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Comcast Launches Eye-Control For The Television

Thu, 06/20/2019 - 5:08pm

Comcast today launched a feature that gives people with physical disabilities like spinal cord injuries or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) the ability to navigate their television using only their eyes. Xfinity X1 eye control is a web-based remote for tablets and computers that pairs with an existing eye gaze system and allows viewers to change the channel, set a recording, search for a show and more, all with a glance. 

In the U.S., more than 48 million people live with physical or mobility disabilities and every day about 15 people are newly diagnosed with ALS, or Lou Gehrig’s disease, a disease that attacks nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord. These disabilities can often make seemingly everyday tasks more difficult.

“Changing the channel on a TV is something most of us take for granted but until now, it was a near-impossible task for millions of viewers,” said Tom Wlodkowski, Vice President Accessibility at Comcast. “When you make a product more inclusive you create a better experience for everyone and we’re hoping our new X1 feature makes a real difference in the lives of our customers.”

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Environmental Sustainability Meets Business Sustainability: 7 Companies Bridging the Gap Through Smart Investments & Innovation

Thu, 06/20/2019 - 5:08pm

Environmental sustainability is simply part of doing business in a climate change world. From reducing energy usage and water waste to improving recycling and reuse efforts, companies large and small have implemented tactics and strategies to reduce their carbon footprints.

Our blog brings you some of those stories to not only honor their work, but also inspire your own efforts.

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MilliporeSigma Launches Four-Year Push for Packaging Sustainability

Thu, 06/20/2019 - 5:08pm

The quest for supply-chain sustainability requires paying as much attention to the package as the product inside it.

That necessity that doesn’t escape global life science leader MilliporeSigma. The company has launched a four-year effort to enforce green packaging for well over 300,000 products, translating into some 30,000 shipments a day.

MilliporeSigma is the former Sigma-Aldrich, which was acquired by Germany’s Merck KGaA in 2015 for $17bn. (It now represents the U.S. and Canadian operations of Merck.) That event served as the impetus for a complete “redo” of the company’s packaging and labeling processes, according to Jeffrey Whitford, head of global corporate responsibility. “We realized it was a great strategic time to be able to introduce the concept of packaging sustainability into the discussion,” he says.

Keep reading on SupplyChainBrain.com

Iowa’s Buena Vista University Launches New Track Within Online Master’s Degree Program Powered by Discovery Education to Support K-12 Educators in the Creation of Dynamic Digital Learning Environments for Today’s Students

Thu, 06/20/2019 - 5:08pm

Iowa’s Buena Vista University (BVU) is launching a new track within their online Master’s Degree program designed from the ground up for the full-time K-12 educator powered by Discovery Education, the leader in standards-aligned digital curriculum resources, engaging content, and professional learning for K-12 classrooms. Through the program’s new Technology Integrationist Track now available as part of BVU’s Teacher Leadership, Curriculum, and Instruction Master’s Degree Program, participating educators will learn the skills and classroom strategies they need to create dynamic K-12 digital learning environments for all students. 

BVU’s 30-credit hour Master’s program in Teacher Leadership, Curriculum, and Instruction  provides working K-12 teachers the academic background they need to enhance their teaching practice and advance their careers fully online. Participants enrolled in its new Technology Integrationist Track will learn from BVU and Discovery Education instructors how to successfully combine educational technologies with research-based, pedagogically proven instructional strategies to create student-centered classrooms.

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Mack Trucks Unveils History of Refuse Exhibit at Mack Trucks Historical Museum

Thu, 06/20/2019 - 5:08pm

The Mack Trucks Historical Museum unveiled an all-new exhibit titled “Keeping America Clean: The Evolution of the Waste Industry.” The exhibit, which features three antique Mack® trucks and an interactive visitor education display, was made possible thanks to support from Mack Trucks and Republic Services, an industry leader in recycling and waste disposal and longtime Mack customer. A brief ribbon-cutting ceremony was held to officially open the exhibit.

“The Mack Trucks Historical Museum highlights Mack Trucks’ rich history, including our leadership in the refuse industry,” said Jonathan Randall, Mack Trucks senior vice president, North American sales and marketing. “We are grateful to Republic Services for their partnership in helping us demonstrate the incredible transformation of the refuse industry with this outstanding exhibit at the Mack Trucks Historical Museum.”

Republic Services provided the three classic Mack truck models for use in the new exhibit, and each features Republic Services’ iconic red, white and blue colors. The Mack models on display include a 1929 Mack AK model with hoist and dump body, a 1951 Mack LF model with a Heil Colecto-Pak body, and a 1965 Mack B53S model with a Dempster Dumpster body. Republic Services also participated in the development of the interactive displays and refuse industry timeline wall that are part of the exhibit.

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Soil Health Institute Names Dr. Wes Wood to Board of Directors

Thu, 06/20/2019 - 5:08pm

The Soil Health Institute (SHI) today announced that Dr. C. Wesley (Wes) Wood, Professor of Soil and Water Science and Center Director of the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences West Florida Research and Education Center, will join its Board of Directors.

"Dr. Wood has conducted research in 17 countries and is a highly respected leader in the soil science community. He will be an excellent addition to our Board of Directors, and we look forward to benefiting from his insight," said Dr. Wayne Honeycutt, President and CEO of SHI.

Prior to joining the University of Florida in 2014, Dr. Wood was a Professor of Soil Science at Auburn University where he taught and conducted research on carbon and nutrient cycling in managed and natural ecosystems. He has published more than 140 journal articles on those and related topics.

Dr. Wood has conducted research in Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Tanzania, Ecuador, India, Brazil, South Africa, Kenya, Peru, Thailand, Honduras, Mexico, The Philippines, Haiti, New Zealand, and the United States. He served as Associate Editor and later as the Soil Science Technical Editor for the Agronomy Journal. He has received numerous awards for his research, is a Fellow of the American Society of Agronomy, and is also a Fellow of the Soil Science Society of America.

Dr. Wood joins a respected field of national soil health leaders on the SHI Board of Directors, including:

Bill Buckner, Past President/CEO of Noble Research Institute, a nonprofit institute that conducts plant science research and leads agricultural programs to enhance agricultural productivity. Buckner also served as President/CEO of Bayer CropScience. Buckner serves on several national boards, including the Wilbur-Ellis Company. ​ 

Bill Flory, president of Flory Farms in Idaho. His farm includes wheat, bluegrass seed, canola, lentils, garbanzos, malt barley and hay. Flory is board chairman of the Wheat Marketing Center; commissioner (past chairman) of the Idaho Wheat Commission; and a member of the Farm Foundation Roundtable and the US Bank’s advisory board. He served as president of the Idaho Grain Producers and the National Association of Wheat Growers, and chairman of the Idaho Soil and Water Conservation Commission. 

Bob Foster, farmer in Middlebury, Vermont. Among the first to install an anaerobic digester on their farm, The Foster Brothers Farm is almost electrical-energy independent. The Fosters also developed one of the largest compost companies in New England, Vermont Natural Ag Products, which redistributes residual nutrients from local farms as fertilizer and soil amendments. Foster served on the Cabot Cheese Board of Directors for 37 consecutive years.

Earl Garber, former president of the National Association of Conservation Districts. A licensed crop consultant and rice, soybean and hay producer from Louisiana, Garber served in a number of positions, including soil scientist and District Conservationist with the USDA earlier in his career. He is active on the Acadia Soil and Water Conservation District Board of Supervisors.  Garber is former president of the Louisiana Association of Conservation Districts and has served as a board member for the National Association of Conservation Districts.

Dr. Diana Jerkins, Research Director for the Organic Farming Research Foundation in California. Previously, Dr. Jerkins was a National Program Leader and Division Director for Integrated Programs with the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA). She managed competitive programs in the areas of mitigation and adaptation to climate change, managed ecosystems, invasive species, small and mid-sized farm prosperity, rural development, and Native American outreach. She consults internationally on sustainable agriculture issues.

Bruce Knight, third-generation rancher and farmer as well as a conservation and environmental consultant.  Knight was the Under Secretary for Marketing and Regulatory Programs at the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) from 2006-2009. In this post, he provided oversight for the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, the Agricultural Marketing Service and the Grain Inspection, Packers, and Stockyards Administration. From 2002 to 2006, Knight served as Chief of the U.S. Department of Agriculture - Natural Resources Conservation Service.

Andrew W. LaVigne, President and CEO of the American Seed Trade Association. Prior, LaVigne was Executive Vice President/CEO of Florida Citrus Mutual, representing citrus growers on issues affecting their businesses. He served as Florida Fertilizer and Agrichemical Association’s (FFAA) President and Executive Director and worked in the U.S. Congress, serving as Legislative Director for Congressman Charles Canady and as Agriculture Committee staffer for Congressman Tom Lewis. He also has served in the U.S. Department of Agriculture. 

Clare Lindahl, Chief Executive Officer of the Soil and Water Conservation Society (SWCS) since 2017. She previously served as the executive director for Conservation Districts of Iowa and as natural resources program manager with River Action, a not-for-profit organization dedicated to fostering the environmental, economic, and cultural vitality of the Mississippi River and its riverfront in the Quad Cities.

Klaas Martens, certified organic farmer and owner of Lakeview Organic Grain. Martens began to transition the family farm to organic in the early 1990s. They now farm 1,400 acres of certified organic crops and operate Lakeview Organic Grain, a certified organic feed and seed business. Organic research is a strong component of the farming operation, and they have conducted on-farm research independently and in cooperation with university researchers. 

V. Larkin Martin, farmer in Lawrence County Alabama. A former U.S. Treasury Department and Arthur Andersen employee, Martin currently is a director of Rayonier Inc., a timberland REIT, and Chair of The Farm Foundation Board of Directors. She is Vice Chair of the Alabama Ethics Commission and a member of the Board of Directors of multiple organizations, including The Public Research Affairs Council of Alabama; Africa Harvest, a Kenyan-based NGO; and the Vanderbilt Alumni Association.  She has served as director and past Chair of the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta as well as The Cotton Board, and has been a director of The Alabama Chapter of The Nature Conservancy and Leadership Alabama.

Dr. Neal Martin, retired Director of the U.S. Dairy Forage Research Center, U.S. Department of Agriculture – Agricultural Research Service in Madison, Wisconsin. Dr. Martin has broad experience in communications and outreach in extension, respected knowledge of forage and dairy management, background in environmental stewardship, experience in management and leadership of a major research organization, and extensive personal connections to dairy producers and small-farm communities. 

Lara Moody, Vice President of Stewardship and Sustainability Programs at The Fertilizer Institute. Moody directs programs that increase the use and adoption of fertilizer best management practices and oversees sustainability initiatives related to fertilizer production and its use in the field. She currently serves as Vice Chair on the Conservation Technology Information Center Board of Directors.

Jeff Moyer, Executive Director of Rodale Institute. His Organic No-Till Farming has become a resource for farmers throughout the world. Moyer is past chair of the National Organic Standards Board, a founding board member of Pennsylvania Certified Organic, Chairman of the Board of Directors of The Seed Farm, a Project Member of The Noble Foundation’s Soil Renaissance project, and a Board Member of PA Farm Link.

Steven Rhines, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Noble Research Institute. Prior to assuming this position, he served as Vice President, General Counsel and Director of Public Affairs for the Institute for almost two decades. Prior to the Institute, he practiced patent law at the international law firm of Sidley & Austin. Rhines received a bachelor in science in mechanical engineering at the University of Oklahoma and a juris doctorate from Southern Methodist University. The Institute is a nonprofit institution conducting US-focused research, agriculture consultation and educational programs to advance land stewardship in livestock production with producer profitability. 

Greg Ruehle, President and Chief Executive Officer for Servi-Tech, the nation’s largest independent agronomic firm. In this role, Ruehle manages a diverse staff of nearly 200 agronomists, laboratory technicians, information technology, sales and communication staff members across the company’s 8-state footprint. Annually, Servi-Tech agronomists consult on nearly 1 million acres of agricultural land for growers and the cooperative-owners of the company. Additionally, Servi-Tech has three laboratory locations (Dodge City, Kan.; Hastings, Neb.: and Amarillo, Texas) that evaluate nearly a half-million agricultural samples (soils, feeds, environmental samples, etc.) annually. Servi-Tech is headquartered in Dodge City in southwestern Kansas.

Jay Vroom, Chief Innovation Officer of Vroom ∙ Leigh ∙ Agriculture, LLC. where he oversees strategic consulting services and entrepreneurial investments in modern agriculture platforms and related technology sectors. From 1989-2018, Vroom served as president and chief executive officer of CropLife America (CLA), the leading U.S. trade group for the crop protection industry in the United States. Earlier in his career, Vroom held executive positions in the National Fertilizer Solutions Association (now the Ag Retailers Association), The Fertilizer Institute, and the Merchants Exchange of St. Louis. He serves as the Chairman of the Trust In Food™ advisory board and volunteers as a member of the National FFA Foundation Board of Trustees; the Board of CropLife Foundation; and the National Wheat Foundation Board.

Jason Weller, Senior Director of Sustainability, Land O’Lakes, Inc. leads environmental sustainability and agricultural production solutions for the cooperative’s members and owners. Weller previously served as Chief of USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service, the nation’s largest working lands conservation organization, where he led a staff of 10,500 employees across the country that works one-on-one with farmers and ranchers to deliver assistance to protect and improve the quality of their operations’ natural resources.

For further information about SHI’s Board of Directors, visit https://soilhealthinstitute.org/governance/.

About the Soil Health Institute

The Soil Health Institute (www.soilhealthinstitute.org) is a non-profit whose mission is to safeguard and enhance the vitality and productivity of soil through scientific research and advancement. The Institute works with its many stakeholders to identify gaps in research and adoption; develop strategies, networks and funding to address those gaps; and ensure beneficial impact of those investments to agriculture, the environment and society.

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General Mills' 2019 Global Volunteer Week Sees Record Engagement Worldwide

Thu, 06/20/2019 - 5:08pm

A record 3,937 General Mills employees participated in our 10th annual Global Volunteer Week, including employees from 46 locations (including 17 countries). In total, our employees dedicated more than 6,637 volunteer hours, which included positively impacting the environment, supporting hunger relief efforts, and helping our furry friends at animal rescue organizations.

Just as we care about the communities where our ingredients are grown, we care about the communities our employees call home. Around the world, we make a meaningful impact in our hometown communities through employee volunteerism and community giving. Our employees are General Mills’ greatest asset, and they are often leaders in their communities. Supporting local causes they are passionate about invigorates our employees and communities.

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Beyond the Bench: An Amgen Scholar Travels to New Opportunities

Thu, 06/20/2019 - 5:08pm

The path from Amgen Scholars to working at a major pharmaceutical company has been anything but linear for Jan Botthof. Between his undergraduate work, PhD program, and now as a trainee in the International Future Leadership Program for Product Supply at Bayer, Botthof has taken time to try different roles and figure out the best balance of science in his career. Through his journey, Botthof has learned that many career options are available to those with science skills that go beyond traditional benchwork.

Botthof grew up in a small town in Austria. While working to bolster his English skills, he got hooked on books by Richard Dawkins, which introduced him to the world of biology. When he was 16 years old, he had the opportunity to spend time in a lab through a summer research program. “I was able to do proper lab work, stuff I actually later used, even in my PhD work,” he says. “That was the real moment when I realized I wanted to pursue a career in science.”

As the universities in Austria were underfunded for scientific research, Botthof set his sights on colleges in the UK. The challenge was although his English was strong, his teachers in Austria lacked the English skills. “I had to help them with writing my reference letters, which was awkward,” he says. But, he succeeded and headed to London to pursue a degree in biochemistry at Imperial College. “Moving to London from Austria at age 18 was very exciting and transformative,” he says.

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Ecocentricity Blog: A Boy, His Elephant and Blockchain

Thu, 06/20/2019 - 5:08pm

Every 1L (first year law student, for the uncorrupted of you) takes a Property class. Dem’s da rules. Knowing who in the heck owns a thing is fundamental to our legal system. Judges and juries need to know that before deciding whether a plaintiff or defendant should prevail in most legal disputes.

Ownership is a nuanced and complicated thing. To explain it, most law professors use the “bundle of sticks” analogy. It goes like this….

Consider my son’s stuffed elephant, Eli. J.R. owns Eli, but ownership entails a whole portfolio of legal rights (the bundle of sticks) with respect to the jolly elephant. J.R. can snuggle Eli and he can throw him down the stairs. He can share “Eli kisses” with Chantel and me or he can keep them all to himself. He can lend Eli interest-free to his sister so she can have a tea party with Eli and Raffi the giraffe (her animal of choice). And J.R. can offer Eli for sale on eBay, and I’d bet the “buy it now” price would be $1,000,000 based on how much he loves that elephant.

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WEBINAR: Hear How SAP, WE Communications, & Leading Nonprofits Collaborate for Impact, July 11

Thu, 06/20/2019 - 5:08pm

Companies are strategically deploying employees to engage in communities, support business priorities, and advance the Sustainable Development Goals. Join SAP, WE Communications, Points of Light, and IMPACT2030 Thursday, July 11 at 11:00 am EST as PYXERA Globalhosts the webinar Collaborating for Impact: Addressing the Sustainable Development Goals through Corporate Service.

Companies leading the way in this multipurpose employee engagement approach aren’t doing it alone. These organizations are providing the platforms for businesses of all sizes to collaborate and contribute to the Sustainable Development Goals. Together, these partnerships provide a means for companies to deliver on vision and purpose.

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Update to German Translation of GRI Standards

Thu, 06/20/2019 - 5:08pm

 Updates to two versions of the GRI Standards – ‘GRI 303: Water and Effluents 2018’ and ‘GRI 403: Occupational Health and Safety 2018’ – have been translated into German. They are now available to any German-speaking organization using the Standards.

All of the German translations of the Standards can be downloaded free of charge on the GRI website.

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AEG's Vice President of Energy and Environment John Marler Named to Green Sports Alliance Board of Directors

Thu, 06/20/2019 - 5:08pm

AEG, the world leading sports and live entertainment company announced today that its vice president of energy and environment, John Marler, will join the Board of Directors of the Green Sports Alliance (GSA). The Green Sports Alliance is the leader in leveraging the market influence of sports to promote environmentally sustainable practices.

“I am honored to represent AEG, a founding partner of the Green Sports Alliance, as a member of the Board to further GSA’s mission of leveraging the power of sports to protect the environment,” said Marler. “I look forward to working with the other distinguished directors to further the impact of sustainable practices within the sports industry to address global environmental issues.”

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Physicians and AI Co-Piloting for Better Health

Thu, 06/20/2019 - 5:08pm

Every day, the healthcare industry processes massive amounts of data. To assess patients and provide treatments, doctors and physicians have to sift through it all, from patient history to genetic and environmental factors. But big data and technologies like Artificial Intelligence (AI) are changing how information is stored – the volume of it – and how it is shared and analyzed. These tools are helping process all of the information needed to make a prognosis more quickly than ever before. At a time when healthcare is dealing with an aging population and increase of chronic disease, AI is changing how providers and patients engage.

In 2018, TD acquired the company Layer 6 which is considered a leader in AI. Layer 6 is using its AI machine prediction engine to improve health outcomes for Canadians. Data scientists from Layer 6 are working with the University of Toronto to see how this technology can improve outcomes for those living with diabetes in Canada. Diabetes is one of the fastest growing health issues today, which is also more prevalent among certain ethnocultural groups and can be impacted by income levels. AI has the potential to help personalize care and help with early diagnosis.

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Tetra Tech Won Three Leonard Awards and the Visionary Award at the Quebec Consulting-Engineering Awards

Thu, 06/20/2019 - 5:08pm

The Association des firmes de génie-conseil (AFG), the association of engineering consulting firms of Quebec, held its 17th Edition of the Quebec Consulting-Engineering Awards, an event that highlights the province’s engineering experts and the best projects in the industry.

Tetra Tech was nominated in 6 of the 12 categories: Mechanical-Electrical Building, Building-Structure, Power, Environment, Industrial, and International. Our firm stood out amongst the other teams by winning four awards for the evening, including the coveted Visionary Award. Such a performance for this competition has not happened since 2003.

Tetra Tech’s work on the Protection and Rehabilitation of the Anse du Sud project, which was led by Jean Gauthier, distinguished itself amongst the other projects submitted. Tetra Tech received the Visionary Award, the highest honor of the evening, which is awarded to the jury’s favorite project. Percé was facing ever-growing coastal erosion, which affected the shoreline and increased the vulnerability of several buildings since the 2000s. During 2015 and 2016, storms caused major damage, aggravating the state of the existing infrastructure along the sea. Tetra Tech’s project team provided studies, design of plans and specifications, work supervision, and project management. Tetra Tech’s work helped transform the Percé, creating a more resilient coastline.

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Scotiabank Supports Children in Latin America Through Fútbol

Thu, 06/20/2019 - 5:08pm

Internationally, we leverage fútbol as a means to encourage positive youth development. Through our Scotiabank Fútbol Club programs, we reach over 450,000 kids across Latin American and the Caribbean. One of these programs is Campeonato Infantil (Youth Championships and Leagues), which runs across Chile, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Mexico, Peru and Uruguay and reaches over 25,000 children on over 1,800 community teams. 

Through another program, FútbolNet, in partnership with FC Barcelona Foundation, we held sports-based festivals in Costa Rica, Mexico, Chile, Peru, El Salvador and Colombia in 2018. These festivals aim to foster the values of humility, effort, ambition, respect and teamwork among youth. Over the next four years, an additional 24 FútbolNet Festivals are being planned across six countries, expected to have a positive impact on more than 24,000 children.

We are also working to provide youth with more access to fútbol facilities and equipment. We have built a total of 11 community soccer fields across five countries: Costa Rica, El Salvador, Mexico, Peru and Uruguay through our Campos de Fútbol program. To date, this program has benefitted more than 42,000 children.

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New Online Platform Provides Social Change Organizations with a One-Stop Shop for Skills-Based Volunteering

Thu, 06/20/2019 - 5:08pm

Common Impact, a national nonprofit that designs and implements skills-based volunteer programs, today launched Capacity Commons, a new online platform to accelerate the adoption of skilled volunteerism for social sector organizations. Developed through support from the Charles Schwab Foundation, the new tool increases access to and the effectiveness of skills-based volunteerism by helping organizations plan for, execute and evaluate the financial and social impact of their pro bono engagements. 

Capacity Commons walks organizations through an interactive process to evaluate their readiness for skills-based volunteering, identify capacity-building projects and connect to skilled volunteer sources. It will also help nonprofits calculate the dollar value of a project and communicate the results of effective skills-based volunteer engagements to their stakeholders.

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Black & Veatch and Inflowmatix Join Forces to Meet Leakage Challenge

Thu, 06/20/2019 - 5:08pm

Against a challenging backdrop of increased water scarcity and service resilience, water companies in England and Wales have been tasked with achieving on average a 15 percent reduction in leakage by 2025. The result is the most ambitious leakage programme in 20 years. Success will require leading-edge, digitally-enabled network management of the kind pioneered by a new partnership between Black & Veatch and Inflowmatix.

The partnership will help UK water companies develop ‘healthy,’ resilient water networks, and reduce losses, by combining Black & Veatch’s programme management, logistics, delivery and analytics expertise with Inflowmatix’s unique analytics, patented technologies and dynamic (near time) pressure sensing devices. The first result of this collaboration is SERENE, a service offering for the UK water markets that will provide network insights through a district metered area (DMA) Health Index assessment.

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Uncovering Sickle Cell Disease

Thu, 06/20/2019 - 5:08pm

Every day, people endure the painful and life-threatening symptoms of sickle cell disease in the shadows because of fear, stigma,and isolation.1,2,3

Today, on World Sickle Cell Day, Novartis is helping raise awareness on the disease and its complications by sharing a collection of patient stories from around the globe, developed in partnership with physician and photographer, Dr. Alex Kumar. Using the power of words and pictures, this series aims to uncover the real impact of sickle cell disease and show how people are facing this debilitating illness with extraordinary courage. These stories, as well as educational materials, are available on UntoldSickleCellStories.com.

Sickle cell disease is a hereditary and life-threatening condition that causes ongoing vascular damage and repeated injury to the blood vessels and organs.1,4 This lifelong illness often takes an extreme emotional, physical, and financial toll on patients and their families.5,6 It affects people around the globe, with the highest burden concentrated in Sub-Saharan Africa; however, it is also common among people with ancestry in South America, Central America, and India, as well as the Mediterranean.7 An estimated 300,000 babies are born annually with sickle cell disease, and about 300 million people worldwide have the sickle cell trait.5,8

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Carol Cone ON PURPOSE Makes a Splash at Cannes as My Special Aflac Duck Wins Two Silver Cannes Lions Awards

Thu, 06/20/2019 - 2:03pm

The Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity awarded two Silver Lion awards to My Special Aflac Duck™, a social robot and comforting companion for children who have cancer. My Special Aflac Duck was awarded one Silver Lion for Corporate Image, Communications and Reputation Management and a second Silver Lion for Use of Technology that “pushes the boundaries of digital innovation.” No Gold Lion was awarded in either category. The campaign also was shortlisted in Brand Voice & Strategic Storytelling at Cannes Lions, the world-premiere celebration of creativity and innovation in the marketing, advertising, and communications industries. 

“I’d like to thank Aflac for their willingness to take a risk on this bold new idea after 23 years of a consistent approach to the childhood cancer cause,” said Carol Cone, CEO of Carol Cone ON PURPOSE, the world’s most innovative boutique purpose consultancy. “It takes a brave and committed client to allow a multi-billion-dollar brand mascot to be infused with a new mission. The future of marketing is meaning, and carefully crafted purpose programs build brand meaning in a way ads and PR alone can’t.”

The campaign, conceptualized by Carol Cone ON PURPOSE and executed with a broad team, involved no advertising support, and was powered purely by social impact strategy and communications. Aflac reported that in less than one year, the program already had resulted in 15% U.S. awareness of My Special Aflac Duck; among those who know of the purpose program, 100% are more likely to buy an Aflac product.

Prior to the Cannes award for creativity, My Special Aflac Duck won three 2018 Consumer Electronics Show Best-in-Show awards for technology including Tech for a Better World, and best-in-show at SXSW for robotics and People’s Choice. It was featured on Time Magazine’s 2018 Best Inventions list.

Conceived of by Carol Cone, My Special Aflac Duck is a collaboration between Aflac, the supplemental insurance company; Sproutel, an R&D workshop; and Carol Cone ON PURPOSE, the idea agency behind Aflac's refreshed social impact program, the Aflac Childhood Cancer Campaign. Nation of Artists led on video storytelling.

“This year’s Festival demonstrated that purpose is mainstream. Yet, depth and rigor are critical to avoid backlash and deliver lasting business and social results," said Carol Cone. “For more than 30 years, my team and I have been developing big, breakthrough ideas that stand the test of time. We consistently punch above our weight by matching enduring innovation with creative activation in a knock-out combination. We’re proud to share the global stage with our partners and short-listed honorees, from Google to the WNBA to Copenhagen Pride.”

Carol Cone also spoke at a Cannes session on the intersection of purpose, brand, and technology. A true pioneer of social purpose, Cone was called on for interviews and expert commentary throughout the week, emphasizing the imperative for marketers to infuse meaning in their work. "From beloved consumer brands to big B2B companies, smart purpose strategy wins awards and delivers measurable business and social impact,” Cone said. “For this award-winning initiative, we built on our proprietary model for delivering lasting programs, from the Avon Breast Cancer Crusade to the American Heart Association’s Go Red for Women, and now Aflac Childhood Cancer Campaign.”

“While we are enormously honored by these awards, nothing is better than seeing a child experience a moment of delight during their cancer treatments,” Cone said. “The impact sustains us. We do this because we care deeply.” 

About Carol Cone ON PURPOSE

Carol Cone ON PURPOSE, is a pioneering consultancy that guides organizations to identify and accelerate their purpose, or reason for being beyond profits. The firm’s initiatives, which have won hundreds of awards, garnered four Harvard Business Review Case Studies and sparked global movements, drive business and social impact, as well as corporate responsibility and sustainability initiatives. Committed to advancing the social impact field, the agency publishes a newsletter and podcast, Purpose 360, which features interviews with leaders in the fast-changing field.

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NHBSR's 2019 Spring Conference