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CARE and Cargill Renew Partnership to Improve 1 Million Lives by 2020

Thu, 03/09/2017 - 2:24pm

Marking International Women’s Day, CARE and Cargill today announced a renewed three-year, $7 million commitment to improve 1 million lives by 2020, many of them women in rural communities around the globe.

Cargill and CARE have collaborated for more than 50 years, with Cargill investing $18 million in working with CARE since 2008. The partnership has improved the lives of hundreds of thousands of people in Central America, Africa and Asia. The next phase will focus on:

  • Raising farmers’ productivity and livelihoods
  • Increasing farmers’ access to markets
  • Improving food and nutrition security
  • Strengthening community governance and education

"Cargill has been a crucial partner as we work to alleviate poverty and ensure the resilience of communities around the world,” said Marcela Hahn, CARE’s assistant vice president for strategic partnerships. “The partnership has been successful because the two organizations share complementary values, while Cargill’s funding and commercial expertise dramatically accelerate our shared impact."

Since 2013, Cargill and CARE have reached an estimated 300,000 people.

  • In Central America, the Nourishing the Future program has provided productivity training for farmers, nutrition education for children and families, gender dialogues with local leaders, and business management training for women entrepreneurs. Close to 20,000 people directly benefited from these programs.

  • In West Africa, through the Cargill Cocoa Promise, the two organizations have offered training and other support to nearly 9,000 cocoa farmers and their families in more than 120 communities. They have established more than 130 savings and loans programs, where many of the members are women seeking financial stability to grow their farm operations and small businesses.

  • In India, Cargill and CARE have trained health workers who have helped reduce childhood malnutrition in more than 300 villages in the state of Madhya Pradesh. Additionally, in Odisha state programming has offered training and assistance to 13,000 women farmers. These farmers have seen yields increase by 23 percent and profits rise by an average of 64 percent. Additionally, more than 5,000 cattle-rearing households saw incomes increase more than 200 percent.

"Through shared accountability and a comprehensive approach, Cargill and CARE have been able to achieve measurable, sustained improvements, especially when it comes to empowering women and girls as catalysts of change," said Michelle Grogg, senior director of corporate responsibility for Cargill.

The next three-year phase will focus on improving 1 million lives by employing the same proven approaches that have driven previous progress. The partnership will reach additional communities and new geographies, including Costa Rica and Indonesia.

  • Projects in Central America will expand from 66 to nearly 80 communities, including Costa Rica for the first time. There, CARE and Cargill will activate schools as centers for community engagement in nutrition, through both educational programming and improved facilities such as kitchens and gardens. Projects also will aim to empower women entrepreneurs launching micro-enterprises.
  • In Indonesia, near Cargill’s business operations in Banten and South Sulawesi, projects will emphasize clean water and sanitation solutions as well as nutrition education. Despite its status as a middle-income economy, Indonesia struggles with a high rate of stunting among children under five (38 percent), driven in part by contaminated water and poor sanitation that lead to malnutrition. CARE has a track record of successful programs to combat these issues.
About Cargill
Cargill provides food, agriculture, financial and industrial products and services to the world. Together with farmers, customers, governments and communities, we help people thrive by applying our insights and 150 years of experience. We have 150,000 employees in 70 countries who are committed to feeding the world in a responsible way, reducing environmental impact and improving the communities where we live and work. For more information, visit Cargill.com and our News Center.

About CARE
​Founded in 1945, CARE is a leading humanitarian organization fighting global poverty. CARE places special focus on working alongside poor girls and women because, equipped with the proper resources, they have the power to lift whole families and entire communities out of poverty. Last year, CARE worked in 94 countries and reached more than 80 million people around the world. To learn more, please visit www.care.org.

Sustainable Brands Seeks Entrepreneurs for Startup Business Competition

Thu, 03/09/2017 - 11:23am

 Sustainable Brands® recently opened submissions for its internationally recognized startup business competition Sustainable Brands Innovation Open (SBIO). Co-sponsored by Whirlpool, and judging platform YouNoodle, the competition will culminate at SB’17 Detroit, May 22-25, with venture finalists presenting their early operational plans to business leaders and investors in the Sustainable Brands community.

Sustainable Brands, known for bringing together diverse groups of business leaders with innovative and disruptive plans to embed sustainability into their companies, will accept entries for SBIO until March 31st. Startup ventures looking to gain exposure for their pioneering consumer products and/or products/services that support existing corporations in achieving their sustainability-led programs are encouraged to submit an entry.

Details and timing as follows:

  • Startups in their post-launch phase with early operating metrics and/or a proven Beta/prototype are encouraged to apply before March 31st.

  • A panel of expert judges including investors, entrepreneurs and brand merchants will evaluate entries based on creativity, team quality, economic scalability and level of disruptive innovation. Ten semi-finalists will be selected by early April.

  • A short list of entries will be featured for a public poll starting on April 4th on www.SustainableBrands.com in order to select an 11th semi-finalist. The public vote winner will be announced on April 18th.

  • All 11 semi-finalists will be given exhibit space at SB’17 Detroit and will pitch their business plans to an esteemed panel of judges on May 23rd. The final 4 finalists will pitch their ventures to the full SB’17 Detroit audience on May 24th.

  • SBIO Award: The final winner of the SBIO’17 Detroit competition will receive a ticket granting access to the next 3 years of Sustainable Brands conferences.

“The SB Innovation Open gathers entrepreneurs from diverse disciplines that go beyond the innovative and into the disruptive,” states Riley Scherer, Sustainable Brands’ Innovation Open Coordinator. “The exposure that startups gain from participating is not only beneficial to their own endeavors, but can potentially lead to the creation of partnerships with more established brands in attendance.”

To submit an entry and learn about past finalists, visit the SB Innovation Open 2017 web page at www.sb17detroit.com/innovation-open. To learn about additional SBIO partnership opportunities or additional ways to get involved, please contact Riley Scherer at engage@sustainablebrands.com. Further information about SB’17 Detroit can be found on the conference website at www.sb17detroit.com.

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

Get the Recognition You Deserve

Thu, 03/09/2017 - 8:23am

Back for the 8th year running, the Ethical Corporation's Responsible Business Awards 2017 is an event that celebrates responsible business excellence.

This is your opportunity to be acknowledged as a leader in the world of responsible business.

The Awards will give you international recognition – a perfect reward for all your team's hard work and achievements.

The Awards are open to any organisation from anywhere in the world!

Why should you enter this year's Awards?

  • Build trust and awareness among your key stakeholders worldwide

  • Showcase and reaffirm your sustainability commitments and efforts

  • Benchmark your sustainability performance with 400+ international corporate leaders

  • Retain and attract talent by proving your company is a synonym for responsibility

  • Prove to all the sceptics that there is an ROI on sustainability, after all!

Past winners include; Interface, jetBlue, DSM, Yes Bank, Timberland, GSK, Mars Incorporated, Roshan, Maersk, Itau Unibanco. Entries are welcome from around the world and from any organisation!
Take a look at the Take a look at the Awards Entry Pack here to get a full overview of the categories and the associated benefits.

"Obtaining ROI from CSR and Sustainability Efforts: How to Use that Content to Achieve Measurable Results with 3BL Media” – Free Webinar, Mar. 16, 9:30 a.m. ET

Wed, 03/08/2017 - 11:20am

The new generation of corporate social responsibility (CSR) and sustainability communicators are operating in real-time and are constantly searching for ways to report on return on investment (ROI) for the efforts they work on every day.

Continuous storytelling around CSR and sustainability is the current communication trend in this field. This provides key stakeholders a full picture of the breadth of social impact and environmental achievements. Stakeholders and C-suite members tend to also seek the ROI to this storytelling effort, with a combination of tools that include distribution platforms and measurement services.

Join 3BL Media on March 16 at 9:30 a.m. for an informative webinar designed to provide a concise overview of how 200+ companies, NGOs and nonprofits are using our platform to publish a steady stream of all formats of content for audiences that are passionate about CSR and sustainability. In addition, you’ll get an inside look at the analytics provided when once content is distributed through our service.


This webcast will feature some of the companies using 3BL Media to tell their story and the results that they've been able to obtain over time through our platform. Our team will walk participants through the 3BL Media network and services, talk through relevant examples and review the analytic tools used to measure ROI. Questions are encouraged during and after the event.

During this webinar Katie Buckland, vice president of business development, will be joined by Garnette Sherry, a member of the client services team at 3BL Media. Katie and Garnette bring both extensive experience with successes brought by the 3BL Media platform, and hands-on knowledge of your professional challenges.

The October BSR/GlobeScan State of Sustainable Business Survey revealed 52 percent of the 150 companies surveyed are currently using the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) or have committed to do so in setting corporate performance targets. This is up sharply from 33 percent in 2015. GRI took one step in that direction last fall by pledging to work with the United Nations Global Compact to shape public reporting of the SDGs.

Distribution of videos, blogs, articles, photos, infographics and press releases over the 3BL Media network relating to the SDGs has demonstrated a corresponding spike during 2016. In addition, multimedia content has consistently performed above average on the platform, further reinforcing the importance of content variety.

About 3BL Media
Founded in 2009, 
3BL Media is the leading news distribution and content marketing company focused on niche topics including sustainability, health, energy, education, philanthropy, community and other social and environmental topics. The company works with organizations including multinational corporations, SMEs, and non-profits to distribute multi-format media assets through social, traditional and new media channels. 3BL Media leverages its expertise in communications, technology and social media to enable organizations to more effectively communicate about their initiatives to the press, investors, consumers and other critical stakeholder groups. Visit us at EthicalPerformance.com, CSRwire.com, Justmeans.com, SocialEarth.org and 3blmedia.com.

Aimia Launches Global Month of Data Philanthropy

Wed, 03/08/2017 - 11:20am

Aimia Inc. (TSX:AIM), a data-driven marketing and loyalty analytics company, today announced the start of this year’s Global Month of Data Philanthropy. Events are scheduled to take place in five cities throughout March to support eight charities around the world, beginning with London today.

“Since 2012, we’ve applied our award-winning data philanthropy model to enable more than 50 charities around the world to uncover actionable insights from their data,” said David Johnston, Interim Group Chief Executive, Aimia. “By tapping into our data analytics expertise and harnessing our employees’ unique skills, strengths, and passions, we enable charities to unlock the potential of data. We help them to uncover the value of data-driven and evidence-based decision making in evaluating and improving their operations for sustainable impact in their communities.”

From a focus on improving their core missions and services, to optimizing communications and fundraising campaigns, data philanthropy provides charities with mission-critical expertise that may be cost-prohibitive and out of reach for many charities.

Regional events for Aimia’s Global Data Philanthropy Month are as follows:

Event date: March 8, 2017
Charities supported: Cancer Research UK; Arthritis UK; Step Up to Serve; In Kind
Additional activities:

  • In tandem with the event, Aimia has organized a conference for local charities, featuring six expert-led talks on “The power of data mindsets and possibilities.”

  • These talks will be followed by three workshops focused on data visualization, innovation, and analytics consultancy.

Pursat Town, Cambodia
Event date:
Week of March 20, 2017
Charity supported: Sustainable Cambodia
Additional activities:

  • In subsequent months, Aimia will hold seminars with Sustainable Cambodia’s student users and their families, to introduce them to data analytics and how they can use data to make optimal decisions in their daily lives or business.

Event date: March 21 and 22, 2017
Charity supported: Quartier des Spectacles Partnership (PQDS) – with data supplied by 19 organizations from the culture sector plus five other partners
Additional activities:

  • 2017 is Montreal’s 375th anniversary and colleagues from Toronto and Vancouver will join the Montreal team to work with PQDS. This event will be a key part of our contribution to Montreal’s 375th in addition to the co-creation of an academic hub in data philanthropy with the Institute for Data Valorization (IVADO).

Dubai, U.A.E.
Event date: March 22 and 23, 2017
Charity supported: Doctors Without Borders / Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF)

Event date: March 28 and 29, 2017
Charity supported: Open Arms of Minnesota

Aimia’s data philanthropy has resulted in the delivery of hundreds of insights, stronger funding applications supported by insights, and improved outcomes for the users of non-profit services. For example, in 2015, Aimia worked with Step Up to Serve, a U.K.-based charity that coordinates more than 700 cross-sector organization in its #iwill campaign, with the mission of making social action the norm for all 10-20 years olds in the U.K. by 2020.

“Without the expertise, time, and generosity of Aimia’s data experts, we would have struggled to tackle this problem,” said Kerri Hall, education manager, Step Up to Serve. “Aimia’s teams identified 667 secondary schools in England where #iwill campaign support would be best served, and we are now working with 20 of our national partners to help 485,000 youth get involved in social action. Additionally, 45 chief executives from our partner network have considered our map and how they can support our youth social action plan.”

Aimia’s data philanthropy model is based on the company’s social purpose philosophy to make business personal for the common good. In recognition of its efforts and results, Aimia was awarded in 2015 a Guardian Sustainable Business Award for Social Impact; a Lord Mayor’s Dragon Award for Future Proofing Charities, and a Corporate Engagement Award for Most Innovative Collaboration (Gold award) in the U.K. In 2016, Corporate Knights recognized Aimia as a Best 50 Corporate Citizen in Canada, and our data philanthropy work was awarded Best Pro Bono Work for Charitable, Social or Ethical Cause (Silver award), and a Better Society Award for Pro Bono Company of the Year in the U.K.

About Aimia

Aimia Inc. (TSX:AIM) is a data-driven marketing and loyalty analytics company. We provide our clients with the customer insights they need to make smarter business decisions and build relevant, rewarding and long-term one-to-one relationships, evolving the value exchange to the mutual benefit of both our clients and consumers.

With about 2,900 employees across 16 countries, Aimia partners with groups of companies (coalitions) and individual companies to help generate, collect and analyze customer data and build actionable insights.

We do this through our own coalition loyalty programs such as Aeroplan in Canada, Nectar in the U.K., and Air Miles Middle East, and through provision of loyalty strategy, program development, implementation and management services underpinned by leading products and technology platforms such as the Aimia Loyalty Platform – Enterprise and Aimia Loyalty Platform – SaaS, and through our analytics and insights business, including Intelligent Shopper Solutions. In other markets, we own stakes in loyalty programs, such as Club Premier in Mexico and Think Big, a partnership with Air Asia and Tune Group. Our clients are diverse, and we have industry-leading expertise in the fast-moving consumer goods, retail, financial services, and travel and airline industries globally to deliver against their unique needs.

For a full list of our partnerships and investments, and more information about Aimia, visit www.aimia.com.

Quantify Social Impact - Strategies from Siemens, Unilever, UBS, FedEx, WBCSD and Nestlé

Wed, 03/08/2017 - 5:19am

Measuring social impact is highly complex, but being able to prove how responsible social initiatives contribute to the business and to the national development goals is now crucial.

But how can companies align business and societal interest and in turn quantify and prove their positive impact?

In Ethical Corporation’s newly published 15- page briefing, we outline the key strategies for companies to measure and quantify their social impact to put them ahead of the pack.

Click here to download your complimentary copy.

With expert insights from:

  • Markus Strangmüeller, Vice President of Sustainability – Business to Society, Siemens

  • Tom Hall, Executive Director, head of philanthropy services, UBS

  • Truus Huisman, VP Sustainable Business and Communications Europe, Unilever

  • Anna Turrell, Senior Public Affairs Manager - Sustainability, Nestlé

  • Shane O'Connor, Communications and Global Philanthropic Programs Director, FedEx

  • Kithrona Cerri, Director, Social Impact, WBCSD

Find out how you too can align business and societal interest by reading the briefing today – click here.

Raffa Companies Launch Mentoring Program to Empower Women Leading Change Around the Globe

Tue, 03/07/2017 - 2:18pm

With the launch of the Empowering Vital Leaders Initiative, Raffa’s new global e-mentoring partnership with Vital Voices (VV), Owner/Partner, Kathy Raffa, and her mentor teams of back office/operations experts aim to take their impact with this longtime Raffa client to new heights.

The Initiative leverages the capacity and kindred values of two organizations who share a mutual passion to help women achieve their greatest potential. Raffa is a majority women-owned, national Top 100 CPA advisory/professional services firm, where 11 of 17 partners and more than 65 percent of employees are women. The mission of Vital Voices is to identify, invest in and bring visibility to extraordinary women around the world by unleashing their leadership potential to transform lives and accelerate peace and prosperity in their communities.

The extraordinary women in the Vital Voices network are visionaries, risk-takers and pioneers – they are building businesses, safeguarding human rights and advancing public policy solutions – creating progress in their communities and beyond.  By mentoring and lending its diversified professional expertise, pro bono for an entire year, to a select cohort of VV women, Raffa believes it can empower these heroes’ capacity to achieve even greater systemic change.

After spending four days at a recent gathering of 100 of Vital Voices most extraordinary women leaders, Kathy Raffa decided the firm needed to Do More to help these exceptional women advance their work. At the gathering, she and Karen Schuler, Raffa’s Director of Search & Sustainability, led workshops and met many of the courageous leaders and decided they could do even more by leveraging the human capital that exists throughout the firm.

“We have an opportunity to connect our own Raffa professionals with women at the forefront of change and global progress. The VV100 represent 100 of the most exceptional leaders from Vital Voices’ network of over 15,000 women from 140 countries. These visionary leaders strengthen laws, create jobs, serve as role models to women and girls and defend human rights and political freedoms,” said Kathy Raffa. “We can help them achieve their bold and innovative visions with our expertise in business operations.”

Raffa’s mentor teams bring together a senior level Raffa executive with one or two associates to work with one VV100 mentee. For this pilot, 23 team members from different departments across Raffa, P.C. and Raffa Financial Services, Inc. will be matched with a VV mentee based on the areas of interest identified in the mentee’s application. 

Based on a preliminary survey of participants, the first group of mentees is particularly interested in gaining insights into human resources, finance, technology, leadership, and strategic business planning. Topics are expected to range from how to develop a scalable business model, to brainstorming ways to use technology as a tool for social change, to best practices in financial management.

“For 20 years we have partnered with exceptional women who are redefining what it means to be a leader. We know that now more than ever – unique and strategic partnerships like this one will serve as powerful vehicles for change.” Said Alyse Nelson, President & CEO, Vital Voices Global Partnership

The first group of mentees hails from the Philippines, United Kingdom, Honduras, India, Uganda, Nigeria, Mexico, Trinidad and Tobago, Tanzania, and Jordan.

“The world just got a little smaller,” said Kathy Raffa. “Our ability to support these women via technology with their important missions across the globe will also help us become better leaders and professionals ourselves. We will learn from each other, and together we’ll Do More for more women who do so much good for the world.”

About Raffa
As a B-Corp certified, national Top 100 professional services advisory firm specializing in nonprofits and socially-responsible businesses, Raffa performs high-quality audits and offers a deep bench of expertise across an array of services, including accounting and tax, human resources, technology and consulting to help clients effectively and efficiently manage their back office.   Raffa’s client-centric, customized approach helps each client meet its potential and ensures each client’s success is sustained and maintained. Learn more at www.raffa.com.

About Vital Voices Global Partnership
Vital Voices Global Partnership invests in women leaders who improve the world. Guided by the belief that women are essential to progress in their communities, we have partnered with leaders from more than 140 countries who advance economic opportunity, increase political and public leadership, and end violence against women. Our programs in strategic planning, business, advocacy and communications build critical skills needed for creating transformational change.

Companies' Anti-Slavery Performance Improves, iPoint-funded Study Reveals

Tue, 03/07/2017 - 11:18am

Social and environmental compliance, sustainability, and digital circular economy expert iPoint is excited to announce the release of a new comprehensive benchmarking report which evaluates brands on their anti-slavery compliance with the California Transparency in Supply Chains Act of 2010 (CA-TISCA). Funded by iPoint and prepared by Development International (DI), a not-for-profit organization specialized in evaluations, the report rates the legal compliance, affirmative practice, and transparency of 1,909 companies’ anti-human trafficking and slavery-related disclosure statements of 2016.

Improvements on All Fronts
The study indicates that the companies in focus have improved on all fronts as compared to reporting year 2015. “More companies have a statement, more are compliant, and more pro-active initiative is being taken by these businesses in their efforts to responsibly produce and source goods which they sell in California,” Dr. Chris Bayer, DI’s Principal Investigator and co-author of the study, states.

CA-TISCA requires retailers and manufacturers doing business in the state of California with annual worldwide gross receipts exceeding $100 million to publicly disclose the measures they have taken to eradicate modern-day slavery and human trafficking in their supply chains. The companies subject to the Californian law include U.S. as well as foreign companies with a combined global revenue of $48.4 trillion in 2016.

For 2016, the study measured a noticeable improvement in companies’ anti-slavery compliance and actions as compared to the previous year. For example, in 2015, only 41% percent of the 1,504 evaluated companies had a corporate disclosure score on or above the 70% mark. In 2016, 52% of the 1,909 evaluated companies had a disclosure score above 70%. According to Bayer, “This increase not only indicates that legal compliance with this particular anti-slavery disclosure law is gradually improving, it also underlines that the issue of modern day slavery is receiving increased visibility around the globe.”

2016 Top Scorers
Among the 20 companies which received a combined compliance, affirmative, and transparency score of 86% and above are American Eagle Outfitters (95%), HP (93%), Intel (92%), Burberry (90%), Brooks Sports (90%), Patagonia (89%), GAP (88%), Papyrus (88%), Bath & Body Works (87%), Vans (87%), and Apple (86%). One top 20 company in particular stands out as to the significant progress it has made since 2015: NXP Semiconductors N.V. (87%) has shown a 71% improvement in the compliance area, and an 80% improvement concerning its affirmative practice. In November 2016, the Dutch global semiconductor manufacturer was announced as one of the winners of Thomson Reuters Foundation’s high-profile Stop Slavery Award, which recognizes businesses that have excelled in efforts to eradicate forced labor from their supply chains.

Evolving Transnational and Cross-Sector Efforts
“There are definitely flagship brands and industries leading the way in the anti-slavery area, and recent as well as upcoming laws in France, Australia, and other countries indicate the encouraging shift in the number of countries that are engaging on the issue”, iPoint-CEO Joerg Walden emphasizes. “However, in order to effectively tackle and eradicate human trafficking and modern-day slavery around the globe, joint efforts, learning from peers, supply-chain wide collaboration and cross-sector solutions such as the electronic Labor Rights Template (eLRT) are key.”

“The catch 22 is that brands can lead, but cannot complete the task in isolation,” Julia Ormond highlights in the report’s foreword. “Conversely, self-acknowledgement of slavery risk in supply chains would beget supply chain mapping, sector and cross-sector partnerships; to enable new solutions and anti-slavery measures to evolve and prove their value.” Ormond is founder and president of the Alliance to stop Slavery and End Trafficking (ASSET), which was instrumental in passing the California Transparency in Supply Chains Act and the UK Modern Slavery Act (2015).

The full report, entitled “Corporate Compliance with the California Transparency in Supply Chains Act: Anti-Slavery Performance in 2016”, can be downloaded from the iPoint website at http://www.ipoint-systems.com/ca-tisca-2016/

Evaluated companies can also request their individual scorecards with a breakdown of their disclosure compliance, affirmative practice, and transparency score, from this website.

Cascadian Farm Invests in Kernza® Perennial Grain with Promising Restorative Benefits for Farms

Tue, 03/07/2017 - 11:18am

Cascadian Farm, a pioneer in the organic food movement, and parent company General Mills today announced their work with The Land Institute (TLI) to help commercialize organic Kernza®, a perennial grain (intermediate wheatgrass) and wild relative of annual wheat, whose deep roots show promise to increase soil health, carbon sequestration, water retention and enhance surrounding wildlife habitat. The sweet- and nutty-tasting grain lends itself particularly well as an ingredient for cereal and snacks.

Cascadian Farm has agreed to purchase an initial amount of the perennial grain which allows TLI to arrange with farmers to plant on commercial-scale fields versus the test sized plots currently being grown.

“From our earliest days, Cascadian Farm has had a deep commitment to creating a positive relationship between food and the land where it is grown,” said Carla Vernón, Vice President of Cascadian Farm. “Now, 45 years since our inception, we are excited to incorporate the perennial grain Kernza® into our foods and our organic farming. We believe in the potential of this grain to make a positive ecological impact. And, this helps us live up to the expectation that our consumers have for Cascadian Farm and continue to be a pioneer in organic farming and land stewardship.”

In addition, General Mills approved a $500,000 charitable contribution to the Forever Green Initiative at the University of Minnesota in partnership with The Land Institute, to support advanced research to measure the potential of Kernza to significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions associated with food production, determine best management practices for sustainable production, and increase Kernza yields through breeding.

Since 2014, General Mills has worked alongside The Land Institute and University of Minnesota’s College of Food, Agricultural & Natural Resource Sciences to research the viability of Kernza intermediate wheatgrass as an earth-friendly, more sustainable grain. Kernza is unique in that its roots grow more than twice as deep (upwards of 10 feet) and are greater in density than current annual wheat roots. As a perennial, farmers who produce Kernza don’t need to till and replant the crop every year, minimizing disruption to the soil. Early research shows Kernza’s long roots may help preserve soil, enhance soil health, and reduce nitrogen movement into ground and surface waters.

“Research has demonstrated that the ecological benefits of Kernza perennial grain for agricultural systems are remarkable,” said Dr. Lee DeHaan, Lead Scientist at The Land Institute. “The length, size, and long life of the roots enable the grain to provide measurable soil health benefits and drought resistance while preventing soil erosion and storing critical nutrients – potentially turning agriculture into a soil-forming ecosystem. This partnership with General Mills and investment by Cascadian Farm, promises to be a significant boost, helping take this planet-friendly grain to the next level of viability as a food ingredient. Additionally we anticipate it will allow researchers to more precisely measure the impact of widespread Kernza perennial grain cultivation on carbon sequestration.”

Cascadian Farm has reserved an initial amount of Kernza perennial grain seed and plans to plant an acre test plot this fall on the Cascadian Farm home farm next to the Skagit River in Washington. The farm team will closely monitor and research how the grain fares in the unique temperate rainforest ecosystem in partnership with The Land Institute.

“Incorporating winter annual and perennial crops such as intermediate wheatgrass into agricultural landscapes offers progress towards water quality goals,” said Dr. Brian Buhr, Dean of the University of Minnesota’s College of Food, Agriculture and Natural Resource Sciences. “Support from General Mills is an example of a university – industry partnership that can help translate research into commercial application that in turn helps develop markets to spur further advancement in crops for both food use and ecosystem improvement.”

Cascadian Farm joined General Mills in 2000 as the company’s first organic brand. Cascadian Farm has a history of leading the company’s corporate sustainability efforts, and was recently one of 50 product brands to endorse Carbon Underground’s guidelines for “Regenerative Agriculture” to further the brand’s commitment to soil health by supporting farming practices that have a positive impact. Other General Mills’ brands who endorsed the guidelines include Annie’s and Epic.

General Mills is showcasing the company’s natural and organic brands at Natural Products Expo West 2017 March 8-12 in Booth 3846.

Mollie Wulff

The University of Minnesota’s Forever Green Initiative
The University of Minnesota’s Forever Green Initiative (UMFGI) mission is to diversify economic opportunities for Minnesota’s farmers through the production of new sources of food, feed, and high-value biomaterials without interfering with current annual production systems. Teams of faculty working on breeding, agronomics, ecology, food science and economics are developing new crops such as intermediate wheatgrass (Kernza®) to improve vital land and water resources; and, enable abundant grain production despite climate variability and new pest pressures. The new Forever Green crops will enhance rural communities by creating new industries and employment opportunities based on renewable agriculture resources. Visit forevergreen.umn.edu to learn more.

The Land Institute
The Land Institute is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization based in Salina, Kansas, that was founded in 1976. The Land Institute’s work, led by a team of agronomists and ecologists in multiple partnerships worldwide, is focused on developing perennial grains, pulses and oilseed bearing plants to be grown in ecologically intensified, diverse crop mixtures known as perennial polycultures. The Institute’s goal is to create an agriculture system that mimics natural systems in order to produce ample food and reduce or eliminate the negative impacts of industrial agriculture. Visit landinstitute.org to learn more.

About General Mills
General Mills is a leading global food company that serves the world by making food people love. Its brands include Cascadian Farm, Cheerios, Annie’s, Yoplait, Nature Valley, Fiber One, Haagen-Dazs, Betty Crocker, Pillsbury, Old El Paso, Wanchai Ferry, Yoki and more. Headquartered in Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA, General Mills had fiscal 2016 worldwide sales of US $17.6 billion, including the company’s US $1.0 billion proportionate share of joint-venture net sales. For more information about General Mills, visit www.generalmills.com.

New Research Finds Companies Saved $14 for Every $1 Invested in Reducing Food Waste

Tue, 03/07/2017 - 11:18am

One-third of all food produced in the world is never eaten, which has tremendous economic, social and environmental consequences. New research on behalf of Champions 12.3 finds that for every $1 companies invested to reduce food loss and waste, they saved $14 in operating costs - concrete evidence of the clear return on investment from food loss and waste reduction.

In a first-of-its kind analysis, The Business Case for Reducing Food Loss and Waste evaluated financial cost and benefit data for 1,200 sites across 700 companies in 17 countries, finding that nearly every site realized a positive return on their investment to reduce food waste. The types of investments companies made include: quantifying and monitoring food loss and waste, training staff on practices to reduce waste, changing food storage and handling processes, changing packaging to extend shelf-life, changing date labels, and other staff and technology investments.

The 14:1 return on investment comes from not buying food that would have been lost or wasted, increasing the share of food that is sold to customers, introducing new product lines made from food that otherwise would have been lost or wasted, reducing waste management costs and other savings. 

The Consumer Goods Forum is proud to be involved in Champions 12.3 and is very encouraged by the findings presented in the report as it has long stated that it makes business sense to identify, measure and reduce food waste from the supply chain – a stance solidified in 2015 with the CGF Food Waste Resolution.

The report recommends leaders from governments and business to take a “target, measure, act” approach to reduce the amount of food lost and wasted. First, every government and company should set a target to halve food loss and waste, in line with Target 12.3 of the Sustainable Development Goals. Second, governments and companies need to start measuring food loss and waste so they can identify hotspots and monitor progress over time. The recently launched Food Loss and Waste Accounting and Reporting Standard can help them do this. Third, leaders need to act, implementing programs and practices for reducing food loss and waste. 

In line with the “target, measure, act” approach, the CGF will continue collaborate and work with its partners and other key stakeholders to drive improvements in food loss and waste reduction. Additionally, the CGF will continue to provide vital implementation support for members committed to measuring and reporting on their food waste actions, such as our best practice sharing Food Waste Case Studies booklet. 


Peter Freedman, Managing Director of The Consumer Goods Forum:
"The CGF’s members are already committed to reducing food waste globally, as set out in our 2015 Food Waste Resolution. The compelling business case now presented by this research gives all of us in the consumer industry one more reason to accelerate implementation initiatives. We at the CGF are dedicated to providing practical implementation support and advice to our members, consistent with Champions 12.3’s target-measure-act approach."

Liz Goodwin, Senior Fellow and Director of Food Loss and Waste at World Resources Institute and the new Chair of the London Waste and Recycling Board:

“The success we saw in the United Kingdom proves that it’s possible to make real inroads in reducing food waste. The challenge now is to get every country, major city and company to realise that reducing food loss and waste is a win-win. There are far too many tough, intractable problems in the world – food loss and waste doesn’t have to be one of them.”

For more information, read the full report at https://champions123.org/the-business-case-for-reducing-food-loss-and-waste/.  



The Business Case for Reducing Food Loss and Waste was made possible by support from the Walmart Foundation and the Ministry of Economic Affairs of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. Lead authors were Craig Hanson (WRI) and Peter Mitchell (WRAP). 


Champions 12.3 is a coalition of nearly 40 leaders across government, business and civil society dedicated to inspiring ambition, mobilizing action, and accelerating progress toward achieving Target 12.3 of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals. Target 12.3 calls on the world to “halve per capita global food waste at the retail and consumer levels and reduce food losses along production and supply chains, including post-harvest losses” by 2030.

The Government of the Kingdom of the Netherlands and the World Resources Institute serve as co-secretariats of Champions 12.3. www.Champions123.org


The Consumer Goods Forum (“CGF”) is a global, parity-based industry network that is driven by its members to encourage the global adoption of practices and standards that serves the consumer goods industry worldwide. It brings together the CEOs and senior management of some 400 retailers, manufacturers, service providers, and other stakeholders across 70 countries, and it reflects the diversity of the industry in geography, size, product category and format. Its member companies have combined sales of EUR 3.5 trillion and directly employ nearly 10 million people, with a further 90 million related jobs estimated along the value chain. It is governed by its Board of Directors, which comprises more than 50 manufacturer and retailer CEOs.

For more information, please visit: http://www.theconsumergoodsforum.com/.

Pure Strategies Research Shows Growing Corporate Investment in Sustainability, Accelerating a Sustainable and Circular Economy

Tue, 03/07/2017 - 8:17am

New research from sustainability consulting firm, Pure Strategies, reveals growth in corporate spending in sustainability; more than 80 percent of surveyed companies expect a budget increase from 2016 to 2017 with a third anticipating double-digit growth.

The 153 survey respondents reported gaining approximately $800 million from increased sales and $800 million in manufacturing cost savings, with additional earnings in risk reduction, productivity gains, and enhanced growth opportunities adding up to billions in value.  Companies that report earning the most from sustainability plan to further increase their budgets, pointing to a key link between sustainability program investment and business benefits.

“The business case for sustainability has never been stronger,” noted Tim Greiner, Pure Strategies Managing Director.  “Investment is higher than ever, especially from the top performers.  But resources must shift to promoting more productive and regenerative systems, clean energy, safer materials, and fair opportunities.  These shifts are where change is most needed and where companies can find the greatest business value.”

There are encouraging signs of progress.  The number of companies using renewable energy is anticipated to nearly double, from 26 percent in 2016 to 46 percent of companies planning to have well-advanced efforts in 2019.  Top performing firms in the survey expect to rely on renewable power purchase agreements during that time period.

The survey respondents are embracing safer materials, with this area expected to grow from 64 percent of companies with well-advanced programs in 2016 to 79 percent in 2019. When asked about safer materials efforts, meeting retailer requirements ranked highest; with 70 percent of respondents reporting strong efforts in this area.

The number one retailer driving investment in sustainability is Walmart.  Survey respondents have consistently identified the world’s largest company as the leading retailer influencing company investment in sustainability.  In two previous Pure Strategies’ studies, Walmart was named the top retailer stimulating investment in product sustainability.  In the new survey, the company was named the top retailer driving investment in sustainability, receiving twice as many votes as Target, the second most cited retailer.

“This report shows that companies know sustainability is good business,” said Kathleen McLaughlin, Senior Vice President and Chief Sustainability Officer for Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. “Strengthening product supply chains and other systems today will benefit customers, business, and society tomorrow. We’re proud to be addressing major issues like climate change and livelihoods, while at the same time improving efficiency and strengthening our company.”


Pure Strategies’ fielded a survey, through research firm Verdantix, with 153 telephone interviews with sustainability leads in global companies with revenue of at least $250 million in these industries: food and beverage, apparel and footwear, life sciences and medical products, electronics and appliances, home care and cleaning, personal care and cosmetics, and general merchandise. Pure Strategies conducted similar studies in 2015 and 2013 that also informed the report.

About Pure Strategies:  Pure Strategies is a leading sustainability consulting firm founded in 1998 working to transform business to create a more sustainable future.  The company helps firms in the food, consumer products, retail, life sciences, and other sectors gain the business benefits of improved sustainability.  Areas of expertise include corporate sustainability strategy and CSR reporting, sustainable chemicals management, life cycle assessment, product sustainability and innovation, and supply chain sustainability assessment and engagement.   Clients include Walmart, Annie’s, Organic Valley, Ben & Jerry’s, Seventh Generation, Colgate-Palmolive, Biogen, MilliporeSigma, Radio Flyer, and others.  For more information, visit www.purestrategies.com/.

Chateau Maris Becomes Certified B Corporation

Tue, 03/07/2017 - 8:17am

Chateau Maris, a pioneer in organic and biodynamic wine making located in the Languedoc region of France, is proud to announce that it has become the first winery in Europe to become a B Corporation. It joins 2,000+ Certified B Corporations using the “power of business to benefit the greater good”.

Chateau Maris exceeded B Corp's rigorous standards of social and environmental performance, transparency and accountability having earned 90 points on the assessment, well over the 80-point minimum threshold. Chateau Maris’ full B Score Report is available to the public here.   

Chateau Maris has produced award winning organic and biodynamic wines for nearly two decades. Partners Kevin Parker and Robert Eden acquired the domain in 1997 and immediately began the conversion to biodynamic principles in an effort to restore life to the vines. Certification requires seven years of meeting rigorous standards and Maris received biodynamic certification in 2004. Maris also completed the world’s first vinification cellar made entirely of hemp, lime and sustainable wood in 2012. Maris has been called one of the Five Most Environmentally friendly Wineries in the World by Wine Spectator  Magazine. Partners Parker and Eden have been hailed as the ‘Biodynamic Apostles of the Languedoc”.

Since its inception, Chateau Maris has been committed to integrating sustainability into its business practices, in respect to their employees and the communities they work in, as well as in their own operations. In their journey to becoming a B Corp, Chateau Maris underwent a series of performance and legal measures, including an evaluation of their impact on stakeholders, and the incorporation of sustainability into its mission and governing documents.  

About Chateau Maris
Chateau Maris is a family owned boutique winery with a two decades old commitment to sustainable farming practices. Organic and biodynamic certified by the leading associations in Europe, Maris continues to develop and promote biodynamic practices around the world. The principals are also recognized leaders in the field of sustainability. Robert Eden is a Board Member of the Jane Goodall Foundation and frequent lecturer and speaker in the field of sustainable agriculture and biodynamics including most recently at the Paris Climate Accord. Kevin Parker was an early voice in the fight against climate change and worked closely with a number of organizations working to promote sustainable practices, including the Sustainable Accounting Standards Board (SASB), CDP (formerly known as Carbon Disclosure Project), Ceres’ Investor Network on Climate Risk, the Earth Institute at Columbia University, the National Resources Defense Council and the Potsdam Institute. Parker is the Managing Partner of Sustainable Insight Capital (SICM), an active equity manager with offices in New York, London and Sydney. SICM is also a proud partner with the MIT Joint Program on the Science and Policy of Global Change on a real time carbon counter, hosted on SICM’s website. The purpose of the counter is to show in the rapid rise in Atmospheric CO2 which is threatening the global economic model while posing challenges to current assumptions about risk and future asset valuations. 

About B Corp
B Corps are for-profit companies certified by the nonprofit B Lab to meet rigorous standards of social and environmental performance, accountability, and transparency. Today, there is a growing community of more than 2,000 Certified B Corps from 42 countries and over 120 industries working together toward 1 unifying goal: to redefine success in business.

About B Lab
B Lab is a nonprofit organization that serves a global movement to redefine success in business so that all companies compete not only to be the best in the world, but the best for the world. B Lab drives this systemic change through a number of interrelated initiatives: 1) building a community of Certified B Corporations to make it easier for all of us to tell the difference between “good companies” and good marketing; 2) passing legislation to accelerate growth of social entrepreneurship and impact investing (24 states have already passed benefit corporation legislation); 3) developing B Analytics, a customizable platform for investors to benchmark and report on the impact of their global equity portfolios; and 4) providing free, powerful tools for businesses to measure, compare and improve their social and environmental performance (more than 16,000 businesses use B Lab’s free B Impact Assessment). For more information, visit www.bcorporation.net.

Energy Saving Trees, The Florida Forest Service and Duke Energy Bring Lasting Environmental Benefits to the State of Florida

Tue, 03/07/2017 - 8:17am

Energy Saving Trees, a program of the Arbor Day Foundation, partnered with the Florida Forest Service and Duke Energy to bring valuable social and environmental impact to Duke Energy customers in the state of Florida. The program placed 2,200 trees in the hands of area residents, at no cost, throughout three counties in Central Florida (Orlando) area to promote energy conservation through community involvement.

“This Energy Saving Trees partnership exemplifies our commitment to the environment and our customers," said Harry Sideris, president, Duke Energy Florida. “Duke Energy Florida has been designated a Tree Line USA utility by the Arbor Day Foundation for 10 consecutive years. We strive to be good stewards while working to educate customers about planting the right tree in the right place so we can continue to provide safe and reliable energy.” 

Through the Energy Saving Trees programs, residents were able to use proprietary, interactive software to determine the best placement for the free trees on their property, taking into account the most beneficial spot for planting resulting in the highest potential for energy savings. Over the next 20 years, this impact of the 2,200 trees distributed is projected to include 2,191,508 kWh of energy saved, 22,612, 907 gallons of storm water filtered, 5,185,450 lbs. of carbon sequestered, and 14,534 lbs. of air pollutants absorbed.  The environmental value of this project is expected to be nearly half a million dollars over the next 20 years.

“This partnership between location corporations, state government agencies and our national nonprofit illustrates the importance of energy savings in our local communities,” said Kristen Bousquet of the Energy Saving Trees program.  “Not only were the partners excited about getting the trees into the hands of residents, but the local residents claimed the available trees in record time really illustrating the need for this program in their community.”

Since its inception in 2011, the Energy Savings Tree program has partnered with 48 communities and partners, planting more than 190,000 of trees throughout 37 of the United States.


About Energy Saving Trees

Energy-Saving Trees, a program of the Arbor Day Foundation is a research-based, easy-to-use online mapping tool that takes the guesswork out of tree planting. By entering simple information about your home and yard, the tool calculates where to specifically and strategically plant trees for the greatest energy- and money-saving benefits. Planting the right tree in the right place is key to maximizing the energy-saving benefits that trees provide. When planted properly, a single tree can save a homeowner up to 20% on energy costs. For more information, energysavingtrees.arborday.org

About The Florida Forest Service

The Florida Forest Service, a division of the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, manages more than 1 million acres of state forests and provides forest management assistance on more than 17 million acres of private and community forests. The Florida Forest Service is also responsible for protecting homes, forestland and natural resources from the devastating effects of wildfire on more than 26 million acres. Learn more at FloridaForestService.com.

Duke Energy

Headquartered in Charlotte, N.C., Duke Energy is one of the largest energy holding companies in the United States. Its Electric Utilities and Infrastructure business unit serves approximately 7.5 million customers located in six states in the Southeast and Midwest. The company’s Gas Utilities and Infrastructure business unit distributes natural gas to approximately 1.6 million customers in the Carolinas, Ohio, Kentucky and Tennessee. Its Commercial Renewables business unit operates a growing renewable energy portfolio across the United States.

Duke Energy is a Fortune 125 company traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol DUK. More information about the company is available at duke-energy.com

The Duke Energy News Center serves as a multimedia resource for journalists and features news releases, helpful links, photos and videos. Hosted by Duke Energy, illumination is an online destination for stories about people, innovations, and community and environmental topics. It also offers glimpses into the past and insights into the future of energy.

Follow Duke Energy on Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram and Facebook.

Republic Services Kicks-Off its First National Championship Truck ROAD-EO

Mon, 03/06/2017 - 5:15pm

Republic Services, Inc. (NYSE: RSG) celebrated its industry leading safety program by hosting its first national championship truck ROAD-EO competition, a rigorous skills competition for Republic’s top drivers and technicians from across the country. The competition involves a series of driving and diagnostic tests in challenging scenarios, in order to determine national champions in five distinct categories.

“Safety is at the center of everything we do,” said Don Slager, president and chief executive officer. “We recruit the best drivers with the strongest safety records and talented technicians with outstanding mechanical knowledge. Every day, these men and women are responsible for maintaining highly engineered, sophisticated pieces of heavy equipment in order to provide total reliability while safely navigating through our neighborhoods, serving our 14 million customers and collecting over 5 million tons of recycling and waste materials. What better way to celebrate our commitment to safety than by having our best drivers and technicians showcase their skills and really find out who’s the best-of-the-best.” 

The driving competition involves 40 drivers who earned the opportunity to compete in the National Championship by winning their respective local competitions. These top drivers are competing in one of four truck categories: Front Load, Side Load, Roll-Off and Rear Load. The competition consists of seven timed challenges that replicate the obstacles that drivers experience on their routes, from backing up in a narrow alleyway to navigating tight turns.

The technician competition involves 10 technicians from around the country who also won their respective local competitions. Their competition consists of diagnostic tests on a Roll-Off truck, where competitors are challenged with identifying 10 vehicle problems in an allotted amount of time.

In addition to bragging rights with their friends and fellow drivers and technicians, the first and second place winners in each of their respective categories will receive a cash award, additional paid time-off, and other special gifts and amenities.

Republic has been steadily building on its industry-leading safety program, beginning with a 42 percent better safety performance record than the industry average, based on Occupational Safety and Health Administration data, over the past eight years. Since 2009, Republic drivers have won 18 of the 24 National Waste & Recycling Association “Driver of the Year” awards. In addition, last year, over 12,000 employees earned Republic’s Dedicated to Safety Award, and more than 5,000 employees received Republic’s Dedicated to Excellence recognition. 

About Republic Services
Republic Services, Inc. is an industry leader in U.S. recycling and non-hazardous solid waste. Through its subsidiaries, Republic’s collection companies, recycling centers, transfer stations and landfills focus on providing effective solutions to make proper waste disposal effortless for its 14 million customers. We’ll handle it from here.™, the brand’s promise, lets customers know they can count on Republic to provide a superior experience while fostering a sustainable Blue Planet™ for future generations to enjoy a cleaner, safer and healthier world.

For more information, visit the Republic Services website at RepublicServices.com. “Like” Republic on Facebook at www.facebook.com/RepublicServices and follow on Twitter @RepublicService.

Certified Sustainability Practitioner Program, Advanced Edition 2016

Mon, 03/06/2017 - 5:15pm

This challenging 2-day training offered by Centre for Sustainability and Excellence (CSE) aims to give you all the latest tools and resources required to implement or upscale existing sustainability initiatives taking place in your organization. CSE courses are accredited and approved by IEMA (Institute of Environmental Management and Assessment), the leading international membership-based organization for Sustainability Professionals with more than 15,000 members based in 83 countries.

Upon successful completion of the course, trainees will be able to submit a 2-year sustainability action plan that will enable them to earn the globally recognized certification as CSR Practitioners.

Covers a great variety of trending topics, including:
1. Maintaining high confidence levels among stakeholders & implementing sustainability in Supply Chains
2. Introducing current global and local trends and laws regarding CSR, GHG emissions and International Global Standards & Guidelines 
3. Learning how to produce an effective CSR Report

Training will also provide explanations of: 
1. Sustainability Reporting: Key concepts used in the GRI G4 guidelines 
2. Ways to benefit from all the new trends and legislation on sustainability 
3. Tips for creating beneficial stakeholder and community engagement 
4. Several misconceptions and risks about Corporate Social Responsibility 
5. Ways to use the CDP system to mitigate environmental risk in supply chains

Who should attend: 
CSR Professionals, Sustainability and Environmental professionals, Public Relations Communication and Marketing Managers, Human Resources Managers, General Managers

Registration Includes: 
1. CSR-P Certification
2. Certified Learning materials approved by IEMA
3. Two days of instruction
4. Meals and refreshments
5. Carbon offsets for the entire group

CA Technologies Adam Elster Joins PENCIL Board of Directors

Mon, 03/06/2017 - 11:14am

Adam Elster, president, Global Field Operations at CA Technologies (NASDAQ: CA) has been named to the Board of Directors of PENCIL, a nonprofit leader in creating innovative and impactful models of collaboration between business and public schools.

 “We’re thrilled to welcome Adam to our Board of Directors,” said PENCIL’s president Gregg Betheil. “His passion for encouraging the next generation of STEM leaders has helped make programs like Guppy Tank possible. We welcome Adam to the PENCIL family and look forward to continuing our rewarding partnership with CA Technologies.”

“I am honored to join the PENCIL Board of Directors,” said Elster. “I believe strongly in PENCIL’s mission to improve public education opportunities for all students. I look forward to supporting their work through my involvement on the Board, and to reinforcing the advancement of STEM learning with another great Guppy Tank App Challenge this year. These kids are truly stars in the making and I have no doubt they have what it takes to ‘swim with the sharks.’”

During its decade long involvement with PENCIL, CA Technologies has made more than $1 million in contributions to support the organization’s programs. Through this partnership, CA also supports two East Harlem PENCIL schools, the Talented and Gifted School for Young Scholars (TAG) and Global Technology Preparatory (GTP), where the company and its employees are helping to develop unique science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education initiatives for students and building technology capacity. In addition, CA participates in the PENCIL Internship Program, providing internships for high school students interested in STEM careers.

In 2016, CA Technologies and PENCIL joined together to launch the Guppy Tank App Challenge, a program that was created and championed by Elster. Now in its second year, Guppy Tank is a year-long competition for New York City public school students in the 6th through 8th grades. Like television’s Shark Tank, Guppy Tank finalists develop and present an original working app, which is judged by a panel of experts. Students compete for prizes and scholarships to coding camps.

In his role at CA Technologies, Elster leads a high-performance team of experts who are helping businesses across fast-growing, emerging markets and some of the world’s most powerful and innovative companies shape the future. The team’s focus is on helping customers and partners leverage CA’s cutting-edge software to solve critical business challenges, adapt to changing IT demands, develop new business models and create new opportunities.

As a software executive who’s worn many hats across sales, services, development, support, operations and IT, Elster’s tenure covers a broad spectrum of executive leadership positions across CA. As executive vice president of worldwide sales and services, he created a modern, data-driven sales force that was instrumental in leading the company to continued growth. Before that, he led and accelerated CA’s mainframe and customer success businesses, and served as executive vice president of global business operations and transformation, owning all aspects of the company’s operating plan and business model transformation.


PENCIL is the leader in creating innovative and impactful models of collaboration between business and public schools. Working at the intersection of school needs and business expertise, we channel the best ideas, talent, and skills across sectors to improve school and student performance and enhance workforce pathways. Learn more at PENCIL.org.






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About CA Technologies

CA Technologies (NASDAQ:CA) creates software that fuels transformation for companies and enables them to seize the opportunities of the application economy. Software is at the heart of every business in every industry. From planning, to development, to management and security, CA is working with companies worldwide to change the way we live, transact, and communicate – across mobile, private and public cloud, distributed and mainframe environments. Learn more at www.ca.com.

For more information on CA’s philanthropic partnerships and programs, visit ca.com/csr.

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Cargill Grows Base of Certified Sustainable Independent Oil Palm Smallholders in Malaysia

Mon, 03/06/2017 - 11:14am

Cargill, in partnership with Wild Asia, has helped 141 independent oil palm smallholder farmers in Perak receive the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) certification under the Wild Asia Group Scheme (WAGS). Fifty of these farmers are from indigenous communities in Perak. This brings the total number of RSPO-certified independent smallholders under the WAGS to 175.

The planted land area for oil palm occupied by the 175 RSPO-certified farmers is 650 hectares. The group collectively produces more than 21,000 metric tons (MT) of certified Fresh Fruit Bunch (FFB) which yields close to 4,000 MT of crude palm oil, a three-fold increase from 2015.

WAGS is a program initiated in 2013 by Cargill, in collaboration with Solidaridad (until December 2015) to promote the production of certified sustainable palm oil (CSPO) in Malaysia, the second largest producer of palm oil in the world. It involves a full set of independent entities across the supply chain from independent oil palm smallholders, to FFB dealers, the mills and refiners. The program provides smallholders and dealers with technical assistance, better access to technology and the necessary expertise to help them adopt responsible and efficient farming practices to improve their crop yields and obtain the RSPO certification.

Mr. Khoo Woon Swee, an RSPO-certified independent smallholder under WAGS shared his experience on how he reduced his costs thanks to better farming practices: “After joining the Wild Asia Group Scheme, I've reduced the chemical application on my farm which has certainly helped me save cost on operations. My oil palm trees look so healthy and I am able to get more fruits. I have also learnt how to apply fertilizer more effectively and how to prevent pests without having to use excess chemicals.”

For FFB dealer Mr. Teoh Chai Hock, Director, Teik Joo Chan, the profile of his company has improved thanks to the program, "Our dealership's reputation has been raised, compared to other dealers, as we have moved to a different level in improving the quality of our FFB suppliers. The technical program provided has helped smallholders to improve the quality of fruits. With this improved quality, we as the dealer have better fruits to sell to the mill. We also enjoy the benefits of direct priority access to the mill offered for being a sustainable supplier.”

Independent smallholders are pivotal to the palm oil industry in Malaysia accounting for 16 per cent of the country’s total oil palm planted area in 2016. With RSPO certification, the smallholder farmers can contribute positively to the rural economy and their communities through responsible farming practices, better crop yields and access to the global CSPO supply chain.

“The certification underscores our commitment to support the inclusion of independent oil palm smallholders to build a transparent, traceable and sustainable palm oil supply chain from Malaysia. Our plan is to further develop a critical mass of smallholders and  create a long-term self-sustaining group scheme which can provide an uninterrupted growing supply of RSPO certified sustainable palm oil to meet the growing demand globally,” said Chai Wei Joo, managing director of Cargill Palm Products in Malaysia.

Dr. Reza Azmi, director and founder, Wild Asia said: "We are heartened that Cargill has continued to support this program and has realized that important relationships have been forged through this process, which can only lead to better support for smaller producers. This conviction has been steadfast given the relatively small numbers of producers in the program. We are confident this program will help refine the "right" approach and will be a guiding insight for how Cargill works with its suppliers - both big and small.”

The WAGS initiative reflects Cargill's strong commitment to help improve smallholder livelihoods by adopting sustainable practices and having greater access to markets. The program also reinforces our pledge to advance a responsible and fully traceable global palm oil supply chain. In Indonesia, our programs have, so far, helped 45 independent oil palm farmers become RSPO-certified.

About Cargill
Cargill provides food, agriculture, financial and industrial products and services to the world. Together with farmers, customers, governments and communities, we help people thrive by applying our insights and 150 years of experience. We have 150,000 employees in 70 countries who are committed to feeding the world in a responsible way, reducing environmental impact and improving the communities where we live and work. For more information, visit Cargill.com and our News Center.

About Cargill in Malaysia
Cargill has been conducting business in Malaysia since 1978. Today, our businesses include palm oil refining and production of value added products, grain and oilseeds distribution, animal nutrition, supply of specialty food ingredients and the sales and marketing of cocoa and chocolate products. Headquartered in Kuala Lumpur, Cargill currently employs about 812 people in 12 locations countrywide.
For more information, visit http://www.cargill.com.my.

About Wild Asia
Wild Asia believes that an understanding of social and environmental issues is fundamental to sustainable developments. Our mission is to inspire businesses to improve their social and environmental practices to meet and exceed global standards. We aim to create change from within the industry through direct engagements with businesses which have an impact on our environment and people. The Wild Asia Group Scheme (WAGS for smallholders) is one of our platforms for providing technical support to small independent oil palm producers. It aims to address the current gaps in the sustainable palm oil supply chain by strengthening relationships between smallholders, CPO mills, traders, and large corporations. For more information, visit http://oilpalm.wildasia.org

Benevity’s User-centric Technology Helps Microsoft Increase Employee Giving by 14 Percent

Fri, 03/03/2017 - 11:09pm

Benevity announces that Spark, its market-leading cloud solution for workplace giving and volunteering, was used to help Microsoft achieve record participation and donation volume in their employee giving program.

Microsoft released the results of their employee-giving program for 2016 on March 1. For the third straight year, the multinational technology company based in Redmond, Washington, surpassed their participation rate and total donations from the previous year and by meaningful measures.

“Microsoft is prolific at ingraining Goodness into the DNA of their culture,” said Bryan de Lottinville, founder and CEO of Benevity. “Over the last few years we’ve been working together, the Microsoft team have made smart program changes to remove barriers to participation. They have successfully leveraged the Spark technology to manage recurring giving through payroll, and, perhaps more importantly, empowered their employees to donate any amount of time or money to the causes that matter to them through a single, easy-to-use solution. We’re very proud to be a part of their success.”

In 2016, Microsoft employees raised $142 million for nearly 19,000 nonprofits and schools. Employees increased their support through time, money and talent vs. the previous year by $17 million, marking the greatest year-over-year increase in the program’s history and the sixth year in a row that employees have donated more than $100 million. In 2016, employees’ participation was at 74 percent, an increase of 3 percent compared with 2015.

“Technology has the power to uplift, to connect, and perhaps most important, to save lives,” said Mary Snapp, corporate vice president at Microsoft Philanthropies. “Together with our grantees, partners and employees around the world, Microsoft Philanthropies is using the power of technology to help those impacted by some of the world’s biggest challenges, including economic disruption, inequality, disasters, war and famine.”


About Benevity
Benevity, Inc., a certified B Corporation, is the global leader in online workplace giving, matching, volunteering and community investment software. Many of the world’s most iconic brands rely on Spark, Benevity’s award-winning Cloud solution, to power corporate “Goodness Programs” that attract, retain and engage today’s diverse workforce by connecting people to the causes that matter to them. With software that is available in 15 languages, to several million users around the world, Benevity has processed over a billion dollars in donations to more than 100,000 global charities. Learn more at www.benevity.com.