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Sazerac Partners With Keep America Beautiful to Host Great American Cleanup Events in Massachusetts

Thu, 05/16/2019 - 9:34am

Sazerac Company, one of the largest family-owned distilleries in the United States, is partnering with national nonprofit Keep America Beautiful® and its Keep Massachusetts Beautiful state affiliate on a series of cleanup events in May and June.

Sazerac, Keep America Beautiful, and Keep Massachusetts Beautiful will engage volunteers in Framingham, Salem, and Plymouth in cleanup and green-up initiatives to help promote community vitality. Sazerac is a new national sponsor of the 2019 Keep America Beautiful Great American Cleanup®, the nation’s largest community improvement program which hosts community cleanup events from March 20 through June 20. These initiatives reflect the company’s commitment to changing litter behavior across the country.

“As a family-owned business, Sazerac supports a strong ecosystem of organizations and individuals working together to keep our communities environmentally vibrant and healthy,” said Vice President of Government Relations Kellie Duhr. “Sazerac is proud to partner with Keep America Beautiful to empower individuals to care for their communities.”

Groups of volunteers will participate in the following cleanup events across Massachusetts:

  • Framingham, May 18: Cedar Woods Reservation
  • Salem, June 1: Downtown Salem
  • Plymouth, June 15: Center Hill Preserve

For more information about these events and other Keep Massachusetts Beautiful volunteer opportunities, visit www.keepmassbeautiful.org and select the events tab to register for a particular cleanup event.

In Massachusetts and throughout the nation, millions of volunteers are working with Keep America Beautiful on outstanding Great American Cleanup events and experiential environment education programs that are structured to beautify parks, trails and recreation areas; clean shorelines and waterways; reduce waste and improve recycling; remove litter and debris; and plant trees and build community gardens, among other events.

“Our Great American Cleanup programs, designed to end littering, improve recycling and beautify our communities, happen because of our belief in a tri-sector partnership – bringing public, private, and government organizations to the table.  We welcome the Sazerac to the Keep America Beautiful family and thank them for their support,” said Helen Lowman, president and CEO, Keep America Beautiful. “We’re thrilled to be working with them and our state affiliate, Keep Massachusetts Beautiful, to support clean and healthy communities.”

“We are thrilled Sazerac has joined Keep America Beautiful and Keep Massachusetts Beautiful to participate in events for the Great American Cleanup,” said Neil Rhein, Executive Director, Keep Massachusetts Beautiful. “These cleanups will not only beautify communities but spread awareness on best practices to dispose of waste.”

In addition to Sazerac, national sponsors of the 2019 Keep America Beautiful Great American Cleanup include Altria, Dow, The Glad Products Company, Niagara Bottling, Inc., and Northrop Grumman Corporation.

About Sazerac Company
Sazerac is one of America’s oldest family owned, privately held distillers with operations in Louisiana, Kentucky, Indiana, Virginia, Tennessee, Maine, New Hampshire, South Carolina, Maryland and California.

About Keep America Beautiful 
Keep America Beautiful, the nation’s leading community improvement nonprofit organization, inspires and educates people to take action every day to improve and beautify their community environment. Established in 1953, Keep America Beautiful strives to End Littering, Improve Recycling and Beautify America’s Communities. We believe everyone has a right to live in a clean, green and beautiful community, and shares a responsibility to contribute to that vision. The organization is driven by the work and passion of more than 600 Keep America Beautiful affiliates, millions of volunteers, and the collaborative support of corporate partners, social and civic service organizations, academia, municipalities, elected officials, and individuals. Join us on FacebookInstagramTwitter and YouTube. Donate and take action at kab.org.

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FSG Releases New Publication on How Companies and Corporate Foundations Can Elevate CSR Strategy

Thu, 05/16/2019 - 9:34am

Corporate leaders are increasingly seeking innovative solutions to social and economic problems—not only do they want to do good, but they also recognize that their stakeholders require and demand it.

To meet this demand, FSG recently released The CSR Strategy Roadmap: A Step-By-Step Guide for CSR and Corporate Foundation Executives to help corporate leaders better deliver on social impact and elevate their company’s CSR platforms.

“I’ve seen CSR portfolios change dramatically in the past five years,” said Co-CEO Greg Hills, who authored the report. “Companies are shifting from broad generosity to helping solve complex problems related to their business, such as the future of work, food insecurity, housing affordability, and social determinants of health. Achieving these aspirations for measureable societal outcomes requires structured strategy approaches as well as a heightened understanding of the root causes of inequities and injustices in our communities,” said Hills.

To create the report, FSG codified its customized strategy tools and client examples from its 20 years of work advising CSR leaders. Having guided over 100 companies through corporate societal impact strategies, FSG offers unmatched pattern recognition in identifying potential breakthrough ideas and avoiding potential obstacles.

The Roadmap offers CSR executives and teams a clear guide for implementing and leading the necessary shift in CSR across three modules—alignment and visioning, strategy development, and measurement and learning—which can be used together for a CSR strategy overhaul, or independently, depending on needs. Case studies are drawn from a variety of clients, including Cargill, Sleep Number, lululemon, and the Toyota Mobility Foundation.

The entire report is available for download here: The CSR Strategy Roadmap: A Step-by-Step Guide for CSR and Corporate Foundation Executives

For more information contact: mark.russell@fsg.org

About FSG
FSG is a mission-driven consulting firm supporting leaders in creating large-scale, lasting social change. Through customized consulting services, innovative thought leadership, and support for learning communities, we help foundations, businesses, nonprofits, and governments around the world accelerate progress by reimagining social change. Learn more at www.fsg.org

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CR Magazine Announces 100 Best Corporate Citizens of 2019

Thu, 05/16/2019 - 9:34am

Corporate Responsibility Magazine (CR Magazine) announced today its 20th annual 100 Best Corporate Citizens ranking, recognizing outstanding environmental, social and governance (ESG) transparency and performance amongst the 1,000 largest U.S. public companies.

Owens Corning tops the ranking, followed by Intel, General Mills, Campbell Soup and HP Inc. Twenty-seven companies are new to the ranking in 2019 including Allstate, Delta Airlines and Mondelez International. Biggest gainers include Ball Corp., CBRE, Ford and Xylem, Inc.

See the Complete 100 Best Corporate Citizens of 2019 Ranking Here

"U.S. corporate leadership matters more than ever to drive progress despite government gridlock around environmental and social topics like climate change,” said Dave Armon, CEO of 3BL Media, which publishes CR Magazine. “CR Magazine is proud to celebrate 20 years of advancing ESG transparency and performance through the 100 Best Corporate Citizens. Each year, we measure the increasingly competitive progress of brands on ESG topics. Transparency and public commitments make corporate responsibility and sustainability programs stronger. We congratulate those honored on this year's ranking for their commitment to the triple bottom line."

The 100 Best Corporate Citizens ranking uses 134 total corporate disclosure and performance factors in seven categories: climate change, employee relations, environment, finance, governance, human rights and stakeholders and society.

100 Best Corporate Citizens rank the Russell 1000 Index and research is conducted by ISS-ESG, the responsible investment research arm of Institutional Shareholder Services.  There is no fee for companies to be assessed.

To compile this ranking, information is obtained from publicly available resources only, rather than questionnaires or company submissions. Companies have the option to verify data collected for the ranking at no cost. 

“Companies on our 2019 ranking have something in common beyond what they disclose,” explains Mary Mazzoni, managing editor of CR Magazine. “They don’t measure success solely by gallons of water saved or tons of emissions avoided. They’re also leveraging their expertise to help make the world a better place.”

About the 100 Best Corporate Citizens Ranking

The 100 Best Corporate Citizens ranking was first published in 1999 in Business Ethics Magazine and has been managed by CR Magazine since 2007. To compile the ranking, every company in the Russell 1000 is ranked according to 134 total information factors, emphasizing ESG transparency and performance.

About Corporate Responsibility Magazine

3BL Media produces and publishes CR Magazine for CEO interviews, practitioner resources, and our annual ranking of U.S. companies and Responsible CEO of the Year awards. 3BL Media also produces 3BL Forum: Brands Taking Stands, our annual summit where corporate leaders share their ‘why’ and ‘how’ of sustainable business - held Oct. 29-30, 2019, at MGM National Harbor, outside Washington.

About 3BL Media

3BL Media delivers purpose-driven communications for the world’s leading companies. Our unrivaled distribution, leadership and editorial platforms inspire and support global sustainable business, reaching 10+ million change-makers. Learn more here.

HARC Joins Forces With Green Mountain Energy Sun Club to Support Sustainability Research and Regional Green Building Leadership

Thu, 05/16/2019 - 9:34am

 HARC and Green Mountain Energy Sun Club leaders celebrated the completion of a sustainability project signifying a major step towards the organization’s goal of achieving a highly regarded net zero energy (NZE) status, which would make the HARC headquarters in The Woodlands the first commercial building in Texas to accomplish the feat. A $136,000 Sun Club grant supported the purchase and installation of additional solar panels on the roof of HARC’s LEED Platinum building. By optimizing energy efficiency and production, HARC’s facility is on track to reach the net zero energy (NZE) designation, positioning the environmental research firm as a regional leader in sustainability solutions.

On Tuesday, May 14, HARC hosted a private “Flip the Switch” event highlighting the contribution from the Green Mountain Energy Sun Club to cover the costs of the significantly expanded solar array.

A building classified as NZE is one that consumes less energy over the course of a year than is generated onsite through renewable energy resources. With all systems online, HARC’s 18,600 square feet of space is powered by 88 kilowatts of solar power to achieve net zero energy status.

“Our new headquarters facility is indeed fulfilling our mission to build a sustainable future,” said Lisa Gonzalez, HARC President and CEO. “With this generous grant from the Green Mountain Energy Sun Club, we have significantly upgraded our existing onsite renewable power generation and are well on our way to operating at and documenting our net zero energy status. HARC is an organization that researches sustainable solutions and applies them, so others can learn how to deploy them as well.”

“Sun Club is proud to work with HARC to support sustainable research and education for Houston and the world,” said Mark Parsons, Green Mountain Energy vice-president and general manager. “The HARC building and campus is a testament to what is possible when an organization puts their mission into practice and in doing so, leads the way for other organizations to take the same important steps towards sustainability and clean energy solutions.”

The HARC building and campus grounds in The Woodlands employs several sustainable strategies. The building footprint and impervious paving are minimized, bioswales are designed to retain and filter water onsite to reduce the impact to nearby waterways, and the site’s biodiversity is preserved by protecting and restoring native vegetation. The building is oriented to maximize the daylight reaching the building’s interior spaces and rooftop solar installation.

Other advanced sustainable strategies include low-flow fixtures to conserve water while mechanical systems utilize a geothermal heat exchange system for optimal energy efficiency, indoor air quality, and thermal comfort. An added high-performance building envelope and rain screen performs 2.5 times better than a typical enclosure. Particularly impressive is the facility’s greater than 50 percent energy savings compared to LEED base targets.

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About Green Mountain Energy Sun Club
The Green Mountain Energy Sun Club is a nonprofit organization committed to advancing sustainable communities. As a 501(c)(3) organization, the Sun Club® invests in nonprofits and focuses on projects related to renewable energy, energy efficiency, resource conservation and environmental stewardship. Since the program’s founding in 2002, the Sun Club has donated nearly $7 million to more than 110 nonprofit organizations across Texas and the Northeast. To learn more about the Sun Club or to apply for a Sun Club grant, visit gmesunclub.org.

About the Houston Advanced Research Center
HARC is a nonprofit research hub providing independent analysis on energy, air, and water issues to people seeking scientific answers. Its research activities support the implementation of policies and technologies that promote sustainability based on scientific principles. HARC is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization building a sustainable future in which people thrive and nature flourishes. For further information, contact HARC at (281) 364-6000 or visit www.HARCresearch.org. You can also connect with us via InstagramLinkedInFacebook or Twitter. Like or follow @HARCresearch.

Smithfield Foods Continues Support of James River Association Environmental Clean Up Efforts

Thu, 05/16/2019 - 9:34am

 Smithfield Foods, Inc., announced today a $10,000 donation to the James River Association to support efforts to restore and protect the future of Virginia’s largest river. To kick-off the continuation of the partnership, Smithfield employees contributed their time with James River Association staff to clean trash from Tyler Beach in Rushmere, Virginia. An important part of the James River watershed, more than 340 pounds of trash were removed from the river’s shores.

“We are extremely grateful for Smithfield’s generous contribution to our environmental clean up efforts,” said Bill Street, CEO of the James River Association. “The James River is an important part of Virginia’s ecosystem, as more than one-third of all Virginians rely on the river and its tributaries for water, commerce, and recreation. It’s encouraging to see such a large company focused on environmental stewardship.”

The James River Association engages community partners and members to protect Virginia’s founding river, and works to inspire individuals through environmental education and community conservation programs. Smithfield’s donation will make a significant contribution towards continued preservation of the James River shoreline that flows across the entire state and enable the organization’s ongoing efforts to protect the river, improve water quality, and enhance community vibrancy and individual health.

“Environmental stewardship is a key focus area for Smithfield as we know our company’s size enables us with opportunities to make positive environmental impacts,” said Stewart Leeth, vice president of regulatory affairs and chief sustainability officer for Smithfield Foods. “We are so pleased to once again contribute to the James River Association to support clean up efforts right here at home and engage our employees to be part of that process to improve our community.”

For more information about Smithfield’s commitment to its local communities, please visit smithfieldfoods.com/helpingcommunities or read the company’s 2017 Sustainability Report.

 

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.  

About the James River Association

The James River Association is a member-supported nonprofit organization founded in 1976 to serve as a guardian and voice for the James River. Throughout the James River’s 10,000-square mile watershed, the James River Association works toward its vision of a fully healthy James River supporting thriving communities. The James River Association believes that “when you change the James, the James changes you". With offices in Lynchburg, Scottsville, Richmond, and Williamsburg, the James River Association is committed to protecting the James River and connecting people to it. For more information visit www.TheJamesRiver.org

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Media Contacts:

Dalton Agency for Smithfield Foods             
Lauren Homrich
lhomrich@daltonagency.com 
(480) 268-3253

James River Association
Christina Bonini
cbonini@thejamesriver.org
(804)788-8811 ext. 211

Addressing Social Sector Needs Through Technology Pro Bono

Thu, 05/16/2019 - 9:34am

The social sector continues to lag in the adoption and use of technology due in part to lack of funding and limited staff. How can pro bono service bridge the gap between the needs of the sector and available human and financial resources? On the heels of last week’s Global Pro Bono Summit, Taproot Foundation and VMware are releasing their latest research—a compilation of guides to Transforming Technology Pro Bono—in an effort to support nonprofit organizations in maximizing the impact technology pro bono can have on their mission.

“Technology can be a powerful tool for the social sector as we tackle critical issues facing our communities,” says Lindsay Firestone Gruber, Taproot Foundation’s President and CEO. “Pro bono technology support plays a vital role in ensuring that nonprofits successfully access and use technology in ways that truly transform how they meet the needs of those they serve.”

“At VMware, we share the belief with Taproot that technology pro bono can be a key capacity-building resource for the social sector,” notes Jessamine Chin, Director of VMware Foundation. “Through our collaboration on Transforming Technology Pro Bono, we intend to catalyze more effective and sustainable tech pro bono that addresses the needs of nonprofits.”

Taproot Foundation and VMware Foundation have worked together since 2017 to uncover the challenges facing nonprofits as they take on pro bono tech projects. In that time, the median technology budget for nonprofit organizations has more than doubled to 5.7 percent of an organization’s operating budget (according to NTEN). Yet organizations report not feeling confident that they have the staff or the skills they need to effectively use technology.

Transforming Technology Pro Bono is a practical guide for nonprofits and volunteers that breaks down some of the common barriers to successful tech pro bono projects. In this compilation, new research is combined with the previously released Solution Development Framework to provide a comprehensive approach infused with best practices from the technology sector.

Key highlights from this new compilation include:

  • Detailed guides to all four phases of the Solution Development Framework—Discover, Design, Implement, and Maintain.

  • A deeper dive into the Implement and Maintain phases, which covers the integration and regular evaluation of technology solutions.

  • All resources previously released, including a discovery assessment, job descriptions for the ideal technology volunteers, and more.

Download Transforming Technology Pro Bono here. 

Transforming Technology Pro Bono is supported by VMware Foundation and Dell Technologies.

About Taproot Foundation

Taproot Foundation, a national US nonprofit, connects nonprofits and social change organizations with passionate, skilled volunteers who share their expertise pro bono. Taproot is creating a world where organizations dedicated to social change have full access—through pro bono service—to the marketing, strategy, HR, and IT resources they need to be most effective. Since 2001, Taproot’s network of skilled volunteers has served 6,627 social change organizations providing 1.68 million hours of work worth over $193 million in value. Taproot is located in New York City, Chicago, San Francisco Bay Area, and Los Angeles, and partnered to found a network of global pro bono providers in over 30 countries around the world. www.taprootfoundation.org  @taprootfound

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SustainAccounting Launches World’s First Triple Bottom Line Certification Program

Thu, 05/16/2019 - 9:34am

SustainAccounting LLC today announced the launch of its Certified Triple Bottom Line (TBL) program for organizations, Certified TBL Orgs, the world’s first certification program for integrated TBL measurement and reporting. 

SustainAccounting’s Certified TBL program differs from all other CSR- / sustainability-related certifications in the following ways:

  • While comparable to B Corps in terms of its applicability to organizations, the similarity ends there because the Certified TBL program focuses only on performance accounting functions and nothing else.
  • The standards it relies on to certify TBL accounting in organizations include the requirement that they (1) be context-based as defined by the Global Reporting Initiative in its Sustainability Context principle, and (2) be consistent with best practices in Context-Based Sustainability.
  • Because of its narrow focus on Triple Bottom Line measurement and reporting, the Certified TBL program is not at all concerned with outcomes in performance.  Rather, it is a practice-level-only certification that does not concern itself with Triple Bottom Line results per se.

At the heart of the Certified TBL program is its advocacy of multicapital- and context-based Triple Bottom Line accounting, still new to most organizations but rapidly emerging as the gold standard for measurement and reporting.  Indeed, the very purpose of the program is to encourage and reward the adoption of context-based accounting, on the theory that management information itself must be brought up to speed before anyone can expect organizations to function sustainably.

At the heart of the Certified TBL program, then, is its advocacy of the MultiCapital Scorecard method, an open-source, context-based performance accounting tool developed by Martin P. Thomas in the UK, formerly of Unilever, and Mark W. McElroy in the U.S., formerly of Price Waterhouse, KPMG and Deloitte Consulting.  Other functionally equivalent methods can be used to qualify under the program as well.

McElroy, who also founded the Center for Sustainable Organizations in 2004 and who currently leads the Certified TBL program at SustainAccounting, had this to say about today‘s announcement: “The Certified TBL program is the world’s first and only certification credential that explicitly targets the management accounting function in organizations, and in particular the degree to which it measures, manages and reports Triple Bottom Line performance.  And none too soon, mind you –  indeed, how can anyone expect managers operating in today’s new economy to be effective using accounting tools forged in the old one?  The Certified TBL program solves this problem by providing managers with exactly the kind of expanded, Triple Bottom Line performance accounting system they need to be successful in today’s world!”

Importantly, the MultiCapital Scorecard method featured in the Certified TBL program has been endorsed by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) as precisely the kind of performance accounting tool that “all companies” should be using; just as B Lab, creators of the Certified B Corps program, has also endorsed it for reporting in Benefit Corporations.  As McElroy points out, “These two programs – B Corps and TBL Orgs – are in no way competitive and indeed are quite complementary.  Every Certified B Corp can aspire to become a Certified TBL Org as well, since there can be no better way of fulfilling the measurement and reporting needs of purpose-driven organizations than to use context-based accounting.  As an accounting solution for not just profit-oriented companies, but for B Corps, non-profits and other socially committed organizations, too, TBL accounting is uniquely fit for purpose!”

About SustainAccounting LLC

SustainAccounting LLC is a privately held company based in Woodstock, VT with close ties to the non-profit Center for Sustainable Organizations.  It is the owner and operator of the Certified TBL Org program which it offers to organizations anywhere in the world. 

SustainAccounting is also deeply committed to Context-Based Sustainability and strongly promotes the use of context-based tools, methods and metrics for managing and assessing the performance of organizations and other human social systems.  Its advocacy of the use of the MultiCapital Scorecard, in particular, is core to its purpose.

More information about the Certified TBL Org program can be found at SustainAccounting’s website at www.CertifiedTBL.com or by contacting its director, Mark W. McElroy, at mmcelroy@vermontel.net.

Hershey Highlights Progress in Key Areas of Deforestation, Sustainable Cocoa and Human Rights in 2018 Sustainability Report

Thu, 05/16/2019 - 9:34am

(GlobeNewswire) – The Hershey Company (NYSE: HSY) today released its latest Shared Goodness Report, highlighting progress made on sustainability issues where Hershey can have an impact. Since announcing its Shared Goodness Promisesustainability strategy last year, the company has made significant strides in areas such as deforestation, sustainable cocoa sourcing and human rights.

In 2018, Hershey announced a number of new initiatives that align with the company’s four key sustainability focus areas: Shared Futures, Shared Communities, Shared Business and Shared Planet. These initiatives include new Human Rights and Environmental policies and The Heartwarming Project, a program to help youth connect with one another and their communities. Progress also includes Hershey’s commitment to zero deforestation in cocoa-growing regions and the expansion of its ViVi nutritional supplement for children into Côte d’Ivoire.

“Hershey has always been a company driven by purpose, and I am excited by the strong start we’ve made on our Shared Goodness Promise, especially in the areas of environmental stewardship and human rights,” said Michele Buck, Hershey’s CEO. “I am honored to lead a company with people who care about one another and their communities, have deep pride in our incredible brands and are committed to helping build a brighter future.”

Notable milestones highlighted in the report include:

  • Connecting Kids to a Brighter Future – The Hershey Company has continued Milton Hershey’s legacy of helping children succeed and reach their full potential. In 2018, the company nourished 316,837 children, which included producing and providing the vitamin-fortified snack ViVi to 57,700 schoolchildren in Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana. The company also launched The Heartwarming Project to help children create more meaningful connections with each other, reaching more than 6 million children through established partnerships. 

  • Using Scale to Drive Positive Change in Cocoa Growing Communities – The Hershey Company launched its Cocoa For Good strategy last year, a key component of the company’s Shared Business focus area. Hershey is set to meet its goal of 100 percent sustainable cocoa sourcing practices by the end of 2020, with 80 percent of Hershey cocoa certified and sustainably sourced. The company also published a new Human Rights Policy in the first quarter of 2019 outlining its commitment to respect human rights throughout its value chain.

  • Combating Climate Change – The Hershey Company is working to end deforestation, reduce its carbon footprint and water usage, eliminate waste and address challenges and risks resulting from climate change. Since 2017, the company has added two more zero waste to landfill sites. The Hershey Company announced a new enterprise wide Environmental Policy and committed to setting meaningful and ambitious greenhouse gas emission reduction goals as part of the Science Based Targets initiative. 

  • Helping People and Communities Thrive – Through Shared Communities, The Hershey Company focuses on helping communities where employees live and work. In 2018, Hershey pledged $1 million to construct an updated Hershey Community Center that will host youth afterschool programs, activities for seniors and civic programs. Over the last year, Hershey employees volunteered 133,600 hours and donated $10.9 million in cash and $9.7 million in products. 

  • Celebrating our Team of Remarkable People – For 125 years, Hershey employees have been a critical part of the company’s success. The company has peer-leading gender representation and has had a 46 percent increase in the number of diverse professionals in the U.S. since 2012.  Across Hershey’s U.S. salaried workforce, women earn $0.99 for every $1.00 men earn, compared to a national average of $0.85. In 2018, Hershey was recognized for its progress, receiving its first ever ranking on DiversityInc’s 2018 Top 50 Companies.   

“We are dedicated to doing well by doing good, and through our Shared Goodness Promise we are able to place a stronger focus on areas where we can have the biggest positive impact on consumers, communities and the planet,” said Jeff King, Senior Director of Global Sustainability and Social Impact at Hershey. “Our progress in areas such as responsible cocoa sourcing and human rights shows the power of partnerships with experts and organizations for supporting sustainable change.”

For more information on Hershey’s Shared Goodness Promise, read our 2018 Sustainability Report here: https://www.thehersheycompany.com/content/dam/corporate-us/documents/pdf/Hershey-SR-2018.pdf

About The Hershey Company

The Hershey Company, celebrating its 125th anniversary in 2019, is headquartered in Hershey, Pa., and is an industry-leading snacks company known for bringing goodness to the world through its iconic brands, remarkable people and enduring commitment to help children succeed. Hershey has approximately 16,500 employees around the world who work every day to deliver delicious, quality products. The company has more than 80 brands around the world that drive more than $7.8 billion in annual revenues, including such iconic brand names as Hershey’s, Reese’s, Kit Kat, Jolly Rancher, Ice Breakers, SkinnyPop and Pirate’s Booty.

For 125 years, Hershey has been committed to operating fairly, ethically and sustainably. Hershey founder, Milton Hershey, created the Milton Hershey School in 1909 and since then the company has focused on helping children succeed.

To learn more visit www.thehersheycompany.com

http://www.twitter.com/hersheycompany 
https://www.linkedin.com/company/the-hershey-company?trk=top_nav_home 
http://www.facebook.com/hersheycompany 
http://www.youtube.com/hersheycompany 
http://www.instagram.com/hersheycompany

Media Contact:  Jeff Beckman, The Hershey Company   jbeckman@hersheys.com
717-534-8090

Photos accompanying this announcement are available at

http://www.globenewswire.com/NewsRoom/AttachmentNg/f1310c1e-061f-44c4-b27d-0bc026054161

http://www.globenewswire.com/NewsRoom/AttachmentNg/c7697ada-07df-464d-a0cd-2dfdd5764b2b

Working Together Towards Positive Employee Mental Health and Wellbeing

Thu, 05/16/2019 - 9:34am

The Consumer Goods Forum (CGF), Global Business Group on Health (GBGH), and Global Chief Medical Officer Network (GCMON) have today joined forces to respond to the need for increased awareness around issues of mental health in the workplace and the key role that employers can play in the lives of employees with mental, emotional, and behavioural disorders. Tackling issues around mental health and wellbeing is no small task. Strengthening collaborations between stakeholders to share knowledge and take joint action towards promoting positive mental health and wellbeing is essential to addressing these pressing issues. 

This collaboration is focused on looking into ways to help drive industries forward in a collective effort to help employees around the world pursue healthier lifestyle choices, with an emphasis on the nurturing of employee health and wellbeing. One of the goals of the partnership is to leverage the collective voice of member companies of all organisations to raise awareness and drive positive change. This collaboration marks the first time that the CGF has partnered with industries outside of consumer goods to map out the mental health and wellbeing landscape, ultimately widening the scope. 

The Issues of Mental Health and Wellbeing

Issues of mental health are widespread across communities around the globe. While there have been substantial efforts made by some countries and organisations to better the mental health of populations and employees, a significant amount of work remains to be done. The lack of access to mental health care is still an issue for many people suffering from mental disorders who ultimately do not benefit from the available effective prevention and promotion interventions.  

It is estimated that approximately 80% of people in low- and middle-income countries and approximately 42% of people in high-income countries do not receive mental health care. In Mexico for example, the number of deaths due to mental disorders increased by 33% between 2008 and 2014, while in Europe it is estimated that one in four people face mental health challenges at least once in their lifetime, with suicide remaining one of the main causes of premature deaths on the continent. There is therefore a need for decisive steps to make mental health and wellbeing a key priority not only at national levels, but also within local communities and in the workplace.

Employee Health and Wellness

There is a clear link between mental health issues and the loss of productive human capital. This leads to increased burdens in the workplace, with considerable costs for employers because of increased absenteeism or higher employee presence for more hours than is required as a result of insecurity about their jobs. Meanwhile employees with mental disorders sometimes bear the brunt of reductions in their earnings as a result of their conditions. 

Positive mental health and wellbeing is not only a key factor for social cohesion but is also an essential element for economic and sustainable development. Close to 2 out of 3 of companies worldwide with effective health and productivity programmes in place believe their performance to be better than their competitors. It is therefore in the interest of employers to ensure that employee health and wellness is treated as a priority item, leading to frameworks for action to develop mental health policies.

Taking Action

While much is increasingly known about mental health prevention, care and treatment, a significant challenge remains in implementing this knowledge, especially in communities and in the workplace where mental health awareness and services are limited. Tackling the widespread stigma and prejudice affecting all aspects of mental health continues to be one of the main hurdles. In addition to the social stigma surrounding mental health issues, the lack of trained health-care providers and resources and inaccurate assessments hinders progress within this landscape.

Pauline Harper, Director, Health & Wellness, The Consumer Goods Forum, said, “Through the CGF, GBGH, GCMON collaboration, a toolkit promoting positive mental health and wellbeing in the workplace will be developed by the fourth quarter of 2019 to provide companies with a framework to implement employee mental health awareness in their teams. It will aim to give context on how the scale and scope of stigma and access challenges vary by country. The toolkit will be presented at the CGF’s Sustainable Retail Summit in October, where retailers, manufacturers and service providers in the consumer goods industry will unravel key issues and global challenges around health and wellness and sustainability”.

The toolkit will also be presented at the Global Business Group on Health Forum meeting in October, where companies come together quarterly to benchmark and share solutions around the needs of global employees.

Future Ambitions

The global challenges around health and wellbeing in the workplace cannot be tackled alone. Kathleen O’Driscoll of the Global Business Group on Health said, “Mental health remains the primary focus area of GBGH member companies. For global employers looking to implement mental health strategy with locally relevant programs, understanding what is available and effective in-country is challenging.  Employers need resources such as those this toolkit will provide to best enable sustainable success.” 

The Global Business Group on Health is an organization of the National Business Group on Health (NBGH).  GBGH’s partnership with CGF and GCMON is a reflection of NBGH’s commitment in the area of mental health.  In a letter to NBGH members, Brian Marcotte, President and CEO of NBGH said, “We hope you will join us in elevating the conversation on mental health”. 

Multi-stakeholder collaboration with individuals, employers, communities, policy makers and providers is key for not only knowledge sharing, but also to drive tangible actions in ensuring that the tools for positive mental health and wellbeing are made available and safeguarded. Going forward, the CGF, GBGH and GCMON seek to continue in our efforts to raise awareness around these global issues and drive positive change within this space.

#MentalHealthAwarenessWeek

-- Ends --

About The Consumer Goods Forum

The Consumer Goods Forum (“CGF”) is a global, parity-based industry network that is driven by its members to encourage the global adoption of practices and standards that serves the consumer goods industry worldwide. It brings together the CEOs and senior management of some 400 retailers, manufacturers, service providers, and other stakeholders across 70 countries, and it reflects the diversity of the industry in geography, size, product category and format. Its member companies have combined sales of EUR 3.5 trillion and directly employ nearly 10 million people, with a further 90 million related jobs estimated along the value chain. It is governed by its Board of Directors, which comprises more than 50 manufacturer and retailer CEOs. For more information, please visit: www.theconsumergoodsforum.com. 

About Global Business Group on Health

The Global Business Group on Health (GBGH) is an organization of the National Business Group on Health (NBGH). GBGH regularly convenes its over 80 global member companies, who operate collectively in over 200 countries. Through practical insights, tools, resources, benchmarking and surveys GBGH assists its member companies in navigating the complex global landscape of health, well-being and benefits to enable business results and market change.

For further information on The Consumer Goods Forum:

Pauline Harper
Director, Health & Wellness
The Consumer Goods Forum
hw@theconsumergoodsforum.com

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

For more information on Global Business Group on Health: 

Ed Emerman
Eagle Public Relations, Inc.
+1-609-275-5162 (office)
eemerman@eaglepr.com

Catalyzing Action on the SDGs Through Collaboration

Thu, 05/16/2019 - 9:34am

Slowly but surely we are seeing pockets of progress on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Ten years remain until the 2030 deadline and as the urgency ramps up, so does the commitment of many businesses and swathes of civil society around the world. Still, experts worldwide polled by GlobeScan and SustainAbility continue to view progress on sustainable development as inadequate (particularly the contribution of national governments). The good news is that they are gradually becoming less negative according to the most recent SDG Progress Report.

As part of its own contribution, GlobeScan has now completed the first half of its SDG Leadership Series – a series of online forums on each Global Goal to help engage more stakeholders and catalyze action. During these dynamic and inspiring dialogues, 1,560 people worldwide from businesses, NGOs, and academia have shared over 6,780 ideas, case studies, and comments. Rich discussion on eight different SDGs has been captured in a series of publicly available reports, each of which summarizes the barriers that are holding back progress and constructively advances the discussion with dozens of innovative ideas, examples of solutions, and action frameworks.

At this halfway point in the 17 forums, GlobeScan is reflecting on the conversations so far and we invite you to delve into the insights in the reports published to date to learn from the collective wisdom of the expert contributors.

One recurring theme is central to all these curated discussions so far – the need for radical and unprecedented collaboration.

Fittingly, an introduction by Paul Polman kicked off the series with our first forum on Goal 17 (Partnerships for the Goals), supported by Unilever. Hundreds of inspiring disrupters shared their examples and ideas for new, collaborative models that will positively transform our economy. Together, the forum participants crafted a roadmap for ensuring effective partnerships and navigating the many challenges: from making the business case for financing the SDGs, to finding the right partners and building trust, through to effective execution and impact measurement.

The next discussion centred on Goal 3 (Good Health and Wellbeing), hosted alongside Johnson & Johnson. During this forum we focused on augmenting the capacity of frontline health workers. We heard from a diverse set of expert contributors on the need for investment and advocacy to empower women in the healthcare sector. A series of compelling case studies highlighted the opportunities that technology can provide in this area.

The power of technology was central to our forums on Goal 8 (Decent Work and Economic Growth) convened with 3M, and Goal 9 (Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure) with VMware. The Goal 8discussion highlighted the transformational shift that businesses and employees face across the world as the digital revolution challenges the traditional concept and format of employment. Noting these same systemic shifts, during our discussion on Goal 9there was a collective call to move away from a design that fits existing systems toward innovative solutions that meet real human needs.

An enthusiastic and fast-paced discussion on Goal 12 (Responsible Consumption and Production) with C&A Foundation reiterated the need for multi-stakeholder collaboration, this time to create networks for circular businesses, collective strategies, and combined workforces for more efficient processes in the fashion sector.

Our forum on Goal 14 Life Below Water exemplified partnership through its co-hosts Nomad Foods and the Marine Stewardship Council. Expert participants agreed that levers to accelerate marine solutions include transboundary action and leadership, long-term goal setting, and creating a central convening space for supply chain cooperation and innovation.

The discussion on Goal 11 (Sustainable Cities and Communities), in collaboration with TD Bank Group, illustrated the overlaps between the Goals and the need to aim for holistic solutions. Experts shared actionable insights that should be prioritized in overcoming barriers and implementing green infrastructure and inclusive green spaces which included fostering multi-sectoral collaboration and partnerships.

Our most recent discussion on Goal 6 (Clean Water and Sanitation) hosted by AB InBev was focused on accelerating action and scaling solutions for shared water security and access to clean water and sanitation. Forum participants agreed that making progress on water issues will require a focus on developing meaningful and impactful partnerships among diverse stakeholder groups.

While each of the conversations had its own intention, they were parts of a larger whole. By connecting experienced and knowledgeable people who are passionate about the SDGs from across sectors, institutions, and geographies, we hope that we have triggered new collaborations, sparked ideas, and ultimately encouraged more action on the ground.

We encourage you to explore and read the SDG Forum summary reports here.

Read Announcement

Smithfield Foods Donates More Than 41,000 Pounds of Protein to Harvesters—the Community Food Network

Thu, 05/16/2019 - 9:34am

 Smithfield Foods, Inc., in partnership with Price Chopper, donated more than 41,000 pounds of protein to Harvesters—The Community Food Network. Smithfield’s contribution was part of the company’s 2019 Helping Hungry Homes® donation tour and provided a generous donation to Harvesters in support of the National Association of Letter Carriers’ Stamp Out Hunger food drive.

Helping Hungry Homes® is Smithfield’s signature hunger-relief initiative focused on alleviating hunger and helping Americans become more food secure. This donation, equivalent to more than 166,000 servings of protein, will help fight summer hunger throughout northeast Kansas and northwest Missouri.

“One in six children in Harvesters’ service area is at risk of hunger,” said Valerie Nicholson-Watson, President and CEO of Harvesters. “This is a critical time of year for families as they struggle to provide additional meals and make ends meet while children are not receiving breakfast and lunch at school. Families turn to our pantries for help, and this donation helps ensure protein will be available to them.”

This is the 24th large-scale protein donation made by Smithfield to food banks across the country during its 2019 Helping Hungry Homes® donation tour. Since the program’s inception in 2008, Smithfield has provided more than 130 million servings of protein to food banks, disaster relief efforts, and community outreach programs nationwide.

“Smithfield is proud to make donations of protein to Harvesters throughout the year to support a community so many of our employees call home,” said Jonathan Toms, associate manager of charitable initiatives for Smithfield Foods. “We understand the increased need experienced this time of year and are honored to help kick-off the Stamp Out Hunger Food Drive to ensure children in Kansas City have wholesome meals this summer.”

The public is also welcome to contribute to the Stamp Out Hunger food drive by donating nonperishable food items to Harvesters food barrels at any Price Chopper store or donating online at www.harvesters.org through Monday, May 13, 2019. For more information about Smithfield Foods’ Helping Hungry Homes® initiative and a list of upcoming donation events, visit helpinghungryhomes.com.

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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.

About Price Chopper
Price Chopper’s 52 Kansas City stores are locally owned by the Ball, Cosentino, McKeever, and Queen families, all of whom live in Kansas City and oversee store operations on a daily basis. For 40 years, the owners and employees of Price Chopper have been committed to providing the highest quality products and top-of-the-line customer service to the thousands of customers they serve every day. For more information, please visit www.mypricechopper.com.

About Harvesters—The Community Food Network
Harvesters is a regional food bank and was Feeding America’s 2011 Food Bank of the Year. Serving a 26-county area of northwestern Missouri and northeastern Kansas, Harvesters provides food and related household products to more than 760 nonprofit agencies including emergency food pantries, community kitchens, shelters and others. Agencies in Harvesters’ network provide food assistance to as many as 141,500 different people each month. Harvesters, which was founded in 1979, is a certified member of Feeding America, a nationwide network of more than 200 food banks, serving all 50 states. For more information, visit www.harvesters.org.

Thermo King Drives Reduction in Food Waste and Insecurity by Committing Nearly $500,000 in Additional Grants to Food Banks Nationwide

Thu, 05/16/2019 - 9:34am

Forty percent, or nearly $200 billion of food in the U.S. goes to waste each year. Making this statistic harder to comprehend, 40 million people struggle with hunger, and 12 million of them are children. To address this sensless epidemic, Thermo King, the leader in transport temperature control solutions for a variety of mobile applications and a brand of Ingersoll Rand, has committed nearly $500,000 to expand its social sustainability program, We Move Food™.

This latest commitment catapults the program’s total giving to nearly $750,000 in just two years resulting in more than 5.7 million meals for people in need.

“Thermo King and our entire dealer network are passionate about finding innovative ways where we can do our part in helping to address hunger,“ said Ray Pittard, president of Thermo King. “The We Move Food program helps to build sustainable partnerships with hunger relief organizations enabling us to use our expertise, our time and our technology to build their transport refrigeration capacity so that they can increase the amount of fresh food they deliver, expand the communities that they serve and reach even more families in need.”

More than 23 million people in the United States live in areas where access to affordable and healthy food options is limited or nonexistent. And nearly half of those people are considered low income making it even more challenging to attain the nutrition necessary to live healthy and active lifestyles.  

“Transport refrigeration plays a critical role in addressing food insecurity. With the staggering amount of waste each year and the millions who are suffering, we know that producing more food is not the answer. We need to recover what would potentially be wasted and get that fresh food to the people in need. That’s literally what Thermo King and our dealer network does –  we move food,” said Pittard.

Ingersoll Rand and Thermo King employees from across the U.S. alongside employees from the Thermo King dealer network, which is nearly 200 strong and located in all major U.S. cities, are volunteering at mobile food pantries and food drives, reclaiming healthy food from retailers and restaurants, and working with community food banks to make their operations run more efficiently and effectively.  

Thermo King and Ingersoll Rand have a national relationship with Feeding America, a nationwide network of 200 food banks and the nation's leading domestic hunger-relief charity. Ingersoll Rand’s roots are grounded in addressing global trends like food stability, that impact the way that we live, work and move. As part of the company’s commitment to sustainability, it has set and is working toward achieving 2020 sustainability goals including supporting food stability and nutritional education to 200,000 children through signature programs like We Move Food. Ingersoll Rand has exceeded the goal, two years ahead of schedule.

# # #

About Ingersoll Rand and Thermo King

Ingersoll Rand (NYSE:IR) advances the quality of life by creating comfortable, sustainable and efficient environments. Our people and our family of brands — including Club Car®, Ingersoll Rand®, Thermo King® and Trane® — work together to enhance the quality and comfort of air in homes and buildings; transport and protect food and perishables; and increase industrial productivity and efficiency. The Ingersoll Rand charitable foundation centers on social and environmental imperatives that create lasting value and improve our communities globally.

Thermo King Corp. was founded in 1938 and manufactures transport temperature control systems for a variety of mobile applications, including trailers, truck bodies, buses, shipboard containers and railway cars. We are a $14 billion global business committed to a world of sustainable progress and enduring results. For more information, visit www.ingersollrand.com or www.thermoking.com.

Hundreds of Global Dolby Laboratories Employees Engage in Their Local Communities Through Annual Dolby Cares Day Campaign

Thu, 05/16/2019 - 9:34am

(GlobeNewswire) –Dolby Laboratories, Inc. (NYSE:DLB) employees and community partners participate in the annual Dolby Cares Day - the company's global volunteer effort spanning the US, Europe, and Asia-Pacific between April and June. This commitment to service is part of the Dolby Cares program, combining the company's unique intersection of art and science to inspire the next generation of innovators and address communities' most critical needs.

Since launching in 2014, Dolby Cares has experienced exponential growth, with over 5,600 volunteer hours and $3.1M in grants and matching gifts donated in Fiscal Year 2018. 

Photos captured here are of some of the volunteer events that have already happened in Wroclaw, Poland, and San Francisco, California.

About Dolby Laboratories

Dolby Laboratories (NYSE:DLB) is based in San Francisco with offices in over 20 countries around the globe. Dolby transforms the science of sight and sound into spectacular experiences. Through innovative research and engineering, we create breakthrough experiences for billions of people worldwide through a collaborative ecosystem spanning artists, businesses, and consumers. The experiences people have - with Dolby Cinema, Dolby Vision, Dolby Atmos, Dolby Voice, Dolby Dimension, and Dolby Audio - revolutionize entertainment and communications at the cinema, on the go, in the home, and at work. 

Dolby, Dolby Atmos, Dolby Audio, Dolby Cinema, Dolby Dimension, Dolby Vision, Dolby Voice, and the double-D symbol are among the registered and unregistered trademarks of Dolby Laboratories, Inc. in the United States and/or other countries. Other trademarks remain the property of their respective owners.

DLB-G

Media Contact:
Tony Carter
Dolby Laboratories
404-316-0201
tony.carter@dolby.com

Photos accompanying this announcement are available at

http://www.globenewswire.com/NewsRoom/AttachmentNg/415613b9-51a9-4f90-8ff5-ce39491bcdac

http://www.globenewswire.com/NewsRoom/AttachmentNg/11245c08-44f8-4966-bc63-bfff35976856

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http://www.globenewswire.com/NewsRoom/AttachmentNg/c17a356b-26d2-474b-bd9d-1abb0fb689b9

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The Consumer Goods Forum’s Global Summit: Industry Comes Together Seeking Growth Through New Retail Models to Satisfy New Consumer Needs

Thu, 05/16/2019 - 9:34am

The Consumer Goods Forum (CGF) is delighted to announce a prestigious roster of speakers for its 63rd Global Summit, to be hosted 11th-14th June 2019 in Vancouver, focusing on the theme ‘Growth Through New Retail’. 

Peter Freedman, Managing Director, The Consumer Goods Forum: “Our industry continues to face huge disruption, presenting challenges for existing players but also significant opportunities for growth. As part of their response, leading companies are building their strategies around a purpose beyond profit, responding to consumers’ desire to see companies as a force for good. Digital technologies are central to this reinvention of the industry. The Summit will play a key role in bringing together retailers, manufacturers and service providers to discuss these trends, share best practices and collaborate through the CGF’s working groups”.

The Global Summit brings together 1,000+ CEOs and C-level executives from 50+ countries. This year’s flagship, member-exclusive event will feature a packed agenda, where members will be able to hear from renowned experts in the industry. This year, the message is clear: companies need to look for new ways to collaborate, to reach customers and innovate in order to remain successful, relevant and competitive.

The opening keynote speech will be delivered by Canada’s Minister of Finance Bill Morneau, revealing that the challenges the industry faces today are too large for any one company, industry, or government to solve alone. Collaboration is absolutely essential to achieving positive, long-term change at scale, especially in today’s climate where issues such as environmental sustainability and consumer health require immediate action.

FMCG industry leaders - including Jean-Paul Agon, Chairman and CEO, L’Oréal; Sarah Davis, President, Loblaw; Alex Gorsky, Chairman of the Board and CEO, Johnson & Johnson; Max Koeune, President and CEO, McCain; Tina Lee, CEO, T&T Supermarket; Judith McKenna, President and CEO, Walmart International; Stefano Pessina, Executive Vice Chairman and CEO, Walgreens Boots Alliance; and Mark Schneider CEO, Nestlé -- will be coming together to discuss how ongoing disruption in the consumer goods industry is presenting exciting opportunities for growth. This year’s distinguished list of speakers also includes key players from start-ups and established players, industry outsiders and insiders, from developing and developed regions alike, promising a discussion focused on driving genuine change at every level of every business.

The Global Summit Special Sessions will provide delegates with valuable strategic overviews, trends, and insights on leading challenges facing the industry today. The sessions and speeches will link in with the Global Summit’s overarching theme, ‘Growth Through New Retail’. There are three key messages in particular that will run through the programme this year:

  • The continuing role of new technologies to rapidly reshape business models, particularly in the new Start-Ups Zone

  • The power of ‘purpose’ to inspire both consumers and employees

  • The importance of new forms of collaboration to achieve impact at scale

For the first time, the Global Summit welcomes the introduction of the Start-Ups Zone. Here, The Consumer Goods Forum is showcasing the very best start-ups looking to improve industry efficiency and take the technology world by storm. A few select start-ups - Catchpoint, Maistering, Punchh, TeakOrigin and WhyteSpyder - will present their visions of the future in a specially-designed area within the new and improved I-Zone.

The I-Zone is the place to be to learn more about the latest developments and retail trends. This year, the CGF is demonstrating an all-new, enhanced networking and exhibition area, allowing delegates to meet with fellow peers and to interact with leading companies in an experiential and interactive way. 

The Global Summit brings an unparalleled opportunity to network with CEOs from some of the world's most successful companies, and gain insights into the challenges faced by retailers, manufacturers and their service providers in the consumer goods industry. More: www.tcgfsummit.com

ENDS

About The Consumer Goods Forum

The Consumer Goods Forum (“CGF”) is a global, parity-based industry network that is driven by its members to encourage the global adoption of practices and standards that serves the consumer goods industry worldwide. It brings together the CEOs and senior management of some 400 retailers, manufacturers, service providers, and other stakeholders across 70 countries, and it reflects the diversity of the industry in geography, size, product category and format. Its member companies have combined sales of EUR 3.5 trillion and directly employ nearly 10 million people, with a further 90 million related jobs estimated along the value chain. It is governed by its Board of Directors, which comprises more than 50 manufacturer and retailer CEOs. For more information, please visit: www.theconsumergoodsforum.com.

For further information, please contact:

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

Grand Opening of Accessible Horticulture and Education Center at Overbrook School for the Blind

Thu, 05/16/2019 - 9:34am

Local officials will join Overbrook School for the Blind (OSB) students, staff, and Board of Trustees, for a ribbon cutting ceremony to celebrate the opening of the M. Christine Murphy Horticulture and Education Center - a LEED-Silver certified and planned Net Zero Energy greenhouse - on Friday, May 10 at 10 a.m.

The 1,780 square-foot adaptive and accessible building houses OSB’s award-winning Farm to Table program and horticulture therapy activities. The Center is named in memory of the late M. Christine Murphy, who was a former OSB Trustee, neighbor, and longtime friend of Overbrook School for the Blind. Construction, which cost more than $1 million to complete, was made possible in part by a generous memorial contribution from Murphy’s husband, and current OSB Board member, Sid Rosenblatt, as well as a grant of more than $200,000 from Green Mountain Energy Sun Club.

“The creation of the M. Christine Murphy Horticulture Education Center represents a tremendous opportunity for our students,” said Todd Reeves, Overbrook School for the Blind Executive Director/CEO. “Beyond the gardening, nutrition and health and wellness benefits, this project will no doubt amplify many long-term goals we seek to foster in our students, including vocational experiences, greater independence and the values of lifelong learning.” 

“Sid and his family are extraordinarily generous supporters of OSB’s highest priority - our students,” said Warwick S. Wheeler, Overbrook School for the Blind Board President. “We are deeply grateful for Sid’s longtime partnership and his exceptional support of this project.”  

“Overbrook was a place in Christine’s heart,” said Sid Rosenblatt, Overbrook School for the Blind Board Member and husband of late M. Christine Murphy. “She was forever telling people to go to campus to see the work that they do at the school. I know that this Center will improve the lives of OSB students in ways - gardening, horticulture therapy, employment training - that would make Christine proud. My family - David, Anna, Ruth and many of Chris’ family and friends - are honored to be able to support this project.”

A grant totaling $201,480 from Green Mountain Energy Sun Club provided the Center with a high-efficiency misting and irrigation system; manual solar shades that will balance the temperature in the greenhouse, and reduce the electric, heating and cooling costs; and a 50-kilowatt photovoltaic (PV) system which has been installed on the roof of OSB’s Nevil Field House.

“Green Mountain Energy Sun Club is honored to be a part of this project and to support the life-changing work of Overbrook School for the Blind,” said Mark Parsons, Green Mountain Energy vice-president and general manager. “We seek partners that share our goal of a more sustainable world, both for the environment and the community. Overbrook School for the Blind is one of those special organizations that enhances and educates the lives of the people it serves and makes Philadelphia a better place.”

During the PV system’s first year of production, it is expected to harness and distribute more than 85,000-kilowatt hours and, in the process, take a step towards the school’s goal of earning a Net Zero Energy Building certification for the Center.

“We are beyond fortunate to call the Sun Club a partner in this project,” said Reeves. “Many projects strive to include sustainable solutions, but often struggle. Thanks to the Sun Club’s generosity, our students will now benefit from hands-on learning experiences that have been infused with energy efficiency, resource conservation, and environmental stewardship. While we are striving for a Net Zero Energy Building designation, it is difficult to classify these student impacts as anything other than a net gain.”

Additional key supporters who made the project possible include: the Connelly Foundation, the McLean Contributionship, the Arcadia Foundation, the Jessie G. Roman Charitable Trust, the Philadelphia Foundation and the Howling Beagles Foundation.

About Overbrook School for the Blind
Since 1832, Overbrook School for the Blind (OSB) has developed and delivered education that enhances the options available for students with visual impairment and other challenges so that they have the greatest opportunity to experience active and fulfilling lives. Any child with blindness or visual impairment (20/70 or less, as corrected), is under 21 years of age, and is referred by his or her local school district, may be considered for admission to Overbook School for the Blind. In addition to a full academic program, OSB students receive special training and participate in different activities that are important to the development of children who are blind or visually impaired. This includes orientation and mobility, daily living skills, assistive technology, music, art, and a full sports program. Overbrook School for the Blind also serves children with deafblindness in all of its outreach and educational programs. For more information, visit www.obs.org.

About Green Mountain Energy Sun Club
The Green Mountain Energy Sun Club is a nonprofit organization committed to advancing sustainable communities. As a 501(c)(3) organization, the Sun Club® invests in nonprofits and focuses on projects related to renewable energy, energy efficiency, resource conservation and environmental stewardship. Since the program’s founding in 2002, the Sun Club has donated nearly $7 million to more than 110 nonprofit organizations across Texas and the Northeast. To learn more about the Sun Club or to apply for a Sun Club grant, visit gmesunclub.org.

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Press Contacts:
Gloria Yoshioka, Overbrook School for the Blind
Gloria@obs.org, 215-290-6405

Hunter Dodson, Green Mountain Energy Sun Club
hunter.dodson@greenmountain.com, 512-448-4950

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NHBSR's 2019 Spring Conference