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Social Enterprise Turns to Impact Investor to Help Bring Energy Efficiency to Low-income Communities

Mon, 10/30/2017 - 9:39pm

Bringing broad-based energy-efficiency, water conservation and renewable energy improvements to existing multifamily low-income housing is a daunting task. While state and utility incentives help in many cases, finding capital to pay the remaining costs has proven to be extremely difficult.

Finding a solution to this challenge has been multi-year journey for Jeff Greenberger, President of Affordable Community Energy Services (ACE), one of the few social enterprises working on this challenge. To do so, Greenberger is turning to a relatively new type of investor, through an equity crowdfunding campaign, to make it easier to obtain this capital, thereby multiplying his company’s impact. (You can visit www.startengine.com/affordablecommunityenergyservices)

The rise of crowdfunding and the social impact investor

Greenberger notes that in recent years, there have been a growing number of investors who look to support enterprises that contribute social or environmental benefits, while also providing solid financial returns.

“This funding source is particularly critical to social innovators now that the federal government is rolling back and deemphasizing its environmental and social safety net programs,” warns Greenberger.

Fortunately, beyond the institutional investor, large numbers of individuals are now getting into the act. This shift is driven in no small part by a 2016 ruling that allows individuals, by means of any number of crowdfunding platforms, to support a company’s mission through investments as low as $250 or less.

“Because we offer turnkey energy and water retrofits and renewable projects to owners of low-income housing—simultaneously benefiting low-income communities and the planet—we operate in a social impact sweet spot for some of these would-be investors,” says Greenberger. “And our performance to date makes us hopeful that our investors will be rewarded for supporting us.”

Investors to help fuel expansion of ACE’s impact

Greenberger has earmarked the funds he receives from investors for growing ACE’s reach. Currently, ACE is working with Mercy Housing, the nation’s largest non-profit providing affordable housing. Mercy Housing is planning to work with ACE throughout its portfolio affecting more than 152,000 low-income people in 41 states. While Mercy Housing is a significant provider, there are more than 5 million units of HUD-Assisted and LIHTC-supported housing across the country.

The urgency of bringing sustainability strategies to low-income communities

Every day, low-income housing facility owners are tasked with making ends meet n the face of limited subsidies, rising costs and aging facilities. With these challenges, stabilizing rents is an ongoing battle.

Because utility prices for electricity, gas and water aren’t predictable, these costs are particularly difficult to manage. Add to that, the fact that aging facilities become even less energy and water efficient every year, and the challenge is exacerbated.

Finally, utility rates in low-income communities are often already higher than those in other communities due to the aging and neglected utility infrastructures that are often found in poorer neighborhoods.

With all these pressures in play, it’s natural for low-income housing owners to wish for a thoughtful plan of energy efficiency and water conservation retrofits as a cost-control strategy that is common in other real estate sectors.

ACE has cracked the code with a business model that provides feasibility and audit, financing, design, implementation and management of sustainability projects for low-income housing.

The challenge now, is to expand the impact ACE is already making.

About ACE

ACE (Affordable Community Energy Services Company) is a mission-driven, for-profit social enterprise. ACE brings broad-based energy efficiency, water conservation and renewable energy improvements to the vastly under-served owners and residents of low-income housing. If you would like more information about this topic, please call Jeff Greenberger at 312-894-9523 or email jeff@affordablecommunityenergyservices.com.

If you’re interested in learning about becoming an investor, visit ACE’s crowdfunding page at www.startengine.com/affordablecommunityenergyservices.

The Positive RESULTS of Transformative Community Involvement™: 1.5 Years Into Implementation

Mon, 10/30/2017 - 12:38pm

Late in 2015, SeaLand set out to implement a community program that would be meaningful and impactful for the communities within which it operates.  With the support of The Collaboration Vector Inc., the company adopted a Transformative Community Involvement™ (TCI) approach.    TCI involves working with stakeholders, including employees and non-profits, to generate innovative solutions to societal challenges that also benefit business (1).  Employees are supported to lead efforts with non-profit partners and engage in transformative, goal-directed volunteering.  One of the key factors in the design of a sustainable transformative community program is the assessment of the business and societal impact. This allows evidence-based decision-making to guide program evolution. 

“Fast forward 1.5 years, we learned a great deal about the business and social impact that results from this approach”

People were developing inside and outside the office.  When SeaLand’s customer service team in Nicaragua designed and delivered a sales training program for a group of disenfranchised youth, both employee and youth leadership skills were developed.  The business impact included effective teamwork, a skill transferable to SeaLanders’ professional lives, while the social impact included factors such as inspiring a child to persevere in school and an employee to become more engaged with his or her community. 

SeaLand quickly discovered that employees develop through purpose-filled activities effectively and happily and that these activities serve as interesting alternatives to traditional training and team building approaches.  Employees involved with the program had higher engagement scores.  There was a strong positive correlation between top talent and the willingness and enthusiasm to engage with community.  Employees with a higher sense of purpose had higher energy and a sharpened ability to problem-solve.   ​

"Those attracted to working with the community over the long-term and to leading others in doing the same demonstrated more effective skillsets and traits in the work environment"

SeaLand’s business and social impact results keep improving as the program matures, as more and more employees become actively involved, build confidence and develop deeper understanding.  1.5 years into the program, Quarter 3 2017 business impact measures are inspiring, with 100% of actively involved volunteer respondents agreeing that the program contributes to a positive company culture, 92% that it developed their problem-solving abilities,  96% their creative abilities, and 100% their team-building skills.  

As this happens, there are “spillover” effects to the social impact side of the equation.   For example, 100% of employees reported being inspired to volunteer and 96% to also encourage others to do so.  In Panama, the majority of employees participating in the newly implemented office recycling program (partnership with non-profit) reported that it not only prompted them to begin recycling (95%) but also to recycle outside the office (76%) and to encourage community recycling (66%). 

“Integral to this approach is impact measurement and evidence-based decision-making. Taking a step-by-step approach towards this helped us become more efficient at understanding our impact”

Investor tendencies to recognize, share and reward large scale initiatives create a perception that successful transformative partnerships happen on a large scale from the outset.  This belief can be a non-starter for both business and non-profit organizations for whom impact measurement at this scale is often cost-prohibitive, especially when ROI has yet to be determined.  When it comes to community investment, a step-by-step approach to impact measurement is palatable, mimics grassroots transformation, and when well-designed, each step in the journey enables the next one by demonstrating collective value.    

For example, in Panama, a scalable solution emerged as a result of measuring the  business, social, and environmental impact of SeaLand’s community partnership project on a pilot basis (3).  SeaLand and non-profit partner Fundación Costa Recicla demonstrated early positive impact across-the-board of a newly implemented office recycling program (3).  That enabled Costa Recicla to attract more funding from an additional corporate partner in order to implement the program in a neighbouring office building.  So began the partners’ transformative journey in Panama – in a small yet strategic way.

In other cases such as Mexico and Dominican Republic, SeaLand’s partnering organizations have  provisions in place for routinely measuring and reporting on social impact in a pre-packaged offer to corporate partners that allows partners to link impact to their investment.  SeaLand’s partner in Mexico routinely establishes baseline parameters and measures these pre- and post- implementation of its quality education improvement programs.  The non-profit invites all participating schools to an annual benchmarking event where results are shared and best practices are reinforced. 

The approach progresses methodically and moves stakeholders away from entertaining siloed debates about who will pay for impact studies towards situations in which a logical investor may emerge as a result of a compelling value proposition.  

“We understood that there wasn’t a one-size fits all solution to measuring impact if we were to allow our employee-led innovations to unravel unhindered”

In certain cases, impact was measured, while in others, the stage was set for social progress and eventual impact measurement.  To explore the whole picture, TCV used an arsenal of qualitative and quantitative research methodologies that were both rigorous and pragmatic.   The company focused on impact as it relates to the bigger picture and on research that uncovers value early on for multiple stakeholders and for communities.   

TCV’s tracking and reporting mechanism integrates the activities of SeaLand’s program and includes provisions to capture the innovation that is being generated as a result of meaningful multi-sector collaboration.   In addition to capturing pure metrics that are necessary for decision-making, such as employee volunteer hours on the business side for example, and estimated number of community members reached, a fuller picture is painted, referred to by TCV as the Impact Set. 

As it builds, the data is allowing SeaLand to engage with stakeholders in a conversation that is of growing interest.  Evidence is mounting that an increasingly astute audience of consumers, business partners and investors is more likely to read and proliferate a message through social media such as  “91% of the 71 participants in our office recycling program said that the training they received raised their awareness of the need to take climate action”  compared to a message that says, “71 people participated in our office recycling program”.  

On the business impact side, it is more relevant for a company to understand the impact of a specific skill that was learned in the community, such as leadership, and the extent to which that skill is transferable to the workplace than it is to receive a blanket employee satisfaction score. SeaLand’s community leaders are identifying multiple skills sets learned in the community that they transferred to the workplace. 

“Very importantly, we learned that there is as much to be gained for business and society in the process of measuring the impact of community investment as in the ultimate outcome measure.”

The process of laying a foundation for impact measurement at the outset of a transformative community program and in embedding this foundation into the core of the company and the mindset of its employees is invaluable.  The practice develops critical thinking, deeper reflection, and perseverance in problem-solving.   

Instilling approaches and processes that set the stage for impact measurement ultimately allows corporations to deliver known value to communities through a better understanding of the (often intertwined) business and social impact of their involvement.  It allows for evidence-based decision-making in relation to investment or divestment in specific non-profit projects, and steers partners away from transactional interventions towards ones that promote engagement in broader, transformative initiatives. 

It allows for differentiated, outcomes-based communications that stand a better chance of being proliferated, enabling further progress.  Finally, it spurs innovation by lending credibility to an entire realm of products and services delivered directly to the grassroots and increases the likelihood that non-profits can then compete for investment alongside more traditional suppliers in key social sectors. 

Contact sabrina@thecollaborationvector.com for the complete results in an interactive presentation format. 

SeaLand, a differentiated ocean carrier in the Americas,  was finalist and received a “highly commended” distinction in Ethical Corporation’s 2017 global award competition for responsible business, category “Employee Engagement of the Year”. The company was conceived  to  join  businesses on their  journey  to  new  markets  and new success.  SeaLand’s tagline says it all, Vamos Juntos!  "We go with you." And with that, each and every SeaLander has a can-do  spirit born of the belief that SeaLand is in it with its invested stakeholders and community partners.  SeaLand is committed to extending this philosophy beyond the doors of the organization and into the communities within  which it  operates.  The company is integrating community involvement into its core business and seeking to multiply impact through partnerships, collaborations, and stakeholder engagement. https://www.sealand.com/

The Collaboration Vector Inc. (TCV) is a next generation strategy and service firm and originator of the Transformative Community Involvement™ approach.  The company offers transformative employee involvement programs, proactive stakeholder engagement, transformative partnership designs, partnership facilitation, and impact measurement, reporting and communications.   TCV has a team of strategists, business professionals, and researchers in health and wellness, economic growth, education, poverty reduction, entrepreneurship, leadership and climate action.  The company works with clients in the private, non-profit, and public sectors. https://www.thecollaborationvector.com/;

Contact: sabrina@thecollaborationvector.com 

(1) El-Chibini, S.  Transformative Community Involvement – What it Means, What it Takes, What it Gives.  https://www.thecollaborationvector.com/single-post/2016/09/06/Transformative-Community-Involvement-What-it-Means-What-it-Takes-What-it-Gives

(2) Kharatidi D. & El-Chibini S., Putting an End to Dismal Employee Engagement – How Community Helps. 

(3) McCormick, J. & El-Chibini S.  How Costa Recicla and SeaLand Boosted Recycling in Panama: A Case Study of Business, Social & Environmental Impact. https://www.thecollaborationvector.com/single-post/2017/06/09/How-Costa-Recicla-and-SeaLand-Boosted-Recycling-in-Panama-A-Case-Study-of-Business-Social-Environmental-Impact.

©The Collaboration Vector Inc. 2017.  All Rights Reserved.

The Aetna Foundation Helps Improve the Health of 25 Communities Nationwide Through More Than $2 Million in Grants

Mon, 10/30/2017 - 9:37am

Approximately 60 percent of a person’s life expectancy is driven by factors outside of the doctor’s office – our individual behaviors, as well as social and environmental factors[1]. As part of its continued effort to address social determinants of health, the Aetna Foundation announced today more than $2 million in grants to 25 nonprofit organizations across the U.S., as part of its Cultivating Healthy Communities initiative.

Grants from the Cultivating Healthy Communities initiative support organizations working to address social determinants of health, like access to healthy food and safe places to play. These grants are being made at a time when more than 42 million individuals in the United States live with food insecurity[2] and one out of three adults is obese, putting them at risk for heart disease, stroke and type two diabetes[3]. 

“Building a healthier world starts at the grassroots level, in communities committed to making a difference,” said Mark Bertolini, the chairman of the Aetna Foundation and the chairman and CEO of Aetna. “This year’s Cultivating Healthy Communities grantees are designing local solutions to local problems, and striving to improve the health of their communities.”   

Bertolini will discuss the Cultivating Healthy Communities initiative as part of his keynote session on November 2 at the U.S. News and World Report Healthcare of Tomorrow forum in Washington, D.C. His conversation with Brian Kelly, U.S. News editor and chief content officer, will begin at approximately 1:45 p.m. Eastern. More information on the conference is available at www.usnewshot.com.

A key focus of the Cultivating Healthy Communities grants will be expanding access to spaces that promote active living and healthy eating. Nearly $1 million will support projects that will enhance the physical spaces people use in their everyday lives, such as routes for walking and biking, and the retail spaces or gardens that bring fresh foods to communities without easy access to grocery stores. The lack of sidewalks, bike paths and recreational areas in some communities discourages physical activity and contributes to obesity[4]. Not only are people in low-income and minority neighborhoods more likely to live in food deserts, they also have fewer recreational facilities than wealthier and predominantly white communities, a factor that may contribute to ethnic and socioeconomic disparities in obesity rates[5].

In addition, minority groups are more at-risk for exposure to unhealthy air conditions. African-Americans, Latinos and Asians are the most likely to live in communities that are heavily affected by pollution and environmental hazards such as high concentrations of pesticides[6]. A total investment of $300,000 will support projects that are focused on reversing air quality disparities and decreasing exposure to dangerous chemicals.

Since 2016, the Aetna Foundation has awarded more than $4 million in grants through Cultivating Healthy Communities, which is a key part of the Foundation’s overall multimillion-dollar commitment to building a healthier world, community by community. 

This year, grants have been awarded to the following programs:

Organization

Project Description

State Served

City of Phoenix Housing Department

Affordable bike-sharing for low-income residents who live and work in the Edison-Eastlake Community in Phoenix

Arizona

Friends of Public Radio of Arizona

Digital media bullying and cyberbullying prevention campaign

Arizona

Rich City Rides

 

Free bikes, educational workshops and ride celebrations to Oakland-area residents

California

Institute for Community Research

Leadership development for urban teens engaged in creating new options for accessing fresh foods in their communities

Connecticut

Jack & Jill Children's Center

Stress management, healthy eating and financially sound decision-making in a predominantly African-American neighborhood in Fort Lauderdale

Florida

Alachua County Board of County Commissioners - Department of Court Services

Healthy lifestyle and gardening workshops for incarcerated individuals participating in a work release program

Florida

University of Florida/IFAS Extension Clay County 4-H

Hands on urban-agricultural experience for Clay County youth

Florida

Miami Children's Museum

Ten classes modeling nutrition and wellness strategies for 100 low-income families that have children in Head Start or Early Head Start

Florida

East Central Florida Regional Planning Council

Urban agriculture and bike repair activities to teach healthy life and vocational skills to Holden Heights residents in Orlando

Florida

Farmworker Association of Florida

Educational program focusing on chemical-free farming via community gardens in Florida, New Jersey, and Washington state

Florida

Concordia Place

Nutrition and youth employment program for low-income Chicago teenagers

Illinois

Boston Public Health Commission

Technical assistance and training for Boston’s hair and nail salons, auto shops to prevent pollution and chemical exposures

Massachusetts

 

BikeWalkKC

 

Leadership training to improve community health, for a large focus on increasing walking and biking

 

Missouri

Hopeworks ‘N Camden Inc

Youth-driven program highlighting and encouraging use of community resources for Camden residents through a custom app designed by youth

New Jersey

First Nations Development Institute

Connecting tribal food retailers with suppliers from Native-owned local farms to increasing Native families’ access to fresh foods

New Mexico

The Doe Fund

Access to healthy foods in disadvantaged communities and food deserts in Brooklyn

New York

Bountiful Cities

Three organizations joining to improve food security through educational programs in Asheville and Buncombe County

North Carolina

Centralina Council of Governments

Improvement of Charlotte’s dangerous road conditions through on-the-ground demonstrations of cost-effective traffic calming measures

North Carolina

Guilford Child Development

Two generation integrated service system teaching families about self-sufficiency

North Carolina

Clean Air Council

Resident-led program to improve air quality in Philadelphia’s Kensington neighborhood

Pennsylvania

John Bartram Association

Utilization of 45-acre river garden in Southwest Philadelphia to encourage active lifestyles and promote healthy eating

Pennsylvania

The SAFE Alliance

(SAFE | Stop Abuse For Everyone)

Safe and healthy relationships workshops for youth

Texas

It’s Time Texas

Revamping of low-use public spaces into locales for fitness classes and walking groups for people of all ages in high-need neighborhoods

Texas

University of Houston Foundation

Program to engage high-risk African-American and Latino youth in mindful eating and exercise

Texas

Migrant Clinicians Network

Program to teach migrant farmworker families about how to decrease their and their children’s exposure to harmful pesticides

Virginia

 

About The Aetna Foundation

The Aetna Foundation is the independent charitable and philanthropic arm of Aetna (NYSE:AET). As a national health foundation, we promote wellness, health, and access to high-quality health care for everyone. This work is enhanced by the time and commitment of Aetna employees, who volunteered 430,000 hours in 2016 alone. For more information, visit www.aetna-foundation.org.

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[1] Kaiser Family Foundation: “Beyond Health Care: The Role of Social Determinants in Promoting Health and Health Equity.” https://www.kff.org/disparities-policy/issue-brief/beyond-health-care-the-role-of-social-determinants-in-promoting-health-and-health-equity/

[2] Feeding America: “Poverty and hunger in America”. http://www.feedingamerica.org/hunger-in-america/hunger-and-poverty-facts.html?referrer=https://www.google.com/

[3] Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: “Adult Obesity Facts”. https://www.cdc.gov/obesity/data/adult.html

[4] National Institutes of Health: “Obesity, physical activity, and the urban environment: public health research needs”. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1586006/

[5] Harvard School of Public Health: “Environmental Barriers to Activity”. https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/obesity-prevention-source/obesity-causes/physical-activity-environment/

[6] Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: “CDC Health Disparities and Inequalities Report – United States, 2013”. https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/pdf/other/su6203.pdf

Wesley Community Center Increases Local Impact with $150,000 Grant from Green Mountain Energy Sun Club

Mon, 10/30/2017 - 9:37am

 Wesley Community Center is increasing its capacity to support more Houstonians with the help of a sustainability grant from the Green Mountain Energy Sun Club. The Sun Club selected Wesley to receive $150,000 for solar power, energy efficiency upgrades and resource conservation for its community center and food pantry facilities. Expected energy savings made possible by the sustainability improvements will have the potential to help Wesley provide an additional 6,000 meals each year.

“The Green Mountain Energy Sun Club is helping organizations that are making a real difference in our community to become more sustainable,” said Mark Parsons, president of Green Mountain Energy Sun Club. “Wesley Community Center focuses on strengthening local communities by directly supporting the people who live there. We’re proud to help them improve the lives of even more Houstonians.”

The sustainability grant from the Sun Club is funding a 12-kilowatt solar array, new high-efficiency air conditioning units and windows, LED lighting and spray foam insulation. Wesley’s community garden is also being equipped with a smart sprinkler system. The sustainability and energy efficiency upgrades will help reduce the nonprofit’s electricity and water usage, allowing the money saved to provide additional services for infants, children, adults and seniors seeking financial stability and a better life. 

“On behalf of the staff and clients of Wesley, I want to thank the Green Mountain Energy Sun Club for this generous gift in support of our mission,” said Linda Flores Olson, president and CEO of Wesley Community Center. “Not only will these improvements help us reduce our environmental footprint, every penny we save will go directly to helping the individuals and families we serve, allowing us to further strengthen families and build neighborhoods.”

Serving the Northside neighborhood of Houston, Wesley engages children, families and seniors with a comprehensive array of programs and services along the circle of life – from early childhood education and out-of-school elementary and youth development programming to senior and social services and emergency assistance. By empowering individuals, Wesley creates opportunities for them to help themselves.

The Sun Club also works to empower others through solar and sustainability projects. To date, more than $6.5 million has been donated to nearly 100 nonprofits in Texas and the Northeast. To learn more about the Sun Club and how to nominate a worthy nonprofit like Wesley for a sustainability grant, visit gmesunclub.org.

About Green Mountain Energy Sun Club

The Green Mountain Energy Sun Club is a nonprofit organization advancing sustainability for people and our planet by investing in communities in Texas and the Northeast. Since the program’s founding in 2002, the Sun Club® has donated more than $6.5 million to nearly 100 nonprofit organizations. As a 501 (c)(3) organization, the Sun Club focuses on projects related to renewable energy, energy efficiency and resource conservation. Contributions to the Sun Club come from Green Mountain Energy’s residential customers in Texas, as well as from Green Mountain, its employees and other Sun Club supporters. To learn more about the Sun Club, please visit gmesunclub.org.

About Wesley Community Center

Since 1904, Wesley Community Center has been committed to improving the quality of life for the community it serves, providing an array of programs which include early childhood education, out-of-school elementary and youth programming, senior and social services, and economic development services dedicated to helping low-income families achieve and maintain financial self-sufficiency and move up the economic ladder.

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SmartSimple Unveils Most Flexible Corporate Giving Solution on the Market

Mon, 10/30/2017 - 9:37am

 SmartSimple Software Ltd. (“SmartSimple”), a global leader in cloud-based automation software, today announced the launch of SmartSimple Corporate Giving, an enterprise-ready solution for powering philanthropic initiatives.

From foundation and community granting, to in-kind donations, disaster relief, and sponsorships, SmartSimple Corporate Giving equips corporate social responsibility (CSR) professionals with powerful features to address some of the world’s most pressing issues.

SmartSimple already works with 13 of the largest Fortune 500 companies who utilize SmartSimple’s technology platform for a variety of process needs, including managing their corporate philanthropy programs. The official launch of a dedicated corporate giving solution marks the company’s formalized approach to providing solutions that cater to the corporate market specifically.

“Many of our existing corporate clients found their way to us based on our work in the philanthropic space. We’ve always had a strong posture in the corporate market because of our flexibility, functionality, and security,” said Mike Reid, COO and Co-founder of SmartSimple.

“Development of our new Corporate Giving solution is a direct response to the market that’s indicated to us that they’re looking for a flexible, robust, all-in-one corporate giving solution that’s difficult to find today.”

SmartSimple Corporate Giving’s unique feature set include:

  • Ability to manage any corporate giving program type, all under one roof

  • Support for every currency and language

  • Role and attribute-based portals configurable to any unique requirement for any number of stakeholder groups

  • Robust reporting capabilities and interactive visualization options that demonstrate the true impact of giving efforts

SmartSimple complies with some of the industry’s most stringent standards and retains SOC 1 and SOC 2 certifications. It is also compliant with the standards for PCI DSS Level 3 and FIPS 140-2 encryption.

For more information about SmartSimple Corporate Giving, or to request a demonstration, visit www.smartsimple.com/corporate-giving.html.

About SmartSimple
SmartSimple Software Ltd. (“SmartSimple”) is a global leader in online Corporate Giving and Employee Engagement solutions. Its flexible software transforms how enterprises manage, track, and measure the full impact of their CSR programs. 

Pushing the limits on the most complex process challenges in corporate responsibility, SmartSimple delivers innovative, client centric solutions that strengthen their triple bottom-line. 

SmartSimple's technology supports 13 of the largest Fortune 500 brands, foundations, and government agencies globally. With offices in New York, Toronto, and Dublin, SmartSimple connects over 90,000 active monthly users in more than 192 countries. 

SmartSimple maintains compliance certifications for SOC 1, SOC 2 plus standards for PCI DSS Level 3 and FIPS 140-2 encryption. For more information, or to request a live demonstration, visit www.smartsimple.com

Sustainable Brands Allures Global Brand Leaders to Copenhagen Conference

Mon, 10/30/2017 - 9:37am

 Sustainable Brands® kicks off its pan-European conference SB’17 Copenhagen today at the Radisson Blu Scandinavia Hotel in Copenhagen, Denmark. Over 350 business executives from 25+ countries are convening today to continue the conversation on Redefining the Good Life, or how business can meet evolving consumer demands and continue to deliver value for their customers.

More than 100 influential brand leaders and practitioners of social and environmental innovation are sharing disruptive business strategies, tools and frameworks for understanding, quantifying or responding to shifts in consumer attitudes towards The Good Life.

Full program highlights include:

  • Long Run Works leads a deep dive studio sharing their unique storytelling methodology that leverages the ‘hero’s journey’ to share business successes.    

  • The Finnish Innovation Fund convenes a research roundtable to explore what The Good Life means to consumers, and how they imagine brands can help take them there.

  • The UN Global Compact Nordic Network, Chr. Hansen and PwC host the ‘Good Global Goals’ Innovation Lab to discuss best-practices for reporting progress on the UN Global Goals.

  • Radley Yeldar facilitates a breakout session on creating a new visual language for sustainability and explore how brands can depict sustainability and “The Good Life” in a way that resonates with their consumers.

  • Ørsted, previously known as DONG Energy, shares the latest big reveal from the energy company as they shift from a fossil fuel intensive business to a renewable energy giant.

  • Unilever and Oxfam discuss lessons learned through their groundbreaking partnership to tackle gender and inequality.

  • Ikea Switzerland and EDGE Certified Foundation outline how top brands can leverage the EDGE certification process to measure and advance gender equality in the workplace.

  • Everycs delivers the first ever ‘public’ demonstration of the largest data and tools platform for product sustainability.

  • Quantis presents on the engagement tools, communication strategies and metrics necessary to get clear buy-in on your sustainability initiatives.

  • Ecofys hosts a lunch presentation on achieving global sustainability goals by extending science-based targets along the entire value chain. 

Networking and collaboration activities continue in the Activation Hub at SB’17 Copenhagen where attendees are gathering to cultivate conversation around complex problems in the market sectors of mobility, packaging, homes, chemistry, energy, cities, food and supply chain. The Activation Hub pavilion activities at SB’17 Copenhagen include:

  • A Good Homes pavilion, hosted by SC Johnson, addresses the opportunities and challenges for leadership in product transparency.

  • A Good Energy pavilion, facilitated by Natalia Gorina of South Pole Group, explores the political and economic systems that work in tandem with energy production and the barriers as renewable energy goes mainstream.

  • A Good Packaging pavilion, facilitated by Jenny Andersson of The Earthkind Company, shares innovative designs and circular principles for reducing packaging materials.

  • A Good Food pavilion, facilitated by LEADx, discusses the shifting tides of global food systems and how to influence consumer preferences for more sustainably grown food.

In addition to the co-creative Activation Lab sessions, attendees are invited to a series of special conference events. Ørsted (formerly known as DONG Energy) brings attendees to the Ørsted Avedøre Power Station, a power plant that was recently converted to run entirely on sustainable biomass instead of coal. Carlsberg features a tour of their Copenhagen brewery as well as an evening reception for conference attendees and Max Burgers hosts a lunchtime tasting of its vegan burgers. 

Sustainable Brands is proud to recognize BASF, Ørsted (formerly known as DONG Energy), Ecofys, SC Johnson, Quantis, The Carlsberg Group, Chr. Hansen, PwC, the UN Global Compact Nordic Network and 599 Labs as Major Sponsors for SB’17 Copenhagen. Supporting sponsors include Nature Bank, South Pole Group, everycs and Trucost. Additional sponsors and partners include: Ecosphere+, Plastic Bank, Scouts, CSR.dk, brandchannel, D&AD, SustainAbility, treedom, dopper, Terracycle, FIBS, and Business in the Community, among others. 

For a complete list of sponsors and speakers as well as the conference schedule, please visit the conference website at www.SB17Copenhagen.com. Registration is still available and tickets can be purchase onsite at the Radisson Blu Scandinavia Hotel. 

About Sustainable Brands
Sustainable Brands® is the premier global community of brand innovators who are shaping the future of commerce worldwide. Since 2006, our mission has been to inspire, engage and equip today’s business and brand leaders to prosper for the near and long term by leading the way to a better future. Digitally published news articles and issues-focused conversation topics, internationally known conferences and regional events, a robust e-learning library and peer-to-peer membership groups all facilitate community learning and engagement throughout the year. Sustainable Brands is a division of Sustainable Life Media, headquartered in San Francisco, CA.

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SC Johnson Leading Discussion on Transparency and Earning Consumer Trust

Mon, 10/30/2017 - 12:36am

As consumers continue to lose trust in business*, companies are being held to higher standards for disclosing the ingredients in their products. Building on its legacy and leadership in ingredient transparency, SC Johnson will come together with a panel of experts from Harvard University, GlobeScan, Marks and Spencer plc and Edie.net for an interactive discussion on the opportunities and challenges for transparency and how it affects consumer trust. The open dialogue will take place Tuesday, Oct. 31, in the Good Homes Innovation Lab at the 2017 Sustainable Brands conference in Copenhagen, Denmark.

“We believe that transparency is a critical way to earn consumer trust,” said Kelly M. Semrau, Senior Vice President – Global Corporate Affairs, Communication and Sustainability at SC Johnson. “Research, and our conversations with consumers and stakeholders around the world, show a clear and growing desire for companies to provide more information about what goes into their products and why. We go beyond what is required and make this information available because it’s the right thing to do.”

In line with insights being seen across other parts of the world, a recent survey** conducted by SC Johnson found that 85 percent of Nordic consumers believe that household cleaning product companies should disclose more about the ingredients in their products. The survey also revealed that 58 percent conduct their household cleaning product research while they are shopping, underscoring the need for companies to make the information easily accessible via mobile devices.

SC Johnson has undertaken several initiatives globally to provide more and more information on the ingredients in its products – from where and how they are used to allergens that may occur. The company’s transparency website, WhatsInsideSCJohnson.com, lists easy-to-access and easy-to-understand information for more than 5,300 SC Johnson products sold in 52 countries worldwide.

SC Johnson Transparency Journey

SC Johnson began its transparency journey by launching its WhatsInsideSCJohnson.com ingredient website in 2009. The website offers consumers unparalleled access to a comprehensive list of product ingredients for such iconic brands as Glade®, Pledge®, OFF!®, Raid®, Windex®, Mr Muscle®, Scrubbing Bubbles®, and Ziploc®.

In 2012, it added a comprehensive list of fragrance ingredients used in its products. The SC Johnson Exclusive Fragrance Palette excludes about 2,400 ingredients that don’t meet the company’s high standards even though they meet industry standards and are legal in commerce. 

In 2015, working closely with fragrance houses, SC Johnson added to its website product-specific fragrance disclosure. Consumers with questions can find on WhatsInsideSCJohnson.com the list of fragrances in individual SC Johnson products, across its categories. In 2016, the company expanded its disclosure program to Europe. In 2017, the program rolled out across Asia with Latin America to follow next year. 

In 2017, SC Johnson broke additional ground announcing its plans to disclose, on a product-specific basis, the presence of 368 skin allergens that may occur in its products. The list of these allergens has already been published on WhatsInsideSCJohnson.com, and by 2018, the site will list the allergens when contained in a product.

The recent survey** conducted by SC Johnson of more than 1,000 people across Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden found that 88 percent would like to know the list of allergens in their household cleaning products, information that SC Johnson is already providing. With this initiative, the company goes well above and beyond regulatory and industry standards, including those in the European Union, when it comes to allergen disclosure.

SC Johnson at Sustainable Brands Copenhagen

For those attending the Sustainable Brands conference in Copenhagen, SC Johnson and thought leaders, including a panel of experts, will come together in an interactive and engaging discussion on the opportunities and challenges for leadership in transparency. The session, which is part of the conference’s Good Homes Innovation Lab, will take place in the Norway Room at the Radisson Blu Scandinavia Hotel Tuesday, Oct. 31, from 2 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. During the session, SC Johnson will discuss results from their recent consumer survey.

About SC Johnson

SC Johnson is a family company dedicated to innovative, high-quality products, excellence in the workplace and a long-term commitment to the environment and the communities in which it operates. Based in the USA, the company is one of the world's leading manufacturers of household cleaning products and products for home storage, air care, pest control and shoe care, as well as professional products. It markets such well-known brands as GLADE®, KIWI®, OFF!®, PLEDGE®, RAID®, SCRUBBING BUBBLES®, SHOUT®, WINDEX® and ZIPLOC® in the U.S. and beyond, with brands marketed outside the U.S. including AUTAN®, TANA®, BAMA®, BAYGON®, BRISE®, KABIKILLER®, KLEAR®, MR MUSCLE® and RIDSECT®. The 131-year-old company, which generates $10 billion in sales, employs approximately 13,000 people globally and sells products in virtually every country around the world. www.scjohnson.com

About Sustainable Brands

Sustainable Brands® is the premier global community of brand innovators who are shaping the future of commerce worldwide. Since 2006, our mission has been to inspire, engage and equip today’s business and brand leaders to prosper for the near and long term by leading the way to a better future. Digitally published news articles and issues-focused conversation topics, internationally known conferences and regional events, a robust e-learning library and peer-to-peer membership groups all facilitate community learning and engagement throughout the year. Sustainable Brands is hosted by Sustainable Brands Worldwide, a division of Sustainable Life Media headquartered in San Francisco, CA.

*2017 Edelman Trust Barometer study:  https://www.edelman.com/news/2017-edelman-trust-barometer-reveals-global-implosion/

**SC Johnson commissioned Edelman Intelligence to conduct an online survey of adults across four Nordic countries: Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden. This survey was fielded between September 12-27, 2017. The margin of error for this study (n=1,002) is +/-3.1% at the 95% confidence level.

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