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Hawaii Brewery—Building Community One Pint at a Time

Thu, 04/19/2018 - 7:41pm

After the successful launch of their Hawaii County brewery and taproom in December, 2017, Ola Brew Co. announces a round-two equity raise of $200,000 to add an onsite restaurant and double brewing capacity for beer and ciders. The restaurant will serve food made from locally grown ingredients and the expanded brewing capacity will help Ola Brew keep up with local demand, which has quickly exceeded expectations. The offering—now live on the WeFunder crowdfunding platform—is made possible by the recent JOBS Act which, allows local investors to buy equity in new growing businesses.

Only two months after opening doors, Ola Brew Co. is quickly becoming the must see/must taste destination for visitors and local residents, alike. The draw—Ola Brew is Hawai’i’s first production brewery to specialize in both beer and cider made with island-grown ingredients.

Demand for Local Craft

While the rise of micro-breweries and micro distilleries nationwide continues to grow steadily, the cider industry is seeing a clear boom and a demand for more flavors and new styles of cider—and Hawaii is no exception. Since closing their first equity crowdfunding campaign in May, 2017, the Ola Brew Co team has been hard at work, bringing a new facility to life and perfecting brew recipes for their grand opening in December 2017. Since December, the team has exceeded projections in their taproom with  retail partners across Hawai’i Island; Ola Brew has also partnered with Paradise Beverage, Hawai’i’s largest beer distributor for statewide distribution of canned beer sales.

Facility and License

Ola Brew Co. is second to Maui Brew Co. to acquire a Hawaii Class 18 Liquor License—allowing them to produce beer, wine, and spirits. In 2017, Ola brew transformed an ordinary warehouse into a state-of-the-industry production facility and taproom. The facility’s current brew capacity is 6000 barrels per year and is equipped with a full canning and production line, which allows Ola Brew to share craft brews with the entire state.

Dedication to Community

Using a triple bottom line business approach, Ola Brew defines success by positively impacting the island’s economy, the environment, and its people. Director of Marketing and Community Engagement, Naehalani Breeland says, “last year we purchased over $60,000 in local fruits to prepare for this year’s production. This year we plan to triple that.” 

Stakeholder Owned

The recent authorization of the Jumpstart Our Business Startups (JOBS) Act—signed into law May 16, 2016— allows and encourages small businesses and entrepreneurs to raise capital from their trusted community rather than seeking tethered and unfamiliar angel investments.  Wefunder, Nick Tommarello says, “Everyone should have the right to invest in what they truly care about, and the people who care should have a say where the capital gets distributed.” So far, the JOBS Act has allowed hundreds of small businesses and individual investors to benefit.

Since the JOBS Act regulations were implemented, many small businesses across the US are adopting this model of fundraising. “We decided to utilize the WeFunder platform for a number of reasons,” says Brett Jacobson, CEO/Founder of Ola Brew Co.  Wefunder’s mission is to increase economic growth and lower wealth disparity, by sharing the rewards of capitalism more broadly, which directly relates to the goals at Ola Brew Co. Jacobson, also the founding CEO of local beverage company, Hawaiian Ola, has had a long-standing passion for supporting Hawaii’s agriculture and economy by empowering local farmers producing responsibly grown crops. “Rather than isolating community stakeholders,” says Jacobson, “we want to work with shoppers by making them shareholders of everything we do.”

The Big Picture

Ola Brew Co. set out to raise $2.9M—to date the brewery has raised $2.2M, of which $500K was raised from their first equity crowdfunding raise that closed last April and was used to fund the initial build out, purchasing tanks and production equipment, and construction to upgrade building infrastructure. 


About Ola Brew Co.:
 Ola Brew Co. is Hawaii’s first locally sourced and locally produced beer and cider company combined. The team is comprised of the seasoned beverage industry peeps that brought you the Hawaiian Ola Beverage Company. Ola Brew Co. supports farmers growing responsibly grown tropical fruits, and is passionate about creating great tasting beers and ciders, which provides shoppers a local alternative to imported brews.

For more information, please contact:

Naehalani Breeland, President/Director of Marketing

Bristol-Myers Squibb Named One of America’s 2018 “Best-of-the-Best” Corporations for Inclusion by National Business Inclusion Consortium

Thu, 04/19/2018 - 4:41pm

The National LGBT Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC), the business voice of the LGBT community, in collaboration with its partners in the National Business Inclusion Consortium (NBIC), has named Bristol-Myers Squibb to its annual Best-of-the-Best list of corporations in America committed to diversity and inclusion across all communities for a third consecutive year. 

“The Best-of-the-Best designation honors corporations for their commitment to America’s diverse employees and business owners, which includes LGBT, people of color, women, and people with disabilities,” said NGLCC Co-Founder and President Justin Nelson. “This designation is highly competitive and is bestowed only to corporations that we see constantly striving to strengthen and celebrate diversity. These corporations being honored are true leaders in ongoing global commitments to create a better future for all diverse communities in business.”

“It is such an honor to receive this award for the third time. It’s a testament to our continued commitment to the inclusive nature of our approach at work every day. Our strategic programs, coupled with passion and energy from each of our team members, make sure we are successful not just within the company, but also for our patients, and in our communities as well,” said Farryn Melton, chief procurement officer and member of Bristol-Myers Squibb's Global D&I Council. “From increasing spend with diverse suppliers in our global supplier diversity program, to promoting growth within our People Business Resource Groups (PBRG), Bristol-Myers Squibb continues to do great work within diversity and inclusion.”

NGLCC formed the National Business Inclusion Consortium in 2011, and its members represent a total of over $9 trillion in annual economic strength along with significant contributions to the marketplace and workplace. Only companies achieving industry leading results across all diverse segments are eligible to receive the prestigious Best-of-the-Best designation from the NBIC, whose members include the National LGBT Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC); U.S. Black Chambers, Inc. (USBC); U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (USHCC); U.S. Pan Asian American Chamber of Commerce (USPAAC); U.S. Business Leadership Network (USBLN); Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC); and WEConnect International.

“At Bristol-Myers Squibb, we are creating a powerfully diverse workforce and a broadly inclusive culture that bring out the best in every person and advance our company mission to deliver innovative medicines to patients,” said David Gonzales, head of Global Diversity and Inclusion. “For us, it’s vitally important to promote the long-term growth of diverse, entrepreneurial businesses through supplier diversity and driving the economic development of those respective communities around us, ultimately connecting us to our patients where they live and work.”

About Bristol-Myers Squibb
Bristol-Myers Squibb is a global biopharmaceutical company whose mission is to discover, develop and deliver innovative medicines that help patients prevail over serious diseases. For more information about Bristol-Myers Squibb, visit us at BMS.com or follow us on LinkedInTwitterYouTube and Facebook.

The National LGBT Chamber of Commerce is the business voice of the LGBT community and is the largest global organization specifically dedicated to expanding economic opportunities and advancements for LGBT people. NGLCC is the exclusive certification body for LGBT-owned businesses. www.nglcc.org

General Mills Reports Progress on Global Responsibility

Thu, 04/19/2018 - 10:40am

General Mills released its 2018 Global Responsibility Report, outlining the company’s approach to creating environmental, social and economic value in the countries where it operates. The progress made by General Mills in 2017 demonstrates the company’s long-term commitment to protect and restore the resources upon which its business and communities depend, with an increased focus on improving the resiliency of its supply chain.  

“We are investing in the preservation of natural resources that our business and the global population depend upon,” said Jeff Harmening, chairman and CEO of General Mills. “Consumers increasingly demand food that reflects their values, from a company they trust. We believe that using our scale for good is good for them, good for our business and good for the planet we share.”

Protecting and restoring natural resources

Consumers want assurance that food has been grown in a responsible and sustainable manner – one that respects people, animals and the planet. This is important for business as well because food companies rely on the planet’s resources for the ingredients in their products. General Mills’ key environmental progress in 2017 was made by focusing particularly on:  

  • Reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions (GHG) – In 2017, our greenhouse gas emissions footprint decreased 11 percent compared to 2010, across our value chain in the areas of agriculture, packaging, producing, shipping, converting, selling and consuming.

  • Improving Soil Health Practices – Healthy soil contributes to a more stable climate. Through 2017, General Mills has invested more than $3.25 million in soil health initiatives on U.S. agricultural lands. The company advances soil health practices and on-farm research through supplier and grower partnerships including Field to Market, the Midwest Row Crop Collaborative, The Nature Conservancy, The Land Institute and the National Wheat Foundation.

  • Advancing Water Stewardship – General Mills set a goal to develop water stewardship plans for the company’s eight most at-risk watersheds in its global value chain by 2025. In 2017, absolute water usage related to the company’s manufacturing processes were 17 percent less than in fiscal 2016, due in large part to reductions in the number of facilities and overall production.

“Our business depends on nature and farming communities to thrive,” said Jerry Lynch, Chief Sustainability Officer for General Mills. “We know that we can use our size and scale purposefully to drive more widespread, positive change.”

Sourcing sustainable ingredients

In 2013, General Mills made a commitment to sustainably source 100 percent of the company’s ten priority ingredients by 2020. These priority ingredients represent 40 percent of the company’s annual raw material purchases and include cocoa, vanilla, oats, U.S. wheat, U.S. sugar beets, U.S. corn (dry milled), U.S. dairy (raw fluid milk), fiber packaging, sugar cane and palm oil. Five years into the commitment, the company is at 76 percent of its goal.

Increasing organic acreage

In 2015, General Mills committed to more than double the organic acreage from which the company sources ingredients to 250,000 acres by 2019. In 2017, the company achieved the 200,000-acre milestone. The company is among the top five organic ingredient purchasers in the North American packaged foods sector. These efforts meet consumer demand and deliver benefit to the environment in soil health, biodiversity and carbon sequestration.

Establishing diverse pollinator habitat

Since 2011, General Mills and the company’s brands have invested more than $6 million to support pollinator and pollinator research efforts alongside partners including the Xerces Society, the University of Minnesota Bee Lab and the Observatoire Francais d’Apidologie (OFA) in France. The investments will help conservationists, researchers and our suppliers to improve the health, quantity and effectiveness of pollinators in addition to planting of more than 100,000 acres of habitat through 2021.

As part of the recent Gunsmoke Farms agreement to convert 34,000 acres of conventional farmland to organic by 2020, upwards of 3,000 acres of pollinator habitat will be planted throughout the farm in cooperation with the Xerces Society.

Strengthening communities

The General Mills Foundation has three global focus areas that closely tie to the company’s core business and knowledge of the food system -- Increasing Food Security, Advancing Sustainable Agriculture and Strengthening Hometown Communities. In 2017, the company and its Foundation donated more than $139 million to charitable causes and enabled 30 million meals for food-insecure children and families through General Mills food donations globally.

Other impactful 2017 philanthropic contributions include:

  • 32 countries strengthened through food bank support – General Mills food donations, Foundation grants and employee expertise were used to support and strengthen food banks in more than 32 countries.

  • 19,328 food retailers participated in food rescue efforts – General Mills empowered 19,328 retailers to participate in food rescue efforts through MealConnect in the U.S. and FareShare in the U.K. since inception.

  • $53 million to schools – Through the Box Tops for Education program, General Mills donated over $53 million in 2017 to K-8 schools in the U.S. The program to date has given more than $840 million to over 76,000 participating schools.

“In the Foundation, we bring forward the best of General Mills in service to people, communities and planet,” said Mary Jane Melendez, Executive Director of the General Mills Foundation. “We’re focused on accelerating the impact we have on hunger relief, food security and sustainable agriculture. Our employees are empowered to share their skills and expertise to make a difference locally and globally, in ways that dollars alone could simply never do.”

This marks the 48th year General Mills has publicly reported back to stakeholders and the community. Learn more about General Mills’ economic, environmental and social commitments and progress by visiting GeneralMills.com/Responsibility, to view the full Global Responsibility Report, interactive report and video.

About General Mills

General Mills is a leading global food company that serves the world by making food people love. Its brands include CheeriosAnnie's, YoplaitNature Valley, Cascadian Farm, Epic, Fiber OneHäagen-DazsBetty CrockerPillsburyOld El PasoWanchai FerryYoki and more. Headquartered in Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA, General Mills generated fiscal 2017 consolidated net sales of US $15.6 billion, as well as another US $1.0 billion from its proportionate share of joint-venture net sales.

Contact: Mollie Wulff, Media.line@genmills.com

SC Johnson Sets a New Standard in Transparency

Thu, 04/19/2018 - 7:40am

SC Johnson today released its 26th annual Sustainability Report, The Science Inside, which shares publicly the criteria inside the company’s Greenlist™ ingredient selection program. The Greenlist™ program helps the company continually improve its products by choosing ingredients to better protect human health and the environment. People can now see, in detail, the care that goes into choosing each of the ingredients that are used in SC Johnson products. SC Johnson’s Sustainability Report also publishes the company’s progress on its longstanding commitments to transparency, the environment and improving lives for families around the world.

“We know consumers today are more interested than ever in the products they bring into their homes,” said Fisk Johnson, Chairman and CEO of SC Johnson. “What matters most is the trust consumers place in our company and that they count on our products to be effective and safe. We believe it’s our responsibility to give people the facts so they can make informed choices, and we hope other companies will join us.”

SC Johnson has long been an industry leader and trendsetter in transparency. Today’s announcement of the detailed scientific criteria inside the Greenlist™ program builds upon the company’s commitment to tell the whole story about the ingredients it uses and the rigorous science that informs those choices.

Unveiling the Greenlist™ Program Criteria

SC Johnson’s Greenlist™ program has guided the company’s product development for nearly two decades. Every ingredient in every SC Johnson product goes through the rigorous Greenlist™ program, which is centered around a peer-reviewed, four-step evaluation of its potential impact on human health and the environment. The Greenlist™ program looks at both hazard and risk to select the ingredients the company uses, and at what concentration, if at all. It’s grounded in best-in-class data collection, and driven by the company’s commitment to continually improve its products.

As part of the Greenlist™ program, SC Johnson maintains a list of ingredients that are not allowed in its products. This list is termed the “Not Allowable” list. It includes over 200 unique raw materials in roughly 90 material categories, and over 2,400 fragrance materials. These materials all meet legal and regulatory requirements — and are often used by other companies in the industry. But they simply do not meet SC Johnson standards.

Championing Ingredient Transparency   

The company began its industry-leading ingredient transparency program in 2009 by launching WhatsInsideSCJohnson.com and has been setting industry standards ever since. As a company that works to ensure families have the information they need to make the best product choices, SC Johnson continued to make large strides in its global transparency program this past year.

In May 2017, SC Johnson broke new ground by announcing its plans to disclose 368 skin allergens that may be present in its products. The list of allergens was published on WhatsInsideSCJohnson.com and the site now lists allergens on a product-specific basis. This move goes beyond regulations in the European Union and also in the United States, where there are no rules requiring allergen transparency.

Last fall, SC Johnson expanded its ingredient transparency program to Asia Pacific. The program now serves more than 5 billion consumers, providing access to a comprehensive list of ingredients for more than 5,300 products sold in 52 countries. 

Continued Environmental Leadership

Over the past year, SC Johnson continued to make strong progress to reduce its environmental footprint. The company reached zero manufacturing waste to landfill status at more than 65 percent of its manufacturing facilities. This puts the company ahead of schedule in meeting its goal to send zero manufacturing waste to landfill from its factories by 2021.

SC Johnson also has set an aggressive goal of further reducing its greenhouse gas emissions 15 percent by 2020 from the base set in 2015. This could result in a reduction of more than 15,000 metric tons of emissions over five years. The company has already exceeded that target, and was honored with a Climate Leadership Award for Excellence in Greenhouse Gas Management (GHG) Goal Setting by the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions (C2ES) and The Climate Registry (TCR). Since 2000, SC Johnson has realized a 55 percent reduction in greenhouse gases, indexed to production.

For the past 13 years, SC Johnson has used renewable energy sources around the world to power its facilities. Globally, 35 percent of the company’s energy use in fiscal year 2016/17 came from renewable sources. In May 2017, the company announced its manufacturing site in Bay City, Michigan, which manufactures Ziploc® brand storage bags, became its third company-owned site to run on 100 percent wind energy for electricity.

Improving Lives for Families Around the World

Since 1937, SC Johnson has given 5 percent of all pretax profits to charities. The company’s annual Sustainability Report summarizes its efforts over the past year to make a real difference in people’s lives through advocacy, educational resources, products and grants.

About the SC Johnson Sustainability Report

SC Johnson’s Sustainability Report can be viewed online at www.scjohnson.com/report. You can learn more about SC Johnson’s Greenlist™ program and commitment to ingredient transparency at WhatsInsideSCJohnson.com.

Printed copies are available by request on a limited basis, to minimize paper use. For a print copy, please call 262.260.2440.

To stay up to date on SC Johnson and its sustainability efforts, follow the company on FacebookTwitter or LinkedIn.

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 132-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

Digital Empowers: Accelerating Innovation for Business and Social Good

Wed, 04/18/2018 - 4:37pm

Innovative partnerships, where businesses can work with and leverage the assets of governments, NGOs, and civil society can help develop creative, sustainable, and scalable solutions that can create significant impact. The partnerships and the technologies that make this possible is the focus of Digital Empowers: Accelerating Innovation for Business and Social Good, a forum hosted by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation (USCCF) and Tata Consultancy Services (TCS).

This event will bring together business leaders, technical experts, and on-the-ground partners that are shaping the future of innovation and social impact. Participants will share how their organizations leverage new technologies and digital innovations, including blockchain, design thinking, virtual reality, robotics, data collaboratives, and cloud analytics to increase access and equity to individuals and communities.

Learn more and register here: https://goo.gl/osXZa9

Is Your Organisation Fulfilling Its Duty of Care?

Wed, 04/18/2018 - 4:37pm

The International SOS Foundation announces its Global Duty of Care Summit, taking place in Chicago on 17 May 2018.  Speakers will include security, healthcare and compliance leaders from American Airlines, Chubb, Everbridge, GoDaddy, Harris Corporation, Hostage US, Johnson & Johnson, Walgreen Company, Walt Disney Parks & Resorts, The World Bank Group, KPMG and the Association of Corporate Travel Executives (ACTE).

Now in its second year, this one-day business conference is tailored specifically for stakeholders involved in mitigating health and travel security risks of a mobile workforce.  The 2018 agenda, based around the theme of Empowering Sustainability and Resilience, will address key issues in managing global mobility programmes.  This includes issues such as the gig economy, data privacy, geopolitical influences and wellbeing.

Laurent Fourier, Director of the International SOS Foundation, comments, 'The participation of industry leaders from around the globe at the Summit will provide access to a wealth of expertise and insight. Our focus is sharply on today’s key issues in Duty of Care, in order to keep the workforce safe and protect business continuity and sustainability.  The collaborative environment will provide the opportunity for a high level of engagement between all speakers and delegates.  With the benefit of the best practice insight and practical advice at the Summit, we strive to enable organisations worldwide to be empowered to improve their own processes and programmes for sustainability and resilience.'

Chubb, the world’s largest publicly traded property & casualty insurance company, is the Gold sponsor of the Duty of Care Summit & Awards. James Walloga, Executive Vice President of the Accident & Health North America Division at Chubb, says, 'We recognise the principles underlying Duty of Care are rapidly becoming top of mind for senior executives and risk managers.  Now, more than ever, it is important for organisations to take a proactive approach toward implementing best practices to deliver on their Duty of Care obligations.  It is not only a matter of compliance, but a critical component of successful business performance.  We are excited to help drive this agenda forward.'

The Summit will be followed by the 2018 Duty of Care Awards ceremony, recognising organisations and individuals who drive excellence in the mitigation of travel, health and security risk and contribute to effectively protecting workers overseas.    

For more information on the 2018 Duty of Care Summit and speaker profiles, click here.

To secure tickets for this exclusive Summit at the special Early Bird price of $589, or $749 for a Summit and Gala Awards Dinner ticket, go  to 

About International SOS Foundation

Established in 2011, the International SOS Foundation ― Ambassadors for Duty of Care www.internationalsosfoundation.org  – has the goal of improving the safety, security, health and welfare of people working abroad or on remote assignments through the study, understanding and mitigation of potential risks. The escalation of globalisation has enabled more individuals to work across borders and in unfamiliar environments; exposure to risks which can impact personal health, security and safety increases along with travel.

The Foundation is a registered charity and was started with a grant from International SOS. It is a fully independent, non-profit organisation. For more information on Duty of Care and the International SOS Foundation, please visit http://www.internationalsosfoundation.org/

Notes to Editors

1To learn more about the 2018 Duty of Care Awards, click here.

For further information, contact: Suzanne Withers, Head of Group PR, International SOS, T: 0208 762 8494, E: suzanne.withers@internationalsos.com

Walmart Announces 20 MMT of Supplier Emission Reductions through Project Gigaton; Unveils Plans for Expanding Electric Vehicle Charging Stations and Doubling U.S. Wind and Solar Energy Use

Wed, 04/18/2018 - 1:37pm

Today, Walmart announced that suppliers have reported reducing more than 20 million metric tons (MMT) of greenhouse gas emissions in the global value chain, as part of the company’s Project Gigaton initiative. Walmart launched Project Gigaton last April, seeking to work with suppliers to reduce emissions from the company’s value chain by a gigaton, or one billion metric tons, by 2030. The emissions reduction progress was shared at Walmart’s annual Sustainability Milestone Summit, where expanded commitments on solar and wind power, as well as electric vehicle (EV) charging stations, were also discussed.

“In its first year, Project Gigaton has helped to inspire action that has led to the avoidance of millions of metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions and has expanded into an international campaign that includes the participation of several hundred suppliers,” said Kathleen McLaughlin, senior vice president and chief sustainability officer for Walmart. “The early success of Project Gigaton parallels ongoing progress in our operational efforts that seek to double our U.S. renewable energy use and expand our customer electric vehicle charging hubs to retail outlets across more than 30 states.”

With the recent expansion of Project Gigaton in China and the U.K., more than 400 suppliers with operations in more than 30 countries have joined the program. Suppliers can commit to reductions in any of six pillars that include energy, agriculture, waste, packaging, deforestation and product use. Approximately 85 percent of the Project Gigaton emissions reductions reported by suppliers have focused their efforts on the energy and product use pillars, with projects devoted to areas such as renewable energy investments and the development of more efficient products.

“This annual milestone marks a pivot point for Walmart and 400 of its suppliers to share solutions and lessons learned. The next step is to deepen commitments that unlock the potential of this platform,” said Carter Roberts, president and CEO, World Wildlife Fund (WWF). “We need collaborative initiatives like Project Gigaton and We Are Still In. With sufficient goals and results they can help define our country’s ability to build a sustainable future. And they also shape the world’s understanding of our commitment to solving climate change.”

“With Project Gigaton, Walmart is raising the bar for innovation and collaboration across its supply chain,” said Fred Krupp, president of Environmental Defense Fund. “In Project Gigaton’s second year, we hope to see even more Walmart suppliers setting targets based in science, ensuring that business, people and nature thrive.”

A highlight from the summit was a commitment made by Project Gigaton participant, Procter & Gamble (P&G), to cut 50 MMT of emissions from its operations and value chain by 2030. P&G will achieve this through inviting customers to join the Tide #QuickColdPledge, switching to quick and cold laundry cycles to use less water, 80 percent less energy and create 40 percent fewer emissions in every load, as well as committing to source 100 percent renewable electricity in its North American operations by 2020.

“Walmart’s Gigaton goal is ambitious and demonstrates the impact we can have when we collaborate on a common goal,” said Carolyn Tastad, Group President of North America, P&G. “At P&G, we share Walmart’s commitment to making measurable progress and a positive impact across our brands, supply chain, society and our employees.”

Another key announcement made at the summit is that Walmart plans to more than double its EV charging station sites with the addition of several hundred charging stalls across its operations in 34 states. This expansion will bring Walmart’s total number of charging units to well over 1,000 when complete, making Walmart one of the nation’s leading EV charging station hosts and creating a national grid of electric vehicle charging availability at hundreds of Walmart stores and Sam’s Club locations.

Walmart’s EV charging station expansion will provide customers with added convenience as several of the new units will feature super-fast chargers that can charge a car in between 10 to 30 minutes. This initiative is part of Walmart’s continuing evolution to help busy families and create a more resourceful and enjoyable one stop retail experience that allows customers to charge their vehicles as they shop.

Expanding Renewable Energy Use

Walmart also discussed recent progress in renewable energy that will move it closer toward its 2025 goal of being supplied globally with 50 percent renewable energy.

As a result of several new solar and wind projects, Walmart plans to more than double the amount of renewable energy it uses in the U.S. and increase the percentage of global electricity needs supplied by renewable sources above the current 28 percent.

The new initiatives include expansion of on-site solar energy installments. Walmart, already the leading company in the U.S. for number of locations utilizing on-site solar energy, plans to add an additional 130 sites which will bring its total to approximately 500 locations across 22 U.S. states and Puerto Rico, surpassing its 2014 goal to double its onsite solar use by 2020.

Walmart recently reached an agreement to acquire renewable energy that will enable the building of two new large-scale wind farms developed by Geronimo Energy and Engie. The 1.26 billion kWh produced annually from this arrangement will be equivalent to the majority of the electricity needed to power Walmart stores, Sam’s Clubs and distribution centers across seven Midwestern states.

These new wind energy deals come only weeks after the retailer announced that most of the renewable energy certificates (RECs) generated from a new solar farm in Alabama will supply 150 million kWh each year to the retailer, covering 40 percent of the company’s electricity needs in the Alabama Power service area.

Additionally, earlier this month Walmart announced that it had successfully collaborated with Google and Georgia Power on an initiative that will result in the retailer obtaining 182 million kWh of additional renewable energy annually. Once the new Georgia Power arrangement is operational, approximately 34 percent of Walmart’s power demand for its retail locations served by Georgia Power will come from the renewable sources in the program.

Cumulatively, these new solar and wind projects will provide over 1.6 billion kWh of renewable energy annually to Walmart, equivalent to the average annual electricity use of over 139,000 homes and thus doubling Walmart’s renewable energy use in the U.S. and moving it closer towards its 2025 goal of being supplied with 50 percent renewable energy.

To view the Sustainability Milestone Summit replay, please visit: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B2Fba190_JQ

To receive more information on Project Gigaton and Walmart’s sustainability efforts, please visit: https://www.walmartsustainabilityhub.com/


Walmart Media Relations 1-800-331-0085


About Walmart

Walmart Inc. (NYSE: WMT) helps people around the world save money and live better - anytime and anywhere - in retail stores, online, and through their mobile devices. Each week, nearly 270 million customers and members visit our more than 11,700 stores under 65 banners in 28 countries and eCommerce websites. With fiscal year 2018 revenue of $500.3 billion, Walmart employs approximately 2.3 million associates worldwide. Walmart continues to be a leader in sustainability, corporate philanthropy and employment opportunity. Additional information about Walmart can be found by visiting http://corporate.walmart.com, on Facebook at http://facebook.com/walmart and on Twitter at http://twitter.com/walmart.

International Paper Launches ‘Box out Hunger’ Initiative

Wed, 04/18/2018 - 10:36am

In celebration of National Volunteer Week, International Paper is announcing a new initiative as part of its commitment to address critical community needs where its employees live and work. In a 30 day period, 227 International Paper employees from 26 sites volunteered 495 hours by sorting, packing and distributing food for people in need by working with Feeding America’s extensive network of food banks, along with other local food banks.

‘Box out Hunger’ focuses on alleviating hunger by mobilizing the company’s people, products and resources. Through these local efforts, International Paper employees are addressing food insecurity in their own backyards and making a difference. In the United States alone, more than 41 million Americans—including 13 million children—go hungry each day. Research shows that hunger has serious consequences for children, including lower test scores, weaker attendance rates, and higher risk of hospitalization and chronic diseases. 

As part of the ‘Box out Hunger’ initiative, International Paper designed custom disaster relief boxes for Feeding America’s network of food banks to pre-stage in several communities to be prepared for the aftermath of a disaster. International Paper will also donate $1 million to Feeding America over two years. This commitment builds upon International Paper’s long standing support of Feeding America. In 2017 alone, International Paper donated 180,000 boxes and $250,000 to aid Feeding America in its disaster response efforts following several hurricanes in the southeastern United States, an earthquake in Mexico, and the ongoing California fire and mudslide crisis.

 “At International Paper, our global citizenship strategy aligns with our vision to be among the most successful, sustainable and responsible companies in the world. If our communities don’t flourish and thrive, our company cannot be successful,” said Tom Cleves, International Paper vice president of global citizenship. “Teaming up with Feeding America allows us to make an even greater impact in our commitment to be a force for good by helping to reduce food insecurity.”

“When disaster strikes, Feeding America member food banks are on the ground ready to provide food and emergency supplies to help people recover in the aftermath,” said Andy Wilson, Feeding America chief development officer. “We applaud International Paper’s efforts and are grateful for the opportunity to work with them. International Paper’s support will help us extend critical aid where it’s needed most.”

International Paper’s global philanthropic efforts primarily focus on four signature causes:  Education; Hunger; Health & Wellness, and Disaster Relief. To learn more about International Paper and its global citizenship efforts, please visit www.internationalpaper.com.

About International Paper
International Paper (NYSE: IP) is a leading global producer of renewable fiber-based packaging, pulp and paper products with manufacturing operations in North America, Latin America, Europe, North Africa, India and Russia. We produce corrugated packaging products that protect and promote goods, and enable world-wide commerce; pulp for diapers, tissue and other personal hygiene products that promote health and wellness and papers that facilitate education and communication. We are headquartered in Memphis, Tenn., and employ approximately 52,000 colleagues located in more than 24 countries. Net sales for 2017 were $22 billion. For more information about International Paper, our products and global citizenship efforts, please visit internationalpaper.com.

About Feeding America
Feeding America® is the largest hunger-relief organization in the Unites States. Through a network of 200 food banks and 60,000 food pantries and meal programs, we provide meals to more than 46 million people each year. Feeding America also supports programs that prevent food waste and improve food security among the people we serve; educates the public about the problem of hunger; and advocates for legislation that protects people from going hungry. Individuals, charities, businesses and government all have a role in ending hunger. Donate. Volunteer. Advocate. Educate. Together we can solve hunger. Visit www.feedingamerica.org, find us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter.

Major, Complex Onsite Solar Portfolio Now Operational in Washington, DC

Wed, 04/18/2018 - 10:36am

Sol Systems joined Washington, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser to celebrate the completion of a 11.8 MW solar system for Washington D.C.’s Department of General Services (DC DGS).

“Last year I signed a Mayor’s Order to maintain the District’s commitment to the Paris Climate Accords,” said Mayor Bowser, speaking at the ribbon cutting event. “This project is an example of how we can continue to reach those goals.”

The portfolio of onsite solar projects is now in operation across 40 properties and includes schools, hospitals, and the Police Training Academy, making it one of the largest and most complex onsite municipal solar projects currently operating in the country. Sol Systems oversaw the PPA negotiation and structuring, as well as all project logistics, schedules and contractors.

The timing of the ribbon cutting, which took place at HD Woodson High School – one of the largest solar systems in the District – was particularly momentous as Sol Systems also reached a new milestone of delivering over 700 MW since inception this week.

“We want to be a beacon for the future,” said Yuri Horwitz, Chief Executive Office of Sol Systems, who spoke at the event. “This school is a wonderful example of that future.”

Despite the scale and complexity of these projects, all 35 were successfully designed, engineered, and generating electricity for the city in approximately 18 months. DGS estimates the projects created 140 temporary jobs during construction and design, as well as a projected five permanent jobs for ongoing operation and maintenance.

Over the 20-year term of the power purchase agreement, D.C. taxpayers are expected to save $25 million in reduced electricity costs. The projects are expected to generate 13,800 MWh of electricity per year, which will reduce greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to over 10 million pounds of coal burned.

“We know that solar is good for the environment, it’s good for business, it’s good for the economy,” said Bowser as she stood front of the school’s newly built carport solar array. “It’s good for the future of our city.”

Check out our case study on the portfolio, which includes all the crunchy details, from DOE’s Better Buildings website.



Sol Systems, a national solar finance and development firm, delivers sophisticated, customized services for institutional, corporate, and municipal customers. Sol is employee-owned, and has been profitable since inception in 2008. Sol is backed by Sempra Energy, a $25+ billion energy company.

Over the last eight years, Sol Systems has delivered 700 MW of solar projects for Fortune 100 companies, municipalities, universities, churches, and small businesses. Sol now manages over $650 million in solar energy assets for utilities, banks, and Fortune 500 companies.

Inc. 5000 recognized Sol Systems in its annual list of the nation’s fastest-growing private companies for four consecutive years. For more information, please visit www.solsystems.com.

Performance & Sustainability Win in Goodyear Tires Made With U.S. Soy

Wed, 04/18/2018 - 10:36am

In this new video fleet leaders and individual drivers can see a new award-winning choice for tires that deliver both performance and sustainability. Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company’s cooperation with the United Soybean Board (USB) yielded a first for the tire industry. Following extensive experiments, lab testing, road testing and more, Goodyear has introduced soy-based technology in its Assurance WeatherReady™ tires, a broad line tire that covers 77 percent of cars, SUVs, crossovers, pickups and minivans. 

Goodyear joined USB at the Transportation Energy Partners Energy Independence Summit in Washington, D.C. to share the good news with Department of Energy Clean Cities coalitions from across the nation. Goodyear Chief Engineer, Polymer Science and Technology Robert A. Woloszynek also announced the company will expand its line of tires containing soy with the addition of Eagle® Enforcer All Weather™ for police vehicles that count on high-performance traction and handling.

“Innovation and agriculture grew together through the United Soybean Board’s work with Goodyear,” said United Soybean Board Chairman Lewis Bainbridge, a South Dakota soybean grower.  “Now major fleets, police departments and the general public can benefit from enhanced tire performance as well as the environmental value of this technology.”

Goodyear discovered that soybean oil could improve tire flexibility at low temperatures, helping the rubber to remain pliable in cold weather and enhancing traction in rain and snow simultaneously. Additionally, Goodyear discovered that soybean oil mixes more easily with rubber compounds and reduces energy consumption, which improves tire manufacturing efficiency.

“In a typical tire, the amount of petroleum oil is around 8 percent. In the Assurance Weather Ready, we were able to replace about 60 percent of that oil with soybean oil, which included 100 percent of the oil in the tread compound,” said Goodyear Chief Engineer, Polymer Science and Technology Robert A. Woloszynek.

Wins ‘Environmental Achievement of the Year’ Award
The breakthrough with soybean oil as a replacement for petroleum oil resulted in Goodyear receiving the prestigious Tire Technology International Award for Innovation and Excellence in the category of 'Environmental Achievement of the Year' on 2018 Tire Technology Expo on February 22 in Hannover, Germany.

“Our work with the United Soybean Board presented a unique challenge and opportunity for our material scientists and tire engineers to employ soybean oil in the development of superior performing tires,” said Chris Helsel, Goodyear's chief technology officer. 'It is exciting to see that work payoff with commercially successful products, and an honor to be recognized by the industry for the environmental achievement.”

“Goodyear's innovative industrialization of soybean oil technology proves that research and development in sustainable materials can benefit not only the environment, but also tire performance. I believe that this type of 'win-win' innovation will increasingly become the norm, rather than the exception, in the tire industry of the future,' said Graham Heeps, editor, Tire Technology International and chairman of the judging panel.

The Tire Technology International Awards for Innovation and Excellence were chosen from nominations received from the readers of Tire Technology International (published by UKi Media & Events, of the U.K.), and with the input of the magazine's editorial team. Winners are selected by an independent panel of international tire industry experts.

Go to www.soybiobased.org for up-to-date lists of Goodyear tires that contain soybean oil

U.S. soybean farmers have invested millions of dollars to research, test, and promote biobased products. Much of this work was done through the United Soybean Board (USB), which is composed of 73 U.S. soybean farmers appointed by the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture to invest soybean checkoff funds.

Charities@Work Announces Speakers for Employee Engagement Summit

Wed, 04/18/2018 - 10:36am

Charities@Work today announced speakers for the 2018 Summit on Employee Engagement. In its 17th year, this year’s Summit will be held on June 27-28, 2018 at PwC and NYU School of Law in New York City. This peer-to-peer event brings together corporate social responsibility (CSR) leaders from across the country to share the latest advances on employee engagement, workplace giving, and corporate citizenship to drive greater social impact.

This year, the two-day Summit offers a new preconference event:

  • June 27: This exclusive pre-conference learning workshop is designed for new and emerging CSR professionals to network, asks questions, and gain insights to quickly take their careers to the next level. Limited to 30 participants; held at PwC.

  • June 28: The Summit includes interactive and practical discussions on topics such as Innovative Approaches to Aligning Employee Engagement and Corporate Purpose, Improving Employee Engagement Impact through Partnerships, Engaging Harder to Reach Employees through Skills-Based Volunteering, and more. More than 100 CSR professionals are expected. Held at Vanderbilt Hall, NYU School of Law.

Speakers include:

  • Tim McClimon, Senior Vice President of Corporate Social Responsibility at American Express, and President of American Express Foundation

  • Tiffany Calderon, Senior Manager, Best Buy Community Relations

  • Michael Carren, Head of Corporate Social Responsibility, The Guardian Life Insurance Company

  • Michael Bzdak, Global Director of Employee Engagement and Global Community Impact, Johnson & Johnson

  • Matthew Nelson, CVP Corporate Responsibility, New York Life Insurance Company

  • Heather Loftkin Wright, Director, Responsible Business, PwC

  • Peter Dudley, author, Corporate Social Responsibility Executive, most recently with Wells Fargo

  • And more

Register before May 14 for the early bird rate and save $100: http://charitiesatwork.org/3BLregister

Charities@Work is made possible by the generous support of our sponsors. Thank you to Pre-Conference Sponsor PwC; Summit Networking Event Sponsor Wells Fargo; Gold Sponsors Best Buy, New York Life Insurance Company, and The Guardian Life Insurance Company; Silver Sponsors American Express and The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation; and Bronze Sponsors 3BL, Aetna, Group Sales, Inc., and Realized Worth.  

ABOUT Charities@Work

Charities@Work bridges the corporate and nonprofit sectors to achieve greater social impact. Charities@Work is an alliance of four nonprofit organizations – America’s Charities, Community Health Charities, EarthShare and Global Impact – that collectively represent more than 3,000 of the leading health, environmental, international development, and community nonprofits making a difference in the U.S. and around the world today. These four nonprofits exist to facilitate interaction and partnerships between charities, companies, and their employees for meaningful outcomes and impact for all.

Big Problems Big Ideas Winner Announced

Tue, 04/17/2018 - 4:30pm

Sociedad Honoraria Hispánica at Brownsville Early College High School, Brownsville Independent School District has been named the winner of the Big Problems Big Ideas Challenge sponsored by the Taylor Wilson Thompson Family Foundation.

The Challenge, the signature program of the Foundation, is focused on providing middle school and high school students from across the nation an opportunity to identify, analyze, and propose solutions to some of the more perplexing problems facing them as young people. Competing schools were selected based on their history of providing leadership training for students and their dedication to academic excellence.

Sociedad Honoraria Hispánica, Brownsville Early College High School, identified Hispanic student mental health and the educational implications of their Big Problem in their research paper, “Mental Health: The Need for Educating Hispanic Communities About How Mental Health Can Affect Young People and Their Educational Experience.” 

Student mental health is of significant concern among educators in K-12 schools across the country. It has been called a silent epidemic affecting one in five students. Teachers, principals, and other school personnel acknowledge there are many students in their schools who evidence excessive fear, anxiety, depression, and anger. At its worst, this mental health epidemic manifests itself with deep psychosis, rage, and suicide; at best suffering students are detached, uninterested and miss the educational opportunities being offered.

With counseling ratios approaching 450 students to every one counselor, schools lack the resources and personnel to support students who may be in need of mental health support.  As pointed out by Sociedad Honoraria Hispánica, underserved communities suffer the most. This is true especially in communities where mental illness carries unwarranted stigmas, and the community is unaware of the many solutions to aid those suffering. 

In analyzing the problem, Sociedad Honoraria Hispánica examined the literature surrounding adolescent mental health, the many possible solutions offered by educators, mental health authorities and federal agencies to gain current thought on both the likely origins and solutions. They also examined their own student body’s perception of the problem and asked them for answers. Together with current literature and student ideas, they put together a well-designed template and a possible solution that might well apply to other schools. 

Some of the possible activities identified by the students included:

  1. The use of Artificial Intelligence and technological applications that generate personalized mental health assessments to discuss with a therapist. These applications can alert teachers and parents when a student’s mood changes.

  2. Graphically tracking students’ mood and behavior over time and work with school personnel in sharing changes they see in student behavior.

  3. Educating students and parents through seminars offered at school and throughout the community about mental health awareness and strategies for addressing student health concerns.

  4. Providing specialized services to teachers, administrators and students within the school setting that will help identify risk factors and warning signs of mental health challenges common to adolescents.

  5. Providing ongoing training for all school personnel, including ancillary and school employees.

  6. Maintaining a healthy school and social environment that supports students who might be suffering from mental illness or may feel alone and not supported.

  7. Instituting school-wide and community-wide campaigns that assist in the understanding and acceptance of adolescent mental illness.

  8. Increase the number of mental health professionals in school and train teachers and counselors how to assess, identify and assist with students who may be having mental health challenges.

  9. Centralize school efforts designed to assist students who are having problems to coordinate the school's mental health assistance efforts better.

  10. Create different platforms that will assist students that includes coordination of resources throughout the entire community.

Students involved in the program indicated they are advocates for the services and supports that are necessary for students to stay in school and to achieve academic success. Ilse Mascarro, a senior student commented “This award is an amazing honor as well as proof that our efforts are not made in vain. Through this award I am able to securely say that our voices are not going unheard. As a predominately Hispanic population in times of struggle we feel like we are one step closer to making an impact towards a happier and healthier community. Big Problems Big Ideas allowed us to put down in words our ideas and comments to make our community an healthier and safer one. Big Problems Big Ideas has allowed us to give our community the light it deserves.” 

Alejandra Sujo, Yaneli Gallegos and Jaqueline Quintanilla,  members of the Big Problems Big Ideas  Challenge team commented on how much the Challenge had changed their thinking about student mental health and encouraged them to spread information on mental health awareness  to their community. They also  believe applying the learnings from their experiences, and the knowledge of other students’ concerns, along with the expertise of teachers and mental health professionals will be the catalyst for resolving their big problem. 

Shirley Munoz, sponsor for the Challenge team, said “I see great potential in my students. I know they think outside the box. I know they want good things for others. I know they are intelligent enough to see a need in our country and form an educated opinion and even a solution. All they need is a platform to voice their opinion and demonstrate their concerns through a positive outlet. Big Problem Big Ideas was that platform. I am so proud of them for working together endless days and long evenings to research and devise a much needed solution for our nation at this time.”

Taylor Thompson, the founder of the Foundation and developer of the Challenge was extremely pleased with the effort of the group and the spirit of collaborative learning they displayed in developing their Big Idea to solve the Big Problem. “Giving young people voice to share their creative thoughts through analytical, problem solving activities is critical to building an informed and productive citizenry. The students of Sociedad Honoraria Hispánica at Brownsville Early College High School are emblematic of the promise of young leadership and evidence of what can happen when students are given a chance to be heard. The Foundation is indebted to Aimee Garza-Limon, the principal, Shirley Munoz, Sociedad Honoraria Hispánica sponsor for supporting the students and standing with them through this Big Problems Big Ideas Challenge.”

The Chicago-based Taylor Wilson Thompson Family Foundation aims to help develop the next wave of leaders who are ready and willing to change the world in a positive way.  The Foundation and its founder have sponsored leadership activities that have impacted nearly 1500 young people around the country to date. Thompson is also the author of Leadership: It’s Child’s Play. Ten Steps to Children’s Leadership Development. 

Sustainable Emulsifier Blog Proves Popular

Tue, 04/17/2018 - 4:30pm

Launched at the end of 2017, Emulsifiers for Good (EFG) is a new blog whose stated aim is to “inspire and share knowledge and ideas for how sustainably sourced and produced emulsifiers can help solve some of the world’s challenges.” And that seems to be a message that resonates with food manufacturers and ingredient suppliers alike.

Initiated and funded by the Danish-based inventor of the modern commercial emulsifier, Palsgaard A/S, the industry-level blog brings expert knowledge, know-how and ideas to help realize the full potential of sustainably sourced and produced emulsifiers. 

No-promotion zone

The blog doesn’t allow product or company promotion – an approach that is directly in line with its initiator’s status as a foundation-owned enterprise with a long history of social responsibility. Instead, it is an open, online, non-promotional forum, providing a platform for experts within the global food and non-food industry to share perspectives and discoveries around emulsifiers.

Claus Hviid Christensen, CEO of Palsgaard’s innovation center Nexus A/S, and the first Editor of Emulsifiers for Good, explains why there’s a need for the blog – and draws a direct line from sustainable ingredients to the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). 

“We believe that emulsifiers used in food and non-food products should, as much as possible, be sustainably and safely sourced, produced and consumed. Specifically, we’ve launched Emulsifiers for Good to help lead, motivate and support the food industry and the wider community in working jointly toward the UN’s SDGs. So the emphasis is on making a difference in the world, and in keeping with this, we’ll be keeping the blog as brand-neutral as possible – and advertisement-free, of course.”

Early success

With just a few months of existence under its belt, Emulsifiers for Good is already finding favour among its targeted readers. And that doesn’t come as a surprise for Claus Hviid Christensen.

“Sustainable, plant-based emulsifiers are getting a lot of attention these days. In fact, there’s an understanding emerging in the food industry that sustainably sourced and produced emulsifiers are going to be one of our greatest tools for ensuring there’s enough, good-quality food supply in the face of climate change, population growth, and increasing affluence. Although emulsifiers contribute to a very small part of the ingredients list, they play a huge role in ensuring product quality and shelf life. And that directly supports a number of SDGs.”

Long history

Few companies know more about emulsifiers than Palsgaard. Since 1917, when founder Einar Viggo Schou invented the modern food emulsifier, the company has created hundreds of different specialized emulsifiers and perfected their use in many applications. With over 100 years in the business, Palsgaard has the benefit of a broad overview of emulsifier types and applications. The company is now partnering with the United Nations and Deloittes in a pilot program aimed at accelerating global business alignment with the SDGs.

For now, the blog is focused on emulsifiers as food ingredients. But in a wider application perspective, emulsifiers are now enabling the production of more sustainable plastic packaging, for example, as they can replace petrochemical additives while adding efficient anti-static and anti-fogging effects

Claus Hviid Christensen encourages his food industry colleagues to contribute to the new blog, too: “The potential of emulsifier technology to do good things for the world is far from fully realized by everyone in the food industry and in the wider community. We’re looking forward to working with the industry to communicate more strongly about this topic and support further innovation in the field”.

For questions to the press release, please contact

Claus Hviid Christensen
CEO, Nexus A/S and Editor Emulsifiers for Good
+45 7682 7637

Under Pressure From First Nations, Chevron Faces Major Test in Canada As Critical Court Hearing Over $12b Ecuador Pollution Judgment Gets Underway

Tue, 04/17/2018 - 10:25am

Chevron faces of wave of cascading pressures in Canada – including new evidence of a multi-billion dollar tax avoidance scheme – as a critical court hearing gets underway that could determine whether the oil giant is finally forced to comply with a $12 billion environmental judgment owed to Indigenous peoples and farmer communities in Ecuador’s Amazon. 

The two-day hearing before the Ontario Court of Appeal, which kicks off this morning in Toronto, will determine whether the assets of Chevron’s wholly-owned Canadian subsidiary – called Chevron Canada -- can be used to pay the Ecuador pollution judgment. Chevron reaps billions of dollars annually in profits from its Canadian subsidiary, but claims that the same subsidiary should be shielded from any of Chevron’s liabilities to the Ecuadorians.

(See this short memo on the Canadian court action and a longer briefing memo. See this press release on the arrival of Ecuadorian Indigenous leaders in Canada. )

“What principle of justice is advanced that allows Chevron parent’s shareholders to collect at least US $25 billion in dividends and yet excludes the enforcement of a judgment against Chevron Canada, 100 percent owned by Chevron parent?” said the legal brief of the Ecuadorians, signed by Alan Lenczner, considered one of Canada’s top litigators. Lenczner (see here for background) will be arguing the matter for the Ecuadorians along with Peter Grant, a noted aboriginal rights lawyer from Vancouver.

Chevron has vowed never to pay the Ecuador judgment and promised to fight the case “until hell freezes over”.  A company official also threatened the Ecuadorian indigenous groups with “a lifetime of litigation” if they persisted in pursuing their claims, which were originally filed in 1993 in U.S. courts before being shifted to Ecuador at the oil major’s request. Chevron has collected more than US $25 billion in dividends from its Canadian subsidiary since the enforcement action was filed in Canada in 2012, according to Lenczner. 

In the meantime, in the Amazon rainforest, the Ecuadorians continue to suffer from a well-documented wave of cancers and other public health problems due to Chevron’s dumping of an estimated 16 billion gallons of toxic waste water onto indigenous ancestral lands when it operated in the country under the Texaco brand from 1964 to 1992. (See this summary of the overwhelming evidence against Chevron that led to the pollution judgment.) The company also abandoned roughly 1,000 unlined toxic waste pits that continue to contaminate soils and groundwater on ancestral lands.

“This is a critical showdown between a corporate powerhouse oil company that wants to evade a major environmental liability and Indigenous peoples who have won the right to compensation to clean up their ancestral lands in the Amazon,” said Phil Fontaine, the former Canadian National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations (AFN), who will be attending the hearing along with a delegation of Ecuadorian leaders from the Amazon Defense Coalition of Ecuador (FDA), the non-profit entity that along with 47 named plaintiffs brought the lawsuit and is leading the enforcement effort.

Facing a $12 billion damages award to Amazon communities in age of shrinking profits and structural change in the oil industry is only one of Chevron’s growing problems in Canada.  Other Chevron challenges include: 

**The Ecuadorians have won three straight unanimous appellate court decisions in Canada, despite the fact Chevron has hired at least 60 law firms and used an estimated 2,000 legal personnel in what is widely considered the most expensive corporate legal defense in history. The Supreme Court of Canada ruled in favor of the Indigenous peoples in a unanimous 2015 decision.

**In a move that raises potential corruption issues, Chevron has been using Chevron Canada to funnel billions of dollars in annual payments to the governments of Nigeria and Indonesia. The payments – disclosed weeks ago under a recently passed Canadian transparency law – have raised a host of concerns among a anti-corruption authorities in the United States and Australia. They also undermine Chevron’s main argument in the appeal that Chevron Canada only does business in Canada.

**On the tax front, it turns out Chevron pays almost no taxes in Canada despite reaping almost $5 billion in profits per year from its Canadian subsidiary while trying to stiff the Ecuadorians out of their environmental judgment, said Rex Weyler, a co-founder of Greenpeace who denounced the company for having committed “ecological crimes” in Ecuador after touring the area of Chevron’s operations last year. Chevron recently was fined $1 billion in Australia for paying no tax despite makings billions in profits from its operations in the country. (See here for background.) 

**Chevron is also under increasing pressure from the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation and environmental groups to lift a sweeping confidentiality order that it has imposed on the court docket in the Ecuador pollution case. Among other problems, the Chevron order prevents scrutiny of the sworn testimony of a Chevron Canada corporate official about the large payments from the subsidiary to foreign governments. “Lifting this confidentiality order could potentially blow the lid off of Chevron’s attempt to hide its efforts to evade taxes in Canada and avoid the scrutiny of anti-corruption authorities in the United States,” said Weyler. (Here is the CBC article about unsealing the documents.) 

**Chevron also faces increasing opposition from Canada’s AFN and several prominent environmental groups in the United States and Canada led by Oakland-based Amazon Watch. Current AFN National Chief Perry Bellegarde yesterday tweeted his support for the Ecuadorian Indigenous peoples and plans to talk about Chevron’s pollution judgment today in New York at the United Nations Permanent Forum On Indigenous Issues. Bellegarde also wrote a letter to Canada’s Attorney General, Jody Wilson-Raybould, urging consideration of new legislation providing for more “expeditious” enforcement of foreign judgments in Canada. 

**Chevron is also under increasing pressure from some of its own institutional shareholders over its failure to settle the case. Two such shareholders – Zevin Asset Management and Newground Social Investment – are pressing resolutions at the company’s annual meeting in May calling out company management for its “material mishandling” of the Ecuador litigation. Last year, the same resolutions received roughly 40% support from all Chevron shareholders, an almost unheard-of level of backing for a resolution actively opposed by company management. 

**In the United States, Chevron’s “racketeering” judgment has almost completely collapsed with the revelation that the company paid at least $2 million to its star witness, Alberto Guerra, who later admitted lying in court. (See this detailed summary of Chevron’s fraud in the U.S. court case and this account of a criminal referral letter of Chevron to the U.S. Department of Justice over the illegal witness payments.) One Chevron lawyer, Larry Lowenstein, came under harsh criticism recently from the Ecuadorians for trying to mislead Canadian judges about Chevron’s fraud in Ecuador and the United States. 

No fewer than 21 separate appellate judges in Ecuador and Canada have either rejected or ignored the findings of a sole U.S. trial judge who ruled in Chevron’s favor in the racketeering case. “If Chevron is forced to present the same corrupt evidence it presented in U.S. courts before a neutral judge in Canada, there is little doubt the company’s false narrative of ‘racketeering’ will blow up in its face,” said Anton Tabuns, a Canadian lawyer who represents the FDA. “That’s why Chevron is fighting desperately to dismiss the enforcement action on technical grounds. If it is forced to trial in Canada, there is little doubt Chevron will settle this case.” 

Attending the court hearing in Ontario will be several Ecuadorian Indigenous and community leaders, including Jamie Vargas, the President of Ecuador’s national indigenous federation (CONAIE); Rafael Pandam, an Achuar who is the President of the Indigenous Amazonia Parliament of Ecuador, which has 325 parliamentarians; Janeth Cuji, a longtime woman’s leader and a Kichwa; Hugo Camacho, a community leader and FDA activist from the town of Pimampiro; and Domingo Peas, a historic leader of Ecuador’s Amazon indigenous federation, which includes 11 nationalities.

In its motion to lift the confidentiality order, the CBC argued that documents in the enforcement action containing “confidential information” were sealed by Chevron in two orders without any notice to the media as required by law and that the orders have prevented public access to the entirety of the evidence. “There is not evidence that any of the proceedings, documents, evidence, or information covered by the sealing orders are in fact confidential,” said the motion, which is to be decided after a hearing on June 20.

Research Reveals How Bark Types Affect Wood Decomposition

Tue, 04/17/2018 - 10:25am

A new study from researchers at the World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF) and the Kunming Institute of Botany (KIB) could help improve predictions of climate change by revealing the hidden role of bark in wood decomposition. For the first time, the scientists linked bark characteristics such as thickness, pH and density – which in life help protect the plant – to "afterlife effects" which help determine how rapidly woody plants decompose. According to the study’s authors, understanding how these effects vary between different plant species could provide a way for researchers to account for variations in plant decomposition rates. This could help scientists model processes in which decomposition plays a major role, such as climate change and nutrient cycling. 

According to the lead author, Gbadamassi G.O. Dossa of ICRAF and KIB, the results of the study established the importance of bark traits in determining variations in wood decomposition. “Incorporating these effects should improve our understanding of carbon and nutrient cycles,” he noted.

Woody debris (WD) is a critical but often overlooked component of forest ecosystems. WD represents a globally significant carbon stock, and its decomposition returns nutrients to the soil while providing some form of habitat to microbes, plants and animals. Models of climate change and nutrient cycles therefore depend on an understanding of the drivers of WD decomposition. Scientists have long known that different woody plant species decompose in different ways and at different rates, and that this is at least partially due to the role of the bark in decomposition. However, because previous studies have often failed to distinguish between bark and wood, scientists have been unable to determine how bark traits such as thickness, structure and chemical content affect WD decomposition.

In the recent research, published online in the Journal of Ecology, scientists tackled this issue by looking at the role played by different bark traits in the decomposition of 15 woody plant species. The study, entitled, “The cover uncovered: bark control over wood decomposition”, describes how interspecific variations in bark affect decomposition of the wood inside it. The scientists found that: (i) bark effects on WD decomposition are species- and wood size-specific; (ii) bark enhances the decomposition of coarser WD, but slows twig decomposition in some species, and (iii) in the early stages of wood decomposition, bark prevents certain animals from accelerating decomposition.

Future research could extend this analysis to other plant species, giving scientists a clearer understanding of how plants break down and release carbon and nutrients back into the ecosystem.

Publication Details

Dossa GGO, Schaefer D, Zhang J-L, Tao J-P, Cao K-F, Corlett RT, Cunningham AB, Xu J-C, Cornelissen JHC, Harrison RD. 2018.  The cover uncovered: bark control over wood decomposition, Journal of Ecology



Gbadamassi G.O. Dossa (lead author)

Email: dossa@mail.kib.ac.cn

Phone: +86 15974955240

The World Agroforestry Centre

The World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF) – www.worldagroforestry.org is a centre of scientific excellence that harnesses the benefits of trees for people and the environment. Leveraging the world’s largest repository of agroforestry science and information, we develop knowledge practices, from farmers’ fields to the global sphere, to ensure food security and environmental sustainability.

Kunming Institute of Botany

The Kunming Institue of Botany (KIB) –  http://english.kib.cas.cn/ is a leading research institute which is affiliated to the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) and dedicated to research in the fields of Botany and Phytochemistry. KIB is committed to exploring the world of plants, to generating knowledge about them and to developing sustainable ways to use plant resources.

Consumers Energy Foundation Announces $500,000 in Grants for Kitchen Incubator, School of the Arts in Jackson

Tue, 04/17/2018 - 10:25am

The Consumers Energy Foundation today announced $500,000 for two major projects near its downtown headquarters, supporting an incubator for chefs to grow their businesses and the relocation and expansion of the Jackson School of the Arts.

“Consumers Energy is doubling down on our commitment to our hometown, and we are excited to support these two efforts that will create opportunities in downtown Jackson,” said Patti Poppe, Consumers Energy’s president and chief executive officer. Poppe announced the grants at the Jackson County Chamber of Commerce’s Economic Luncheon.

“We started more than 130 years ago in Jackson. We are working to create economic and cultural opportunities for all residents in our community, including a vibrant downtown that's an attractive place to live, work and innovate,” Poppe said.

The Consumers Energy Foundation is providing $300,000 for the Marketplace Food Festival Kitchen, a city-led effort in the former Vermeulen’s Furniture building on Cortland Street to develop space for chefs to hone their skills and develop their businesses as part of the overall $1.3 million project. Work is expected to start in July and be complete by December.

“We’re truly excited to have the Consumers Energy Foundation contributing to make this project a reality for downtown,” said Jackson Mayor Derek Dobies. “Their commitment means we can better foster a culture of entrepreneurship, grow and scale new businesses, and have an incubation hub that can serve as a model for the rest of the state.”

The Jackson School of the Arts is receiving $200,000 to support its relocation to the historic Masonic Temple building on Cortland Street where it will create a center for the arts and offer programs in the visual and performing arts. The new downtown destination will also include an exhibit gallery and retail space. The organization's enrollment has grown 2,000 percent in the last decade, creating the need to expand. Its mission to make the arts accessible to all regardless of income remains the same.  

“This generous grant is an investment in our community and in the thousands of people we are already serving with enriching arts education programs. It also gives our robust organization room to grow,” said Kim Curtis, Jackson School of the Arts executive director. “A vibrant arts center in our downtown will have immense social, cultural and economic benefits and will impact generations to come.”

Consumers Energy is committed to the success of its hometown in several ways. The energy provider:

  • Was a founding member of the Jackson Anchor Initiative, a collaboration among several businesses to promote Jackson.
  • Renovated the former Woolworth Building into its Innovation Center two years ago.
  • Recently announced the new Jackson Smart Energy District, which will promote the next generation of energy technology in the downtown area. The company will be issuing a request for proposals nationally for third parties to develop new technologies in the district.
  • Helped Jackson earn honors for being the second-most energy efficient small city in the nation last year, with an eye on being No. 1.

“We want to do our part to help Jackson and the entire state of Michigan to thrive and provide opportunities for the current and the next generation of residents,” Poppe said. “We look forward to continuing to power up ideas that make our community an even better place to live.”

Consumers Energy, its foundation, employees and retirees last year contributed over $17 million to Michigan nonprofits. The Consumers Energy Foundation is the philanthropic arm of Consumers Energy, providing funds for education, community, civic and cultural development, social services, the environment, and emerging issues.

Consumers Energy, Michigan’s largest energy provider, is the principal subsidiary of CMS Energy (NYSE: CMS), providing natural gas and/or electricity to 6.7 million of the state’s 10 million residents in all 68 Lower Peninsula counties.

Media Contacts

Brian Wheeler, 517-788-2394

Katie Carey, 517-788-2395

For more information about Consumers Energy, go to www.ConsumersEnergy.com.

Check Out Consumers Energy on Social Media

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ConsumersEnergyMichigan/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/consumersenergy

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/consumersenergy

Flickr: https://www.flickr.com/photos/consumersenergy/

Listen Learn Care Foundation Hosts Women’s Symposium in South Florida

Tue, 04/17/2018 - 10:25am

The newly named Listen Learn Care Foundation, formerly known as the Office Depot Foundation, is hosting its fourth annual Women’s Symposium in a new venue and with a new theme: “All In: Life Leadership Lessons for the Queen Bee.” The two-day event will take place May 3-4, 2018 at Seminole Casino in Coconut Creek and feature 12 dynamic speakers, including Listen Learn Care Foundation President Mary Wong, who will speak from the heart in sharing her own “life and leadership lessons.”

All of the speakers, who range from technology experts to marketers to business strategists, will offer personal and professional insights and expertise to help attendees build and strengthen their own “hives.” Like past years, the Symposium is expected to bring together upwards of 300 women.LaJoie The environment is specifically designed to promote engagement, networking, learning, collaboration, and personal transformation.

“The Women’s Symposium is a unique opportunity for both personal and professional growth,” said Mary Wong. “We encourage women at any stage of their career and life path to attend. From the young woman just starting off, to the veteran career professional with decades of experience, to the entrepreneur looking for a change, to the woman like myself forced to face new challenges and continue to fly.” 

Speakers scheduled to appear at the 2018 Women’s Symposium include:

Wendi Blum – International Speaker & Published Author
Alexa Carlin – Women Empower Expo
Anthony Francis – Improv U
Felecia Hatcher – Code Fever and Black Tech Week
Stacey Hylen – Business Growth Strategist and Coach
Lisa LaJoie – Tapping Into It
Jess Ostroff – Don’t Panic Management
Karen Pfeffer – Fire Power Seminars
Connie Phelan – Fire Power Seminars
Mina Shah – Speaker, Strategic Consultant and Founder of the Mina Meetings
Kate Volman – Marketing Strategist
Mary Wong – President, Listen Learn Care Foundation

“From the first year we hosted the Women’s Symposium, we’ve always created an innovative and unique event that promotes creativity, interaction, rejuvenation and most importantly inspiration,” added Mary Wong. “This year will be extra special because I will personally be using the Symposium to nurture my own growth and will be leaning on my fellow attendees extra hard. I can’t wait to be with my hive!” 

Tickets are on sale now. Registration costs $249 per person. This includes breakfast, lunch and breaks on both Thursday May 3 and Friday May 4, as well as a networking reception on May 3, 2018. To register for the Listen Learn Care Foundation’s Women’s Symposium, please visit: https://listenlearncare.org/womensymposium/

Sponsors include Comcast, Seminole Casino Coconut Creek, Arthur J. Gallagher and Co, Q-Q Research, CSRwire, Surplus Giant, Greater Boca Raton Chamber of Commerce, Anne Zuckerman Law, JKG Group, Fusionary Formulas, Contemporary Living, Maria Lopez, Luly B, and Andy Parry. Sponsorship opportunities available at https://listenlearncare.org/womensymposium-sponsorships/

History of the Honeybee: According to researchers, honeybees are able to fly despite their body size because they have a rapid wing beat. In contrast to the fruit fly that has one eightieth the body size and flaps its wings 200 times each second, the much larger honeybee flaps its wings 230 times every second. The bees make up for the extra work by stretching out their wing stroke amplitude; in other words, they work like racing cars!

About the Listen Learn Care Foundation
The Foundation is an independent foundation − tax exempt under IRC Sec. 501(c)(3). In keeping with its mission, Listen Learn Care®, the Foundation supports a variety of programs that give children tools to succeed in school and in life; build the capacity of nonprofit organizations through collaboration and innovation; help women succeed in business; and help communities prepare for disasters, as well as recover and rebuild afterwards.  For more information, visit www.listenlearncare.org.

Media Contact:
Melissa Perlman
BlueIvy Communications


NHBSR 2018 Conference