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Introducing a New Bundled Carbon Commodity

Tue, 06/05/2018 - 7:22pm

This week ACRE Investment Management and it’s flagship reforestation program, GreenTrees, are rolling out a new commodity for the carbon markets. Carbon + is a new bundled credit that links each verified emission reduction (VER) with two trees at a single price.

Carbon+ creates a flywheel for those who want the best of two worlds. The bundling of one ton of carbon and two trees into a single transaction links reforestation carbon purchases to new forest creation. There are large levels of interest in this new offering as Carbon+ helps companies unify their goals —- Repairing The Past and Growing The Future.

Trees are nature’s technology. Trees are scalable, deployable and can be planted anywhere in the world.  Unlike other offset types, reforestation builds equity in the future, creating a multitude of additional benefits from water quality to water storage to biodiversity values.

“As the market leader in reforestation carbon, GreenTrees is uniquely positioned and pleased to be bringing this product offering to the marketplace,” said Jerry Van Voorhis, CEO of ACRE Investment Management. “Linked to the mission of ACRE Investment Management, Carbon+ is about connecting velocity and scale with forests and carbon.”


GreenTrees® is the largest reforestation program in North America with more than 120,000 acres of trees planted with its 500 landowner partners, producing over 1,000,000 tons annually on The American Carbon Registry.  GreenTrees was awarded the prestigious Innovation Award in 2018 for the successful and scaled results to date. For more information please visit www.acre-investment.com

Project videos can be accessed via this weblink: https://www.youtube.com/watch?reload=9&v=rR8Nr_81B8U&feature=youtu.be

YourCause Launches Transparent Giving Badge to Inform Users and Recognize Employers for Maximizing Their Social Impact

Tue, 06/05/2018 - 4:22pm

YourCause, LLC introduces the Transparent Giving badge, an industry-first initiative recognizing companies committed to maximizing the impact of their employees’ charitable contributions. Participating companies use the YourCause platform to offer a transparent giving model through which their employee giving programs benefit from complete payment transparency. These companies cover all software platform and domestic payment processing fees on behalf of the employee, ensuring the maximum possible impact of each employee dollar donated. 

YourCause estimates that transparent giving is responsible for an additional impact of $90 million to nonprofit organizations since YourCause pioneered and began supporting this model in 2008. As a real-world example, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital received over $600,000  in 2017 in incremental donations as a result of transparent giving, translating into the ability to provide an additional 1,095 platelet transfusions for sick children. Other notable fundraising platforms, including Facebook and GoFundMe, have adopted similar policies to maximize the impact of their users’ generosity. 

"From day one at YourCause, transparency has been one of our core principles because it inspires the trust and confidence our users need to give generously," Matt Combs, Founder and CEO of YourCause, said. "I believe that YourCause, our clients, and our industry as a whole can do more good by building greater trust with our users. And the goal of the Transparent Giving badge is to do just that. We hope it inspires others to follow our lead in order to maximize the impact of every dollar donated."

The Transparent Giving badge may be featured on corporate websites, social media, corporate social responsibility reports, and other approved media, as well as within the YourCause employee engagement platform, CSRconnect. Through this integration, employees are able to provide real-time feedback on the transparent giving model to their employers. 

"The Transparent Giving badge underscores the importance we place on supporting our workforce and the causes they care about.  We are committed to facilitating our employees and agents’ generosity by ensuring 100% of their contributions are allocated to the nonprofits they have chosen to fund," explained Heather Nesle, President, New York Life Foundation.

The expectation of increasing institutional transparency is a consumer trend with significant implications for employee giving programs and corporate philanthropy as a whole. In addition, individual motivations for giving and volunteering change as a result of new opportunities for engagement and social impact, often enabled by new technologies and social entrepreneurship. As a result, employees increasingly expect their employers to support their philanthropic endeavors in more open and authentic ways. YourCause believes that transparent giving directly addresses this expectation and hopes that the Transparent Giving badge will inform, educate, and lead other industry participants to embrace transparency in their employee giving programs as well. 

About YourCause
YourCause, LLC is a Dallas, TX based Software as a Service (“SaaS”) provider of the CSRconnect Employee Engagement Platform (“CSRconnect”) and the GrantsConnect Corporate and Foundation Grants Management Platform (“GrantsConnect”), and integrated, fully hosted solution for corporations to more effectively deploy and manage their employee giving, volunteering, disaster relief, grant management, fundraising, and overall corporate social responsibility and philanthropy programs. Ranked on the Inc. 5000 list for two consecutive years, and named a best place to work in Dallas, YourCause is rapidly expanding its operations through the ongoing deployment of end-to-end solutions for enterprises, nonprofits, and do-gooders. YourCause’s commitment to never taking a portion of any donation transacted within the platform allows the company to deliver maximum support to the more than 100,000+ nonprofits actively engaging with the YourCause Global Good Network.

Hershey Announces Its New CSR Strategy, ‘Shared Goodness Promise,’ and Releases Its 2017 CSR Report

Tue, 06/05/2018 - 1:22pm

(GlobeNewswire) – The Hershey Company (NYSE:HSY) today released its 2017 Shared Goodness Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) report and unveiled its new CSR strategy, Shared Goodness Promise, which aims to make a positive difference in peoples' lives through investments, collaborative programs and sustainable business practices.

Inspired by its founder, Milton Hershey, who created an innovative company with a social purpose, the new strategy provides a focused framework for the company's CSR work in four areas: Shared FuturesShared CommunitiesShared Business and Shared Planet.  Underpinning the new strategy are Hershey's remarkable employees and our company's compelling workplace experience. 

The Shared Goodness Promise, which is aligned with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, addresses some of the biggest challenges facing communities around the world. It aims to nourish the lives of children and help them succeed in school, invest in purpose-driven initiatives and business models, safeguard the natural environment, help Hershey communities thrive, and engage Hershey's employees in the efforts.  Earlier this year, Hershey launched its Cocoa for Good strategy, a key component of Shared Business.

"Hershey is a company that has married being purpose-driven with offering meaningful, impactful day-to-day work," said Michele Buck, Hershey's CEO. "The reason is simple: we believe - and prove - that you can be a fierce competitor in the market while operating in a compassionate way with teams of people who are about each other and their communities. The Shared Goodness Promise is to see every day as a chance to be successful in a way that makes a positive difference."

The Shared Goodness Promise ties the company's business success to initiatives that positively impact people, communities and the environment. These include:

  • Nourish one million minds by 2020. For more than 100 years, since the founding of the Milton Hershey School, Hershey has been giving children the chance at a better future. Shared Futurescontinues that work with nutrition programs that help children around the world learn and succeed in school. In 2017, the company nourished 208,072 children, which included producing and providing the vitamin-fortified snack ViVi to 52,913 schoolchildren in Cote d'Ivoire and Ghana. 

  • Invest in brands and business models that make a difference in the world. As Hershey focuses on becoming an innovative snacking powerhouse, it has invested in becoming an increasingly socially responsible organization. As part of Shared Business, the company's goal is to ensure that the ingredients that go into its products are responsibly sourced and it has already made strides: 75% of the cocoa and 50% of the coconut it sources is certified as sustainable, and 55,000 farmers in West Africa are enrolled in Hershey's Learn to Grow sustainable agriculture programs.

  • Protect biodiversity and safeguard natural environments. Every business has a responsibility to safeguard the environment, and the ingredients needed to make Hershey's products come from a healthy planet. As part of our Shared Planet, Hershey is working towards evidence-based targets to reduce its overall impact on the environment while encouraging its suppliers to adopt sustainable growing techniques. In 2017, the company began focusing on reforestation, including a partnership with the Arbor Day Foundation to plant more than 133,000 trees in the U.S.

  • Enhance the lives of 10 million people. Building on its years of experience supporting the communities where Hershey employees live and work, Hershey's new Shared Communities will invest in communities where the company operates by supporting basic needs to care for vulnerable community members; advancing education and training opportunities to support the workforce of tomorrow; and promoting inclusive civic, cultural and economic development initiatives that bring community members together. In 2017, Hershey donated $11.9 million in cash and $8.6 million in products, while its employees volunteered 130,737 hours in their communities. 

  • Continue making Hershey a great place to work. Hershey has always looked to attract and retain remarkable employees with an engaging, innovative and diverse workplace. In 2017, the company had 50% female representation on its executive committee and 77% of its workforce reported being engaged at work. Our Remarkable People, which is threaded throughout the four-pronged strategy, aims to build on this success and make Hershey an even more compelling place to work.

"The Shared Goodness Promise aims to make a difference in the lives of thousands of people around the world, from the West African farmers growing the cocoa used in our products to the employees in our facilities in the United States," said Jeff King, Senior Director of Sustainability, Corporate Social Responsibility, and Social Innovation at Hershey. "It helps us to focus our resources and the talents of our people - whether they're nutrition, manufacturing or finance experts - in ways that are a making a powerful difference in the lives of individuals and entire communities."

The Hershey Company is helping to build a more sustainable world, and the launch of its Shared Goodness Promise gives it a strong framework to focus its resources in the future.

For more information on Hershey's Shared Goodness Promise, read our 2017 CSR report here: https://www.thehersheycompany.com/content/dam/corporate-us/documents/csr-reports/2017-hershey-csr-report.pdf.

About The Hershey Company

The Hershey Company, headquartered in Hershey, Pa., is a global confectionery company known for bringing goodness to the world through its chocolate, sweets, mints and other great-tasting snacks. Hershey has approximately 17,000 employees around the world who work every day to deliver delicious, quality products. The company has more than 80 brands around the world that drive more than $7.5 billion in annual revenues, including such iconic brand names as Hershey'sReese'sHershey's KissesJolly Rancher and Ice Breakers. Building on its core business, Hershey is expanding its portfolio to include a broader range of delicious snacks.

At Hershey, goodness has always been about more than delicious products. For more than 120 years, Hershey has been committed to operating fairly, ethically and sustainably. Hershey founder, Milton Hershey, created the Milton Hershey School in 1909 and since then the company has focused on giving underserved children the skills and support they need to be successful. Today, the company continues this social purpose through 'Nourishing Minds,' a global initiative that provides basic nutrition to help children learn and grow. From neighborhoods across the United States to the streets of Shanghai and Mumbai and villages of West Africa, our goal is to nourish one million minds by 2020.

To learn more - 

Visit: https://www.thehersheycompany.com







Media Contact:
Jeff Beckman, Hershey

Joanna Leis, Flag

A PDF accompanying this announcement is available at http://resource.globenewswire.com/Resource/Download/3a3b6e79-41d6-4770-abee-9a9f3694dcf6

'Mountain Futures 2018' Launches Major New Centre for Mountain Research

Tue, 06/05/2018 - 1:22pm

Researchers and representatives from governments, mountain communities and private sector companies from across the globe met on June 4th to launch a major new centre for mountain research. The four-day Mountain Futures 2018 conference, organized by the World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF) and Kunming Institute of Botany (KIB), Chinese Academy of Sciences includes a visit to the new 200-hectare site in China’s Yunnan Province dedicated to developing innovative farming systems that tackle poverty and environmental degradation in the world’s mountain areas.

Conference participants will first travel to the site of the Honghe Innovation Centre for Mountain Futures, where large-scale regional agroforestry parks are under construction, and research into improved mango varieties, medicinal mushroom cultivation and China-Africa cooperation on sustainable textile fibres is already underway.

The trip is followed by a two-day Open Science Conference in Kunming, where participants will exchange ideas, report results and discuss new partnerships focused on areas such as mountain agriculture, poverty eradication and smart ecosystem monitoring.

“Mountain regions can serve as pathways to a better future,” revealed Professor Xu Jianchu, ICRAF's Senior Scientist and Regional Coordinator for East and Central Asia. “The ingenuity and diversity of mountain landscapes and peoples can be harnessed to generate bold new solutions to global challenges such as climate change.”

The Deputy Director of the Kunming Institute of Botany, Professor Yang Yongping, added, “In Honghe, we are building a platform for collaboration among mountain areas in developing countries across Asia, Africa and Latin America. Mountains should not be viewed as boundaries, but as places for cooperation and innovation.”

During the event, a new publication, “Mountain Futures: Inspiration and Innovation from the World’s Highlands” will be launched. This book showcases inspiring stories of hope and resilience alongside stunning photography of mountainscapes and their people.

The conference will conclude with a Mountain Film Exhibition featuring films shot by mountain communities from the Tibetan Plateau.

The Mountain Futures Conference runs from 04 to 08 June 2018 in Honghe and Kunming, China. Further details are available at:


Download conference programme in English and Chinese

Download Mountain Futures introductory booklet in English

About Mountain Futures

Mountain Futures (www.mountainfutures.org) is an international platform for collaboration on mountain issues. Mountain Futures develops and shares innovative solutions that secure a sustainable future for mountains and their people.

About the World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF)

The World Agroforestry Centre– ICRAF (www.worldagroforestry.org)  is a centre of scientific excellence that harnesses the benefits of trees for people and the environment. Leveraging the world’s largest repository of agroforestry science and information, we develop knowledge practices, from farmers’ fields to the global sphere, to ensure food security and environmental sustainability.

About Kunming Institute of Botany (KBI)

Kunming Institute of Botany (www.kib.cas.cn) – KBI is an institute of the Chinese Academy of Sciences which is dedicated to exploring the world of plants for knowledge generation, sustainable use and the conservation of plant diversity.


Andrew Stevenson
Communications Officer
World Agroforestry Centre – East and Central Asia
+86 151987 15415

Operation Warm Celebrates World Environment Day With The Green Guardian™, Coat Made From Recycled Plastic

Tue, 06/05/2018 - 10:22am

Operation Warm, a national nonprofit that creates brand new,  high-quality coats and gifts them to children in need, has developed a new sustainable coat called the Green GuardianTM, as part of its ‘more than a coat’ program and a celebration of World Environment Day.

World Environment Day is the UN's most important day for encouraging worldwide awareness and action for the protection of our environment. Since it began in 1974, it has grown to become a global platform for public outreach that is widely celebrated in over 100 countries.

World Environment Day: If you can’t reuse it, refuse it

This year, World Environment Day’s mission is to Beat Plastic Pollution, which is a growing epidemic. In 2014 alone, over 30 million tons of plastics were landfilled in the United States. A single plastic bottle can take nearly 500 years to decompose.

Operation Warm aims to help the cause with its recent debut of The Green Guardian™, its new eco-friendly coat made of recycled plastics. Operation Warm’s goal is to manufacture and provide 15,000 Green Guardian™ coats to children in need across North America this coming fall.

The Green Guardian™ - Developed to Keep Kids Warm and Help the Planet

"The world is in crisis with this plastic pollution. Our mission is to serve children in need, but if we can help save the environment at the same time, it’s a win-win," explains Dick Sanford, Founder, Chairman and CEO of Operation Warm.

The Green Guardian™ coat’s shell, fleece, and lining are made from recycled polyethylene terephthalate (PET) also called #1 plastics, most commonly used to manufacture plastic bottles.

"Our eco-friendly coat is stylish and durable. It has been designed to withstand hours of playing outdoors and to protect against harsh winter temperatures. However, The Green Guardian™ also addresses the plastic bottle crisis and gives us an opportunity to further educate children about environmentalism."

Each Green Guardian™ coat will keep the equivalent of 32 plastic bottles out of landfills and oceans. In 2018 alone, Operation Warm's Green Guardian™ will save nearly 500,000 recycled plastic bottles.

"The Green Guardian™ will be our contribution to the crisis that we have in this world; our little drop in the bucket,” Sanford continues. “I personally believe it is everyone's responsibility to help others, and this is how Operation Warm can support kids and help the planet.”

To learn more about supporting children in need with Green Guardian™ coats, visit operationwarm.org/green.

About Operation Warm: Operation Warm is a national nonprofit that creates brand new, high-quality coats for children in need. Every child, regardless of their economic situation, deserves a brand new coat. We partner with compassionate individuals and organizations across North America to give a gift of warmth, confidence and hope to children in need. Operation Warm believes a brand new coat is more than a coat, promoting self-esteem, school attendance and outdoor play. By 2019, Operation Warm will serve its 3 millionth child.


Revealing Food's Hidden Costs: New Framework for Food and Agriculture

Mon, 06/04/2018 - 4:20pm

A new report released today offers a ground-breaking platform to evaluate the real costs and benefits—including environmental, health, and social impacts—of our agriculture and food systems. This Scientific and Economic Foundations Report provides the basis for a major paradigm shift in how we view and manage our agriculture and food systems, demonstrating how to evaluate not just the visible but also the hidden costs and benefits. The timing is critical—with 10 billion people to feed by 2050 and 40 percent of available land already growing food—we need to consider new frameworks and models for how we grow, process, distribute, and consume food, and manage food waste.

The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity (TEEB), known for its ground-breaking research on the economic values of nature in 2010, brings together more than 150 experts from 33 countries to deliver a strong and urgent message to the global community on the need for a transformation of our agriculture and food systems that is sustainable, equitable, and healthy. With this report, policymakers, researchers, and citizens now have more reliable and integrated information on the hidden (and unaccounted) costs and benefits—the “externalities”—of the whole system, not just parts of it.

Agricultural productivity is typically measured by yield per hectare, a simplistic metric that provides an incomplete picture of the true costs and benefits associated with agriculture and food value chains. Current patterns of production, processing, and consumption are generating large and unacceptable impacts on the health of the environment and humans, particularly on vulnerable populations. For example, take the cost of a tomato at a supermarket. The cost does not take into account how it was raised, such as the environmental damage from fertilizer and pesticide runoff, the regeneration of soil, or a fair wage payment to laborers. Applying the TEEBAgriFood framework shows that cheap food can be very expensive when we shine a light on all its hidden costs to our health, livelihoods, soils, water and climate.

The TEEB for Agriculture & Food (TEEBAgriFood) Scientific and Economic Foundations report, a United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) project, funded by the Global Alliance for the Future of Food, is looking at all the impacts of the value chain, from farm to fork to disposal, including effects on livelihoods, the environment, and health. This framework can help tackle the challenges currently faced by our global agriculture and food systems in achieving universal food security and reducing large impacts on climate, ecosystems, and environments.

“If we want to bend the curve on biodiversity loss we must understand the true impacts of the food system on our planet,” says Joao Campari, World Wildlife Fund (WWF) Food Practice Leader. “WWF works across the full spectrum of the food system, from production to consumption, loss and waste, and we welcome TEEBAgriFood’s research as it assesses a multitude of impacts on both people and planet, instead of trying to distill the complexities into one over-simplified metric. We look forward to seeing the evaluation framework be applied to real-world projects and hopefully contributing to transformational change."

Some of the consequences of our current systems outlined in the report include:

  • Agricultural production contributes over one-fourth of greenhouse gas emissions (GHG).
  • When considering land-use change and deforestation as well as processing, packaging, transport, sale, and the waste of agricultural products, 43 to 57 percent of GHG emissions
  • are from food production.
  • 70 to 90 percent of global deforestation is from agricultural expansion.
  • An estimated 80 percent of food consumed in food-insecure regions is grown there, mainly by women, while agri-business is a marginal player in food security.
  • According to the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization, if women had the same access to resources (land, credits, education, etc.) as male farmers, they could raise yields by 20 to 30 percent and lift as many as 150 million people out of hunger.
  • Approximately one-third of the food produced in the world for human consumption every year gets lost or wasted, enough to feed the world’s hungry six times over.
  • Around 40 percent of available land is used for growing food, a figure that would need to rise to an improbable 70 percent by 2050 under a “business-as-usual” scenario.
  • 33 percent of the Earth’s land surface is moderately to highly affected by some type of soil degradation mainly due to the erosion, salinization, compaction, acidification, or chemical pollution of soils.
  • Six of the top eleven risk factors driving the global burden of disease are diet-related.
  • The World Health Organization estimates the direct costs of diabetes at more than US$827 billion per year, globally.
  • Unsafe food containing harmful bacteria, viruses, parasites, or chemical substances causes more than 200 diseases, and an estimated 600 million people—almost 1 in 10 people in the world—fall ill after eating contaminated food, while 420,000 die every year.
  • 61 percent of commercial fish populations are fully fished and 29 percent are overfished.
  • In a “business-as-usual” scenario, the ocean will contain more plastic than fish (by weight) by 2050.
  • In order to demonstrate how real-world applications of such a comprehensive approach might take shape, a framework for evaluation has been developed to provide a solid basis from an economic and accounting perspective. The report also identifies theories and pathways for transformational change in government, business, farming, and consumer contexts.

“The overarching importance of this work is that we must link the health of people with the health of the planet, and we can only ensure long-term food security if our food systems don’t destroy the basis of food production,” says Alexander Müller, Study Leader of TEEBAgriFood. “If you look at food production only from a price perspective, and the old paradigm of the cheaper the better, you run into a trap because the long-term sustainability of our food production system is not a given and requires hard work.”

“We are trying to pull together the latest scientific results on food systems,” says Müller. “We tried to link together the latest findings of economists, environmentalists, agriculturalists, people looking at labor and trade, and science to fight poverty. If you bring these results together in a new way, you can see that the system is more than all the different parts of the disciplinary sciences working on it.”

To ensure the sustainability of agriculture and food systems, an important step is to account for externalities through market mechanisms. By creating a more comprehensive evaluation framework, decisionmakers can better compare different policies, programs, and strategies, while the market can more accurately value food. TEEBAgriFood hopes their new framework will help achieve their vision of a world where informed decisionmaking upholds public good and ensures nutrition and health for all humans so they can live in harmony with nature.

“Our framework provides a holistic, ethical, wide-angle lens with which to really understand ourfood systems today,” says Pavan Sukhdev, member of the TEEBAgriFood Steering Committeeand Founder-CEO of GIST Advisory. “Because of its holistic approach, this framework is not aseasy to apply as a single-lens approach—‘per hectare productivity,’ for example—but it is ethically, socially, economically, and environmentally much more appropriate, and can provide sustainable business models in the context of climate change, changing global demographics, local economies, and health. I want decisionmakers in governments and businesses to realize that they should support the use of this wide-angle lens applied to the full eco-agri-food system instead of the inadequate narrow lens of per-hectare productivity in farms.”

About TEEBAgriFood: Lead by the U.N. Environment Programme, the TEEBAgriFood initiative brings together scientists, economists, policymakers, business leaders, and farmers’ organizations in order to agree how to frame, undertake, and use holistic evaluations of agricultural systems, practices, products, and policy scenarios against a comprehensive range of impacts and dependencies across food value chains. It makes and illustrates the case for “systems thinking” instead of “silo thinking.” TEEBAgriFood provides a comprehensive economic evaluation of the “eco-agri-food systems” complex, and demonstrates that the economic environment in which farmers operate is distorted by significant externalities, both negative and positive, and a lack of awareness of dependency on natural, human, and social capital.


Danielle Nierenberg, 202-590-1038 or danielle@foodtank.com

Nielsen Is Redefining Value

Mon, 06/04/2018 - 4:20pm

Brand Authenticity Conference in Berlin

Mon, 06/04/2018 - 4:20pm

Explore how CSR and sustainability are driving brand value and business results across all industries today at the International Trademark Association’s first Brand Authenticity conference.

As consumers demand that their brands represent their values, being transparent about a commitment to CSR has become a central strategy for many brand owners. Ideal for legal and business professionals, and government relations, advertising and marketing specialists, this two-day conference will focus on how all stakeholders play a role in advancing consumer trust and protecting brand value. In particular, it offers brand counsel the information and tools to be conversant with CSR-related issues and be an even more effective strategic partner for business teams and clients.

The conference program will include keynote speakers, networking opportunities and sessions offering expert insight on timely topics such as:

  • The value of CSR and sustainability

  • The intersection of trademark protection and regulatory requirements in the new green landscape

  • How fighting counterfeiting improves our communities and the environment

  • Sustainability’s impact on financial ratings and investment decisions

  • Diversity and inclusion for brands and brand professionals

  • Update on green-related court decisions in Europe

The expert roster includes speakers from: Abercrombie & Fitch Co. (United States); Anheuser-Busch InBev S.A. (Belgium); Elipe Limited (United Kingdom); Fjallraven (Sweden); German CSR-Forum (Germany); LEGO System A/S (Denmark); TOMS Shoes Inc. (United States); and others.

To learn more and to register, please visit www.inta.org/2017berlin.

Textile Sustainability Conference

Mon, 06/04/2018 - 4:20pm

Textile Exchange's annual Textile Sustainability Conference is a global event taking place outside of Washington, D.C. on Oct. 9-13. This year's theme is "United by Action: Catalyzing the Sustainable Development Goals in Textiles." Industry thought leaders from around the globe will gather to create action and develop a 2030 roadmap for the textile industry.

The Agenda structure offers two full conference days, and additional pre- and post-conference days dedicated to in-depth workshops. The series of workshops will take the expected 400+ industry leaders through multiple sessions of insight and information, sending them home with actionable solutions they can immediately implement into their daily business.

Mastering the Art of Influence to Embed CSR & Sustainability

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Influencing a Rapidly Changing World

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

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

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

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

About the University of St. Michael’s College

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

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

For More Information Contact

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

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

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

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

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

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

The celebrations will include:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Lankenau Medical Center, Wynnewood, PA

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

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

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

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

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

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


Taproot Foundation Appoints Lindsay Firestone Gruber as President and CEO

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

SC Johnson Nigeria Recognized as 2018 Best Workplace

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

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

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

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

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

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



SC Johnson Global Public Affairs



About SC Johnson

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

Global Sustain Announces Sustainability Forum 2018

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

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

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

Among topics discussed are:

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

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

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

  • Diversity and inclusion in the workplace

  • AstraZeneca sustainability programme

  • Sustainability Advisory Councils – How do they add value

  • Corporate governance and sustainability functions

  • Organisational responsiveness to human rights issues

  • A roadmap for sustainability strategy

  • How ESG investing creates value and return

  • Building sustainable communities

  • GRI standards best practices

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

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

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

  • Participants receive a certificate of attendance.

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

Supporters & Sponsors: 

Silver Sponsors: Alpha Bank, Genesis Pharma

Graphic Designer Partner: Greenmind

Printing Partner: Pressious Arvanitidis

Carbon Offset Partner: Green Evolution

Web Partner: Think Plus

Coffee Sponsor: Nespresso

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

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

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

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

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

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

Organizations served during positiveNRG week include these and more:

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

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

About NRG

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


Candice Adams
(609) 524-5428

Kevin L. Cole, CFA

Lindsey Puchyr

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

# # # 

About The Conservation Fund

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

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

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

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

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

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

- Greg Foran, CEO of Walmart U.S.

Highlights of the program include:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Walmart associates can learn more by visting WalmartOne.

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