on paper — Enjoy these printable activity pages from the Paper and Packaging Board, and find more ideas for how to entertain your family during self-isolation.

Personal Time

  • Pick up a book — Take a break from digital entertainment by reaching for a book instead of the remote control. Take the pledge to read 15 Pages a day, and track your progress toward creating a new reading habit.

  • Be creative with adult coloring books — Need a creative outlet or a more enjoyable way to relieve stress? Try adult coloring books. Research shows that coloring reduces stress by activating both the left (analytical) and the right (creative) sides of the brain.

  • Start a journal — Writing with pen and paper is good for your brain and your soul. Studies show that people who keep a journal experience mental and emotional benefits.

  • Practice mindfulness — Use paper to be more mindful using these techniques.

Productivity

When the world returns to a new normal and you find yourself back in the office and balancing work, family, school schedules, sports and other activities, keep a few of these paper-based solutions in your life for enhanced productivity, learning and entertainment.

Yum! Brands Pledges $3 Million to Advance Equality and Social Justice

Mon, 06/08/2020 - 3:25pm

Last Sunday, I shared our "Call for Unity" and committed that Yum! Brands will invest more time, talent and resources to be a greater force for positive change and equality — for restaurant employees and in the communities where we operate alongside our franchisees. Open and honest conversations across our company and with our franchisees are making it clear that we must now take action to help break down the systemic issues of inequality and racism. 

In our discussions, many of our employees asked that we support our communities in tangible ways. As a start, Yum! Brands, KFC, Pizza Hut, Taco Bell and The Habit Burger Grill are collectively pledging $3 million to social justice efforts led by the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational FundAmerican Civil Liberties Union and nonprofits fighting for social justice in our hometown of Louisville, Kentucky, which has been devastated by the deaths of Breonna Taylor and David McAtee. Of this amount, $1 million will go to community and social justice organizations identified with input from Restaurant General Managers at our nearly 800 company-owned and more than 17,000 franchise-operated restaurants in the United States. 

The last few weeks have taught us that what we, as individuals and a community, choose to do at this time will define the world in which we live. I’m proud that Yum! can be a force for positive change.

But this is only our next step on the long path of change, and our actions will not stop here. We must commit ourselves to make a lasting and positive difference for our employees, frontline restaurant teams and communities. We must also pledge to create a future in which ALL people of every hue can live fully, thrive peacefully and unlock opportunities equally to enjoy their lives.

Black Lives Matter.

— David Gibbs

PayPal: Standing With Black Employees, Customers and Partners

Mon, 06/08/2020 - 12:25pm

Published June 2, 2020

PayPal’s core values are inclusion and equality – and we strongly stand against discrimination, racism, hatred and violence. As a company, we have been in deep conversation during this difficult time, determined to stand with our Black colleagues and their communities – and working together on how we can contribute to meaningful change. It is absolutely unacceptable that Black people in the United States, including our colleagues, customers and community members, are fearful for their safety and face the impacts of racism and hatred. We need dialogue, change, education, and action. We must all do our part to agitate for social justice, so we can create an environment where we are all safe, respected, and can aspire to be our best selves.

Today, PayPal is donating $500,000 to organizations, including the NAACP Legal Defense FundLeadership Conference on Civil and Human RightsNational Urban LeagueRepairers of the BreachMinneapolis African American Leadership Forum and other local community groups across the country that are doing meaningful work to build toward racial equality, healing and reconciliation. We are supporting these groups because of their longstanding commitment and constructive work to achieve racial justice and protect civil rights.

PayPal will continue to stand up for our values and fight discrimination and racial injustice within our communities. If you’re able, I encourage you to join us. Through the PayPal Giving Fund, you can find local nonprofit organizations in your communities that are advancing racial equality and civil rights. When you donate here, PayPal covers all processing costs, ensuring that 100% of your donation will support the charities. We will stand together to overcome hatred, racism and discrimination. 

5 Ways a $50 Million Johnson & Johnson Commitment to Support COVID-19 Relief Efforts Is Making an Impact Around the World

Mon, 06/08/2020 - 12:25pm

By Barbara Brody

A need for personal protective equipment. Mental health struggles. Limited resources to help support at-risk populations.

These are all things healthcare workers at the front lines of COVID-19 have had to grapple with, which is why the Johnson & Johnson Family of Companies and the Johnson & Johnson Foundation announced in March they would commit $50 million to help support organizations and health workers around the world facing such challenges while battling the virus.

"No one institution can solve for the short- or long-term consequences of the strain that a global pandemic puts on health systems and frontline healthcare workers everywhere,” says Lauren Moore, Vice President, Johnson & Johnson Global Community Impact. “We’re re-focusing our support with many of our longtime partners to address the most immediate needs of communities and the essential health workforce. Together, we can create a world where thriving nurses, midwives and community health workers are well supported and able to provide quality care for all, during and beyond the crisis.”

From a program designed to support the mental health of nurses working around the clock tending to sick patients to digital contact tracing technology that can be deployed globally, here are just some of the ways the company's $50 million commitment is already helping make a difference in the fight against COVID-19 around the world.

1. Helping Communities Hardest Hit Through The International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent

Doctors, nurses, social workers, hospitals and other public health resources, such as ambulances and medical equipment, all make up a unique global humanitarian organization called The International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent (IFRC).

This infrastructure has enabled IFRC to mobilize quickly during COVID-19, which is why Johnson & Johnson committed the equivalent of around $3 million to help support the organization's work, says Kris Sterkens, Chairman of the Johnson & Johnson Foundation, which is responsible for managing the company's Global Community Impact programs and activities across Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

The funds have been earmarked for current on-the-ground medical relief in hot spot countries like Italy, Spain, France and the UK, with money also set aside so the IFRC can respond promptly as new hot spots emerge around the globe.

In addition to medical care, the IFRC is also helping educate the public about proper hygiene, arranging for emergency medical transportation and providing crucial mental health care to frontline health workers through online psychological counseling.

"Stress and anxiety is growing among frontline health workers, and the consequence is a chronic workplace stress that is difficult to manage under the pandemic workload context," Sterkens says. "The IFRC is providing mental health and psychosocial support in 66 countries to help front line healthcare workers manage this burden."

2. Supporting the CDC Foundation and the WHO COVID-Solidarity Response Fund to Provide Much-Needed Testing and Tools

In the U.S., the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is a federally funded institution, but government dollars aren't always sufficient—especially in times of crisis.

That's where the CDC Foundation, an independent nonprofit that supports the CDC, comes in. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the foundation created the All Of Us campaign, which Johnson & Johnson is helping support with a $1 million donation, plus the company is matching any donation from global employees or retirees. The campaign is helping communities around the country step up their response to COVID-19 by providing access to testing, public education about the virus and support for the homeless and other vulnerable populations.

On a global scale, the World Health Organization (WHO) is charged with coordinating the response to the pandemic. The COVID-Solidarity Response Fund for WHO was created to ensure that the organization has adequate tools, including essential supplies for frontline workers and funds to speed up research. 

"Johnson & Johnson’s contribution to the COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund has already helped the World Health Organization support frontline health workers in over 133 countries with masks, gloves and gowns, as well as provide 1.5 million test kits to labs in 126 countries,” says Elizabeth Cousens, President and CEO of the UN Foundation.

3. Caring for Nurses on the Front Lines With the American Nurses Foundation Coronavirus Response Fund

It's well known that nurses, who often spend extended time in direct contact with critically ill patients, are being hit especially hard by the mental and physical toll of the pandemic.

That's why Johnson & Johnson, Tylenol®, Neutrogena®, Aveeno® and Johnson's® Baby helped kick-start the American Nurses Foundation Coronavirus Response Fund, a philanthropic arm of the American Nurses Association, with a $1.9 million commitment.

"This commitment will help the foundation support areas like direct financial assistance, mental health and well-being and national advocacy," says Kate Judge, Executive Director, American Nurses Foundation.

Part of it will be used to support The Well-Being Initiative, a "for nurses by nurses" support system that provides resources to support the mental health and resilience of nurses. "Recognizing that individuals process stress, trauma and anxiety differently, nurses will have the option to join virtual groups, express thoughts through writing workshops or talk one-on-one,” explains Judge.

Additionally, the funds provide direct financial aid to nurses who are struggling during this time. Nurses are eligible to apply for a one-time grant of $1,500 if they are ill with COVID-19, are caring for a family member with the virus or are under employer-mandated quarantine.

"As the weeks go by, the financial requests are increasing as nurses face additional hardship with job losses, reduction in pay, and the economic impact on family members," Judge says.

4. Supercharging Digital Response Efforts by Supporting Dimagi and Praekelt.org

How do you safely reopen a region that's been locked down while stemming further spread of the virus? 

Contact tracing—where you identify and notify people who have had close, recent contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19—plays a key role.

"Contact tracing and quarantine of exposed individuals is a mainstay of disease control to try and break chains of disease transmission," says Tommy Lobben, Manager, Center for Health Worker Innovation, Johnson & Johnson Global Community Impact.

But implementing this strategy in the context of COVID-19 isn't easy considering how many people have already been exposed. That's where Dimagi, a digital health solutions company developing tech tools can help.

"They are a thought leader in the international digital health community and can push the field to integrate and co-develop solutions to avoid duplication and loss of precious time and effort in pandemic response," explains Lobben. Johnson & Johnson was the first funder to support Dimagi's COVID Contact Tracing App, which will be used globally by such organizations as UNICEF.

Johnson & Johnson is also supporting PraekeIt.org, a mobile technology company that is disseminating health information around the world in partnership with the WHO through its free Health Alert program, which includes a WhatsApp-based helpline that provides automated answers to frequently asked health questions.

"HealthAlert is critical to ensure that everyone has access to the best possible health information during this outbreak," says Joanne Peter, M.D., Director of Social Innovation, Johnson & Johnson Global Community Impact.

5. Safeguarding Us From Future Pandemics Through the Pandemic Action Network

While it may seem hard to imagine a post-COVID world right now, it's essential to stay focused on ways to prevent the next pandemic. To help ensure that the world is well-prepared, Johnson & Johnson has joined with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and others to create the Pandemic Action Network.

While this new advocacy and communications initiative is currently focused on COVID-19, it is "equally committed to learning from this crisis so that a pandemic of this magnitude does not occur again," says Adrian Thomas, M.D., Vice President, Johnson & Johnson Global Public Health.

For example, the Pandemic Action Network has created the "For Humankind" campaign, which strives to disseminate accurate health information about COVID-19 to the public. It has also launched a social media campaign, #MaskingForAFriend, aimed at educating everyone about the importance of wearing face masks and practicing good hand hygiene.

"The network will serve to educate and empower individuals, as well as advocate for the policy and system reforms necessary to prevent future outbreaks," Thomas says, "to ensure that all the key stakeholders are investing adequately in pandemic preparedness and response so that we're not caught off-guard."

Making a Wave of Change With Recycled Plastics

Mon, 06/08/2020 - 12:25pm

Originally Published on the Off the Floor Blog

An interactive, large-scale sculpture built almost entirely from upcycled materials by Brooklyn-based artist Basia Goszczynska, Overflow represents plastic pollution in our oceans while celebrating ingenious recycling technologies that help minimize our waste stream. The work serves as a “canary in a coal mine,” warning us about what will become of our oceans if we fail to take responsibility for our waste. Commissioned by Mohawk and built using materials sourced from our recycling facility, Overflow incorporates the various stages of transformation that single-use PET plastic bottles undergo during our patented Continuum process: from bottles, to flakes, to pellets, to filament, and finally to EnviroStrand and residential EverStrand carpeting. 

Go behind-the-scenes and watch as Overflow takes shape, from its humble beginnings at our recycling facility, to Basia’s studio, to its debut at The International Surface Event earlier this year, where attendees were invited to crowdsource the artwork by contributing their plastic bottles to the sculpture and lounge on its carpeted beach. 

DIVERTING PLASTIC BOTTLES FROM WATERWAYS AND INTO PRODUCTS

In 2019 alone, Mohawk recycled more than 6.6 billion plastic bottles, enough to wrap around the earth more than 33 times. Overall, our Continuum process has diverted more than 40 billion plastic bottles from waterways and landfills to become the fiber for carpet products in commercial and residential interiors.

The artistic work reflects Mohawk’s holistic commitment to initiatives around corporate social responsibility that help secure a more ecologically restorative future, as well as meaningful collaborations and partnerships that help us extend our positive handprint through a circular economy. 

Basia explores environmental and waste issues through a variety of mediums including sculpture, installation, performance, social practice and new media.

“Ultimately, I hope to shift perceptions about our waste, and plastic in particular, from something that is abject and easily discarded, into something that is precious and worthy of our attention,” added the artist. “I was excited to take on this project because it provided me with an opportunity to work with plastic bottles for the first time. As an artist interested in waste management and environmental issues, it was a thrill to see the fascinating process that salvaged plastic bottles undergo to become beautiful carpeting at Mohawk’s recycling plant.”

Goszczynska received her BFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and her MFA from the Mason Gross School of the Arts at Rutgers University. In addition to numerous group shows and film festival screenings, she has presented her work in exhibitions at Arcadia Earth, Chashama’s Space To Present, the Mid-Manhattan Public Library and OCAD University. She has received fellowships from the Vermont Studio Center and the Massachusetts Cultural Council as well as the Ray Stark Film Prize.

One of her latest high-profile installations, titled “Rainbow Cave,” was featured at Art Basel 2019 in Miami Beach.

Xylem Reports Broad Sustainability Advances, Beats Greenhouse Gas Reduction Target by More Than 40%

Mon, 06/08/2020 - 12:25pm

Xylem Inc. (NYSE:XYL), a global water technology company, today announced it had succeeded in reducing greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) intensity, exceeding its planned target.

Xylem’s 2019 Sustainability Report, “Water for a Healthy World,” launched today, revealed the Company had achieved a 28.3% reduction in GHG intensity, against a target of 20% set in 2014. The report also demonstrated over-achievement or material progress on all of its 2019 sustainability targets.

Water for a Healthy World,” which has been verified by the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) as conforming to GRI’s reporting standards, details Xylem’s progress on a wide range of sustainability topics: from energy and water intensity, to innovation, diversity and inclusion, disaster relief, corporate citizenship, community impact and employee volunteerism. In addition to beating its own stretch targets for greenhouse gas emissions, the water technology leader also reduced product energy intensity.

Xylem’s corporate social responsibility program, Xylem Watermark, hit new highs in employee engagement, reaching 58% participation and over 70,000 volunteer hours in 2019, alone. The program also launched a global Humanitarian Disaster Response Team, engaging employees, customers, and suppliers in responding to water-related disasters, such as floods and hurricanes. Xylem Watermark partners with over 250 non-profit organizations, globally.

“The importance of water to community sustainability is more apparent today than perhaps any other time in recent history,” said Patrick Decker, Xylem’s President and CEO. “The COVID-19 pandemic has underscored the critical role that clean water and reliable sanitation play in preventing and controlling disease and in making communities resilient in the face of extraordinary challenges.”

Xylem’s 2019 performance highlights the sustainability momentum the Company has achieved, having been recognized as a top performer across a range of pre-eminent sustainability listings – including Fortune’s Change the World list, Barron’s 100 Most Sustainable Companies, and a 100% rating on the Human Rights Campaign’s Corporate Equality Index.

“With water and resource management at the core of our business, Xylem is deeply committed to sustainability,” continued Decker. “It is fundamental to who we are and what we do. We feel both privileged and proud to be making progress, alongside our customers and partners, and making a difference for our stakeholders, globally. Now, as part of our mission to solve the world’s toughest water and resource challenges -- making the world more sustainable for everyone -- we’re committing ourselves to doing even more.”

“Water for a Healthy World” marks the finish line for Xylem’s previous set of 5-year sustainability targets, set in 2014, and the first year of tracking its bolder 2025 goals, set last year.

“A year ago, we expanded our sustainability strategy and set 2025 goals in response to escalating water challenges around the world,” said Claudia Toussaint, Xylem’s General Counsel and Chief Sustainability Officer. “We are a company that pushes boundaries and are motivated to achieve a sustainable future. So, when we refreshed our sustainability goals, we built on our momentum and got more ambitious. We expanded our sustainability strategy, put greater focus on advancing sustainability across our customer products and solutions, and integrated sustainability even more tightly with our business strategy.”

Xylem’s 2025 signature goals include commitments to:

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

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

  • Provide access to clean water and sanitation solutions for at least 20 million people;

  • Ensure 100% of employees have access to clean water and safe sanitation at work, at home and during natural disasters;

  • Give 1% of xylem employees’ time and 1% of company profits to water-related causes and education;

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

For more, “Water for a Healthy World” is available, now.

About XYLEM

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

A Commitment to Food Security

Mon, 06/08/2020 - 12:25pm

It was early March, right around the time the COVID-19 pandemic started spreading in the United States, but Radha Muthiah already knew the situation was serious.

Muthiah, the CEO of the Capital Area Food Bank in Washington, D.C., had seen calls to their hunger hotline triple. Web traffic was up dramatically on its "get help" page. But strangest of all were the walk-ins: people just showed up asking for groceries.

In ordinary times, the food bank works like a wholesaler, where organizations like pantries and soup kitchens pick up food in bulk and deliver it to the people they serve, including children, families, seniors, and veterans. But when staff started seeing walk-ins – including people who had once worked there as volunteers – Muthiah realized these were no longer ordinary times.

“This is unprecedented for sure,” she said. “Have there been other emergencies and disasters? For sure. The key difference here is, everyone is being affected at the same time.”

Food banks across the United States are facing a multitude of problems as they try to keep people fed during the pandemic: Double-digit unemployment means demand for food assistance is up. The closure of restaurants means people need more groceries at home, meaning grocers are selling the food they would typically donate. That is forcing food banks to buy far more of their supply – something they expect they’ll have to do for quite some time.

To help shoulder the cost, Raytheon Technologies is giving $5 million to Feeding America®, a domestic hunger-relief organization that supports food banks and food-security initiatives across the United States. Food banks in 15 regions will receive donations this week to address the increased need for food assistance locally. The initiative is part of Raytheon Technologies’ broader response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The company is using its manufacturing capacity, engineering, logistics and finance expertise, to carry out initiatives that serve our communities, deliver on our commitments to our customers and protect our employees.

Raytheon Technologies is also matching employees’ individual donations to Feeding America as well as other nonprofit organizations, including the Global Foodbanking Network, which serves over 40 countries.

“The most important thing I think we can do for our communities, aside from staying indoors and staying home, is to help on the food side,” CEO Greg Hayes said in a message to employees. “I can tell you, we can help and we will help, by donating money directly to Feeding America.”

The regions were chosen in collaboration with Feeding America based on several factors including their pre-pandemic rates of food insecurity, the local effects of the pandemic, and the presence of Raytheon Technologies or its four businesses in those communities.

The food banks receiving aid include:

·       The Greater Boston Food Bank, Boston, Mass.

·       Connecticut Food Bank, Wallingford, Conn.

·       Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona, Tucson, Ariz.

·       Second Harvest Food Bank of Metrolina, Charlotte, N.C.

·       Second Harvest Food Bank of Northwest North Carolina, Winston-Salem, N.C.

·       Capital Area Food Bank, Washington, D.C.

·       North Texas Food Bank, Plano, Texas

·       Food Bank of the Rockies, Denver, Colo.

·       Los Angeles Regional Food Bank, Los Angeles, Calif.

·       Feeding San Diego, San Diego, Calif.

·       Northern Illinois Food Bank, Geneva, Ill.

·       HACAP Food Reservoir, Hiawatha, Ill.

·       Feeding the Valley Food Bank, Midland, Ga.

·       Good Shepherd Food Bank, Auburn, Maine

·       Banco de Alimentos Puerto Rico, Carolina, Puerto Rico

·       Feeding South Florida, Pembroke Park, Fla.

·       Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida, Orlando, Fla.

In San Diego, where the cost of living is high and tourism is a cornerstone of the economy, demand for food assistance has skyrocketed, said Vince Hall, CEO of Feeding San Diego. He said his organization’s overall demand has been up about 50 percent, but that some of its distribution sites have been distributing three or four times the amount of groceries they normally would.

In early April, the organization held a distribution event at SDCCU Stadium — formerly home to the San Diego Chargers — and drone footage showed more than 1,000 cars lining up.

What’s also changed are the types of food people are looking for at their farmers’ market-style distribution centers. Ordinarily, they’d take home some fresh produce to go along with the proteins they’d bought at the store. But now they’re looking for those proteins, too.

“Now, people are confronted with being flat broke,” he said. “In less than two months, they’ve been thrown into a situation where they don’t have any money.”

While people looking to help might want to donate food directly, Hall said his organization, with its focus on “rescued food,” or produce that would otherwise go to waste, can make money go even farther.

“If we put a barrel in front of a grocery store, we would get a can of soup,” he said. “If you gave us the dollar instead of a can of soup, we can turn that into four meals for a family in need.”

About Raytheon Technologies
Raytheon Technologies Corporation is an aerospace and defense company that provides advanced systems and services for commercial, military and government customers worldwide. With 195,000 employees and four industry-leading businesses ― Collins Aerospace Systems, Pratt & Whitney, Raytheon Intelligence & Space and Raytheon Missiles & Defense ― the company delivers solutions that push the boundaries in avionics, cybersecurity, directed energy, electric propulsion, hypersonics, and quantum physics.  The company, formed in 2020 through the combination of Raytheon Company and the United Technologies Corporation aerospace businesses, is headquartered in Waltham, Massachusetts.

Tetra Tech’s Dr. Sarah Richards Discusses Solutions to PFAS Chemical Contamination Problems

Mon, 06/08/2020 - 9:25am

PFAS Assessment, Design, and Remediation

Dr. Sarah Richards a preeminent leader in per-and poly-fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) chemical contamination, helping Australian Department of Defence (Defence) clients find solutions to address their contamination problems. Sarah has been with Coffey, A Tetra Tech Company, since 2002, and has been in the contaminated land consulting and research industry since 1994. She has led feasibility assessments, contaminant transport assessments, human health risk assessments, contaminated land, and groundwater assessments (including acid sulfate, gas, and emerging contaminants), and has provided expert advice for environmental audits and liability management projects.

Sarah frequently gives technical presentations for client groups at local and international conferences and for in-house training sessions. She is committed to innovation and research and currently is involved in developing remedial techniques as an industry partner on an Australian Research Council linkage project, which promotes public-private sector research partnerships. Sarah has appeared as an expert witness in Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal and Planning Panel Victoria hearings, and provided expert input in an arbitration case submitted to the Supreme Court. She has also held Victorian committee positions for the Australasian Land and Groundwater Association (ALGA) and Australian Contaminated Land Consultants Association, maintains professional networks across the industry, and is a current Director of ALGA.

Recently, Sarah’s focus has been on emerging contaminants. Sarah adds value to risk mitigation services by providing an understanding of contaminant migration mechanisms, regulatory frameworks, and risk assessment. Sarah’s work is sought after within Tetra Tech, and she provides high-quality leadership and advice on any project with which she is involved. She is very accountable and always delivers.

Sarah has recent experience leading large projects for the Defence and has played an active role in stakeholder engagement and as an advisor on environmental assessment projects. Sarah led the scoping and delivery of a detailed site investigation (in accordance with the National Environment Protection Measure 1999) for Defence in relation to legacy PFAS contamination associated with the historic use of AFFF products at Royal Australian Air Force Base Darwin.

Sarah holds a bachelor’s in Civil and Environmental Engineering from the University of Adelaide and a doctorate in Geoenvironmental Engineering from Monash University.

What are some of the challenges the Defence faces in managing legacy contamination on its bases?

The needs at a Defence site, and even the forces themselves, change over time. These changes can result in modifications to the types and locations of facilities at bases. Decisions are made at the time of need about which products and equipment best meet the capability needs given the environmental constraints or policies in force at a particular time. If a product or material is later classified as hazardous, then a process of investigating the extent and risk associated with the legacy contamination begins. Documentation regarding the volumes and usage of a product sometimes is no longer available, which complicates the process of assessing the contamination. In addition, over time, changes in the layout of a base occur, structures are demolished, and changes occur to standard procedures.

The appropriate assessment of legacy contamination requires reviewing historical information, cross-referencing that information with anecdotal information, and then verifying the accuracy of the information using a well-designed sampling regime. In performing these tasks, consultants must keep in mind that operational activities at Defence bases are continuing, and mission-critical exercises or estate redevelopment/refurbishment may be occurring in parallel with the environmental assessment activities.

How is Defence different from commercial clients?

 Defence provides almost every service that a whole city would. In addition to Defence-related actions, other activities on base include making clothes, cooking food, operating hospitals, providing training, servicing complex machinery, distributing fuel, and maintaining a very large facility. To keep the machine running, Defence has sets of common standards, processes, and procedures that control everything from procurement and access to disposal. 

Defence clients have a lot of projects and objectives, all happening simultaneously. Sometimes, the projects are complementary or cascading, and other times they are competing for resources.

Defence clients rely on our sound technical advice to help them identify effective approaches to get the projects to completion. By proactively identifying risks to the project and developing assessment and mitigation strategies, we can become a valuable extension of the Defence delivery team and smooth the path to completion.

As many Defence projects continue for years, or even decades, and the team on the project will inevitably change along the way, organizational knowledge and knowledge of the history of a project is at risk of getting lost. Maintaining communication and confidence in a shared objective is critical.

Due to the scale of Defence operations and the close proximity to communities, public, and media, attention can escalate quickly and be sustained for a long period as multiple communities become engaged across a country or region. The same expectation of transparency and regional action is less often applied to commercial companies. To work with Defence on issues of contamination, consultants need to be sensitive to long-standing community relationships and work within the relevant Defence procedures. There simply isn’t the option to modify procedures at a local level that may be available in private companies. In many communities, Defence is a key part of the community, and there is a high expectation of transparency and care.

What are the challenges in managing PFAS?

 For the most part, PFAS goes where the water goes, and as a persistent chemical—one that doesn’t degrade to component elements or harmless compounds—the product that was used and discharged 20 years ago is likely still present somewhere in the environment. This means that the PFAS contaminating a waterway today may have started its journey through soil leaching and groundwater flow decades ago, or it may be the result of a recent movement of contaminated soil to the waterway. Within a catchment, there may also be dozens of other sources of PFAS contamination from firefighting foams, manufacturing processes, landfills, or wastewater treatment plants.

To effectively manage such a persistent and widespread chemical, we need to know the distribution of contamination in the environment and understand how water moves through soil, groundwater, creeks, and drains. Developing environmental remediation targets is complex, as the extent of contamination after 20 years of migration and dispersion means zero tolerance is not a plausible option. However, data from a robust risk assessment can be used to identify priority exposure pathways and a good site model can be used to evaluate the relative contributions of different areas of contamination and provide some basis to establish proportionate actions.

What are the best approaches when trying to develop a management strategy?

Perhaps fittingly, I think the approaches for management of PFAS have strong parallels to self-defense actions.

  • Mitigate the attack. Following risk assessment, the key human exposure pathways can be identified and addressed. In most cases, globally, that has meant providing alternative water supplies where drinking water is contaminated. Immediate actions might also include stopping a primary source (e.g., changing the product use, repairing leaking tanks).

  • Improve your position. Depending on the site situation, geology, and climate, there may be many potential actions that could be taken to reduce leaching from soils and infrastructure, divert contaminated drain water away from rivers, or reduce groundwater migration. Each action will improve the isolated position but may not be effective enough to have measurable improvement in overall risk of exposure. Understanding the site model and which areas are contributing by what mechanism is the only way to direct efforts toward actions that have the best chance of success.

  • Maintain safety. The state of knowledge regarding PFAS is continually evolving in relation to the criteria and analyses chosen to address the contamination issue. The physical conditions on sites being investigated also change with severe weather patterns or modifications to drainage. Ongoing monitoring programs provide confidence that changes to risk profile will be identified.

I can envision a future where there is no need to deploy a terrestrial network, because it is already there.

What are some of the innovations being used to manage PFAS in the environment?

There are so many areas in PFAS remediation that are being developed and refined. Proven techniques generally relate to immobilization or separation, and suppliers are able to provide more selective and efficient products each year. Destruction techniques, such as thermal destruction, plasma, sonolysis (the breakup of material by means of sound, typically ultrasound), and electrochemical oxidation are also evolving, although due to its commercial availability and treatment rates, high-temperature thermal destruction is dominant for now. Tetra Tech is supporting research into the development of several innovative approaches, including enhanced biodegradation for destruction and removal of PFAS from contaminated concrete to support recycling.

The biggest improvement that we can help our clients achieve right now is to recognize where PFAS is present in the environment and develop proportionate mitigation measures using the most appropriate range of technologies currently available to reduce the future risk and liability.

What do you think the outlook is in this field?

I think PFAS has reawakened the public interest and concern about contaminants in the environment. Due to the persistence and widespread use of PFAS, detectable concentrations can be found almost anywhere and professionals in the environmental science and engineering field are challenged every day with defining the difference between pollution that can be meaningfully addressed, and low-level contamination as a result of multiple diffuse sources.

I think in the next few years, as the body of information about ambient and regional concentrations is shared, we will get better as an industry at focusing our efforts on the areas where valuable reduction in impact can be achieved, and hopefully, we can engage with the public and help bring them along. Beyond issues relevant to Defence, I think we will see a similar increase in public awareness of domestic products that cause widespread environmental contamination, such as microplastics and flame retardants.

BCE Reports 2019 ESG Performance

Mon, 06/08/2020 - 9:25am

United Nations Federal Credit Union Releases 2019 Impact Report

Fri, 06/05/2020 - 6:21pm

The United Nations Federal Credit Union (UNFCU) today announced the publication of its 2019 Impact Report. UNFCU achieved 7 out of 8 2020 sustainability goals. UNFCU continued to maintain 100% climate neutrality, even as it experienced record membership growth in 2019. It also exceeded its target for reducing paper usage.

In the report, UNFCU also defined 12 new impact goals for 2025. These align with nine UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), including climate action, affordable clean energy, and decent work & economic growth. UNFCU’s objectives range from increasing investment in green products to ensuring more vendors meet its sustainability criteria.

“As a member of the UN Global Compact, UNFCU believes in collective action on the SDGs,” said Pamela Agnone, executive sponsor of the UNFCU Global Sustainability Program, and president of the UNFCU Foundation. “By aligning our initiatives with specific goals, we can have a positive impact on building a better future for all.”

“The road for the recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic must lead us towards more inclusive, sustainable and resilient societies that protect the most vulnerable,” said Marina Ponti, Global Director of the UN SDG Action Campaign. “The SDGs provide the blueprint and a detailed pathway for Governments and leaders of the private sector alike towards a better future for people everywhere and for our planet.”

UNFCU based its reporting on Principles of the UN Global Compact and best practices from Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) guidelines. Climate impact, paper and energy reduction, and green products were key areas of focus. UNFCU also incorporated feedback from members, partners, and Greening the Blue, a United Nations interagency network. Environmental performance metrics in the report received independent validation from Kosmenko & Co. and Envision Realty Services sustainability experts.

About United Nations Federal Credit Union (UNFCU)

UNFCU is the member-owned credit union of the United Nations community. UNFCU was founded in 1947 and serves more than 150,000 members across the globe.

LF20: Don't Miss the Biophilic Design Summit + Session Series!

Fri, 06/05/2020 - 3:21pm

Click here to learn more and register

You're invited to the LF20 Online Summit and Session Series, June 9 & 11, 2020:

Topic: Biophilic Design

Why this topic is important right now:
Biophilic Design is gaining attention in the wake of the global pandemic as a solution pathway for healthy people and cities. The summit provides an opportunity to learn about the benefits of Biophilic Design, get access to new information and resources, discuss key topics, and discover opportunities to go further with Biophilic Design. Each year, the summit supports a growing community of practice that is eager to accelerate positive change by designing for human-nature connection and a regenerative future.

Learning Objectives

  • Describe current topics of biophilic design

  • Locate key resources to support the practice of biophilic design

  • Describe new examples of biophilic design

  • Identify opportunities to participate in the biophilic design community of practice

Continuing Education
This summit has been approved for the following continuing education credits:

Details:

Summit: Tuesday, June 9, 10am-3pm PDT
Sessions: Thursday, June 11, 10am-3pm PDT

Speakers:

  • Jackie Dettmar, VP of Commercial Product Development and Design, Mohawk Industries

  • Bill Browning, Managing Partner, Terrapin Bright Green

  • Jim Determan, Principal, Architect, Craig Gaulden Davis

  • Rita Trombin, Environmental Psychologist

  • Hugo Lafrance, Director of Sustainability, Lemay

  • Tenna Florian, Partner, Lake | Flato Architects

And more...

Register here for one or more weeks.

Arbor Day Foundation and Bank of America Drive Local Climate Resiliency Initiatives

Fri, 06/05/2020 - 3:21pm

Bank of America is expanding its commitment to the Arbor Day Foundation through a second $250,000 grant to support efforts in four U.S. cities to increase the number of trees planted in low- and moderate-income neighborhoods. Cities will receive funding from the Community Resiliency Grant program and recipients include local nonprofit organizations and municipal agencies. This grant will support the following cities:

  • St. Louis, Mo.

  • Durham, N.C.

  • Cleveland, Ohio

  • Nashville, Tenn.

These programs will drive green infrastructure projects, expand tree equity, and increase resiliency in urban communities most vulnerable to the effects of climate change.

“Communities with barriers to resources – including trees and green space – are often those most highly impacted by climate change and natural disasters,” said Dan Lambe, president of the Arbor Day Foundation. “In partnership with Bank of America, we are proud to support local programs that will enhance those communities’ climate resilience through strategic tree planting and community engagement and education.”

Tree coverage has been linked to cooler cities, improved air and water quality, effective stormwater control, and better health outcomes. Research has noted that urban trees also increase property values and reduce residents’ energy costs. These benefits of urban tree canopy are vital for cities increasingly facing the impacts of climate change, including heat waves, coastal flooding, extreme storms, and poor air quality.

The grant program enables the implementation of initiatives utilizing trees and other green infrastructure to build community resilience in cities. Here are more details on how these four U.S. cities will use the grant funding for more sustainable communities:

  • St. Louis, MO: Since 2016, emerald ash borers have devastated St. Louis’ population of native ash trees. Forest ReLeaf aims to reforest the most impacted areas of the city, including the Boulevard Heights neighborhood, to maintain ecosystem benefits provided by the trees including stormwater mitigation, carbon sequestration, and reduction of heat island effects.

  • Durham, N.C.: Keep Durham Beautiful will focus on community tree planting events, environmental art and education, and community education to increase urban canopy in Durham’s Braggtown neighborhood. Trees will decrease the community’s exposure to extreme heat and climate stressors, as well as improve air quality, and absorb rainfall and polluted runoff.

  • Cleveland, OH: Cleveland’s Union Miles community faces poverty, unemployment, crime, and poor health outcomes. By engaging community volunteers to restore Union Miles’ depleted tree canopy, the Western Reserve Land Conservancy will work to reduce flooding and water pollution, reduce urban heat island effects, help residents save energy, and mitigate carbon and air pollution.

  • Nashville, TN: The Nashville Tree Foundation will plant trees at public schools, city parks, and residences in a high-need zip code. The grant will also support community education and engagement events focused on tree planting and maintenance for two years. Trees planted will help divert stormwater from the Cumberland River, restore communities following devastating tornadoes in 2020, and provide environmental science opportunities for students.

In 2019, Bank of America provided the first $250,000 grant for this program which helped support tree planting activities in Tucson, Arizona; Kansas City, Missouri; Providence, Rhode Island; and Norfolk, Virginia. At these events, Bank of America employees worked alongside other community members to support tree plantings and tree giveaways. 

“Trees are one of the most cost-effective investments we can make to help tackle climate change and improve community livability,” said Rich Brown, Environmental Program director at Bank of America. “This program addresses the critical need in underserved communities to increase tree canopies to support cooler urban areas and create more sustainable solutions for future generations.”

Bank of America also supports the Arbor Day Foundation’s Time for Trees™ initiative as a member of its Evergreen Alliance. This effort aims to plant 100 million trees and engage 5 million tree planters worldwide by 2022 – the 150th anniversary of Arbor Day. Recently, the Arbor Day Foundation recognized the bank with its Friend of the Forest Award, which recognizes companies and their leaders for their commitment to using trees and forests to achieve corporate sustainability goals and targets.

To learn more about the Arbor Day Foundation, visit www.arborday.org. To learn more about Bank of America’s environmental efforts, visit www.bankofamerica.com/environment.

Arbor Day Foundation
Founded in 1972, the Arbor Day Foundation has grown to become the largest nonprofit membership organization dedicated to planting trees, with more than one million members, supporters, and valued partners. During the last 45 years, more than 350 million Arbor Day Foundation trees have been planted in neighborhoods, communities, cities and forests throughout the world. Our vision is to help others understand and use trees as a solution to many of the global issues we face today, including air quality, water quality, climate change, deforestation, poverty and hunger.

As one of the world's largest operating conservation foundations, the Arbor Day Foundation, through its members, partners and programs, educates and engages stakeholders and communities across the globe to involve themselves in its mission of planting, nurturing and celebrating trees. More information is available at arborday.org.

Bank of America
At Bank of America, we’re guided by a common purpose to help make financial lives better, through the power of every connection. We’re delivering on this through responsible growth with a focus on our environmental, social and governance (ESG) leadership. ESG is embedded across our eight lines of business and reflects how we help fuel the global economy, build trust and credibility, and represent a company that people want to work for, invest in and do business with. It’s demonstrated in the inclusive and supportive workplace we create for our employees, the responsible products and services we offer our clients, and the impact we make around the world in helping local economies thrive. An important part of this work is forming strong partnerships with nonprofits and advocacy groups, such as community, consumer and environmental organizations, to bring together our collective networks and expertise to achieve greater impact.

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Message From Domtar's President and CEO on Inclusion, Diversity and Respect

Fri, 06/05/2020 - 12:20pm

Many of us have a deep sense of anxiety in these unsettling times, so let us remind ourselves that we, the Domtar community, stand together with a common commitment to inclusion, diversity, respect and support for one another. Our core Domtar value of Caring holds us together and allows us to see beyond the current situation, which eludes full understanding, into a future of social peace and justice.

We must not minimize the angst that is currently tearing the fabric of our society. It is real and it must be addressed. But at the same time, let’s find inspiration and hope in the better angels of nature who, over the past few months in the midst of a global pandemic, have been supporting each other and the communities we serve without regard to color or creed.

In these difficult times, I thank you not only for the great work you do for Domtar but also for being caring colleagues, engaged community members and advocates for justice.

On the Record: AJC Journalists on Covering COVID

Thu, 06/04/2020 - 6:20pm

Originally published by Cox Enterprises

Connecting our communities with accurate, in-depth information has never been more important than it is now and will be in the days to come. It is with equal parts awe and gratitude that we acknowledge the efforts of our people at The Atlanta Journal-Constitution who are tirelessly pressing on to inform and empower readers from their homes, the front lines and beyond during these unprecedented times.    

Tireless Truth Tellers. Community Connectors.

Meet just some of the AJC journalists who have been flexing their communication muscles and keeping Atlanta and the entire state of Georgia informed during the COVID-19 crisis. They are providing an important public service to all members of our community – informing readers, holding public officials accountable, and providing in-depth coverage and resources to keep us safe.  And for that, we are extremely thankful.

HYOSUB SHIN, MULTIMEDIA PHOTOJOURNALIST
Hyosub Shin, multimedia photojournalist, came to the United States from South Korea 23 years ago to study photography. He recently got his drone pilot’s license and credits the AJC for supporting him in reaching is career goals. 

READ MORE ABOUT HYOSUB

JOHNNY EDWARDS, INVESTIGATIVE REPORTER
Johnny Edwards, an investigative reporter, has always had the desire in his veins to hunt for the truth. During this pandemic, reporting on the coronavirus has required new levels of resourcefulness and tenacity. 

READ MORE ABOUT JOHNNY

JOSEPH FERGUSON, SOCIAL PRODUCER
Joseph Ferguson, social producer, has a passion for mixing the business of reporting the news with the creativity and interactivity of social media. 

READ MORE ABOUT JOSEPH

LIGAYA FIGUERAS, FOOD AND DINING EDITOR
Ligaya Figueras, food and dining editor, has a passion for giving people hope while telling stories from the community. 

READ MORE ABOUT LIGAYA

MONICA RICHARDSON,SENIOR MANAGING EDITOR
Monica Richardson, senior managing editor, puts her passion into managing her work and her people. As long as her team is good to go mentally, physically and emotionally, so is she. 

READ MORE ABOUT MONICA

As part of its public service during this time, the AJC is making its complete, in-depth coverage available to all.  Go to AJC.com/epaper for complimentary access to the AJCePaper (a digital replica of the daily print edition).

About The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

The AJC is part of the Cox family of businesses, which are working to build a better future across the five continents where we operate. By informing and empowering readers with credible, in-depth journalism, the AJC is helping to uncover and solve pressing challenges in our home state of Georgia. The newspaper is just one example of how, through our businesses, we’re making a positive difference and lasting impact in the communities we serve.

World Environment Day 2020: Building a Healthier Planet Through Sport

Thu, 06/04/2020 - 3:19pm

This year, we celebrate World Environment Day at a time when the world is grappling with the devastating coronavirus pandemic. Largely linked to environmental degradation, this crisis has been a stark reminder of just how important it is to respect and protect our natural world. As part of its response to the crisis, the IOC has reaffirmed its commitment to minimising its ecological footprint, protecting the environment and raising awareness about its importance.

“As challenging and difficult as the circumstances may appear right now, if we draw the right lessons from the current situation, we can shape our future to even strengthen the relevance of our Olympic Movement in the world,” said the IOC President in his recent letter addressed to the Olympic Movement. “Therefore we should drive further the reforms of Olympic Agenda 2020, in particular with regard to sustainability, in order to address this crisis.”

The IOC’s environmental journey began nearly 30 years ago at the UN Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro in 1992. Four years later, a clause on the importance of the environment and sustainable development was included in the Olympic Charter. Today, sustainability is a key element of Olympic Agenda 2020 – the IOC’s reform programme introduced in 2014. It has become our guiding principle: when making decisions, we do everything we can to maximise their positive impact and minimise any negative impact in the social, economic and environmental spheres.

AS AN ORGANISATION: OLYMPIC HOUSE AND HYDROGEN INNOVATION

The roadmap starts at home. Opened in 2019, the IOC’s headquarters – Olympic House – is one of the most sustainable buildings in the world, having received three of the most prestigious sustainable building certifications. The building’s rooftop solar panels produce electricity, while heating and cooling are generated using water from nearby Lake Geneva. 

Olympic House is also home to eight hydrogen-powered vehicles and a hydrogen fuelling station – one of the first of its kind in Switzerland. Provided by Worldwide Olympic Partner Toyota, the fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEVs) emit only water vapour and air.

Already carbon neutral thanks to its Official Carbon Partner Dow, the IOC now aims to become climate positive. This will include planting – in collaboration with UN Environment Programme –an Olympic Forest, which will be part of Africa’s Great Green Wall initiative. More than planting carbon-capturing trees, the Olympic Forest will provide wide-ranging social benefits to local wildlife and communities.

THROUGH THE OLYMPIC GAMES: FROM CARBON NEUTRAL TO “CLIMATE POSITIVE”

As one of the most anticipated sports events, the Olympic Games offer a huge opportunity to raise global awareness around environmental issues and profile innovative solutions. We work hand in hand with the Olympic Games organisers, providing tools and expertise to help ensure that the only impact the Games have on the environment is a positive one. This includes guidance on sustainable sourcing and carbon management, among others.

Olympic Agenda 2020 fundamentally changed how the Games are organised, making them less complex and more sustainable. One of its requirements, for example, calls for a maximum use of existing and temporary venues, and building new venues only where a clear legacy plan is in place.

From the candidature phase of Paris 2024 onwards, our partners at the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) look at the Olympic candidates’ plans for venues and infrastructure, helping us identify any potential environmental risks before a new Olympic host is elected. By doing this early in the process, we can make any necessary changes before it’s too late.

Embracing the Olympic spirit, we constantly aim higher, though. In March 2020, we announced that from 2030 onwards, all Games will be “climate positive”. The benefits they create for the climate will outgrow their impact. Host cities will be required – by contract with the IOC – to minimise and compensate their direct and indirect emissions of carbon. They will also be required to implement lasting zero-carbon solutions for the Olympic Games and beyond.

Before 2030, however, Organising Committees are already taking steps to cut emissions and reduce their waste. Tokyo 2020 is expected to achieve carbon neutrality through a range of measures, including renewable energy and zero-emission vehicles provided by Worldwide Olympic Partner Toyota. Beijing 2022 plans to power all its venues with renewable energy. And Paris 2024 has built its entire Games concept around sustainability, with the aims of building only one sports venue and reducing overall carbon emissions by 50 per cent compared to previous Games.

AS THE LEADER OF THE WIDER OLYMPIC MOVEMENT: INFLUENCING CHANGE

The IOC catalyses change by working with a variety of entities from across the Olympic Movement. These include International Sports Federations, National Olympic Committees, athletes, and the wider sports community.

We offer technical support and publish guidelines to support them on their sustainability journey. The “Sustainability Essentials” series, for example, provides guidance to the Olympic Movement and the broader sports community on complex topics such as addressing plastic pollution, sustainable sourcing and climate action.

Through our partnership with IUCN, a series of Sport and Biodiversity guides was developed to show how the sports community can avoid potential negative impacts on nature while contributing to and enhancing its conservation.

Most recently, the Mountain Summit Group convened by the IOC, has brought together 11 International Sports Federations to protect the mountain environments on which their sports depend.

We are also supporting athletes in their efforts to inspire and encourage fans around the world to lead more sustainable lives. The Big Plastic Pledge, launched in 2019 by Olympic champion Hannah Mills has so far united 2,500 athletes and sports fans in their mission to eradicate single-use plastic in sport.

Larger collaborations, such as the UN Sports For Climate Action Framework, use the power of sport to help step up global efforts to address climate change. Co-created by the IOC and UN Climate Change in 2018, the Framework now includes more than 125 sports organisations that have committed to developing a climate action agenda for sport.

 “Sport needs its athletes to be fit, but it also needs a fit and healthy planet in order to survive,” said Marie Sallois, IOC Director for Sustainability. “By inspiring innovative solutions, raising awareness and uniting people, sport has the unique power to make the world a better and more sustainable place.”

COVID-19: 7 Steps to Plan for Re-Entering the Workplace

Thu, 06/04/2020 - 12:19pm

Many of our clients are asking the same questions that we are internally: How do we effectively plan, communicate and execute new guidelines that follow health and government guidelines for all our offices and employees when we are all experiencing different stages of this pandemic?

We have decided to share the beginning steps of CRB’s approach to re-entering the workplace to help those that are looking for guidance during this time. Our plan is outlined in a three-phased approach to cautiously return to the workplace.

  • The Restricted Phase is the most stringent as we re-learn the safe use of offices with physical distancing and new standards for cleanliness. Among other guidelines, conferencing rooms will not be available, no guests will be allowed, and masks will be required. The good news: this is expected to be the shortest phase.

  • The Controlled Phase brings back some office amenities and we potentially re-work seating plans to bring teams together, flexibly and safely. In time, clients may be allowed to visit the offices again. The duration of this phase is uncertain, and we are planning for it to extend at least through the end of 2020.

  • The Unrestricted Phase means that things are mostly getting back to normal. To enter this phase, it seems that guidance from the global healthcare community would be a prerequisite.

This guide is primarily focused on preparations for the first phase of re-entry, which we have identified as the “Restricted Phase.” Below you will find a step-by-step approach that serves as a guide to inform local leaders as they prepare for re-entering the workplace.

Step 1: Establish your team
Establish a re-entry task force. When establishing your team, considering creating a multi-disciplinary task force. Members could include architects, human resources, marketing, safety and management. This task force is responsible for developing the specific approach to re-entering the workplace and communicating it across the company.

Tip: Create a roles and responsibilities matrix. This matrix should identify members of your “workplace re-entry team” and outline individual responsibilities.

Step 2: Check governmental guidance
Adhere to applicable governmental guidelines. These can be found at the federal, state, county, city, and metro level, and vary by location. These guidelines change frequently and are expected to do so as the coronavirus pandemic continues.

Tip: Assign an internal resource to keep an updated database with governmental guidelines for re- opening. When you are ready to begin preparing your office to enter the workplace, schedule a meeting to review the most current updates.

Step 3: Supervisor training 
A top priority during this pandemic is making employees feel comfortable as we begin to re-enter the workplace. This situation creates different personal challenges for employees. Effectively returning to the workplace requires strong leadership, collaboration and engagement from everyone. Use your in-house Human Resources Team to provide guidance and training for supervisors to follow as they support employees during the transition back to the office.

Tip: Create a roadmap with reminders, checklists and helpful tips for supervisors to print and keep at their desks.

Step 4: Set up your health station 
Consider re-tooling your office reception areas as health stations. This is where employees check in and out, complete health checks, learn about using the office safely, and receive supplies. The use of a health station is a necessary upgrade to ensure offices can maintain safety controls and contact tracing.

Tip: Especially during their first days back, re-entering the office can be stressful for some employees. Having a clear process can help them build up their own comfort and sense of confidence.

Step 5: Plan your space
To use the existing layouts and furniture, occupancy reductions, circulation paths and assigned seating can be modified to accommodate physical distancing recommendations.

  • Occupancy Reductions: Gather information about current office capacities and reduce occupancy based on guidelines. Create capacity graphs to allow a quick side-by-side view of the current office capacity, in comparison to updated reduced occupancy per local guidelines.

  • Identify Circulation: Establish the direction of foot traffic and identify two-way vs. one-way circulation, mark circulation in a clockwise direction where possible.

  • Assign Workstations: Apply a checkerboard pattern to workstations and coordinate with supervisors to implement a shiftwork pattern to ensure physical distancing while employees are seated at their stations.

  • Apply Signage: Create signage and decals to indicate one-way circulation path, standing points for physical distancing and desk decals to reflect shiftwork.

Tip: Engage a consultant with space planners or architects on staff to help adjust current layouts to fit these new guidelines.

Step 6: Clean your space
With what we know about this virus, cleanliness needs to be top of mind for organizations during this process. While most organizations have cleaning services in place, we all now have an individual responsibility for keeping the office and community amenities clean.

  • Determine what surfaces are cleaned and how often

  • Establish a list of necessary cleaning supplies to meet the required level of cleaning in each office.

  • Setup cleaning substations

  • Maintain a cleaning log that is updated daily

  • Declutter by evaluating what items can be moved or removed completely to reduce frequent handling or contact.

  • Establish shared appliance allowances for this first phase and how to properly sanitize after each use.

Tip: Maintain a cleaning log daily to ensure all cleaning requirements are met.

Step 7: Coordinate with landlord 
Many offices are located within a multi-tenant commercial office building. These professional environments include shared elevators and stairwells, gyms and cafés, other tenants, and building systems – all of which employees encounter through the course of a normal working day. Landlords and their property management teams are critical partners in maintaining safe, clean workplaces.

Tip: Issue a questionnaire to gather key information about each landlord’s response to the coronavirus pandemic. The questionnaire can cover topics such as: tenants and guests, people circulation, janitorial and maintenance, building systems, and emergency preparedness.

As plans commence for the return to the office, we hope by sharing our process that it will support others with business continuity and ensuring the safety of workers everywhere. General guidance abounds, but every office space is different. Get started by working through these steps to have solutions in place for your re-opening day.

Questions? Contact John Schwaller, john.schwaller@crbusa.com.

CRB’s Re-Entry Task Force (contributors): John Schwaller, Andi Feeley, Jay Marshall, Vince Corden, Steve Pianalto, Jesse Taborsky, Audra Augustin, Danielle David, Rebekah Hunter, Shoshana Marske, Pam Rezzelle, Patti St. Vincent, Marilou Wilson, Robert Brady, Karla Chiarelli, Jamie Nelson, Debra Reed, Tracy Stanfield, Viktoriya Lupareva, Lauren Candelora, Kelsey Monahan, Kevin Kuzma, Nicole Lane, Madi Olberding, Lindsay Kenney, David Keith, Chelsea Stramel 

Weathering the Storm - Where Strong ESG Performance Counts

Thu, 06/04/2020 - 12:19pm

Originally published by Acre

Risk, Resilience and Crisis Management 

We know that for the time-being the priority for businesses is survival, crisis management, resilience and risk management – risk being on both the downside and the upside, in terms of the opportunities that will also arise from the crisis.  

Here at Acre while many recruitment processes still remain on pause; we’re also seeing new mandates come in and the first shoots of recovery are beginning to show.  While there has been mixed activity across all four areas of our business (EHS, Energy, CR/Sustainability and Sustainable Investment) the latter category has remained reasonably buoyant throughout.     

It’s now widely observed that businesses with strong Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) ratings are seeing better performance and resilience through the crisis (McKinsey, S&P Dow Jones, Blackrock, Goldman Sachs). Indeed, this is the first time ESG as a product category is holding up well through such a major financial downturn.   

COVID-19 and Social Sustainability 

COVID-19 is intensifying investor expectations for greater transparency on all aspects of ESG performance and reporting, but in particular it has amplified the attention on the “S” considerations; as investors look for strong company policies around health, safety and wellbeing, and strong social contracts across multiple stakeholder groups.  ​

As a result, teams with a traditional CSR role and a philanthropic focus remain busy and are being retained to focus on crisis management in the community – providing food donations, volunteering and manufacturing PPE for front-line workers.  Conversely those with a focus on human rights and social compliance in the supply chain, are notably less busy or in some cases, temporarily furloughed. This is being felt most acutely in sectors such as apparel manufacturing; however, as factories and shops start to re-open, we are seeing these functions slowly return. 

Social responsibility also extends to the support of employees who are working from home to ensure their physical and mental health is being cared for. Employees are now encouraged to switch off at a reasonable time and to take regular breaks away from their makeshift desks, as they are now effectively sleeping in their own offices.  Investors will also look favorably on businesses that have successfully managed to pivot to a remote-working scenario, which if managed well, may improve efficiency and drive down overheads.   ​

COVID-19 and Environmental Sustainability  

On the ‘E’ side, we already know that driving down emissions, transitioning to cleaner energy and reducing waste makes businesses more efficient and better positioned to weather storms such as these.  Those already addressing how climate-related risks such as flooding or drought impacts food security and supply chains; may indeed have been better prepared to cope with the type of supply-chain disruptions we’re now seeing as a result of COVID-19.   ​

We also know that a growing number of Investors are also working to align their investment portfolios with a 1.5 - 2-degree climate scenario, in line with the Paris Agreement and as part of the voluntary TCFD approach to integrated financial and energy transition reporting. This, alongside new sustainable finance regulation in Canada, the EU and UK means we can afford to remain bullish about the inevitable bounce-back and growth of environmentally sustainable business practices.

The Future of Sustainability?  

For the time-being, we’re flying, consuming and polluting less; however, we’re also recycling less and using more single-use plastic, too. That said, rising health concerns around microplastics mean recycling facilities will reopen and we’ll see further moves towards more sustainable packaging and re-use solutions. As society appreciates cleaner air and its connection to improved health, so heavy industry and high-polluting businesses will be required by society and indeed investors, to shift to a less carbon-heavy business model.   

A recent article in the Wall St Journal, states that as a result of COVID-19, companies should anticipate more questions from investors about contingency planning and resilience, where issues highlighted by the pandemic have a direct impact on a company’s long-term performance. Further down the line, those conversations could also evolve to broader ESG issues. 

While many corporates currently remain in a holding pattern in terms of making new CR & Sustainability hires; we expect to see the balance shift in a positive direction as we anticipate a growing requirement from investors to address these issues. Companies that may have used CR & Sustainability as a PR or Marketing exercise - will be required to engage on material ESG factors at both a strategic and operational level both internally, and across their supply chains.   

As a business we remain hopeful that investors, policy makers and business-leaders will recognize the financial and extra-financial benefits of tackling social, environmental and governance issues with even more vigor and resolve than ever before.   

As a follow up to this piece, we’ll be bringing you a more granular look at what trends we’ve been observing across sectors and practice areas across the globe.

About The Author

Catherine has been recruiting Senior Sustainability Executives and Non-Executives for over 9 years.  Prior to Acre, Catherine worked for a boutique search firm with a focus on the charity and public sector.

Catherine also sits on the board of Future-Fit Foundation, a non-profit offering tools to help investors and business tackle key Sustainability and climate change issues.   With a passion for board diversity and appointing exceptional leaders at board level, she is also co-author of The Social Board, a paper exploring how to engage board members on key ESG and Sustainability issues.  

Catherine completed a Master’s at Kings College London in Sustainable Tourism, Development and the Environment in 2001, with a focus on standards and benchmarking in the tourism sector.​​​​​​

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