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$3 Million in Grants to Domestic Violence Shelters Nationwide Narrows Gap Between Funding and Demand for Services

Fri, 09/25/2015 - 4:03pm

Through a 24-hour survey of domestic violence programs across the country, the National Network to End Domestic Violence discovered that more than 67,000 domestic violence victims found refuge and help on a single day, while an additional 10,000 requests for services were unmet due to lack of resources. To help narrow this critical gap and to continue its long-standing commitment to support the prevention and elimination of domestic violence, The Mary Kay Foundation℠ is awarding $3 million in grants to 150 domestic violence shelters in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico.  

In advance of Domestic Violence Awareness Month in October, all 150 shelters will receive a $20,000 grant. While more than half of the grant recipients use the unrestricted funds for basic operating expenses, others hire much needed personnel, complete repairs and facility renovations or add programs and resources based on the unique needs of their shelter and the clients they serve.

“While progress has been made in the United States in meeting the needs of the thousands of domestic violence victims who seek help each and every day, there remains a significant gap between funding and resources as more and more survivors courageously request services to escape from life-threatening situations,” said Anne Crews, board member for The Mary Kay Foundation℠ and Vice President of Public Affairs for Mary Kay Inc. “We know from our work with shelter directors across the nation that the Foundation’s annual grants are a lifeline for many shelters and continues to impact an epidemic that touches one in every four women.”  

The Newhouse in Kansas City, Mo. Is using their grant from The Mary Kay FoundationSM to support an onsite school to protect the safety of children in grades K-6. The Battered Women’s Shelter in Akron, Ohio will be able to start renovations on a 50,000 square foot facility. The Self Help Center in Casper, Wyo. offers 20 weekly support groups as part of their youth prevention program along with after school mentoring to provide positive role models to help youth heal and end the new cycle of abuse before it starts. In Dallas, Mosaic Family Services has relocated to a larger facility nearly doubling their capacity to serve women and children. 

“Support from The Mary Kay Foundation℠ is invaluable as we work daily to help women and children flee abusive homes, many of them arriving with nothing but the clothes on their backs,” said Walter Nguyen, Ph.D., Executive Director of Mosaic Family Services.  “With an overwhelming demand and limited funding, this grant will help fill in the gaps to not only care for our clients but also provide programs to help prevent abuse before it begins.”  

Since 2000, The Mary Kay Foundation℠ has donated $35.6 million to domestic violence organizations through its annual shelter grant program. Each year, grants are awarded to at least one domestic violence shelter in every state with the remaining grants distributed based on state population. U.S. territories including Puerto Rico, Guam and the Virgin Islands have also received funding through the Shelter Grant program. Approximately 625 domestic violence shelters applied for funding this year.  

Applications for the 2016 Shelter Grants program will be available Jan. 15 through April 30, 2016. Please visit marykayfoundation.org for additional information and for the full list of 2015 shelter grant recipients.

About The Mary Kay Foundation

The Mary Kay Foundation℠ was created in 1996, and its mission is two-fold: to fund research of cancers affecting women and to help prevent domestic violence while raising awareness of the issue.  The Mary Kay Foundation℠ has awarded $64.2 million to shelters and programs addressing domestic violence prevention and cancer researchers and related causes throughout the United States. To learn more about The Mary Kay Foundation℠, please visit www.marykayfoundation.org or call 1-877-MKCARES (652-2737). 

Read this release in Spanish

Inclusive Business a Key Contributor to the new Global Development Agenda

Fri, 09/25/2015 - 4:03pm

From small social entrepreneurships to large national and multinational companies, from urban neighborhoods to remote communities, from the farmyard to the schoolhouse, an increasing number of companies have rallied around the Business Call to Action (BCtA) by committing to inclusive business models designed to support the new sustainable development agenda and drive growth.

At its Sixth Annual Forum today, BCtA announced commitments by 33 companies in support of the new Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). This is the largest number of new members in a single year and represents a significant increase in the scope of commitments by companies to use viable businesses ventures that include those at the base of the economic pyramid as suppliers, distributors, retailers or customers. And it brings to 137 the number of businesses that have joined BCtA’s leadership platform since it was launched in 2008.

“Inclusive businesses are both proven and increasing. We have seen rapid growth and improved living standards in developing countries creating demand for goods and services by people living at the base of the economic pyramid, whose collective purchasing power exceeds US$5 trillion. Rarely has there been a better opportunity for companies to use inclusive business models to initiate or deepen their investments in developing economies and contribute to the implementation of the post-2015 agenda through co-financing and transformation of business practices towards sustainability,” said Marcos Neto, Director, UNDP’s Istanbul International Center for Private Sector Development.

“UNDP is proud to host the Secretariat for the Business Call to Action Alliance because it encourages companies to commit to innovative business solutions which are good for both their bottom line and for development”, he continued.

New BCtA member companies have made commitments to 10 of the 17 new SDGs. These include commitments to SDG 2 to help 5.4 million farmers experience better agricultural yields; SDG 3, to ensure health and promote well-being for 100.5 million people; SDG 5 to achieve ender equity and empowerment for 3.2 million women through increased productivity and revenue generating activities; and SDG 8, by creating 100,000 full time jobs. The new members, 68 percent of which are small- to medium-sized and social enterprises, are working in 37 locations in 19 countries (including not previously part of BCtA’s network) with 57 percent in Africa, 30 percent in Asia and 14% in Latin America. Six are led by women.

“The advantages of inclusive business are tangible, spurring the increase in the number of companies engaging in these innovative models and joining BCtA. For businesses, our newest members’ initiatives are helping to drive product innovation (Banka BioLoo, Basic Water Needs), open new markets (AccuHealth, Bata), strengthen supply chains (Lal Teer, Equator Kenya,) uncover new sources of profitability (CrediFamilia, Ignitia), and enhance long-term competiveness (Novo Nordisk, Access Afya),” said Sahba Sobhani, Office in Charge, Business Call to Action and Global Programme Advisor, Private Sector, BPPS. “As a result, people at the base of the economic pyramid are enjoying the benefits of higher productivity, sustainable earnings and greater empowerment. Engaging in Inclusive business offers the potential to unleash the economic power of the private sector to realise the SDGs.”

BCtA’s Sixth Annual Forum showcased the potential for and evidence of inclusive businesses aligning their core business activities with the SDGs and featured leaders from BCtA member companies, as well as senior representatives from governments, bilateral donors, civil society and the United Nations.


New Business Call to Action Members 2015

AACE Foods: Combating malnutrition in Nigeria while engaging smallholder farmers in value chain.s

Access Afya: Bringing affordable health care to low-income families in Kenya.

AccuHealth: Expanding tele-monitoring of chronic non-communicable disease in Latin America.

aWhere: Providing agricultural intelligence to smallholder farmers for better decision making.

Banka BioLoo: Improving health and dignity in India through sustainable and affordable sanitation solutions.

Basic Water Needs: Expanding access to safe drinking water for communities at the base of the economic pyramid in Malawi.

Bata Shoe Company: Empowering women in Bangladesh, Latin America and Africa through the Rural Sales Program.

BIDCO Africa: Building the livelihoods of smallholder farmers and entrepreneurs along the value chain.

Centurion Systems: Building technical capacity and increasing the employability of low-income youth in Kenya.

Contigo: Providing financial services to bottom-of-the-pyramid customers in Mexico.

Credifamilia: Increasing access to mortgage financing for low-income customers in Colombia.

DDD Kenya: Enabling Kenyan youth to bring their families out of poverty through employment, skills and education.

Equator Kenya: Increasing smallholder farmers’ productivity in Kenya through technology.

GE Healthcare: Delivering sustainable, affordable healthcare through education, training and low-cost technologies.

Ignitia: Providing reliable weather forecasting for informed decision making by farmers in the tropics.

Ilumexico: Expanding solar energy solutions in off-grid rural communities in Mexico.

Lal Teer Seed: Enhancing the sustainability of Bangladesh’s agricultural sector.

Lotus Foods: Cultivating markets for sustainably produced rice in Asia and Africa.

Medtronic Surgical Technologies, Inc.: Preventing hearing loss and empowering women in India through the Shruti Program.

Mozambikes: Improving living standards in Mozambique through access to transportation.

Nairobi Techpharm: Pharmnet®: a network of trusted pharmacies in Kenya.

Novo Nordisk: Facilitating access to diabetes care for bottom-of-the-pyramid communities in Kenya.

ONergy: Providing rural communities with access to clean energy in India.

Pamoja Cleantech: Providing off-grid productive power from sustainable biomass for rural Ugandans.

Pronaca: Strengthening the supply of domestically sourced corn in Ecuador.

Sanofi: Providing diabetes care for low-income people in Colombia.

salaUno: Providing accessible eye care for the bottom-of-the-pyramid communities in Mexico.

Sevamob: Increasing access to primary healthcare in India via mobile clinics and a tele-health marketplace. 

Shiseido: Empowering women and improving hygiene in rural Bangladesh.

Shubham Housing Development Finance Company: Building communities through access to home financing in India.

Sompo Japan Nipponkoa Holdings, Inc.: Enhancing the resilience of small-scale farmers across Southeast Asia.

Tolaro Global: Building the cashew nut value chain with smallholder farmers in Benin.

Vava Coffee: Expanding access to credit and financial training for smallholder coffee farmers in Kenya.


For further information, please contact: Jeanne Finestone at jeanne.finestone@undp.org.


About Business Call to Action (BCtA): The Business Call to Action challenges companies to advance core business activities that are inclusive of poor populations and contribute to the achievement of sustainable development goals.  Worldwide, 137 companies, from SMEs to multinationals, have responded to the BCtA by making commitments to improve the lives and livelihoods of millions through commercially-viable business ventures that engage low-income people as consumers, producers, suppliers, and distributors of goods and services.

The Business Call to Action is a unique multilateral alliance between key donor governments including the Dutch Ministry of Foreign AffairsSwedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida)UK Department for International Development (DFID), US Agency for International Development (USAID), and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Government of Finland, and the United Nations Development Programme — which hosts the secretariat — in collaboration with leading global institutions, such as the United Nations Global Compact, Inter-American Development Bank’s Opportunities for the Majority Initiative, and the World Bank Group’s International Finance Corporation.  For more information, please visit www.businesscalltoaction.org or on Twitter at @BCtAInitiative.

ISO 9001:2015 & ISO 14004:2015 Update: Final Versions Issued

Thu, 09/24/2015 - 12:47pm

SGS, the world’s leading inspection, verification, testing and certification company, is recognized as the global benchmark for quality and integrity. With more than 80,000 employees, SGS operates a network of over 1,650 offices and laboratories around the world.

The final publications of ISO 9001 and ISO 14001 standards have now been issued. This completes the revision process of both standards and marks the start of the three-year transition period during which certified organizations should switch to the new versions.

Both standards have not been subject to major change since more than a decade. The new ISO 9001 and ISO 14001 are better aligned with the business environment and the contexts in which organizations operate. The adoption of Risk Based Thinking, enhancement of leadership involvement in management systems and the use of common structure are some of the main modifications.


ISO 9001:2015 positions the new version of the standard as an integral part of an organization’s efforts towards the broader aim of sustainable development and promotes it as a tool for improving an organization’s overall performance. It encourages more internal and external stakeholder focus as part of the adoption of a risk-based approach to quality management and emphasizes the importance of adopting a Quality Management System (QMS) as a strategic decision for an organization. In addition to renaming and repositioning some QMS activities, other significant new requirements have been introduced.

NEW TO ISO 14001

Environmental Management System (EMS) requirements are now presented in a more consistent manner. Terminology and definitions have been updated, some to conform with other management systems standards, such as ISO 9001. These changes were implemented as a consequence of the adoption of the high level structure specified in ISO Annex SL, which is now the required framework for all new and revised management system standards.


Organizations already certified to ISO 9001:2008 and ISO 14001:2004 have three years from the publication of the new versions in which to transfer. The transition period ends September 2018.


To help understand the changes and guide organizations in the transition process, SGS has developed a set of tools:

Further information on ISO 9001:2015 and ISO 14001:2015 will be issued by SGS in the future.

CPBO Honors Best Buy and Volunteer Lawyers Network for Their Decade-Long, Sustainable Collaboration

Thu, 09/24/2015 - 12:47pm

Corporate Pro Bono (CPBO) announced today that it has selected Best Buy, a signatory to the CPBO Challenge® initiative, and Volunteer Lawyers Network (VLN) to receive the 2015 CPBO Pro Bono Partner Award - Small Law category for their more than decade-long collaboration with VLN. CPBO, the global partnership project of Pro Bono Institute (PBI) and the Association of Corporate Counsel (ACC), will present the award at the 2015 PBI Annual Dinner on November 5 in New York.

Since 2004, nearly one-third of Best Buy’s attorneys have partnered with VLN, assisting in the organization’s Housing Court Project and Conciliation Court Clinic. The Housing Court Project is a walk-in clinic that provides legal advice to low-income tenants by preparing them to present their defenses and explain their situation in housing court. The Conciliation Court Clinic provides legal advice to low-income persons on conciliation court matters.

“We are impressed and encouraged to see this longstanding partnership providing a vital service to communities in need of this kind of legal assistance,” Brad Smith, president and chief legal officer of Microsoft Corporation and co-chair of the CPBO Advisory Board said.

Through this partnership, the twelve Best Buy attorneys participating in this pro bono project dedicate hundreds of hours annually to assisting VLN on these two efforts. This consistent, long-term dedication and substantial time commitment by Best Buy lawyers has helped VLN generate extraordinary results and has allowed the organization to rely on Best Buy lawyers’ growing expertise in these areas.

With the aid of Best Buy attorneys, VLN’s Housing Court Project assists more than one hundred households avoid homelessness each year. However, Best Buy’s long-term partnership with VLN not only means the organization can provide free legal advice to more people, it also helps VLN provide higher quality legal advice to those who need it most. Because Best Buy attorneys have developed significant expertise through the years of working on the Housing Court Project and Conciliation Court Clinic, VLN routinely refers the most difficult cases, as well as those with language or disability barriers, to the clinics where Best Buy lawyers will be present.

“The partnership between Best Buy and VLN represents an exemplary corporate pro bono relationship,” said Veta T. Richardson, president and CEO of ACC. “Their long-term affiliation offers Best Buy’s lawyers many fulfilling opportunities to provide needed legal services, gives pro bono clients access to the most experienced lawyers, and can help yield the best case results.”

Best Buy and VLN’s decade-long commitment to work together demonstrates the critical impact generated by sustained partnerships. Together, these projects are aiding hundreds who cannot afford legal assistance each year with high-caliber level of assistance that is the result of the continued relationship and tradition of service between Best Buy and VLN.

“We are very honored to receive this award.  I am proud of the long-standing relationship our department has had with the Volunteer Lawyers Network and grateful for the group of lawyers from our team who have been pioneers in demonstrating how corporate legal departments can be leaders in pro bono service,” Best Buy Co. Inc. General Counsel Keith Nelsen said. “The dedication of our team over a period of many years has been quite inspiring and we look forward to continuing to make a difference for those in need of our services.”

For more information about this and other awardees, please visit the 2015 PBI Annual Dinner webpage.

Additionally, see our press release web page for information about the 2015 CPBO Pro Bono Partner Award – Large Law category winner.

About the CPBO Pro Bono Partner Award
The CPBO Pro Bono Partner Award recognizes innovative team approaches to pro bono work involving in-house legal departments. Winners, selected by the CPBO Advisory Board, are chosen based on the following criteria: demonstrated impact; substantial involvement by in-house lawyers; steps towards sustaining the partnership; innovative approaches used; and projects that address a critical legal need and/or a particularly vulnerable group.

The award is given to two different categories of nominees based on the size of their legal department. In-house legal departments of 50 or more lawyers are evaluated in the Large Law category. In-house legal departments of 49 or fewer lawyers are evaluated in the Small Law category. Best Buy and VLN are recognized for their efforts with the CPBO Pro Bono Partner Award – Small Law.

About Best Buy
Best Buy is a leading provider of technology products, services and solutions. The company offers expert service at an unbeatable price more than 1.5 billion times a year to the consumers, small business owners and educators who visit its stores, engage with Geek Squad Agents or use BestBuy.com or the Best Buy app. The company has operations in the U.S. where more than 70 percent of the population lives within 15 minutes of a Best Buy store, as well as in Canada and Mexico, where Best Buy has a physical and online presence.

For more information, visit www.bestbuy.com, or follow Best Buy on Twitter @BBYNews.

About Volunteer Lawyers Network
Established in 1966, Volunteer Lawyers Network, Ltd. (VLN) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit which provides civil legal services to low-income people through volunteer attorneys. VLN’s mission is to protect and promote the basic human needs of people in poverty through the power of legal volunteers.

VLN seeks to provide as many low-income persons as possible with a positive outcome to their legal matter. Positive outcomes include: preventing homelessness; preventing illegal garnishment; preventing domestic violence; obtaining wages for hours worked; and obtaining custody orders.

For more information, visit www.vlnmn.org.

About Corporate Pro Bono
Corporate Pro Bono, the global partnership project of PBI and ACC, is designed to substantially increase the amount of pro bono work performed by in-house counsel and to enhance the pro bono culture of in-house legal departments through consultative services to the in-house community, targeted research and publications, online information and services, and outreach and educational programming. CPBO also works closely with ACC chapters to focus their resources and agendas on pro bono service. For more information, visit www.cpbo.org.

About Pro Bono Institute
Founded in 1996, Pro Bono Institute (PBI) is a Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit organization. With an unparalleled depth of knowledge, resources, and expertise, PBI is the respected resource for all things pro bono. Through our work with law firms, legal departments, the courts, and public interest organizations, PBI is the global thought leader in exploring, identifying, evaluating, catalyzing, and taking to scale new approaches and resources for the provision of legal services to the poor, disadvantaged, and other individuals or groups unable to secure legal assistance to address critical problems. For more information, visit www.probonoinst.org.

About the Association of Corporate Counsel
ACC is a global legal association that promotes the common professional and business interests of in-house counsel who work for corporations, associations, and other private-sector organizations through informationeducation, networking opportunities and advocacy initiatives. With 40,000 members in 90 countries, employed by over 10,000 organizations, ACC connects its members to the people and resources necessary for both personal and professional growth. By in-house counsel, for in-house counsel.® For more information, visit www.acc.com and follow ACC on Twitter http://twitter.com/ACCinhouse.

Holy Land Principles, Inc. Launches Animated Internet Video

Thu, 09/24/2015 - 12:47pm

In order to further spread its message about the importance of American companies signing the Holy Land Principles, the Holy Land Principles, Inc. has launched an animated internet video. 

The Holy Land Principles are a corporate code of conduct for the 545 American companies doing business in Israel-Palestine. The Holy Land Principles are pro-Jewish, pro-Palestinian and pro-company.

The video is produced by the company named  MyEVideo.The company explains: “Explainer videos are considered to be the best introduction tool because they quickly capture the attention of your audience, while relating and explaining your message in a fun, interesting and engaging way. They are fast, entertaining and always leave a good impression. Today’s research states that you only have 53 seconds to capture the interest of people who visit your website or business. With explainer videos, only 7 seconds is enough, because their dynamic entices the viewers to watch it through to the end. An explainer video gives plenty of time (1-3 min) to introduce your business and convey your message in a way that appeals to the audience.” 

Fr. Sean Mc Manus—President of the Capitol Hill-based  Holy Land Principles, Inc. and Irish National Caucus— said: “ We are very pleased with our new e video. We hope it helps intensify the pressure on the 545 companies to do the right thing. Many American companies doing business in Northern Ireland initially resisted signing our Mac Bride Principles — upon which our Holy Land principles are based— but eventually reason, decency and good governance prevailed, and 116 companies signed the Mac Bride Principles. The same will happen with the Holy Land Principles.”

Currently, a Holy Land Principles resolution is pending before Cisco, whose shareholder Annual Meeting is later in The Fall. Significantly, Cisco did not try to appeal to the SEC to exclude the Resolution— as Corning, GE and Intel tried and failed. The SEC ruled against Corning, GE and Intel, a decision that probably convinced Cisco to back off from trying the same tactics.

Fr. Mc Manus added: “ We appeal to all Cisco investors to vote for our Holy Land Principles resolution. The Holy Land Principles are perfectly consistent with   environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues, and are a practical application of the Ruggie Principles.”

Barbara Flaherty, Executive Vice President, Holy Land Principles, said: “ This explainer video is an excellent way to promote our message and mission. I hope it will attract a large audience.”

The E video is available at HolyLandPrinciples.org — and at https://www.youtube.com/embed/iBwjZRI9dhA

Houston Food Bank “Flips the Switch” on New Solar Panels from Green Mountain Energy

Thu, 09/24/2015 - 12:47pm

The Houston Food Bank increased its solar capacity by “flipping the switch” on 160 new solar panels donated by Green Mountain Energy Company, giving the site a total of 440 panels. The rooftop solar array at the food bank’s warehouse will provide 154,000 kilowatt-hours of renewable energy annually, which the Food Bank estimates will generate enough savings to provide for nearly 30,000 additional meals every year.

Green Mountain residential customers made this new solar power donation possible by signing up for the company’s SolarSPARC  electricity plan, which helps support the adoption of solar energy by funding efforts intended to make solar more affordable, effective and available. Launched in 2013, Green Mountain’s SolarSPARC (Smart People Accelerating Renewable Change) product was the first Texas residential electricity plan backed by 100 percent solar energy. The company also offers a SolarSPARC™ 10 product backed by 10 percent solar energy and 90 percent wind energy. SolarSPARC customers receive a bill credit for the facilities they help fund.

“We know our customers embrace renewable energy and solar in particular,” said Mark McShane, vice president of Texas Retail, Green Mountain Energy Company. “SolarSPARC enables all customers to help us ‘change the way power is made’ by increasing demand for solar and leveraging our experience in renewable energy to offer Texans more clean electricity options.”

The Houston Food Bank received its original 280 solar panels last year thanks in part to the Green Mountain Energy Sun Club®, an affiliated non-profit that funds solar power and sustainability projects for other non-profits via contributions from Green Mountain and its customers, employees and supporters across the U.S.  The Houston Food Bank and Green Mountain have also entered into a Sustainable Business Partnership, where Green Mountain will help evaluate their building efficiency and offer solutions toward sustainability. This partnership is intended to further both parties’ understanding of emerging sustainability practices and solutions through technology pilot tests and research. 

SolarSPARC Product Details and Availability
Households in competitive electricity markets in Texas can choose SolarSPARC products to power their homes with solar energy.  

  • SolarSPARC 100 electricity is made from 100 percent solar energy and, as Green Mountain solar projects are built in Texas communities, will include a portion of the new Texas-based solar generation.

  • The SolarSPARC 10 electricity plan gives customers the option to power their home with 10 percent solar and 90 percent wind for a 100 percent renewable power option.

  • Green Mountain contributes $4 per month on behalf of each SolarSPARC customer to help accelerate the adoption of solar energy in Texas.

  • Customers receive an annual bill credit of $11 for each solar project they help fund. The credit increases each year as new facilities are funded and can total $121 per year for customers who participate in the program for 5 years.

  • Customers may gift their annual bill credit to the Sun Club.

  • Eligible customers can learn more and enroll at www.greenmountain.com/solarSPARC.

In addition to the new panels at the Houston Food Bank, Green Mountain’s SolarSPARC plan has provided funding for a 10-kilowatt solar array at the Green Mountain Energy® Wind Farm—Elbow Creek near Big Spring in West Texas.

“We think Texas can be just as well known for solar as it is for wind, and with this product we’re giving customers a new way to drive local development and tap into Texas’ potential to be a solar power house,” continues McShane. “The more customers that sign up for this plan, the more solar we’ll be able to build.”

Houston Food Bank

The Houston Food Bank is the largest source of food for hunger relief charities in 18 southeast Texas counties. Through a network of 600 food pantries, soup kitchens, senior centers and other agencies, 800,000 people are fed each year. 

Founded in 1982, the Houston Food Bank is a certified member of Feeding America, the nation’s food bank network.

Website: HoustonFoodBank.org
Facebook: facebook.com/HoustonFoodBank
Twitter: @HoustonFoodBank
YouTube Channel: http://www.youtube.com/houstonfoodbank

Green Mountain Energy Company 

Green Mountain is the nation’s longest serving renewable energy retailer and believes in using wind, sun and water for good. The company was founded in 1997 with the mission to “change the way power is made.” Green Mountain offers consumers and businesses the choice of cleaner electricity products from renewable sources, as well as carbon offsets and sustainable solutions for businesses. One of Green Mountain’s largest customers is the “world’s most famous office building,” the Empire State Building in New York City. Green Mountain customers have collectively helped avoid more than 37.7 billion pounds of carbon dioxide emissions.

Follow us at facebook.com/greenmountainenergycompany or twitter.com/greenmtnenergy

White House Climate Accelerator Launches, Announces Partnership with Rockefeller 100 Resilient Cities

Thu, 09/24/2015 - 12:47pm

GoodCompany Ventures, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit and 100 Resilient Cities – Pioneered by The Rockefeller Foundation (100RC) are today announcing a partnership to launch a Climate Ventures 2.0 Innovation Exchange. Climate Ventures 2.0’s platform will assist 100RC member cities to address climate threats by mobilizing entrepreneurial responses and developing exemplary innovations that can have a real effect on climate threats at the city level.

“Over the past six years, we have seen the effectiveness of GoodCompany Ventures’ intensive, peer-driven approach in expanding the aspiration, ability and impact of social entrepreneurs,” said Garrett Melby, Managing Director of GoodCompany Ventures, “I can’t wait to see what these entrepreneurs achieve when we apply that approach to the 100 Resilient Cities network, while supporting them with the access to funding, expertise and partners that Climate Ventures 2.0 provides.”

In December 2014, GoodCompany Ventures, unveiled Climate Ventures 2.0, in collaboration with the White House’s Climate Data Initiative. The CDI aligns administration efforts to make data on climate threats open and actionable with ambitious corporate and institutional commitments to share data and technology resources. The tool will be available to members of 100RC’s network, and will be used to help design and implement the cities’ long term Resilience Strategy, including:

  1. Understanding from Chief Resilience Officers in 100RC cities what the most acute threats and immediate needs are, in order to address climate threats to food and water security.

  2. Building on this understanding to source and select social entrepreneurs with technologies equipped to address these needs directly in 100RC member cities.

  3. Pilot and launch these innovations in the 100RC cities where a clear need presents itself.

“Cities can’t just build resilience out of thin air – they need the right tools to do it,” said Michael Berkowitz, President of 100RC. “By providing support from GoodCompany Ventures to our network cities, we hope to engage entrepreneurial thinking and local in

novation to harness unique solutions to climate threats. 100 Resilient Cities is excited to see this program in action as our cities tackle a wide range of climate threats in the years and decades ahead.”

100RC is dedicated to helping cities become more resilient to the ‘shocks’ – catastrophic events like hurricanes, fires, and floods – and ‘stresses’ – slow-moving disasters like wa- ter shortages, homelessness, and unemployment – they increasingly face in the 21st cen- tury. Each city in the 100RC network receives four concrete types of support:

  • Financial and logistical guidance for establishing an innovative new position in city government, a Chief Resilience Officer, who will lead the city’s resilience efforts;

  • Technical support for development of a robust resilience strategy;

  • Access to solutions, service providers, and partners from the private, public and NGO sectors who can help them develop and implement their resilience strategies; and

  • Membership of a global network of member cities who can learn from and help each other.

Climate Ventures 2.0’s structure builds upon GoodCompany Ventures’ success in developing a public-private partnership with the City of Philadelphia and the Wharton Social Impact Initiative to foster urban innovation that was awarded a $1mm Mayor’s Challenge prize by Bloomberg Philanthropies. This program, known as FastFWD, validated a model for public-private collaboration that CV2 aims to replicate at a much larger scale, leveraging the abundant resources of the CDI, and those of all of its committed parties.

About 100 Resilient Cities
100 Resilient Cities - Pioneered by the Rockefeller Foundation (100RC) is dedicated to helping cities become more resilient to social, economic and physical challenges they are increasingly facing in the 21st century. 100RC provides this assistance through: funding for a Chief Resilience Officer who will lead the resilience efforts; resources for drafting a resilience building strategy; access to private sector, public sector, and NGO created resilience tools; and membership in a global network of peer cities to share best practices and challenges. 100RC currently has sixty-seven member cities. For more information, visit: www.100resilientcities.org.

About GoodCompany Ventures
GoodCompany Ventures transforms innovators into entrepreneurs and dreamers into doers. We provide entrepreneurs resources to envision persistent social problems as market opportunities, design business models that support long-term social change, and mobilize capital to maximize their impact. Now in its sixth year, GoodCompany Ven-tures graduates have raised over $60mm to fuel their social missions. GoodCompany Ventures is a 501(c)3 non-profit funded by grants from the Knight Foundation, Halloran Philanthropies and Bloomberg Philanthropies. To learn more about GoodCompany Ven- tures, visit http://goodcompanygroup.org/

Cigna Becomes First U.S. Health Insurer to Sign UN Global Compact; Key Milestones Released in Second Annual CR Report

Thu, 09/24/2015 - 9:40am

With the release today of its 2014 Cigna Connects Corporate Responsibility (CR) Report, global health service leader Cigna (NYSE:CI) announced it recently became a signatory of the United Nations (UN) Global Compact – committing to the Compact’s 10  principles on human rights, labor, environment and anti-corruption. Cigna is the first U.S. health insurance company to join the Compact: https://www.unglobalcompact.org/what-is-gc/participants/9908

In supporting the UN Global Compact, Cigna is carrying on the proud tradition started by its Belgium-based business that serves international organizations (previously known as Vanbreda International), which had been a signatory of the UN Global Compact since 2006. The UN Global Compact was founded in 2000 by former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan.

“Cigna is committed to serving as a catalyst for positive change in our communities around the world,” said Cigna President and CEO David M. Cordani. “The principles of the UN Global Compact, along with the corporate responsibility policies and priorities we’ve detailed in our latest Corporate Responsibility report, embody this commitment.”

Cigna's annual CR Report, available online at www.cigna.com/corporateresponsibility, offers an up-close look at the company’s ESG policies and priorities.  The report describes Cigna’s strategically aligned approach to corporate responsibility, called Cigna Connects, and shares facts, figures and stories that demonstrate how Cigna works to create shared value for Cigna and society by applying its unique resources. The report communicates Cigna’s leadership in creating a more sustainable health care system and demonstrates how Cigna's non-financial performance aligns with its mission, supports its core businesses, and creates benefits for stakeholders.

“Cigna’s mission is to help improve the health, well-being and sense of security of those we serve.  Earning their trust, and the trust of others we partner with, is essential to our ability to live up to this mission. We embrace and integrate responsible business practices and corporate citizenship into our work each and every day, all around the world,” Cordani said.

 The report highlights the company’s 2014 ESG accomplishments, including:

  • Making progress in meeting 2017 environmental targets by monitoring emissions performance and making capital investments to support emission reductions targets;

  • Launching a new Cigna Foundation World of Difference grant program focused on innovative projects creating health equity;

  • Training 2,138 Cigna staff trained in Cultural Competency program;

  • Ensuring 100 percent of new and existing employees trained in Cigna's Code of Ethics and affirmed their adherence to the Code;

  • Being named to 2015 Best Corporate Citizens List by Corporate Responsibility magazine;

  • Scoring 100 percent on the Corporate Equality Index from the Human Rights Campaign for the third consecutive year in a row.

These actions and more are described in the CR Snapshot page of Cigna's 2014 CR report.

Cigna’s CR report was prepared in accordance with the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) G4 Sustainability Reporting Guidelines. The GRI is the most widely used framework for voluntary, non-financial reporting.

Please connect with Cigna to share thoughts or questions at cignaconnects@cigna.com.


About Cigna

Cigna Corporation (NYSE: CI) is a global health service company dedicated to helping people improve their health, well-being and sense of security. All products and services are provided exclusively by or through operating subsidiaries of Cigna Corporation, including Connecticut General Life Insurance Company, Cigna Health and Life Insurance Company, Life Insurance Company of North America and Cigna Life Insurance Company of New York. Such products and services include an integrated suite of health services, such as medical, dental, behavioral health, pharmacy, vision, supplemental benefits, and other related products including group life, accident and disability insurance. Cigna maintains sales capability in 30 countries and jurisdictions, and has more than 89 million customer relationships throughout the world. To learn more about Cigna®, including links to follow us on Facebook or Twitter, visit www.cigna.com.

CPBO Honors BNY Mellon, White & Case, and The National LGBT Bar For High-Impact Collaboration

Thu, 09/24/2015 - 9:40am

Corporate Pro Bono (CPBO) announced today that it has selected BNY Mellon, a signatory to the CPBO Challenge® initiative, White & Case, and the National LGBT Bar Association (LGBT Bar) to receive the 2015 CPBO Pro Bono Partner Award in the Large Law category. The awardees were selected for their collaborative development of the Online LGBT Tax Resource, an innovative tool that leverages technology to provide pro bono legal assistance to same-sex married couples in the United States. CPBO, the global partnership project of Pro Bono Institute (PBI) and the Association of Corporate Counsel (ACC), will present the award at the 2015 PBI Annual Dinner on November 5 in New York.

“This impactful work highlights the power of pro bono partnerships,” said Laura Stein, executive vice president and general counsel of The Clorox Company and co-chair of the CPBO Advisory Board. “The work of these attorneys will positively support the LGBT community for years to come.”

Launched in April 2014 with a full update in September 2014 and again in March 2015, the Online LGBT Tax Resource has provided a comprehensive, state-by-state list of reporting regulations and guidance for LGBT couples, to be used as a starting point for preparing tax returns. Designed to help navigate disconnects that existed between Federal and State filing requirements for same-sex couples in many jurisdictions, the Online LGBT Tax Resource has provided a unique tool to help LGBT families. With clear summaries and explanations of the tax law in each jurisdiction, and direct links to relevant law, forms, and instructions, it has given tax payers and preparers the most complete state-by-state information available for LGBT families. Prior to the work of these pro bono teams, same-sex couples and their tax advisors had to search the internet for the laws in a specific state. These searches often yielded limited information, which was spread across many sources and sites and did not resolve all the relevant tax-related questions.

The Online LGBT Tax Resource is an excellent example of high-impact pro bono that targets a specific, substantial need and leverages both legal insight and technology to reach more people who require assistance, allowing for highly efficient and effective pro bono service. Collaborative projects like this one present a feasible workload for in-house legal departments and law firms to undertake but can benefit thousands of people with their reach.

“The collaborative efforts of BNY Mellon, White & Case, and the National LGBT Bar built an innovative platform that will help thousands of Americans each year,” said Veta T. Richardson, president and CEO of ACC. “The Online LGBT Tax Resource brings clarity to a previously complicated process, making the law more accessible to married same-sex couples – an especially important achievement following this year’s historic Supreme Court decision.”

During the partnership’s first year, 34 attorneys, including 14 from BNY Mellon, invested more than 500 hours in the project to research, draft, launch, promote, and update the first-of-its-kind online resource tool. Lawyers from BNY Mellon and White & Case thoroughly researched state codes, administrative guidance, and case law to provide state-specific information to help same-sex married couples understand their filing status in their jurisdiction.

With the rapidly evolving laws surrounding same-sex couples, BNY Mellon and White & Case attorneys have updated the resource twice a year since the site was launched. The pro bono firms who worked on the project intend to update the resource again to reflect guidance issued by various states in the wake of the recent landmark U.S. Supreme Court decision regarding same-sex marriage in Obergefell v. Hodges. According to the Williams Institute at the UCLA School of Law, there were more than 130,000 same-sex married couples in the US as of 2010, a number which is likely to have increased substantially since that time.

“BNY Mellon’s pro bono imperative has been to provide both the leadership and the tools to enable our in-house lawyers to positively impact our communities and our society,” said Kevin McCarthy, Chief Legal Counsel, BNY Mellon. “By collaborating with our industry colleagues and the National LGBT Bar, we established a critical tax-law resource for the further inclusion of LGBT people.”

For more information about this and other awardees, please visit the 2015 PBI Annual Dinner webpage.

Additionally, see our press release web page for information about the 2015 CPBO Pro Bono Partner Award – Small Law category winner.

About the CPBO Pro Bono Partner Award
The CPBO Pro Bono Partner Award recognizes innovative team approaches to pro bono work involving in-house legal departments. Winners, selected by the CPBO Advisory Board, are chosen based on the following criteria: demonstrated impact; substantial involvement by in-house lawyers; steps towards sustaining the partnership; innovative approaches used; and projects that address a critical legal need and/or a particularly vulnerable group.

The award is given to two different categories of nominees based on the size of their legal department. In-house legal departments of 50 or more lawyers are evaluated in the Large Law category. In-house legal departments of 49 or fewer lawyers are evaluated in the Small Law category. BNY Mellon, White & Case, and the National LGBT Bar are recognized for their efforts with the CPBO Pro Bono Partner Award – Large Law.

About BNY Mellon
BNY Mellon is a global investments company dedicated to helping its clients manage and service their financial assets throughout the investment lifecycle. Whether providing financial services for institutions, corporations or individual investors, BNY Mellon delivers informed investment management and investment services in 35 countries and more than 100 markets. As of June 30, 2015, BNY Mellon had $28.6 trillion in assets under custody and/or administration, and $1.7 trillion in assets under management. BNY Mellon can act as a single point of contact for clients looking to create, trade, hold, manage, service, distribute or restructure investments. BNY Mellon is the corporate brand of The Bank of New York Mellon Corporation (NYSE: BK). Additional information is available on www.bnymellon.com. Follow us on Twitter @BNYMellon or visit our newsroom at www.bnymellon.com/newsroom for the latest company news.

About White & Case
White & Case LLP is a leading global law firm with lawyers in 39 offices across 26 countries. Among the first US-based law firms to establish a truly global presence, we provide counsel and representation in virtually every area of law that affects cross-border business. Our clients value both the breadth of our global network and the depth of our US, English and local law capabilities in each of our regions and rely on us for their complex cross-border transactions, as well as their representation in arbitration and litigation proceedings.

In both established and emerging markets, our lawyers are integral, long-standing members of the community, giving our clients insights into the local business environment alongside our experience in multiple jurisdictions. We work with some of the world's most respected and well-established banks and businesses, as well as start-up visionaries, governments and state-owned entities.

For more information, visit www.whitecase.com, or follow White & Case on Twitter @whitecase.

About the National LGBT Bar Association
The National LGBT Bar Association is a national association of lawyers, judges and other legal professionals, law students, activists and affiliated lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender legal organizations. The LGBT Bar promotes justice in and through the legal profession for the LGBT community in all its diversity.

For more information, visit www.lgbtbar.org, or follow the National LGBT Bar Association on Twitter @LGBTBar.

About Corporate Pro Bono
Corporate Pro Bono, the global partnership project of PBI and ACC, is designed to substantially increase the amount of pro bono work performed by in-house counsel and to enhance the pro bono culture of in-house legal departments through consultative services to the in-house community, targeted research and publications, online information and services, and outreach and educational programming. CPBO also works closely with ACC chapters to focus their resources and agendas on pro bono service. For more information, visit www.cpbo.org.

About Pro Bono Institute
Founded in 1996, Pro Bono Institute (PBI) is a Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit organization. With an unparalleled depth of knowledge, resources, and expertise, PBI is the respected resource for all things pro bono. Through our work with law firms, legal departments, the courts, and public interest organizations, PBI is the global thought leader in exploring, identifying, evaluating, catalyzing, and taking to scale new approaches and resources for the provision of legal services to the poor, disadvantaged, and other individuals or groups unable to secure legal assistance to address critical problems. For more information, visit www.probonoinst.org.

About the Association of Corporate Counsel
ACC is a global legal association that promotes the common professional and business interests of in-house counsel who work for corporations, associations, and other private-sector organizations through information, education, networking opportunities and advocacy initiatives. With 40,000 members in 90 countries, employed by over 10,000 organizations, ACC connects its members to the people and resources necessary for both personal and professional growth. By in-house counsel, for in-house counsel.® For more information, visit www.acc.com and follow ACC on Twitter http://twitter.com/ACCinhouse.

AIDA and Costa Support Refugee Relief with 200,000 Euros in Germany and Italy

Wed, 09/23/2015 - 6:07pm

AIDA Cruises and Costa Crociere donate a total of 200,000 euros for projects of refugee relief in Germany and Italy to support people who escaped war and prosecution, hoping for a life in freedom and safety in Europe.

“The current situation is an exceptional challenge for the whole of Europe. The fate of the refugees concerns all of us. Hundreds of thousands of people who have left everything behind them need all the support we can give them. For us it is a question of humanity to provide help now, fast, and without red tape,” says Michael Thamm, CEO of the Costa Group.

AIDA Cruises will support the alliance of German aid organizations, “Aktion Deutschland hilft”, with a donation of 100,000 euros. “For us, integration and willingness to help are enshrined in our corporate culture. We want to provide active help that is received where it is most urgently needed,” said AIDA President Felix Eichhorn.

The alliance of German aid organizations “Aktion Deutschland hilft” supports refugees in Germany among other things with integrating and orienting themselves but also provide active help in the arrival countries all around the Mediterranean Sea as well as in the countries of origin of the refugees.

Rostock, September 23, 2015

About AIDA Cruises:

AIDA Cruises is one of Germany’s fastest growing and most financially successful tourism businesses and currently employs around 7,000 people from 40 countries. Of these employees, 6,000 work on board and 1,000 work at the company headquarters in Rostock and Hamburg. AIDA operates and markets one of the most modern fleets in the world with its 10 cruise ships. The ships are operated in compliance with the highest international quality, environmental, and safety standards. By 2020, the AIDA fleet will expand to 14 ships.

RESOURCES Carnival Corporation AIDA Cruises Costa Crociere Cruise Aktion Deutschland hilft

Comcast, NASCAR Start Award To Honor Charitable Work

Wed, 09/23/2015 - 2:45pm

As part of its long-term partnership with NASCAR, Comcast announced the creation of the Comcast Community Champion of the Year Award, honoring NASCAR team members for their outstanding charitable endeavors.

The annual award will celebrate the philanthropic efforts being made by race teams across all three national series. An individual from each national series will be honored, with one of the three earning the Comcast Community Champion of the Year Award. In recognition of their efforts, a donation of $60,000 will be made in the winner's name to his or her affiliated charitable organization. A $30,000 contribution will be made to each of the remaining finalists' charitable organizations.

"The Comcast Community Champion of the Year Award honors those members of NASCAR teams who share our commitment and give back to the communities we serve," said Peter Intermaggio, Comcast Senior Vice President, Marketing Communications. "At Comcast, we work hard to make a difference in the places where our employees and customers live and work, and we want to recognize and encourage others who demonstrate that same community commitment."

Read the full announcement here

New Cone Communications Research Confirms Millennials as America's Most Ardent CSR Supporters, But Marked Differences Revealed Among this Diverse Generation

Wed, 09/23/2015 - 2:45pm

From buying products associated with a cause they care about to using their online networks to amplify social and environmental messages, Millennials are universally more engaged in corporate social responsibility (CSR) efforts, according to the newly released 2015 Cone Communications Millennial CSR Study. The study, the most comprehensive snapshot of how Millennials engage with CSR efforts in the U.S., reveals more than nine-in-10 Millennials would switch brands to one associated with a cause (91% vs. 85% U.S. average) and two-thirds use social media to engage around CSR (66% vs. 53% U.S. average).

The study examines the unique attitudes, perceptions and behaviors of different Millennial segments, including the young Millennialmature MillennialMillennial femaleMillennial maleaffluent Millennial and Millennial mom.

“This research reiterates the significant differences in how gender, life-stage and income level impact how Millennials want to be engaged in CSR efforts,” says Lisa Manley, executive vice president, CSR StrategyCone Communications. “With different priorities and drivers, a ‘one-size-fits-all’ message won’t inspire mass action within this generation. To appeal to a diverse Millennial audience, businesses need to understand the unique drivers and preferences of each segment to tailor their content, communications and channels for greatest impact.”

Millennials Willing to Take Action to Support CSR

Millennials are more fervent in their support of corporate social and environmental efforts and are, above and beyond, more likely to say they would participate in CSR initiatives if given the opportunity. This enthusiastic group is more willing to:

  • Purchase a product with a social or environmental benefit (87% vs. 83% U.S. average)

  • Tell friends and family about CSR efforts (82% vs. 72% U.S. average)

  • Voice opinions to a company about its CSR efforts (70% vs. 60% U.S. average)

  • Volunteer for a cause supported by a company they trust (74% vs. 56% U.S. average)

Yet, Millennials are also prepared to make personal sacrifices to make an impact on issues they care about – whether that’s paying more for a product (70% vs. 66% U.S. average), sharing products rather than buying (66% vs. 56% U.S. average) or taking a pay cut to work for a responsible company (62% vs. 56% U.S. average).

Millennials Use Social Media to Amplify for Impact

Millennials, as digital natives, believe social media can be their megaphone to make an impact on issues they care about. This group is far more likely to use social media to address or engage with companies around social and environmental issues (66% vs. 53% U.S. average). Although most Millennials turn to social channels to share and learn, there is also a portion that uses this medium as an avenue to participate in a direct dialogue with companies or contribute to CSR efforts:

  • 38% share positive information about companies and issues they care about (vs. 30% U.S. average)
  • 33% learn more about specific companies and issues (vs. 27% U.S. average)
  • 26% share negative information about companies and issues they care about (vs. 21% U.S. average)
  • 18% directly communicate with companies around issues (vs. 14% U.S. average)
  • 17% contribute directly to an effort led by a company (vs. 12% U.S. average)

“Millennials have come of age, into the shopping aisles and the workplace,” says Manley. “This hyper-connected generation is consuming media at an unprecedented pace. With social and environmental issues constantly in their social media feeds and inboxes, they simply can’t ignore how their decisions impact the world around them.”

Reaching Millennials with CSR Communications

Engaging Millennials in CSR efforts can trigger a positive advantage to company reputation and bottom-line. Millennials want companies to tell them how they are striving to improve the world around them and more than nine-in-10 (93%) feel better about companies upon learning of those efforts. However, companies must reach Millennials with the right content via the preferred mix of communications channels.

Traditional communications channels just won’t cut it with this wired audience. Although Millennials still look to the product package as a valuable resource for CSR information (19% vs. 18% U.S. average), they are more likely to utilize social media than the average American (18% vs. 12% U.S. average) and less likely to see advertising (11% vs. 17% U.S. average) as effective. And Millennials want to be entertained and engaged with CSR content – this group prioritizes videos (36% vs. 29% U.S. average), infographics (26% vs. 16% U.S. average) and games (15% vs. 8% U.S. average) when learning about company CSR commitments.

“The shift from traditional advertising to social media will be game-changing moving forward as companies try to break through to this always-on audience,” says Whitney Dailey, senior supervisor, CSR Planning and InsightsCone Communications. “In a world where CSR content and messages must compete for attention against cat memes and trending hashtags, it’s more important than ever before to bring CSR information to life through compelling content, visual storytelling and interactive experiences.”

Engaging Millennials, Not a “One-Size-Fits-All” Solution

Marketers may be too quick to bucket all Millennials under the same communications and engagement strategies, but the research reveals marked nuances among age groups, gender, income and life stage.  It’s important to hyper-target specific Millennial segments with the preferred type of CSR content, in the most effective communications channel with the desired call-to-action.

Young Millennial (18-24): This enthusiastic group is unbridled in their support of CSR efforts from what they purchase to where they volunteer. This group is the most likely to factor in a company’s CSR commitments when deciding where to work and is even willing to take a pay cut to work for a responsible company:

  • Most likely to consider CSR when deciding where to work (82% vs. 75% mature Millennial)

  • Most willing population to take a pay cut to work for a responsible company (66% vs. 61% mature Millennial)

  • Most likely to use social media to engage around CSR efforts (73% vs. 64% mature Millennial)

Mature Millennial (25-34): Mature Millennials represent another group with enthusiastic support of CSR initiatives, but engagement drops when it comes to reported actions. One likely cause – this group questions their ability to make an impact:

  • Gap between intent and action: 86% would buy a product with a social or environmental benefit, if given the opportunity (vs. 88% young Millennial); 57% have bought a product in the past 12 months (vs. 65% young Millennial)

  • Less likely to believe they can make a significant impact through purchases (25% vs. 36% young Millennial)

  • Preferred communications channels: On-pack (19%), social media (17%), company website (13%), media (12%) and advertising (11%)

Female Millennial: CSR is a core factor in the shopping aisle for this group, as Millennial women see their buying power as the strongest way to show support for companies addressing issues they care about. But to win the hearts and wallets of female Millennials, they need to see results:

  • Two-thirds (64%) of Millennial females have bought a product associated with a cause in the past 12 months (vs. 54% Millennial male)

  • Among the most likely to seek out responsible products whenever possible (86% vs. 76% Millennial male)

  • Among the most likely to hold companies accountable for producing results (86% vs. 77% Millennial male)

Male Millennial: Millennial males, while still proponents of CSR efforts, are less enthusiastic than their female counterparts. For this audience, CSR is more of a reputation protector than a purchase driver:

  • Most likely to say they won’t pay attention to a company’s CSR efforts until something goes wrong (64% vs. 53% Millennial female)

  • 83% would purchase a product with a social or environmental benefit, if given the opportunity (vs. 90% Millennial female)

  • Prioritize data and numbers related to impact (30% vs. 18% Millennial female) over stories

Affluent Millennial ($100,000+ HH income): One of the more supportive segments of CSR efforts, this group is willing to put dollars, donations or “do-good” actions in front of the issues they care about. Affluent Millennials are dedicated to doing the right thing whether or not they see the results of such actions:

  • Most likely to say they’d switch brands to one that supports a good cause (95% vs. 85% U.S. average)

  • Most likely to follow donation intent with action, 82% of affluent Millennials said they’d donate to a charity and 81% have donated in the past 12 months

  • Most willing group to pay more (79% vs. 66% U.S. average) or consume less (84% vs. 78% U.S. average)

Millennial Mom: Millennial moms see CSR as part and parcel with their everyday life decisions – from the products they buy to the companies they support in their local communities. They stand ready to champion companies that align with their values through purchase and sharing information with their networks:

  • Most likely to assume companies are being responsible as possible until they hear otherwise (54% vs. 49% U.S. average)

  • Most likely to consider CSR in everyday decisions such as which companies do business in their community (89% vs. 84% U.S. average), what they buy and where they shop (87% vs. 80% U.S. average) and which products and services they recommend to others (88% vs. 78% U.S. average)

  • Most likely to say they would voice their opinions on company CSR efforts through comments on company websites, blogs or reviews (78% vs. 60% U.S. average)

About the Research

The 2015 Cone Communications Millennial CSR Study presents the findings of an online survey conducted February 18 – March 6, 2015 by Ebiquity among a demographically representative random sample of 1,003 adults, comprising 500 men and 503 women, ages 18-34. 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 corporate social responsibility, cause marketing, nonprofit marketing, corporate communications and brand marketing – 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 the DAS Group of Companies

The DAS Group of Companies, a division of Omnicom Group Inc. (NYSE: OMC) (www.omnicomgroup.com), is a global group of marketing services companies. DAS includes over 200 companies in the following marketing disciplines: specialty, PR, healthcare, CRM, events, promotional marketing, branding and research. Operating through a combination of networks and regional organizations, DAS serves international, regional, national and local clients through more than 700 offices in 71 countries.

Public Voting Begins for Walden University’s 2015 Scholars of Change Video Contest

Tue, 09/22/2015 - 5:23pm

Whether they’re addressing challenges locally or globally, Walden University students and alumni are putting the university’s social change mission into action every day. Walden’s seventh annual Scholars of Change video contest features some of their unique stories from around the world.

Since 2009, Walden University has invited its students and alumni to bring the university’s social change mission to life by submitting short videos demonstrating how they put their knowledge to use for the greater good. As the videos demonstrate, there are many types of social change agents, and each is unique in terms of engagement, motivating factors, and issues of importance.

The public is invited to learn more about some of Walden’s most exceptional agents of change and vote online for their favorite Scholars of Change video through September 29 at www.WaldenU.edu/contest.

Of the nearly 400 videos submitted, 185 met eligibility requirements and are now available for public voting. Five winners will be chosen, based on the online public vote combined with the score from a judging panel. Each of the five scholars will receive $7,500 plus a $2,500 donation to the charity of his or her choice. Ten honorable mention scholars will receive $500, and the video with the highest number of public votes also will receive $500.

The videos are judged on four criteria: passion, aspiration, inspiration, and creativity. In choosing their favorite video, public voters are asked to consider the following: how students and alumni demonstrate that their desire to make a difference drives them to effect positive social change, how their Walden education supports their work and advances their mission, how they are influencing and inspiring others in their community to make a difference, and how well their overall story is communicated through their video.

Learn more about Walden’s Scholars of Change at www.WaldenU.edu/scholarsvideos.  

About Walden University
For 45 years, Walden University has supported working professionals in achieving their academic goals and making a greater impact in their professions and their communities. Today, more than 52,000 students from all 50 states and more than 150 countries are pursuing their bachelor’s, master’s, or doctoral degrees online at Walden. The university provides students with an engaging educational experience that connects them with expert faculty and peers around the world.

Walden offers more than 80 degree programs with more than 370 specializations and concentrations. Areas of study include health sciences, counseling, human services, management, psychology, social work, education, public health, nursing, public administration, and information technology. Walden University is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission. For more information, visit www.WaldenU.edu.

Walden is the flagship online university in the Laureate International Universities network-a global network of more than 80 campus-based and online universities in 28 countries. For more information, visit www.laureate.net.

Astellas Pharma Named a Top Company for Working Mothers by Working Mother Magazine

Tue, 09/22/2015 - 5:23pm

Astellas Pharma today was named one of Working Mother Magazine’s 100 Best Companies in the U.S. for its commitment to establishing a corporate culture supportive of working moms and their families. The 100 Best Companies are in the October/November issue of Working Mother Magazine and on workingmother.com.

This marks the first time Astellas has been named to the publication’s ranking, and the company was recognized for its leadership in hiring, developing and promoting working mothers across the organization. The company, which just this year observed its 10th anniversary, has continuously strived to provide working mothers with strong work-life benefits, including paid family care leave, maternity/paternity leave and flexible work options.

“As we celebrate the 30th anniversary of Working Mother’s 100 Best Companies, we are keen to recognize leaders who have built initiatives that truly support all employees,” said Subha Barry, vice president, general manager, Working Mother Media. “They are the vanguard of successful companies, with policies that matter to American families.”

“Ensuring that our working mothers have opportunities to succeed at work and at home is a top priority,” said Collette Taylor, senior vice president, Human Resources at Astellas Pharma. “Astellas has worked hard over the last decade to build a diverse, inclusive and family-friendly environment for all our employees, and this recognition is an important validation of our efforts.”

For Marjorie Moeling, director of Corporate Reputation and Issues Management at Astellas Pharma and the mother of a transgender child, Astellas’ benefits and family care solutions have made a difference in her professional and personal life.

“Every mom goes to work each day to do the best they can for their children. I’m especially proud to work for Astellas because the company fully supports transgender rights through a supportive work environment, an active employee resource group and outstanding benefits,” Moeling said.


About Astellas
Astellas is a pharmaceutical company dedicated to improving the health of people around the world through the provision of innovative and reliable pharmaceutical products. For more information on Astellas, please visit our website at www.astellas.us. You can also follow us on Twitter at @AstellasUS. Visit our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/AstellasUS.

Novo Nordisk Joins Business Call to Action with Diabetes Awareness Campaign in Kenya

Tue, 09/22/2015 - 2:16pm

The Business Call to Action (BCtA) is pleased to announce that Novo Nordisk, a global healthcare company with more than 90 years of innovation and leadership in diabetes care, has joined BCtA with an initiative to improve access to safe and affordable diabetes care for the working poor people in Kenya. The company aims to reach 1.5 million people with a grassroots awareness campaign involving community leaders, healthcare workers and peer educators on diabetes risk factors, the importance of early detection and proper treatment of the disease. 

Novo Nordisk’s awareness campaign builds on the company’s growing business in Kenya, including its successful effort to limit price mark-ups of insulin products. In 2013, a vial of insulin cost up to KES 1,800 (US$17) – today, that cost has been reduced to a more affordable KES 500 (US$5) through supply chain optimisation. The International Diabetes Federation estimates that approximately 750,000 people are living with diabetes in Kenya; 73 percent of them are undiagnosed.

“About one third of the world’s population lacks regular access to essential healthcare like insulin. This is a particularly serious issue in low- and middle-income countries, which are home to 80 percent of people living with diabetes today,” says Charlotte Ersbøll, corporate vice president, Novo Nordisk. “At Novo Nordisk, we apply Triple Bottom Line principles to ensure accountability for our social and environmental impact as well as financial performance. We are pleased that our inclusive business model has been recognized by the Business Call to Action and we look forward to engaging with the organization and its members to strengthen our work”.

The Novo Nordisk’s Base of the Pyramid project in Kenya is a public-private partnership with the Kenyan Ministry of Health, the Kenyan county governments, the faith-based organizations Christian Health Association of Kenya and the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops. In the awareness campaign, the company is also partnering with the Kenya Diabetes Management and Information Centre, which has extensive experience in health screening and diabetes-awareness activities. 

The project targets the working poor around the world who have difficulty accessing health services. The aim of the Base of the Pyramid project is to develop scalable, sustainable and profitable solutions that increase access to diabetes care for people in low- and middle-income countries worldwide.

“Novo Nordisk’s diabetes efforts in Kenya exemplify how inclusive business has furthered Millennium Development Goal 6 [combat disease] and 8 [develop a global partnership for development], and how that work can flow seamlessly into the soon-to-be-ratified Sustainable Development Goals [3 – ensuring healthy lives and 17 – strengthening the global partnership],” said Suba Sivakumaran, BCtA Programme Manager. “BCtA is pleased to welcome Novo Nordisk as a member of BCtA and to follow the impact of its business model on health in Kenyan communities.” 

Novo Nordisk is also running Base of the Pyramid projects in Nigeria, Ghana and India and is currently working on scaling up the project to other African countries. 

For more information:

BCtA: Jeanne Finestone at jeanne.finestone@undp.org

Novo Nordisk: Charlotte Zarp-Andersson at czpa@novonordisk.com 

About Business Call to action (BCtA): The Business Call to Action (BCtA) aims to accelerate progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by challenging and supporting companies to develop inclusive business models that offer the potential for both commercial success and development impact.  

The Business Call to Action is a unique multilateral alliance between key donor governments including the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida)UK Department for International Development (DFID), US Agency for International Development (USAID), and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Government of Finland, and the United Nations Development Programme — which hosts the secretariat — in collaboration with leading global institutions, such as the United Nations Global Compact, and the Inter-American Development Bank’s Opportunities for the Majority Initiative. For more information, please visit www.businesscalltoaction.org or on Twitter at @BCtAInitiative. 

About Novo Nordisk:  

Novo Nordisk is a global healthcare company with more than 90 years of innovation and leadership in diabetes care. This heritage has given us experience and capabilities that also enable us to help people defeat other serious chronic conditions: haemophilia, growth disorders and obesity. Headquartered in Denmark, Novo Nordisk employs approximately 39,700 people in 75 countries and markets its products in more than 180 countries. For more information, visit novonordisk.com , Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube

Sustainability & CR Reporting; A GRI G4 Certified Training by EY

Tue, 09/22/2015 - 11:11am

EY Greece, a Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) Certified Training Partner, is pleased to announce the two-day GRI Certified Training on G4, the latest version of the global de-facto guidelines on sustainability reporting.

The course will be delivered by GRI nominated trainers from EY’s Climate Change & Sustainability Services network and will host sustainability professionals, as guest speakers.

The training is suitable for all organizations looking to initiate or improve their sustainability reporting, covering also those required to comply with the new EU Directive on non-financial disclosures.

A Certificate of Completion will be issued directly by GRI (prerequisite for the G4 exam).

The course will be delivered in English

For more information and registration forms please contact:
Christina Politi
Tel.: +30 210 28 86 641
Email: Christina.Politi@gr.ey.com

Preventable Surprises Calls for Forceful Stewardship

Tue, 09/22/2015 - 11:11am

“Sometimes something really important comes to all of us … Forceful Stewardship is key,” so tweeted James Bevan, CIO of CCLA, the specialist Fund Manager for UK charities and the public sector.

John Rogers, a former President and CEO of the CFA Institute, indicated his hope that Forceful Stewardship will “add to the body of best practice standards”, highlighting how, “during my time in a leadership capacity at the CFA Institute, it became clear how valuable the thoughtful setting of best practice standards and benchmarks is to the investment profession, to boards of institutional investors, and the finance industry.”

Mssrs. Bevan and Rogers are referring to Preventable Surprises’ new report, “Investors, Climate Risk and Forceful Stewardship: An Agenda For Action.” 

The 134-page report is the output of a week-long online dialogue on Convetit with over 70 senior finance sector professionals and other experts from around the world, considering how investors might play a bigger role in the solution to “Big Climate Risk.” Targeted at senior investment decision-makers – all those who influence them – the report explores how Forceful Stewardship might work in practice and where and how it can best be employed.

"Big Climate Risk is currently off the radar for most investors, yet the potential value at risk for investment portfolios — including yours and my pension fund nest eggs — is staggering,” said Preventable Surprises Founder and Chief Executive, Dr Raj Thamotheram, explaining the context of the physical impacts and market and regulatory shifts associated with climate change that put portfolios at risk of significant losses and why it is time for investors to prepare portfolio companies for a transition to a low-carbon economy.

The Forceful Stewardship Guidelines provide a blueprint for pension trustees (and other asset owner decision-makers) to act on portfolio climate risk and to protect themselves against legal liability for negligence. In brief, the guidelines recommend pension leaders to:

    1. Declare their intentions to vote in favour of shareholder resolutions that will help reduce systemic climate risk while growing shareholder value in the long-term;

    2. Instruct voting advisers to vote automatically in favour of climate risk-mitigating resolutions. If current voting agents are unable to support this obligation, find agents who will;

    3. Vote in favour of resolutions that call for listed companies to publish robust analyses of their assessments of the physical, policy and economic impacts to their businesses of carbon budgets under 2°C and 4°C warming scenarios respectively.

The report also recommends reviewing investment beliefs that underpin these actions. 

Three  key messages from the virtual dialogue were:

    1. Investment specialists from many countries and all parts of the investment chain agree that inducing portfolio companies to adopt low carbon, 2-degree business models could be a very leveraged action: it is both forceful and systemic. 
    2. The decision to do this has to be taken by boards and senior executives of investors - it can't be passed down to the head of ESG. And this strategy – forceful stewardship – is at least as important as divestment, green investing and decarbonisation/ESG integration.
    3. Collaboration between investors and civil society specialists, particularly scientists and policy advocates, is essential.” 

The virtual dialogue, conducted in a “Digital ThinkTank” on the online engagement platform Convetit, garnered almost 600 posts in 6 distinct Discussion Tabs submitted by 77 participants from 15 countries. A mid-event survey showed high support for all 7 Forceful Stewardship hypotheses tested – in one instance, rising from 24 to 77 percent support (see infographic) – demonstrating the value of virtual dialogic debate in informing participants of the value proposition of Forceful Stewardship.

Preventable Surprises is a “think-do” tank, which seeks to assist institutional investors align their activities with the long-term needs of their members’ and clients’. In so doing, we help address daunting systemic challenges such as climate disruption.  

The report can be downloaded from http://www.preventablesurprises.com/