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Mastering the Art of Influence to Embed CSR & Sustainability

Mon, 06/04/2018 - 1:20pm

Applications are being accepted for the 2018/2019 Cohort of the Certificate in CSR & Sustainability at the University of St. Michael’s College in the University of Toronto.  “Participants in this program learn the essential Art of Influence as a cornerstone skill,” says Kathryn Cooper, Program Manager.  “Participants enrol to gain the practical knowledge and skills to embed Corporate Social Responsibility and Sustainability in their organizations, and soon learn that it takes passion, resilience and influence to transform their organizations.”  This program provides change makers with inspiration, connections and tools to make a difference.

The Art of Influence in the Graduate Certificate in CSR/Sustainability

 “The essential skill of influence is a reoccurring theme throughout the program; particularly as we developed and embedded CSR and Sustainability strategies with the business mentors in the room,” notes Paula Copeland, Director, Communications and Corporate Social Responsibility, Port of Saint John in New Brunswick.  CSR/Sustainability leaders from BMO Financial, Centerra Gold, The Co-operators, Scotiabank and others participated in roundtable discussions throughout the program.  “I’m heading home with a practical, relevant, tool kit of learning.  I’m so grateful to my organization for this experience.”

In this Post Graduate Certificate, participants work full time while earning this university credential through a blended learning approach.   Participants:

  • tackle and resolve a CSR/Sustainability challenge in their company in a major Action Project under the mentorship of subject matter expert faculty and co-learners;

  • learn Next Generation Practices from global thought leaders on the forefront of Sustainability and CSR;

  • use practical tools to assess, measure and integrate CSR and Sustainability into their organization;

  • experience the practical real world application of CSR and change management through ExperienceChange™ Simulations; and

  • join a prestigious community of St. Michael's Alumni in continuing education, sharing and networking.

The Certificate in CSR/Sustainability is taking applications for 2018/2019.  Over 50% of the program spaces have been reserved.  Participants come from Celestica, Canada Goose, Scotiabank, Frontiers North Adventures, North American Fur Auctions, Financial Executives International, Institute of Management Technology, Kids Help Phone, Me to We, The Riverwood Conservancy and others.  Only 15 places in the program remain.   

Module 1 will be held in Toronto, Canada, October 17 -19, 2018.  Module 2 and 3 will be held May, 2019 and November, 2019 respectively.   To apply, go to the Certificate in Corporate Social Responsibility/Sustainability Website.  See the program schedule, past graduates and news about the program.  The second intake Application Deadline is June 30th, 2018.

Influencing a Rapidly Changing World

Develop a viable CSR/Sustainability strategy, create a CSR report or refocus a community investment program.  Participants complete a major action project that directly impacts their business or career.  Next generation tools and practices introduced include Transformational Company research, the Embedding Project Assessment and Change Management Simulations applied to CSR/Sustainability implementation.  Another recent addition is alignment of the curriculum with the Body of Knowledge for the  International Society of Sustainability Professionals ISSP-Sustainability Associate Certification exam.   

The 13 month program is delivered in three on-site sessions (October, May, November) for a total of 11 days in Toronto.  In between sessions participants complete assignments, online learning modules and participate in Webinars, where graduates share their stories of CSR/Sustainability implementation.

“This program has already been so influential on my organization and career,” says Pamela Cone, VP Global Corporate Responsibility, Milliman in Washington. “Soon after joining the program, I left the role of Chief Marketing Officer to serve as VP, Global Corporate Responsibility Officer, a newly created position at the firm.  I recently presented my Module 2 Global Diversity and Inclusion Benchmarks evaluation to my senior leadership team to inform our strategy;  and last week, in fulfilling Assignment 2,  I passed the Sustainability Associate exam with the International Society of Sustainability Professionals.  My next accomplishment will be my Capstone project, which is a study of CSR/Sustainability practices in professional service firms.  This program is helping me make a real difference.”

Applications for the second intake of the program are being accepted through June 30th.  To apply, go to the Certificate in Corporate Social Responsibility/Sustainability Website

About the University of St. Michael’s College

The University of St. Michael’s College (USMC), federated with the University of Toronto, is a Catholic institution of higher learning founded by the Congregation of St. Basil, whose motto, “Teach me goodness, discipline and knowledge,” sets the tone for campus life.  

A Business Advisory Committee ensures the CSR program is relevant and experiential.  CSR/Sustainability Leaders from a broad range of industries from insurance to mining,  including: The Co-operators, BMO Financial,  Scotia Bank (ret.),  Vermillion Energy, Centerra Gold , Conference Board of Canada,  and Rotman School of Management (University of Toronto) provide advice and input.

For More Information Contact

Kathryn A. Cooper, Program Manager, Certificate in Corporate Social Responsibility & Sustainability
Phone: (519) 855-9491
Website: https://www.csr-stmikes.ca/

Green Mountain Energy Sun Club Celebrates Nine Nonprofit Projects With Cross-Country Summer Road Trip

Mon, 06/04/2018 - 1:20pm

Green Mountain Energy Sun Club is charging up and setting out on a cross-country trip to celebrate the completion of its nine new projects.  The nonprofit organization will be unveiling $1.3 million in innovative sustainability-related donations to nine nonprofits located across Texas, New York, Pennsylvania, and Illinois.

“Since announcing our 100th project last month, Sun Club has been busy developing projects with nonprofit partners across the nation,” said Mark Parsons, president of Green Mountain Energy Sun Club. “The Summer Road Trip highlights the diversity of the organizations that share the same core values. We are excited and proud to work with so many similarly-minded groups that recognize the value of educating our communities on importance and benefit of implementing these innovative green initiatives.”

The projects will be unveiled between June 2 and August 3 at community events to be held at each nonprofit’s location. Sun Club invites families to load up their luggage racks and join the journey to see these family-friendly destinations themselves.

The celebrations will include:

Teens for Food Justice, Bronx, NY
Unity and Community Event | Saturday, June 2 | 10:00-2:00

De Witt Clinton High School Students have built a high-capacity indoor hydroponic farm, the first of its kind in the New York school system, capable of growing 25,000 pounds of produce annually thanks to Sun Club’s $127,000 donation. In addition to the education provided through the youth-led nutrition and health outreach programming, the food will be served in the school’s cafeteria and distributed to surrounding high-needs communities.

Lehigh Gap Nature Center, Slatington, PA
Volunteer Appreciation Day | Sunday, June 10 | 12:00-3:00

Lehigh Gap Nature Center, a superfund site turned nature center, will go net-zero with a new 23.5 kW solar system that will produce enough electricity to cover 100% of the building’s energy needs. The system is funded by an $87,000 Sun Club donation and is expected to avoid 49,560 pounds of CO2 per year, or the amount it would take 5,247 trees to absorb.

New York Botanical Garden, Bronx, NY
Ribbon-Cutting Ceremony | Thursday, June 14 | 11:00-12:00

An 11 kW solar-powered pavilion, development of a sustainability education program for youth, and a composting restroom facility at the Edible Academy are being funded by a $100,000 Sun Club grant. In addition to being a beautiful destination to experience the outdoors, the gardens showcase conservation efforts by saving water and decreasing pollution to New York City’s only fresh waterway through the construction of a public composting restroom facility.

City of Arlington Downtown Library, Arlington, TX
Grand Opening | Saturday, June 16 | 10:00-6:00

The new George W. Hawkes Library in downtown Arlington will include a variety of sustainability features, thanks to a $400,000 Sun Club grant. Based on an innovative Learn, Practice, Implement model, the project provide visitors with the opportunity to learn about sustainability, practice through programming, and implement these ideas in their own lives. The project’s features include rooftop solar, a butterfly garden, two standalone dinner gardens, a sustainability shop with used tablet refurbishment, a bike share station, book and electronics recycling, a sustainability audio tour and a seed library.

Old Jail Art Center, Albany, TX
Family Festival | Saturday, June 23 |2:00-5:00

Installation of a 36 kW solar array and rainwater capturing cistern at the historic Texas jail turned museum will be funded by a $73,000 Sun Club grant. The installations will generate more than 40% of the Center’s annual energy needs while reducing the facility’s water usage. Additionally, the grant will enhance the Center’s existing education programs related to conservation, sustainability, and renewable energy.

Brookfield Zoo, Brookfield, IL
Summer Nights Opening Night | Friday, July 6 | 4:00-9:00

Fifty LED light poles will be installed across the Zoo’s grounds, thanks to a $300,000 Sun Club grant. The project will reduce the Zoo’s energy expenses while providing better lighting and increasing safety for Zoo visitors after dark at events like the Summer Nights series at the Zoo -- kicking off the first Friday in July.

Lankenau Medical Center, Wynnewood, PA

Fresh produce from Lankenau’s Deaver Wellness Garden makes its way to year-round farmers’ market for patients, visitors and employees. Multiple sustainable upgrades, including solar-powered vermicomposting and a solar-powered greenhouse, are being funded by a $50,000 Sun Club grant.

Common Ground Farm, Hudson Valley, NY
Firefly Festival | Saturday, July 28 | 4:00-9:00

Common Ground Farm, the host of the well-known Hudson Valley Beacon Farmers Market, is using a $86,000 Sun Club grant to upgrade its bus to a new, more efficient vehicle that will run on vegetable oil, and will install a solar-powered freezer, cooler, hot plates, and cookers. The grant also supports a solar food dryer to make and preserve the harvest, as well as cooking demonstrations.

Frick Park, Pittsburgh, PA
Sustainable Sipping Event | Friday, August 3 | 6:30-9:00

A large solar array that will play a big part in the woodland park’s cutting-edge, environmentally-sensitive new building is partially funded by a $63,000 Sun Club grant. The grant funded the installation of 16kW of solar, which will avoid 30,048 pounds of CO2 each year at Pittsburgh’s’ largest historical regional park.

About Sun Club 
The Green Mountain Energy Sun Club is a nonprofit organization advancing sustainability for people and our planet by investing in communities in Texas and the Northeast. Since the program’s founding in 2002, the Sun Club has donated more than $6.5 million to nearly 100 nonprofit organizations. As a 501 (c)(3) organization, the Sun Club focuses on projects related to renewable energy, energy efficiency, and resource conservation. Contributions to the Sun Club come from Green Mountain Energy’s residential customers in Texas, as well as from Green Mountain, its employees, and other Sun Club supporters. To learn more about the Sun Club, please visit gmesunclub.org.


Taproot Foundation Appoints Lindsay Firestone Gruber as President and CEO

Mon, 06/04/2018 - 1:20pm

 The Taproot Foundation Board of Directors announced today the appointment of Lindsay Firestone Gruber as the organization’s new President and CEO. Gruber has been on staff with Taproot for 14 years and has served as the organization’s Chief Program Officer since 2016.

“Lindsay is one of the top experts and champions of pro bono service in the world,” says Taproot founder Aaron Hurst. “She’s spent her entire career focused on building this movement. I know that under her leadership, Taproot will grow in new and progressive ways, ensuring that nonprofits and social change organizations around the globe have access to pro bono.”

“Lindsay rose to the top of a highly competitive candidate pool of over 200 applicants,” shared Taproot’s Board Co-Chair and interim CEO Sarah Mankowski. “Several traits distinguished Lindsay from her fellow applicants, most decisively the thoughtfulness of her vision, deep commitment to the mission, and her ability to strengthen our leadership position in the pro bono movement.”

Gruber began her tenure at the Taproot Foundation in 2004. In 2008, she founded Taproot’s Advisory Services department—the organization’s corporate consulting team—quickly growing the practice to become the global leader in corporate pro bono program design. Under her leadership as Chief Program Officer, Gruber has shepherded the development of innovative programs, including the new team projects which replaced the Service Grant program, and supported the expansion of the organization’s online platform Taproot+ worldwide.

“Now, more than ever, the nonprofit and social change organizations serving our communities need our help,” says Gruber. “I’m so proud of the work Taproot does each and every day to ensure that these organizations receive the meaningful pro bono support they need to thrive. And I’m so inspired by the incredible potential ahead of us as we push the field forward in expanding the accessibility of high-impact pro bono service."

Gruber is a widely recognized authority on nonprofit capacity-building, Corporate Social Responsibility, and cross-sector collaboration. A frequent public speaker in the field, she has been cited in The New York Times and The Washington Post, among others, and has authored and contributed to numerous thought leadership pieces, including “Key Trends to Watch: The Next Wave of Growth in Corporate Pro Bono Service,” “Pro Bono: Beyond Professional Service Firms” (in How to Give Half of Your Work Away for Free), and more.

Gruber holds a B.A. from Yale University and is an American Express Leadership Academy alumna.

About Taproot Foundation
Taproot Foundation, a national nonprofit, connects nonprofits and social change organizations with passionate, skilled volunteers who share their expertise pro bono. Taproot is creating a world where organizations dedicated to social change have full access—through pro bono service—to the marketing, strategy, HR, and IT resources they need to be most effective. Since 2001, Taproot’s skilled volunteers have served 6,000 social change organizations providing 1.6 million hours of work worth over $180 million in value. Taproot is located in New York City, Chicago, San Francisco Bay Area, and Los Angeles, and is leading a network of global pro bono providers in over 30 countries around the world. www.taprootfoundation.org

SC Johnson Nigeria Recognized as 2018 Best Workplace

Fri, 06/01/2018 - 12:58pm

SC Johnson Nigeria today announced it has been recognized as a 2018 Best Workplace by the Great Place to Work® Institute, earning the No. 3 spot in the ranking of small and medium-sized companies in Nigeria. This is the fourth year SC Johnson Nigeria has been named as a Best Workplace.

“I congratulate the SC Johnson Nigeria team on being recognized as a Best Workplace for the fourth time,” said Fisk Johnson, Chairman and CEO of SC Johnson. “This recognition is a result of the team’s strong level of engagement and commitment to our company values.”

The Nigeria team joins SC Johnson Italy, Venezuela, Germany, Greece, United Kingdom, Mexico, Canada, Central America, Turkey and Switzerland on the 2018 list of Best Workplaces. The Best Workplaces list is the world’s largest annual study of workplace excellence. The ranking is determined by the results of an employee opinion survey and information provided about company culture, programs and policies.

In the United States, SC Johnson has been included 29 times in Working Mother magazine’s list of the “100 Best Companies for Working Mothers” for its programs and benefits that support working parents including paid family leave, schedule flexibility and advancement of women.

Also in 2017, the company received a perfect score of 100 percent on the Human Rights Campaign Corporate Equality Index. This HRC honor marked the 13th time the company earned a perfect score and its 16th year of recognition on the workplace equality list.



SC Johnson Global Public Affairs



About SC Johnson

SC Johnson is a family company dedicated to innovative, high-quality products, excellence in the workplace and a long-term commitment to the environment and the communities in which it operates. Based in the USA, the company is one of the world's leading manufacturers of household cleaning products and products for home storage, air care, pest control and shoe care, as well as professional products. It markets such well-known brands as GLADE®, KIWI®, OFF!®, PLEDGE®, RAID®, SCRUBBING BUBBLES®, SHOUT®, WINDEX® and ZIPLOC® in the U.S. and beyond, with brands marketed outside the U.S. including AUTAN®, TANA®, BAMA®, BAYGON®, BRISE®, KABIKILLER®, KLEAR®, MR MUSCLE® and RIDSECT®. The 132-year-old company, which generates $10 billion in sales, employs approximately 13,000 people globally and sells products in virtually every country around the world. www.scjohnson.com

Global Sustain Announces Sustainability Forum 2018

Fri, 06/01/2018 - 9:58am

The “Sustainability Forum 2018, a training, networking and professional development event” organised by Global Sustain, will take place on October 5 at the NJV Athens Plaza Hotel, for the seventh consecutive year. 

Once more, the event will be the reference point for sustainability, with prominent speakers from all around the world coming from organisations such as: Cambridge University, Trucost - S&P Dow Jones Indices, Rockwool Group, Carbon Clear, Wharton School, AstraZeneca, FMC Corporation, Osiris Labs, Trillium Asset Management, Walgreens Boots Alliance, GRI and AHC Group. They will share their knowledge and expertise with the attendees, through specialised sessions.

Among topics discussed are:

  • Rewiring the economy – A 10-year plan to lay the foundations for a sustainable economy

  • How investors and corporates use S&P Dow Jones Sustainability Indexes and Trucost ESG Data Analytics with a focus on the SDGs. What Trucost has developed and how Rockwool has benefited

  • Setting corporate targets in line with science and not with fiction: all you need to know about Science-Based Targets (SBTs)

  • Diversity and inclusion in the workplace

  • AstraZeneca sustainability programme

  • Sustainability Advisory Councils – How do they add value

  • Corporate governance and sustainability functions

  • Organisational responsiveness to human rights issues

  • A roadmap for sustainability strategy

  • How ESG investing creates value and return

  • Building sustainable communities

  • GRI standards best practices

The Sustainability Forum 2018 brings together high-level professionals, such as: CEOs, general managers, process managers, sustainability professionals, CSR practitioners & managers, chief financial officers, HR and corporate affairs managers, PR specialists, marketing managers, communication experts, investors, environmental engineers, sustainability analysts, IT engineers, project managers, legal advisors, management systems auditors, quality assurance specialists, NGO’s staff, students etc. 

For a complete sustainability experience book your place in the SF Tour in Crete on October 6-7 and take the opportunity of educational training, networking and leisure activities.

More information on registration and the agenda is available on www.sustainabilityforum.gr. For discussions and latest updates about the Forum, visit the Sustainability Forum’s Facebook page.

  • Participants receive a certificate of attendance.

  • Program Registration Fee is eligible for LAEK/OAED funding. 

Supporters & Sponsors: 

Silver Sponsors: Alpha Bank, Genesis Pharma

Graphic Designer Partner: Greenmind

Printing Partner: Pressious Arvanitidis

Carbon Offset Partner: Green Evolution

Web Partner: Think Plus

Coffee Sponsor: Nespresso

Supporters: American-Hellenic Chamber of Commerce, Union of Listed Companies, Alliance for Greece, Hellenic- Dutch Association of Commerce & Industry, CEO Clubs, Hellenic Advertisers Association, European Reliance General Insurance Company S.A.

Communication Partners: Daily Fax, Marketing Week, Plant, Re:CSR, CSRweek, csrnews.gr

NRG Energy’s PositiveNRG Week Delivers People Power to Communities Nationwide

Thu, 05/31/2018 - 3:53pm

For the 11th consecutive year, NRG Energy, Inc. (NYSE:NRG) employees took to the communities where they live and work to volunteer in the name of “positiveNRG week,” the company’s annual week of volunteering. This year’s efforts resulted in nearly 1,000 NRG employees across 16 states volunteering nearly 5,000 hours to 71 charities and nonprofits.

“PositiveNRG is more than a corporate initiative, it’s our ethos.” said Jennifer Brunelle, Director, positiveNRG, NRG’s corporate philanthropy program. “We leverage our unique expertise to build lasting relationships that extend beyond times of need — we volunteer to nurture vibrant, resilient communities.”

Organizations served during positiveNRG week include these and more:

  • Fort Bend Senior Meals on Wheels
  • Houston Food Bank
  • March of Dimes
  • Homefront
  • Girlstart
  • Junior Achievement

Whether for environmental, human welfare, health and wellness or education, NRG’s positiveNRG program aims to achieve long-term, sustainable outcomes. Learn more about NRG’s charitable giving efforts.

About NRG

At NRG, we’re redefining power by putting customers at the center of everything we do. We create value by generating electricity and serving nearly 3 million residential and commercial customers through our portfolio of retail electricity brands. A Fortune 500 company, NRG delivers customer-focused solutions for managing electricity, while enhancing energy choice and working towards a sustainable energy future. More information is available at www.nrg.com. Connect with NRG on FacebookLinkedIn and follow us on Twitter @nrgenergy@nrginsight.


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(609) 524-5428

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Companies, Customers Expand Their Commitment to Forests, Climate Change in Kansas

Thu, 05/31/2018 - 12:53pm

Furthering their commitment to address climate change by protecting and restoring America’s forests, a coalition of companies including Dell, MaCher, New Jersey Natural Gas, Philadelphia Eagles, The North Face, U-Haul and other climate champions are contributing to the restoration of more than 660 acres at Marais des Cygnes National Wildlife Refuge, the latest phase of an ongoing effort to reforest more than 1,400 acres with native trees at the wildlife refuge.

Located 40 miles south of Kansas City, along the Marais des Cygnes River and the Kansas-Missouri border, the wildlife refuge is uniquely situated where the bottomland hardwood forests of the east converge with the tallgrass prairies of the Great Plains. Clearing of trees reduced and fragmented the forest on this 7,500-acre wildlife refuge, and the recent tree planting benefits the hundreds of bird species, fish, freshwater mussels and other wildlife that call this area home.

“The forest restoration partnership with The Conservation Fund has been a monumental success for the wildlife of the refuge, and for visitors who come to view, hunt or photograph them. We are extremely grateful for the support this project has provided,” said Patrick Martin, Refuge Manager of Marais des Cygnes National Wildlife Refuge, which will serve as the long-term steward of the reforested areas. 

Donations to The Conservation Fund’s carbon offsetting initiatives support the planting of more than 200,000 trees for this phase of the restoration, including native oak, hickory, pecan, persimmon and sycamore. As the trees mature, they will trap nearly 200,000 tons of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere – the equivalent of taking more than 40,000 cars off the road for a year. The trees also provide critical habitat for wildlife species such as the yellow-breasted chat and indigo bunting, as well as enhance wildlife-oriented recreation opportunities including hunting and birding. The effort is validated by Scientific Certification Systems at the Gold Level under the Climate, Community & Biodiversity Standards.

“The planet needs help, and none of us can do it alone,” said David Lear, Vice President of Sustainability for Dell. “Our customers in particular have made it clear: they want solutions that benefit people and the planet, and our partnership with The Conservation Fund is a part of that. We are proud to partner with them on projects like Marais des Cygnes and other locations to restore habitats, reduce carbon emissions, and plant the seeds of a sustainable future.”

“We feel, more than ever, that business plays a vital role in protecting and restoring our environment,” said Derek Hydon, President of MaCher USA, a certified B Corporation. “Since 2008, we have found no stronger partner than The Conservation Fund to help us, and our clients, invest in a compelling and impactful offset project and increase our collective ability to tackle some of the world’s most pressing problems.”

“We believe in the value of environmental stewardship and are committed to doing our part to reduce our carbon footprint, and help our customers do the same,” said Anne-Marie Peracchio, Director of Conservation and Clean Energy Policy at New Jersey Natural Gas. “In 2007, New Jersey Natural Gas joined with The Conservation Fund to launch our Planting for Our Future program to help our customers reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Through this partnership, over the last decade nearly 66,000 trees have been planted, including at Marais des Cygnes National Wildlife Refuge, to help eliminate over 65,000 tons of carbon emissions. We are proud to support the efforts of The Conservation Fund and plant a better future for us all.”

“The Conservation Fund has been pioneering cutting-edge environmental solutions to protect and maintain our country’s natural resources for more than 30 years,” said Don Smolenski, Philadelphia Eagles President. “In collaboration with The Conservation Fund, we strive to offset 100 percent of our carbon emissions associated with our team travel through a program that focuses on tree planting and reforestation funding. We are proud to further our partnership with The Conservation Fund and help support the restoration efforts at Marais des Cygnes National Wildlife Refuge.”

“The North Face was built on a love for the outdoors and we support strong action on climate,” said James Rogers, Director of Sustainability for The North Face. “An important part of that effort is offsetting the emissions from our U.S. owned and operated facilities, ecommerce shipping, and employee commuting. We recently expanded this program to offset the emissions from all our athlete expeditions through support of the Marais des Cygnes project.”

“U-Haul is proud of our 10-year partnership with The Conservation Fund, and equally proud of the nearly 2 million customers who have opted to offset emissions related to their moves through donations supporting tree planting at check out,” said Michelle Sullivan, Manager of Corporate Sustainability at U-Haul. “With truck and trailer sharing at the center of our business, these offsets create a positive impact for all the communities where we live, work and play.

Since our first restoration efforts in 2008, climate champions at Marais Des Cygnes National Wildlife Refuge have included: AOL; Bear Naked; C&S Wholesale Grocers; Cambridge Systematics; Dell; Delta; Emkay; Freshpet; Gaiam; Indianapolis Colts; Land Rover Portland; MaCher; Midea Group; Momentum Group; Monsanto; New Jersey Natural Gas; Philadelphia Eagles; Pictorial Offset; PREMIERETV; SEAT Planners; The Grupe Company; The Home Depot; The North Face; Timberland; U-Haul; United Talent Agency; William McDonough & Partners; Wimberly Allison Tong & Goo; Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies; foundations; and individual donors. 

“The legacy we are leaving at Marais des Cygnes National Wildlife Refuge demonstrates the critical leadership role companies play in revitalizing our forests—benefiting wildlife, water and our global climate,” said Jena Thompson Meredith, Vice President of Business Partnerships at The Conservation Fund. “This public-private collaboration includes the best of our natural resource agencies and some of the world’s most progressive companies—many of whom have invited their customers to join them—in setting and achieving ambitious goals for our planet. The results are measurable, lasting and positive.” 

# # # 

About The Conservation Fund

At The Conservation Fund, we make conservation work for America. By creating solutions that make environmental and economic sense, we are redefining conservation to demonstrate its essential role in our future prosperity. Top-ranked for efficiency and effectiveness, we have worked in all 50 states to protect nearly eight million acres of land since 1985. www.conservationfund.org

Walmart’s New Education Benefit Puts Cap and Gown Within Reach for Associates

Thu, 05/31/2018 - 12:53pm

Walmart has unveiled a new associate education benefit designed to remove barriers to college enrollment and graduation. The program is another step in the company’s commitment to train and educate workers to advance in the jobs of today - and the future.

In partnership with Guild Education, a leading education benefits platform, Walmart associates will be able to access affordable, high-quality associate’s and bachelor’s degrees in Business or Supply Chain Management. Under the program, which will be made available to all Walmart U.S. and Sam’s Club associates, Walmart will subsidize the cost of higher education, beyond financial aid and an associate contribution equivalent to $1 a day. Degrees will be offered through the University of Florida, Brandman University and Bellevue University – nonprofit schools selected for their focus and strong outcomes on serving working adult learners.

Investing in the personal and professional success of our associates is vital to Walmart’s future success. We know training and learning opportunities empower associates to deliver for customers while growing and advancing in their careers.

- Greg Foran, CEO of Walmart U.S.

Highlights of the program include:

Under the program, the associate contribution toward a college degree would be just $1 a day. Walmart will subsidize the cost of tuition, books and fees, eliminating the need for student loan debt and addressing one the biggest hurdles that keep people from returning to college.

In addition, associates can jumpstart their path to completion by earning college credit for paid training at Walmart Academies. Hundreds of thousands of associates have already undergone skills training equivalent to more than $210 million in college credits. This will save associates both time and money in completing their degree.

Walmart selected universities with a specialized focus on serving working adult learners and top outcomes for the working adult demographic. In addition, Walmart is collaborating with these universities to tailor curriculum to relevant skills for jobs and advancement across industries for today and in the future.

Working with three universities that include both selective and open-access programs, Walmart provides all associates a place to start. The goal is for all associates who apply for admission to be accepted. These universities have a programmatic dedication to high graduation rates for their students.

From day one, associates will receive support from a Guild Education coach on everything from the application and enrollment process to selecting the appropriate degree. This kind of academic counseling has been shown to help students complete their degree.

“Walmart has kicked off what might be the nation’s most scalable approach to creating educational opportunity for America’s workforce, now available to its U.S. associates and their families,” said Rachel Carlson, chief executive officer and co-founder of Guild Education. “Walmart is also leading innovation at the intersection of workforce development and higher education by helping associates earn college credit for their on-the-job training.”

Walmart is also committed to an independent evaluation of the outcome of its new offering. The Lumina Foundation has agreed to research and measure the impact and effectiveness of the program and will work with the Walmart team to share findings.

“Walmart is making a significant investment in its workforce that will not just help the company, but help shift how our society moves toward more affordable and accessible pathways for individuals to be recognized and rewarded for their work-based skills and knowledge, resulting in high-quality, relevant credentials. We applaud Walmart’s efforts,” said Jamie Merisotis, president and chief executive officer of the Lumina Foundation.

“I commend Walmart for trying an innovative strategy to increase the skills and post-secondary education of its workers and for committing to have the Lumina Foundation conduct an independent evaluation of the program. I look forward to studying Lumina’s findings,” said Alan Krueger, professor of economics, Princeton University.

Walmart’s new education program underscores the importance of education in helping associates prepare for the future. College degrees in supply chain management or business are parts of a broader approach to preparing the workforce to succeed today and into the future. Initiatives include:

  • Developing a broad suite of offerings across roles and levels to help associates from frontline to executive levels develop job-related skills for advancement.
  • Covering the complete cost for associates and eligible family members for earning a high school diploma or GED.
  • Offering associates and eligible family members have access to tuition discounts, financial aid assistance and education coaching across Guild’s broader network of more than 80 accredited, nonprofit university partners, including schools such as The Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech), Columbia University and Purdue University. These institutions are made available through EdX.
  • Giving access to professional development courses including college prep, leadership training and ESL.

These programs are available to full-time, part-time and salaried Walmart U.S. store, supply chain, home office and Sam’s Club associates.

Walmart associates can learn more by visting WalmartOne.

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

Consumers Energy, Grand Rapids Public Schools Announce Finalists for Sixth Annual Student Art Competition

Thu, 05/31/2018 - 12:53pm

Organizers have announced the 10 finalists out of nearly 50 entries from Grand Rapids Public Schools student artists who will have their energy-related art work highlighted during this fall’s ArtPrize competition through collaboration with the school district and Consumers Energy.

This morning, representatives from the school’s administration, Consumers Energy, ArtPrize and the city of Grand Rapids gathered to celebrate 49 high school entries submitted with a theme of energy efficiency, renewable energy and sustainability. Media include oil pastels, pencil/charcoal drawing, painting and mixed media. 

“The Grand Rapids community has long been committed to renewable energy and sustainability,” Lauren Youngdahl Snyder, vice president of customer experience for Consumers Energy, told students and others gathered at today’s event. “Consumers Energy shares that commitment. Recently, we announced our Clean Energy Goals, which includes a commitment to, by 2040, cut carbon emissions by 80 percent and eliminate the use of coal to generate electricity.  The artwork displayed today certainly shows students also understand the importance of protecting our environment.”

This is the sixth year of the SmartArt competition, which stands for Students Making Art with a Renewable Theme.

At a student assembly a week ago, GRPS, Consumers Energy and ArtPrize announced the 20 SmartArt semi-finalists. Those students were invited to the ArtPrize HUB for today’s announcement. The Top 10 artwork was on display afterward and will be displayed during the tenth annual ArtPrize, Sept. 19-Oct. 7. Also during ArtPrize, a large banner displaying the Top 10 will be on display outside a Consumers Energy electric substation wall at Fulton Street and Market Avenue.

The Top 20 were selected by Grand Rapids Public Schools’ officials. The 10 finalists were then judged by a panel of art professionals from Kendall College of Art & Design at Ferris State University, Grand Rapids Community College and Grand Valley State University.  The top winner and the winner of a “people’s choice” online contest are scheduled to be announced during the ArtPrize Final 20 announcement on Sept. 30 at Rosa Parks Circle, sponsored by Consumers Energy.

The 10 finalists announced Wednesday, along with their artwork title, grade, and high school are, in alphabetical order:

  • Lana deGraaf, Solar Bus, 10th, City High Middle School;
  • Emanuel Galindo-Peralta, 60 %, 9th, CA Frost Environmental Science Academy;
  • Rose Gerson, Colors of the Wind, 10th, City High Middle School;
  • Jazmine Knight, Dream in Action, 11th, City High Middle School;
  • Lillian Kuipers, Polluted Night, 11th, City High Middle School;
  • Elena Mealing, Neglected Connection, 11th, City High Middle School;
  • Rukundo Nshimiyimana, Hope, 11th, Innovation Central;
  • Jenna Sherwin,  Light Up The World, 11th, City High Middle School;
  • Alex Van Kuiken, Empire, 11th, City High Middle School;
  • Madison Younts, Our Planet In Bloom, 11th, City High Middle School

“Now in its sixth year, the SmartArt contest has evolved into an annual opportunity that our students and fine arts teachers look forward to with great excitement,” said Grand Rapids Public Schools Superintendent Teresa Weatherall Neal. “I am grateful to be working with Consumers Energy to blend art with sustainability and environmental stewardship -- then elevating the students’ work for the entire world to see as part of ArtPrize 10 and the final 20 announcement.”

The contest’s top winner will receive a $1,000 college scholarship courtesy of Consumers Energy.

ArtPrize is an open, independently organized international art competition which takes place for 19 days each fall in Grand Rapids. Each year, $500,000 in prizes are awarded, which include a $200,000 prize awarded entirely by public vote and another $200,000 prize awarded by a jury of art experts. Consumers Energy has been an ArtPrize sponsor since 2011.

“Engaging visitors of all ages in meaningful learning opportunities lies at the heart of the ArtPrize event. Thanks to sponsors like Consumers Energy, our city transforms each fall into a place for generations of artists and art-lovers to explore and create contemporary art,” said Becca Guyette, ArtPrize director of learning and engagement. “The SmartArt competition continues to be a shining example of how ArtPrize can serve as a stage to celebrate the creativity and ingenuity of our city’s youth.”

For more information on ArtPrize, visit www.artprize.org.

About Consumers Energy

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

Media Contacts

Consumers Energy: Roger Morgenstern, 616-530-4364

Grand Rapids Public Schools: John Helmholdt, 616-819-2149

ArtPrize: Jaenell Woods, 616-214-7921

Check Out Consumers Energy on Social Media

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

Twitter: https://twitter.com/consumersenergy

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

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

Shiply.com Celebrates Its 10th Birthday

Thu, 05/31/2018 - 12:53pm

On 19th May 2018, online delivery marketplace Shiply.com celebrated 10 years since CEO Robert Matthams founded the company in 2008.

When receiving a pool table delivery at his accommodation whilst studying at the University of Manchester, he got chatting to the delivery driver and was shocked to discover that they’d be driving an empty vehicle for the 200 mile return trip to London. After conducting some research Matthams found that this was sadly a common problem, and found that 25% of British lorries were running empty, and 50% were only part-full.

So Matthams decided to do something about it, and Shiply.com was started to help fill these empty delivery vehicles with things that needed to be moved by the general public. A symbiotic relationship that makes the journeys of delivery companies more cost-effective whilst offering lower prices to the public using this otherwise unused vehicle space. 

Users add a delivery request to the Shiply website with details of the category of delivery (car, pet, furniture, house move, etc), the pick-up and drop-off locations and their preferred dates for delivery. Once the listing is live, transport companies can browse the listings for opportunities for extra delivery work along routes that match those that they are already travelling along. For users, Shiply is an affordable and easy way to arrange a delivery as it can offer prices of up to 75% cheaper than standard delivery rates, and for the transport companies it is an easy way to make some extra money and prevent wasted fuel by filling any empty vehicle space they have.

Shiply is also kind to the environment as it prevents wasting fuel on empty journeys and prevents adding an extra delivery vehicle to the road. In Shiply’s early days, Matthams won several awards for Shiply’s environmental benefits including winning the Green Achiever Award and the Postcode Lottery Green Challenge. By filling spare space in delivery vehicles, Shiply has saved an estimated 105 million kgs of CO2 in it’s 10 years, the equivalent of over 11,815,000 gallons of gasoline consumed in one year[1]

Matthams also won several awards as an entrepreneur including the Nectar Small Business Awards’ Startup of the Year and Entrepreneur of the Year at the BT Business Essence of the Entrepreneur Awards in 2009.

In 2009, Shiply became an eBay-compatible application, which means that items bought and sold on eBay can be listed even more easily on Shiply. By entering the ebay number into Shiply’s online form, the fields are automatically populated with the item details from the eBay listing with the item information including measurements and the required pick-up and delivery locations.

Shiply now has over 100,000 transport companies registered and is active across Europe, Australia and Canada.


[1] https://www.epa.gov/energy/greenhouse-gas-equivalencies-calculator

Leadership Organizations to Convene in Oakland to Accelerate the Clean Economy

Thu, 05/31/2018 - 12:53pm

The VERGE 18 conference and expo returns to the Bay Area this October as the leading platform for accelerating the clean economy, attracting an A-list of allied organizations that will be holding their own events concurrently.

The events include Cleantech Open’s Western Region Awards & Innovation Showcase, the Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s Circular Economy 100 (CE100) Fall Acceleration Workshop and the Renewable Energy Buyers Alliance (REBA) Summit.

In partnership with these diverse leadership organizations, VERGE 18 will convene an influential audience of more than 2,500 leaders — from companies and utilities, city and regional governments, policy makers, NGOs, solution providers and startups — seeking to build an equitable, inclusive economy that increases economic and community resilience.

Since 2012, VERGE has broken down silos and convened leaders from across industries and sectors to explore scalable, cross-cutting solutions at the intersection of technology and sustainability. This year, VERGE will take a deep-dive into the most dynamic and influential markets, through three concurrent conferences — VERGE Circular, VERGE Energy and VERGE Transport.

“With fast-changing technologies and growing global risks forcing companies and cities to become more adaptive and business models to evolve and diversify, now is an unprecedented time of opportunity to forge new partnerships and scale solutions that will address global climate change. The co-location of these four events will accelerate the opportunity to develop cross-cutting, game-changing solutions,” said Eric Faurot, CEO of GreenBiz Group.

Cleantech Open will host the Western Region Awards & Innovation Showcase on the final day of VERGE, October 18. The capstone event of Cleantech Open’s annual accelerator program in the West serves as an opportunity to highlight and celebrate the progress of more than 45 participating startups, and to connect them with the partners who will support them on their path to market — investors, corporate partners and other participants in the cleantech commercialization support ecosystem.

“The alignment with VERGE makes so much sense,” said Ian Foraker, Western Region Director of Cleantech Open. “Like VERGE, Cleantech Open is dedicated to building the sustainable economy of the future, and we do this through the cultivation of a value-creating community of committed professionals. We look forward to connecting with the VERGE community to advance our shared vision.”

The CE100 Acceleration Workshop, organized by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, will take place immediately before VERGE 18, on October 15-16, and bring together corporations, governments and cities, academic institutions, emerging innovators and affiliates, and other selected organizations committed to transitioning to a circular economy.

“As global advocates of the transition to a circular economy, the Ellen MacArthur Foundation is extremely pleased to see the topic emerge as a focal point for VERGE 18, especially given the unique role that technology plays as an enabler of change,” said Del Hudson, Head of North America Operations for Ellen MacArthur Foundation. “We are delighted to host our Fall CE100 Acceleration Workshop in Oakland, to catalyze new connections between CE100 members and the broader VERGE community.”

The REBA Summit, also taking place immediately before VERGE 18 on October 14-16, will accelerate the fast-growing market for renewable energy transactions — bringing together more than 400 renewable energy buyers and solution providers to develop new partnerships and collaboratively tackle barriers and opportunities to continue growing the market.

REBA is a coalition of leadership organizations with deep expertise in transforming energy markets and works with large renewable energy buyers, including corporations, universities, cities, hospitals and local agencies. The coalition is made up of BSR’s Future of Internet Power, Rocky Mountain Institute’s Business Renewables Center, World Resources Institute’s Electricity Initiative and World Wildlife Fund’s Renewable Energy Buyers’ Principles (also supported by World Resources Institute). 

“REBA is thrilled to co-locate with VERGE for a second year,” said Marty Spitzer, Senior Director of Climate and Renewable Energy for World Wildlife Fund. “Our aligned momentum generates greater impact and will again provide a space for renewable energy buyers to share challenges and explore promising opportunities with leading developers, utilities and solution providers.”

To learn more about VERGE 18, click here [https://goo.gl/y74s83].

To learn more about Cleantech Open, click here: [https://cleantechopen.org/]

To learn more about the CE100 Program and membership, click here: [https://www.ellenmacarthurfoundation.org/ce100]

To learn more about REBA, click here: [http://rebuyers.org/

GreenBiz Group is the leading media and events company at the intersection of business, sustainability and innovation. We view climate change and other global environmental challenges as existential threats to business and society, as well as significant opportunities. We help our audiences — large and small companies, utilities, government agencies and others — navigate the emerging technologies, business practices, policies and societal expectations they need to know to succeed. We achieve this through media, events, research and a membership network of corporate sustainability professionals. www.greenbiz.com

The Ellen MacArthur Foundation was established in 2010 with the aim of accelerating the transition to the circular economy. Since its creation the charity has emerged as a global thought leader, establishing the circular economy on the agenda of decision makers across business, government and academia. https://www.ellenmacarthurfoundation.org/

Cleantech Open is network of mission-driven cleantech professionals who volunteer their time to give aspiring cleantech entrepreneurs — often scientists and engineers — the basic business knowledge and support they need to move their innovative technologies out of the lab and into the market. Cleantech Open’s mission is to find, fund and foster entrepreneurs with big ideas that address today’s most urgent energy, environmental, and economic challenges. https://cleantechopen.org/ 

We power the large buyer movement toward renewable energy. REBA is helping grow large-buyer demand for renewable power and helping utilities and others meet it. Energy buyers like corporations, cities, and public institutions want to power their operations with clean energy but navigating the path to renewables in the US and international markets is harder than it should be. REBA exists to make the transition easier by helping companies understand the benefits of moving to renewables, connecting large buyer demand to renewable energy supply, and helping utilities better understand and serve the needs of all energy buyers. http://rebuyers.org/

Benevity Study Links Employee-Centric Corporate Goodness Programs to Big Gains in Retention

Thu, 05/31/2018 - 9:52am

Benevity, Inc., the global leader in corporate social responsibility and employee engagement software, today announced the results of the Benevity Engagement Study, an analysis of the link between participation in corporate Goodness programs and employee retention within a large cohort of Fortune 1000 companies. The study, which examined the activity of more than 2 million users on the Benevity platform, found that turnover dropped by 57 percent in the employee group most deeply connected to their companies’ giving and volunteering efforts. 

Studies show that the total cost of losing an employee can range from tens of thousands of dollars to 1.5-2 times an employee’s annual salary, which for U.S. companies totals more than $160 billion a year. To the extent that employee turnover is often a proxy for how engaged employees are with their company, these costs are likely understated. Gallup estimates that actively disengaged employees cost the U.S. up to $600 billion every year in lost productivity. 

Findings from the Benevity Engagement Study underscore the true value of employee-centric Goodness programs that embed prosocial behavior like giving, volunteering, and taking action on social and environmental issues, into a company’s human capital management strategies.

“This is a revealing study that arms leaders with data that proves the value of their social impact initiatives for their company’s HR and broader corporate goals”, said Bryan de Lottinville, Benevity Founder and CEO. “These days, people don’t necessarily leave or disengage with a company or a business vertical, they leave a culture and values that they perceive are misaligned. Inclusive and user-centric corporate Goodness programs not only help to avoid that, they can become a source of differentiation and attraction for employees.”

Methodology: Benevity analyzed a global dataset of more than 2 million employees from 118 companies that have integrated corporate giving and volunteering programs. They were then segmented based on activity in the preceding 365 days up to either removal from the platform or having a continued presence. The study found the following turnover rates for each category, with the giving and volunteering cohort showing far greater retention than the cohort that did not participate in Goodness-related activities:

  • Employees who neither donated or volunteered: 28% turnover
  • Employees who only donated money: 18% turnover
  • Employees who only volunteered time: 17% turnover
  • Employees who both donated money and volunteered time: 12% turnover 

Companies in this dataset displayed an average churn rate that is well below today’s national average.

Many of Benevity’s 450 enterprise clients—including companies like Microsoft and Prudential—are tapping into the power of Goodness to more deeply engage their employees, integrate CSR and HR objectives, and infuse their organizations with passion and purpose. For example, Microsoft’s employee giving programis so successful that it is now viewed as a keystone benefit for its workforce and an attractive draw for job applicants. 

“The passion of our team and the infrastructure of this program are what make it happen,” said Mary Snapp, corporate vice president and head of Microsoft Philanthropies. “We’ve become so flexible in the ways that we invite people to give and so nimble responding to causes people care about that we are actually attracting purpose-driven employees to work at this company because of the history, legacy, and strength of the giving program.”

“At Prudential, our HR and CSR teams unite around the common goal of infusing purpose into our workplace culture to better attract, retain and engage top talent, which directly ties to the success of our company,” says Spring Lacy, Vice President of Corporate and Community Engagement at Prudential. “By building programs that are engaging and inclusive, data shows that participating Prudential employees are more engaged, prouder of the organization and overall had higher retention rates.”

“Today, companies are expected to pursue something more than profit. And employees are seeking a greater sense of purpose, meaning and impact at work,” added de Lottinville. “Benevity clients who are most successful in this area embed ‘Goodness’ into their employee experience through user-centred technology that empowers people to support the causes they are most passionate about. Thisholistic, grassroots approach not only helps to attract key talent and reduce churn but also helps to more deeply connect employees to their work, companies and communities. It is truly the recipe for doing well by doing good.”

About Benevity
Benevity, Inc., a 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 Benevity’s award-winning cloud solutions 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 17 languages, to more than four million users around the world, Benevity has processed over 2 billion dollars in donations and 10 million hours of volunteering time this year to almost 150,000 charities worldwide.

Media Contact
Amanda Orr
Kickstart for Benevity

Chevron Shareholders Slam CEO Mike Wirth Over $12B Ecuador Pollution Disaster At Annual Meeting

Wed, 05/30/2018 - 6:51pm

Several Chevron shareholders and environmental activists pressed hard against Chevron CEO Mike Wirth today at the company’s annual meeting, with one accusing the company of “killing off Indigenous peoples” via neglect by failing to pay a $12 billion environmental judgment owed to rainforest communities in Ecuador’s Amazon. In another rebuke to Wirth, two shareholder resolutions stemming from the Ecuador litigation received substantial support.

Pressed by five different shareholders over the Ecuador disaster at the meeting, Wirth refused to take responsibility for the fact his company was found by three layers of courts in Ecuador to have dumped billions of gallons of toxic waste onto Indigenous ancestral lands, creating an outbreak of childhood leukemia and other cancers that has killed or sickened thousands of people. Wirth instead blamed his company’s woes on “American trial lawyers who are misleading” the public.

“Wirth’s performance today was pathetic on a number of levels and is further evidence of a Chevron misinformation campaign designed to mislead shareholders and distract attention from the company’s $12 billion liability in Ecuador,” said Patricio Salazar, the lead Ecuadorian lawyer for the affected Indigenous peoples and farmer communities who won the judgment in 2013. Despite insisting the trial take place in Ecuador, Chevron has refused to pay the judgment and has threatened the Indigenous peoples with a “lifetime of litigation” unless they drop the case.

In the meantime, two shareholder resolutions stemming from the Ecuador liability received huge support despite being actively opposed by management. One resolution, calling for special shareholder meetings, received 34% support compared to 31% last year; another calling for the appointment of a Board member with environmental expertise received 26% support, compared to 20% for the same resolution last year. Any shareholder resolution that receives more than 10% support is considered a success given that management controls the majority of voting shares, say observers. 

Simon Billeness of CSR Strategy Group, who works with Chevron shareholders, called the results a “significant setback” for company management.  He also pointed out that an on-line petition started by the activist group Avaaz that supports the Ecuadorians already had attracted close to 900,000 signatures, another blow to the company. In all, 36 institutional Chevron shareholders representing $109b in assets under management called on Wirth to explore options to settle the Ecuador case as a way to minimize future shareholder risk. 

And, a recent video message from Pink Floyd co-founder Roger Waters called on the new CEO to provide “justice for the indigenous people of Ecuador.”

“One thing that is clear from this meeting is that the global movement to hold Chevron accountable for the massive harm it caused in Ecuador is gathering major strength among shareholders and citizen activists,” said Billenness.  “Chevron is known more and more as a corrupt company that fabricates evidence and disrespects Indigenous groups to evade paying environmental liabilities. That’s a terrible reputation for an oil company to have as it seeks reserves around the world; it certainly puts Chevron at a competitive disadvantage and poses major financial risks for company shareholders.”

Paul Paz y Miño, Associate Director of the environmental group Amazon Watch, said: “Wirth seemed content to parrot the lies of his predecessor and refused to acknowledge Chevron’s responsibility for the Ecuador disaster – a fact which the company has already admitted in court. Instead, in the face of repeated pressure from shareholders to remediate the environmental disaster and provide health care for the many thousands of people who are suffering, Wirth crassly blamed lawyers for the Ecuadorians. The reference by Wirth to Chevron’s discredited RICO decision not only failed to address legitimate shareholder concerns, but demonstrates how Chevron’s strategy of endless litigation has dehumanized company management to the people it poisoned in the Amazon.”

Carmen Cartuche, the President of the Coalition for the Defense of the Amazon (FDA), the group that brought the lawsuit, said, “We are thrilled to receive the support of shareholders in pointing out that Wirth is not only morally wrong by attacking indigenous groups in Ecuador, but that he is actively misleading the financial markets regarding the growing risk faced by the company from our litigation. We are more determined than ever to carry this campaign forward to do a comprehensive clean-up of our ancestral lands. We will not stop until the full amount of the judgment is collected.”

Chevron’s Ecuador liability stems from findings by three layers of courts in the country that the oil giant deliberately dumped billions of gallons of toxic waste into the rainforest, decimating indigenous groups and causing an outbreak of cancer that has killed or threatens to kill thousands of innocent civilians. Chevron operated in Ecuador under the Texaco brand from 1964 to 1992.  

The high level of shareholder support for the resolutions calling into question Wirth’s  mismanagement of the case is not the CEO’s only problem with the Ecuador liability.

Wirth, who makes roughly $30 million annually in compensation, also must contend with the fact that Chevron faces an impending trial in Toronto over an effort by the Ecuadorian communities to seize company assets to pay for the entirety of the judgment, which is growing by an estimated $300 million annually due to statutory interest. Chevron owns critically important oil fields, refineries, and other assets in Canada. 

The Chevron annual meeting “was a resounding victory for the rainforest communities of Ecuador who are on a historic path to hold Chevron accountable for its toxic dumping and fraudulent cover-up in Ecuador,” said Billenness, who works as a liaison between the affected Ecuadorian communities and institutional shareholders.

Salazar, the lawyer for the Ecuadorians, said, “I think that the current management has the same old approach to the case. They failed to give truthful and complete information to their shareholders about the $12 billion liability. Chevron continues to act as a bully towards some of the most vulnerable people on the planet. Nevertheless, the affected communities in Ecuador will continue fighting until justice prevails no matter how long it takes.”

(Here is a summary of the overwhelming evidence against Chevron as found by Ecuador’s courts. Here is a report on Chevron’s fraud during its bogus “racketeering” case in U.S. courts targeting lawyers for the Ecuadorians.  Here is a summary of a criminal referral letter targeting Chevron and its lawyers sent to the U.S. Department of Justice.)

UNFCU Foundation is Accepting Grant Applications in June 2018

Wed, 05/30/2018 - 3:48pm

UNFCU Foundation announced today that it is accepting grant applications from 1 June to 30 June 2018, for funding requests of up to $50,000.  Visit unfcufoundation.org/grants for more information on the application process.

The UNFCU Foundation, a 501(c)(3) charitable organization, has a mission to sustain the path out of poverty through healthcare and education for women and youth in developing countries and in New York City. 

“Together with our partners, we are enabling women to overcome extreme poverty, gender inequality, violence, and injustice,” said Pamela Agnone, President of the UNFCU Foundation. Ms. Agnone noted that the Foundation has made a difference in the lives of more than 18,000 women and youth in 2017 alone. “We look forward to strong grant applications in 2018 to continue building on our progress and our impact.”


For first-time applicants, we will only consider applications for projects that will benefit women and youth in:

  • Kenya

  • Uganda

  • United States locations: New York City; Washington, DC; Virginia; Maryland

The projects in all grant applications should be aligned with our selection criteria: 

  • Support of the Foundation’s mission

  • Strong track record over at least a three-year period or an extended pilot period

  • Projects should be sustainable and have access to additional support

  • Ability to track the impact of the project or organization through reporting of results

  • Direct impact to women and children in need, with long-term benefits

The UNFCU Foundation does not provide grants to:

  • Private individuals

  • Projects without measurable goals and impacts

  • Political campaigns or candidates

  • Religious, fraternal, or professional sports organizations

  • Documentaries, performing arts groups, or productions

  • Organizations without the tax-exempt status stated in the grant application guidelines and form

  • Undergraduate scholarships, personal needs, or operational expenses/existing deficits.

About UNFCU Foundation

UNFCU Foundation is a New York-based, non-profit corporation launched in 2015 by the United Nations Federal Credit Union (UNFCU). Since its inception, the Foundation has improved the lives of more than 33,000 women and youth in 11 countries across four continents. The Foundation’s Board of Directors works with an Advisory Council comprised of volunteers with specialized expertise in a variety of disciplines to evaluate grant requests and project sponsorships.

Sol Systems and WGL Energy Celebrate Completion of 6 MW Solar System in Virginia’s Danville Utilities Territory

Wed, 05/30/2018 - 12:48pm

The Kentuck Solar Project stakeholders, led by Sol Systems, a Washington, D.C.-based solar development and finance company, and WGL Energy Systems (WGL Energy), a WGL company, joined to celebrate the completion of a 6-megawatt (MW) alternating current system located on 76-acres at 2048 Kentuck Church Road in Ringgold, Virginia.

Launched in May 2017 when the City of Danville hosted then-Governor Terry McAuliffe at a roundtable discussion on his Clean Energy Jobs tour, the project created approximately 80 jobs during construction, boosted the local economy and provided long-term, integrated resource planning for the City of Danville. 

The Kentuck Solar Project will provide enough carbon-free electricity to power 1,200 homes every year, supply 1.5 percent of the City’s power needs and establish long-term cost certainty for the utility.

Sol Systems has overseen the design, construction and financing of the system, and WGL Energy serves as owner and operator of the project. The City of Danville Department of Utilities is purchasing the energy from the fully installed photovoltaic (PV) solar facility for the next twenty-five years to diversify to its energy and capacity portfolio. 

“This $10 million clean energy investment also spurred greater demand for local goods and services during the construction,” said George Ashton, President of Sol Systems. “We stand ready to work closely with other exceptional communities like Danville to bring many more utility-scale solar projects to Virginia.” 

“WGL Energy is pleased to usher in more renewable energy sources in the great Commonwealth of Virginia and we are excited to celebrate our first solar project in Virginia developed with a committed and talented project team,” said Sanjiv Mahan, President, WGL Energy. “We applaud the collaborative work and leadership from a distinguished group, and are proud to support Danville’s dedication to embrace the benefits of sustainable energy, including stabilized prices. We look forward to more opportunities to deliver diverse energy solutions in the state.”

The site location stretches between Dan River Middle School, Kentuck Elementary, and Dan River High School, and connects to several sections of private property. The system has nearly 24,000 crystalline modules, and a recently planted vegetative buffer around the fence to preserve aesthetics.

“The City of Danville is thrilled to showcase an innovative project that reflects our commitment to creatively deliver long-term energy capacity to serve the community,” said Jason Grey, director of Danville Utilities. “Working together with an impressive group of project partners allowed us to make the project a reality and celebrate the system’s successful completion today.”

Summary of the project partners include:

  • Danville Utilities, the largest municipal electric utility in Virginia, is purchasing all the energy from the solar farm for the next twenty-five years.

  • WGL Energy, based in Tysons, Virginia, with more than 250 MW of distributed generation projects installed or under contract across twenty-one states and the District of Columbia, retains the solar renewable energy certificates, and owns and operates the system.

  • Sol Systems, based in Washington, DC with over 700MW of solar delivered since 2008, served as the owner’s representative and development partner and maintained oversight over the design and construction.

  • McCarthy Building Companies, the engineering, procurement, and construction firm, built the system.

  • TurningPoint Energy, the developer, owns the 76-acre parcel of land that hosts the single-axis tracker array.

Smithfield Foods Donates $25,000 to the Luter Family YMCA to Support Youth Development Outreach Programs

Wed, 05/30/2018 - 9:48am

The Smithfield Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Smithfield Foods, Inc., is pleased to announce a $25,000 donation to the Luter Family YMCA to support community programs that provide children, families, and individuals the support and resources needed to be healthier, more confident, connected, and secure.
“We are grateful for Smithfield’s tremendous impact on our community and their ongoing financial commitment to the valuable programs at the Luter Family YMCA,” said Kathy Peterson, brand director for the Luter Family YMCA. “Year after year, Smithfield has proven a valuable partner in our efforts to nurture the potential of children, promote healthy living, and foster a sense of social responsibility.”
Smithfield’s donation will help fund a number of youth development outreach initiatives, including YMCA Bright Beginnings, a program that provides underserved children with new clothes and school supplies needed to start the school year with confidence and excitement.
“Smithfield is proud to once again support the Luter Family YMCA and their efforts to positively impact children in the town we call home,” said Keira Lombardo, senior vice president of corporate affairs for Smithfield Foods and president of the Smithfield Foundation. “We share a dedication to furthering educational opportunities for youth and to making Smithfield a stronger, brighter community.”
Smithfield’s partnership with the Luter Family YMCA aligns with its commitment to contribute to the vitality of the places where its employees work, live, and raise their families. Founded in Smithfield, Virginia, in 1936, the company remains headquartered there and employs more than 3,000 local employees.
For more information about Smithfield’s commitment to its local communities, please visit smithfieldfoods.com/responsible-operations/helping-communities.

About Smithfield Foods
Smithfield Foods is a $15 billion global food company and the world's largest pork processor and hog producer. In the United States, the company is also the leader in numerous packaged meats categories with popular brands including Smithfield®, Eckrich®, Nathan's Famous®, Farmland®, Armour®, Farmer John®, Kretschmar®, John Morrell®, Cook's®, Gwaltney®, Carando®, Margherita®, Curly's®, Healthy Ones®, Morliny®, Krakus® and Berlinki®. Smithfield Foods is committed to providing good food in a responsible way and maintains robust animal care, community involvement, employee safety, environmental and food safety and quality programs. For more information, visit www.smithfieldfoods.com.
About The Luter Family YMCA
The Luter Family YMCA provides a safe, family-oriented environment, and a gathering place for thousands of kids, families, seniors and individuals. In its previous life, part of the Luter Family YMCA was Smithfield High School. It was leased to the YMCA by the County of Isle of Wight in 1995. It was renovated in 2004 and again in 2012 with the expansion of the Wellness Center, Child Watch and Group Exercise rooms. For more information, visit www.peninsulaymca.org/locations/luter/.

Media Contacts:

Smithfield Foods, Inc.
Diana Souder
(757) 357-1675 Luter Family YMCA
Kathy Peterson
(757) 365-4060

Global Sustain Partners with RWM 2018

Wed, 05/30/2018 - 9:48am

Global Sustain proudly announces its partnership with the Recycling and Waste Management Exhibition.

Global Sustain with offices in Athens, Berlin, Brussels, London, New York, Nicosia and Zurich, creates awareness and inspires and supports companies and organisations to embody sustainability, through advisory, communications, networking and training, with a focus on the people-planet-profit philosophy.

Under the brand new management of PRYSM Media Group, RWM returns rejuvenated to the NEC Birmingham on September 12th and 13th. The leading environmental exhibition is free to attend, with tickets now available here

RWM will host over 350 expert-led seminars across the two packed show days, attracting over 12,000 waste professionals from across the globe. The event will be filled with 500 cutting-edge exhibitors, bringing together professionals across the retail, leisure, manufacturing and construction industries as well as local authorities, trade associations and waste management companies.

The UK’s leading recycling, water and energy waste management exhibition is completely free to attend, with visitors also gaining access to four neighbouring, leading events (The Flood Expo, The Contamination Expo Series, The Marine & Coastal Civil Engineering Expo and The Future Resource Expo) with RWM tickets accessible here

The exhibition kicks off on September 12th at 10am, with both show days running until 5pm. 

Global Sustain Managing Director Michael Spanos said: “We are excited to collaborate with RWM and join industry leading exhibitors and influential figures in recycling and waste management.  

"We will be happy to share with our global network significant insights that will come from this unique event, through our communication channels."

Ready for Summer: SC Johnson Community Aquatic Center Opens

Wed, 05/30/2018 - 9:48am

Just in time for summer, a celebration will be held today to commemorate the grand opening of the SC Johnson Community Aquatic Center, the first aquatic center to be developed in Racine County, located in Racine’s Pritchard Park. The Aquatic Center is funded by a $6.5 million donation from SC Johnson, and will open to the public June 2.

“When the weather is warm, outdoor swimming pools offer families a safe and enjoyable way to cool down and have fun,” said Fisk Johnson, Chairman and CEO of SC Johnson. “SC Johnson has always been committed to helping improve lives where we live and work, and today’s celebration is another milestone in that effort.”

Fisk Johnson will be joined by Racine County Executive Jonathan Delagrave, CEO of the Racine Family YMCA Jeff Collen and U.S. Olympic swimmer and gold medalist Cullen Jones at today’s celebration, where safety around water will be emphasized.

Jones will speak at the event, sharing his personal story of nearly drowning when he was 5 years old. He soon thereafter enrolled in swimming lessons, forever changing the course of his life and eventually becoming a four-time Olympic medalist in swimming.

“Competence around water doesn’t always comes naturally,” said Jones. “But with swim lessons and a safe pool to practice in, anyone can become a more confident swimmer. The new SC Johnson Community Aquatic Center will provide Racine-area youth a place where they can hone their swimming skills and embrace safety around water.”

The SC Johnson Community Aquatic Center will be managed by the Racine Family YMCA and offers families affordable access to a wide variety of swim lessons and water safety education programs.

State-of-the-Art Facility
In addition to group programming, extensive swim lessons and lap swim times, the facility offers many additional amenities that people of all ages can enjoy. The aquatic center has two separate swimming pools, a lap pool with eight lanes and an activity pool, and has nearly 14,000 total square feet of water surface. Additional special pool features include water slides, a water play structure, a water spray feature and a zero-depth pool for young children. The facility also has shaded lounge areas, a concession stand which is run and managed by the Racine Young Leaders Academy, a multipurpose room, and dedicated parking facilities.

“Today’s opening of the SC Johnson Community Aquatic Center marks a dream realized,” said Delagrave. “This facility will enhance quality of life in the area, provide healthy and safe recreational activities for families, and cement Pritchard Park as a destination for Racine County residents.”

The pool will officially open to the public June 2, with select times for group programming in the morning and open swim beginning at 1 p.m. Regular season hours will begin when area schools are anticipated to end for the summer, around June 14. Information about membership, daily fees, hours of operation and aquatic programs can be found online at www.ymcaracine.org.

About SC Johnson
SC Johnson is a family company dedicated to innovative, high-quality products, excellence in the workplace and a long-term commitment to the environment and the communities in which it operates. Based in the USA, the company is one of the world's leading manufacturers of household cleaning products and products for home storage, air care, pest control and shoe care, as well as professional products. It markets such well-known brands as GLADE®, KIWI®, OFF!®, PLEDGE®, RAID®, SCRUBBING BUBBLES®, SHOUT®, WINDEX® and ZIPLOC® in the U.S. and beyond, with brands marketed outside the U.S. including AUTAN®, TANA®, BAMA®, BAYGON®, BRISE®, KABIKILLER®, KLEAR®, MR MUSCLE® and RIDSECT®. The 132-year-old company, which generates $10 billion in sales, employs approximately 13,000 people globally and sells products in virtually every country around the world. www.scjohnson.com