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Carnival Corporation Releases Third-Party Study Confirming Advanced Air Quality Systems Are Positive for Environment

Tue, 08/20/2019 - 10:24pm

Carnival Corporation & plc (NYSE/LSE: CCL; NYSE: CUK), the world's largest leisure travel company, recently released the results of an independent, two-year scientific wash-water study that shows the company's Advanced Air Quality Systems are a safe and effective means for compliance with the International Maritime Organization's (IMO) 2020 requirements, which include regulations for cleaner air emissions and strict wash-water quality standards.

The study also concluded that the wash-water samples from the Advanced Air Quality Systems – known in the industry as exhaust gas cleaning systems (EGCS) or "scrubbers" – were below the limits set by several major national and international water quality and land-based water discharge standards to provide further proof of the quality and safety of the wash water, even when compared to criteria like drinking water.

Focused specifically on analyzing the composition and quality of wash water from Advanced Air Quality Systems, the two-year study included 281 wash-water samples from 53 Carnival Corporation ships equipped with the systems, creating the largest wash-water data set in the marine industry.

The samples were analyzed for 54 parameters by independent laboratories accredited by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), using standardized EPA methods. Following the lab phase, DNV GL, a leading classification society and recognized advisor for the maritime industry, reviewed the laboratory test data, comparing the results to major point source discharge limits and water quality standards.

In February, the independent study results were presented publicly at a technical conference for Clean Shipping Alliance 2020 (CSA 2020), a group of leading companies from the commercial shipping and cruise industries committed to complying with 2020 fuel requirements through the development and use of exhaust gas cleaning systems.

Specific to IMO wash-water requirements, the study confirmed results from previous studies showing the quality of the water used in the Advanced Air Quality Systems process was always far below the IMO monitoring limits for polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and the annual limits for nitrates. In fact, when measured against IMO standards, the average wash-water test results in this study were over 90 percent lower than maximum allowable levels. In many cases, the materials were completely undetectable in the laboratory testing process.

Additionally, the report compared the samples to selected national and international water quality benchmark standards, including the German Waste Water Ordinance, the EU Industrial Emissions Directive and the Surface Water Standards of the EU's Water Framework Directive. The World Health Organization's (WHO) drinking water guidelines were also evaluated. The Advanced Air Quality Systems test results compared favorably with all of these major benchmark standards, demonstrating that the composition of the water was not only consistently below, but in most cases, significantly below the most stringent limits.

"We are pleased to see the positive results of this multi-year study, which included in-depth analysis and review from respected independent experts, demonstrating the overall quality of our Advanced Air Quality Systems wash water and further confirming the IMO's acceptance of these systems for 2020 regulatory compliance," said Mike Kaczmarek, senior vice president for marine technology for Carnival Corporation. "Based on extensive emissions testing, we know that our Advanced Air Quality Systems in some ways outperform marine gasoil (MGO) in providing cleaner air emissions. And although we have known for a long time that the quality of water being returned to the sea is at a high level, based on our years of development of this data set, it was important to release the findings publicly as the latest scientific evidence showing the actual water quality. This is completely consistent with the commitments we have made to our sustainability goals, and to protecting the ocean environment and the destinations we visit around the world."

Kaczmarek added: "Comparing scrubber wash water to both existing IMO requirements and also various other major water standards is useful to provide an informed perspective and to illustrate wash-water quality in a way that is easy to understand. These comparisons also provide relatable criteria for a number of specific parameters for Advanced Air Quality Systems, such as PAH concentrations, that are included within these standards."

Carnival Corporation has installed Advanced Air Quality Systems on over 70 ships in its fleet, and combined with the industry-leading adoption of liquefied natural gas (LNG), shorepower and other sustainability initiatives, the company remains committed to leading the marine industry in meeting and exceeding all established standards for performance and environmental protections.

Kaczmarek concluded: "We are committed to consistently exceeding the expectations of our guests for great vacations, and at the same time, we are committed to operating responsibly, as our very existence is tied to protecting the oceans, local waters and communities in which we operate. With more than 120,000 employees, most of whom live and work at sea, our commitment to protecting and maintaining healthy oceans, seas and local communities is not just an operating necessity. For us, it is simply the right thing to do, and we take great pride in our commitment to environmental leadership."

Building on much of the previous research on the use of Advanced Air Quality Systems that has come to similar conclusions about the quality of water that these systems return to the sea – the scope of the current study strongly confirms the suitability of these innovative systems to play an important, unrestricted role in compliance with upcoming IMO 2020 regulations.

Other recent major studies addressing the environmental performance of these systems in the marine environment include a June 2018 report by Japan's Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism on the "Impact of EGCS on the Marine Environment," which showed evidence strongly supporting scrubbers as a safe and effective option for IMO 2020 compliance.

EDITOR'S NOTE: Carnival Corporation Advanced Air Quality Systems study results and details are available upon request. Also note, additional details on the findings from Japan's EGCS report are publicly available and can also be sent upon request.

 # # #

Carnival Corporation & plc is the world’s largest leisure travel company and among the most profitable and financially strong in the cruise and vacation industries, with a portfolio of nine of the world’s leading cruise lines. With operations in North America, Australia, Europe and Asia, its portfolio features Carnival Cruise Line, Princess Cruises, Holland America Line, Seabourn, P&O Cruises (Australia), Costa Cruises, AIDA Cruises, P&O Cruises (UK) and Cunard.  

Together, the corporation’s cruise lines operate 103 ships with 243,000 lower berths visiting over 700 ports around the world, with 19 new ships scheduled to be delivered through 2025. Carnival Corporation & plc also operates Holland America Princess Alaska Tours, the leading tour company in Alaska and the Canadian Yukon. Traded on both the New York and London Stock Exchanges, Carnival Corporation & plc is the only group in the world to be included in both the S&P 500 and the FTSE 100 indices.

With a long history of innovation and providing guests with extraordinary vacation experiences, Carnival Corporation has received thousands of industry awards – including recognition by the Consumer Technology Association™ as a CES® 2019 Innovation Awards Honoree for the OceanMedallion™. A revolutionary wearable device that contains a proprietary blend of communication technologies, the OceanMedallion enables the world's first interactive guest experience platform transforming vacation travel on a large scale into a highly personalized level of customized service. The prestigious CES Innovation Awards honor outstanding design and engineering in consumer technology products.              

Additional information can be found on www.carnival.comwww.princess.comwww.hollandamerica.comwww.seabourn.comwww.pocruises.com.auwww.costacruise.comwww.aida.dewww.pocruises.com and www.cunard.com.

About CSA 2020

The Clean Shipping Alliance 2020 (CSA 2020) represents group of leading companies from the commercial shipping and passenger ship industries that have been leaders in emission control efforts through significant investments in research and analysis, funding and committing resources to comply with 2020 fuel requirements through the development and use of Exhaust Gas Cleaning Systems (EGCS).

The Alliance was formed on 27th September 2018 with a mission to provide information and research data to better inform industry and the wider public. In addition to serving as an advocate for companies working to reduce marine exhaust gas emissions, CSA 2020 will support the scheduled implementation and effective enforcement of the International Maritime Organization's (IMO) requirement for a 0.5 percent global sulphur cap on fuel content as of January 1, 2020.

CSA 2020 currently has 34 member shipowners representing 30 shipping sectors and operating, collectively, more than 2000 vessels. Visit: https://www.cleanshippingalliance2020.org.

CSA 2020 Media Contact

Patrik Wheater, Seaborne Communications, pr@seabornecomms.com, +44 (0)208 339 6149

RESOURCES Carnival Corporation

CONTACT

Chris Cradduck +1 (214) 893-9119 chris@ldwwgroup.com

New Ceres Analysis Calls on Power Sector to Decarbonize Before 2050

Tue, 08/20/2019 - 10:24pm

A newly updated climate scenario analysis framework released today underscores the need for the U.S. power sector to completely decarbonize before 2050 in order to limit global warming to below 1.5 degrees Celsius and stave off the worst impacts of climate change.

The framework, Climate Strategy Assessments for the U.S. Electric Power Industry: 2019 Update, gives specific guidance for investors and companies to assess climate change-related risks and opportunities in the U.S. electric power sector. The 2019 update incorporates the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) call to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius, finding that nothing short of a complete decarbonization of the sector before 2050 is in order. The update builds off the framework released in 2018 that provided a framework for a well below 2-degree climate scenario analysis.

“The IPCC report issued a clarion call across the economy and set off alarm bells for many investors concerned with the long-term viability of their holdings in the power sector,” said Dan Bakal, senior director of electric power at Ceres. “Our updated climate scenario analysis framework responds to that call and makes clear that total decarbonization is the only path forward for electric power companies.”

Investors have grown increasingly concerned with the ways climate change and regulatory responses to it could impact their holdings in the electric power sector. Many are raising these concerns through direct engagement with power companies and through the shareholder resolution process.

"This important update to the framework reflects the growing urgency of the climate crisis,” said New York State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli. “We hope that companies will strive to keep their reporting up-to-date with the latest science so they can best prepare for the low-carbon transition and a 1.5-degree future. This report identifies information that is valuable to investors in assessing U.S. utilities' strategies for addressing climate risks and opportunities."

Since the climate scenario analysis framework in 2018, and often in response to investor engagements, more than ten significant companies in the electric power industry have published climate scenario assessment reports. Most notably, several companies made commitments to deliver 100% carbon-free electricity to their customers by 2050 or earlier — and released climate scenario analyses that evaluated the companies' goals alongside those necessary to keep global warming to well below 2-degrees Celsius.

Drawing on case studies from electric power companies, the newly updated framework shows how companies are assessing the business implications of climate change. The framework outlines climate-related risks such as revenue models that are not sufficient to accommodate greater deployment of distributed clean energy resources and energy efficiency. It also notes risks related to changing supply and demand profiles; higher insurance premiums; reduced access to capital due to recurring costs from extreme weather events; and costs associated with hardening the grid to physical impacts of climate change.

The framework also outlines business growth opportunities such as those presented by electrification, renewable energy and low-carbon services; the need for new transmission lines to connect renewable energy resources like wind energy facilities with areas of high electricity demand; reduced costs to consumers through efficiency gains; and improved consumer reputation benefits from clean and resilient grids.

About Ceres

Ceres is a sustainability nonprofit organization working with the most influential investors and companies to build leadership and drive solutions throughout the economy. For more information, visit www.ceres.org and follow @CeresNews.

Gas Processing Innovations Spur Increased Deployments, Including Role in Power Generation Mix

Tue, 08/20/2019 - 7:24pm

LNG technologies, such as floating LNG (FLNG) innovations, driven by its shorter construction lead times and lower capital investment costs, are increasingly becoming a viable option for increased gas deployments. FLNG helps mitigate siting constraints that shore-based infrastructure may face.

At the same time, the continued need for a balanced power generation portfolio as well as the need to address energy security and environmental concerns are driving rapid growth in the gas industry.

To support this, Black & Veatch is enhancing its ability to provide clients with FLNG expertise that offers cost and operational efficiencies.

“As countries seek alternatives to baseload feedstock for power generation and, in some instances the need to address heavily subsidized fuel oil-based generation, gas-fired generation offers a reliable alternative that helps create a more balanced energy portfolio. Floating liquified natural gas (FLNG) technologies provide LNG exporters and importers flexible, mobile liquefaction and regasification infrastructure,” says Jim Schnieders, Executive Vice President and Managing Director, Asia & Floating Offshore Solutions – Oil & Gas.

Black & Veatch is a global leader in FLNG, with multiple first-of-a-kind projects, now fully performance-tested and operational. These include: 

  • The world’s first barge-based floating liquefaction unit deployed offshore Argentina 

  • First-of-a-kind conversion of an LNG carrier to a FLNG vessel, deployed offshore Cameroon

  • India’s first floating storage and regasification (FSRU) terminal project 

The company’s role encompasses front end engineering design - and detailed design - through to full engineering, procurement, construction, installation and commissioning (EPCIC) solutions. These projects span both tanker and barge-based LNG export and import infrastructure operating around the world.

In his new role, Schnieders will lead Black & Veatch’s global Floating Offshore Solutions team, and the oil & gas team in Asia. He takes over the roles from Bob Germinder who retired after a 33-year well-respected career at Black & Veatch. Under Germinder’s leadership, the world’s first barge-based floating liquefaction unit successfully completed performance testing in Nantong, China and will be based in Argentina. It was the first time in history, LNG had been produced onboard a floating facility. In addition, another FLNG vessel went into commercial operation in Cameroon, and a third has begun development, each relying on Black & Veatch’s PRICO® technology and engineering and procurement capabilities.  

RESOURCES CONTACT Emily Chia +65-98758907 chialp@bv.com Black & Veatch

Duke Energy Grants $205,000 to Seven Projects to Eliminate Blight, Drive Redevelopment and Job Growth in Greater Cincinnati’s Urban Cores

Tue, 08/20/2019 - 7:24pm

Duke Energy has announced $205,000 in grants to seven redevelopment projects that aim to stimulate growth, job creation and further investments in Greater Cincinnati’s urban cores. The grants are part of the company’s Urban Revitalization initiative, which has awarded nearly $2.4 million in grants to 72 projects in southwest Ohio and Northern Kentucky since its launch in 2011.

Related: Lumber mill reimagined as artist studios in Kentucky

Today’s announcement took place at the headquarters of Road iD in Covington, Ky. Road iD, a family-owned business that manufactures custom products to help first responders identify people in case of an emergency, was awarded a Duke Energy Urban Revitalization grant in 2017. The company and its partners invested millions of dollars to transform an underutilized, historic building into a dynamic office, manufacturing, assembly and warehousing space that houses dozens of local workers.

“Road iD shows how investing in our urban cores makes such a positive impact on people and communities,” said Amy Spiller, president of Duke Energy Ohio and Kentucky. “We are proud of the Road iD success story and committed to spurring additional redevelopment and job growth in our communities through our Urban Revitalization program.”

Program launched following the Great Recession

Duke Energy’s Urban Revitalization program was launched in 2011, following the Great Recession.

Video: Urban Revitalization program spurs positive change in Ohio and Kentucky

“We recognized the economy was still feeble and communities were continuing to struggle,” said Spiller. “As we spoke to community groups and studied the landscape, we repeatedly found individuals and organizations that wanted to make or facilitate investments in the region’s urban cores but lacked the financial resources to jump-start their projects.”

Major redevelopment initiatives sometimes can’t get off the ground due to small, but critical, upfront costs. That’s where the Urban Revitalization grants show their value. Although modest compared to the multimillion-dollar costs of redeveloping a property, the funds typically serve as a means for grantees to obtain the necessary credentials – like architectural and engineering plans – that are required for seeking and securing additional grants and financing for construction.

“The Urban Revitalization grants are catalysts,” said Spiller. “They help individuals and groups overcome major obstacles. And, once projects are complete, neighboring properties become prime prospects for their own redevelopment.

“It’s a win for the projects, a win for the urban cores and a win for our communities.”

Here are summaries of the projects that were awarded grants today.

Ohio

  • College Hill Community Urban Redevelopment Corp.

    $40,000 for Mergard Building in College Hill

Duke Energy has awarded multiple Urban Revitalization grants to College Hill Community Urban Redevelopment Corp. since the grant program was launched in 2011. The funds have catalyzed ongoing redevelopment projects along the community’s business district on Hamilton Avenue, reducing blight, creating jobs and spurring additional private investments.

This 2019 grant will fund conceptual planning and final designs for the 12,000-square-foot Mergard Building at 6060 Hamilton Ave. Once the redevelopment work is complete in 2022, the building is expected to feature 10,000 square feet of commercial space and about 2,000 square feet for residential use, create 10 new jobs and support 10-15 temporary construction positions.

  • Madisonville Community Urban Redevelopment Corp.

    $30,000 for bakery and restaurant in Madisonville

The Madisonville Community Urban Redevelopment Corp. will use its Urban Revitalization grant for architectural and engineering work needed to stabilize a historic structure, which will eventually house two new businesses: a bakery and a restaurant.

The building at 6012 Madison Road is a blighted and vacant structure in the heart of the Madisonville business district – near the renovated Metz House, which received an Urban Revitalization grant in 2016. Once renovated, the two businesses at 6012 Madison Road will create 22 jobs in the community. The businesses’ owners, one of whom was raised in Madisonville and recently moved back to the community, are committed to hiring local residents for both the bakery and restaurant.

  • Walnut Hills Redevelopment Foundation

    $15,000 for Durner Building in Walnut Hills

The 12,875-square-foot Durner Building at 2453 Gilbert Ave. in Walnut Hills’ historic Peeble’s Corner business district stood vacant for decades and fell into significant disrepair. Duke Energy awarded an Urban Revitalization grant to the Durner Building and neighboring Century Theater in 2015 for the first phase of the projects’ redevelopment.

The 2019 grant will be used for architectural and engineering work required for the final phase of construction – filling the remaining financing gap to complete the project. When finished, the building will house restaurant/retail space and offices for the Walnut Hills Redevelopment Foundation and MORTAR, which is a nationally recognized group that builds communities by enabling underserved entrepreneurs and businesses to succeed. The developers expect the building to generate 33 permanent jobs once work is complete and the spaces are occupied.

  • OTR A.D.O.P.T.

    $10,000 for 2151 Colerain Ave. building in West End

OTR A.D.O.P.T., or Advancing Derelict and Obsolete Properties through Transfer, works to match historic buildings in Over-the-Rhine and other historic neighborhoods with individuals who have the ability and commitment to bring them back to life.

The group’s vacant and blighted property at 2151 Colerain Ave. in the West End is in dire need of structural work to make it attractive for redevelopment. The Duke Energy Urban Revitalization grant will be put toward employing engineering, architecture and construction professionals to plan and carry out the stabilization work, and market the property to a potential owner who will complete the redevelopment work and recruit tenants for the ground-floor commercial space and four apartments on the upper floors.

Kentucky

  • Catalytic Development Funding Corp. of Northern Kentucky

    $40,000 for former West Side Café building in Newport, Ky.

The 9,300-square-foot building at 438 W. 11th St. in Newport, Ky., was built in 1899 as a railroad hotel to support the city’s steel industry and, most recently, was home to West Side Café. The prominent and historic three-story building now stands vacant and is in dire need of extensive renovations to return it to a productive use in Newport’s burgeoning West Side neighborhood.

Fedders Construction, a rapidly growing design-build firm that recently moved into the former Green Line Car Barn across the street from the former West Side Café building, is partnering with the Catalytic Fund on this project and to recruit tenants for the redeveloped first-floor restaurant space and office/residential opportunities on the upper floors. The Duke Energy Urban Revitalization grant will be put toward predevelopment soft costs, like architectural and engineering work, that are typically not able to be financed through traditional means. The restaurant space is expected to create roughly 10 new jobs in the neighborhood, while the entire project is likely to support about 10 temporary construction positions.

  • Catalytic Development Funding Corp. of Northern Kentucky

    $35,000 for 700 Monmouth St. property in Newport, Ky.

Jason Reser, owner of Reser Bicycle Outfitters and Trailhead Coffee, is no stranger to Monmouth Street in Newport, Ky.; he’s operated his bike business at 648 Monmouth St. since 2000. And Reser sees an opportunity for additional positive redevelopment in Newport’s central business district. That’s why he’s partnering with the Catalytic Fund to return the 700 Monmouth St. property to its former glory – and create commercial and residential spaces.

The building, built around 1865, has housed a variety of businesses including an ammunition shop and a sewing and vacuum store. The Duke Energy Urban Revitalization grant will be used to restore the building’s façade and transform the interior into 1,300 square feet of tenant-ready commercial space and four apartments. Once complete, the building will join past Urban Revitalization grant winners like Carabello Coffee Co. and The Baker’s Table in the transformation of Monmouth Street. And it could bring five new jobs to Newport.

  • Catalytic Development Funding Corp. of Northern Kentucky 

    $35,000 for Molly Malone’s Annex in Covington, Ky.

Molly Malone’s Irish Pub & Restaurant has become a source of pride in Covington, Ky., since opening in 2007. The business owners are now working with the Catalytic Fund to transform an adjacent 6,000-square-foot building into an innovative specialty cocktail tasting lounge and unique event space.

The Duke Energy Urban Revitalization grant will help bring life to the deteriorating structure, which has stood vacant for 12 years. Once construction wraps up in late 2020, the project will join past Urban Revitalization grant winners like Hotel Covington and Braxton Brewing in Covington’s ongoing transformation, create six jobs and serve as a focal point of the Roebling Point entertainment district.

Duke Energy Ohio/Kentucky
Duke Energy Ohio/Kentucky, a subsidiary of Duke Energy, provides electric service to about 860,000 residential, commercial and industrial customers in a 3,000-square-mile service area, and natural gas service to approximately 538,000 customers.

Duke Energy (NYSE: DUK), a Fortune 150 company headquartered in Charlotte, N.C., is one of the largest energy holding companies in the U.S. It employs 30,000 people and has an electric generating capacity of 51,000 megawatts through its regulated utilities, and 3,000 megawatts through its nonregulated Duke Energy Renewables unit.

Duke Energy is transforming its customers’ experience, modernizing the energy grid, generating cleaner energy and expanding natural gas infrastructure to create a smarter energy future for the people and communities it serves. The Electric Utilities and Infrastructure unit’s regulated utilities serve approximately 7.7 million retail electric customers in six states – North Carolina, South Carolina, Florida, Indiana, Ohio and Kentucky. The Gas Utilities and Infrastructure unit distributes natural gas to more than 1.6 million customers in five states – North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Ohio and Kentucky. The Duke Energy Renewables unit operates wind and solar generation facilities across the U.S., as well as energy storage and microgrid projects.

Duke Energy was named to Fortune’s 2019 “World’s Most Admired Companies” list, and Forbes’ 2019 “America’s Best Employers” list. More information about the company is available at duke-energy.com. The Duke Energy News Center contains news releases, fact sheets, photos, videos and other materials. Duke Energy’s illumination features stories about people, innovations, community topics and environmental issues. Follow Duke Energy on TwitterLinkedInInstagram and Facebook.

AIDAnova Is the First Cruise Ship to Receive the “Blue Angel” Certification for Its Eco-Friendly Ship Design

Tue, 08/20/2019 - 7:24pm

AIDA Cruises has been awarded the “Blue Angel”, German federal government’s ecolabel, for AIDAnova’s environmentally friendly ship design.

“We are very honored to receive this recognition of our long-standing commitment to protecting the marine environment and reducing emissions. Together with the Meyer Werft shipyard in Papenburg we built AIDAnova, the world’s first cruise ship, which is operated entirely with low-emission liquid gas (LNG), but we also convinced the jury with many other technical innovations. By 2023 we will be putting two more of these innovative cruise ships into service,” said AIDA President Felix Eichhorn at the award ceremony attended by representatives of the Federal Environmental Agency (UBA) and the Blue Angel jury in Rostock.

Dr. Ralf-Rainer Braun, chairman of the jury “ecolabels” said, “This ecolabel is something special: It covers a large number of requirements that must be fulfilled when a new ship is built. In their sum, they stand for a significant contribution to environmental protection. We hope that this award for AIDA Cruises is a positive message for more environmental protection throughout the whole shipping industry.”

Thanks to the use of LNG, as on board AIDAnova, emissions of particulate matter and sulfur oxides are almost completely eliminated; nitrogen oxide and CO2 emissions are sustainably reduced.

AIDA Cruises is also driving innovation in many other areas to make an active contribution to the energy transition.

Since 2017, AIDAsol is the only ship to be powered with green shoreside energy in the cruise port Hamburg-Altona. Already by the end of 2020, twelve out of fourteen AIDA ships will be ready to use shore power from renewable energy sources where available. The company is ready to start test operations with AIDA ships at the shores power units planned for 2020 in Kiel und Rostock.

Parallel to this, AIDA Cruises is exploring the use of fuel cells, batteries and liquefied gas from renewable sources in cruising. The company plans to test the first fuel cell on board an AIDA ship as early as 2021.

By 2023, ninety-four percent of all AIDA guests will be travelling on ships fully operated with low-emission liquefied natural gas or, where possible, green shore power at port.  

RESOURCES Carnival Corporation AIDA Cruises Blue Angel, The German Ecolabel Meyer Werft Shipyard CONTACT Chris Cradduck +1 (214) 893-9119 chris@ldwwgroup.com

Green City Growers Names Christopher Grallert as Company President

Tue, 08/20/2019 - 7:24pm

Green City Growers (GCG) has announced the promotion of Christopher Grallert to the position of Company President. According to GCG’s CEO and Founder Jessie Banhazl, “Chris’s extensive background in business management, agricultural systems, fresh produce, and operations, combined with his vision of what future food systems can look like, make him a great fit to lead the company through the next phase of growth.”

Grallert has 25 years of experience in the sustainable agriculture industry globally. Since joining GCG in 2015, Grallert has served in multiple roles for the organization, starting as a investor and advisory board member, then moving in to a more intensive operational role in 2017. Since then, Chris has overseen the building out of the back office and operational components of the company. He has led GCG’s commercial growth and has been instrumental in tactical and strategic developments. Grallert’s efforts, Banhazl said, “have helped to take Green City Growers from a Massachusetts-focused business to a regional company that has almost tripled in size since his involvement.”

In assuming the company president position, Grallert will manage GCG’s overall business operations and staff. Grallert will continue to support Banhazl as she continues to take on a larger role in shaping GCG’s strategic growth, overseeing marketing efforts, and driving business development.

“I’m very excited about the future of GCG and proud to have been chosen to lead the company,” Grallert said. “As urban ag continues to gain traction nationally, we will continue to focus on innovations that will bring integrated food production to more and more communities”.

“I couldn’t be more excited to have Chris taking the lead on the day to day operation. We’ve been working together side-by-side for a few years now, and I feel 100% confident in his ability to lead us as we continue to grow,” Banhazl said. “It feels amazing to know the company I founded is in such good hands.”

Green City Growers was founded in 2008 to provide edible landscaping and urban farm installation and maintenance. The company has evolved to serve a wide array of commercial businesses, including global property management and real estate companies and manages farms on top of Whole Foods Market and at Fenway Park. The company was just awarded a USDA Farm to School Grant to continue a multi-town school gardening program.

With more than 100 sites throughout MA RI, CT, and NY, GCG annually grows 35,000lbs of organic produce, converts over 20,000sqft of unused space into food-producing landscapes, teaches 2,000 kids how to grow their own food, and engages ½ million individuals in urban farming through their programs.

National Financial Awareness Day Survey: Cash is Still King with Teens When it Comes to Purchases

Tue, 08/20/2019 - 7:24pm

Teens may love technology, but most still rely on cash when it comes to purchases and getting money from mom and dad. In fact, 80 percent of teens who receive money from parents or caregivers say it is in the form of cash and 75 percent of teens say they have made purchases in cash. Despite this, budgeting apps are gaining in popularity.

These are some of the findings from a new survey of 1,000 teens between the ages of 13 and 18 by Junior Achievement USA (JA) and Alliance Data, a leading global provider of data-driven marketing and loyalty solutions. The survey was conducted between July 16 and 23, 2019 by Wakefield Research and has a margin of error of +/- 3.1%. The survey findings are being released to coincide with National Financial Awareness Day on August 14, 2019.

Despite the use of cash, financial technology is having an impact on today's teens. As a global provider of consumer-centric marketing, loyalty and payments solutions, Alliance Data partnered with Junior Achievement to assess current priorities in financial education and literacy among U.S. teens.

Key findings from the survey include:

  • A quarter of teens (26%) who received money from parents or guardians said it was wired into their bank account, while nearly as many (23%) used their parent or caregiver's credit card for online purchases. Fewer (10%) used financial apps like Apple Pay or Venmo to receive money or purchase items.

  • Despite the use of cash, nearly half of teens (48%) said they do use mobile or online apps to manage their money, such as for budgeting and planning purposes.

  • Nearly one-in-five teens (17%) have never been in a physical bank and a third of teens (34%) don't have a bank account. Of those who do, the largest percentage (35%) got them at 12 years of age or younger.

  • Of those with a bank account, most have a debit card (62%), while far fewer use a checkbook (18%).

  • Most teens (71%) say they are concerned about their credit score, while nearly half (44%) are concerned about future student loan debt.

"These survey results show that today's teens are very much aware of the need to effectively manage money and that for many, technology is being used as a tool to achieve that, even when teens are working with cash," said Jack E. Kosakowski, President and CEO of Junior Achievement USA. "It's encouraging to see that today's young people are being proactive in how they view money and are using resources at their disposal to become better stewards of their financial futures."

Alliance Data is a long-time partner of Junior Achievement, and its employees nationwide volunteer their time to help students on the path to financial literacy and economic independence. With a deep focus on customers, Alliance Data uses rich data, analytics and insights to drive sales for its brand partners and deliver compelling payment offerings.

"Alliance Data's research of consumers across age demographics shows that the most important innovations are those that save time and increase convenience," said Wes Hunt, VP of Enterprise Data and Analytics at Alliance Data. "The results of this survey reinforce that the technology solutions younger generations will likely adopt over time will be those that meaningfully enhance their experience and make it worth it for them to trade cash for technology." 

Methodology

The JA/Teens-FinTech Survey was conducted by Wakefield Research (www.wakefieldresearch.com) among 1,000 US Teens, Ages 13-18 between July 16 and July 23, 2019, using an email invitation and an online survey.

Results of any sample are subject to sampling variation. The magnitude of the variation is measurable and is affected by the number of interviews and the level of the percentages expressing the results. For the interviews conducted in this particular study, the chances are 95 in 100 that a survey result does not vary, plus or minus, by more than 3.1 percentage points from the result that would be obtained if interviews had been conducted with all persons in the universe represented by the sample.

About Alliance Data

Alliance Data ® is a leading global provider of data-driven marketing and loyalty solutions serving large, consumer-based industries. The Company creates and deploys customized solutions, enhancing the critical customer marketing experience; the result is measurably changing consumer behavior while driving business growth and profitability for some of today's most recognizable brands. Alliance Data helps its clients create and increase customer loyalty through solutions that engage millions of customers each day across multiple touch points using traditional, digital, mobile and emerging technologies. An S&P 500, FORTUNE 500 and FORTUNE 100 Best Companies to Work For company headquartered in Columbus, Ohio, Alliance Data consists of businesses that together employ over 10,000 associates at more than 50 locations worldwide.

Alliance Data's card services business is a provider of market-leading private label, co-brand, and business credit card programs. LoyaltyOne® owns and operates the AIR MILES® Reward Program, Canada's most recognized loyalty program, and Netherlands-based BrandLoyalty, a global provider of tailor-made loyalty programs for grocers.  In July 2019 Alliance Data completed the sale of its Epsilon® business to Publicis Groupe.

 

About Junior Achievement USA® (JA)

Celebrating its centennial in 2019, Junior Achievement is the world's largest organization dedicated to giving young people the knowledge and skills they need to own their economic success, plan for their future, and make smart academic and economic choices. JA programs are delivered by corporate and community volunteers, and provide relevant, hands-on experiences that give students from kindergarten through high school knowledge and skills in financial literacy, work readiness and entrepreneurship. Today, JA reaches more than 4.8 million students per year in 106 markets across the United States, with an additional 5.2 million students served by operations in 100 other countries worldwide. Junior Achievement USA is a member of JA Worldwide. Visit www.ja.org for more information.

Comcast Announces Initiative With Dell Technologies to Help Close Digital Divide

Tue, 08/20/2019 - 7:24pm

Comcast today announced it has expanded its initiative designed to help close the digital divide for low-income households.  As part of its mission to provide digital access for all, Dell Technologies is joining with Comcast’s Internet Essentials program, which is the nation’s largest, most comprehensive, and most successful broadband adoption program for low-income individuals.  The two companies will provide more than 2,500 free laptops to students, seniors, veterans, and adults in need.  In addition, Dell Technologies will provide funding to upgrade 15 computer labs at local nonprofits in different cities, including two senior community centers in Houston.

Earlier this week, Comcast announced it has significantly expanded eligibility for Internet Essentials to include all qualified low-income households in its service area.  The expansion is the most significant change in the program’s history, and the Company estimates a total of nearly seven million households now have access to low-cost Internet service, which literally doubles the total number of previously eligible households.  New populations like people with disabilities, new parents, and adults without school age children are now eligible to apply.

Comcast also announced that, since August 2011, it has connected more than eight million low-income people to the Internet at home, most for the very first time, including 600,000 in the state of Texas, 400,000 of whom are in Houston.  Houston is now the number one ranked city in America in terms of its overall participation rate in the Internet Essentials program.

“The research on the causes of the digital divide is very clear,” said David L. Cohen, Senior Executive Vice President and Chief Diversity Officer of Comcast NBCUniversal.  “One of those reasons is that many low-income households either do not own a laptop or cannot afford to buy one.  As a result, this initiative with Dell Technologies will help us connect more households to the Internet at home so students can do their homework, parents can look for and apply for jobs, and veterans and seniors can keep in touch with friends and family who may be scattered around the world.”

“At Dell Technologies, we believe providing people and communities with access to technology is a critical first step to sparking the kind of innovation that drives human progress.” said Jeremy Ford, Vice President of Giving and Social Innovation at Dell Technologies. “We’re thrilled to be working with Comcast as part of its Internet Essentials program to not only connect more low-income households to the Internet, but also to provide them with the technology they need to thrive in a digital world.”

According to Comcast’s analysis of the U.S. Census 2017 American Community Survey, Houston households living in neighborhoods with the highest poverty rates are up to seven times more likely than those in higher earning cities not to have fixed broadband at home.  For example, in the Creekside Park and Memorial Park neighborhoods, where poverty rates are very low, just up to 10 percent of households do not have a home broadband subscription.  In neighborhoods like Kashmere Gardens and Settegast, however, where poverty rates are above the national average, up to 73 percent of household do not have fixed broadband at home.

The announcements follow last year’s extension of eligibility to participate in Internet Essentials to an estimated one million low-income veterans.  To be eligible to apply to the program, a low-income household simply needs to demonstrate its participation in one of more than a dozen different federal assistance programs.  A full list can be found at www.internetessentials.com.

While in Houston, Comcast and Dell Technologies will surprise 300 locals in need with free laptops, including:

  • Surprise 20 low-income veterans with new laptops at the “Great Day Houston” live taping.

  • Provide 100 seniors and 90 high school students who attend programming at the Presinct2Gether East Harris County Activity Center with new laptops.  These laptops will help seniors stay connected to friends and family, and high school students prepare for and apply to college.

  • Give free laptops to 90 students who attend Eight Million Stories programming, which helps previously incarcerated youth obtain the skills and community connections needed to integrate back into society, to aid their digital skills development.

Internet Essentials has an integrated, wrap-around design that addresses each of the three major barriers to broadband adoption.  These include: a lack of digital literacy skills, lack of awareness of the relevance of the Internet to everyday life needs, and fear of the internet; the lack of a computer; and cost of Internet service.  As a result, Internet Essentials offers: multiple options to access free digital literacy training in print, online, and in person; the option to purchase an Internet-ready computer for less than $150; and low-cost, high-speed Internet service for $9.95 a month plus tax.  The program is structured as a partnership between Comcast and tens of thousands of school districts, libraries, elected officials, and nonprofit community partners.  For more information, or to apply for the program in seven different languages, please visit www.internetessentials.com or call 1-855-846-8376. Spanish-only speakers can also call 1-855-765-6995.

Duke Energy Awards More Than $103,000 in Grants for Workforce Education, Training in Indiana

Tue, 08/20/2019 - 7:24pm

Duke Energy has awarded grants totaling $103,397 to six Indiana organizations to promote workforce development and science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education opportunities.

“The energy industry is changing rapidly and we need highly skilled and trained workers to tackle these new challenges head-on,” said Stan Pinegar, Duke Energy state president for Indiana. “We have an obligation to help train and educate these workers to meet our customers’ expectations in the months and years ahead.”

Recent studies from the U.S. Department of Energy and U.S. Department of Labor show that 25 to 50 percent of utility employees will retire within the next five to 10 years. Among Duke Energy’s nearly 30,000 employees nationwide, 42 percent will be eligible to retire in five years and 54 percent will be eligible to retire in 10 years. “Eligible to retire” is defined as 55 years of age or older with at least five years of service.

Here are details about the six workforce development grants:

  • Easterseals Crossroads in Hancock and Shelby counties  - $30,000 – Easterseals Crossroads, through its workforce development program, will provide  education and training to individuals with disabilities seeking potential careers in the energy industry.

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  • IU Kokomo in Cass and Whitley counties - $10,000 – The Kokomo Experience and You program provides all undergraduate students with opportunities to participate in learning experiences by immersing them in businesses and nonprofit enterprises.

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  • Tippecanoe School Corporation in Tippecanoe County - $19,500 – The Greater Lafayette Career Academy’s engineering students will gain industry experience through placements with partner organizations and  earn college credits through early college and/or dual credit agreements. The engineering curriculum requires students to use advanced hardware and software, which the project will also provide.

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  • Indiana State University in Vigo County - $12,500 – This grant will help  build a vocational training certificate program for North Vigo High School. It will provide hands-on training in electronics and energy to improve job readiness for skilled workers in the community.

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  • Workforce Network Inc. in Vigo County - $21,347 – The Duke Energy Jobs for America’s Graduates (JAG) challenge invites teams from nine high schools to participate in energy sector work-based learning experiences through a STEM summer camp, classroom speakers, field trips and work experiences.

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  • TechnoKats robotics team in Kokomo - $10,000 – TechnoKats, which inspires and motivates high schoolers to become interested in science and technology,  had been housed at the Duke Energy operations office in Kokomo. Due to renovations at the center, the team will need to relocate. This grant will help the robotics team find a new location for building its 2019 robot.

Duke Energy Indiana
Duke Energy Indiana, a subsidiary of Duke Energy, provides about 6,600 megawatts of owned electric capacity to approximately 840,000 customers in a 23,000-square-mile service area, making it Indiana’s largest electric supplier.

Duke Energy (NYSE: DUK), a Fortune 150 company headquartered in Charlotte, N.C., is one of the largest energy holding companies in the U.S. It employs 30,000 people and has an electric generating capacity of 51,000 megawatts through its regulated utilities, and 3,000 megawatts through its nonregulated Duke Energy Renewables unit.

Duke Energy is transforming its customers’ experience, modernizing the energy grid, generating cleaner energy and expanding natural gas infrastructure to create a smarter energy future for the people and communities it serves. The Electric Utilities and Infrastructure unit’s regulated utilities serve approximately 7.7 million retail electric customers in six states – North Carolina, South Carolina, Florida, Indiana, Ohio and Kentucky. The Gas Utilities and Infrastructure unit distributes natural gas to more than 1.6 million customers in five states – North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Ohio and Kentucky. The Duke Energy Renewables unit operates wind and solar generation facilities across the U.S., as well as energy storage and microgrid projects.

Duke Energy was named to Fortune’s 2019 “World’s Most Admired Companies” list, and Forbes’ 2019 “America’s Best Employers” list. More information about the company is available at duke-energy.com. The Duke Energy News Center contains news releases, fact sheets, photos, videos and other materials. Duke Energy’s illumination features stories about people, innovations, community topics and environmental issues. Follow Duke Energy on TwitterLinkedInInstagram and Facebook.    

Contact: Lew Middleton
Office: 317.838.1505 | 24-Hour: 800.559.3853

Unique Back-to-School Campaign Expands reach of LG’s ‘Life’s Good: Experience Happiness’ Initiative

Tue, 08/20/2019 - 7:24pm

With the 2019-20 school year getting under way across the country, LG Electronics USA is expanding its “Life’s Good: Experience Happiness” initiative to more schools, while securing a new partnership that will expose a broader audience to the scientific principles that lead to happiness.

As American kids go back to school, LG’s award-winning Experience Happiness program is expanding to more school districts with the goal of reaching more than 1 million teens with science of happiness skills this school year as part of a five-year commitment to bring sustainable happiness to 5.5 million youth.  

Problem: According to the American Psychological Association, when school is in session, kids are the most stressed group in the country. Teenagers feel this stress most acutely, especially during the first days back at school, a time of mixed emotions that bring both excitement and anxiety. 

Solution: Through its Life’s Good: Experience Happiness initiative, LG has brought together leading non-profits, scientists, educators and media partners to combat this anxiety by teaching teens the skills that lead to sustainable happiness. LG is expanding its commitment this year by increasing the number of schools that non-profit partners Project Happiness and Inner Explorer will reach, while going beyond the classroom to reach teens and parents through social media channels they follow.

A trailblazing new LG partnership with award-winning media and entertainment company SoulPancakewill help reach an additional 500,000 people this fall, teaching the science of happiness outside of schools. 

“When we developed ‘The Science of Happiness’ video series, we wanted to explore the psychology behind what makes us happy, while also showing how simple choices can manifest more positivity in your life and the lives of those around you,” says SoulPancake Co-founder and General Manager Shabnam Mogharabi. “Partnering with LG brings new life to this classic SoulPancake series and helps spread a message of happiness that has the power to make a difference for teens and families across the country.” 

By reinforcing LG’s commitment in local school districts and expanding the program through new social channels, parents can take part in the program, too, for the first time, according to Dave VanderWaal, senior vice president of marketing, LG Electronics USA. LG is asking parents and teens alike to share their back-to-school stories and to set their goals for the new school year. 

In a unique back-to-school campaign called #Day1, LG is helping to shine a light on the stress – and the fun – of going back to school. “With our partners, we’re pointing teens and parents towards resources to help them better manage and cope with that stress so everyone can enjoy Day One,” VanderWaal says.

What can you do? Parents and teens can help spread the lessons of the science of happiness by participating in LG’s #Day1 campaign. They can simply post their own story of the first day back to school in social media, using the hashtags #Day1 and #LGoals. For each post, LG will provide an extra $1 to its non-profit partners to help them carry forward the science of happiness. Families are encouraged to post feelings about first day now or when they were younger.

Research shows that two of the core components of being happy are expressing gratitude and having a positive outlook. At back-to-school time, teens and parents across the country have the opportunity to express both of those as #Day1 begins. “Take a picture as you (or your kids) are heading off and tell us what your goals are, what you’re looking forward to this year, what you’re grateful for as you’re getting started,” says VanderWaal.  

By addressing these two areas as Americans are going back to school across the country, LG will reach families in multiple ways, VanderWaal explains, adding, “With our new partner, SoulPancake, we’ll be exposing more people to the science around expressing gratitude as a way to be happier.” 

The #Day1 program kicked off at Kenwood Middle School, in Clarksville, Tenn., where LG just opened its million-square-foot washing machine factory employing more than 700 American workers, many of whom have children in the Clarksville-Montgomery County school district. To usher in the new school year there, teens, parents and teachers experienced fun interactive stations highlighting the six Sustainable Happiness Skills: mindfulness, human connection, positive outlook, purpose, generosity and gratitude. Proceeds from the #Day1 initiative support expanding the Experience Happiness program to all 41 schools in the district as well as many more around the country.

Happiness is a skill that can be taught, learned and practiced to combat increasing level of stress. And through the #Day1 campaign, LG is expanding the in-school programs with Inner Explorer across the nation. With partners including Inner Explorer, Project Happiness, CASEL and UC Berkeley’s Greater Good Science Center, Life’s Good: Experience Happiness helps youth learn the six Sustainable Happiness Skills. To learn more, visit www.LGExperienceHappiness.com and GetstartedLG.com

About Life’s Good: Experience Happiness

Aiming to enrich the lives of 5.5 million youth in the United States over five years, LG Electronics USA launched a unique initiative called “Life’s Good: Experience Happiness.” Happiness skills can be learned, according to the Greater Good Science Center at University of California Berkeley, which has identified six skills that sustain one’s ability to recognize that life’s good: mindfulness, human connection, positive outlook, purpose, generosity and gratitude. LG’s award-winning science-based platform is designed to engage leading non-profit partners including Inner Explorer, Project Happiness and the Collaborative for Academic, Social and Emotional Learning that help equip American youth with the skills for sustainable happiness. Key media partners include SoulPancake and Discovery Education. www.LGExperienceHappiness.com

About SoulPancake

SoulPancake, a division of Participant Media, is an award-winning media and entertainment company that develops stories and experiences across digital platforms, television and over-the-top TV, live events, and branded entertainment. Founded in 2009 and named one of Fast Company's "Most Innovative Companies in Video," SoulPancake has nearly 1 billion video views across its digital platforms, released two New York Times bestselling books, was named to Inc. Magazine’s Inc500 list of fastest-growing businesses, won 13 Webby Awards, four Streamy Awards, and took home a daytime Emmy. SoulPancake works with global brands and media partners looking to engage and connect with audiences in a more meaningful way. Find us online at www.soulpancake.com or on YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, or Snapchat via @soulpancake.

Media Contacts:   LG Electronics USA   John I. Taylor 201 816 2166 john.taylor@lge.com 

Tiffany & Co. Releases Its New Sustainability Website

Tue, 08/20/2019 - 1:24pm

Tiffany & Co. published its enhanced Tiffany.com/Sustainability website representing the next chapter in Tiffany’s industry-leading legacy of social and environmental responsibility. The  website outlines the luxury jeweler’s commitments, actions and longterm vision to promote the well-being of people and the planet at the heart of the brand. The site is designed to increase transparency and be accessible to all of Tiffany’s stakeholders, including Tiffany customers and employees, and includes formal reporting updates on Tiffany’s 2018 sustainability performance.

“As a global company and luxury leader, Tiffany has a bigger role to play beyond careful and responsible stewardship in our own business operations,” said Alessandro Bogliolo, chief executive officer, Tiffany & Co. “We can, and do, leverage our legacy and our reach to drive positive change in the industry and in the world.”

The website summarizes the great strides in socially and environmentally sustainable efforts that Tiffany made in 2018 and so far in 2019. Among these are:

  • The launch of the Diamond Source Initiative, which identifies for Tiffany customers the provenance of all newly sourced, individually registered diamonds.. This new initiative is a significant step in diamond transparency and continues Tiffany’s longstanding commitment to responsible sourcing.

  • In 2018, the luxury house continued to provide a living wage for artisans in Tiffany’s manufacturing workforce in developing countries.

  • In 2019, Tiffany established Employee Resource Groups to maintain inclusion that focus on working parents, communities of color, the LGBTQcommunity and women.

  • In addition to strong female representation throughout the Company and its leadership, Tiffany achieved a gender ratio of 45% women on the Tiffany & Co. Board of Directors in June 2019.

  • Tiffany is ahead of schedule in its goals for reaching net zero emissions, LEED-certified green buildings, sustainable packaging and 100 percent renewable electricity.In 2018, over 80% of Tiffany’s global electricity came from clean, renewable sources.

  • The Tiffany & Co. Foundation has awarded more than $80 million in grants to help preserve the world’s seascapes and landscapes—from Australia’s Great Barrier Reef to the majestic natural monuments of the American West. 

  • The Save the Wild collection, now in its second year, which has garnered over $5 million since its inception benefitting the Wildlife Conservation Network, including the Elephant Crisis Fund, to protect endangered species.

Tiffany’s has long been transparent about its sustainability efforts and progress. Building upon Tiffany’s legacy of social and environmental stewardship over the past two decades, the enhanced Tiffany.com/Sustainability website provides a comprehensive look at the luxury jeweler’s history and recent action. In addition, Tiffany formally reports on 2018 metrics, a sub-set of which are assured by PwC, and its alignment to internationally recognized external reporting frameworks, including the Global Reporting Initiative, United Nations Global Compact Communication on Progress and the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.  For more details on these highlights, please visit Tiffany.com/sustainability or follow #TiffanySustainability

About Tiffany & Co.

In 1837, Charles Lewis Tiffany founded his company in New York City where his store was soon acclaimed as the palace of jewels for its exceptional gemstones. Since then, TIFFANY & CO. has become synonymous with elegance, innovative design, fine craftsmanship and creative excellence. During the 20th century its fame thrived worldwide with store network expansion and continuous cultural relevance, as exemplified by Truman Capote’s Breakfast at Tiffany’s and the film starring Audrey Hepburn.

Today, with more than 14,000 employees, TIFFANY & CO. and its subsidiaries design, manufacture and market jewelry, watches and luxury accessories – including more than 5,000 skilled artisans who cut diamonds and craft jewelry in the Company’s workshops, realizing its commitment to superlative quality.

The Company operates more than 300 TIFFANY & CO. retail stores worldwide as part of its omni-channel approach. To learn more about TIFFANY & CO. as well as its commitment to sustainability, please visit tiffany.com 

#TIFFANYSUSTAINABILITY @TIFFANYANDCO

Integrated Biodiversity Assessment Tool Now Helping Over 70 Companies Assess Biodiversity Risks

Tue, 08/20/2019 - 10:24am

The World Economic Forum recently reported that ‘major biodiversity loss and ecosystem collapse’ is one of the top ten risks facing our world in 2019 both by likelihood and by impact. The May report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) (the biodiversity equivalent of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)) highlight that biodiversity loss is now evident on every continent, in every taxonomic group, and every ecosystem. “We are at a crossroads. The historic and current degradation and destruction of nature undermine human well-being for current and countless future generations” Sir Robert Watson, IPBES chair, said.

Businesses recognising these material risks around biodiversity are turning to the Integrated Biodiversity Assessment Tool (IBAT) to help them. IBAT is an online platform where users can access added value services around the three most authoritative global biodiversity datasets. These include an interactive map, reports, country profiles, data download, and web services.

IBAT is now used by over 70 companies and financial institutions on a daily basis to help identify risks and opportunities. They include Rio Tinto, Shell, BP, JP Morgan, IFC, the World Bank, General Motors, and consultancies such as ERM and The Biodiversity Consultancy. “I use IBAT as a research tool to pull information to look where we can improve the environment around us and to be aware of where there may be issues near us.” Explains Susan Kelsey of General Motors.

One of IBAT’s most popular functionalities is the biodiversity data report delivered as a package that includes a PDF document, raw data in CSV format, and map files. Our report templates include a simple proximity report, a World Bank Group biodiversity risk report, and a freshwater report. The team are also now working on a multi-site report that will make including biodiversity into annual sustainability reporting much easier. Other functionalities include an interactive map, country profiles, data download, and web services.

The underlying datasets within IBAT are:

  1. The World Database on Protected Areas. The WDPA is the most comprehensive global database on protected areas and is updated on a monthly basis.

  2. The World Database of Key Biodiversity Areas. The WDKBA compiles the data on all sites of significance for the global persistence of biodiversity.

  3. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species™ is the world’s most comprehensive information source on the global conservation status of animal, fungi and plant species and their links to human livelihoods.

The tool is currently used by 100s of decision-makers on a daily basis but we can do more. Over the next couple of years, we will continue to improve the platform and offer more functionalities to serve more decision-makers. We welcome all feedback on the tool and any advice on new functionalities that you’d like to see.

About IBAT

IBAT or the Integrated Biodiversity Assessment Tool is a web-based map and reporting tool that provides fast, easy and integrated access to three of the world’s most authoritative global biodiversity datasets: the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, the World Database on Protected Areas, and the World Database of Key Biodiversity Areas. IBAT is developed and maintained by the IBAT Alliance (BirdLife International, Conservation International, the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), and UN Environment World Conservation Monitoring Centre) with the aim to enable users to make informed decisions in policy and practice. For more information on IBAT visit www.ibat-alliance.org and connect with us on LinkedIn.

RMI and ICA Partner to Advance Responsible Copper Production and Trade

Tue, 08/20/2019 - 10:24am

The Responsible Business Alliance (RBA), on behalf of its Responsible Minerals Initiative (RMI), and the International Copper Association, Ltd. (ICA), have signed a memorandum of understanding to jointly advance the responsible production and trade of copper.

The RMI and ICA aim to harmonize expectations for responsible practices in the copper value chain by applying existing industry norms covering major environmental, social and governance issues.

“We believe this collaboration between the RMI and ICA will broaden and deepen the positive impact of both organizations’ work to improve conditions along the copper value chain,” said Rob Lederer, Executive Director of the Responsible Business Alliance. “Companies are seeking ways to ensure their products are developed responsibly throughout their global supply chains and this collaboration is another step in offering that assurance.”

In April 2019, ICA introduced a new assurance program for responsible copper production, the Copper Mark, offering a voluntary program to support the copper industry’s contribution to the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 12 on Responsible Consumption and Production. The Copper Mark will be available to copper mines, smelters and refiners in its first application and is expected to launch in 2020.

While key elements of the Copper Mark, including the independent third-party verification process, are still under development, ICA will use the RMI’s Risk Readiness Assessment (RRA) for implementation. The industry norms described in the RRA will define the requirements copper mines and smelters/refiners must meet in order to obtain the Copper Mark.

To avoid duplication of efforts, the RMI and ICA will share information related to ongoing standards benchmarking efforts as well as improvements to other resources, including the RMI’s RRA and its Country Risk Assessment Portal.

“ICA looks forward to working with the RMI team to leverage our respective strengths to the benefit of the copper industry and its key stakeholders,” said Anthony Lea, President of the International Copper Association. “We believe this partnership will act as a catalyst for responsible growth and greater opportunity for responsible copper production.”

In addition, ICA will join and actively participate in the RMI’s Mining Engagement Team, which brings together upstream and downstream companies for greater collaboration.

About the Responsible Minerals Initiative

The Responsible Minerals Initiative (RMI) is an initiative of the Responsible Business Alliance (RBA). The RMI is a multi-industry initiative with more than 380 member companies. Its members contribute to the development and international uptake of a range of tools and resources focused on minerals supply chain due diligence, including independent third-party audit programs for smelters, Minerals Reporting Templates, supply chain risk assessment tools, Country of Origin data, and guidance documents on responsible sourcing of tin, tantalum, tungsten and gold, and cobalt. The RMI runs regular workshops on responsible sourcing issues and contributes to policy development with civil society organizations and governments. For more information, visit ResponsibleMineralsInitiative.org  

About the International Copper Association (ICA)

The International Copper Association’s members represent a majority of global copper production and include some of the world’s largest manufacturers of copper semi-end-use products. ICA brings together the global copper industry to develop and defend markets for copper and to make a positive contribution to society’s sustainable-development goals. ICA’s status as a not-for-profit trade association provides its members with a credible, independent advocate to address challenges faced by the collective industry. ICA is headquartered in Washington, D.C., and with its Copper Alliance® partners, is active in more than 60 countries worldwide. For additional information please visit copperalliance.org.

Adoption of Zero Emission Vehicle Program Will Drive Colorado’s Transition to a Clean Transportation Future

Mon, 08/19/2019 - 1:22pm

Influential investors and companies commend the Colorado Air Quality Control Commission today on their decision to adopt the Zero Emission Vehicle (ZEV) program and increase the number of electric vehicles (EVs) on Colorado’s roads. 

“A strong ZEV program is a critical tool to accelerate the development and availability of EVs,” said Carol Lee Rawn, senior director of transportation at Ceres. “As the rest of the world moves toward a clean transportation system, today’s decision is a step in the right direction for Colorado to drive economic growth, reduce fuel and maintenance costs for businesses and consumers, and spur new investment and jobs.”

The ZEV program is part of California’s Advanced Clean Cars (ACC) program, and requires about 7% of new vehicle sales be zero-emission or plug-in electric vehicles by 2025. It also instructs automakers to invest in marketing EVs to the general public and make a wide range of EV models available to consumers. 

In a letter delivered to the Commission in July, 21 investors and companies, including Alterra Mountain Company, First Affirmative Financial Network, IKEA US and New Belgium Brewing emphasized their support for a strong ZEV program. “Cleaner, more efficient vehicles help organizations like ours cut costs, avoid the volatility of fossil fuel prices and achieve our climate goals. . . Increased deployment of EVs will be a boon to the state, through substantial cost savings and health benefits from improved air quality and greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) reductions,” they wrote.

“IKEA is committed to accelerating electric vehicle deployment. We’re investing in widespread electric vehicle charging at our stores and planning for 100 percent of our home deliveries to be made by zero emission vehicles by 2025,” said Lisa Davis, Sustainability Manager at IKEA US. “We do this because we see the benefits electric vehicles provide to our business, from employee recruitment and retention to increased visitation. Policies that increase the availability of and access to electric vehicles will help us achieve our goals.”
 
“Reducing transportation-related emissions is critical to mitigating the impacts of climate change and improving Colorado’s air quality,” said Steve Fechheimer, CEO at New Belgium Brewing. “While we have made great strides in our efforts to reduce our carbon footprint, our corporate fleet remains a major contributor to GHG emissions and air pollution. A strong ZEV program presents a significant opportunity to accelerate the uptake of EVs and help Colorado companies transition to a clean transportation future.” 
 
“As a Colorado Springs firm, we at First Affirmative Financial Network understand the significant economic opportunity that electric vehicles present,” said George Gay, CEO, at First Affirmative Financial Network. “As the rest of the world shifts toward electric transportation, forward-looking policies like a strong ZEV program provide companies and investors with the policy certainty needed to enable long-term investments in this rapidly growing industry, spur innovation, and generate more local jobs for Colorado’s residents.”

Colorado joins 10 other states that have already adopted the ZEV program to date. An analysis found that the ZEV program will bring $7.6 billion in benefits to Colorado by 2050 in the form of lower electric bills, annual vehicle operating costs and reduced GHG emissions. It also supports the state’s electric vehicle plan, which established a goal for the state to have a million EVs on the road by 2030.

Colorado previously adopted the Low-Emission Vehicle GHG standard in 2018 (another aspect of the ACC program), which limits GHG emissions from passenger vehicles and is especially important in light of the proposed rollback of the federal fuel efficiency and emissions standards.

About Ceres

Ceres is a sustainability nonprofit organization working with the most influential investors and companies to build leadership and drive solutions throughout the economy.

Georgia Department of Transportation, Federal Highway Administration & The Ray Sign Charter, Formalize Initiative to Build Future Highways Infrastructure on Interstate 85

Mon, 08/19/2019 - 1:22pm

The Ray, Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT) and Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) announced that the public-private-philanthropic partnership (P4) has signed a formal charter that defines the parties full commitment to working in partnership on the living transportation innovation laboratory along 18 miles of Interstate 85, known as The Ray.

“The Ray is a unique opportunity for Georgia DOT and the entire state to lead during a time of great innovation and change in transportation,” said Lynn Westmoreland... He continued, “This broad partnership is also an opportunity for Georgia to attract economic development, R&D, new jobs and tech start-ups in the transportation and infrastructure sectors.”

Prior to the charter, The Ray and GDOT worked collaboratively and successfully for four years at the direction of two unanimous resolutions approved by the State Board of Transportation in 2014 and 2016. Since then, the successful partnership has demonstrated several high-profile technology and infrastructure projects, including the first solar road in the U.S., the first drive-over tire safety station in the world, a solar-powered EV charging station, and innovative land management solutions. This charter solidifies that partnership and secures its future. It also adds the critical element of federal government involvement and support. “The Ray is the blueprint for the future of all highways,” said Harriet Langford, president and founder of The Ray. “FHWA involvement will help us scale nationally and internationally what works and will maximize our impact.”

“Our partnership with The Ray and GDOT exemplifies FHWA’s commitment to support our State and local partners in advancing innovative technologies and practices to improve the safety and performance of our transportation system”, said Moises Marrero, FHWA Georgia Division Administrator.

The Ray is a unique model for testing and scaling up the implementation of new transportation innovations and future-forward infrastructure, defined in the charter as “a user-centered, open-innovation ecosystem that integrates concurrent research and innovation goals and processes within a partnership involving government, philanthropic, private sector and advanced technology organizations.” The Ray Highway, its suite of innovations and the P4 model that enables the infrastructure, research and testing is a scalable, relevant and transferable blueprint for other states and even other countries.

“GDOT has enjoyed an innovative relationship with The Ray, one focused on implementation of innovative concepts designed to improve safety and sustainability,” said John Hibbard, GDOT Operations Division Director.

“The Ray is just getting started,” emphasized Harriet Langford, founder, and president of The Ray. “we’re fortunate to have the commitments and partnership of both GDOT and FHWA as we work together to shape our future to one that is safe, smart, and sustainable.”

About The Ray

The Ray is a proving ground for the evolving ideas and technologies that will transform the transportation infrastructure of the future, beginning with the corridor of road that is named in memory of Ray C. Anderson (1934-2011), a Georgia native who became a captain of industry and was recognized as a leader in green business when he challenged his company, Atlanta-based Interface, Inc., to reimagine the enterprise as a sustainable company—one that would pursue zero environmental footprint. Chaired by Ray’s daughter Harriet Langford, The Ray is an epiphany of the Ray C. Anderson Foundation. Learn more at www.theray.org.

About the Georgia Department of Transportation (Georgia DOT)

Georgia Department of Transportation plans, constructs and maintains Georgia’s state and federal highways. We’re involved in bridge, waterway, public transit, rail, general aviation, bike and pedestrian programs. And we help local governments maintain their roads. Our transportation network connects our interstates, state highways, county roads and city streets. Georgia DOT is committed to providing a safe, seamless and sustainable transportation system that supports Georgia’s economy and is sensitive to its citizens and its environment. Learn more at www.dot.ga.gov.

About the Federal Highway Administration

The Federal Highway Administration is an agency within the U.S. Department of Transportation that supports State and local governments in the design, construction, and maintenance of the Nation’s highway system (Federal Aid Highway Program) and various federally and tribal owned lands (Federal Lands Highway Program). Through financial and technical assistance to State and local governments, the Federal Highway Administration is responsible for ensuring that America’s roads and highways continue to be among the safest and most technologically sound in the world. Learn more at www.fhwa.dot.gov

RESOURCES Georgia’s I-85 Is Getting Intelligent Transportation Technology Powered by Panasonic to Improve Safety, Cut Congestion and CO2 Emissions Plan G: How Georgians Are Taking Control of the Climate Conversation The Ray and Curiosity Lab at Peachtree Corners Partner to Further Transportation Innovation Combining Urban and Rural Settings CONTACT Valerie Bennett +1 (770) 317-5858 valerie@raycandersonfoundation.org Ray C. Anderson Foundation http://www.raycandersonfoundation.org Anna Cullen +1 (404) 405-2685 anna@theray.org The Ray

Corporate Philanthropy Conference: Measurement Metrics and Outcomes

Mon, 08/19/2019 - 10:21am

Join us as we take a deep dive on building and sustaining a philanthropy strategy that aligns with your organization’s business strategy, culture, and mission. This year’s event will examine the “business” of corporate philanthropy through case studies and real-world scenarios with perspectives from both corporations and beneficiary organizations.

Session topics will cover the decision-making process as it relates to corporate strategy, as well as metrics, measurement, impact, output versus outcome, employee engagement, portfolio analysis, and more. This conference is designed especially for executives with responsibilities in the following areas:

  • Corporate Philanthropy

  • Corporate Social Responsibility

  • Corporate Citizenship

  • Corporate Foundations

  • Community Affairs and Community Relations

  • Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG)

  • Board Service

  • Corporate Communications

  • Public Relations

  • Legal, Regulatory, and Financial Advisory

  • Cause Marketing

To Register, download the agenda or learn more, visit us at: www.conferenceboard.org/philanthropy SAVE $100 with Code: CSR100

Dominion Energy and Smithfield Foods Break Ground on Largest Renewable Natural Gas Project in North Carolina

Fri, 08/16/2019 - 7:17pm

 Dominion Energy and Smithfield Foods, Inc. are pleased to announce that the companies are breaking ground on North Carolina’s largest renewable natural gas (RNG) project through their joint venture, Align Renewable Natural Gas (RNG)SM. Located in Duplin and Sampson counties, this project will generate enough energy to power more than 3,500 homes annually upon completion. Align RNG is a multi-state joint venture between Dominion Energy and Smithfield that will capture methane emissions from hog farms and convert them into RNG to power homes and businesses.

“Breaking ground on this project with Dominion Energy is an exciting first step in bringing Align RNG to life,” said Kraig Westerbeek, senior director of Smithfield Renewables and hog production environmental affairs for Smithfield Foods. “This project implements proven ‘manure-to-energy’ technology across a number of farms to produce reliable renewable energy for our community and contributes to our company’s ambitious goal to reduce our greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions 25% by 2025.”

As part of this initiative, technology will be installed across as many as 19 area farms to transform manure into RNG that will be processed and injected into existing natural gas distribution systems to serve local homes and businesses. This project is modeled after the Optima KV project, which captures biogas on five Smithfield contract farms in North Carolina, and similar projects on Smithfield farms in Northern Missouri and Utah.

“What we are starting today is truly transformational,” said Gary Courts, Dominion Energy’s general manager of new gas business development. “We’re using the power of innovation to make our energy cleaner and our farms more sustainable than ever before,” Courts continued. “With renewable natural gas, everyone wins. It’s good for the environment and our planet. It’s a huge win for the farmers. And it’s around-the-clock renewable energy for consumers.”

The 300,000 MMBTU of renewable energy this project is estimated to produce will play a key role in the state of North Carolina’s historic initiative to reduce GHG emissions over the next decade and will help expand the state’s energy portfolio with a reliable source of renewable energy. The sale of RNG generated by these projects will also provide family farmers with an additional source of revenue.

“This project is providing an incredible opportunity to turn one of our largest cost drivers – manure management – into a new revenue stream,” said Terry Tate, manager of DM Farms of Rose Hill and a Smithfield contract grower. “Working with Dominion Energy and Smithfield on this project was an easy choice. I’m proud to be part of an initiative that is improving both the viability and durability of our farms while benefiting the local community with a renewable energy source.”   

“Dominion Energy and Smithfield are supporting the growth of agriculture in North Carolina, the state’s leading industry,” said North Carolina Rep. Jimmy Dixon. “This project forecasts an exciting shift in the role that farmers play by providing opportunities within the energy sector that expand their capabilities and improve their bottom line.”

This is the first “manure-to-energy” project to begin construction under Align RNG since the joint venture was announced in late 2018. Additional projects are planned in North Carolina, Utah, and Virginia, and are projected to produce enough energy to power 14,000 homes and businesses in total. The emissions reduction associated with these projects equate to planting 7.8 million new trees or taking 100,000 passenger vehicles off the road.

For more information about Align RNG, visit alignrng.com.

About Dominion Energy
Nearly 7.5 million customers in 18 states energize their homes and businesses with electricity or natural gas from Dominion Energy (NYSE: D), headquartered in Richmond, Va. The company is committed to sustainable, reliable, affordable and safe energy and is one of the nation's largest producers and transporters of energy with about $100 billion of assets providing electric generation, transmission and distribution, as well as natural gas storage, transmission, distribution and import/export services. The company expects to cut generating fleet carbon dioxide emissions 80 percent by 2050 and reduce methane emissions from its gas assets 50 percent by 2030. Please visit www.DominionEnergy.com to learn more.

About Smithfield Foods
Smithfield Foods is a $15 billion global food company and the world's largest pork processor and hog producer. In the United States, the company is also the leader in numerous packaged meats categories with popular brands including Smithfield®, Eckrich®, Nathan’s Famous®, Farmland®, Armour®, Farmer John®, Kretschmar®, John Morrell®, Cook’s®, Gwaltney®, Carando®, Margherita®, Curly’s®, Healthy Ones®, Morliny®, Krakus®, and Berlinki®. Smithfield Foods is committed to providing good food in a responsible way and maintains robust animal care, community involvement, employee safety, environmental, and food safety and quality programs. For more information, visit www.smithfieldfoods.com, and connect with us on FacebookTwitterLinkedIn, and Instagram.

Image (above): Smithfield Foods and Dominion Energy are breaking ground on North Carolina’s largest renewable natural gas (RNG) project through the companies’ joint venture, Align Renewable Natural Gas (RNG)℠. Technology will be installed across hog farms in Duplin and Sampson counties to transform manure into RNG that will be processed and injected into existing natural gas distribution systems to power more than 3,500 homes annually upon completion.

Costa Crociere Foundation and Sahara Forest Project Join Forces for Sustainable Farming in the Desert of Jordan

Fri, 08/16/2019 - 1:16pm

Costa Group, the leading cruise company in Europe, through its Costa Crociere Foundation, joins forces with the Sahara Forest Project Foundation to enlarge the scope of the innovative initiative to revegetate the desert in Jordan with sustainable technologies.

The agreement was signed recently by Lars Myren, Chairman of the Sahara Forest Project Foundation, and Michael Thamm, Group CEO Costa Group and Carnival Asia, onboard the historic sailing ship Statsraad Lehmkuhl at Arendalsuka.

The mission of the Sahara Forest Project -inaugurated under the patronage of His Majesty King Abdullah II of Jordan and HRH Crown Prince Haakon of Norway in September 2017 - is to green desert areas and create local green jobs through production of food, freshwater and clean energy, using saltwater and sunlight as the main input factors.

The partnership between the Sahara Forest Project Foundation and Costa Crociere Foundation represents a concrete step forward for the project in Jordan. The support from Costa Group - through its two brands Costa Cruises and AIDA Cruises - will allow to scale-up the project to 20 hectares of commercial facility, realizing the exciting potential where every vegetable produced will suck out CO₂ from the atmosphere and store it in revegetated land. This initiative fits perfectly with Costa Group’s commitment to sustainable innovation and value creation, as well as with the Costa Crociere Foundation’s mission to promote social and environmental improvement.

An important part of the agreement is represented by the involvement of Costa Cruises and AIDA Cruises guests: guests cruising on Costa and AIDA ships calling at Aqaba will have the unique chance to taste, for the very first time in the world, at least ten different environmentally friendly vegetables produced by using solar power and saltwater in the Jordan desert, through special recipes created by the Executive Chefs of the two cruise companies to emphasize their taste and quality.

“The Sahara Forest Project is very proud to join forces with a global leader within the tourism industry. The new long-term agreement for the supply of vegetables to Costa and AIDA ships will pave the way for an expansion of our project in Jordan, while raising international awareness for the need to scale-up innovative solutions to combat global warming and create local jobs in desert areas.” - said Mr. Myren of the Sahara Forest Project. “In 2050 there will be almost 10 billion people on the planet who will need sustainably produced food, freshwater and clean energy. It is urgent to prove that it is possible to shift away from current agricultural practices traditionally using 80% of scarce freshwater resources and contributing with 25% of CO2 emissions in many dry countries and scale up concepts that are good for the environment, social development and business.”, said Mr. Myren.

“We are proud to support this path-breaking project that represents a model for future sustainable farming in desert areas” stated Michael Thamm, Group CEO Costa Group and Carnival Asia. “By supporting the Sahara Forest Project, we serve our guests vegetables grown in a way that fights the spread of deserts and creates a sound livelihood for the local population, in line with our sustainable development strategy and our concrete commitment to creating a greener planet. Costa Group is leading the cruise industry when it comes to sustainability, as demonstrated by the introduction of the first ever LNG powered cruise ship earlier this year and by the significant investments in shore power and innovative technologies for a zero-emission future”.

Currently, the Sahara Forest Project operates 3 hectares-commercial size facility 12 kilometers north of the port of Aqaba, combining saltwater-cooled greenhouses, solar energy panels and different techniques for outdoor revegetation in dry areas. The governments of Jordan and Norway, the European Union Commission and USAID have been crucial in financing and supporting the unique facility.

From October 2019 to October 2020, four Costa ships (Costa Mediterranea, Costa Victoria, Costa Diadema and Costa Deliziosa) and four AIDA ships (AIDAvita, AIDAbella, AIDAprima and AIDAblu) will be visiting Aqaba, for a total of 20 calls, bringing more than 45,000 guests.

About Costa Group

The Costa Group is the leading cruise company in Europe and China, headquartered in Genoa (Italy). The 28 ships of the brands Costa Cruises, AIDA Cruises and Costa Asia together have a total capacity of more than 85,000 berths. The fleet will be further strengthened by 5 new vessels by 2023. The company has a global workforce of more than 31,500 employees. It is part of Carnival Corporation & plc.

About Costa Crociere Foundation

The Costa Crociere Foundation was established in 2014 and has funded 30 projects since then, costing over 4 million euros, which have benefited over 35,000 people. The Costa Crociere Foundation is an independent organization that aims to guarantee every individual's right to happiness by improving the social and environmental conditions. The Foundation is involved in many social and environmental projects that make use of the resources made available by the Company and its partners.

About The Sahara Forest Project

The Sahara Forest Project Foundation is a Norwegian non-profit established to enable sustainable and profitable innovation and deployment of environmental technologies within the food-, water- and energy-sectors. Core elements of the SFP technology are a saltwater infrastructure combined with solar energy, greenhouse-based cultivation and outdoor food and biomass production. The Sahara Forest Project is currently operating a small-scale facility in Aqaba, Jordan and is working toward realizing a large commercial-size desert farm.

Media contacts:

Sahara Forest Project Foundation
Mr. Magnus Borgen, Head of Communications, +47 977 28 476, magnus@saharaforestproject.com

Costa Group
Costa Cruises Press Office
Gabriele Baroni – Communication Director – M +39 3497668013  baroni@costa.it
Davide Barbano – Media Relations Manager – M +39 334 6525216 barbano@costa.it
Cristiano de Musso – Head of Communication – M +39 334 6805095 demusso@costa.it
Press Office: T +39 010 5483523  - costapressoffice@costa.it  -  www.costapressoffice@costa.it

AIDA Cruises Press Office
Hansjörg Kunze - Vice President Communication & Sustainability
Tel. : +49 (0) 381 / 444-8021
Mail: presse@aida.de
http://www.aida.de/

Sustainability Group Awards Two Wind Energy Projects in Iowa With Highest Ratings

Fri, 08/16/2019 - 1:16pm

Of the many wind energy projects in the United States, only three are verified as sustainable by the Institute for Sustainable Infrastructure. Recently, two of them -- developed by power generation and distribution provider Alliant Energy with support from Black & Veatch as owner’s engineer – were the first wind projects ever to achieve the Envision Platinum rating, the highest rating from the Institute.

The Upland Prairie and English Farms wind energy projects were recently evaluated by the Institute using a framework called Envision to measure the projects across economic, social and environmental indicators. Envision is used by owners to promote informed choices about sustainability and resilience in each phase of an infrastructure project.

The Upland Prairie and English Farms projects have a total of 190 turbines with a combined capacity of 470 megawatts, enough to meet the yearly power needs of approximately 168,000 average Iowa homes. In its evaluation, the Institute said the projects went “above and beyond” in terms of their community, quality of life, planning, management, materials, energy, emissions and water indicators.

Notable was the selection of high-performance and low-noise turbines that served to reduce the number of turbines required per project and minimize disturbances to nearby communities and the surrounding environment. The benefits extend to farmers who earn income by leasing land to the projects and to the local counties and schools via increased property taxes due to the improved land.

These and other elements, including road improvements and locally appropriate landscaping, helped the projects earn Envision Platinum awards. Black & Veatch led the Envision application strategy and coordinated the efforts of the various project participants. Upland Prairie and English Farms are also the only wind energy projects to date that have achieved Platinum status.

“The Institute for Sustainable Infrastructure provides an uncompromising, independent review and verification of a project’s impacts,” said Matt Barbian, who served as the project manager for Black & Veatch. “Using Envision helped Alliant Energy develop truly sustainable assets with measurable economic, community and environmental benefits.”

Editor’s notes:

  • The Envision framework evaluates project sustainability across five categories – quality of life, leadership, resource allocation, natural world, and climate and resilience – to drive positive social, economic and environmental impacts.
  • The Upland Prairie and English Farms projects are part of Alliant Energy’s strategy to increase its renewable energy portfolio to 33 percent by 2024, including investment of $1.8 billion in wind energy through 2020. Project components include turbines, substations, operations centers, electrical collection lines, access roads, and meteorological towers.
  • For each project, Black & Veatch served as the owner’s engineer, White Construction as the contractor, General Electric as the turbine supplier, and OPN Architects as the operations center designer.
  • Black & Veatch has been supporting onshore and offshore wind project development and implementation since 1975 and is executing balance of plant EPC scope for a 150 MW wind farm in Illinois. The company is also serving as owner’s engineer for multiple wind repower programs.

About Black & Veatch 
Black & Veatch is an employee-owned, global leader in building critical human infrastructure in Energy, Water, Telecommunications and Government Services. Since 1915, we have helped our clients improve the lives of people in over 100 countries through consulting, engineering, construction, operations and program management. Our revenues in 2018 were US$3.5 billion. Follow us on www.bv.com and in social media.

Media Contact Information:

CHRISTOPHER CLARK | +1 913-458-2778 P | +1 816-674-0572 M | ClarkCA@bv.com

24-HOUR MEDIA HOTLINE | +1 866-496-9149

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NHBSR's 2019 Spring Conference