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Updated: 1 hour 33 min ago

Capital Allocations Increasingly Influenced by Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Reporting

Wed, 11/19/2014 - 12:02pm

On November 5th, business professionals were given a first-hand look at the growing trend of integrating sustainability and corporate social responsibility (CSR) reporting with traditional financial reporting, as seen on national and global market exchanges during a workshop hosted by Sustainable Pittsburgh at the Fairmount Pittsburgh.

Since 2009, the market size for CSR information has tripled. Now, decisions on how to allocate $1.3 trillion in global assets are being made using sustainability and CSR criteria.

During her keynote, Su Gao, Senior Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) Analyst for Bloomberg LP, highlighted an average annual growth of 41.5% in unique users of Bloomberg ESG data from 2009 to 2013. Bloomberg provides decision makers the data, analytics, news, and insight related to global business and financial information.

“A notable trend we’ve observed recently is the rise in demand for ESG data from mainstream investors,” said Gao, “this is beyond the more niche, SRI or ‘socially responsible investing’ with missions already aligned with ESG integration. There are an increasing number of investors starting to consider ESG factors in allocation decisions to more actively manage long-term ESG risk in their portfolios.”

Mike Wallace, also a keynote speaker and Managing Director of BrownFlynn, a corporate responsibility and sustainability consulting firm, said, “It is no longer a matter of whether you are going to measure, manage, and disclose your CSR performance—it is when your company is going to do it. Then the question is how you disclose it—using your own approach, or adopting an internationally-recognized approach for disclosing, such as the GRI.”

The Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) provides a framework for standardized sustainability/CSR reporting. Mr. Wallace, formerly the Director of GRI’s North America operations, helped to more than double to use of the GRI across North America. Pittsburgh’s largest employers have either fully adopted this method of measuring, managing, and reporting their sustainability performance, or are referencing GRI to help them identify their most material issues. As awareness grows among the world’s biggest companies, so does the demand on suppliers to step up and report on their own sustainability performance.

During the event, representatives from UPMC, Alcoa, and BNY Mellon shared their companies’ approaches toward identifying sustainability issues that are material to their business’ operations as well as examples. With all trends pointing to even more rapid demand for CSR information, the impacts will be felt first by publicly-traded companies. Because of supply chain and customer chain impacts, private firms will need to be aware of these trends too.  Municipal governments are also on a trajectory for being affected through the growing inclusion of sustainability information in the municipal bond markets.

“The Pittsburgh region has shown tremendous progress in the uptake of sustainability practices in its private and public sectors in terms of best operational practices,” said Matthew Mehalik, Sustainable Pittsburgh Program Manager. “Future success in Pittsburgh’s sustainability achievements will require preparing for the coming shift in the access and allocation of capital based on sustainability and CSR performance information.”

For businesses operating in southwestern Pennsylvania, Sustainable Pittsburgh, through its Champions for Sustainability (C4S) business network, offers sustainability reporting programs to help them get started and grow their sustainability and CSR initiatives. The Southwestern Pennsylvania Sustainable Business Compact provides a credible and rigorous pathway for businesses to advance and publicly demonstrate their corporate sustainability achievements.  The Compact contains over 170 sustainable actions (called sustainable essentials) among 12 major sustainability categories, including resource efficiency, economic prosperity, governance, and equity, among others. The essentials are grouped according to difficulty to implement, and degree to which they reflect outward recognition of performance. Different point levels are assigned according to the degree of difficulty and outward recognition. The Compact has also been designed to help users align their sustainability efforts with globally accepted frameworks like GRI, CDP and SASB.

The first four businesses to achieve the Compact’s base level of Challenger, in order of completion, are Thar Energy, Eat'n Park Hospitality Group, PITT OHIO, and Veolia Water Solutions & Technologies’ Pittsburgh Office. Highmark is the first to achieve the Leader level of recognition, the next step above Challenger and requiring more transparent reporting, and UPMC is the first to achieve the Champion level, which requires even greater evidence to substantiate sustainability claims.

 

About BrownFlynn
Founded in January 1996, BrownFlynn is a leading, award-winning corporate responsibility and sustainability consulting firm. The Firm advises Fortune 500 and privately-held companies to focus on what’s most important, such as understanding their landscape, setting their direction, telling their story, and engaging their stakeholders. As the first U.S.-certified training partner of the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI), BrownFlynn conducts a variety of training sessions online and around the country on topics related to sustainability strategy, reporting, and trends. To learn more visit brownflynn.com.

Beneficio Cerro Alto Earns Carbon Neutral Certification

Tue, 11/18/2014 - 11:47am

(Marketwired) - Micro-mill Beneficio Cerro Alto, a coffee processor associated with four coffee mills in Costa Rica's Central Valley, achieved Carbon Neutral certification for the 2011-2012 coffee harvest. From October 1, 2011 to September 30, 2012, Beneficio Cerro Alto's greenhouse gas (GHG) inventory was independently verified by SCS Global Services (SCS) in accordance with the World Resources Institute (WRI) GHG protocol and the Publicly Available Specification 2060 (PAS 2060), the internationally recognized specification for demonstrating carbon neutrality.

"Every industry has an important role to play in reducing greenhouse gas emissions," said Robert J. Hrubes, Executive Vice President at SCS Global Services. "Beneficio Cerro Alto serves as a model for coffee enterprises across Latin America striving to be part of the solution to climate change." 

Beneficio Cerro Alto voluntarily declared its GHG emissions, and has taken steps to ensure accurate tracking of its carbon footprint, both of which are required to achieve independent verification. Recognition under the PAS 2060 framework allows Beneficio Cerro Alto to credibly support its carbon neutrality, demonstrating its commitment to good stewardship.

"Our number one goal is to produce high-quality coffee in a socially and environmentally responsible manner," said Silvia Vindas, Sales Manager, at Beneficio Cerro Alto. "Beneficio Cerro Alto selected SCS Global Services to assess our GHG inventory because of its expertise in independently evaluating coffee operations. We are pleased to have achieved verification under such a rigorous international standard."

Beneficio Cerro Alto's sustainability efforts extend beyond its greenhouse gas inventory reporting and carbon neutrality. For instance, in collaboration with Fondo PROPYME (Programa de Apoyo a la Pequeña y Mediana Empresa), an assistance program for small and medium-sized businesses, it acquired equipment specifically manufactured for micro-mills. This equipment has enabled Beneficio Cerro Alto to use recycled water in the production process, further reducing its environmental impact.

About SCS Global Services
SCS Global Services has been providing global leadership in third-party environmental and sustainability certification, auditing, testing, and standards development. Now in its 30thyear, its programs span a wide cross-section of industries, recognizing achievements in green building, product manufacturing, food and agriculture, forestry, retail, and more. SCS provides internationally recognized carbon footprint verification and validation services for company-wide emissions as well as individual product lines. SCS is a chartered benefit corporation and Certified B Corp™, reflecting its commitment to socially and environmentally responsible business practices. www.scsglobalservices.com

About Beneficio Cerro Alto
Following a tradition that started four generations ago, Beneficio Cerro Alto is a micro mill that prides itself on providing high-quality gourmet coffee to markets in Australia and Japan. Located in San Rafael de Heredia in Central Valley, Beneficio Cerro Alto processes coffee from four different farms: La Union, La Rosa, El Patio and La Loma. In 2007 and in 2008, the micro mill had prize-winning farms that placed in the top ten of the Cup of Excellence. Additional information is available at www.facebook.com/pages/Beneficio-Cerro-Alto/179728245445600.

Nonprofits, Professionals Show Increased Interest in Pro Bono Services

Tue, 11/18/2014 - 11:47am

The second annual Pro Bono Day NYC 2014: Connecting Passion with Purpose, convened by Taproot Foundation and supported by the Citi Foundation, drew record crowds, with 500 individuals attending. This represents nearly triple the crowd from the inaugural Pro Bono Day NYC in 2013 and indicates a growing interest in pro bono services from nonprofits, individuals, and corporations.

Pro Bono Day NYC 2014: Connecting Passion with Purpose kicked off with a Morning Networking & Plenary Session, where Taproot Foundation launched Taproot+ (www.taprootplus.org), a first-of-its-kind resource connecting nonprofits that need pro bono talent to business professionals who want to donate their expertise. Richard Buery, Deputy Mayor for Strategic Policy Initiatives gave keynote remarks, with the morning session also including words from Suni Harford, Citi’s Regional Head of North American Markets, and Paula Gavin, New York City’s Chief Service Officer.

Paula Gavin thanked pro bono service providers saying, "the ability to make a difference when we match talented individuals with the needs of our city is remarkable. Volunteering is good for you and good for the city. I thank you and I celebrate you." Deputy Mayor Buery invoked his own personal experience of volunteering at a housing project while he was a student at Harvard, as an example of the power of volunteerism.

Taproot Foundation's Executive Director for operations in New York City, Robert Acton introduced the packed auditorium at Citi offices in Manhattan to Taproot+, through a live-demo of the new online tool. With Taproot+ (www.taprootplus.org), nonprofits can define the right pro bono project for their needs, secure the ideal pro bono professionals to help, and kick off a project with confidence, knowing that they can access project management and coaching support throughout the process.

Liz Hamburg, President and CEO of Taproot Foundation, described the new site, where participants get a uniquely high level of support in creating profiles along with the speed of service they require. "We've helped thousands of nonprofits over our 13 years, but we couldn't get to all the organizations that needed help. Taproot+ allows us to reach nonprofits across the country, on their schedule. It enables us to connect them with a curated list of professionals who can help them meet their goals," said Hamburg.

Pro Bono Day NYC 2014: Connecting Passion with Purpose featured eight events throughout the day at different locations across the city, including panels on securing legal pro bono, cybersecurity for nonprofits, innovations in corporate pro bono, workshops on leveraging pro bono from a seat on the board, how nonprofits can make the most of free technology; and concluding with an evening reception, to celebrate the thousands of business professionals who give their time and skills to improve the nonprofit sector.

Many NYC’s community of pro bono intermediary organizations, also called pro bono providers, participated in Pro Bono Day NYC, including NPower, Arts & Business Council, Net Impact New York City chapter, desigNYC, Catchafire, American Express Serve2Gether Consulting, DataKind, and additional partners. Events took take place at Citi, Google, The Centre for Social Innovation, and The Foundation Center. Speakers and panel/workshop participants included: NYC Deputy Mayor for Strategic Policy Initiatives Richard Buery, Suni Harford, Managing Director and Regional Head of Markets for North America, Citi, Robert  Acton, NYC’s Executive Director of Taproot Foundation, and representatives from Symantec, Google, PwC, Goldman Sachs, Time Warner, Met Life, Lawyers Alliance for New York, the Arts & Business Council of New York, and more.

To learn more about Pro Bono Day NYC 2014: Connecting Passion with Purpose, click here.  

About Taproot
Taproot is a nonprofit organization that makes business talent available to organizations working to improve society. We engage the nation’s millions of business professionals in pro bono services both through our award-winning programs and by partnering with companies to develop their pro bono programs. One day, we envision all organizations with promising solutions will be equipped to successfully take on urgent social challenges.

About the Citi Foundation
The Citi Foundation works to promote economic progress in communities around the world and focuses on initiatives that expand financial inclusion. We collaborate with best-in-class partners to create measurable economic improvements that strengthen low-income families and communities. Through a “More than Philanthropy” approach, Citi’s business resources and human capital enhance our philanthropic investments and impact. For more information, visit www.citifoundation.com.

Providing Safe and Affordable Water Through Low-Cost Model

Mon, 11/17/2014 - 5:31pm

Leading India-based social enterprise Spring Health has announced plans to join the Business Call to Action. The company has pledged to provide safe drinking water to two million customers in rural India by 2017 and improve the health outcomes of more than five million people in Eastern India by 2019. Spring Health Water India Pvt Ltd is the Indian counterpart of US-headquartered Windhorse International Inc., and was founded by entrepreneur Paul Polak with Indian partner Jacob Mathew and CEO Kishan Nanavati.

With an estimated 80 percent of rural India lacking access to safe drinking water, the company has a unique model designed to provide a low-cost delivery system through a chain of safe water kiosks. To meet the needs of the rural population, Spring Health uses liquid chlorine to disinfect water at the point of distribution and sells to rural consumers at affordable prices. The company uses a motorcycle-based distribution system to deliver liquid chlorine for treating water in tanks constructed outside of existing shops in rural communities. Local shop owners share revenue with Spring Health by managing the sales and distribution to local residents.

The company is working to bridge the gap in affordable water and sanitation, which many residents in the region are facing. It is also exploring plans to expand its business model once its pilot program is completed. 

“Our commitment to the Business Call to Action reiterates our strong interest in supporting low-income consumers in rural India and providing access to basic hygiene and water services to meet the needs of residents who should not be impacted by the lack of clean water,” states Paul Polak, Founder of Spring Health.

To provide local residents in India with access to clean water, the company has developed a profitable and sustainable last-50-meter distribution system that reaches out to small villages. Spring Health employees are deployed by motorcycle from a central electro-chlorination plant with provisions to purify water for up to six villages each. They also provide cargo space for a whole range of other transformative products that will be included in the second phase of Spring Health’s rollout and meet critical needs, from lighting and energy to hygiene and nutrition. In the third phase, the same motorcycles will carry products made in the villages back to cities in an effort to enhance livelihoods and generate income at the village level.

“Delivery systems are an often overlooked but critical part of water access. Spring Health systems are a vital contribution to health, sanitation, and income generation,” said Suba Sivakumaran, Programme Manager of the Business Call to Action.

The company has recently announced expansion plans to further meet communities’ needs in Odisha, India. In the next few months, Spring Health, which currently serves over 100,000 customers in 200 villages, will begin offering access to safe drinking water to an additional 100,000 customers across 100 new villages through funding from a US-based investor. 

 

The Business Call to Action (BCtA) is a global corporate leadership platform, with over 100 member companies that are incorporating inclusive business approaches in their operations to help advance the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).  As innovators in this space, BCtA member companies are advancing the inclusive business agenda by creating novel business models, sharing lessons learned, and forging partnerships to improve scale and increase development impact. 

The initiative is the result of a partnership between the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida)UK Department for International Development (DFID), US Agency for International Development (USAID), United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), and the United Nations Global Compact to meet the anti-poverty Millennium Development Goals by 2015. Companies report on progress toward commitments on an annual basis.  @bctainitiative   

About Spring Health

www.springhealth.in

On Twitter @Outofpoverty

 

For more information contact: 

BCTA: Karen Newman, karen.newman@undp.org, +212 906-5194

Spring Health: Kishan Nanavati, kishan.nanavati@springhealth.in, +91 7894423401 or outofpovertyteam@gmail.com

Global Pro Bono is Moving the Needle on Maternal Health | Wednesday, November 19 at 1:00 PM EST | Upcoming #3BLchat

Mon, 11/17/2014 - 2:31pm

Mark Your Calendars!

Date:  Wednesday, November 19


Time:  1:00 pm, ET

According to many leading organizations in global health, including the Public Health Institute, 2014 presented 3 major megatrends in healthcare: 

  • Demand for healthcare in developing countries is soaring
  • Global pandemics will remain a serious threat
  • The role of philanthropy—including corporate—is growing

Given this increased demand for healthcare and diminishing foreign aid budgets, how can government, business, and local health clinics work together to move the needle on maternal health?  Join 3BL Media as we chat with USAID, Merck for Mothers, PYXERA Global & Jacaranda Health to explore how partnerships and global pro bono can make maternal healthcare accessible and available.

Follow this chat to discover:

  • Why it takes a cross sector approach to impact big issues like maternal health
  • What global pro bono programs like Merck’s RTC Fellowship contribute
  • How companies & government can work together for sustainable impact
  • What are the challenges in this collaboration

Please use #3BLchat to follow the live chat and include it in your tweets to join the conversation.  Also follow @3BLMedia, @USAIDGH, @MerckforMothers, @PYXERAGlobal, @jacarandakenya, and @PHIGlobalHealth to engage during the Twitter chat.

Our panelists will encourage everyone with an interest in global pro bono and maternal health to participate – especially those that may feel they are too small to make a difference or be involved.

Learn More Resources:

If you have questions to ask of our panelists BEFORE the chat on Wednesday, November 19th, or would like to share your organization’s story, please let us know via an email (see below) or with a tweet that includes #3BLchat.

To register, send this tweet:

I will join @USAIDGH @merckformothers @PYXERAGlobal #3BLchat: #Globalprobono #MovingtheNeedle http://3bl.me/993g2t Wed November 19 at 1:00 pm ET

Tips to get the most from #3BLchat:

  • Follow the main participants and #3BLchat hashtag. 
  • Submit questions before the event to promote a more dynamic discussion.
  • Use the #3BLchat hashtag on your comments that you want to share with the community.
  • Share tweets you think your followers will appreciate.
  • Follow interesting participants during and after the chat.

Bios:

Mary Ellen Stanton, Senior Maternal Health Technical Advisor, USAID, Bureau of Global Health

Mary Ellen Stanton is Senior Maternal Health Advisor to United States Agency for International Development (USAID) where she guides the Global Health Bureau’s maternal health portfolio, including research and implementation of country programs. She has decades of experience in clinical nursing and midwifery, nurse-midwifery education, and international maternal child health and family planning. Her work has taken her to dozens of countries around the globe to carry out assessments and to design and evaluate maternal newborn health programs. She leads the Maternal Health Team, serves as the USAID Washington-based technical coordinator for the Afghanistan Health Program, and manages USAID’s obstetric fistula program for the Bureau for Global Health. Ms. Stanton received her B.A. from Oberlin College, B.S. from Columbia University, and M.S.N. from the University of Illinois and is a Fellow of the American College of Nurse Midwives. 

About Merck for Mothers

Every two minutes, a woman dies from complications related to pregnancy and childbirth. If nothing is done an estimated three million women may die from complications of pregnancy and childbirth in the next decade. Most of these deaths are preventable. While the burden falls most heavily on the developing world, certain communities in the United States and other developed nations are suffering significant and worsening rates of maternal death.

Merck for Mothers is a 10-year, $500 million initiative focused on creating a world where no woman has to die from complications of pregnancy and childbirth. Drawing on the company's history of discovering innovative, life-saving medicines and vaccines, Merck for Mothers is applying Merck's scientific and business expertise - as well as its financial resources and experience in taking on tough global healthcare challenges - to reduce maternal mortality around the world. For more information, visit www.merckformothers.com and connect on Facebook.

Amie Newman, Director of Communications and Development, Jacaranda Health

Amie is responsible for creating and implementing the communications and development strategies at Jacaranda Health, which includes helping to amplify the impact of the organization's work globally as well as ensuring funding through a diverse set of foundations and individual donors. Amie has extensive experience in communications for global women's health issues. She is a former global digital communications strategist with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation where she has acted as the editor of Impatient Optimists, the blog for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Prior to this position, she served as Managing Editor/Senior Staff Writer for RH Reality Check where she helped build the award-winning digital platform for reproductive and sexual health and rights coverage. In her spare time she provides advisory and strategic communications consultation to New Moon Girls Magazine, is a writer, was a contributor to the newest edition of Our Bodies, Ourselves, and an associate producer for the global girls' advocacy film, PODER!

Laura Asiala, Vice President, Public Affairs, PYXERA Global

Laura Asiala is the Vice President, Public Affairs at PYXERA Global. Passionate about the power of business to solve-or help solve-the world’s most intransigent problems, she leads the efforts to attract more participation of businesses to contribute to the sustainable development, through their people and their work. She also serves on the Board of Directors for Net Impact, a community of more than 40,000 student and professional leaders creating positive social and environmental change in the workplace. Laura’s thirty year career in international business included roles in finance, marketing, business development, HR, branding, and communications, and corporate social responsibility.

Mark Your Calendars!

Date:  Wednesday, Nov 19
Time:  1 pm, ET

According to many leading organizations in global health, including the Public Health Institute, 2014 presented 3 major megatrends in healthcare: 

  • Demand for healthcare in developing countries is soaring
  • Global pandemics will remain a serious threat
  • The role of philanthropy—including corporate—is growing

Given this increased demand for healthcare and diminishing foreign aid budgets, how can government, business, and local health clinics work together to move the needle on maternal health?  Join 3BL Media as we chat with USAID, Merck for Mothers, PYXERA Global & Jacaranda Health to explore how partnerships and global pro bono can make maternal healthcare accessible and available.

Follow this chat to discover:

  • Why it takes a cross sector approach to impact big issues like maternal health
  • What global pro bono programs like Merck’s RTC Fellowship contribute
  • How companies & government can work together for sustainable impact
  • What are the challenges in this collaboration

Please use #3BLchat to follow the live chat and include it in your tweets to join the conversation.  Also follow @3BLMedia@USAIDGH@MerckforMothers@PYXERAGlobal@jacarandakenya, and @PHIGlobalHealth to engage during the Twitter chat.

Our panelists will encourage everyone with an interest in global pro bono and maternal health to participate – especially those that may feel they are too small to make a difference or be involved.

Learn More Resources:

If you have questions to ask of our panelists BEFORE the chat on Wednesday, November 19th, or would like to share your organization’s story, please let us know via an email (see below) or with a tweet that includes #3BLchat.

To register, send this tweet:

I will join @USAIDGH @merckformothers @PYXERAGlobal #3BLchat: #Globalprobono #MovingtheNeedle http://3bl.me/993g2t Wed Nov 19 at 1 ET

Tips to get the most from #3BLchat:

  • Follow the main participants and #3BLchat hashtag. 
  • Submit questions before the event to promote a more dynamic discussion.
  • Use the #3BLchat hashtag on your comments that you want to share with the community.
  • Share tweets you think your followers will appreciate.
  • Follow interesting participants during and after the chat.

Bios:

Mary Ellen Stanton, Senior Maternal Health Technical Advisor, USAID, Bureau of Global Health

Mary Ellen Stanton is Senior Maternal Health Advisor to United States Agency for International Development (USAID) where she guides the Global Health Bureau’s maternal health portfolio, including research and implementation of country programs. She has decades of experience in clinical nursing and midwifery, nurse-midwifery education, and international maternal child health and family planning. Her work has taken her to dozens of countries around the globe to carry out assessments and to design and evaluate maternal newborn health programs. She leads the Maternal Health Team, serves as the USAID Washington-based technical coordinator for the Afghanistan Health Program, and manages USAID’s obstetric fistula program for the Bureau for Global Health. Ms. Stanton received her B.A. from Oberlin College, B.S. from Columbia University, and M.S.N. from the University of Illinois and is a Fellow of the American College of Nurse Midwives. 

About Merck for Mothers

Every two minutes, a woman dies from complications related to pregnancy and childbirth. If nothing is done an estimated three million women may die from complications of pregnancy and childbirth in the next decade. Most of these deaths are preventable. While the burden falls most heavily on the developing world, certain communities in the United States and other developed nations are suffering significant and worsening rates of maternal death.

Merck for Mothers is a 10-year, $500 million initiative focused on creating a world where no woman has to die from complications of pregnancy and childbirth. Drawing on the company's history of discovering innovative, life-saving medicines and vaccines, Merck for Mothers is applying Merck's scientific and business expertise - as well as its financial resources and experience in taking on tough global healthcare challenges - to reduce maternal mortality around the world. For more information, visit www.merckformothers.com and connect on Facebook.

Amie Newman, Director of Communications and Development, Jacaranda Health

Amie is responsible for creating and implementing the communications and development strategies at Jacaranda Health, which includes helping to amplify the impact of the organization's work globally as well as ensuring funding through a diverse set of foundations and individual donors. Amie has extensive experience in communications for global women's health issues. She is a former global digital communications strategist with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation where she has acted as the editor of Impatient Optimists, the blog for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Prior to this position, she served as Managing Editor/Senior Staff Writer for RH Reality Check where she helped build the award-winning digital platform for reproductive and sexual health and rights coverage. In her spare time she provides advisory and strategic communications consultation to New Moon Girls Magazine, is a writer, was a contributor to the newest edition of Our Bodies, Ourselves, and an associate producer for the global girls' advocacy film, PODER!

Laura Asiala, Vice President, Public Affairs, PYXERA Global

Laura Asiala is the Vice President, Public Affairs at PYXERA Global. Passionate about the power of business to solve-or help solve-the world’s most intransigent problems, she leads the efforts to attract more participation of businesses to contribute to the sustainable development, through their people and their work. She also serves on the Board of Directors for Net Impact, a community of more than 40,000 student and professional leaders creating positive social and environmental change in the workplace. Laura’s thirty year career in international business included roles in finance, marketing, business development, HR, branding, and communications, and corporate social responsibility.

- See more at: http://3blmedia.com/News/Upcoming-3BLchat-Global-Pro-Bono-Moving-Needle-Maternal-Health-Wednesday-Nov-19-1PM-EST#sthash.r90RuACt.dpuf

Mark Your Calendars!

Date:  Wednesday, Nov 19
Time:  1 pm, ET

According to many leading organizations in global health, including the Public Health Institute, 2014 presented 3 major megatrends in healthcare: 

  • Demand for healthcare in developing countries is soaring
  • Global pandemics will remain a serious threat
  • The role of philanthropy—including corporate—is growing

Given this increased demand for healthcare and diminishing foreign aid budgets, how can government, business, and local health clinics work together to move the needle on maternal health?  Join 3BL Media as we chat with USAID, Merck for Mothers, PYXERA Global & Jacaranda Health to explore how partnerships and global pro bono can make maternal healthcare accessible and available.

Follow this chat to discover:

  • Why it takes a cross sector approach to impact big issues like maternal health
  • What global pro bono programs like Merck’s RTC Fellowship contribute
  • How companies & government can work together for sustainable impact
  • What are the challenges in this collaboration

Please use #3BLchat to follow the live chat and include it in your tweets to join the conversation.  Also follow @3BLMedia, @USAIDGH, @MerckforMothers, @PYXERAGlobal, @jacarandakenya, and @PHIGlobalHealth to engage during the Twitter chat.

Our panelists will encourage everyone with an interest in global pro bono and maternal health to participate – especially those that may feel they are too small to make a difference or be involved.

Learn More Resources:

If you have questions to ask of our panelists BEFORE the chat on Wednesday, November 19th, or would like to share your organization’s story, please let us know via an email (see below) or with a tweet that includes #3BLchat.

To register, send this tweet:

I will join @USAIDGH @merckformothers @PYXERAGlobal #3BLchat: #Globalprobono #MovingtheNeedle http://3bl.me/993g2t Wed Nov 19 at 1 ET

Tips to get the most from #3BLchat:

  • Follow the main participants and #3BLchat hashtag. 
  • Submit questions before the event to promote a more dynamic discussion.
  • Use the #3BLchat hashtag on your comments that you want to share with the community.
  • Share tweets you think your followers will appreciate.
  • Follow interesting participants during and after the chat.

Bios:

Mary Ellen Stanton, Senior Maternal Health Technical Advisor, USAID, Bureau of Global Health

Mary Ellen Stanton is Senior Maternal Health Advisor to United States Agency for International Development (USAID) where she guides the Global Health Bureau’s maternal health portfolio, including research and implementation of country programs. She has decades of experience in clinical nursing and midwifery, nurse-midwifery education, and international maternal child health and family planning. Her work has taken her to dozens of countries around the globe to carry out assessments and to design and evaluate maternal newborn health programs. She leads the Maternal Health Team, serves as the USAID Washington-based technical coordinator for the Afghanistan Health Program, and manages USAID’s obstetric fistula program for the Bureau for Global Health. Ms. Stanton received her B.A. from Oberlin College, B.S. from Columbia University, and M.S.N. from the University of Illinois and is a Fellow of the American College of Nurse Midwives. 

About Merck for Mothers

Every two minutes, a woman dies from complications related to pregnancy and childbirth. If nothing is done an estimated three million women may die from complications of pregnancy and childbirth in the next decade. Most of these deaths are preventable. While the burden falls most heavily on the developing world, certain communities in the United States and other developed nations are suffering significant and worsening rates of maternal death.

Merck for Mothers is a 10-year, $500 million initiative focused on creating a world where no woman has to die from complications of pregnancy and childbirth. Drawing on the company's history of discovering innovative, life-saving medicines and vaccines, Merck for Mothers is applying Merck's scientific and business expertise - as well as its financial resources and experience in taking on tough global healthcare challenges - to reduce maternal mortality around the world. For more information, visit www.merckformothers.com and connect on Facebook.

Amie Newman, Director of Communications and Development, Jacaranda Health

Amie is responsible for creating and implementing the communications and development strategies at Jacaranda Health, which includes helping to amplify the impact of the organization's work globally as well as ensuring funding through a diverse set of foundations and individual donors. Amie has extensive experience in communications for global women's health issues. She is a former global digital communications strategist with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation where she has acted as the editor of Impatient Optimists, the blog for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Prior to this position, she served as Managing Editor/Senior Staff Writer for RH Reality Check where she helped build the award-winning digital platform for reproductive and sexual health and rights coverage. In her spare time she provides advisory and strategic communications consultation to New Moon Girls Magazine, is a writer, was a contributor to the newest edition of Our Bodies, Ourselves, and an associate producer for the global girls' advocacy film, PODER!

Laura Asiala, Vice President, Public Affairs, PYXERA Global

Laura Asiala is the Vice President, Public Affairs at PYXERA Global. Passionate about the power of business to solve-or help solve-the world’s most intransigent problems, she leads the efforts to attract more participation of businesses to contribute to the sustainable development, through their people and their work. She also serves on the Board of Directors for Net Impact, a community of more than 40,000 student and professional leaders creating positive social and environmental change in the workplace. Laura’s thirty year career in international business included roles in finance, marketing, business development, HR, branding, and communications, and corporate social responsibility.

Contact:

Suzanne Madore 

3BL Media

smadore@3blmedia.com

- See more at: http://3blmedia.com/News/Upcoming-3BLchat-Global-Pro-Bono-Moving-Needle-Maternal-Health-Wednesday-Nov-19-1PM-EST#sthash.Q0EZxmpX.dpuf

Fetzer Vineyards Is First Wine Company To Receive Zero Waste Certification

Mon, 11/17/2014 - 2:31pm

Fetzer Vineyards announced today that it has received platinum level Zero Waste certification from the U.S. Zero Waste Business Council (USZWBC). Platinum certification, the highest level offered by the USZWBC, recognizes the company for successfully diverting 97.7 percent of its waste from landfill, incineration and the environment.

“Our certification program holds to the highest standards and is one of the toughest in the country, so reaching the platinum level is a great accomplishment,” said Stephanie Barger, founder and executive director of USZWBC. “Fetzer Vineyards has been a long time partner of the Zero Waste movement. Recognizing and documenting Fetzer’s achievements beyond recycling to reduce, retrain and redesign systems increases its bottom-line and motivates other companies to take the next step.”

“Since our founding in 1968, Fetzer Vineyards has been a pioneer in sustainable business practices,” said Josh Prigge, sustainability manager at Fetzer Vineyards. “We are honored to be the first wine company to achieve Zero Waste certification. This achievement reinforces that companies can work to create a closed loop system that is both profitable and sustainable.”

The goal of businesses participating in the USZWBC Zero Waste Certification program is to drive their programs beyond recycling to Zero Waste analysis, leadership, purchasing and total participation. The goal of Zero Waste is to divert all end-use material from landfill, incineration and the environment, while achieving a minimum of 90 percent diversion based on the standards set by the Zero Waste International Alliance (ZWIA). Fetzer Vineyards is exceeding this by 7.7 percent.

To date, Fetzer Vineyards has reduced its environmental impact in the following areas:

  • Diverted 97.7 percent of all waste from landfills and incineration in 2013 through recycling, reusing, and composting used materials

  • Diverted approximately 2,807 tons of total waste from landfill in 2013, equal to the weight of about 1,400 cars

  • Exceeded the California State Mandate of 75 percent diversion (AB341) by 2017

  • Reduced annual waste sent to the landfill by more than 96 percent since 1990

  • Composted 3.6 million pounds of grape skins, stems, and seeds in 2013, which is then reintroduced into its vineyards as fertilizer

  • Became the first winery in California to operate on 100 percent renewable energy in 1999

  • Saved more than $388,000 per year from disposal costs and including revenue for recycling

 

About Fetzer Vineyards
Pioneers in sustainability, Fetzer Vineyards is continuing its legacy of hard work, rebellious thinking and wines that make a difference. The company has developed practices that are environmentally friendly, socially responsible, and ultimately sustainable. We strive for the perfect relationship between land, climate and grape, so we can bring wines of remarkable quality and character to the table. For more information, visit us at www.fetzer.com.

About the U.S. Zero Waste Business Council (USZWBC)
Launched in spring of 2012 and headquartered in Corona Del Mar, CA the USZWBC's mission is to educate, inform and document the performance of Zero Waste Businesses using scientific methods to help businesses and communities become more healthy and sustainable. USZWBC offers the only national Zero Waste Standards focused on upstream policies and processes, Zero Waste training through webinars and workshops and is the leader in creating a solid foundation that advances the integrity and credibility of Zero Waste. For more information, visit www.uszwbc.org.

About Zero Waste
According to the Zero Waste International Alliance (www.zwia.org), Zero Waste is a goal that is ethical, economical, efficient and visionary, to guide people in changing their lifestyles and practices to emulate sustainable natural cycles, where all discarded materials are designed to become resources for others to use. Zero Waste means designing and managing products and processes to systematically avoid and eliminate the volume and toxicity of waste and materials, conserve and recover all resources, and not burn or bury them. Implementing Zero Waste will eliminate all discharges to land, water or air that are a threat to planetary, human, animal or plant health.

Ethical Sourcing Forum 2015

Fri, 11/14/2014 - 1:17pm

Intertek is pleased to celebrate 15 Successful Years of hosting the Ethical Sourcing Forum as the international forum for building and sharing knowledge about tackling supply chains challenges through hands-on workshops, minilabs and interactive panel discussions led by industry experts. Members of this knowledge community include companies, academics, service providers, policy makers, members of government and non-government organizations and expert consultants We will be looking at the movement, forces and ideas that have been shaping the community’s progress towards our common goal of improved working conditions in the supply chain.

EARLY BIRD SPECIAL $750.00 through December 15 www.ethicalsourcingforum.com

Participants can expect key solutions and answers to the following topics proliferating the CSR landscape: • What are practical solutions for companies to mitigate Hidden Supply Chain Risks such as recruitment agencies, indirect workers and service companies?

• Hear the voices from the Supplier Perspective in managing their commitment towards a sustainable supply chain while handling various buyer requirements.

• Last few years has seen a burst of Partnership and Collaboration approaches across and within a variety of industries. What are the success factors and learning points for improvement?

• Updates on Legal Regulations and Torts from our previous event topic discussions with Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney, various Executive Orders on purchasing requirements, and recent lawsuits. What are the implications to brands and retailers today?

• How are companies working directly with Civil Society Organizations on the ground in their key supplier markets?

The Ethical Sourcing Forum is one of the longest running annual events focusing on supply chain issues since its first gathering in 2000 and is open to all who are willing to play an active role in the development and successful implementation of sustainable social and environmental supply chain practices.

For more information please contact customerservices@intertek.com

Nasdaq and 3BL Media to Host Twitter Chat: Responsible Investing in a Complex Market - How ESG Limits Risk

Fri, 11/14/2014 - 10:16am

 3BL Media and Nasdaq (NDAQ) announced today a #3BLchat Twitter chat that will be focused on responsible investing and how environmental, social and governance (ESG) data can be used to limit investment risk.  The chat will take place on November 24th, 2014 at 2pm ET. To join and follow the discussion, use the hashtag #3BLchat.

Evan Harvey (@Evanharvey99), Managing Director of Sustainability for Nasdaq, will be leading the discussion on Twitter, along with @3BLMedia and @CSRwire.  The chat will include a discussion of Evan’s role in promoting sustainability and ESG initiatives—within the company, with companies that list on Nasdaq, and with a growing number of committed exchanges around the world.

“Exchanges are uniquely positioned to drive change. And Nasdaq in particular has been a vocal advocate for the kinds of beneficial effects—increased shareholder engagement, market efficiency, economic empowerment, and long-term capital formation—that good corporate sustainability practices can produce,” said Evan Harvey.

A recent study by New Amsterdam Partners finds stocks with higher ESG ratings deliver superior returns and lower price volatility. Reports by the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) and Nielson have found similar correlations between sustainability initiatives and stock performance. We will explore what this means for companies on the exchange and for the exchange itself.

Nasdaq is actively working with other exchanges, investors, regulators, and companies to improve corporate transparency and performance on ESG (environmental, social and corporate governance) issues. This initiative drives responsible investment and long-term capital formation. Stock exchanges can leverage the unique nature of their business (and inherently close relationships with thousands of public companies) to play a vital role in promoting sustainable economic development. 

@3BLMedia and @CSRwire have hosted previous Sustainability focused Twitter chats on topics including Building Sustainable Supply Chains, Women’s Economic Empowerment and Sustainability Reporting.

“As more companies recognize that sustainability management and ESG data can significantly mitigate investment and portfolio risk, there has been an expansion within the financial community of interest in sustainability factors,” said Greg Schneider, CEO of 3BL Media. “3BL Media and CSRwire are pleased to co-host this Twitter chat with Nasdaq to further explore this growing sector.”

 

Follow this #3BLchat to explore:

  • How stock exchanges can promote sustainable business practices

  • Improving communications on stock exchanges’ sustainability-related activities

  • Why sustainability practices matter to stock exchanges

  • The global outlook: what are other exchanges doing?

  • The shifting ESG regulatory and disclosure landscape

Questions or examples for the panelists should be submitted before the chat on Monday, November 24th via email (see below) or a tweet that includes #3BLchat.

To register, send this tweet:

I will join #3BLchat Responsible #Investing in a Complex Market @evanharvey99 @Nasdaq Mon Nov 24th 1pm ET

Tips to get the most from #3BLchat:

  • Follow the main participants and #3BLchat hashtag.

  • Submit questions before the event to promote a more dynamic discussion.

  • Use the #3BLchat hashtag on your comments that you want to share with the community.

  • Share tweets you think your followers will appreciate.

  • Follow interesting participants during and after the chat.

 

Evan Harvey, Director of Sustainability at Nasdaq
Evan directs the sustainability effort at Nasdaq, helping to make the exchange and all of its listed companies more transparent, efficient, and responsible. In this capacity, he oversees the research, analysis, writing, and publication of virtually all-major sustainability reports. Evan is also responsible for investor outreach, media relations, sustainability partnerships, executive speechwriting, and major event planning. More than twenty years of experience in marketing and communications has served him well in this role, but he has augmented those skills with new learning in resource management, environmental science, and human rights. Powerful and persuasive writing is an essential tool when communicating the environmental crisis, building political consensus, and solving economic dilemmas.

 

Nasdaq (NDAQ) is a leading provider of trading, exchange technology, information and public company services across six continents. Through its diverse portfolio of solutions, Nasdaq enables customers to plan, optimize and execute their business vision with confidence, using proven technologies that provide transparency and insight for navigating today’s global capital markets. As the creator of the world’s first electronic stock market, its technology powers more than 70 marketplaces in 50 countries, and one in ten of the world's securities transactions. Nasdaq is home to more than 3,500 listed companies with a market value of over $8.8 trillion and more than 10,000 corporate clients. Nasdaq is also a global leader in the sustainable stock exchanges movement, leveraging the power of education and economic empowerment to drive environmental, social, and ethical change. 

 

About 3BL Media
3BL Media is the leading news and content distribution company focused on Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and Sustainability and related topics. Clients include Fortune 1000, multinational corporations, SME's, and non-profits that rely on the 3BL Media distribution platform to distribute press releases, blogs, videos, reports and other media assets through social, traditional and new media channels. 3BL Media leverages its expertise in communications, technology and social media to enable organizations to more effectively communicate about their CSR and sustainability initiatives to a highly targeted audience including media, investors, practitioners, consumers and other stakeholder groups. 3BL Media is the publisher and producer of The CSR Minute™ and owns and operates Justmeans.comSocialearth.org and CSRwire.com. Visit 3blmedia.com

 

The information contained above and during the #3BLchat w/ @evanharvey99 of @Nasdaq is provided for informational and educational purposes only, and nothing should be construed as investment advice, either on behalf of a particular financial product or an overall investment strategy. Neither The NASDAQ OMX Group, Inc. nor any of its affiliates (collectively “Nasdaq”) makes any recommendation to buy or sell any financial product or any representation about the financial condition of any company or fund. Actual results may differ materially from those expressed or implied. Information containing any historical information, data or analysis should not be taken as an indication or guarantee of any future performance, analysis, forecast or prediction. Past performance is not indicative of future results. Investors should undertake their own due diligence and carefully evaluate companies before investing. ADVICE FROM A SECURITIES PROFESSIONAL IS STRONGLY ADVISED. 

None of the information contained in this press release or during the during the #3BLchat w/ @evanharvey99 of @Nasdaq constitutes an offer to sell (or a solicitation of an offer to buy), any security, financial product or other investment vehicle or any trading strategy. Nasdaq does not issue, sponsor, endorse, market, offer, review or otherwise express any opinion regarding any investment or financial product that may be based on or linked to the performance of any investment strategy.

BMO Bank Of Montreal First Major Bank To Select Changeit® - An Easy Way To Donate Small Change To Local Charities To Make A Big Difference

Thu, 11/13/2014 - 7:01pm

Every year, millions of Canadians open up their hearts and wallets to donate money to the charities of their choice. In fact, a recent survey[1] found that 71 per cent of Canadians donated to charity last year. More than half said they wish they could have given more and 24 per cent said they would have given more if it was convenient to do so. Now they have no excuse.

ChangeIt® is an innovation in fundraising and acts like an automated spare change jar for charitable donations. By using the online portal, BMO customers can choose to round up their cashless transactions to the nearest dollar amount and direct it to the customers chosen charities. Every time a customer makes a purchase, their small change makes a big difference for a cause they care about.

“The BMO and ChangeIt partnership represents a first of its kind for charitable giving in Canada,” said Nick Mastromarco, Director, Loyalty and Partnerships, BMO Bank of Montreal. “We’re honoured to help provide customers with a convenient, flexible way to give back to their charity of choice, and keep track of their donations. As we approach the busy holiday season, it can be overwhelming facing multiple donation requests. BMO ChangeIt presents customers with the opportunity to simplify their charitable giving, while keeping their cause close to heart, every day.”

“ChangeIt harnesses the concept that small amounts of money from many people can result in big changes,” says Mike Kitchen, CEO, ChangeIt. “The whole process is effortless and puts ChangeIt users in control of their charitable donation choices – and they can make changes anytime to customize how they want to give. Not only is it easier to give but our charity partners benefit from participating because it is a more efficient way to raise funds.”

How does it work? It is so simple

  • Customer spends $2.82 for a coffee and pays for it using a credit card

  • Based on the pre-selected rounding preferences, an $0.18 pledge is calculated

  • This $0.18, along with other purchase roundups, is accrued monthly and forwarded directly to the charities selected as one aggregate amount

It’s free to join and BMO customers will receive tax receipts for 100% of their donation.

“We are inspired by BMO Bank of Montreal seeing the value and being the first bank to bring ChangeIt to their customers,” says Kitchen. “As we move into the cashless era, we see bringing this product to not just credit cards but debit cards and mobile wallets so no matter how you pay, you can donate. 

ChangeIt allows donors to make a pledge, not a payment. Users decide how much they wish to donate by setting a monthly minimum and maximum amount and an online portal allows them to track how much they have given. A tax receipt will be issued by each charity they support at the end of the year for every cent donated.

BMO Bank of Montreal charity partners SickKids Foundation, Kids Help Phone and World Wildlife Fund all participated in the launch event and are just three of the nearly 86,000 charities who BMO customers can support. ChangeIt is open to any CRA registered charitable organizations and Registered Canadian Amateur Athletic Associations in Canada.

 

ABOUT CHANGEIT
ChangeIt® is an innovative and patent protected crowdfunding platform that allows a bank’s customers to round up credit, debit or mobile purchases, and donate it to as many as 5 of their favourite charities every month! ChangeIt® is akin to dropping your spare change into a container at the checkout but brings this into the future through your favourite payment card. Whether buying their morning coffee or grabbing some groceries, ChangeIt® enables a bank’s customers to automatically donate to the charities they choose. For more information please visit: https://changeit.com/.

 

ABOUT BMO FINANCIAL GROUP
Established in 1817 as Bank of Montreal, BMO Financial Group is a highly diversified financial services organization based in North America. The bank offers a broad range of retail banking, wealth management and investment banking products and services to more than 12 million customers. BMO Financial Group had more than $586 billion in total assets and approximately 47,000 employees at July 31, 2014.


[1] Conducted by Pollara Strategic Insights; sample of 1,000 Canadians. August 2013 on behalf of Visa Canada

 

Wyndham Vacation Ownership Wins Lodging Sustainability Award

Thu, 11/13/2014 - 4:00pm

(Marketwired) - Wyndham Vacation Ownership (WVO), the world's largest vacation ownership company and a member of the Wyndham Worldwide family of companies (NYSE: WYN), recently received a LODGING Sustainability Award for "Lodging Brand of the Year" at the LODGING Green and Sustainability Conference & Expo in Las Vegas, Nevada on October 29, 2014.

The LODGING Sustainability Awards "recognize the contribution of individuals, groups and corporate entities who exemplify the meaning of sustainability in the hospitality industry. The winners stand as role models whose work embodies the industry's efforts to be strong advocates for corporate social responsibility in doing what's best for both the environment and for the business while also appealing to the ecologically friendly traveler."

"It is an honor to be recognized for our commitment and focused work in sustainability, and our overall corporate social responsibility (CSR) efforts," said Faith Taylor, senior vice president, sustainability and innovation, Wyndham Worldwide. "Our work is a tremendous collaboration across all key stakeholders -- shareholders, associates, customers, home owner associations, franchisees, suppliers and community partners -- who not only develop ideas with incredible potential, but also transform them into tangible results and drive leadership in the industry."

As part of the Wyndham Green sustainability program, Wyndham Vacation Ownership supports innovative sustainability practices at corporate facilities and more than 190 vacation ownership resorts throughout the world. Sustainable operations at resorts include:

--  Green housekeeping chemicals

--  In-room green detergents

--  In-room Arbor Day coffee benefitting the Rain Forest Rescue Coffee

    Program

--  Green paper collateral

--  Energy-saving lighting

--  Water-saving devices

--  Uniforms made of recycled water bottles

--  In-room, biodegradable amenities

"In line with Wyndham Worldwide's global commitment to corporate social responsibility and the environment, we strive to build a culture where sustainability is always top of mind," said Geoff Richards, chief operations officer, Wyndham Vacation Ownership. "In particular, our passionate associates help contribute to ongoing efforts each and every day by participating in year-round activities such as planting trees, saving energy and educating our owners. We are also proud to use environmentally-friendly products throughout our resorts and corporate offices, including Arbor Day Specialty Coffee which has preserved more than 77 million square feet of rainforest."

To improve energy efficiency, water conservation, waste minimization and other sustainable practices, WVO created one of the first certification programs in the timeshare industry. The WVO Green Certification Program tracks approximately 26 requirements in categories such as energy use, water use, waste reduction, indoor air quality and education, resulting in approximately $2.4 million in annual energy cost savings.

In 2013, 65 percent of WVO resorts achieved crystal, 5 percent received silver, 18 percent bronze, and 12 percent achieved basic certification. More than 150 WVO resorts are currently green certified. The 2013 carbon emissions for all resorts have dropped over 16 percent and water consumption is down 12 percent since WVO's aggregate baseline year in 2010.

Additional program highlights include:

--  More than 80 percent of WVO associates participating in a Sustainability 101 course

--  Partnering with the Environmental Protection Agency on children's educational materials, which emphasize fighting global warming for thE WVO Green Kids program

--  Recognition by The Department of Energy's (DOE) Better Buildings Challenge as a leader in the hospitality industry

 

About Wyndham Vacation Ownership
Wyndham Vacation Ownership, a member of Wyndham Worldwide's (NYSE: WYN) family of companies, is the world's largest vacation ownership business, as measured by the number of vacation ownership resorts, individual vacation ownership units and owners of vacation ownership interests. Wyndham Vacation Ownership develops, markets and sells vacation ownership interests and provides consumer financing to owners through its five primary consumer brands, CLUB WYNDHAM, WorldMark by Wyndham, Wyndham Vacation Resorts Asia Pacific, Shell Vacations Club and Margaritaville Vacation Club(R). As of December 31, 2013, we have developed or acquired more than 190 vacation ownership resorts in the U.S., Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean and the South Pacific that represent more than 23,000 individual vacation ownership units and more than 900,000 owners of vacation ownership interests. Wyndham Vacation Ownership is headquartered in Orlando, Fla., and is supported by more than 16,000 associates globally.

About Wyndham Worldwide
One of the world's largest hospitality companies, Wyndham Worldwide (NYSE: WYN) provides a wide range of hospitality products and services through its global portfolio of world-renowned brands. The world's largest hotel company based on the number of properties, Wyndham Hotel Group is home to many of the world's best-known hotel brands, with approximately 7,490 franchised hotels and over 645,400 hotel rooms worldwide. Wyndham Exchange & Rentals is the worldwide leader in vacation exchange and the world's largest professionally managed vacation rentals business, providing more than 5 million leisure-bound families annually with access to over 107,000 vacation properties in over 100 countries through its prominent exchange and vacation rental brands. The industry and timeshare ownership market leader, Wyndham Vacation Ownership develops, markets, and sells vacation ownership interests and provides consumer financing to owners through its network of over 190 vacation ownership resorts serving approximately 907,000 owners throughout the United States, Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean, and the South Pacific. Based in Parsippany, NJ, Wyndham Worldwide employs approximately 32,800 associates globally. For more information, please visit www.wyndhamworldwide.com.

Combatting Health Risks and Promoting Better Hand Washing and Hygiene

Wed, 11/12/2014 - 3:33pm

Saraya Co. Ltd, a Japanese manufacturer of hygiene and sanitation products, joined the Business Call to Action (BCtA) with an initiative to decrease healthcare associated infections in Uganda.

Saraya brings alcohol-based hand rub products to East Africa in an effort to reduce the spread of preventable diseases. The company has committed to improve the compliance rate of healthcare workers in Uganda and scale-up its products production and sales by 2016. 

With an estimated 75 percent of childhood diseases linked to poor sanitation practices in Uganda, Saraya has worked in the country to promote better hand washing and hygiene since 2010. In collaboration with the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and local partners, the company initiated a feasibility pilot project in 2012 to control infections with its alcohol-based hand rub products in hospitals, and educate healthcare workers about preventing healthcare associated infections. As a result, Saraya’s alcohol-based hand rub products were proven to decrease infections, including post-cesarean sepsis and acute diarrhea in pediatrics units.

To make its products more accessible, the company has also established a local subsidiary to manufacture, distribute and sell its products in East Africa. Saraya procures bio-ethanol, the main ingredient of their products locally. The company’s entire value chain from sourcing to sales is designed to provide affordable products and enhance distribution.

“As a result of Saraya’s efforts, the critical hand washing and compliance rate required to reduce infections and improve health outcomes in public hospitals, especially within countries with high child mortality rates, will be enhanced. We are very encouraged to have them join the Business Call to Action,” stated Suba Sivakumaran, Program Manager for the Business Call to Action.

According to Yusuke Saraya, President of Saraya, “We wish to contribute to food sanitation and public health, and improve hospital infection control in developing countries. We started our projects in Uganda and Cambodia to improve hygiene for mothers’ and children’s health. We also continually aim to improve food production and distribution to make value-added products.”  

The company plans to provide its specialty Ugandan-made products to 100 hospitals in Uganda and to 300 hospitals across East Africa by 2017.

 

For More Information:

BCtA:  Karen Newman, karen.newman@undp.org  +1.212. 906-5194
 

Saraya: Madoka Mori, mori-md@global.saraya.com

The Business Call to Action (BCtA) is a global corporate leadership platform, with over 100 member companies that are incorporating inclusive business approaches in their operations to help advance the MDGs.  As innovators in this space, BCtA member companies are advancing the inclusive business agenda by creating novel business models, sharing lessons learned, and forging partnerships to improve scale and increase development impact. 

The initiative is the result of a partnership between the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida)UK Department for International Development (DFID), US Agency for International Development (USAID), United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), and the United Nations Global Compact to meet the anti-poverty Millennium Development Goals by 2015. Companies report on progress toward commitments on an annual basis.  @bctainitiative  

Saraya Co., Ltd.: Founded in in 1952, Saraya is a Japan-based manufacturer of hygiene and sanitation products. The company strives to improve sanitation, environment and health around the world with its hygiene products, including liquid soap and alcohol-based hand rub products. 

Six-In-10 Americans Believe Social Media Is An Effective Form Of Activism, According To New Cone Communications Research

Wed, 11/12/2014 - 12:33pm

A “like” can go a long way, according to the newly released 2014 Cone Communications Digital Activism Study. Nearly two-thirds (64%) of Americans say they are more inclined to support social and environmental issues in a variety of ways, including volunteering, donating and sharing information, after first “liking” or “following” an organization online. Moreover, Americans see their online activities as a positive way to make an impact on the issues they care about, as six-in-10 believe tweeting or posting information online is an effective form of advocacy or support. 

Digital Transforms the Way We Give

Long gone are the days of writing a check at the end of the year to get a tax break. Digital is changing not just how, but where and when donations are made. Of those who made a donation in the last 12 months, nearly four-in-10 did so via digital channels, such as online (27%) or via mobile device (11%), while 23 percent did so via regular mail. And although the leading recipients of online giving remain nonprofit organizations (47%), nearly one-in-five Americans would prefer to give their money directly to an individual in need (18%) or to a corporate campaign raising funds to address a social or environmental issue (12%). 

When it comes to giving online, there is no traditional time to make that donation. Americans are most likely to give online at various times throughout the year or when asked (29%), or following a major disaster that needs immediate support (24%) versus around the year-end holidays (12%).

“As crowdfunding contributions top $5.1 billion globally, digital is truly transforming the way we give,” says Gerard LaFond, vice president, digital engagement, Cone Communications. “Thanks to the ease of online giving, people can make a direct impact on the world around them by helping a neighbor in need, an entrepreneur starting up a small business or a charity close to their hearts. This is a game-changing shift for the nonprofit sector and fundraising efforts.”

Gap in Online Intent and Action

Americans have high ambitions to use digital channels as a form of activism. If given the opportunity, Americans say they most want to engage online in ways that result in a direct impact on issues, such as voting (71%), signing petitions (70%) and learning about changes they can make in their everyday lives (70%). Other actions they are willing to do online include:

  • Giving feedback directly to companies (66%)
  • Making donations (65%)
  • Watching a video with a social or environmental message (65%)
  • Purchasing a product from a socially or environmentally conscious retailer (62%)
  • “Liking” or following a nonprofit’s or a company’s social or environmental program (60%)

However, despite good intentions, Americans’ reported actions do not align. When asked which online actions they have actually taken, individuals were most likely to have donated or participated in more passive behaviors. In the past 12 months Americans report they have:

  • Made a donation (35%)
  • Watched a video with a social or environmental message (32%)
  • Liked or followed a nonprofit or company social or environmental program (29%)
  • Signed a petition (29%)

“It’s no surprise we’re seeing a gap between the actions Americans say they’d like to take online and what they’re actually doing; considering the bulk of online activities offered today are focused on more passive actions, such as watching a video or ‘liking’ a social page,” says Alison DaSilva, executive vice president, Cone Communications. “Organizations can better leverage digital touch points to help consumers make real impact on the issues they care about. The groundswell of support and action around the recent Ice Bucket Challenge demonstrates how Americans stand ready, willing and able to engage online in a variety of ways – if given the opportunity.”

Americans Motivated by Impact and Urgency

There is no shortage of online appeals for support of social and environmental issues, but organizations need to understand the drivers that will inspire action. The majority of Americans are motivated by making a meaningful difference on an issue that is compelling or urgent, including:

  • Their participation will make an impact (79%)
  • There is an urgent need for immediate support (79%)
  • It is easy to participate (77%)
  • The issue is personally relevant (74%)
  • The content triggers an emotional response (68%)
  • The appeal allows participants to show their social networks what is important to them (57%)

Different Audiences Seek Different Channels and Content

Not surprisingly, mainstream social media platforms rise to the top as key channels to engage people around social and environmental issues. Americans far and away, see Facebook as the primary social media channel to participate in and learn about issues they care about:

  • Facebook (67%)
  • YouTube (36%)
  • Twitter (25%)
  • Pinterest (19%)
  • Instagram (16%)

However, preferred channels vary greatly among demographic segments. Women are more likely to use Pinterest than men (27% vs. 9%), and Millennials are twice as likely as the average American to use Tumblr (14% vs. 7%). Organizations looking to reach Boomers with social and environmental messages shouldn’t look beyond Facebook. Although more than half (54%) of Boomers said they use Facebook to engage around issues, participation levels on other channels are nominal.

Beyond channels, individuals also desire specific types of content when engaging with social and environmental efforts online. Nearly half of Americans prefer to see written articles or stories (48%), followed by videos (44%) and pictures (42%). Millennials, on the other hand, seek out more diverse content, with a particular desire to be entertained. This demographic is more likely to be drawn to games or quizzes than older generations (29% vs. 7% ages 55+).

Hispanics and Millennials Are Hyper-Engaged Online

Millennials and Hispanics are two segments of the American population that are consistently more engaged in social and environmental issues online. For example, both segments skew significantly higher in their use of mobile apps to learn and participate in issues. They are using apps to:

  • Learn about companies’ social or environmental business practices (Millennials 74%, Hispanics 70%, U.S. average 54%)
  • Give feedback directly to companies about social or environmental business practices (Millennials 73%, Hispanics 69%, U.S. average 52%)
  • Learn about ingredients or components in products (Millennials 77%, Hispanics 68%, U.S. average 57%)

Hispanic Americans are using online resources to not only learn about issues, but also get others involved. They are more likely to share information about companies’ social or environmental practices with their networks (69% vs. 56% U.S. average). Additionally, Hispanics are more likely than the average population to continue to read content and engage with an organization after “liking” or “following” it online (72% vs. 60% U.S. average).

Hispanics are also taking a unique approach to their online giving. They are less likely than the average population to give directly to a nonprofit organization (34% vs. 47% U.S. average), but are more inclined to give directly to an individual in need (24% vs. 18% U.S. average) or to a company effort (23% vs. 12% U.S. average).

As digital natives, it’s no surprise Millennials are most likely to harness these channels to share their passions and look for ways to make a meaningful difference. Seventy-one percent use social media as a platform to discuss issues they care about (vs. 52% U.S. average) and once they’ve learned of issues online, Millennials are more apt to donate (80% vs. 63% U.S. average). When choosing organizations and issues to support online, impact trumps brand awareness for Millennials. In fact, more than any other population segment, Millennials say it’s more important to have an impact on an issue than be familiar with the organization they are supporting (71% vs. 58% U.S. average).

 “Digital engagement around social and environmental issues allows everyone to be an activist, a philanthropist, and a hero. The challenge for organizations is to convert that click of a button into a powerful gateway for deeper impact,” says DaSilva. “To break through, organizations must understand the distinct motives, behaviors and preferred channels to customize the experience and ignite action.”

 

###

About the Research
The 2014 Cone Communications Digital Activism Study presents the findings of an online survey conducted August 21-26, 2014 by Toluna among a demographically representative sample of 1,212 adults, comprising 583 men and 629 women 18 years of age and older. The margin of error associated with a sample of this size is ± 3% at a 95% level of confidence.

 

About Cone Communications
Cone Communications (www.conecomm.com) is a public relations and marketing agency known for igniting brands with high-impact strategies and programs based in deep insights, unique subject matter expertise and innovation. Focusing on key areas such as consumer product media relations, social media, cause branding and marketing, corporate social responsibility, nonprofit marketing, corporate communications and crisis prevention/management – the agency is positioned to help clients achieve both business and societal outcomes. Cone Communications is a part of Diversified Agency Services, a division of Omnicom Group Inc.

 

About Diversified Agency Services
Diversified Agency Services (DAS), a division of Omnicom Group Inc. (NYSE: OMC) (www.omnicomgroup.com), manages Omnicom’s holdings in a variety of marketing communications disciplines. DAS includes over 200 companies, which operate through a combination of networks and regional organizations, serving international and local clients through more than 700 offices in 71 countries.

A Business Approach to Materiality

Wed, 11/12/2014 - 12:33pm

The movement to integrated reporting has seen substantial development, but widespread regulatory intervention has yet to materialize. The forthcoming book, The Integrated Reporting Movement, by Robert Eccles, Michael Krzus, and Sydney Ribot, explains how companies can ensure their own long-term viability by contributing to a sustainable society.

The authors provide guidance to promote wider adoption of the practice and success of the movement, starting with how companies can improve their own reporting processes. Readers learn how integrated reporting has evolved over the years, where frameworks and standards are today, and effective implementation practices—including information technology’s role in the process.

Workiva presents the second in a series of three excerpts from the book. In this release, from the fifth and sixth chapters, the authors focus on the central but elusive concept of materiality. As a construct, it is always entity-specific and based on judgement—yet it's a critical component in financial, sustainability, and integrated reporting.

The authors provide two strategies for developing and managing issues of materiality. The first is an annual "Statement of Significant Audiences and Materiality" to be produced by the board. The second is the "Sustainable Value Matrix" that links materiality to resource allocation, stakeholder engagement, innovation, and reporting.

Click here to request this excerpt from The Integrated Reporting Movement.

About

Workiva, formerly WebFilings, is a leading provider of complex business reporting solutions and is used by more than 60 percent of the Fortune 500. The company’s Wdesk cloud-based product platform brings ease and control to compliance, management, risk, and sustainability reporting. It combines documents, spreadsheets, and presentations that link your critical business data in one place. See what we can do for you at workiva.com.

Better Health East Bay and Alta Bates Summit Medical Center Invest $2 Million to Strengthen Health Care Safety Net for Underserved

Wed, 11/12/2014 - 9:23am

Working collaboratively with Dr. Jeffrey Brenner and the Camden Coalition of Healthcare Partners, Better Health East Bay and Sutter Health’s Alta Bates Summit Medical Center have announced a combined $2.1 million investment to strengthen a system of care that supports the health needs of underserved residents in Oakland and Berkeley. 

With the high cost and high use of the emergency room at Alta Bates Summit Medical Center for non-urgent care visits escalating, this unique effort will build a comprehensive safety net that better connects underserved members of the community with health clinics and support services in their neighborhoods.  This includes the use of follow-up care and assistance in navigating appointments and ensuring access, and the integration of a robust information technology network to connect clinicians and social service providers involved in the delivery of health care. 

In 2014, Alta Bates Summit was selected as one of only six organizations in the nation to partner with Dr. Brenner’s Camden Coalition as part of a “Hotspotting” Advisory Group. Renowned for his transformative work in Camden, N.J., an area with similar demographics and healthcare challenges as Oakland, Brenner pioneered the innovative program that analyzes data on “super utilizers,” the most frequent users of community health care resources including costly emergency room visits. Better Health East Bay will host Dr. Brenner for a series of community events at Alta Bates Summit’s Berkeley campus on Monday, Nov. 10. 

Alta Bates Summit and the Camden Coalition will partner for an additional two years to implement the hotspotting program, with Camden providing technical assistance, including best practices and training.  

“As a result of the Affordable Care Act, there are many more insured patients in need of care putting a strain on an already fragmented health care system, and with many doctors now shutting their doors or turning away patients, the emergency room is the most obvious option for many,” said Dr. Jeffrey Brenner, CEO of the Camden Coalition of Healthcare Partners. “Sutter Health is taking a tremendous leadership role in Northern California to pave the way for better care for the underserved.” 

With the investment, the team at Alta Bates Summit has completed initial work on GIS/hotspotting maps that demonstrate utilization trends among all users of the emergency room for three consecutive years. The team is now analyzing the "hotspots" of frequent users and non-urgent users to understand the neighborhood conditions and drivers contributing to poor health and use of the emergency room for routine primary care. In addition, an August 2014 report on 600 Alta Bates Summit patients in the case management program,

found that patients who interfaced with a care transitions nurse were 32 percent  more likely to follow-up with a health care provider within 30 days of their first admission to the hospital as compared to patients who were not part of the RN care transitions program.

Patients who worked with a care transitions nurse experienced a 17 percent decrease in emergency room visits within 30 days of discharge and a 17 percent decrease in readmissions to Alta Bates Summit within 30 days. This focus on effective care transitions guarantees patients leaving the hospital have an appointment and a new mindset about their follow up care. Many of these shared patients are on Medi-Cal and this extra care helps them avoid developing an emergency health crisis that requires being readmitted to the hospital.

Better Health East Bay, the philanthropic organization supporting Alta Bates Summit, is funding a significant portion of this overall initiative with a $1 million investment matched by another $1.1 million from Alta Bates Summit. In addition, Better Health East Bay will incorporate the power of crowdfunding to support this effort with a new fundraising effort to benefit the Berkeley Free Clinic to help make its mobile service more widely available in the community. 

“Our work to date in hotspotting demonstrates that we are on the right track to better understanding our community and what their needs are, and that we can make it easier to support them on an ongoing basis,” said Jim Hickman, President and CEO of Better Health East Bay. “It’s one thing to know the zip code of where frequent emergency room patients live, it’s another thing to engage with the patient directly to get them the help they need. Our goal is to do just that by helping treat patients better and faster, and ultimately save lives.” 

About Better Health East Bay (betterhealtheastbay.org)

Better Health East Bay (BHEB) is a Sutter Health philanthropic foundation that raises charitable donations to apply a common sense approach to solving healthcare issues for the underserved and those who require complex care in our community. Powered by Sutter Health’s care network, community partnerships and research, BHEB is engaging with donors to create novel approaches to improve the health and well-being of more than 2 million people who call the East Bay home. By helping solve patient problems faster and more cost effectively, BHEB is making it possible to prevent and treat illness, and save lives, neighborhood by neighborhood. 

About The Camden Coalition of Healthcare Providers (camdenhealth.org)

The Camden Coalition of Healthcare Providers (CCHP) works with health care providers, hospitals and physician practices to improve the care and coordination of healthcare for Camden residents while decreasing costs. We believed that if we could affect this small percentage of "super users" with better, more coordinated care, we could increase the quality of care and decrease the cost to the system. For the past ten years, CCHP has done just that. By developing programs and working in conjunction with those on the front lines of healthcare delivery, we have reduced the amount of ED and inpatient stays for our patients.

About Alta Bates Summit Medical Center (altabatessummit.org)

Sutter Health’s Alta Bates Summit Medical Center offers comprehensive services designed to meet the health care needs of the diverse communities of the greater East Bay. A tertiary referral center, the medical center is the East Bay's largest private, not-for-profit medical center. Alta Bates Summit's 100-plus year tradition of commitment and service continues today, with recognition as one of the nation's top hospitals for clinical excellence and patient safety.

American Honda Foundation Marks 30th Anniversary with Major Support of Education Programs for Military Personnel, Veterans and their Families

Wed, 11/12/2014 - 12:02am

The American Honda Foundation is marking its 30th anniversary in conjunction with Veteran’s Day with a series of new, special donations to organizations that provide educational scholarships and support to active military personnel, veterans and their families.

The American Honda Foundation is focused primarily on contributing to organizations involved in youth and scientific education, with a specific emphasis on STEM (science, technology, engineering and math). Three organizations that will receive support from these special donations from the American Honda Foundation include:

  • Folds of Honor provides annual educational scholarships to the families of U.S. service members who have been killed or disabled while in active duty. The American Honda Foundation has provided Folds of Honor with $30,000 for scholarships that support STEM education and aspiring teachers.
  • The Special Operations Warrior Foundation (SOWF) provides needs-based college scholarship grants, financial aid and educational counseling to the children of Special Operations personnel who have lost their lives in the line of duty. The American Honda Foundation has provided the SOWF with $30,000 for scholarships that support STEM education and aspiring teachers. An additional $10,000 will support SOWF program services, which includes immediate financial assistance to severely-wounded and hospitalized special operations personnel and their families.
  • ThanksUSA provides needs-based educational scholarships to the children and spouses of active-duty and reserve U.S. military personnel. The American Honda Foundation has provided ThanksUSA with $30,000 for scholarships that support STEM education and aspiring teachers.

“In researching unmet needs, the American Honda Foundation quickly zeroed-in on military personnel and their families, who have sacrificed for all of us and now need our support,” said Alexandra Warnier, executive director of the American Honda Foundation. “The Foundation is proud to support these organizations, which provide the families of our men and women of the U.S. military with the gift of education, creating a legacy for the whole community.”

About the American Honda Foundation

Celebrating 30 years of providing strategic grants to nonprofit organizations in the United States, the American Honda Foundation is dedicated to helping prepare America’s children for tomorrow’s challenges. As such, the Foundation focuses its efforts in the areas of youth and scientific education, with a specific focus on STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) subjects and the environment. Since its inception, the Foundation has awarded more than $33 million to organizations serving approximately 115 million people in every state in the U.S. For more information please visit http://www.foundation.honda.com.

About Honda

Honda established operations in America in 1959 and now employs more than 39,000 associates in its North American sales, R&D and manufacturing operations with total capital investment in North America exceeding $22 billion.

Based on its longstanding commitment to "build products close to the customer" Honda operates 16 major manufacturing facilities in North America, producing a wide range of Honda and Acura automobiles, automobile engines and transmissions, Honda all-terrain vehicles, power equipment products such as lawn mowers, mini-tillers and general purpose engines, and the HondaJet light jet, using domestic and globally sourced parts.

Public Relations Industry Veteran, Dave Armon, Joins 3BL Media Board of Directors

Wed, 11/12/2014 - 12:02am

3BL Media announced today that Dave Armon has joined the 3BL Media Board of Directors.  Dave’s appointment comes at a time when the company is experiencing significant growth.  3BL Media’s distribution and content marketing platform for Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and sustainability information has become the leading source for corporations and non-profits that need to reach investors, journalists, consumers, influencers and other stakeholders focused on these important topics.

Dave has spent his career in news and content distribution including as Chief Operating Officer and President of PR Newswire and in executive leadership roles at social media and media monitoring companies.  He currently serves as the CEO of Brand.com, a new “paid-earned” content marketing platform that allows brands to commission and publish reporter-written articles directly onto news sites.

“I have a deep affinity for businesses and management teams with an intense focus on a specialized market segment,” said Armon, who will serve as a non-executive director. “3BL Media will continue to see rapid growth because it has perfected the balance of strong content on the topic of CSR and sustainability with a powerful distribution network that comprehensively reaches audiences passionate about the topics.”

Founded in 2009, 3BL Media enables organizations to distribute multiple message formats including blogs, videos, articles, press releases and infographics through a combination of traditional and social media channels to a targeted audience.  The platform’s ability to reach the audience with the content they prefer, through the channels they prefer, results in higher interaction and engagement with the content than traditional newswires.  A suite of analytics, tracking and benchmarking tools allow users to determine which content type resonates most with their target audience and where to allocate future content creation resources.

The 3BL Media platform and distribution network is built for the topics of CSR and Sustainability.  As these areas continue to be an increasing focus for businesses across all sectors, there has been a corresponding increase in external communications.  Topics include climate change, the environment, social issues, philanthropy, governance, health, community investment and human rights, among others, all of which are part of the broader categories of CSR and sustainability.  Additionally, the increase in Fortune 1000 companies voluntarily publishing CSR and sustainability reports continues to grow as standardization appears imminent and reporting is now mandated in the European Union.

“As traditional distribution services face increasing pressure from social media and content marketing platforms to deliver value, 3BL Media offers a superior alternative for news and content focused on CSR and sustainability”, said Greg Schneider, 3BL Media CEO.  “We are honored that Dave has agreed to join us in an advisory capacity as we continue to offer more effective and disruptive content distribution methodologies.  Dave’s leadership role at PR Newswire for 20 years helps give us a clear perspective of the opportunity and challenges in the industry.”

In September, 3BL Media announced the acquisition of CSRwire – The Corporate Social Responsibility newswire, completing the consolidation of independent CSR and sustainability news distribution services, following 3BL Media’s previous acquisition of Justmeans.com. The consolidated company operates out of Northampton, Massachusetts.

About 3BL Media

3BL Media is the leading news and content distribution company focused on Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and Sustainability and related topics. Clients include Fortune 1000, multinational corporations, SME's, and non-profits that rely on the 3BL Media distribution platform to distribute press releases, blogs, videos, reports and other media assets through social, traditional and new media channels. 3BL Media leverages its expertise in communications, technology and social media to enable organizations to more effectively communicate about their CSR and sustainability initiatives to a highly targeted audience including media, investors, practitioners, consumers and other stakeholder groups. 3BL Media is the publisher and producer of The CSR Minute™ and owns and operates Justmeans.comSocialearth.org and CSRwire.com. Visit 3blmedia.com.

Give Your Garbage Another Life on America Recycles Day

Wed, 11/12/2014 - 12:02am

I Want To Be Recycled” is the theme of Keep America Beautiful’s 2014 America Recycles Day (ARD), which takes place annually on and around Nov. 15 throughout the country. America Recycles Day, in its 17th year, educates people about the importance of recycling to our economy and environmental well-being and helps to motivate occasional recyclers to become everyday recyclers.

America Recycles Day celebrates the benefits of recycling and provides an educational platform that motivates people to take action to recycle more and recycle smarter, influencing recycling behaviors at work, at home and on the go.

“When material is recycled, you’re ‘giving your garbage another life’ as it becomes something new and valuable,” said Jennifer Jehn, president and CEO of Keep America Beautiful. “For example, a plastic bottle can be recycled into new containers, t-shirts and fleece jackets, park benches, plastic lumber, and more. America Recycles Day can inspire people to reduce, reuse and recycle – and realize that recyclable materials have the potential to become something bigger.”

“The United States has embraced recycling since the first America Recycles Day in 1997 and as a result, today, the vast majority of the population has curbside recycling programs. It is time to re-invigorate recycling by promoting more and better sustainable materials management to secure a healthier environment today and for future generations to come,” said Mathy Stanislaus, assistant administrator for EPA’s Office of Solid Waste and Emergency Response. “There is much more to do and communities, businesses, and individuals each have a role to play in making recycling work for everyone. By increasing recycling, and reducing contamination in the recycling stream, we can provide the valuable resources essential to a growing manufacturing sector.”

Here are five actions people can take on and around America Recycles Day:

  • Take the “I Recycle” pledge and tell us what you pledge to recycle more. Five people who take the pledge will win a park bench made from recycled content.
  • Take a recycling “selfie” and post it to your social networks – you just might win a prize! All you have to do is take a photo of yourself recycling and post it with the words “#RecyclingSelfie” on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or Tumblr.
  • Join us on Wednesday, Nov. 12, at 8:00 p.m. (EST) for a live America Recycles Day Twitter Chat about what and how you can recycle in each room of the house, and to share and learn ways to do more! Search #AmericaRecyclesDay on Twitter to follow the conversation.  
  • Visit IWantToBeRecycled.org to find your nearest recycling center, and learn the facts about what materials can be recycled and what they can become in their new lives.
  • How can you get involved? Find events near you or host an event of your own.

Keep America Beautiful is providing resources and supporting activities to thousands of grassroots events across the country. Here is a sampling of creative events taking place on and around ARD:

  • Local libraries and elementary schools will join with the Georgia Recycling Coalition to encourage both reading and recycling through the first-ever Read for Recycling program during the week of Nov. 8-15. Students are encouraged to read books that celebrate, educate and encourage waste reduction activities.
  • Dell employees in Austin, Texas, are supporting ARD with a large volunteer recycling event in partnership with Goodwill Industries of Central Texas when Dell team members will help take apart computers for responsible recycling on Nov. 15. The event supports Dell Reconnect, a Dell and Goodwill partnership that enables customers to recycle any brand of unwanted computer, in any condition, at more than 2,000 participating Goodwill locations in the U.S.  The plastics Dell collects are recycled back into new Dell products.
  • In Arlington, Va., nonprofit Bikes for the World will donate its 100,000th bike to be reused for social good. Bikes for the World staff, volunteers and representatives from the EPA and KAB will attend a ceremonial loading of the 100,000th bike into a shipping container.  The donated bikes will be shipped to Bikes of the World partner Fundación Integral Campesina (FINCA Costa Rica), a rural micro-business program that distributes bikes to community groups that recondition and sell the bikes locally.
  • Through Nov. 15, Malibu, Calif., and area residents can drop off polystyrene foam at Malibu’s City Hall where it will be collected and recycled by the environmental nonprofit Sustainable Surf and Marko Foam Inc. The material is used to make recycled surfboard blanks (and other products) to create more environmentally friendly surfboards as part of the Waste to Waves project.
  • The Philadelphia Streets Department is hosting an outdoor celebration and information fair on Thursday, Nov. 13, from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. at Dilworth Park (http://goo.gl/oR4rFj) in celebration of ARD. Representatives from partnering organizations Keep America Beautiful, Keep Philadelphia Beautiful, Recyclebank, PECO and U.S. EPA Region III will be on hand to outline the ambitious goals for the City’s future of recycling.
  • While the University of Tennessee (UT) and University of Kentucky face off on the football field, UT student volunteers will “Make Orange Green” by collecting recyclables and compostables at Neyland Stadium as part of its ARD GameDay Recycling Challenge.

America’s leading companies are proud to make America Recycles Day possible. National sponsors of America Recycles Day are: Amcor, American Chemistry Council, the Johnson & Johnson Family of Consumer Companies, Northrop Grumman Corporation, Pilot Corporation of America (Pilot Pen) and Waste Management.

About Keep America Beautiful
Keep America Beautiful is the nation’s leading nonprofit that brings people together to build and sustain vibrant communities. With a powerful national network of community-based affiliates, we work with millions of volunteers who take action in their communities to transform public spaces into beautiful places. Through our programs and public-private partnerships, we engage individuals to take greater responsibility for improving their community’s environment. For more information, visit kab.org, follow us on Twitter, like us on Facebook, or view us on YouTube.

About America Recycles Day
America Recycles Day is a national program of Keep America Beautiful, and is the only nationally-recognized day and community-driven awareness event dedicated to promoting and celebrating recycling in the U.S. Since its inception in 1997, communities across the country have participated in America Recycles Day on Nov. 15 to educate, promote environmental citizenship, and encourage action. To learn more, visit americarecyclesday.org.

The PwC Charitable Foundation, Inc. Commits $5 Million to Support Veterans; PwC US Named as a Top Military Friendly® Employer

Wed, 11/12/2014 - 12:02am

Today, on Veterans Day, The PwC Charitable Foundation, Inc. has announced a $5 million donation for a series of grants to support US veterans and their families over the next five years. The grants will provide scholarships for education as well as support with the transition to the workforce. This announcement coincides with PwC US being named as a Top 100 Military Friendly Employer® for the fifth year in a row.

“Our Charitable Foundation is focused on making investments that can have a profound effect on underserved populations, including those who have fought for our country—veterans,” said Shannon Schuyler, principal, corporate responsibility leader, PwC and president, PwC Charitable Foundation, Inc. “By supporting those who have sacrificed for us today, we are helping build a better workforce, community and country tomorrow.”

The firm is also launching a new Changing Lives video series which highlights its collaboration and impact with various non-profit organizations.   One video features the powerful story of Ryan, a veteran who found a new calling by volunteering through Team Rubicon, a non-profit that repurposes the skills and experiences of military veterans with first responders to rapidly deploy emergency response teams. The PwC Charitable Foundation, Inc. has provided $800,000 to support Team Rubicon. Watch Ryan's story here.

“Teamwork, leadership, unique perspectives—these are all qualities inherent to veterans, and talents we value in our people,” said Mike Donoghue, co-leader of PwC’s Veterans Network. “We are honored to support veterans and their families as they re-enter the workforce .”

This commitment builds upon PwC US’ overall commitment to supporting veterans.  The firm has an active Veterans Network, collaborates with the Department of Defense's Military Spouse Employment Partnership and has presented best practices on veterans programs to Joining Forces at the White House. These programs, and more, have contributed to PwC US receiving the Seven Seals Award and the Above and Beyond Award from the Employer Support of the Guard & Reserve (ESGR).   

To learn more about the PwC Charitable Foundation, Inc. click here. To learn more about PwC US’ corporate responsibility commitment, click here.

About PwC US

PwC US helps organizations and individuals create the value they're looking for. We're a member of the PwC network of firms, which has firms in 157 countries with more than 195,000 people. We're committed to delivering quality in assurance, tax and advisory services. Find out more and tell us what matters to you by visiting us at www.pwc.com/US.

© 2014 PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP, a Delaware limited liability partnership. All rights reserved. PwC refers to the US member firm, and may sometimes refer to the PwC network. Each member firm is a separate legal entity. Please see www.pwc.com/structure for further details.

About The PwC Charitable Foundation, Inc.
The PwC Charitable Foundation, Inc. is a section 501(c)(3) non-profit organization powered by the knowledge, interests and goodwill of our people. The Foundation supports PwC employees in times of merit and need, and invests in emerging solutions to society's greatest challenges in education and humanitarianism.

PR News' CSR Awards - Entry Deadline is November 14, 2014

Mon, 11/10/2014 - 5:24pm

PR News’ CSR Awards is the industry’s best showcase for the most powerful, impactful social responsibility and green campaigns. The finalists in this awards program set new standards of excellence and lead the way for other organizations to follow. The final entry deadline is Friday, November 14, 2014 and winners along with honorable mentions will be honored in spring 2015 in Washington, D.C. 

For more information on the CSR Awards, visit http://www.prnewsonline.com/CSR2014.

PR News recognizes that corporate social responsibility is an essential building block of organizations’ annual business plans. CSR enhances reputation and builds positive bridges to communities, customers and the public at large—and in doing so, affects the bottom line.  The sweeping nature of social media has only magnified its influence, which is why PR News takes great pride in honoring the most outstanding communications efforts powering corporate social responsibility and green initiatives. The final entry deadline is Friday, November 14, 2014. 

The winners of the CSR Awards represent corporations, agencies and nonprofits. They are the risk takers who have taken tremendous strides and understand the important role CSR contributes to an organization’s success.

To enter online, visit http://www.prnewsonline.com/CSR2014.

Winners and honorable mentions will be awarded in the following categories:

  • Annual Report

  • Blog

  • Cause Branding Campaign

  • Community Affairs

  • Corporate-Community Partnership

  • CSR on a Shoestring

  • Diversity Communications

  • Employee Relations

  • Employee Volunteer Program

  • Environmental Stewardship

  • Event: CSR/Green Focus

  • Facebook Communications Campaign

  • Green PR Campaign

  • Hall of Fame

  • Human Rights/Social Justice Communications

  • Media Relations

  • Nonprofit/Corporate Partnership

  • Philanthropy Communications

  • Product Design/Redesign

  • Recycling Program

  • Social Good

  • Social Media Campaign

  • Twitter Communications

  • Stakeholder Engagement

  • Supplier/Vendor Partner of the Year

  • Sustainability/CSR Report

  • Video Initiative

  • Volunteer Program

  • Workplace Innovation  

People Category

  • CSR Professional of the Year

Agency Category

  • CSR A-List

Corporations (Overall CSR Leaders) Categories

  • Corporation with between 1, 000 and 10,000 employees

  • Corporation with between 10,000 and 25,000 employees

  • Corporation with less than 1,000

  • Corporation with more than 25,000 employees

For more information, visit http://www.prnewsonline.com/CSR2014.

PR News’ CSR Awards is a great opportunity to get recognized for CSR efforts and to shine the spotlight on the people driving CSR success.

For questions regarding the CSR Awards, contact PR News’ Marketing Coordinator Rachel Scharmann at rscharmann@accessintel.com. For sponsorship and exhibit information, contact PR News Senior Vice President & Group Publisher Diane Schwartz at dschwartz@accessintel.com.

PR News is a daily intellectual hub that serves the communications and marketing community at corporations, agencies and nonprofits. The PR News Group focuses on honing and growing PR practitioners' skills in social media, crisis management, digital PR, measurement, employee relations, media training, CSR and writing through its flagship newsletter, webinars, conferences, awards programs, workshops and guidebooks. With the launch of its weekly newsletter over 70 years ago, PR News has remained dedicated to supporting the growth of communicators all while keeping them abreast of the latest news affecting the industry. For more information, go to www.prnewsonline.com.

Law Scholar Criticizes U.S. Judge Kaplan for Using “Judicial Slander” To Undermine Ecuador Pollution Case

Mon, 11/10/2014 - 11:23am

A prominent U.S. law scholar is criticizing a federal judge and Chevron for using tainted witness testimony and “international judicial slander” to illegally undermine efforts by Ecuadorian rainforest villagers to collect a $9.5 billion environmental judgment needed to clean up the extensive contamination of their ancestral lands.

Burt Neuborne, a professor at New York University School of Law, has filed a brief that faults Judge Lewis A. Kaplan and Chevron for engaging in what he called an “extraordinary venture in international judicial slander” against Ecuador to undermine the validity of the pollution judgment, which was affirmed recently in a 5-0 decision by the country’s Supreme Court. 

Chevron had insisted the dispute over who is responsible for the toxic dumping be heard in Ecuador after the villagers originally filed their claims in New York in 1993.  The company later started to attack Ecuador’s courts when evidence of its systematic toxic dumping began to mount during the eight-year trial in the country, which ended in 2011.  Chevron then came back to the U.S. and asked Judge Kaplan to deem the Ecuador judgment unenforceable, which he did in March of this year after denying the villagers a jury of impartial fact finders.

“The District Court’s experiment with conducting its own foreign policy must be reversed,” Neuborne wrote in the brief, which asks a federal appellate court to throw out Kaplan’s controversial ruling. 

Kaplan, long accused of harboring animus toward the Ecuadorians and their court system, invited Chevron to file the racketeering case in 2010 and then assigned it to himself.  He also repeatedly called the villagers the “so-called” plaintiffs and referred to their litigation as a “giant game” designed to help “fix the balance of payments deficit” of the United States.  (Kaplan also refused to consider any of the scientific evidence of Chevron’s pollution in Ecuador.  For more on Kaplan’s flawed proceeding, see this summary.)

Neuborne, the founding director of the Brennan Center for Justice and considered one of the nation’s foremost civil liberties scholars, is representing two Ecuadorian villagers on a pro bono basis in their appeal of Kaplan’s ruling.  Also appealing the ruling is New York attorney Steven Donziger, the longtime legal advisor to the villagers.  

In the latest submission, filed on behalf of Hugo Camacho and Javier Piaguaje, Neuborne made the following arguments:

**Chevron’s allegation that the plaintiffs in Ecuador engaged in bribery comes from “a crooked Ecuador ex-judge who was removed from the bench for corruption” and that the oil company presented a “bought-and-paid-for bribery story” that was uncorroborated.  He pointed out that Chevron’s lawyers met 53 times with the company’s paid witness, Alberto Guerra, to rehearse his false testimony before he presented it in court.

“If such thin, uncorroborated testimony by a conceded liar and crook justifies a finding of judicial bribery, no verdict (or judge) is safe from corrupt collateral attack,” Neuborne argued.

**Judge Kaplan had no basis to assert jurisdiction over the Ecuadorian villagers given that they reside in the Amazon and have had no contact with the U.S.  When Kaplan ruled the villagers could not enforce their judgment -- despite unanimous decisions to the contrary by two appellate courts in Ecuador -- he vastly overstepped his authority and conducted his “own foreign policy” from Manhattan in violation of international law. 

“No American court has ever found the courts of a sister democracy incapable of administering justice fairly on such a flimsy record,” said Neuborne.

**Judge Kaplan and Chevron also made a critical mistake by trying to block the Ecuadorian villagers from trying to enforce their judgment not only in other countries, but also in the United States. Given that each U.S. state has separate laws governing the enforcement of foreign judgments, Kaplan had no right to dictate to judges in all 50 states how they should rule on the Ecuador judgment.  And he had no right to rule on the validity of a foreign judgment absent an effort by the villagers to enforce it in New York, which has not happened, according to Neuborne.

“Where the enforcement of money judgments issued by another sovereign are concerned, judges in New York have no more supervisory authority over their colleagues sitting throughout the United States than they have over their own international colleagues,” he said.

**Neuborne also emphasized that Kaplan’s findings that lawyers for the Ecuadorians had engaged in wrongdoing – while fiercely contested by Donziger in his own appeal –does not allow Chevron an “all purpose get out of jail free” card against innocent Ecuadorian rainforest villagers who had no control over how their international lawyers litigated the case.

In finding against Chevron, the Ecuador trial court relied on 105 expert technical reports documenting Chevron’s responsibility for what experts consider to be one of the worst oil-related ecological disasters on the planet.  Evidence showed that to save on production costs, Chevron deliberately dumped billions of gallons of toxic waste into the rainforest and abandoned more than 900 open-air toxic waste gouged out of the jungle floor.

The Ecuador court also imposed an additional $9.5 billion punitive penalty on Chevron after finding that the company tried to corrupt and sabotage the trial process by threatening judges and filing hundreds of frivolous motions.  Ecuador’s Supreme Court later threw out the punitive penalty on technical grounds, effectively halving the amount of Chevron’s liability.

Chevron operated in Ecuador from 1964 to 1990 under the Texaco brand. 

Briefing in the appeal of Kaplan’s ruling will end later this month with the submission of Donziger’s reply brief.  In the meantime, Donziger and the Ecuadorians have been supported with “friend of the court” briefs filed by 17 civil advocacy and human rights groups and more than 30 international law scholars.  For background on the various supporting briefs, seehere. 

Chevron’s supporting briefs were submitted largely by entities that have received significant funds from the oil giant, such as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the legal arm of the National Organization for Women.  See here for background.  Chevron also failed to muster even a single “friend of the court brief” for a critical argument on enforcement of the Ecuador judgment that will be heard December 11 before Canada’s Supreme Court.

For a summary of the overwhelming evidence against Chevron in the Ecuador case, see here; for a video about Chevron’s deliberate dumping in Ecuador, see here; for a 60 Minutes segment that documents Chevron’s human rights violations, see here; for an article in Rolling Stone magazine about Chevron’s unethical litigation tactics, see here; for a summary of a complaint filed against Chevron CEO John Watson before the International Criminal Court, see here.

For roughly 50 years, Neuborne has been one of the nation's foremost civil liberties lawyers. He served as National Legal Director of the American Civil Liberties Union from 1981-86, was Special Counsel to the NOW Legal Defense and Education Fund from 1990-1996, and was a member of the New York City Human Rights Commission from 1988-1992. He has argued numerous U.S. Supreme Court cases and has litigated hundreds of constitutional cases in the state and federal courts.

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