In November, CSRwire will begin to feature a special focus on sustainable finance in its many forms. Topics to be addressed will include socially responsible investing (SRI), sustainable stock exchanges, environmental, social and governance (ESG) indices, ratings and rankings, impact investing, integrated reporting, metrics, divestment, pension funds, and carbon pricing, among others.
We will be featuring articles by and interviews with key professionals and influencers, companies and organizations that are driving the debate about the rapidly changing frameworks of social investment and new thinking about ROI.
Our Talkback Blog will report on new investment strategies, case studies of success and the new metrics by which they are being measured. We will explore how including ESG factors as material to the bottom line might be a game-changer.
By concentrating on sustainable finance in our blogs, articles, videos, all social media channels and interviews, we hope to stimulate thought and fuel the conversation on CSRwire about this rapidly expanding field of financial activity, and how it is affecting business innovation.
We Want to Hear From You.
How you can contribute:
• Send your blog or article to firstname.lastname@example.org. We will review your article or blog for potential inclusion in our Talkback blog section and possible highlighting as a CSRwire “Editorial Pick.”
This will be a great opportunity to demonstrate your knowledge, innovation, leadership and successes.
Please ensure your content is related to the suggested themes mentioned above to qualify for inclusion. Please include a brief bio and head shot photograph.
• Upload your content about sustainable finance to CSRlive.
For more information, contact email@example.com.
Social enterprise Sanergy has announced its plan to join the Business Call to Action (BCtA). Sanergy brings its expertise in providing affordable and sustainable solutions for tackling the sanitation issue in Africa. The company commits to significantly scale up its operations and establish a network of over 2,000 Fresh Life Operators to manage hygienic toilets that offer safe, affordable sanitation services to an estimated 300,000 people in Kenya’s urban slums by 2020.
With an estimated 2.5 billion people lacking access to hygienic sanitation, there is a clear need for affordable and reliable waste management solutions. Poor sanitation is the second largest cause of disease in the world. It can lead to contaminated waterways and food supplies, as well as infections caused by direct contact with human waste. The problem is particularly acute in slums, where many of the world’s poor people reside with limited access to clean water and latrines. To overcome this challenge, Sanergy is providing high-quality, low-cost toilet units and waste management services throughout urban slums.
The company has created innovative “Fresh Life” portable toilets that are franchised and run as locally managed small businesses. In informal settlements, Sanergy manages a network of Fresh Life Operators – local residents who purchase and operate the hygienic sanitation facilities. The operators become franchise partners and receive training, access to financing, ongoing operational and marketing support, and a daily waste collection service. The model adapts to local demand and not only ensures that toilets are kept clean, but that the waste is collected and converted to renewable energy and organic byproducts for future use.
“Sanergy has raised the bar in adapting innovative solutions for basic hygiene issues, and is committed to minimizing the cycle of poor health and limited sanitation options – especially for those living at the base of the pyramid. We are pleased to welcome them to the Business Call to Action,” stated Sahba Sobhani, Acting Programme Manager for the Business Call to Action.
“We are committed to expanding our operations throughout Kenya, which will go a long way towards better health outcomes for families in the community and improved day-to-day conditions that lead to healthy and more resilient communities,” said David Auerbach, Co-Founder, Sanergy.
By targeting local residents and creating a sustainable distribution network, Sanergy aims to provide the much-needed link to creating healthier sanitation solutions.
For More Information:
BCtA: Karen.Newman, firstname.lastname@example.org +1.212. 906-5194
Sanergy: Edith Karimi, email@example.com +254 720 739 775
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, theSwedish 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
Sanergy: Sanergy is an award-winning social venture that builds healthy, prosperous communities by making hygienic sanitation accessible and affordable in Africa’s urban informal settlements for everyone, forever. @saner.gy
The U.S. federal judge who ruled in favor of Chevron in the company’s campaign to block collection of its $9.5 billion environmental liability in Ecuador held investments in the oil company at the time of his decision, documents reveal.
Financial disclosure documents filed by the judge, Lewis A. Kaplan, show he invested in three J.P. Morgan funds that have holdings in Chevron. The judge never disclosed the investments despite being asked to recuse himself for bias in favor of Chevron during the company’s retaliatory “racketeering” (or RICO) trial, which ended in March of this year. Kaplan denied the defendants a jury and ruled in favor of Chevron in what critics have called a deeply flawed proceeding.
During those proceedings, Kaplan repeatedly called the Ecuadorian villagers who won the judgment against Chevron the “so-called” plaintiffs and later said their case was nothing more than a “giant game” akin to “mud wrestling”. Kaplan also repeatedly disparaged the main U.S. legal advisor to the Ecuadorians, Steven Donziger. At one point, he said Donziger wanted “to become the next big thing in fixing the balance of payments deficit”.
(For more on Kaplan’s disparaging comments and his many unprecedented rulings in favor of Chevron – including one that tried to block enforcement of the Ecuador judgment throughout the world but was later reversed -- see here and here.)
Javier Piaguaje, a leader of a coalition of villagers that won the judgment against Chevron in Ecuador and a defendant in the U.S. case, said Kaplan’s failure to disclose his holdings “is yet another disturbing example” of why the U.S. judicial proceeding has “no legitimacy” in the eyes of the villagers.
“It was obvious throughout that Judge Kaplan conducted a show trial where he served as a prosecutor for Chevron and judge at the same time,” he said. “The fact he had investments in Chevron and never told us is more brazen than what I could have imagined.”
Piaguaje and Donziger said they were consulting with counsel to discuss what could be done to protect their right to a fair trial at this late stage, with the case on appeal. Enforcement actions filed by the villagers targeting Chevron assets in Canada, Brazil, and Argentina are proceeding and are not affected by Kaplan’s decision.
The federal law concerning judicial disqualification, available here, obligates judges to inform themselves about their personal financial interests, as well as those of any spouse or minor children.
Donziger, who lives in New York, said it was “extremely disconcerting” to learn that Kaplan has investments in Chevron.
“It is hard to fathom that a judge who behaved in a controversial way from the start and who favored Chevron almost every step of the way never disclosed that he had significant investments in the company,” said Donziger. “Even if it was just one share, he should have disclosed it. His failure to do so deprived me and my clients of our ability to fully litigate the recusal motions. These new facts reinforce our conclusion that we were denied a fair trial.”
Donziger said at a minimum Judge Kaplan should now scrub all of his holdings and “clearly disclose down to the last detail and last penny” any investments he has in Chevron. “It is impossible to determine the true extent of Judge Kaplan’s investments in Chevron based on the general categories in his financial disclosure forms, which in any event need to be updated,” Donziger said. “Only he has the ability to do this and it should be done immediately and in transparent fashion.”
In his court-mandated financial disclosure forms, Kaplan also reported that he owns shares in The American Century Equity fund. The fund advertises in its 2013 annual report that it owns roughly 1.7 million shares of Chevron stock worth approximately $201 million. Beyond a general reference to the names of the J.P. Morgan and American Century funds, Kaplan never mentioned Chevron in his financial disclosure forms.
The Ecuador judgment issued in 2011 after an eight-year trial where the court found extensive evidence that the oil giant deliberately dumped billions of gallons of toxic waste into the rainforest, causing a public health crisis and other harm that has lasted to this day. The trial took place in Ecuador at Chevron’s insistence after the lawsuit originally had been filed in New York.
In March of this year, after Kaplan invited Chevron to bring the RICO case and then denied repeated requests by Donziger and his clients for a jury, the judge ruled that the Ecuador decision was procured by fraud. The Ecuadorians claim the judge permitted Chevron to bribe its star witness and engage in other corrupt and unethical acts during the proceedings, as explained in more detail in this analysis. Kaplan also refused to hear any of the extensive scientific evidence of Chevron’s contamination in Ecuador.
(Donziger’s appellate brief, available here, explains the many legal and factual flaws in Kaplan’s decision. This recent report on The Huffington Post concludes that Chevron’s “fraud” narrative is false and is based on manufactured evidence.)
Federal law requires U.S. judges to disqualify themselves “in any proceeding in which” the judge’s “impartiality might reasonably be questioned.” By not disclosing his specific investments in Chevron, Kaplan deprived the Ecuadorians and Donziger of their right to seek his recusal on these grounds, said Chris Gowen, an ethics professor the Washington College of Law at American University and a member of the team that defended the villagers and Donziger.
“This new information is highly relevant given the very credible evidence of Judge Kaplan’s bias during the course of the proceedings,” Gowen said.
“The onus in such a situation is clearly is on the judge to disclose facts related to any actual or potential conflict rather than play hide and seek with disclosure forms,” he added. “This is particularly true for this case given that the outcome could have life and death implications for indigenous groups and a lawyer’s reputation is on the line. Even if it was just one share, Judge Kaplan was obligated to disclose it. But this looks like a lot more than just one share.”
Gowen added that ignorance was no excuse in a high-profile case that had attracted the world’s attention.
“Even if Judge Kaplan didn’t know about his financial ties to Chevron – and I have a hard time believing this, given his meticulous attention to detail – it is my opinion that he had an ethical obligation to investigate and disclose,” he said.
Donziger said he believes a searching inquiry on appeal would result in another reversal of Judge Kaplan, partly because the judge abused his power during the trial.
“I have made it clear that I dispute every significant aspect of Judge Kaplan’s decision,” added Donziger. “His hostility toward me and my highly vulnerable clients was palpable. It is thus hard for me to see his failure to disclose these investments as a mere one-time ethical lapse. It is even more disturbing when one considers that to help Chevron Judge Kaplan also condemned the entire judiciary of a foreign nation that is a U.S. ally and commercial trading partner.”
Amazon Watch, a U.S.-based environmental organization that had been critical of Judge Kaplan, said it was exploring whether to file a complaint seeking a review of the judge’s conduct. “Judge Kaplan’s ethical lapses reflect terribly on the U.S. judiciary and undermine the rule of law for everybody,” said Paul Paz y Miño, Amazon Watch’s Director of Outreach.
Further Background On Judge Kaplan’s Ties To Chevron and the Oil Industry
Kaplan’s financial report for the year 2011 indicated the judge held interests in roughly 120 investment accounts and trusts. Prior to being appointed to the bench in 1994, Kaplan worked for 17 years as a defense litigator at Paul Weiss, one of the most profitable corporate law firms of that era.
Deep in Kaplan’s 2011 disclosure report is reference to his interests in a JP Morgan Equity Income Fund, which lists Chevron among its "top ten" investments (see page 9 of this more recent semi-annual report of the fund). Investments in Chevron also appear to be part of several other investments, including a JP Morgan "Short Duration Bond Fund" and "Core Bond Fund." The American Century fund refers to the Chevron holdings on p. 14.
The relevant funds also have extensive holdings throughout the oil and gas sector, including investments in Exxon, Marathon, ConocoPhillips, Royal Dutch Shell, and Occidental Petroleum. All of these companies arguably would benefit from a Chevron victory given the stakes of what many regard as a paradigm-shifting litigation for the industry, said Gowen.
Normally, judges do not have to disqualify themselves from matters when they have financial ties to a party via a mutual fund, as distinct from holding stock directly. But Gowen pointed out that Kaplan had an affirmative obligation not to hide behind technical rules in a case where credible allegations of the judge’s bias were on the table.
Judge Kaplan’s bias was so evident during the proceedings that on two occasions, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals – which oversees all federal trial courts in New York – took the highly unusual step of granting oral argument on emergency motions to recuse the judge. The court ultimately declined to remove Kaplan although it was bothered enough by the judge’s behavior that it asked him to submit a brief defending his handling of the matter.
Also relevant is that Kaplan appeared to invite Chevron to file the RICO case and then had it assigned to himself, noted Gowen.
While presiding in 2009 over a related discovery matter, Kaplan suggested to Chevron’s lawyers that they file a retaliatory RICO case against the Ecuadorians and Donziger. Kaplan then bypassed standard court protocol and assigned the matter to himself. At the time, Kaplan ignored multiple complaints about the way the case ended up in his court.
Kaplan also refused several requests to divulge details of the invoices of his longtime friend and former law partner, Max Gitter. Kaplan appointed Gitter to oversee depositions in the case; Gitter also was accused of bias in favor of Chevron.
Chevron paid 100% of Gitter’s fees and then refused a request by Donziger that the amount be disclosed. Gitter never sent an invoice to Donziger or the Ecuadorians. For more on Kaplan’s lack of transparency with Gitter and another Special Master paid exclusively by Chevron, see here.
The Center for Public Integrity, a non-profit organization, recently wrote a scathing report that found 24 examples of U.S. federal appellate judges owning stock in parties involved in cases that were before them and already decided. The Center has not reviewed the records of the more numerous U.S. trial judges (including the information about Judge Kaplan) for any conflicts in their cases.
According to the Center, judges who own as little as one share of stock in a company before them are required to disqualify themselves. The rules for mutual funds are more lax but judges are still required to disqualify themselves if their “impartiality” might “reasonably be questioned”.
In its report, the Center for Public Integrity quoted William G. Ross, a law professor at Samford University who specializes in judicial ethics.
“Considering the importance of judiciary integrity and the avoidance of conflicts of interest, I don’t think it is asking too much of a judge to expect him to know what his or her holdings are,” Ross said.
The next phase of a four-year research and development project supporting the commercialization of Solidia Technologies’ carbon dioxide-reducing cement and concrete processes will commence with the commitment of an additional $752,000 from the US Department of Energy's National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL).
The project entitled "Utilization of CO2 in High Performance Building and Infrastructure Products" is co-funded by NETL through its Carbon Storage Technology program, and by Solidia Technologies. The overall goal is to use an alternative to ordinary Portland cement (OPC) to produce a CO2-cured concrete. The alternative cement, named Solidia CementTM, is a synthesized alkali-earth compound that can be fabricated from the same raw materials and in the same kilns as OPC, albeit with lower energy consumption and reduced CO2 emissions. The CO2-cured concrete, named Solidia ConcreteTM, offers improved mechanical properties and durability while allowing for the safe and effective storage of CO2 in construction materials.
Since its inception, the project has focused on the development and optimization of Solidia’s proprietary CO2-curing process. To date, the technology has evolved to the point where Solidia Concrete can be made using materials and equipment common to OPC-based concrete production. This achievement facilitates the quick adoption and broad use of Solidia Concrete across the entire precast concrete market and magnifies the ability of the program to reduce atmospheric CO2 levels.
The project will now focus on demonstrating these CO2 reduction and storage capabilities on a prototype scale in a commercial concrete plant. The new research objectives, designed to help advance the technology towards commercialization, include: 1) the demonstration of the basic performance of Solidia Cement produced at a commercial cement plant; 2) the demonstration of the utility of this cement in at least six different precast concrete applications; and, 3) the actual commercialization of concrete manufacturing using CO2-curing.
"Successful commercialization of Solidia Concrete technology would benefit national efforts to reduce carbon emissions," said NETL Carbon Storage Technology Manager Traci Rodosta. "Using CO2 rather than emitting the greenhouse gas to the atmosphere is a win-win situation. This project illustrates the potential of the Solidia technology to reduce CO2 emission in the near term, as we continue investigating further solutions as part of the President's 'all of the above' energy strategy."
NETL supports Solidia Concrete technology because of its potential to consume CO2 as it cures, based on NETL’s mission to support the development of technologies that reduce or avoid man-made greenhouse gases emitted to the atmosphere.
“DOE's National Energy Technology Laboratory continues to be an outstanding partner in the development and commercialization of Solidia Concrete. Their timely support has been instrumental in moving this sustainable manufacturing technology from the benchtop to the factory floor," commented Solidia’s Chief Technology Officer, Nicholas DeCristofaro, Ph.D.
Additional third-party research and collaborative testing substantiates Solidia’s technology and product development. Lafarge, a world leader in building materials, is instrumental on research in concrete applications, and The Linde Group, a global leader in the international gases market, has extended its CO2 supply and delivery expertise to technology development and commercialization. The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Highway Administration supports Solidia with a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA) to examine transportation infrastructure applications at the Turner-Fairbank Highway Research Center.
Long-term research continues at Rutgers University, where the original generation of the technology was developed, and collaborative research efforts are underway in laboratories at Purdue University, Ohio University, and the University of South Florida. The strength and durability of Solidia Concrete has been verified according to ASTM and AASHTO specification by the CTLGroup, formerly the R&D laboratory of the Portland Cement Association.
About Solidia Technologies®
Solidia Technologies® makes it easy and profitable to use carbon dioxide (CO2) to create superior and sustainable building materials. Suitable for large- and small-scale applications, Solidia’s patented technology starts with a sustainable cement, cures concrete with CO2 instead of water, reduces carbon emissions up to 70%, and recycles 60 to 100% of the water used in production. Using the same raw materials and existing equipment as traditional concretes, the resulting CO2-cured concrete products are higher performing, cost less to produce, and cure in less than 24 hours. Solidia was named to the 2014 Global Cleantech 100, the 2013 R&D Top 100, a 2014 Best Place to Work in NJ, a finalist in both the 2014 CCEMC Grand Challenge First Round and the 2013 Katerva Award, and shortlisted to MIT’s Climate CoLab. Based in Piscataway, N.J. (USA), Solidia’s investors include Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, Bright Capital, BASF, and BP. Follow Solidia Technologies at www.solidiatech.com and on LinkedIn and Twitter: @SolidiaCO2.
The National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL), part of the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) national laboratory system, is owned and operated by the DOE. NETL supports the DOE mission to advance the energy security of the United States. NETL implements a broad spectrum of energy and environmental research and development (R&D) programs that will return benefits for generations to come. These include: enabling domestic coal, natural gas, and oil to economically power our Nation’s homes, industries, businesses, and transportation; and protecting our environment and enhancing our energy independence. NETL has expertise in coal, natural gas, and oil technologies; contract and project management; analysis of energy systems; and international energy issues. In addition to research conducted onsite, NETL’s project portfolio includes R&D conducted through partnerships, cooperative research and development agreements, financial assistance, and contractual arrangements with universities and the private sector. Together, these efforts focus a wealth of scientific and engineering talent on creating commercially viable solutions to national energy and environmental problems. www.netl.doe.gov/about
Improved cookstoves reduce indoor air pollution - one of the developing world’s biggest killers, cut fuel costs for families and help tackle climate change. Today, 10 years since ClimateCare pioneered the first ever improved cookstove project funded by carbon finance, it announced that with its corporate and public sector partners it has channelled finance into cookstove projects around the world, improving life for 6.5 million people and cutting 2.6 million tonnes of CO2.
ClimateCare also published ambitious targets to cut 20 million tonnes of CO2 and improve the lives of 20 million people by 2020 - calling for more Corporate and Government partners to fund cookstove and other integrated Climate+Care programmes.
“Everything we do is designed to tackle climate change, alleviate poverty and improve health,” explains CEO Edward Hanrahan. “Provision of improved cookstoves is a great example of an intervention that delivers against all three elements, and in particular improves life for women and girls. We have delivered a huge amount, in partnership with our pioneering corporate partners, but are really only scratching the surface of the issue with these numbers. So, in pursuit of our ambitious 2020 targets, we call on other corporate and government partners to help us scale up investment in cookstove projects alongside the other Climate+Care programmes we specialise in including safe water provision, irrigation and clean energy access.”
Key supporters of cookstove projects include Jaguar Land Rover, who funded the first ever Gold Standard cookstove project through ClimateCare, and who have helped provide stoves to 832,000 families. The Co-operative and Aviva have also made significant contributions helping to fund stoves to 350,000 and 57,000 families respectively.
Nearly 3 billion people in the developing world still cook food and heat their homes with traditional cookstoves or open fires. The Global Burden of Disease Study 2010 estimates that 4 million premature deaths are caused every year from exposure to smoke from these cooking methods - more than HIV, malaria, and tuberculosis combined. The impacts are particularly pronounced for women and girls.
A new calculator launched on the ClimateCare website today highlights the enormous potential for organisations to deliver benefits for both people and the environment by investing in Climate+Care cookstove and safe water programmes. For example, it shows that if everyone voluntarily offsetting carbon emissions did so through a cookstove project, together they could help improve the lives of 432 million people, saving them £7 billion in fuel costs and generating $299 million of employment.
You can get an indication of the difference your business could make by investing in cookstove projects by using the online calculator http://climatecare.org/our-vision/
The ClimateCare Cookstove Story
Back in 2004, ClimateCare was the first company in the world to fund an improved cookstove project through carbon finance.
This first project was in Bangladesh, where traditional open fires were replaced with more efficient cookstoves, saving the wood fuel used for cooking ClimateCare worked with Practical Action (formerly ITDG) to extend their work in households and improve cooking methods.
Building on this early work, ClimateCare wrote the first consolidated methodology for cooking projects. ClimateCare then structured funding for a project in Cambodia, which was the first to use the new methodology, where improved cookstoves reduced charcoal requirements by 20%. The project partner, GERES estimates that as well as improving the health of families by reducing exposure to hazardous air pollutants, creating employment through the local manufacture, retailing and maintenance of stoves, and protecting the environment by reducing greenhouse gas emissions and reducing deforestation, consumers have saved over $9,000,000 on fuel from the project overall.
This early work paved the way for ClimateCare and others to scale up cookstove provision. Following these initial projects ClimateCare refined the methodology and structured finance for the first ever Gold Standard Cookstove project in Uganda, where Jaguar Land Rover provided upfront investment, making them the first corporate partner to fund improved cookstoves at scale.-
A staggering 5,145,312 Gold Standard cookstove credits, from 39 projects have now been issued using the methodology written by ClimateCare with more projects entering the pipeline, leading to even greater impact in future.
Since then ClimateCare has helped structure funding for projects with NGO Relief International in Ghana and secured Results Based Finance for carbon credits from the Swedish Energy Agency for a recent CDM cookstove project - proving that the Climate+Care model also has appeal for public sector funders.
Find out how you can invest in the Climate+Care Cookstove programme at http://climatecare.org/cookstoves/
Supporting the Climate+Care approach
Aviva has supported cookstove projects since 2007 and over the last three years alone, its Climate+Care programme has improved the lives of 395,000 people through clean cookstove and safe water projects, and cut over 250,000 tonnes of CO2.
“If there are issues that are interconnected, you have to have solutions that are interconnected. The way that Climate+Care comes together means there’s a whole raft of benefits that can be gained through an individual programme, so there can be health benefits, there can be education benefits, employment benefits. We think that is a very smart approach.” Zelda Bentham, Group Head of Environment and Climate Change, Aviva
The Co-operative has worked with ClimateCare for 14 years, supporting projects that protect the environment and improve people’s lives.
Ben Norbury explains, that “Climate+Care are intrinsically linked. A lot of businesses, including The Co-operative have had a separate approach to climate change and international development and we’ve seen these approaches overlapping. Now, through Climate+Care we’re taking a more joined up approach, doing climate change mitigation work in our own Fairtrade tea supply chain. For us, there’s a definite business case for the Climate+Care approach and I think other corporates could benefit from considering a similar, integrated programme.”
Jaguar Land Rover
Jaguar Land Rover has set an ambitious target to create opportunities for 12 million people by 2020. It will deliver 5 million of these through support of Climate+Care programmes that both improve lives and protect the environment.
“The integrated Climate+Care approach makes simple business sense” Jonathan Garrett, CSR Director for Jaguar Land Rover.
Notes to editors
ClimateCare mobilises the power and scale of private finance to deliver projects with positive environmental and social impacts around the world. We combine the vision of a social enterprise and the commercial experience of an investment bank. Leveraging mainstream funding, we profitably deliver some of the largest, most successful corporate sustainability initiatives in the world.
From offices in Africa, Europe and Asia Pacific we help many of the world’s leading brands, organisations and governments scale up the impact of their initiatives. By investing their resources in projects that directly combat climate change and poverty, improve health and increase community welfare, we build better futures for millions of people around the world.
Find out more at www.climatecare.org
Today DNV GL announced a new certification program aimed at transforming hospitals’ approach to managing infection risk. DNV GL certified Sentara Leigh and Sentara Virginia Beach General Hospitals in Virginia as the first two Centers of Excellence for its Managing Infection Risk (MIR) Certification, recognizing exceptional processes and an approach to mitigating infection risk that exceeds current standards.
Certification programs are commonly available to hospitals for disease-specific care and stroke, but DNV GL’s new MIR program represents the first and only hospital certification for excellence in managing infection risk.
The new Certification comes at a time when hospitals are grappling with the rising costs – both in terms of patient outcomes and funding – of healthcare associated infections and emerging pandemic risks. On any given day, an estimated one in 25 inpatients experience an infection while being treated in an acute care facility. These infections lead to the loss of thousands of lives every year and drive up already soaring healthcare expenditures. Each year, healthcare associated infections cost hospitals more than $30 billion in avoidable costs in the United States alone.
“Every year, about 75,000 hospital patients with healthcare-associated infections die during their hospitalizations,” said Arjun Srinivasan, MD, Associate Director for Healthcare Associated Infection Prevention Programs at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “Healthcare workers want the best for their patients, and implementing effective infection control programs will help ensure that patients receive the safe care they deserve.”
“The DNV GL MIR program empowers all staff to make necessary changes through a comprehensive risk assessment framework that provides hospitals with tools, resources, and institutional support to address often overlooked areas and implement best practices. MIR motivates entire hospital systems to identify and mitigate vulnerabilities, rework and redesign existing systems, more efficiently manage resources, and ensure smarter and safer healthcare,” says Patrick Horine, Chief Executive Officer of DNV GL Healthcare in the United States.
Employees from all departments at both Sentara Virginia Beach General and Sentara Leigh worked with DNV GL surveyors to better understand their strengths, identify any safety gaps, and improve their current processes to more effectively and comprehensively reduce the risk of infection and improve patient and staff safety.
“The process has helped us rethink our entire approach to managing risk, engaging the entire hospital system and breaking down silos between departments. We were meeting risk management standards before undertaking this journey, but now we have a safety culture in which mitigating infection risk is woven into the very fabric of the hospitals’ work. Controlling the risk of infection is no longer the responsibility of a few – it is a unifying thread,” says Scott Miller, M.D., Vice President of Medical Affairs at Sentara Leigh Hospital.
The entire staff at each hospital is more aware and mindful of infection prevention and control standards, and this has increased awareness and encouraged employees from all levels to get involved. For example, at Sentara Virginia Beach General, an electrician from the Facilities Department created signage that automatically lights up when staff enter a patient’s room, reminding them to wash their hands. Additionally, staff-wide compliance with the appropriate use of personal protection equipment – gloves, gowns, eye protection glasses, etc. – when treating patients in isolation at Sentara Virginia Beach General has increased seven percent over the last year.
“We have already seen notable outcomes in many areas: hand hygiene audit compliance has doubled since 2013 and is currently at 99 percent at Virginia Beach General, and we have seen improved cleanliness testing results across high-touch surfaces known to be a contributing factor to the spread of pathogens. At Sentara Leigh, surface cleanliness has improved 47 percent in the past year,” says Peggy Braun, R.N., Vice President of Patient Care and Nurse Executive at Sentara Virginia Beach General Hospital.
Since increasing its focus on reexamining and improving infection prevent standards and processes, Sentara Virginia Beach General has witnessed the number of MRSA infections fall by 67 percent, and there has been only one MRSA infection this year to date.
Hospitals that earn MIR Certification have met DNV GL’s comprehensive and risk based elements that comprise the standard. Drawing on 150 years of experience in working with safety critical industries to make them safer, the MIR Certification standard builds upon three important pillars: a proactive rather than reactive approach to safety, the development of a safety culture that is transparent and accountable, and engagement of all staff towards a systems driven approach to safety.
Hospitals that seek certification are first required to undergo a pre-assessment and submit an action plan based on the results of the assessment before receiving the Certificate of MIR Participation. During the next phase of the process, hospitals are supported by a range of training and gap assessment services. Upon achieving successful outcomes during the final survey phase of the process, the facility is awarded the DNV Center of Excellence designation to reflect their achievement.
About DNV GL - Healthcare
DNV GL is a world-leading certification body. We help businesses assure the performance of their organizations, products, people, facilities and supply chains through certification, verification, assessment, and training services.
Within healthcare we help our customers achieve excellence by improving quality and patient safety through hospital accreditation, managing infection risk, management system certification and training.
The DNV GL Group operates in more than 100 countries. Our 16,000 professionals are dedicated to helping our customers make the world safer, smarter and greener.
For more information about DNV GL Healthcare, please visit http://dnvglhealthcare.com/.
For more information about DNV GL MIR certification, please visit http://dnvglhealthcare.com/certifications/managing-infection-risk.
About Sentara Healthcare
Sentara Healthcare celebrates more than 125 years of innovation, compassion and community benefit. Based in Norfolk, Va., Sentara is a diverse not-for-profit family of 12 hospitals, an array of integrated services, the Optima Health Plan and a team 28,000 strong on a mission to improve health every day. This mandate is pursued through a disciplined strategy to achieve Top 10% performance in key measures through shared best practices, transformation of primary care through clinical integration and strategic growth that adds value to the communities we serve in Virginia and North Carolina.
For more information about Sentara Healthcare, please visit http://www.sentara.com/.
Ecolab Inc., the global leader in water, hygiene and energy technologies and services, has committed $2 million through the Ecolab Foundation to The Nature Conservancy, a leading conservation organization working to protect the lands and waters on which all life depends. The funds will support The Nature Conservancy’s initiative: “Securing and Restoring Water Sources Around the Globe.” The support is part of Ecolab’s newly launched Solutions for Life program, which enhances the company’s work to conserve water and improve hygiene around the world through new partnerships, global philanthropy and employee volunteerism.
The world’s water challenges require collaboration by businesses, communities, governments and NGOs. Ecolab’s water management expertise and solutions help customers across industries conserve water and minimize water-related environmental impacts. Ecolab’s commitment to water stewardship extends beyond its own operations and its work with customers to include partnerships that further conservation efforts around the world.
“Every day, as we work to help our global customers more effectively manage water use, we see the increasing need to protect and conserve this limited resource to ensure its availability for future generations,” said Douglas M. Baker, Jr., Ecolab chairman and chief executive officer. “In many areas, water shortages already threaten quality of life, the health of communities and the ability to conduct business. The Nature Conservancy is doing valuable work in many of these regions and we are committed to supporting these efforts.”
This three-year commitment to The Nature Conservancy expands upon Ecolab’s 25-years of support to the organization’s work in Minnesota and, for the first time, focuses on water conservation globally, with initial projects in China and Mexico.
“More than $90 billion is spent annually on water supply infrastructure, but only a small portion is dedicated to protecting water at its source. This generous commitment from the Ecolab Foundation will help us protect the sources of water for Shanghai, Monterrey and Minneapolis/St. Paul. Through this partnership we will be able to increase the scale of water conservation projects and achieve science-driven results in key geographies,” said Dr. Giulio Boccaletti, The Nature Conservancy’s managing director for global freshwater.
The grant announced today will support:
land and water conservation activities in Minnesota
strategies to protect water resources in Shanghai, where more than 24 million people depend largely on the Yangtze River for their water needs
expanded efforts in the metropolitan area of Monterrey, Mexico, to reforest and implement other conservation methods to help slow the flow of water upstream from the city and provide clean water for Monterrey.
“Over the past 25 years, funding from the Ecolab Foundation has helped advance our efforts to conserve and restore sources of clean water in Minnesota,” said Peggy Ladner, Minnesota state director for The Nature Conservancy. “Now, with this support, the largest single corporate contribution we have received for our freshwater work in Minnesota, The Nature Conservancy can accelerate our efforts in the state and build on work under way in water-stressed urban areas in China and Mexico.”
“Through the Ecolab Foundation’s partnerships with organizations like The Nature Conservancy, we are able to extend our ability to protect vital resources, enhance quality of life and strengthen communities,” said Kris Taylor, Ecolab vice president of Community Relations.
Since its inception in 1986, the Ecolab Foundation has contributed more than $70 million to organizations and programs focused on youth and education, civic and community development, arts and culture, and the environment and conservation. In 2013, Ecolab Foundation and corporate giving totaled $9,650,000.
A trusted partner at more than one million customer locations, Ecolab (ECL) is the global leader in water, hygiene and energy technologies and services that protect people and vital resources. With 2013 sales of $13 billion and 45,000 associates, Ecolab delivers comprehensive solutions and on-site service to promote safe food, maintain clean environments, optimize water and energy use and improve operational efficiencies for customers in the food, healthcare, energy, hospitality and industrial markets in more than 170 countries around the world.
About The Nature Conservancy
The Nature Conservancy is the leading organization working around the world to conserve the lands and waters on which all life depends. Together with its more than 1 million members and 550 scientists, the Conservancy has protected 120 million acres of land and 5,000 miles of rivers worldwide, and operates more than 100 marine conservation projects globally. The Conservancy works on the ground in all 50 U.S. states and more than 35 countries. Visit The Nature Conservancy on the Web at www.nature.org.
Canadian consumers are open to contributing to good causes through the companies they do business with. These are the results of a recent survey conducted by Ipsos Reid and released at the inaugural Companies and Causes Canada conference in Toronto today.
Giving at the cash register and a donation-embedded purchase are the top two ways Canadian consumers would consider joining companies in their good works, each cited almost six in ten of respondents in the survey, a collaboration between the Cause Marketing Forum and Ipsos Reid.
“Canadians do see companies supporting important causes, for example mental health, the environment and poverty, and they believe that these organizations should be doing this type of work,” said Barbara Brooks, Vice President of Ipsos Reid and the report’s author. “But the more concrete and the more local the mechanism, the better”.
For example, when asked how a $2.50 donation to fight hunger should be directed:
Eight Canadians in ten reported that, price and quality being comparable, they would be likely to switch brands to one affiliated with a good cause.
“To influence such behavior, companies must make people aware of their pro-social efforts”, said David Hessekiel, President of Cause Marketing Forum, organizer of the Companies & Causes Canada conference and creator of www.companiesandcausescanada.com, an online resource for Canadian business and nonprofit executives.
When asked how they’d like companies to communicate with them about their cause-related activities, consumers show a preference for in store channels - packaging and at the shelf – where they are often making the brand choice decision.
A number of companies are lauded for supporting good causes, according to the results of the survey. Tim Horton’s and Canadian Tire are the most top of mind among Canadian consumers.
The financial sector was the industry consumers most associated with supporting causes today while the alcohol and pharmaceutical sectors are thought to be the least involved.
The study suggests that there is little downside for those causes affiliated with companies through cause marketing. Nearly eight consumers in ten say that they rarely or never ‘reduce the amount I personally give to a cause after seeing a company supporting it.’
To learn more about the results of this study, contact:
Barbara Brooks, Vice President, Ipsos Reid
(Marketwired) - Wyndham Worldwide (NYSE: WYN), one of the world's largest hospitality companies, has been recognized with the DiversityInc 2014 Supplier Diversity award. The Company was honored by DiversityInc for having a highly developed supplier diversity program, including strong efforts to engage suppliers owned by veterans, Latinos, African-Americans, women, the LGBT community, people with disabilities, and other businesses owned by traditionally underrepresented groups.
"Maintaining a diverse supply chain provides Wyndham Worldwide with a rich foundation of perspectives and opportunities that benefit our company and the experience we provide our customers," said Stephen P. Holmes, chairman and chief executive officer, Wyndham Worldwide. "We have always understood the value and importance of diversity across our company as a driver of growth, especially as we continue to expand in global markets."
The Company's strong tier-1 and tier-2 programs, as well as extensive training and mentoring for diverse suppliers, helps ensure that supplier diversity is thoroughly integrated into its overall business strategy.
"Every day we see the immense value and benefit that diversity brings through varied cultures, experiences and perspectives," said Jose Nido, vice president of Global Supplier Diversity, Wyndham Worldwide. "Cultivating and expanding diversity throughout the company, including our supply partners, is part of our core values."
Earlier this year, the Company's supplier diversity program was ranked second on the DiversityInc Top 10 Companies for Supplier Diversity specialty list. With a focus on both U.S. domestic and global growth, the Company's program surpassed its 2013 goals in strengthening the diversity of its global supply chain, and increased its 2013 spend with diverse suppliers to 15.7 percent.
"Increasing diversity throughout our entire company, including our supply partners, is the right thing for us as a global corporate citizen, but also the right thing for our business," said Paul Davis, senior vice president, Strategic Sourcing at Wyndham Worldwide. "By supporting a rich diversity in our suppliers, we see great benefits in the expanded variety of experience, knowledge, and ideas that allow us to best meet our needs as we grow across six continents."
Recognized as an industry leader, Wyndham Worldwide's supplier diversity initiative has been included among DiversityInc's 2012, 2013 and 2014 Top 10 Companies for Supplier Diversity, Supplier Diversity Advocate of the Year by the National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC), Hispanic Network magazine's "Best of the Best" Top 50 Supplier Diversity Programs for Hispanics, Morris County (New Jersey) Hispanic-American Chamber of Commerce's Corporation of the Year, and U.S. Veteran's Magazine's Best of the Best Award for Supplier Diversity.
In addition, Wyndham Worldwide has been recognized among the DiversityInc Top 50 Companies for Diversity, is one of LATINA Style's Top 50 Company for Latinas, and has been recognized by the Human Rights Campaign as one of the "Best Places to Work for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) Equality." The Company also maintains strong partnerships with organizations such as the National Minority Supplier Development Council, U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, National Hispanic Business Group, Minority Supplier Development UK and China, WEConnect International, Women's Business Enterprise National Council, and U.S. Pan Asian American Chamber of Commerce, as well as the National Diversity Council, Hispanic Association on Corporate Responsibility, National Society of Hispanic MBAs and National Association of Black, Hispanic, Asian and Women MBAs. Diversity & Inclusion is also one of the core focus areas of the Wyndham Worldwide Corporate Social Responsibility program.
About Wyndham Worldwide
One of the world's largest hospitality companies, Wyndham Worldwide (NYSE: WYN) provides a wide range of hospitality services and products 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 7,600 franchised hotels and over 655,000 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 sellsvacation ownership interests and provides consumer financing to owners through its network of over 200 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.
DiversityInc's mission is to bring education and clarity to the business benefits of diversity. The DiversityInc Top 50 Companies for Diversity list began in 2001; at the same time many corporations were beginning to understand the business value of diversity-management initiatives. The 2014 Top 50 Companies for Diversity results were announced on April 22nd and are featured at http://www.diversityinc.com/top50 and in DiversityInc magazine.
Even in a world of instant gratification, adults across the globe are working toward long-term positive social change. According to Walden University’s 2014 Social Change Impact Report, more people believe it is important to contribute to long-term changes than say it is important to contribute to immediate changes. They are also more likely to say their efforts today contribute to positive social change in the future compared with immediate changes. However, while 77% of social change agents, on average, believe they are confident their level of involvement is making a difference, adults are less likely to believe they are impacting systemic change, such as changing social structures and systems that often impact long-term change.
Commissioned by Walden and conducted online by Harris Poll June 1–17 2014, the fourth annual survey about the state of social change around the world includes the perspectives of more than 9,000 adults in Brazil, Canada, China, Germany, India, Jordan, Mexico and the United States. This year’s report builds on the findings from the 2011–2013 reports and was designed to examine people’s perceptions of the impact of their engagement in positive social change.
“The 2014 Social Change Impact Report provides insight as to where social change agents believe they are having the most impact and how that varies with different levels of engagement in positive social change,” said Dr. Cynthia Baum, president of Walden University. “This year’s findings tell us that engagement in social change is highly valued, but that the majority of us feel that we—and others—could be doing more to create an enduring impact.”
The State of Social Change Today
Overall, a majority of adults (79%, on average) agree they can make the world a better place by their actions, and half of adults feel they are having a major or moderate impact on improving the lives of individuals in their community (53%, on average) and on creating a better world for everyone to live in (49%, on average). People also report they are influencing the actions and attitudes of others to improve people’s lives. Half of adults feel they are having a major or moderate impact on changing behaviors of others (53%, on average) and changing attitudes and beliefs of others (52%, on average).
However, people believe they are having less of an impact on systemic changes, where only 40%, on average, feel they are having a major or moderate impact on changing social structures and systems. Adults in Brazil (70%), India (63%) and Mexico (63%) are most likely to feel this way.
Social Change Agents Focus on the Long Term
An average of 73% of adults who have ever engaged in positive social change say it is extremely or very important that a person’s involvement with positive social change today contributes to long-term changes that will improve people’s lives in the future. In contrast, an average of 61% of adults say it is extremely or very important to contribute to immediate changes that improve people’s lives now.
Adults also believe it’s more likely their involvement today contributes to long-term change. Six in 10 adults who have ever engaged in positive social change (58%, on average) say it is extremely or very likely that their involvement with positive social change today contributes to long-term changes that will improve people’s lives in the future compared with slightly less than half (46%, on average) who say their involvement today contributes to immediate changes that improve people’s lives now.
People Feel There Is More Work to be Done
Even though levels of engagement in social change remain steady overall and confidence levels are high, people around the world feel they could be doing more.
On average, only 36% of adults are extremely or very satisfied with the frequency they are engaged in positive social change activities and also with how much they are helping to improve the lives of individuals and communities.
Even fewer adults are highly satisfied with how much people in their country are involved in positive social change activities or with the availability of opportunities for engagement.
Involvement in Positive Social Change Remains Widespread and Diverse
As they did in 2013, most adults (82%, on average) in 2014 report they have done something to engage in positive social change in the past six months.
The most common way adults across the globe engage in social change is using digital technology (48%, on average), which includes those who post a comment on a positive social change issue on a website, text messages related to a positive social change issue or participate in a social networking site dedicated to a positive social change issue. Using digital technology is the top social change activity in Brazil (63%), India (61%), Mexico (60%), China (59%) and Jordan (53%). Donating money, goods or services is the top social change activity in Canada (51%), Germany (38%) and the U.S. (51%).
These are only some of the findings from Walden’s 2014 Social Change Impact Report. For more detailed findings, visit www.WaldenU.edu/impactreport.
Since its founding in 1970, Walden has believed that knowledge is most valuable when put to use for the greater good and that educational institutions have an important role to play in supporting positive social change. As a result of these guiding principles, Walden has attracted a community of students and scholars who are actively engaged in all facets of positive social change—whether it’s through their profession, research aimed at making a difference in their fields or ongoing volunteerism. This report is one of many ways that Walden is leading the conversation and contributing to positive social change worldwide. Visit www.WaldenU.edu/socialchange to learn more.
About the Study
Walden University first commissioned this annual survey in 2011 to discover the current state of social change around the world. Designed to provide a barometer of who is engaged in social change, what is important to them and how they work together to advance social change issues of interest now and in the future, Walden’s Social Change Impact Report includes attitudes, behaviors and motivations from members of the international community.
The 2014 Social Change Impact Report survey was conducted online by Harris Poll on behalf of Walden University between June 1 and 17, 2014, among a total of 9,138 adults within Brazil (1,009 adults ages 18–64), Canada (1,003 adults ages 18–64), China (1,021 adults ages 18–64), Germany (1,000 adults ages 18–64), India (1,021 adults ages 18–64), Jordan (1,027 adults ages 18 and older), Mexico (1,020 adults ages 18–64), and the U.S. (2,037 adults age 18 and older). Data for each country were weighted to the general or online population within each country. The “Average Result” is the arithmetic average across the countries. This measure does not account for differences in population size and thus is not representative. This online survey is not based on a probability sample, and therefore no estimate of theoretical sampling error can be calculated. A complete survey methodology is available upon request by contacting Jen Raider at 1-443-627-7452 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
About Walden University
For more than 40 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 50,000 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 is the flagship online university in the Laureate International Universities network—a global network of more than 75 campus-based and online universities in 29 countries.
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. For more information, visit www.WaldenU.edu. Walden University is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission and a member of the North Central Association, www.ncahlc.org.
Register before July 15 for Early Bird Pricing
Business engagement in communities is stronger than ever. They invest time, resources, and capital to help make the world a better place. But how do we know whether these efforts have been truly successful?
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation Corporate Citizenship Center’s 2014 conference is focused on results. In today’s world, companies must ensure that every dollar spent is meaningful, that every employee volunteer opportunity is worthwhile, and that every investment shows a return. There is more pressure than ever from corporate stakeholders to show meaningful outcomes. From philanthropy to shared value, from sustainability to governance, from partnerships to employee engagement, companies must ensure their work is driving measurable, lasting impact.
We believe that stronger businesses can achieve greater results that create a better world. Join us in Washington, D.C. this September to learn how.
Register before July 15 for Early Bird Pricing!
Sustainability is about meeting the needs of today without compromising the needs of future generations. An economic system that shrinks the middle class and leaves more and more people behind is just as real a threat to our collective future as are climate change, resource scarcity and bio-diversity loss. On Nov. 12th we’re going to take a closer look at the system that has done so much good in the past BUT that now is leading us on a collision course with a very uncertain future. How can we “Rethink Prosperity” so that our future is prosperous for all of us.
Chrystia Freeland, author of “Plutocrats: The Rise of the New Global Super-Rich and the Fall of Everyone Else” and the Federal Member of Parliament (MP) for Toronto Centre
Doug Miller, Chairman of GlobeScan
Blair Feltmate, Associate Professor, Program Director Sustainability Practice at University of Waterloo; Chair Climate Change Adaptation Project Canada
more coming soon…
DATE: Wednesday, November 12, 2014
TIME: 4:30-7:30 EST (snacks & networking from 6:45-7:30)
LOCATION: University of Toronto, Banting Institute, 100 College St., Rm 131
TWITTERCHAT: #tssschat from 5:15 – 6:00 PM EST
WHO: Roslyn S. Jaffe and Ascena Cares / Ascena Retail Group, Inc.
WHAT: Roslyn S. Jaffe Awards luncheon event honoring three “everyday heroes” who are making the world a better place for women and/or children in the areas of education, health, social reform, and self-esteem. This new annual awards program honors the lifelong contributions of Roslyn S. Jaffe, who co-founded the first dressbarn store in 1962. For more information visit JaffeAward.com.
$100,000 Grant Recipient:
Aza Nedhari, Executive Director and Co-Founder, Mamatoto Village– Washington, D.C.
$25,000 Grant Recipient:
Evainna Ross, Executive Director, The Sparrow’s Nest, Inc. (The Chosen 50) – Greensboro, NC
$25,000 Grant Recipient:
Joy Bergfalk, Founder The Coffee Connection / Project Empower – Rochester, NY
WHERE: The Roosevelt Hotel (Grand Ballroom), 45 East 45th Street, NY
WHEN: October 23, 2014 12p.m.-2p.m.
CONTACT: Belinda Arnold, email@example.com, 917.847.2540
About Roslyn S. Jaffe
Roslyn S. Jaffe co-founded the first dressbarn store in 1962; currently she is Director Emeritus for Ascena Retail Group, Inc. She is a true trailblazer, entrepreneur and long-time passionate advocate for women and children.
About Ascena Cares
Ascena is passionate about making a meaningful difference in the lives of others. Ascena brands focus their charitable giving to the long-standing mission of supporting women and children empowerment issues. And, through Ascena Cares, several funds were established to provide support directly to employees, their families and their communities. For more information visit www.ascenacares.com.
About Ascena Retail Group, Inc.
Ascena Retail Group, Inc. (NASDAQ: ASNA) is a leading specialty retailer offering clothing, shoes, and accessories for missy and plus-size women under the Lane Bryant, Cacique, maurices, dressbarn, and Catherines brands; and for tween girls and boys, under the Justice and Brothers brands. Ascena Retail Group, Inc. operates through its subsidiaries approximately 4,000 stores throughout the United States, Puerto Rico and Canada.
For more information about Ascena Retail Group, Inc. and its brands, visit www.ascenaretail.com.
The North Face President Todd Spaletto and U.S. Department of the Interior Secretary Sally Jewell today announced a partnership to protect, preserve and celebrate public lands in support of the 21st Century Conservation Service Corps (21CSC) The North Face is making a donation of $250,000 to the 21CSC and also today launched a new commercial campaign as a key component of the initiative, featuring a new recording of Woody Guthrie’s iconic anthem “This Land is Your Land” by two-time Grammy nominee My Morning Jacket (www.itunes.com/thenorthface). The song is available on iTunes, with more than half of each download going to 21CSC as My Morning Jacket will donate their portion of the proceeds to the initiative. Monies raised will create jobs for youth and returning veterans through 21CSC projects on public lands across the nation – from Golden Gate National Recreation Area to Everglades National Park.
“This partnership with The North Face and My Morning Jacket is really about inspiring and preparing the next generation of conservation leaders and outdoor stewards,” said Secretary Jewell. “The funding will help put young people and veterans to work restoring and protecting our nation’s land, water and wildlife – whether that’s building trails in national parks or removing invasive species in national wildlife refuges. The 21CSC not only helps meet critical needs on our nation’s public lands, but also provides valuable job training and a connection to the great outdoors that will last these young people a lifetime.”
The commercial features cinematic footage of The North Face global athlete team members and enthusiasts doing what they love – skiing, running, climbing and hiking. The spot will launch on YouTube beginning October 27 and debut on national TV on November 9 (NBC Sunday Night Football) running through the end of December on NBC, ESPN, USA Network, Comedy Central and more. The campaign also will be supported by advertising across digital and social channels such as Hulu, YouTube, ESPN, VICE and Facebook, starting on November 10.
“The North Face exists to inspire people to explore,” said Spaletto. “If you can inspire people to love the outdoors, they will grow to care about their natural world, protecting and conserving the places that many of us know as our playgrounds. We are extremely proud to raise awareness, support the 21CSC and motivate people to reimagine exploration in their own lives.”
Jim James, lead vocalist/guitarist for My Morning Jacket, said, “It is a privilege and an honor to cover Woody's eternal classic ‘This Land Is Your Land.’ I was moved to tears last summer as I stood at the Guthrie Archives in Tulsa listening to him sing this song and singing along, while looking at his original hand-written copy of the lyrics, words that ring with such vital truth and speak so deeply to the soul of everyone who hears them. We are so thrilled to sing these lyrics once again, and have it benefit an initiative we care so deeply about – protecting and preserving our country's vital resources.”
The three-month brand campaign also features a partnership with Outside magazine. The North Face and Outside created a list of 50 amazing places to explore across the U.S., and explorers will be encouraged to take a photo of themselves recreating at these and other iconic outdoor destinations and share on social channels using #seeforyourself. More information and a list of the 50 locations can be found at www.thenorthface.com/seeforyourself.
Additionally and as part of the campaign, the company has outfitted a custom trailer to visit retail locations across the country providing consumers The North Face experience and a chance to win gear and offering other discounts on merchandise.
Further, throughout the week of October 27, The North Face “#SeeForYourself” Taxi will roam the streets of New York with the offer of adventure to those brave and spontaneous enough to accept it right then and there. Once unsuspecting riders have hailed the taxi, they will be greeted by a message asking them to put down their phones, put aside the meetings they have scheduled that day and let their curiosity wander. If they decide they are up for an adventure, they will be whisked away to one of three secret locations just outside the city where The North Face athletes will be waiting to lead day excursions in some of New York State’s wildest places.
About The North Face
The North Face, a division of VF Outdoor, Inc., was founded in 1966 with the goal of preparing outdoor athletes for the rigors of their next adventure. Today we are the world's leading outdoor brand, creating athlete-tested, expedition-proven products that help people explore and test the limits of human potential. We protect our outdoor playgrounds and minimize our impact on the planet through programs that encourage sustainability. The North Face products are available at premium and specialty retail sporting goods stores globally and we are headquartered in California on a LEED Platinum-certified campus. For more information, please visit www.thenorthface.com.
Pamela Bennett Ajello
The North Face
(510) 748-2742 o.
(510) 501-5768 c.
United Entertainment Group, for The North Face
C: (970) 819-1044
About the 21st Century Conservation Service Corps (21CSC)
Inspired by FDR’s Civilian Conservation Corps of the 1930’s, the 21st Century Conservation Service Corps (21CSC) is a national collaborative effort to put America’s youth and returning veterans to work protecting, restoring and enhancing America’s public lands. The 21CSC builds on existing partnerships with youth conservation corps across the country to help young people – including diverse low-income, underserved and at-risk youth, as well as returning veterans – gain valuable training and work experience while accomplishing needed conservation and restoration work on public lands, waterways and cultural heritage sites. The 21CSC is a central component of the Department of the Interior’s ambitious youth initiative to inspire millions of young people to play, learn, serve and work in the great outdoors.
Department of the Interior Contact
My Morning Jacket Press Contact
Girlie Action Media
Corporate Pro Bono (CPBO) announced today that it has selected American International Group, Inc.’s (AIG) Global Legal, Compliance, Regulatory, and Government Affairs department (GLCR), and the Iraqi Refugee Assistance Project (IRAP) to receive the 2014 CPBO Pro Bono Partner Award for their pioneering, collaborative effort to serve the legal needs of refugees in the Middle East, whose lives are in imminent danger due to their work with the U.S. government. CPBO, the global partnership project of Pro Bono Institute (PBI) and the Association of Corporate Counsel (ACC), will present the award at the 2014 PBI Annual Dinner on November 6 in New York.
Since the start of the partnership between AIG and IRAP, 36 AIG attorneys and para-professionals in the U.S., working in teams of three and four with the assistance of colleagues in Germany and the United Arab Emirates, have provided more than 650 hours of legal assistance to Afghan nationals who have aided the U.S., often as interpreters, and who are now targets of anti-American violence. Members of the GLCR represent individual clients and assist in the process of gathering information and completing the forms and procedures necessary to navigate the complex bureaucratic system and successfully obtain Special Immigrant Visas (SIV) for at-risk individuals. In addition, AIG has assisted IRAP with the appeal of an SIV rejection, has donated funds for the effort, and offered its government relations expertise.
“Partnering with outside organizations to expand the legal services that can be delivered to those who need it most is a win-win for all entities involved, most importantly for the clients who in this case received help with matters of life and death,” PBI President and CEO Esther F. Lardent said. “Through this partnership, AIG and IRAP are giving many of their clients who are in dire circumstances a fresh start and security that they likely would not have received otherwise.”
The effectiveness of the partnership between AIG and IRAP has been proven repeatedly, from a client who successfully obtained a visa and began a new life in the U.S. to contributions to three major policy/legislative victories. The first victory in October 2013 was the extension of the Iraqi SIV program, followed by landmark legislation that made improvements to the SIV application process including giving SIV applicants access to counsel in overseas proceedings and the right to appeal SIV rejections, and finally the addition of 1,000 visas to the Afghan SIV program.
“When we started our pro bono program in 2012, we approached it with the goal of doing good work for those in need in a way that would have a meaningful impact in their lives as well as the lives of our attorneys and staff. Through our partnership with IRAP, we have been able to do that,” AIG Executive Vice President and General Counsel Thomas Russo said. “It has been a very rewarding experience, and we are truly honored to receive this award from CPBO.”
The CPBO Pro Bono Partner Award recognizes the unique role partnerships, between and among in-house legal departments, law firms, and public interest groups, play in increasing access to justice.
“The partnership between AIG and IRAP to serve refugees whose lives are in danger exemplifies what can be accomplished when organizations come together to make a meaningful impact in the lives of those who need help,” ACC President and CEO Veta T. Richardson said. “This type of collaboration, particularly with its life-saving results, serves as a shining example of the power of pro bono.”
For more information about this and PBI’s other awardee, please visit the 2014 PBI Annual Dinner webpage.
American International Group, Inc. (AIG) is a leading international insurance organization serving customers in more than 130 countries and jurisdictions. AIG companies serve commercial, institutional, and individual customers through one of the most extensive worldwide property-casualty networks of any insurer. In addition, AIG companies are leading providers of life insurance and retirement services in the United States. AIG common stock is listed on the New York Stock Exchange and the Tokyo Stock Exchange.
The Iraqi Refugee Assistance Project (IRAP) organizes law students and lawyers to develop and enforce a system of legal and human rights for refugees through a combination of direct legal aid and systemic advocacy. IRAP has successfully resettled more than 2,000 refugees in life or death situations, including Iraqis and Afghans at risk for their work as interpreters with the U.S. military, children with medical emergencies, women who are survivors of domestic and sexual violence, and survivors of torture. IRAP is currently working on the cases of more than 350 families.
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
Established in 1996, Pro Bono Institute (PBI) is a nonprofit organization with a mandate to explore and identify new approaches to the poor and disadvantaged unable to secure legal assistance to address critical problems. In doing so, PBI identifies and develops innovative programs and undertakes rigorous evaluations to ensure that these new approaches are workable and effective. PBI administers a number of projects designed to enhance access to justice, including the Law Firm Pro Bono Project®, Corporate Pro Bono®, Second Acts®, Global Pro Bono, and Public Interest Pro Bono. For more information, visit www.probonoinst.org.
About the Association of Corporate Counsel
ACC is a global bar 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. The association has more than 30,000 members in more than 75 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
VF Corporation (NYSE: VFC), a leader in branded lifestyle apparel, footwear and accessories, today released its first comprehensive global Sustainability & Responsibility report. The report highlights achievements of VF and its brands – many of which are already known as sustainability leaders, including The North Face® and Timberland® – and details the company’s goals across its three sustainability pillars: products, planet, and people.
“At VF, sustainability is a key business platform that contributes to our global growth and helps us manage our operations responsibly,” said Eric Wiseman, VF’s Chairman, President and CEO. “Our brands are working as ‘One VF’ to foster meaningful innovation around sustainability – from product design, to how we choose and manage our resources and materials, to the ways we support our associates and the communities in which we operate.”
VF’s report marks the public debut of its innovative chemical management program, CHEM-IQSM. Developed in collaboration with third-party experts, including the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), CHEM-IQSM provides a proactive, cost-effective and scalable method for identifying and eliminating potentially harmful chemicals before they enter the manufacturing process. VF will expand CHEM-IQSM globally in 2015.
VF has also been instrumental in the development of the Higg Index, an indicator-based assessment tool that helps companies gauge the environmental sustainability performance of apparel and footwear products. Companies around the world now use the index to drive improvements in their facilities, brands and products.
Other highlights in VF’s report include:
During the past two years, VF built an internal sustainability infrastructure optimized to serve the company’s global scale and diverse portfolio of more than 30 brands. A large part of this architecture has been focused on data collection and the development of sustainability scorecards to help benchmark the environmental footprints and social actions of its nearly 2,000 individual facilities. This data driven approach enables the company to measure current goals, including targets for its carbon and waste management programs, as well as set additional goals in the future.
“Our first comprehensive Sustainability & Responsibility report is a milestone for VF and our brands,” said Letitia Webster, Senior Director of Global Sustainability for VF. "It’s an opportunity to highlight the great efforts our brands and teams have led for many years. Now, with a centralized, global reporting infrastructure in place, we turn our focus to enhanced alignment and collaboration across our company to minimize our environmental footprint and spark innovation, while more effectively sharing our progress with all stakeholders.”
To learn more about VF’s sustainability and responsibility platform and initiatives, and to view the report, please visit sustainability.vfc.com.
VF Corporation (NYSE: VFC) is a global leader in the design, manufacture, marketing and distribution of branded lifestyle apparel, footwear and accessories. The company’s highly diversified portfolio of 30 powerful brands spans numerous geographies, product categories, consumer demographics and sales channels, giving VF a unique industry position and the ability to create sustainable, long-term growth for our customers and shareholders. The company’s largest brands are The North Face®, Vans®, Timberland®, Wrangler®, Lee® and Nautica®. For more information, visit www.vfc.com.
Chief Sustainability Officers (CSOs) have expanded their responsibilities from internal program managers to strategic lynchpins who guide corporate strategy, identify product innovation opportunities, and orchestrate sustainability initiatives both inside and outside the company.
The conclusion is based on The Weinreb Group's follow-up report on Chief Sustainability Officers titled CSO Back Story II: The Evolution of the Chief Sustainability Officer. The report identifies 36 executives working for U.S. headquartered publicly-traded companies that hold the official title of “Chief Sustainability Officer”. On average, these CSOs have been at their company for 10 years when they are tapped for the role and 86% are tapped internally as opposed to being hired from outside the company.
"Today, CSOs extend sustainability to all aspects of their businesses, especially where company-led innovation and feedback from external stakeholders leads to growth and value creation,” said Ellen Weinreb, President of the Weinreb Group.
“Women also are leaping into the CSO ranks, making up 42% -- up 52% in just three years,” she added.
THE REPORT CITES FIVE KEY SHIFTS EMERGING IN THE LAST THREE YEARS:
1. COLLECTIVE BENEFIT
The role of the CSO has transitioned from a focus on the tactical implementation of environmental and social initiatives toward an emphasis on delivering benefit and value for stakeholders and shareholders simultaneously.
Duke Energy CSO Shawn Heath said "A sustainability department has enabled the company to refine its focus on sustainability issues...all done in the spirit of finding ways to deliver enhanced stakeholder value."
Thinking beyond incremental improvements, CSOs are spearheading innovation in order to meet the need for sustainably designed products and processes that meet radically different criteria.
Alcoa CSO Kevin McKnight said that establishing a CSO role "prompted people to think more broadly about everything that sustainability entails. Environmental impacts are still a significant piece, but we are also focused on product innovation."
3. STAKEHOLDER SIGNALING
CSOs are actively engaged in signaling the company’s commitment to sustainability across multiple channels. Communication of the sustainability agenda to external stakeholders, such as customers and the media, as well as internal stakeholders, such as employees, is a critical responsibility of the CSO.
"We know that those who know about our sustainability efforts are more likely to trust us and become loyal customers," said Bea Perez, CSO of The Coca-Cola Company.
Regardless of its hierarchical position, the CSO role touches the business at all levels and works across organizational pillars. The CSO moves seamlessly from collaborating with employees across the business to influencing the company’s core vision and strategy
The CSO title has opened doors: Karthrin Winkler, CSO at EMC, said it gave "access to execs and policies;” Jane Okun Bomba of IHS, Inc., benefits from "more board engagement;" PG&E's Ezra Garrett said that CSOs "can critically influence the development of the company's vision and goal;” while MGM's Cindy Ortega said she has a "seat at the table in developing company strategy."
5. A TEAM SPORT
The success of the CSO hinges upon the careful orchestration and engagement of multiple teams throughout the organization. By embedding sustainability into all corners of the business, the CSO empowers business leaders to own the company’s sustainability achievements.
Charlene Lake, CSO at AT&T, said: "No business is truly sustainable without the buy-in and hard work of leaders throughout the company. To credit any one title with the success would create a setback to our progress and cause."
CSO Back Story II can be found at http://weinrebgroup.com/blog/cso2. This 2014 report updates a 2011 research report titled CSO Back Story: How Chief Sustainability Officers Reached the C-Suite. Both reports were conducted by the Weinreb Group, an executive search and consulting firm that specializes in the sustainability and corporate responsibility marketplace.
ABOUT WEINREB GROUP
Weinreb Group Sustainability Recruiting is an executive search firm placing professionals in sustainability positions. Recent clients include Walmart, Owens Corning, KKR, Patagonia and Edelman. Offices are located in Hong Kong and San Francisco.
FOR MORE INFORMATION
To set up interviews with the CSOs or Ellen Weinreb, or to learn more about the report, please call 678-882-9395 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Coca-Cola HBC AG (Coca-Cola HBC), the world’s second largest bottler of products of The Coca-Cola Company, has been awarded an A rating by the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) – and a place in the CDP Global Climate Performance Leadership Index 2014.
This is a further achievement for the company as it has also recently been named the global industry leader amongst beverage companies in the 2014 Dow Jones Sustainability Indices (DJSI). This is the seventh consecutive year that Coca-Cola HBC has been included in the indices and for the first time this year it leads both the World and European indices.
CDP is a not-for-profit organisation which provides the only global system for companies to measure, disclose, manage and share vital environmental information, motivating them to disclose their impact on the environment and take action to reduce it.
This year CDP has also upgraded Coca-Cola HBC to an A rating, from last year’s B rating, and awarded the company a place in the UK’s FTSE 350 Leadership Index, in addition to its place in The A List: Global Climate Performance Leadership Index, which for the first time looks at all climate leader companies around the world, not just the global 500 companies.
Coca-Cola HBC provided comprehensive information about the measurement and management of its carbon footprint, climate change strategy and risk management processes and outcomes, which clearly defined and quantified the risks and opportunities around climate change and resulted in a number of initiatives including:
These initiatives contributed to a reduction in total absolute carbon emissions (direct and indirect) of 5.3% compared to the previous year.
The Dow Jones Sustainability Indices assess over 2,500 of the world’s largest publicly traded companies on financially relevant economic, environmental and social factors. Following an evaluation, the top 10% of companies within each industry are selected for inclusion.
In the DJSI, Coca-Cola HBC was ranked first in the beverages sector out of 30 companies in DJSI World and 10 companies in DJSI Europe. The company’s overall score was 89%, up from 81% last year, and it achieved industry-best scores across the environmental and social dimensions. Best progress was made in the areas of brand and customer relationship management, health and nutrition, supply chain management, talent attraction and retention, human capital development. In the environmental dimension, packaging and water risk management were awarded the maximum 100 points.
Dimitris Lois, Coca-Cola HBC CEO said: “We are delighted to be recognised as an industry leader by these two benchmarks of corporate sustainability performance. Our substantial improvement this year in the DJSI, and our rating upgrade from B to A by CDP demonstrate that sustainability is at the heart of our business, and these two awards are a firm endorsement of the good work we are doing.”
Commenting on the companies that made it to the CDP’s Climate Disclosure Leadership Index Paul Simpson, CEO of the Carbon Disclosure Project, said: “Global greenhouse gas emissions continue to rise and we face steep financial risk if we do not mitigate them. The need for data on corporate climate change impacts and strategies to reduce them has never been greater. For this reason we congratulate those businesses that have achieved a position on CDP’s Climate Disclosure Leadership Index. These companies are responding to the ever-growing demand for environmental accountability and should inspire others to follow suit.”
About Coca-Cola HBC
Coca-Cola HBC is the second-largest bottler of the brands of The Coca-Cola Company in terms of volume with sales of more than 2 billion unit cases. It has a broad geographic footprint with operations in 28 countries serving a population of approximately 585 million people. Coca-Cola HBC offers a diverse range of non-alcoholic ready to drink beverages in the sparkling, juice, water, sport, energy, tea and coffee categories. Coca-Cola HBC is committed to promoting sustainable development in order to create value for its business and for society. This includes providing products that meet the beverage needs of consumers, fostering an open and inclusive work environment, conducting its business in ways that protect and preserve the environment and contribute to the socio-economic development of the local communities.
Coca-Cola HBC has a premium listing on the London Stock Exchange (LSE: CCH) and its shares are listed on the Athens Exchange (ATHEX: EEE). Coca-Cola HBC is included in the Dow Jones Sustainability and FTSE4Good Indexes. For more information, please visit http://www.coca-colahellenic.com/.
About Dow Jones Sustainability Indices
The DJSI were launched in 1999 as the first global sustainability benchmarks. The indices are offered cooperatively by RobecoSAM and S&P Dow Jones Indices. The group tracks the stock performance of the world's leading companies in terms of economic, environmental and social criteria. The indices serve as benchmarks for investors who integrate sustainability considerations into their portfolios, and provide an effective engagement platform for companies who want to adopt sustainable best practices. Following an evaluation of a range of general and industry-specific issues only the top 10% are accepted for inclusion. For more information visit http://www.sustainability-indices.com/
CDP is an international, not-for-profit organization providing the only global system for companies and cities to measure, disclose, manage and share vital environmental information. CDP works with market forces, including 767 institutional investors with assets of US$92 trillion, to motivate companies to disclose their impacts on the environment and natural resources and take action to reduce them. CDP now holds the largest collection globally of primary climate change, water and forest risk commodities information and puts these insights at the heart of strategic business, investment and policy decisions. Please follow us @CDP to find out more.
Exploring the ways to build a responsible, resilient and secure value chain to minimise risks and future proof business is underpinning idea for the majority of supply chain professionals.
Ethical Corporation went further and managed to break it down to the key areas of focus for the majority of world leading corporations. The key areas below are linked to the practical “how to”:
Map out the future for value chain sustainability: how to build long-term supply security and move from a policeman to a partner approach and create long-lasting relationships with suppliers.
Innovate across value chain and collaborate on an industry level: latest strategies on opportunities and challenges in creating circular product economies; effective B2B collaboration to mitigate deforestation and social risk of water use.
Fuse sustainability into purchasing and supplier empowerment: Best practice on aligning the objectives of the sustainability, procurement and supply chain functions; Build a worker dialogue to strengthen ethical trading results and drive factory management improvement.
The study is based on the months of research and communication with the top supply chain, procurement and sustainability executives primarily headquartered in Europe and North America of FTSE 500 brands.
The above topics are also taken as the main themes for Ethical Corporation’s Sustainable Supply Chain Summit (November 19-20, London).
View your copy of the sustainability-focused agenda and exclusive speaker line-up here
For all CSR Wire members there is also a £200 discount, which can be redeemed via entering the discount code “CSRW200” when registering on the event’s website here
-- Sales EUR 18.3 billion (plus 3 percent)
-- EBIT before special items EUR 1.8 billion (plus 9 percent)
-- Chemicals and Oil & Gas segments improve earnings
-- Earnings dip in Agricultural Solutions segment
-- Outlook 2014: BASF continues to strive for slight increase in EBIT before special items in challenging environment
Sales of BASF Group grew by 3 percent compared with the previous third quarter, reaching EUR 18.3 billion. A sharp rise in volumes in the Natural Gas Trading business sector was mainly responsible for this growth. Income from operations (EBIT) before special items increased by EUR 150 million to around EUR 1.8 billion. The primary contributors to this development were the Chemicals and Oil & Gas segments, together with Other. The increase was dampened by a considerable earnings decline in the Agricultural Solutions segment.
"The economic environment remained challenging in the third quarter of 2014. Geopolitical tensions and increasing uncertainty about the global economic development significantly dampened demand for chemical products. Nevertheless, sales and earnings of BASF Group increased in the third quarter of 2014," said Dr. Kurt Bock, Chairman of the Board of Executive Directors of BASF SE.
EBIT grew by EUR 128 million to EUR 1.8 billion compared with the third quarter of the previous year. EBITDA rose by EUR 30 million to EUR 2.5 billion. Income before taxes and minority interests increased by EUR 126 million quarter-on-quarter to EUR 1.6 billion. Because of the higher tax rate and increased minority interests, net income declined by EUR 53 million to EUR 1.0 billion. Earnings per share were EUR 1.14 in the third quarter of 2014, compared with EUR 1.20 in the same quarter of 2013. Adjusted for special items and amortization of intangible assets, earnings per share amounted to EUR 1.27, remaining at the same level as the previous third quarter (EUR 1.28).
In North America, sales rose by 3 percent in both U.S. dollars and euros, compared to the third quarter of 2013. "Sales growth is mainly attributable to increases in the Chemicals segment," said Hans Engel, Chairman and CEO of BASF Corporation. At EUR 342 million, earnings decreased by EUR 13 million, due in part to a considerably lower contribution from Agricultural Solutions, versus the same period in 2013.
Outlook for the full year 2014
For the fourth quarter of 2014, BASF does not anticipate an upturn in demand. The company has adjusted its expectations for the global economy in 2014 as follows (previous forecast in parentheses):
-- Growth of gross domestic product: 2.3 percent (2.5 percent)
-- Growth in chemical production: 4.0 percent (4.4 percent)
-- An average exchange rate of $1.35 per euro (unchanged)
-- An average oil price (Brent) for the year of $105 per barrel ($110 per
Bock: "We assume that the environment will remain volatile and challenging. We nevertheless still aim to slightly raise our EBIT before special items for the year 2014." Sales are likely to decrease slightly as a result of the divestiture of the gas trading and storage business planned for this year in addition to negative currency effects.
Strategic sales and earnings targets for 2015
At the telephone conference, the company gave an update on the "We create chemistry" strategy and the related financial targets for 2015, which were originally published in 2011.
From today's point of view, BASF will not achieve its ambitious financial targets for 2015 (sales: EUR 80 billion; EBITDA: EUR 14 billion). The growth rates for gross domestic product, industry and chemical production for 2010 to 2015 are lower than originally expected:
-- BASF now expects the average annual growth of global gross domestic product to be about 0.8 percentage points lower (prior assumption: 3.4 percent p.a., current assumption: 2.6 percent p.a.).
-- Growth of industrial production is now assumed to be 3.4 percent p.a., versus a previous assumption of 4.6 percent p.a.
-- The company now assumes the growth of chemical production to be 4.0 percent p.a. instead of 4.9 percent p.a. -- still growing well above GDP and industrial production.
Bock: "The reasons for this weak global economic development are obvious: reduced growth dynamics of emerging markets and a delayed recovery in the European economy." In addition, there has been higher than expected margin pressure for some basic products and partially in the Performance Products segment. This is why BASF has initiated a restructuring program in this segment, which will contribute about EUR 500 million to earnings from 2017 onwards.
For 2015, BASF now expects sales and EBITDA to be in line with market expectations. For EBITDA, they are between EUR 10 billion and EUR 12 billion. As usual, the company will provide an outlook for 2015 at its Annual Press Conference on February 27, 2015, and give an update on its long-term targets.
Bock: "With regard to our strategic direction, we are on track. Even in this somewhat more difficult environment, we will continue to grow profitably."
The operational excellence program STEP is ahead of schedule. "By the end of 2015, we now aim to achieve improvements of EUR 1.3 billion, EUR 300 million more than initially planned," said Bock.
New set-up of global research platforms
Innovations are an essential pillar in the "We create chemistry" strategy. In 2020, BASF aims to generate EUR 30 billion of sales with products that will have been on the market for less than 10 years. The basis for these innovations is effective and efficient research and development. To achieve this ambitious goal, BASF is further developing the research organization and bundling its competencies in three global platforms:
-- Advanced Materials & Systems Research with headquarters at BASF's Innovation Campus Asia Pacific in Shanghai by 2016
-- Bioscience Research headquartered in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina, starting January 2015
-- Process Research & Chemical Engineering headquartered in Ludwigshafen
The stronger presence outside of Europe will create new opportunities for building up and expanding customer relationships and scientific cooperations. All three research platforms will be established globally to support the R&D needs of BASF's customers. This will strengthen the R&D Verbund and also increase BASF's attractiveness as a partner and an employer in the regions.
Business development in the segments in the third quarter
Sales in the Chemicals segment matched the level of the previous third quarter. The market environment in Asia was difficult; in Europe sales volumes declined. There was sharp volumes growth in the Petrochemicals division in North America. With EUR 616 million, earnings in the segment exceeded the prior third-quarter level by EUR 89 million, mainly due to higher margins in the Petrochemicals division.
Sales reached the level of the previous third quarter in the Performance Products segment. Volumes and sales prices remained stable while currency effects were negative. Volumes increased significantly in the Performance Chemicals division. In the Paper Chemicals division, however, lower volumes led to a considerable
decline in sales. Fixed costs were reduced, thanks in part to restructuring measures. Earnings of EUR 376 million matched the level of the previous third quarter.
In the Functional Materials & Solutions segment, sales exceeded the level of the third quarter of 2013 by 2 percent. Prices could be raised in most business areas, more than compensating for negative currency effects. Demand remained strong from the automotive industry, especially in the Catalysts division. Earnings increased by EUR 10 million to EUR 310 million, mostly through considerably higher contributions from the Coatings and Catalysts divisions.
In the Agricultural Solutions segment, sales were 3 percent below the level of the third quarter of 2013. Continuously falling crop commodity prices and correspondingly cautious purchasing behavior were noticeable in nearly every market. Price increases in all regions were unable to compensate for a drop in sales volumes. Earnings -- in a generally seasonally weak quarter -- fell by EUR 129 million to EUR 43 million. In addition to lower volumes, this was largely a result of weaker margins due to a less favorable product mix as well as increased expenses for research and development, production, and distribution.
Sales in the Oil & Gas segment grew by 17 percent compared with the previous third quarter. This was primarily attributable to sharply increased volumes in the Natural Gas Trading business sector. Sales growth was slowed by lower oil and gas prices. Earnings rose by EUR 82 million to EUR 504 million thanks to a higher contribution from the Natural Gas Trading business sector.
Sales rose by 3 percent in Other, mainly through increased raw materials trading. EBIT before special items improved by EUR 98 million to minus EUR 7 million. Valuation effects for the long-term incentive program played a significant role here; the foreign currency result also improved.
Business development in the regions in the third quarter
Sales at companies located in Europe grew by 3 percent compared with the previous third quarter. This was mainly because of the considerably higher volumes in the Natural Gas Trading business sector; sales volumes in the Chemicals and Agricultural Solutions segments declined. Sales and volumes increased considerably in the Catalysts division. In the Petrochemicals division, lower plant availability dampened sales. EBIT before special items rose by EUR
202 million to EUR 1.1 billion, primarily due to considerably improved contributions from Chemicals, Oil & Gas, and Other.
Sales in Asia Pacific increased by 4 percent in both local-currency and euro terms, predominantly on account of higher volumes, especially in the Catalysts and Performance Chemicals divisions. Slightly declining sales prices and negative currency effects weakened sales growth in the region. At EUR 173 million, earnings were EUR 33 million below the level of the third quarter of 2013.
This was largely the result of considerably lower earnings from basic products in the Chemicals segment.
In South America, Africa, Middle East, sales grew by 8 percent in local-currency terms and 4 percent in euro terms. Negative currency effects could be more than compensated for, mainly through higher prices. Particularly in the Oil & Gas segment, price increases led to a considerable rise in sales. Sales volumes improved considerably in the business with crop protection products in the third quarter. Earnings declined slightly, dipping EUR 6 million to EUR 197 million.
In the Agricultural Solutions segment, earnings fell considerably as a consequence of weaker margins and strong competition from generic insecticides.
BASF Corporation, headquartered in Florham Park, New Jersey, is the North American affiliate of BASF SE, Ludwigshafen, Germany. BASF has nearly 17,000 employees in North America, and had sales of $19.3 billion in 2013. For more information about BASF's North American operations, visit www.basf.us.
At BASF, we create chemistry -- and have been doing so for 150 years. Our portfolio ranges from chemicals, plastics, performance products and crop protection products to oil and gas. As the world's leading chemical company, we combine economic success with environmental protection and social responsibility. Through science and innovation, we enable our customers in nearly every industry to meet the current and future needs of society. Our products and solutions contribute to conserving resources, ensuring nutrition and improving quality of life. We have summed up this contribution in our corporate purpose: We create chemistry for a sustainable future. BASF had sales of about
EUR 74 billion in 2013 and over 112,000 employees as of the end of the year. Further information on BASF is available on the Internet at www.basf.com.