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Euroloan and Finlayson Partner to Deliver World’s First Circular Economy Solution for Home Textiles

Mon, 10/16/2017 - 9:05am

(GLOBE NEWSWIRE) - Finlayson now offers a more responsible way to buy, use and recycle home textiles for Finnish customers. The service enables customers to return used products, to be resold or recycled into new products by Finlayson. As much as 250 million EUR worth of home textiles stored in Finnish homes are not used (Taloustutkimus 2016). The service improves the utilization rate for the textiles in an economic and environmentally friendly way.

The service enables customers to buy textiles with interest-free monthly payments, and to get a sizable discount when replacing old textiles with new ones. The purchases can be paid by invoice or in monthly instalments up to 36 months, powered by Mash, the new payment and financing solution of Euroloan.

“This is the first circular economy solution for home textiles, as far as we know,” said Finlayson CEO Jukka Kurttila. “We want to make it possible for everyone to decorate their homes with beautiful and durable textiles. At the same time, we challenge our customers to consider what they really need to keep. Most people will want to change the look of their home on occasion. We give the old textiles a new life as someone else’s treasure and take full responsibility for the recycling of our old products.”

The most environmentally friendly option is to wear out the textiles. Finlayson will open up a second-hand shop for textiles in good condition. Unusable textiles will be recycled as fibres in new products as much as possible, with the rest used for energy production.

James Hickson, CEO of Euroloan Group commented. “We are proud to be launching our new affordable payment and financing solution, Mash in partnership with Finlayson. As two brands, committed to innovation and exceptional customer service we are excited to be able to offer exclusive pay by invoice solutions and enhanced customer choice at point of sale as well as participate in the world’s first circular economy solution.” 

About Mash and Euroloan

The Mash payment platform and brand are owned by Euroloan Group (more information at www.mash.com). Euroloan Group PLC is a rapidly growing international group, specialized in highly automated financial services and financial technology (FinTech).

Utilizing advanced algorithms, machine learning and true end-to-end automation, the Group offers consumer loans, credit cards and merchant payment solutions on Euroloan’s secure cloud-based platform. More information about Euroloan Group is available at www.euroloan.com, Finland www.euroloan.fi, Sweden www.euroloan.se and Poland www.euroloan.pl.

About Finlayson:

In 1820, the Scotsman James Finlayson ended up in Tampere, which at the time was only a couple of wind-beaten huts and an unharnessed rapid. A few decades later the largest industrial company in the Nordic countries stood in the same place, with its own church, hospital, school and fire brigade. Today, we at Finlayson are convinced that the only way to honour our history is to show the same responsibility, courage and broadmindedness that our early owners did. Finlayson has 26 stores and 3 shop-in-shops in Finland and Sweden. Products are also available from the web store and well-stocked retailers. The turnover for 2016 was 35 million euros and by the end of the year the company consisted of approximately 267 employees.

For more information see:


76 Billion Gallons of Water Saved: How Toto USA Helped Make This Possible

Mon, 10/16/2017 - 9:05am

Low-flow toilets have become the standard in many homes and offices, but more thought and care goes into their creation than you think. 

Long before this new standard emerged, Toto USA was committed to water conservation and efficiency throughout all aspects of their business.

As we reflect on earning the U.S. EPA’s 2017 Watersense Partner of the Year award for the seventh consecutive year, it’s important to recognize the vendors and products that helped us to earn this distinction.

Last year, The Home Depot helped customers save 76 billion gallons of water through the sale of WaterSense certified products like Toto’s Entrada 1.28 gallon per flush (GPF) toilet.

Hear more from Toto on their commitment to sustainability:


SC Johnson Supports World’s Largest Tropical Reforestation Project

Mon, 10/16/2017 - 9:05am

SC Johnson today announced that the funds raised from its 2017 acre-for-acre match challenge will be used to kick off the world’s largest tropical reforestation project in the Brazilian Amazon. Through a partnership with Conservation International (CI) earlier this year to support the virtual reality film Under the Canopy, SC Johnson enlisted the public to help protect 10,000 acres of the Amazon rainforest through its acre-for-acre match campaign.

“With a manufacturing plant in Manaus at the heart of the Amazon rainforest, the issue of deforestation is personal to us, and we’re committed to helping protect this critical resource for future generations,” said Kelly M. Semrau, Senior Vice President – Global Corporate Affairs, Communication and Sustainability at SC Johnson. “We are proud that the funds from our match campaign will help Conservation International and its partners commence this impressive reforestation effort.”

“A new chapter is being written for the Brazilian Amazon. The Amazon is our greatest asset and vital to the well-being of people not just in Brazil but across the entire planet. Protecting the Amazon is not something we should think about in future terms – we have to do it now,” said Rodrigo Medeiros, Vice President of CI Brazil. "The task is challenging but we are working in partnership with SC Johnson and other organizations, connecting different objectives toward the same goal: the Amazon."

SC Johnson’s acre-for-acre match campaign garnered donations from all 50 U.S. states and 31 countries through CI’s website. The funds raised will support CI and its partners as they embark on the world’s largest tropical forest restoration project. The multimillion-dollar, six-year project, which is the result of a partnership between Conservation International, the Brazilian Ministry of Environment, the Global Environment Facility (GEF), the World Bank and Rock in Rio, will restore 73 million trees in the Brazilian Amazonia region by 2023. The endeavor will also help Brazil move toward its Paris Agreement target of reforesting 12 million hectares of land by 2030. 

SC Johnson, Deforestation and Brazil

SC Johnson has been operating in Brazil for more than 80 years. In that time, the company’s manufacturing plant in Manaus has achieved zero landfill status, a protocol estimated to keep some 91 tons of refuse out of Brazilian landfills each year. In the 1990s, SC Johnson contributed to the protection of two reserves in Brazil’s Caatinga ecoregion. Since then, as part of the company’s work with and contributions to CI, more than 100,000 acres of land have been conserved – much of that in the Amazon region.

The Johnson family has a long personal connection to Brazil. In 1935, third-generation company leader H.F. Johnson, Jr. led an expedition up the Amazon in search of the Carnaúba palm, whose wax was the principle ingredient in the company’s products at the time. In 1998, fourth-generation leader Sam Johnson and his sons, including fifth-generation leader Fisk Johnson, retraced the historic expedition made by H.F. Johnson, Jr.  

Under the Canopy

Under the Canopy is an immersive 360-degree virtual reality film that allows viewers to experience the wonder of the Amazon through the eyes of the indigenous people who inhabit the region and are essential to its protection. The film, which has received more than 700,000 views worldwide, highlights why people need Amazonia to thrive, from its role as the world’s largest watershed to the fact that its trees absorb carbon and help regulate climate. The film has been screened to international audiences at events including Sundance Film Festival, South by Southwest, GreenBiz and the Tropical Forest Alliance General Assembly 2020 meeting in Brazil. 

Experience the wonder of the Amazon in 360-degree virtual reality online at www.conservation.org/canopy, and those with VR headsets can experience the powerful VR version via the JauntVR app.

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 131-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

About Conservation International

Conservation International (CI) uses science, policy and partnerships to protect the nature people rely on for food, fresh water and livelihoods. Founded in 1987, CI works in more than 30 countries on six continents to ensure a healthy, prosperous planet that supports us all. Learn more about CI and its groundbreaking "Nature Is Speaking" campaign, and follow CI's work on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.

Duke Energy Awards More than $300,000 to 10 Urban Redevelopment Projects in Greater Cincinnati

Fri, 10/13/2017 - 5:57pm

Greater Cincinnati's urban cores – and the lives of their residents – will continue to improve and benefit from transformational redevelopment projects thanks to Duke Energy's Urban Revitalization grants. The company announced 10 projects that will receive $307,352 in catalyst grants to support urban redevelopment and stimulate growth, job creation and further investments in our local communities.

"Our urban cores are the hearts of our communities," said Jim Henning, president of Duke Energy Ohio/Kentucky. "Today, they present opportunities for positive change and prosperity. These important collaborations will create jobs, spur additional commercial activity, and serve as hubs for these communities and their residents for generations to come."

Since 2011, Duke Energy has provided $1.88 million in Urban Revitalization funding to 58 projects in Southwest Ohio and Northern Kentucky. Projects include Braxton Brewing Company, Madcap Puppet Theater, Carabello Coffee, Cincinnati State's Middletown campus and Gateway Community & Technical College's Urban Metrocampus. Read more about how past Urban Revitalization grants have spurred economic development in Greater Cincinnati.

The grant announcement was held at Hotel Covington, which received an Urban Revitalization grant in 2013. The event featured each grant recipient, as well as Cincinnati Mayor John Cranley, Covington Mayor Joe Meyer, Hotel Covington developer Guy van Rooyen, Jim Henning and Duke Energy Executive Vice President Julie Janson. Janson previously served as president of Duke Energy Ohio/Kentucky from 2008 to 2012.

Here are summaries of the projects that were awarded grants at the event:


  • Community Improvement Corporation of Silverton
    $35,000 for Silverton Brewing Company

    The Community Improvement Corporation of Silverton's grant will actually facilitate two redevelopment projects along Montgomery and Plainfield roads in the village's central business district. First, it will help the Silverton Brewing Company repurpose the historic Silverton Memorial Municipal Building into a craft brewery, restaurant and taproom. Second, the grant will contribute toward the Village of Silverton's plans to repurpose a former funeral home into a new village administration building.

  • Downtown Middletown Inc.
    $15,400 for Snider Building

    Downtown Middletown's Snider Building – also known as the Sunshine Building – is a critical component of the rebirth of the city's urban core. Once renovated, the building will house a microbrewery and taproom, anchor the revitalization of the downtown business district and lead to more than 40 new jobs. Also, the microbrewery will give students in Cincinnati State's new brewery program critical hands-on experience.

  • Downtown Middletown Inc.
    $18,700 for Manchester Building

    The reincarnation of the Manchester Hotel in downtown Middletown will serve as an anchor and catalyst in the redevelopment of the city's urban core. The 70-room, full-service boutique hotel and conference center will lead to 70 new jobs. The hotel will also partner with Cincinnati State so students studying culinary arts and hospitality will be able to get hands-on experience unavailable at any other college in the area.

  • Hamilton County Development Corp.
    $20,000 for small business coaching in Reading

    Hamilton County Development Corp. will match business experts with local business owners for one-on-one coaching. The goal is to help businesses refine their business plans, sharpen marketing, improve operations and grow. Reading is home to one of the largest wedding districts in the United States, hosting 54 wedding merchants serving a full range of bridal needs.

  • Keep Cincinnati Beautiful
    $30,000 for community resources to revamp vacant lots

    Vacant lots are at the forefront of the discussion on development and will continue to play a vital role in the long-term vision and planning of Cincinnati's communities. Keep Cincinnati Beautiful will use its grant money to create the Duke Energy Learning Lot (DELL) program, which will be a comprehensive community-based workshop series and toolkit designed to help neighborhoods strategically restore and enhance vacant lots into socially, culturally and environmentally responsible assets. Keep Cincinnati Beautiful will also engage local schools to get students outside, learning about environmental issues and STEM-related studies on green infrastructure – exposing students to issues surrounding the environment through curriculum-based environmental classroom education, field trips and service learning projects.

  • Walnut Hills Redevelopment Foundation Inc.
    $35,000 for pre-development of former grocery store property

    Walnut Hills became a food desert earlier this year when the local grocery store closed its doors after 30 years. Now, the Walnut Hills Redevelopment Foundation is partnering with the community to determine how to best use the property moving forward. The Urban Revitalization grant will be put toward community engagement, architectural design and an RFP process that will be informed by the community.

  • Westwood Community Urban Redevelopment Corp.
    $33,752 for redevelopment of Firehouse No. 35

    Historic Firehouse No. 35 building is a mainstay in the Westwood Historic Business District. The community's urban redevelopment group has targeted the site for a new family-friendly restaurant that will serve as a destination anchor – alongside the Madcap Center and West Side Brewing. Such a restaurant will fill an unmet need for community members, create jobs and attract additional visitors and businesses.


  • The Catalytic Fund
    $51,300 for Sixth and Vine project in Dayton

    The Catalytic Development Funding Corp. of Northern Kentucky will use an Urban Revitalization grant toward the conversion of a historic building at Sixth Avenue and Vine Street in Dayton, Ky., from residential back to mixed use. Once the renovation is complete, the building will house a coffee shop and event space, and will be used by nearby artists collective The Lodge for added capacity for its existing events. In addition to repurposing the property, the Catalytic Fund hopes the work encourages surrounding property owners to invest in their own properties, too.

  • The Catalytic Fund
    $50,000 for Road ID headquarters in Covington

    A former self-storage building at Eighth and Washington streets in Covington will be remade into the headquarters of Road ID – a local, family-owned business that manufactures custom products to help first responders identify people in case of an emergency. Once renovations are complete, the building will house Road ID's office, manufacturing, assembly and warehousing space. And, in addition to the company's 42 full-time and 60 part-time and seasonal employees, Road ID expects to hire 30 full-time and 30 part-time employees over the next five years.

  • The Catalytic Fund
    $18,200 for Newport Food Port in Newport

    Incubator Kitchen Collective (IKC) is a nonprofit in Newport that helps Greater Cincinnati food entrepreneurs and startups overcome barriers that can prevent local food businesses from getting off the ground. IKC has helped more than 50 small businesses grow and realize their potential. The Catalytic Fund is working with IKC to expand its kitchen facility so the group can increase occupancy and output, and create direct and indirect jobs.

Duke Energy Ohio/Kentucky
Duke Energy Ohio/Kentucky's operations provide electric service to about 850,000 residential, commercial and industrial customers in a 3,000-square-mile service area and natural gas service to approximately 529,000 customers.

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

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

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

Follow Duke Energy on TwitterLinkedInInstagram and Facebook.

Media contact: 
Lee Freedman
24-Hour:800.559.3853 | @DE_LeeF

CR Magazine Announces 2017 Responsible CEO of Year Award Winners

Fri, 10/13/2017 - 2:57pm

CR Magazine has announced the winners of the 10th annual Responsible CEO of the Year Awards. These awards are presented to CEOs that visibly exceed standards in the areas of employee relations, environmental impact, sustainability, human rights, philanthropy and corporate responsibility practices.

The winners of the 2017 Responsible CEO of the Year Awards are the following:

  • Lifetime Achievement -- Donald W. Slager, President and CEO, Republic Services, Inc.

  • CEOs of the Year -- Roger A. Krone, Chairman and CEO, Leidos, and Kenneth M. Sullivan, President and CEO, Smithfield Foods, Inc.

  • CEO of the Year, Municipal/Nonprofit -- Anthony Haines, president and CEO at Toronto Hydro Corporation.

  • Most Innovative CEO of the Year -- Tom Szaky, Founder and CEO, TerraCycle, Inc.

All award winners were nominated by fellow members of the CR community and selected by an independent judging panel comprised of previous winners and other industry leaders including: 

  • Emanual Chirico, Chairman and CEO, PVH Corp.

  • William Cho, President and CEO, LG Electronics USA

  • Gale Klappa, Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer, Wisconsin Energy

  • Terri Ludwig, President and CEO, Enterprise Community Partners, Inc.

  • James Murren, Chairman and CEO, MGM Resorts International

  • Richard Shadyac, President and CEO, ALSAC 

Today’s business landscape requires CEOs to maintain a balance between their commitment to investors and shareholders and their desire to ensure that the company’s daily actions exceed the requirements and responsibilities of corporate citizens, said Dave Armon, CEO of the Corporate Responsibility Board which publishes CR Magazine.

“This year’s CR Magazine Responsible CEO winners not only run profitable businesses – they do it while fostering healthy company cultures and contributing to their communities both environmentally and socially,” said Armon.

To determine the winners, judges considered several dimensions of the aforementioned standards including the scope of the CEO’s impact on their organization and community, the extent to which the CEO drove this initiative, and the individual reputation or professional risk taken by the CEO.

The 2017 award winners were honored at CR Magazine’s Responsible CEO of the Year Awards Dinner, which took place at the COMMIT!Forum, Oct. 12, at MGM National Harbor, just outside Washington.

For more information about the annual COMMIT!Forum and CR Magazine’s Responsible CEO of the Year Awards Dinner visit http://www.commitforum.com/.

The nomination period for the 2018 CR Magazine Responsible CEO of the Year Awards will begin November 1, 2017.  Visit CR Magazine at www.thecro.com for a link to the nomination form at that time. There is no fee to nominate a CEO. 

About the Corporate Responsibility Board

The Corporate Responsibility Board LLC publishes CR Magazine, organizes COMMIT!Forum and manages of the Corporate Responsibility Association. CR Board is a unit of 3BL Media, a Northampton, Massachusetts, company formed in 2009 to serve corporations, nonprofits, NGOs and service providers active in corporate citizenship and sustainability initiatives. 

Photos (Top to bottom):

(Left) Roger A. Krone, Chairman and CEO, Leidos, and (Right) Kenneth M. Sullivan, President and CEO, Smithfield Foods, Inc. - CEOs of the Year

Tom Szaky, Founder and CEO, TerraCycle, Inc. - Most Innovative CEO of the Year

Donald W. Slager, President and CEO, Republic Services, Inc. - Lifetime Achievement

Anthony Haines, President and CEO at Toronto Hydro Corporation - CEO of the Year, Municipal/Nonprofit

Piraeus Bank Publishes 2016 Sustainable Development Report

Fri, 10/13/2017 - 11:57am

Piraeus Bank Group has published its 2016 Sustainable Development Report, in accordance with the GRI Standards of the Global Reporting Initiative. The report presents the important non-financial aspects of the organization’s work in relation to its governance, its customers, suppliers, employees, society and the environment. 

A materiality survey was conducted for a fourth consecutive year, based on a questionnaire compiled for the purpose of assessing 16 CSR issues related to the stakeholders’ reasonable expectations and interests, which consequently have an impact on society, the economy and the environment. These 16 issues were ranked based on their materiality in relation to judgments and decisions of the stakeholders as well as to their contribution to sustainable development. Adopting new technological solutions of superior standards in order to enhance the quality of products / services to its customers, offering a unique Customer Service and aiming at top Customer Satisfaction are among the significantly material issues that Piraeus Bank places a high priority. The Bank systematically focuses on its clients’ individual needs and promotes products and services with responsibility and transparency.

The Bank maintains its commitment to preserving and promoting the cultural heritage of Greece through the Piraeus Bank Group Cultural Foundation (PIOP), with emphasis on artisanal and industrial technology, while promoting the connection of Culture with the Environment. The Foundation aims at the functional interconnection and the balanced promotion of culture and the environment through the action plan of its network of thematic Museums in the regions of Greece. In 2016, PIOP inaugurated two new thematic museums: the Chios Mastic Museum and the Silversmithing Museum in Ioannina. Meanwhile, there has been a significant increase of the actions of the Foundation in the regions of Greece and Athens, supporting local communities.

Piraeus Bank is strongly committed to protecting the environment and is one of the largest organizations (in terms of infrastructure area and number of employees) to have received the EMAS environmental certification and the new ISO 14001:2015, for the Environmental Management System it applies, with more than 700 buildings and over 900 employees directly involved. In 2016, Piraeus Bank proceeded with the creation of the virtual “Energy Office” through which energy and water consumption in approximately 300 branches is constantly monitored on-line in real time.

Regarding its environmental footprint, compared to 2015, in 2016 Piraeus Bank:

  • Reduced electricity consumption per employee by 3%

  • Reduced CO2 emissions per employee by 2%

  • Recycled more than 1,000 tonnes of paper and 27,400 toners

Piraeus Bank’s Green Banking resulted in a total capacity of RES projects funded by the Group amounting to 1,017MW, translating to  19.3% of the total RES capacity in Greece and preventing the emission of over 2.120 mn tonnes of CO2 into the atmosphere. Additionally, in the 2011-2016 period approximately 6,000 jobs were created and preserved through targeted Green Banking loans. 

In 2016, Piraeus Bank Group proceeded with the design and development of a new integrated Environmental and Social Management System (ESMS), in order to monitor and evaluate the environmental and social performance of funded projects. The new ESMS constitutes a complete framework of operation and methodology for the recognition, evaluation and management of environmental and social risks that stem from business activities of financed customers.

Piraeus Bank assesses on a yearly basis the climate exposure of its business borrowers, who are active in sectors of the economy that might be affected financially by climate change. The climate exposure assessment has been the first coordinated effort of financial evaluation of climate exposure of businesses that are active in Greece. The assessment is completed through the upgraded Climate Risk Management Model application that evaluates in monetary terms the climate exposure of Greek companies.

The detailed progress of the European co-funded project LIFE-Stymfalia, for the protection of the biodiversity of Lake Stymphalia, is also presented. The LIFE-Stymfalia project proposes an alternative financing scheme based on the protection of the Lake and the commercial utilisation of the biomass and other renewable energy resources of the region, in order to secure the sustainability of management actions after the completion of the project. 

The 2016 Sustainable Development Report also focuses on Piraeus Bank’s approach regarding the management of its Human Resources –a key success factor for achieving the Group’s strategic goals- and the respect of Human Rights.  

Piraeus Bank, since 2004, has adopted the principles of the UN Global Compact and the Declaration of Human Rights. The Bank applies equal opportunity principles to all actions and opposes any form of discrimination, inequality or human rights violation while at the same time recognizes and respects diversity. All of the Bank’s policies, procedures and human resource management practices are governed by those principles.

Piraeus Bank Group ensures that its people continually enhance their skills by means of specialized programs and employment opportunities, thus securing and promoting their employability.

Through rotation programs, the Bank ensures the facilitation of its people reassignments according to company needs while at the same time strengthening their comprehensive understanding of the financial sector.

In 2016, Group Human Resources & Organizational Learning continued to invest in the shaping of a uniform corporate culture, the consolidation of the Values model, the development and training of employees, new technologies and means of two-way and open communication, as well as in the balanced and with transparent procedures utilization and allocation of its people within the Organization.

Selected figures associated with Corporate Responsibility concerning Human Resources:

Piraeus Bank Group Human Resources


Training man-hours at Group level



118 actions / 35,810 beneficiaries

Finally, in depth information about key HR issues can be found in this report, such as: Commitment to Safeguarding Human Rights, Equal Opportunities for Career Development, Employee Assistance Programmes(EAPs) and more.

To view the report, click here.

For more information, please visit Piraeus Bank Group website: http://www.piraeusbankgroup.com/en/

Textile Exchange Releases 2017 Preferred Fiber and Materials Market Report at Annual Textile Sustainability Conference

Thu, 10/12/2017 - 8:54pm

Textile Exchange, the global non-profit that promotes the adoption of preferred fiber and materials, integrity and standards and responsible supply networks, today officially released its 2017 Preferred Fiber and Materials Market Report, a report that measures and ranks the usage of fiber and materials with improved social or environmental impacts among participating companies. Featuring 95 major textile and apparel companies, including some of the world’s most renowned brands and retailers, it is the largest report released by Textile Exchange to date, representing a 14% increase in participating companies over 2016’s report and a 76% increase over 2015’s.

            Key findings in the 2017 report, based on the disclosure of actual consumption data through Textile Exchange’s Preferred Fiber and Materials Benchmark Survey, include that among participating companies:

  • Organic and other preferred cottons represent 47% of total cotton usage.

  • Recycled polyester usage grew by 58%.

  • Lyocell usage grew by 128%.

  • Preferred down (the majority of which is certified to Textile Exchange’s Responsible Down Standard) grew by 54%.

  • More companies are managing a portfolio mix of fibers rather than focusing on an individual one.

  • Companies are beginning to mobilize and gear up for circularity. 

            "It’s good to report that things are moving in a positive direction, with uptake of preferred fibers rising in all categories, and some showing very significant leaps in usage,” said Liesl Truscott, European & Materials Strategy Director for Textile Exchange. “While value needs to be shared more equitably, it’s clear that our economic system is changing, with a greater focus on circularity and non-financial capital. The language of the Sustainable Development Goals is influencing our industry and it’s good to see the industry get behind the Science Based Targets.”

            Textile Exchange’s Managing Director, La Rhea Pepper, said: "It is a combination of interventions that is transforming the industry: company strategies are going beyond concept into full implementation, business models are evolving to support, and technologies are coming online to disrupt current modes of production.  Some would say the industry is not moving fast enough, while others are optimistic about the progress being made. We need both the cynics to nudge us further and the optimists to believe it will happen!"

            The report features “leaderboards” that rank company usage across a spectrum of preferred fiber and materials including organic cotton, recycled polyester, lyocell, and more. Global fashion business C&A topped two of the leaderboards. “Being the world’s number one fashion retailer in the use of organic cotton and preferred man-made cellulosics is a great achievement and demonstrates how our sustainable materials strategy is making a difference,” said Jeffrey Hogue, C&A’s Chief Sustainability Officer. “As a significant buyer of agricultural materials like cotton and wood pulp, we are committed to creating better outcomes for farmers, communities and forests.”

            Oregon-based Columbia Sportswear tops the list of companies closing the gap between the usage of certified responsible down and conventional down, and placed third in total usage of responsible down amongst the reporting companies. “At Columbia, we value ethical, sustainable manufacturing practices and are committed to assuring our partners share and practice these values,” said Matthew Hoeferlin, Director of Materials Research for Columbia. “By joining the Responsible Down Standard (RDS), we are committed to sourcing 100% responsible down for our entire global product line. By verifying and validating our entire natural down supply chain through RDS, we can ensure that, from farm to final destination, our product meets the industry’s animal welfare guidelines. In just three short seasons, we have sourced over 3.3 M units filled with responsible down. We will continue to work closely with our vendors and manufacturers to promote the importance of animal welfare and adhere to the standard.”

            The report’s impact data also shows that adoption of preferred fiber and materials can advance many of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs.) In particular SDG 12, which focuses on responsible consumption and production. This is consistent with the report’s findings that nearly 30% of the reporting companies said they are aligning corporate strategy to the SDGs. Textile Exchange believes the adoption of preferred fiber and materials, under internationally recognized standards, offers measurable environmental, social and economic benefits. With its Textile Sustainability Conference—whose theme this year is focused on the SDGs— Textile Exchange has commenced a strategy to mobilize the industry towards advancing the Global Goals and identifying best practices, including the adoption of preferred fiber and materials and standards to ensure the industry is meeting the targets set by the Global Goals.


Textile Exchange, founded in 2002, is a global nonprofit organization that works closely with all sectors of the textile supply chain to find the best ways to create positive impacts on water, soil, air, animals, and the human population created by the textile industry. Textile Exchange accomplishes this by providing the knowledge and tools the industry needs to make significant improvements in three core areas: Fiber and Materials, Integrity and Standards, and Supply Network. A truly global organization, Textile Exchange is headquartered in the U.S. with Staff and Ambassadors located around the world. To learn more about Textile Exchange, visit: www.TextileExchange.org and follow us on Twitter at @TextileExchange.


Textile Exchange rPET Commitment Challenge

Thu, 10/12/2017 - 5:53pm

More than 45 renowned textile, apparel and retail companies—including major brands such as adidas, Dibella, Eileen Fisher, Gap Inc., H&M, IKEA, Lindex, MetaWear, Target and Timberland—have committed or are supporting an increase in their use of Recycled Polyester (rPET) by at least 25% by 2020, it was announced today at Textile Exchange’s annual Textile Sustainability Conference, where more than 500 textile and apparel leaders have come together to discuss the most important sustainability issues facing the industry.

            The pledge was organized by Textile Exchange, a global non-profit that promotes the adoption of preferred fiber and materials, integrity and standards and responsible supply networks, through its Recycled Polyester Working Group. The participating companies represent the diverse elements of the value chain, including brands, retailers, suppliers and associated industry organizations. “We believe that supporting, on a pre-competitive basis, investment in further developing rPET production around the globe, will lead to more efficient supply chains and increase the availability of more sustainable fiber choices in the market,” said Karla Magruder, Textile Exchange Board Member and Sustainability Consultant, who led the effort through the non-profit’s rPET Working Group. 

            The commitment will be tracked via participation in the Polyester Module of Textile Exchange’s annual Preferred Fiber and Materials Benchmark Survey. The baseline for measuring progress will be the usage published in the 2017 Textile Exchange Preferred Fiber and Materials Market Report (PFMR.) According to the PFMR, participant rPET usage is 47,407 mt. A 25% increase by 2020 is projected to provide the following benefits:

  • 2,868,000,000 bottles diverted from landfill.

  • 35,329,509 kg reduction in human toxicity.

  • 1,849,464 MJ saved on primary energy demand.

  • 122,823 kg reduced Co2. 

            Sweden-based global furnishings company IKEA is one of the companies that accepted the challenge. “We are committed to use resources with the utmost efficiency and turn waste into resources,” said IKEA Category Area Manager, Textiles Lena Julle, who is globally responsible for all supply chain activities related to textiles and who sets the company’s textile material direction and agenda. “The IKEA ambition is to not use any virgin oil based polyester in textiles by 2030. To commit to use 25% more rPET by 2020 is a natural step towards our ambition."

            New Hampshire-based outdoor lifestyle brand Timberland also signed on. “We’re excited to increase not only the amount of recycled polyester we source, but also the depth of our engagement within the rPET supply chain.” said Zachary Angelini, Timberland’s Environmental Stewardship Manager. “We believe rPET can go beyond environmental impact to have social benefits for vulnerable populations. We’re especially excited to scale the effort through our partnership with Thread, a B Corporation that transforms trash from the developing world into recycled polyester, strategically creating transparent and dignified supply chains in Haiti, Honduras and Taiwan.”

            The ultimate goal is to substantially increase the global availability of rPET, and drive rPET production efficiencies ultimately making it more accessible to all. In addition, Magruder said, the Working Group seeks to identify and support more sustainable practices under Sustainable Development Goal 12 (Responsible Consumption and Production), which encourages “industries, businesses and consumers to recycle and reduce waste.”  

            Reducing the use of virgin polyester, which is made from non-renewable feedstocks, will favorably impact SDG Target 12.2 designed to achieve the sustainable management and efficient use of natural resources, including reducing material footprint under SDG Target 12.2.1.


Textile Exchange, founded in 2002, is a global nonprofit organization that works closely with all sectors of the textile supply chain to find the best ways to create positive impacts on water, soil, air, animals, and the human population created by the textile industry. Textile Exchange accomplishes this by providing the knowledge and tools the industry needs to make significant improvements in three core areas: Fiber and Materials, Integrity and Standards, and Supply Network. A truly global organization, Textile Exchange is headquartered in the U.S. with Staff and Ambassadors located around the world. To learn more about Textile Exchange, visit: www.TextileExchange.org and follow us on Twitter at @TextileExchange.


Smithfield Foods Announces New, Industry-Leading Environmental Initiative, Smithfield Renewables

Thu, 10/12/2017 - 2:53pm

Smithfield Foods, Inc. announced today the launch of Smithfield Renewables, a new platform within the organization that will unify, lead and accelerate the company’s industry-leading carbon reduction and renewable energy efforts. Smithfield Renewables will ensure the company meets its environmental commitments including its goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 25 percent by 2025. 

The company announced Smithfield Renewables at the 2017 COMMIT! Forum, an annual conference for corporate responsibility and sustainability practitioners to network and share best practices. Smithfield also introduced its first Senior Director of Smithfield Renewables, Kraig Westerbeek. In this new role, which will report to Smithfield’s chief sustainability officer, he will lead and oversee GHG reduction efforts, keeping the company responsible for achieving its goals.

“Smithfield has long led the industry in sustainability and its environmental commitments,” said Kraig Westerbeek senior director of Smithfield Renewables and Hog Production Division Environmental Affairs. “Smithfield Renewables will ensure we continue to lead in this arena by further sharpening our focus on programs that help us reduce our carbon footprint and recycle energy more efficiently.” 

Westerbeek will lead an advisory committee that will evaluate projects and help direct a company-wide strategy for renewable energy projects across both farms and facilities. At facilities, this includes refrigeration, boiler and other equipment upgrades. On farms, this includes projects that convert manure into useful products from fertilizer to renewable energy sources. Smithfield Renewables will further develop and build upon these best-in-industry projects.

“At Smithfield Foods, we are known for producing good food responsibly and our bold environmental commitments,” said Kenneth M. Sullivan, president and CEO of Smithfield Foods. “By launching Smithfield Renewables, we are better positioned to achieve these goals and continue setting pioneering environmental programs.” 

Please watch this video for more information about Smithfield Renewables and read more about the company’s industry-leading environmental programs in Smithfield’s most recent Sustainability Report available here.

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®, John Morrell®, Cook's®, Kretschmar®, Gwaltney®, Curly's®, Margherita®, Carando®, Healthy Ones®, Krakus®, Morliny® 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.


New Report: Trust is Down, Expectations are Up as Brands Take Center Stage in Cultural Divides

Thu, 10/12/2017 - 2:53pm

Trust is down. Expectations are up. And like never before, the world’s consumers are turning to brands to address the social and environmental challenges that affect their aspirations for a better life in divided times.

According to a new global study by BBMG and GlobeScan, Brand Purpose in Divided Times, net trust in global companies to act in the best interest of society is negative (-2). And for the first time since 2009, more consumers say they have punished companies for their behavior (28%) rather than rewarded them (26%), and the number of those who are punishing brands is up by 9 percentage points since 2013.

“While trust in companies has never been lower, expectations for the role of brands in society have never been higher. Consumers are yearning for brands that stand for more than the products they sell. They want brands that meet their own needs while also creating meaningful solutions that have a positive impact on society,” says Raphael Bemporad, founding partner at brand consultancy BBMG. “At a moment of tremendous social and cultural change, consumers are looking to brands for leadership and action.”

“As consumers try to meet their own needs and fulfill their hopes for the world around them, they are feeling less empowered to influence corporate behavior and more challenged in making their aspirations a reality,” added Chris Coulter, CEO of GlobeScan. “Our research reveals how our common human aspirations are being threatened by anxieties and systemic barriers that are affecting consumer priorities and transforming their expectations of and relationships with brands.”

2017 Research Highlights – At a Glance

Global Aspirations: From one part of the globe to another, consumers are feeling the same hopes, fears, desires and burdens. The language and the landscape of our daily lives may vary greatly, but if you ask people what they want from life, four themes arise: health and wellbeing, financial security, meaningful relationships and a sense of purpose.

Trust in Institutions: Net trust [1] in global companies to act in the best interest of society is negative (-2). The most trusted institutions include science and academic research institutions (54 net trust), our fellow citizens (35), large charitable foundations (25) and NGOs (24). The least trusted institutions are global companies (-2), press and media (-6) and national governments (-6).

Seriousness of Global Problems: Consumers say the global problems that are “very serious” include terrorism (67%), corruption (65%), extreme poverty (64%), war and armed conflicts (61%), environment and pollution (59%), human rights abuses (59%), the gap between rich and poor (54%), the spread of human diseases (52%), the state of the global economy (44%), religious fundamentalism (41%) and transnational migration (38%).

Rewarding and Punishing Brands: For the first time since 2009, more consumers say they have punished companies for their behavior (28%) rather than rewarded them (26%), and the number of those who are punishing brands is up by 9% since 2013.

Four Strategies for Brand Leadership: The report also outlines four strategies for brand leadership with case studies and best practices from brands such as Heineken, Plum Organics, IKEA, Danone, KIND, airbnb, Starbucks, Apple, Ben & Jerry’s and REI, among others.

Download a copy of the full report here.


BBMG is a brand and social innovation consultancy dedicated to creating business growth and positive social impact. We’re strategic creatives and creative strategists, culture experts and design thinkers. We build brands with purpose that are relevant to a new generation and resilient for the fast, transparent and volatile world we live in today. To learn more about how we build brands for humans, visit www.bbmg.com


GlobeScan is a strategy and insights consultancy, focused on helping our clients to build long-term trust with their stakeholders. Offering a suite of specialist research and advisory services, GlobeScan partners with clients to meet strategic objectives across reputation, sustainability and purpose. For more information, visit www.GlobeScan.com


The findings detailed in this report are based on face-to-face and telephone surveys with nationally representative samples of about 1,000 adults in each of 21 countries. Some urban-only surveying was conducted in certain developing countries, following generally accepted research standards in each country. The polling was carried out between December 2016 and May 2017. In 2017, global averages are not always based on 21 countries, as some countries were not asked all questions. Selected tracking information is shown where data is available.

[1] Net trust ratings are calculated by responses citing “A lot of trust” and “Some trust” minus “Not much trust” and “No trust at all

CGF Members Share Their Sustainability Strategies in Updated Publications

Thu, 10/12/2017 - 2:53pm

The Consumer Goods Forum has published the 2nd editions of two of its key sustainability publications: its Business Actions Against Forced Labour booklet and its Food Waste booklet, featuring 12 new case studies outlining members’ strategies on how they are working on the eradication of forced labour from their global supply chains and reducing and measuring food loss and waste.

The CGF is unique in that it is the only organisation bringing consumer goods retailers, manufacturers and service providers together globally, and these new additions confirm how members are taking collective action and implementing business strategies that support their commitment to eradicating forced labour and food waste and driving positive change globally. 

Business Actions Against Forced Labour booklet

The Business Actions Against Forced Labour booklet highlights the positive actions of CGF members as they tackle forced labour in their global supply chains. The new case studies include stories on how companies are setting up new programmes, engaging in cross-sectoral collaboration and effectively implementing auditing schemes to implement and address the CGF Priority Industry Principles, three simple principles that could help eradicate forced labour if applied globally. Through these business cases, members share their learnings on aspects such as the importance of working closely with local communities, partnering with human rights’ experts and development NGOs and maintaining a continuous dialogue with suppliers and business partners in order to effectively address forced labour.

New contributing members are:

  • Carrefour

  • Danone

  • Mondelēz International

  • S Group

  • Target

These new case studies have been published alongside those already provided by:

  • Colgate-Palmolive

  • Kellogg Company

  • Marks & Spencer

  • Mars Incorporated

  • METRO Group

  • Migros

  • Nestlé S.A.

  • Tesco

  • The Coca-Cola Company

  • The Walt Disney Company

  • Unilever

  • Walmart

Food Waste booklet

In 2015, the CGF launched its Food Waste Resolution, with members agreeing to halve food waste in their own operations by 2025 and in line with the UN Sustainable Development Goals by 2030. The Food Waste booklet came on the heels of this Resolution, showcasing concrete actions taken by companies to fulfil their commitment and serves as inspiration and guidance to others tackling the issue of food loss and waste. 

New contributing members are:

  • A.S Watson Group

  • Group Exito

  • Musgrave

  • Pick n Pay

  • Sealed Air

  • Target

  • Woolworths

These new case studies have been published alongside those already provided by:

  • Ahold Delhaize

  • Barilla

  • Campbell Soup Company

  • Danone

  • ICA

  • IFCO

  • Jerónimo Martins

  • Kellogg Company

  • Marks & Spencer

  • METRO Group

  • Mondelēz International

  • Nestlé

  • PepsiCo

  • Sainsbury's

  • Tesco

  • Unilever

  • Walmart

Food loss and waste is an enormous environmental, social and economic problem and arguably one of the greatest collective challenges of our time.

Moving Forwards

Given the magnitude of these two global issues, collaboration is key and the sharing of best practices through the case study booklet is a positive way to do so. Both booklets are ever-expanding documents, and the CGF welcomes new additions from its members at any time. Knowledge and best-practice sharing are core aspects of the CGF’s work and they will continue to support members in implementing the public resolutions and commitments.

-- Ends --

About The Consumer Goods Forum

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

For further information, please contact:

Didier Bergeret
Director, Social Sustainability and GSCP
The Consumer Goods Forum

Ignacio Gavlian
Director, Environmental Sustainability
The Consumer Goods Forum

Lee Green
Director, Communications
The Consumer Goods Forum

Twitter Partners With Cybersmile on Inaugural #TweetForACause Pro Bono Initiative

Thu, 10/12/2017 - 11:53am

Twitter is launching its first #TweetForACause campaign tapping into the powerful voices of Niche’s global creator network, which the company acquired in 2015. The #TweetForACause initiative will be the first in an ongoing semi-annual series. Future NGO partners will be selected based on their alignment to Twitter for Good’s philanthropic mission, and each activation will be powered by Niche’s global creator network. As part of its inaugural campaign, Niche creators will be driving awareness for Cybersmile’s efforts in preventing cyberbullying and online abuse. 

“We couldn’t think of a better partner than Cybersmile to kick off Niche’s #TweetForACause pro bono initiative, particularly as we continue to honor Bullying Prevention Month in October. We are humbled to be a part of their mission to combat cyberbullying through the voices of our most influential and trusted content creators,” Leah Feygin, Sr. Brand Strategist, Twitter.

As a creator-first network, Niche has seen firsthand how creators have had to deal with issues relating to cyberbullying and aims to have a positive impact by sparking conversation around Cybersmile's mission, particularly during Bullying Prevention Month.

 “We are honored and excited to be included as the launch partner for Twitter’s new bi-annual #TweetForACause initiative. With the inclusion in Twitter’s new #TweetForACause initiative, awareness of Cybersmile and our work will be raised to millions of new people around the world - potentially changing and even saving huge numbers of lives in the short and long term,” Scott Freeman, CEO, The Cybersmile Foundation.

Starting on October 12th, content creators from the U.S. and U.K. will utilize the collective power of the Twitter platform to create and share original content that encourages internet users to support and promote Cybersmile’s work around the world. Creators include:

Make sure you follow along on their handles and @CybersmileHQ - and get involved using #TweetForACause!

Climatecare Supports Aviva to Win Un Momentum for Change Award

Thu, 10/12/2017 - 8:53am

Leading global insurance provider, Aviva Plc, has been awarded a prestigious UN Momentum for Change award, in recognition of the company’s flagship and fully comprehensive action to tackle climate change.

With the importance of avoiding a plus-two-degree world high on the international agenda, the award highlights how reducing emissions internally, and investing in high quality carbon reductions beyond business boundaries, is best practice action for building a sustainable global economy. 

Aviva has been a completely climate-neutral business since 2006, supported by the climate and development B-corporation, ClimateCare. Both Aviva and ClimateCare are members of the UN’s Climate Neutral Now coalition.

Aviva achieves climate neutrality by first reducing emissions as far as possible, and is aiming for a 70% reduction in energy consumption by 2030, based on a 2010 baseline. Its actions include the installation of solar PV on three of its UK office locations, and sourcing 61% of its electricity from renewable sources.

Aviva then works with ClimateCare to offset its remaining emissions, by supporting a variety of international projects, which in addition to reducing carbon emissions, help alleviate every-day challenges for communities in developing countries. To date these projects have improved the lives of over 970,000 people.

ClimateCare designed the offset programme to reflect Aviva’s international market presence and supply chain countries. The current projects that Aviva supports operate in India, Vietnam and Kenya, helping to transition local markets to commercially viable, appropriate, low-carbon technologies.

One of these projects, the Burn Stoves programme in Kenya, is helping thousands of households gain access to the ‘Jikokoa’ – a market leading fuel efficient cookstove. Utilising innovative ‘natural draft’ technology, the stove achieves more complete combustion of charcoal fuel than conventional stove models. This technology reduces fuel demand and smoke emissions, not only saving users money on fuel, but also decreasing their exposure to health-damaging indoor air pollution. The production of these stoves is employing over 100 people in the project’s Nairobi-based factory, with half of the positions held by women. 

Supporting projects like Burn Stoves through voluntary and compliance carbon market mechanisms, allows Aviva to fully compensate for the emissions generated at its 16 international business locations, whilst it continues to invest in internal emissions reductions. The projects also contribute to several of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, such as SDG 3, “Good Health and Well-being”, and SDG 7, “Affordable and Clean Energy”. 

Aviva’s Group Head of Sustainaiblity, Zelda Bentham, commented: “We are thrilled to have our climate action recognised by the UN. Aviva is doing a lot of work to assess and manage climate related risks for our industry. Embracing climate neutrality with ClimateCare, and supporting the SDGs, is essential to minimising these risks and building an economy that supports people and our planet.”

Robustly measuring these sustainable development outcomes has been a core component of the partnership between ClimateCare and Aviva. Together, they pioneered the application of the London Benchmarking Group framework for carbon offset projects, setting the standard for how businesses report the impacts of their carbon offset programmes.  

ClimateCare’s CEO, Edward Hanrahan added: “It is great to see a large forward thinking Corporation like Aviva being recognised at such a high level for its leadership position in taking full responsibility for its Climate impacts.  Aviva recognised that achieving the SDGs and tackling climate change are inextricably linked and we are delighted to have been able to put together a programme for them that delivers on this.” 

“More and more large corporates are recognising that true Corporate Responsibility means exactly that – taking full responsibility for 100% of their impacts –  and we were delighted to be able to help deliver Aviva‘s ongoing commitment to become Climate Neutral Now.’

By recognising the integrity of Aviva’s climate strategy, the UN’s award highlights the essential role that carbon markets play in allowing companies to take complete responsibility for their contributions to climate change. Carbon finance is important for kick-starting and nurturing low-carbon initiatives around the world, and is essential to the operation of projects like Burn Stoves.

Aviva joins the other award winners in Bonn in November, to showcase their leading examples of corporate climate action. 

Get in touch with ClimateCare to find out how we can work with you to create an award-winning climate action programme

Mondelēz International Employees Learn and Serve in Cocoa Farming Communities in Ghana

Thu, 10/12/2017 - 8:53am

This month, Mondelēz International will send employees to Ghana for a two-week skills-exchange program to learn about the challenges and opportunities in securing a sustainable cocoa supply, while sharing their diverse business skills with farmers. In its fourth year, the “Joy Ambassadors” program is part of the company’s ongoing commitment to grow its impact for people and the planet. The Joy Ambassadors will be visiting communities that are a part of Cocoa Life, the company’s holistic, third-party verified program that aims to create a sustainable cocoa supply by transforming the lives of farmers and communities at scale.

A photo accompanying this announcement is available at http://www.globenewswire.com/NewsRoom/AttachmentNg/ab750958-cbe1-4e9c-ab6e-ee5975714773

"This is a unique opportunity for our colleagues to gain a deeper understanding of the cocoa supply chain and share their business skills to help accelerate the impact of our Cocoa Life sustainability efforts,” said Sarah Delea, President of the Mondelēz International Foundation and Senior Director for Well-being and Community Involvement. "Each year, the Ambassadors return with fresh perspectives and energy that helps us grow our people, business and positive impact we have in the world.”

This year’s Joy Ambassador program focuses on strengthening communities through enhanced partnerships across the cocoa value chain – a critical factor to help build thriving cocoa communities.  As such, the development and delivery of community workshops to build capacity and collaboration among local farmers and stakeholders will be central to the experience.

The Joy Ambassadors offer a wide range of expertise, including research and development, marketing, manufacturing, strategy and finance.  They will host workshops on key topics such as networking and alliance building, planning and organization, coaching and mentoring and managing people and teams. The project is funded by the Mondelēz International Foundationthrough a partnership with VSO (formerly Voluntary Service Overseas), the world’s leading independent international development organization working through volunteers to tackle poverty in developing countries.

The 2017 Class of Joy Ambassadors is:

  • Elisabeth Altenkamp, Information Systems Manager — Germany

  • Jana Majdan Barankova, Manufacturing Section Manager — Austria

  • Ophira Bhatia, Corporate & Government Affairs Director, India & South East Asia - India

  • Jacopo Dellacasa, Biscuits Marketing Manager — Italy

  • Brian Dewerff, Customer Development Director — USA

  • Suzana Drzanic, Human Resources Director — Croatia

  • Kane Jacker, Packaging Senior Manager — Australia

  • Gavin Kaplan, Category Relationship Manager — Australia

  • Michele Lassman, Global Chocolate Strategy Senior Manager — USA

  • Adriane Lima, Chocolate Innovation Section Manager — Brazil

  • Monica Paulsen Ygre, Freia Brand Manager — Norway

  • Marcelo Russo, Chocolate Senior Manager— Brazil

  • Tatiana Situkha, Mondelez Business Services Cluster Manager — Russia

  • Paul Williams, Operations Director— USA

As one of the world’s largest chocolate companies Mondelēz International is committed to ensuring a sustainable cocoa supply chain through Cocoa Life. Launched in 2012, the program is investing $400 million USD by 2022 to empower at least 200,000 cocoa farmers and reach over one million community members in six key cocoa-growing origins: Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Indonesia, India, the Dominican Republic and Brazil.

The company will highlight the experiences of the Joy Ambassadors on www.facebook.com/mondelezinternational and www.twitter.com/mdlz during and after the journey.  Visit the 2016 Impact for Growth Progress Report to learn more about Mondelēz International’s impact strategies and programs.

About Mondelēz International
Mondelēz International, Inc. (NASDAQ:MDLZ) is building the best snacking company in the world, with 2016 net revenues of approximately $26 billion. Creating more moments of joy in approximately 165 countries, Mondelēz International is a world leader in biscuits, chocolate, gum, candy and powdered beverages, featuring global Power Brands such as Oreo and belVitabiscuits; Cadbury Dairy Milk and Milka chocolate; and Trident gum. Mondelēz International is a proud member of the Standard and Poor’s 500, NASDAQ 100 and Dow Jones Sustainability Index. Visit www.mondelezinternational.com or follow the company on Twitter at www.twitter.com/MDLZ.

About VSO
VSO (formerly Voluntary Services Overseas) is the world’s leading independent international development organization working through volunteers to tackle poverty in developing countries. Since 1958, VSO has mobilized more than 66,000 volunteers, bringing them together with partner organizations, governments, corporations and communities in the developing world to share skills, build capabilities, promote international understanding and ultimately change lives for the better.  VSO works today in 27 countries across Europe, Africa, Asia and the Pacific region focusing largely on health, education and improving livelihoods, with its work benefiting over 2.2 million people in 2016/17. Visit www.vsointernational.org or follow VSO on Twitter at www.twitter.com/vso_intl.

The photo is also available at Newscom, www.newscom.com, and via AP PhotoExpress.

Over 36 Major Brands Pledge to Achieve Sustainable Cotton by 2025

Wed, 10/11/2017 - 8:53pm

23 more of the world's most renowned clothing and textile companies, including Burberry, Adidas, Kathmandu and Timberland today pledged to use 100% sustainable cotton by 2025[1].   36 major brands and retailers have now signed up to the 100% by 2025 pledge, including four of Forbes magazine’s list of the world’s ten largest global apparel brands[2], and three of the top 10 UK clothing retailers.[3]  This announcement was made at the annual Textile Exchange Sustainability Conference, where more than 400 textile and apparel leaders have come together to discuss the most important sustainability issues facing the industry.  

This pledge – called the sustainable cotton communiqué - demonstrates that there is a demand for more sustainable cotton, and the commitment made by companies will help to drive sustainable practices across the sector. In turn, this will help alleviate the environmental and social costs that are too often associated with cotton production, including the over-use of pesticides, the release of greenhouse gases, the depletion of local water sources and rising costs of production.

The brands that have committed to the 100% by 2025 pledge are: ASOS,  EILEEN FISHER, Greenfibres, H&M, IKEA, Kering, Levi's, Lindex, M&S, Nike, Sainsbury's, F&F at Tesco,  Woolworths, Adidas, A-Z, BikBOk, Burberry, Burton Snowboards, Carlings, Coyuchi, Cubus, Days like This, Dressmann, Hanky Panky, House of Fraser, Indigenous Designs, KappAhl, Kathmandu, Mantis World, MetaWear, Otto Group, prAna, SkunkFunk,  Timberland, Urban, Volt and Wow.


There have been substantial gains made over the past few years in scaling the production of more sustainable forms of cotton, which is now higher than ever at over 3 million tonnes in 2016. However, companies are actively sourcing less than a fifth of this available sustainable cotton. [4] In order for sustainable cotton to become standard business practice, the amount of sustainable cotton grown and bought must increase significantly. This pledge sends a signal to millions of producers that there is a real demand for a more sustainable approach to cotton production that reduces the environmental and social costs.

The companies that have pledged their support are at various stages on their journey to using sustainable cotton, with some already securing all of their cotton from sustainable sources. However, all are clear that collaboration across the sector is needed to bring about transformative change.

Quotes from selected companies and NGO representatives:

“The industry is awakening to the necessity of sustainably grown cotton. It is great to see additional brands joining this initiative to accelerate the momentum of cotton production in a way that will positively impact smallholder farmers, water quality and soil health.” La Rhea Pepper, Managing Director, Textile Exchange

"As a pioneer in organic cotton bedding, Coyuchi cares immensely about what our sheets, towels and apparel are made of and its greater impact on the environment and the hands that touch it from earth to factory to home. Coyuchi is excited to join the pledge and the growing momentum by likeminded brands committed to a more sustainable future.” Eileen Mockus, CEO, Coyuchi

“Burton has a responsibility to protect the people and playground that sustain our sport and lifestyle. We recognize that there are social and environmental costs associated with producing our products. We are continuously striving toward sustainability in our production practices, including the materials we source. Burton is proud to join other industry leaders in this pledge, which is aligned with our commitment to sourcing 100% sustainable cotton by 2020.” Donna Carpenter, CEO and Co-owner, Burton Snowboards

“It’s been a long journey to reach 100% organic cotton. Kudos to all the prAna employees & global supply chain partners who put in countless hours. We couldn’t be more ecstatic about this sustainability milestone!” Russ Hopcus, President, prAna 

“House of Fraser supports the Sustainable Cotton Communiqué as part of our shift to sourcing sustainable cotton in our house branded fashion and homeware products. We welcome the opportunity to collaborate to scale the uptake of sustainable materials in fashion, and applaud HRH The Prince of Wales for his leadership.” Maria Hollins, Executive Director of Buying and Design, House of Fraser   

“At Timberland, we strive to be Earthkeepers in everything we do and we recognize sustainable cotton sourcing as a major part of that goal. Studies have shown the positive social benefits to farming communities as well as the potential for these practices to sequester carbon into the soil. This is exciting work as we move beyond just minimizing environmental impacts to strategically creating real environmental and social benefits within the supply chain.” Zachary Angelini, Environmental Stewardship Manager, Timberland

Notes to Editors

This announcement, made at the annual Textile Exchange conference, follows the launch of the sustainable cotton communiqué at a high level meeting in May this year that was attended by HRH The Prince of Wales and organised by The Prince's International Sustainability Unit (ISU) in collaboration with Marks & Spencer and The Soil Association (UK). 

Information about cotton and sustainability

Cotton is the most abundantly produced natural fibre and its production supports the livelihoods of over 350 million people[5].  Despite its global importance, cotton production can be beset by a number of environmental and social challenges. Whilst cotton only covers 2.4% of the world's arable land, it accounts for 6% of global pesticide use[6]. With around 2,720 litres of water needed to make just one t-shirt, conventional cotton production is highly dependent on water[7]. Higher temperatures and changing rainfall patterns caused by climate change are likely to cause severe water shortages in some areas, as well as increase the prevalence of pests and diseases, negatively affect yields. The challenges of the cotton sector are also social and economic, with cotton farmers and their dependents negatively impacted by the over-use of pesticides and petroleum based fertilizers, and rising costs of production and volatile market prices.

More information, including the full text of the sustainable cotton communiqué, is available on the ISU website: www.pcfisu.org/sustainable-cotton.

About Textile Exchange

Textile Exchange, founded in 2002, is a global nonprofit organization that works closely with all sectors of the textile supply chain to find the best ways to minimize and even reverse the negative impacts on water, soil, air, animals, and the human population created by this industry. Textile Exchange accomplishes this by providing the knowledge and tools the industry needs to make significant improvements in three core areas: Fiber and Materials, Integrity and Standards, and Supply Chain. A truly global organization, Textile Exchange is headquartered in the U.S. with Staff and Ambassadors located in more than 10 countries. To learn more about Textile Exchange, visit: www.TextileExchange.org and Twitter at @TextileExchange.


[1] . This initiative recognises several existing standards as delivering sustainable cotton: Organic, Fairtrade, Better Cotton Initiative (BCI), Cotton Made in Africa and recycled cotton certified to an independently verifiable standard such as the Global Recycled Standard (GRS) or the Recycled Claim Standard (RCS). In addition, CottonConnect’s REEL programme and code provides a starting point for businesses aiming for greater sustainability in their cotton supply chain.

[2] Nike, H&M, Kering and Addidas. https://www.forbes.com/pictures/574381cb4bbe6f6361857bbb/vf/#146d78e07223

[3] 2015/2016. M&S, Tesco and H&M. https://www.retaileconomics.co.uk/top10-retailers-clothing-and-footwear

[4] WWF-Solidaridad-PAN UK, Cotton Ranking Report, 2016

[5] Fairtrade Foundation, Commodity Briefing: Cotton, 2015

[6] Pesticide Action Network UK, 2017: http://www.pan-uk.org/cotton/

[7] Fairtrade Foundation, Commodity Briefing: Cotton, 2015

Pact Expands Fight Against Worst Form of Child Labor in Africa

Wed, 10/11/2017 - 2:52pm

This week, Pact announced new activities to combat child labor in mining in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) through support from Google. Under the expansion, Pact will grow its work in tin mines and cobalt mines in the region formerly known as Katanga, a mineral-rich but impoverished area.

DRC’s vast mineral resources provide formal and informal employment for millions of people across the country, yet almost 70% of the country lives on less than $1 a day. With limited economic opportunities, children often make their way to mines to work, sometimes accompanying their parents. Coupled with extensive cracks in child protection systems and a cultural acceptance of child labor, as well as realities such as child-headed households, there are a variety of reasons why children work at mines.

With increasing demand for portable technology, electric vehicles, computers, batteries, and other devices that include these strategic minerals, demand for tin and cobalt continue to grow.

Since 2015, Pact has been working with local and international partners, including the tin industry association, ITRI, as well as companies like GE, Boeing, Microsoft, and Qualcomm, to address child labor in Katanga’s tin mines through the Children Out of Mining project. With positive, collective action and an integrated package of interventions, we achieved a 97% reduction in the number of children working at project mine sites after the first two years.

“We have been able to make extraordinary progress in the fight against child labor,” said Yves Bawa, Pact country director for DRC, Rwanda, and Burundi. “Across the supply chain, from miners and suppliers to buyers, we’re seeing growing commitment and capacity to support children in mining communities. Google’s commitment will allow us to expand these successes and move further into the critical cobalt supply chain.”

Google’s support will allow us to expand targeted interventions to support particularly vulnerable and older children. An initial capacity assessment of local child protection services will provide the project with a clear picture of gaps and strengths in service delivery, laying the foundation for additional initiatives and interventions in this area and for transfer of responsibility to capable government and local agencies. Additionally, we will expand Pact’s signature WORTH for Miners program, which was developed with the Dutch Government and provides literacy, numeracy, savings, and financial skills to miners to increase mining families’ economic resources and potential.

In cobalt mines, Google’s contribution will support the groundwork that has already begun for local ownership and commitment to addressing child labor through local committees in key mining areas, training of local suppliers on international standards, and conducting exchange visits with other mining communities addressing child labor.

Pact has been working for more than 10 years in Congo’s mining communities to address systemic changes needed to improve the lives of artisanal miners and their families on a range of issues, including child labor. Pact’s Mines to Markets program currently works in 10 countries assisting resource-dependent communities to gain lasting benefits from the more sustainable use of their natural resources. Utilizing our unique integrated approach, Pact’s work links mining to livelihoods, governance, health, the environment and strengthening of local, regional and national institutions.

For more information about Pact’s work in mining, please visit www.pactworld.org/mining. 

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 About Pact – Pact is the promise of a better tomorrow for communities challenged by poverty and marginalization. We serve these communities because we envision a world where everyone owns their future. To do this, we build systemic solutions in partnership with local organizations, businesses and governments that create sustainable and resilient communities where those we serve are heard, capable and vibrant. On the ground in nearly 40 countries, Pact’s integrated, adaptive approach is shaping the future of international development. Visit us at www.pactworld.org.

The Lemelson Foundation and Partners Release Tools to Help Inventors and Entrepreneurs Integrate Sustainability From the Start

Wed, 10/11/2017 - 11:52am

The Lemelson Foundation today announced the release of an integrated package of new educational and business management toolkits for invention-based entrepreneurs. Sustaining Our Planet: A Toolkit for Entrepreneurs has been created by leading organizations in the field of entrepreneurship development- NESsT, Presidio Graduate School and VentureWell.  The suite of materials – all available for free download -  makes it easier for entrepreneurial inventors to integrate sustainability at all stages of product and business development.  

Entrepreneurs around the world are committed to building businesses that improve lives, protect the planet and generate profits. Companies that manage social and environmental performance can outperform those that do not, as research by Harvard Business School and others have demonstrated. 

The Lemelson Foundation, NESsT, Presidio Graduate School and VentureWell have joined forces to make sustainability more accessible to inventors and entrepreneurs throughout the product development and business growth process. The organizations are united in the belief that not only does our collective future depend on all inventors and entrepreneurs integrating environmental stewardship into products and business plans but also that those who do will experience the biggest market success.

Sustaining Our Planet: A Toolkit for Entrepreneurs is the culmination of a set of investments made by Lemelson in 2014, when the Foundation awarded grants to NESsT, Presidio Graduate School (formerly Pinchot University) and VentureWell.  “These toolkits deliver on our goal to help inventors and entrepreneurs reduce the potential for negative impact throughout their product and business development process,” said Carol Dahl, executive director of The Lemelson Foundation.  “We believe the most successful inventors, inventions, and associated businesses will be those who deliver the most value while consuming the fewest resources.”

Because each of the three organizations works with students and entrepreneurs at different stages of professional development – from early-stage ideation to the establishment of profit-making enterprises – the tools are distinct but complementary.

  • Early design and prototyping.
    VentureWell’s “Inventing Green: A Toolkit for Sustainable Design” was developed for engineers and makers of tangible products. VentureWell’s tools use systems thinking and a life-cycle analysis to help product developers consider the materials, production, distribution, and end-of-life of a product. Ideally used during a product’s early design and prototyping stages, the toolkit can reveal opportunities for inventors to design products and business models that reduce negative impacts throughout the product lifecycle. A complementary video series offers an overview of these concepts and examples of ventures that have successfully applied them. The components of the toolkit can be used together, a la carte, or mixed with other resources. http://go.venturewell.org/inventing-green-1

  • Extending the Value of Business Model Canvas (BMC):
    Presidio Graduate School’s “Sustainability Booster for BMC” is based on the premise that social and environmental performance need to be integrated in every aspect of a company’s work in order to avoid problems and take advantage of holistic efficiencies early on. The tool provides a set of 30 carefully curated questions that business students, entrepreneurs, and business leaders should take into account to make their business model more socially, environmentally, and economically sustainable. The toolkit offers helpful guided examples and is built as a plug and play enhancement for the well-known “Business Model Canvas” (BMC). It is highly adaptable for many different situations, and is effective for startups and existing enterprises alike.  https://info.presidio.edu/booster/

  • Simplifying life-cycle assessment:
    NESsT’s “I2E Inventing Green” is an online tool that goes deep into life-cycle assessment for companies that have begun early production and sales of a product or service. The I2E Inventing Green tool then takes it a step further by enabling users to manage and track their progress with quantifiable metrics that are connected to both economic success and generation of social and environmental impacts. The NESsT tool is ideal for companies that are validating their business model or preparing to scale, and want to capture top-line metrics for internal planning and external reporting but they find existing assessment tools too burdensome. www.nesst.org/i2e-green-tool 

“Many inventor entrepreneurs – especially if they’re working in under-resourced parts of the world – need easy-to-use tools to assess the life-cycle and biodiversity impact of products and services, and develop a plan to improve their environment impact over time,” said Nicole Etchart, co-founder and co-CEO of NESsT. “Our online portal helps emerging companies understand that managing and measuring environmental sustainability is both feasible and beneficial, and we can walk them through each step of how to do it.”

“Our tool enables entrepreneurs to bake a triple bottom line into their business models, products and services, considering the positive value for people, planet, and profit,” said Marsha Willard, core faculty at Presidio Graduate School. “We’re hoping to help entrepreneurs realize they can reduce supply chain risk, reach new markets, and deliver innovative products while addressing social and environmental issues and being financially successful.”

“It can be a daunting challenge for nascent entrepreneurs to think about the environmental impact of each phase of a product’s life. They need to consider materials they use, how they produce and distribute the product, and how to eventually dispose of or reuse it. Our toolkit makes that life-cycle thought process possible, even when a company is just a twinkle in someone’s eye,” said Phil Weilerstein, President VentureWell. 

About The Lemelson Foundation
Based in Portland, The Lemelson Foundation uses the power of invention to improve lives. Inspired by the belief that invention can solve many of the biggest economic and social challenges of our time, the Foundation helps the next generation of inventors and invention-based businesses to flourish. The Lemelson Foundation was established in the early 1990s by prolific inventor Jerome Lemelson and his wife Dorothy. To date the Foundation has made grants totaling more than $200 million in support of its mission. For more information, visit http://www.lemelson.org.

About NESsT
NESsT invests in social enterprises that generate dignified jobs for people most in need. NESsT uses an engaged approach providing tailored financing and business development support to social entrepreneurs in emerging markets as they go through the tough transition from startup to fully scaling businesses. Through their businesses, these social entrepreneurs empower people in their communities with the hard and soft skills, technology and ongoing support they need to improve their livelihoods. NESsT has invested in 170 social enterprises that have improved the lives of more than 509,000 people. www.nesst.org.

About Presidio Graduate School
Presidio Graduate School (PGS) is a community of innovative, passionate, and committed change-makers who aim to leave the world a better place for future generations. Based on the belief that real change happens at the intersection of private enterprise, the public sector, commerce and the common good, PGS is an accredited, nonprofit graduate school founded in 2002, offering several unique degree programs — three MBAs, the only sustainable MPA, and one of the only dual MBA/MPAs — as well as several certificates, all taught with systems-thinking methodology at the core. www.presidio.edu

About VentureWell
VentureWell is a non-profit organization that supports the creation of new ventures from an emerging generation of science and technology inventors and supports the innovation and entrepreneurship ecosystems that are critical to their success. We’ve funded or trained over 4,500 science and technology inventors and innovators and nurtured nearly a thousand of their startups reaching millions of people in over 50 countries. www.venturewell.org

BNP Paribas Takes Further Measures to Accelerate Its Support of the Energy Transition

Wed, 10/11/2017 - 2:51am

BNP Paribas is committed to bringing its financing and investment activities in line with the International Energy Agency (IEA) scenario, which aims to keep global warming below 2°C by the end of the century. To achieve this goal, the world must reduce its dependence on fossil fuels, starting with oil and gas from shale and oil from tar sands whose extraction and production emits high levels of greenhouse gases and has harmful effects on the environment.

Accordingly, BNP Paribas is today announcing a new global financing policy with regard to the exploration, production and transport of non-conventional hydrocarbons:

> BNP Paribas will no longer do business with companies focused on oil and gas from shale and oil from tar sands operations, this will include:

  • Business relations with producers primarily engaged in the exploration and production of oil and gas from shale and/or oil from tar sands

  • Business relations with clients primarily engaged in the distribution, marketing or trading of oil and gas from shale and/or oil from tar sands.

BNP Paribas will no longer finance projects that are mainly involved in the transportation and export of oil and gas from shale and oil from tar sands

  • No financing of LNG terminals that predominantly liquefy and export gas from shale,

  • No financing of pipelines that primarily carry oil and gas from shale and/or oil from tar sands, and no business relations with companies that derive the majority of their revenue from these activities.

BNP Paribas will not finance oil or gas exploration or production projects in the Arctic region.

These measures mean that BNP Paribas will gradually cease to finance a significant number of players who are not actively part of a transition to a lower carbon economy. The Group will continue to support its clients in the energy sector who are taking significant steps towards energy transition.

Jean-Laurent Bonnafé, Chief Executive Officer of BNP Paribas, stated: "We’re a long-standing partner to the energy sector and we’re determined to support the transition to a more sustainable world. As an international bank, our role is to help drive the energy transition and contribute to the decarbonisation of the economy. As we have announced, we’re committed to working with and supporting those energy sector partners who have decided to make environmental issues a central part of their business policy.”

These far-reaching measures will reinforce the actions already taken by the Group to combat climate change, notably in the energy sector:

  • A target of €15 billion in financing for renewable energy projects by 2020,

  • Investment totalling €100 million in start-ups specialising in energy transition (energy storage, energy efficiency, etc.),

  • A highly ambitious policy on Green Bonds,

  • Withdrawing from financing of coal mines and coal-fired power plants, and no longer supporting coal energy sector companies that are not pursuing a policy of diversifying their energy sources.

 Read Jean-Laurent Bonnafé's editorial on LinkedIn:


About BNP Paribas
BNP Paribas is a leading bank in Europe with an international reach. It has a presence in 74 countries, with more than 192,000 employees, including more than 146,000 in Europe. The Group has key positions in its three main activities: Domestic Markets and International Financial Services (whose retail-banking networks and financial services are covered by Retail Banking & Services) and Corporate & Institutional Banking, which serves two client franchises: corporate clients and institutional investors. The Group helps all its clients (individuals, community associations, entrepreneurs, SMEs, corporates and institutional clients) to realise their projects through solutions spanning financing, investment, savings and protection insurance. In Europe, the Group has four domestic markets (Belgium, France, Italy and Luxembourg) and BNP Paribas Personal Finance is the leader in consumer lending. BNP Paribas is rolling out its integrated retail-banking model in Mediterranean countries, in Turkey, in Eastern Europe and a large network in the western part of the United States. In its Corporate & Institutional Banking and International Financial Services activities, BNP Paribas also enjoys top positions in Europe, a strong presence in the Americas as well as a solid and fast-growing business in Asia-Pacific.

Group BNP Paribas

Julia Boyce – +33 (0)1 43 16 82 04 – julia.boyce@bnpparibas.com

Coralie France-Savin – +33 (0)1 40 14 94 89 – coralie.francesavin@bnpparibas.com

Renato Martinelli – +33 (0)1 58 16 84 99 – renato.martinelli@bnpparibas.com

Sarah Worsley – +33 (0)1 40 14 65 14 – sarah.worsley@bnpparibas.com

BNP Paribas USA
Mylene Benmoussa – +1 212 841 2351 – mylene.benmoussa@us.bnpparibas.com          

BNP Paribas UK
Alexandra Umpleby – +44 207 5952436 – alexandra.umpleby@uk.bnpparibas.com

Art to Action: The Sustainable Path

Wed, 10/11/2017 - 2:51am
An evening of art, empowerment and transformation Join us at the exquisite Waterfall Mansion and Gallery for an exclusive viewing from artists around the globe. All proceeds will support UNFCU Foundation whose mission is to sustain the path out of poverty through healthcare and education for women and children in New York City and developing countries. Ending poverty is also the top UN Sustainable Development Goal and the source of inspiration for all of the artwork that will be shown at this reception.  Our 2016 Women’s Empowerment Award presentation will honor Ritu Sharma, author, activist, co-founder and former president of Women Thrive Worldwide. To purchase tickets, visit www.unfcufoundation.org

Consumers Energy Foundation Commits $200,000 to Habitat for Humanity of Michigan, Supporting Affordable Housing

Tue, 10/10/2017 - 2:51pm

The Consumers Energy Foundation announced today that it has contributed $200,000 to Habitat for Humanity of Michigan, supporting its mission to provide safe and affordable housing to residents across Michigan.

“Consumers Energy, our foundation, employees and retirees are committed to the communities we serve, and we are proud to work with Habitat to build bright futures for families across our state,” said Carolyn Bloodworth, secretary/treasurer of the Consumers Energy Foundation.

The Consumers Energy Foundation is contributing $200,000 to Habitat’s Neighborhood Revitalization Initiative. The effort aims to increase the number of families living in safe, decent, affordable housing, and develop relationships within communities.

In all, Consumers Energy and its charitable foundation have contributed over $1 million to Habitat for Humanity of Michigan since 2001.

Over 20 Consumers Energy employees from the Grand Rapids area helped on two Habitat for Humanity projects in Grand Rapids this summer. “It’s one way we can give back to the community and Consumers Energy has had a long relationship with Habitat for Humanity across Michigan”, said Mark Luehmann, an employee who helped organize the volunteer efforts.

A look at Consumers Energy’s support for Habitat for Humanity by the numbers:

  • 205 – Habitat homes in Michigan have received over $272,000 in energy efficiency incentives since 2013 through Consumers Energy’s Helping Neighbors program, making home ownership more affordable. Upgrades include attic insulation, lighting and more.

  • $100,000 – Consumers Energy’s support this year for Habitat for Humanity of Michigan’s annual Home Run for Habitat campaign. Habitat affiliates in Michigan have raised $1 million through Home Run for Habitat since 2012, which Consumers Energy has matched with another $700,000.

  • 350 -- Consumers Energy employees who have volunteered this year in company-sponsored Habitat projects across the state. Several company employees also sit on the leadership boards of Habitat affiliates.

“We are so thankful for our relationship with Consumers Energy and its Foundation,” said Sandra Pearson, president and CEO of Habitat for Humanity of Michigan. “Consumers Energy’s steadfast support allows us to be innovative to meet the needs of homeowners, from increasing energy efficiency to doing priority home repairs to increase health and safety in the home. We look forward to continuing the good work that Consumers has made possible thanks to their generous contribution.”

“Habitat for Humanity’s commitment to build energy- efficient, sustainable homes has brought them to the forefront in Michigan,” said Ted Ykimoff, executive director of Consumers Energy’s energy efficiency program. “We want to continue to work and collaborate with Habitat on projects that are energy efficient and bring affordable housing to all.”

The Consumers Energy Foundation is the philanthropic arm of Consumers Energy.  It provides funding for a variety of areas including education, community, civic and cultural development, social services, the environment, and emerging issues.

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