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Voya Financial Releases 2016/2017 Corporate Responsibility Annual Report

Thu, 08/10/2017 - 7:00pm

Voya Financial, Inc. (NYSE: VOYA), announced today that it has published its 2016/2017 Corporate Responsibility Annual Report, which details ways in which the company’s corporate responsibility (CR) pillars have been integrated with its day-to-day business strategy and operations.

“Voya is a different kind of company, one with a proactive focus on creating a sustainable future for our customers, our communities and all of our stakeholders,” said Voya Financial Chairman and CEO Rodney O. Martin, Jr. “We believe that by executing on our CR strategy — which includes creating a diverse and inclusive culture, making a positive difference in the lives of individuals with special needs and disabilities, and educating current and future generations regarding financial resilience — we simultaneously advance the success and longevity of our business.”

This year’s annual report, titled “Voya Financial Corporate Responsibility For Tomorrow,” highlights the way Voya operates its business today, with an eye toward the future. It details the organization’s performance and its progress to date in relation to the pillars of its CR program: Empowering Our People, Serving Our Clients, Investing in Communities and Protecting the Environment.

The report, written in accordance with the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) standards, demonstrates areas where Voya outperforms the competition, such as gender diversity, employee volunteerism and employee giving. It also describes the Voya Investment Management Environmental Social and Governance (ESG) Investment Program, which is part of the company’s focus on responsible products and services that help clients plan, invest and protect their assets.

Sections of the report focus on unique initiatives designed to strengthen Voya’s relationships with key audiences and demographics, including an executive board placement program and the Voya Cares program, an effort supporting the special needs community. In recapping its accomplishments, the report also lays out how Voya applies the CR lens to its operations to mitigate risk and leverage opportunities.

As an industry leader and advocate for greater retirement readiness, Voya Financial is committed to delivering on its vision to be America’s Retirement Company® and its mission to make a secure financial future possible — one person, one family, one institution at a time.

Media Contacts:

Nicole Vasile                                                  

Voya Financial                                                           

Direct: (860) 839-1589                                   



Jeanne LaCour

Voya Financial

Direct: (212) 309-8949


About Voya Financial®

Voya Financial, Inc. (NYSE: VOYA), helps Americans plan, invest and protect their savings — to get ready to retire better. Serving the financial needs of approximately 13.6 million individual and institutional customers in the United States, Voya is a Fortune 500 company that had $11 billion in revenue in 2016. The company had $517 billion in total assets under management and administration as of June 30, 2017. With a clear mission to make a secure financial future possible — one person, one family, one institution at a time — Voya’s vision is to be America’s Retirement Company®. Certified as a “Great Place to Work” by the Great Place to Work® Institute, Voya is equally committed to conducting business in a way that is socially, environmentally, economically and ethically responsible and has been recognized as one of the 2017 World’s Most Ethical Companies® by the Ethisphere Institute, as well as one of the Top Green Companies in the U.S., by Newsweek magazine. For more information, visit voya.com. Follow Voya Financial on Facebook and Twitter @Voya.

Las Vegas Sands Takes Action on Climate Change with New Set of Sustainability Goals

Thu, 08/10/2017 - 7:00pm

 Sands ECO360, the global corporate sustainability program of Las Vegas Sands (NYSE: LVS) has released its 2016 environmental report.  The report marks the company’s first annual measurement against its revised sustainability goals, building upon the success and key learnings of original targets set in 2011 and reported on through 2015.

Since Sands ECO360’s inception, LVS has established its sustainability strategy around four key pillars to achieve the greatest impact, including Green Buildings, Environmentally Responsible Operations, Green Meetings and Events, and Stakeholder Engagement.  While these pillars remain the core of Sands ECO360, LVS used two guiding principles to set its sustainability goals for the next five years: the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and science-based targets methodology.  The SDGs are a set of 17 goals adopted by world leaders in September 2015 to end all forms of poverty, fight inequalities and tackle climate change.  The company’s new targets address emissions reduction (SDG 7), water conservation (SDG 6) and waste management (SDG 12), supported by a commitment to one million Sands ECO360 actions.  To establish meaningful emissions reduction targets, LVS used science-based targets methodology which provides organizations with a clearly defined pathway to future-proof growth by specifying how much and how quickly they need to reduce their GHG emissions.  LVS is the first Integrated Resort company to have them approved by the Science Based Targets initiative.

“In 2016, we embarked on the next phase of our global sustainability strategy, setting ambitious new five-year goals and leveraging all that we have learned on our journey to become a leader in sustainable development and operations,” said Katarina Tesarova, vice president of global sustainability for LVS.  “While LVS has made sustainability a key priority since 2007, in many ways, this is a new beginning as well.  We are challenging ourselves to improve our results even further, and contribute to the momentum behind the UN Sustainable Development Goals and Science Based Targets initiative.”

A key milestone for Sands ECO360 in 2016 was the opening of The Parisian Macao.  This iconic property hosts a number of innovative features that make it LVS’ most sustainable and energy-efficient development to date.  From revamping its lighting design to allow 100 percent use of LED bulbs to installing two sets of pipes to prepare for the future availability of reclaimed grey water, environmental stewardship was a guiding principle throughout the entire project, both in its structure and operations.  At The Parisian Macao, energy performance is 25% better and water consumption is 40% less than the industry benchmarks. 

While The Parisian Macao represents the pinnacle of LVS’ sustainability achievements to date, the company reached a number of other significant milestones in 2016, including:

  • Completed 84 different energy efficiency projects across LVS’ portfolio of properties worldwide, expected to save more than 31 million kilowatt hours of electricity use.

  • Achieved a combined 31 percent waste diversion rate globally.  In particular, LVS successfully hosted Asia’s first-ever zero waste to landfill event at its Marina Bay Sands resort in Singapore on behalf of the 5thResponsible Business Forum on Sustainable Development.

  • Excluding the newly opened St. Regis and The Parisian Macao, LVS reduced its absolute emissions by 9.1 percent, water consumption by 5.7 percent and electricity consumption by 4.4 percent from 2015 across all existing properties.

  • The company’s 50,000 team members, along with green meeting clients, completed more than 260,000 actions inspired by Sands ECO360 in 2016, such as carpooling to work, installing water efficient fixtures at home and building hygiene kits with repurposed amenities from LVS resorts for nonprofit partner Clean the World to support hygiene-vulnerable populations around the world.

LVS has continued to earn extensive recognition for achievements from external stakeholders, such as its inclusion in the Dow Jones Sustainability Indices (DJSI) North America, and earning a position on CDP’s Climate A List.  Other awards LVS earned in 2016 include Macao Green Hotel Gold Award for Sands Cotai Central in Macao, LEED Gold®for Building Operations and Maintenance recertification for the Sands Expo and the Congress Center at The Venetian and The Palazzo Las Vegas, and The Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA)’s Grand Award for Environment for Marina Bay Sands in Singapore.

To obtain additional information and to download the 2016 Sands ECO360 Environmental Report in its entirety, please visit http://www.sands.com/sands-eco-360/our-vision.html

About Las Vegas Sands Corp.
Las Vegas Sands Corp. (NYSE: LVS) is the world's pre-eminent developer and operator of world-class Integrated Resorts that feature luxury hotels; best-in-class gaming; retail; dining and entertainment; Meetings, Incentives, Convention and Exhibition (MICE) facilities; and many other business and leisure amenities.  We pioneered the MICE-driven Integrated Resort, a unique, industry-leading and extremely successful model that serves both the business and leisure tourism markets.

Our properties include The Venetian and The Palazzo resorts and Sands Expo in Las Vegas, Sands Bethlehem in Eastern Pennsylvania, and the iconic Marina Bay Sands in Singapore. Through majority ownership in Sands China Ltd., LVS owns a portfolio of properties on the Cotai Strip in Macao, including The Venetian MacaoThe Plaza and Four Seasons Hotel MacaoSands Cotai Central and The Parisian Macao, as well as the Sands Macao on the Macao Peninsula.

LVS is dedicated to being a good corporate citizen, anchored by the core tenets of delivering a great working environment for our more than 50,000 team members worldwide, driving impact through its Sands Cares corporate giving program and leading innovation with the company’s award-winning Sands ECO360 global sustainability program. To learn more, please visit www.sands.com.

ViiV Healthcare Expands U.S. Commitment to Youth Living With HIV Through Its Positive Action Program

Thu, 08/10/2017 - 9:58am

ViiV Healthcare announced today it will award six new grants designed to help improve the lives of young people living with HIV through its Positive Action for Youth program. The program, which builds on ViiV Healthcare’s ongoing youth-focused programming and outreach, is a two-year, $1 million grant commitment in U.S. mentorship programs for youth aged 13–24 living with HIV as they enter and begin to navigate adult care.

Recent research from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention indicates that youth living with HIV in the U.S. have gaps in care due to a lack of knowledge and skills to maneuver through the HIV care continuum, where it is estimated that approximately one-third of youth did not link to care within one month of HIV diagnosis — the lowest rate for any age group.1

Mentorship programs may help youth (as young as 13 years) begin to develop the skills including health literacy, confidence and self-efficacy needed to successfully manage their own healthcare as adults.2,3 “Positive Action for Youth is a testament to our long-standing commitment to help improve health outcomes for young people living with HIV,” said Ashley Mahoney, senior manager, External Affairs, and Positive Action for Youth program lead, ViiV Healthcare. “We are proud to support organizations dedicating programs for young people living with HIV and look forward to seeing their outcomes over the next two years.”

The Positive Action for Youth program aims to increase youth mentorship services and fulfill a critical unmet need for youth living with HIV. Five organizations receiving funding through the program are developing new or expanding existing mentorship programs that support youth living with HIV to successfully enter adult care. The program will also support one organization that will lead the design and facilitation of a toolkit and guide about youth mentorship best practices.

The following organizations will receive up to $100,000 per year for a provisional commitment over the next two years:

Direct Mentorship Grantees: 

  • Abounding Prosperity – Project BEST/TEST, Dallas, TX: Support to pilot a one-on-one mentoring project for young men who have sex with men (MSM) and male-to-female transgender youth of color living with HIV aged 14–24. The project will train mentors to help youth develop goals to increase engagement in care and sustainable HIV treatment regimens and address medical and nonmedical barriers to care. 

  • AIDS Alabama  Living Out Loud, Birmingham, AL: Support to pilot a mentoring project for youth aged 13–24 living with HIV. The mentors will provide support in medical adherence, self-advocacy, financial planning skills and job or college readiness while increasing access to transportation, mental health services and housing assistance.

  • Center on Halsted  Positive Directions, Chicago, IL: Support to pilot three six-week drop-in sessions for youth living with HIV aged 13–24. The program will train Youth Health Promoters to develop and manage the drop-in sessions, which will focus on helping youth develop the self-management skills needed to engage and stay in long-term adult care.  

  • National AIDS Education and Services for Minorities  nSPIRE, Atlanta, GA: Support for an existing one-on-one mentoring project for African-American MSM living with HIV aged 16–24. The mentors will focus on positive living, engaging in care and achieving life goals by providing ongoing support, insights, guidance and access to resources, including mental health services. 

  • RAIN, Inc.  Empowering Positive Youth, Charlotte, NC: Support for the expansion and enhancement of a tiered mentoring project for youth living with HIV aged 13–24. Peer Navigators will mentor Youth Navigators in development skills, while the Youth Navigators will mentor a small group of youth leaders to better serve youth living with HIV to enter and engage in their care. 

Design Lead Grantee: 

  • Advocates for Youth  Washington, DC: Support to build and disseminate a toolkit and guide in collaboration with Direct Mentorship Services grantees to address topics for youth living with HIV entering adult care. Potential topics include: social determinants of health, unique issues and concerns of the youth experience, meaningful youth-adult partnerships and youth-centric models used by the non-HIV community to support youth living with HIV in entering an adult standard of care.

“Youth remain disproportionately impacted by HIV and that needs to change,” said Positive Action for Youth External Review Committee member Justin Rush, J.D., director of public policy, True Colors Fund. “I’m confident that the grantees selected through Positive Action for Youth will address unmet needs that will have sustainable impact in the lives of youth living with HIV and their communities.”

For more information about ViiV Healthcare’s Positive Action programs, visit: https://us.viivhealthcare.com/making-a-difference.aspx.

About Positive Action

Positive Action was created in 1992 as the first pharmaceutical company program to support communities affected by HIV and AIDS. ViiV Healthcare is proud to continue the Positive Action program and its valuable work with these communities. Positive Action works with those communities most vulnerable to HIV disease, including girls and women, sex workers, gay men, MSM, transgender people, injecting drug users (IDU), the homeless, the incarcerated and youth. Our projects range across education, prevention, care and treatment-related activity such as treatment literacy and community/clinical engagement.

About ViiV Healthcare

ViiV Healthcare is a global specialist HIV company established in November 2009 by GlaxoSmithKline (LSE: GSK) and Pfizer (NYSE: PFE) dedicated to delivering advances in treatment and care for people living with HIV and for people who are at risk of becoming infected with HIV. Shionogi joined in October 2012. The company’s aim is to take a deeper and broader interest in HIV/AIDS than any company has done before and take a new approach to deliver effective and innovative medicines for HIV treatment and prevention as well as support communities affected by HIV. For more information on the company, its management, portfolio, pipeline and commitment, please visit www.viivhealthcare.com.


U.S. Media Inquiries:

Marc Meachem (U.S.)


+1 919 949 3070

U.S. Communications

ViiV Healthcare


Cara Vivarelli-O’Neill (U.S.)


+1 919 614 6529

U.S. Communications

ViiV Healthcare



  1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. HIV Among Youth. Last updated April 7, 2017. Accessed June 14, 2017. Available at: https://www.cdc.gov/hiv/group/age/youth/index.html.
  2. Heisler M. Building peer support programs to manage chronic disease: seven models for success. Published December 2006. Accessed June 14, 2017. Available at: www.chcf.org/~/media/MEDIA%20LIBRARY%20Files/PDF/PDF%20B/PDF%20BuildingPeerSupportPrograms.pdf.
  3. Greifinger R; National Alliance of State & Territorial AIDS Directors. Improving engagement and retention in adult care settings for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning (LGBTQ) youth living with HIV. Published May 2012. Accessed June 14, 2017. Available at: http://www.nastad.org/sites/default/files/Guide-LGBTQ-for-Adult-Healthcare-Providers-05-2012.pdf.

Thread Raises $10,000 In Kiva Funding to 10X Micro-Loan Program

Wed, 08/09/2017 - 3:56pm

Responsible fabric manufacturer Thread worked with Kiva’s direct-to-social enterprise loan program in April to raise $10,000. The loans are based on the principle that lending alongside thousands of others is one of the most powerful and sustainable ways to create economic and social good.  Kiva and Thread share the mutual goal of ending poverty, which made the partnership a natural fit, but given the unique operating structure of Thread, the companies worked together through Kiva’s pilot direct-to-social enterprise loan program in order to raise funds to support First Mile entrepreneurs. Funds were raised by lenders on the Kiva site and paid directly to Thread who will pay back the loan by May 2018.

“When interviewing our suppliers we would learn that when faced with unexpected equipment failures, such as a broken scale, centers would often need to shut down for up to two weeks. By offering access to capital through small business loans, we can ensure these suppliers are positioned to remain open, increase their revenue, and provide stable jobs and income opportunities in their communities,” said Kelsey Halling, director of impact and sales.

Thread started its own zero interest micro-loan program for First Mile Entrepreneurs in their Haitian supply chain last May. Loan applications are received each month by Thread’s Haitian Field Manager and evaluated by the Impact team. Initially, Thread made up to $150 available per month and the Kiva funding. Of the $10,000 Kiva lenders contributed, $5,000 will be allocated to increase Thread’s monthly loan program from $150 a month to approximately $800 per month. The remaining $5,000 will be distributed to innovative First Mile Entrepreneurs for projects that will solve targeted issues that will have an impact spanning their community. The $5,000 will be issued to Vilner Geffrard and Nadine Phillipe. Vilner’s center will begin to transport plastic for the underserved area of Leogane while Nadine will open two additional collection centers in Les Cayes.

"Thread is like a doctor. They know the causes of the disease, and they want to start the cure where it should be started,” said Nadine Phillipe.

Thread plans to share the success of the entrepreneurs and loan recipients on a new blog series “Stories from the First Mile” so that Thread’s community and lenders can connect with the suppliers in the First Mile of the Ground to Good ™  supply chain. Thread will host a quarterly supplier meeting in Haiti on August 17th to discuss best practices for growing their businesses.

About Thread
Thread is on a mission to end poverty by creating dignified jobs and responsible, high-quality fabrics. A Certified B Corporation, Thread transforms plastic bottles from the streets and canals of Haiti and Honduras into the most responsible fabrics on the planet. Every product made with Thread supports thousands of dignified jobs in the developing world and the United States. Brands use Thread’s purpose-filled fabrics in their products, such as apparel, shoes and bags, to improve their social and environmental impact. Learn more at www.threadinternational.com and follow the Ground to Good™ story @threadintl.

New USA Whitepaper on Why Business Backs Climate Action

Wed, 08/09/2017 - 3:56pm

Ethical Corporation released its latest whitepaper on the benefits of business to back the Paris climate agreement. The report has 7 pages of expert response including:

  • How business leaders react to President Trump’s pull-out from the Paris climate agreement

  • The benefits of business taking a lead on climate action

  • How Green banks will fare in a new era

Read the full report online: http://bit.ly/2vkZbcI

ELEVATE Acquires Laborlink

Wed, 08/09/2017 - 9:56am

ELEVATE, the leading business risk and sustainability solutions provider, has acquired Laborlink, including all technology and related business activities, from California-based nonprofit Good World Solutions. 

Laborlink is a mobile platform that establishes a two-way communication channel for workers to share their viewpoints in real-time, and for organizations to have clear visibility of worker well-being in their supply chains. Since 2010, Laborlink technology has been deployed in 16 countries and has reached over 1,000,000 workers worldwide.

“The integration of Laborlink technology into our portfolio and assessment process will drive further innovation into the responsible sourcing audit paradigm,” said Ian Spaulding, Chief Executive Officer, ELEVATE. “We’re excited to incorporate Laborlink into the ELEVATE Responsible Sourcing Standard audit and into our customers’ specific audit protocols. We plan to roll out Laborlink’s worker survey and grievance helpline solutions in all audits we perform within one year.”

“Transferring our people and technology to ELEVATE allows us to reach new levels of scale and impact,” said Beth Holzman, Acting Executive Director of Good World Solutions. “Embedding Laborlink and worker engagement into ELEVATE’s 12,000+ audits per year will ensure worker voice is integral to business success. This partnership will make worker engagement supported by technology a central part of auditing, self-assessment, capacity-building and supplier ownership processes.”

The entire Laborlink team from Good World Solutions has joined ELEVATE, and will continue to implement existing programs and scale Laborlink within ELEVATE’s responsible sourcing program. This includes Heather Franzese, Executive Director and co-founder of Good World Solutions, Beth Holzman and Ryan Whitney - who will all continue to lead the Laborlink product and its enhancement as part of the wider ELEVATE portfolio.


ELEVATE is the leading business risk and sustainability solutions provider. We deliver improved organizational performance through sustainability and supply chain assessment and auditing, consulting, program management and analytics. We shape the industry with our innovative solutions to complex problems, by designing and implementing customized programs and technology that provide complete insight into risk and improve supply chain and sustainability performance. ELEVATE is headquartered in Hong Kong, and the company's 400 employees oversee work in over 110 countries through dedicated offices in Australia, Bangladesh, Brazil, China, Germany, Hong Kong SAR, Italy, India, Mexico, Pakistan, Singapore, Turkey, United Kingdom, USA and Vietnam.

About Laborlink
Laborlink technology was developed by Good World Solutions, an organization recognized as Best Social Enterprise by Ethical Corporation’s Responsible Business Awards. Used to improve workers’ lives, the Laborlink award-winning platform increases transparency in global supply chains, making workers the agents of their own development and giving companies information they need to source responsibly. Since 2010, Laborlink has reached more than 1 million workers in the supply chains of major apparel and electronics companies in 16 countries.

Business Momentum a Boost for Cargill’s Positive Impact with Customers and Communities

Wed, 08/09/2017 - 9:56am

Building on strong earnings in fiscal 2017, Cargill is working to continue growing its business and corporate responsibility impact. The company’s 2017 annual report, launched today, outlines its business growth and community impact.

“We are proud of the momentum we have generated this year and look forward to continued progress as we help build the food system of the future,” said Chairman and CEO David MacLennan and Executive Vice President and CFO Marcel Smits in the company’s annual report. “We know we have a clear contribution to make in the world. Working with farmers, customers, communities and other partners, we look forward to making powerful progress.”

The annual report, which covers business results as well as corporate responsibility and sustainability efforts, outlines how Cargill is realizing the benefits of two years of work to build a more integrated, agile and focused organization.

In the last year, Cargill established a new strategic direction, and identified and strengthened capabilities that will accelerate future growth. The company reshaped its business portfolio with investments in stra­tegic acquisitions, joint ventures and new and expanded facilities, as well as divestitures in non-strategic assets. This put the company in a position to make the most of positive dynamics in key markets and better serve its stakeholders around the world.

The annual report highlights a number of ways Cargill built positive momentum over the past year, including:

  • Connecting with new partners to expand markets: Cargill set up joint ventures and strengthened its supply chains to serve growing poultry markets in Asia. In the U.S., it joined with Silicon Valley-based innovator Calysta and third-party investors to construct the world’s largest gas fermentation facility to produce FeedKind® protein, a sustainable animal feed ingredient made with microbes that convert methane gas into protein that can be substituted for fishmeal in aqua feeds.

  • Sharing expertise to boost innovation: Cargill opened three new research centers in Shanghai (China), Colaco (Chile) and near its home base in Minneapolis. At these labs, Cargill is partnering with customers, scientists and others to create new products and solutions for changing markets and consumer preferences.

  • Applying analytics for growth: Cargill is applying data to give farmers around the world the digital edge they need to be more productive and sustainable. All in all, Cargill’s proprietary data network contains about 7 petabytes of information.

  • Scaling up sustainability: The use of renewable energy has long been central to Cargill’s operations. As it steps up these efforts, the company also is advancing ambitious goals to decrease greenhouse gas emissions and other sustainability priorities. Partnering with World Resources Institute’s Global Forest Watch, the company mapped about 1,900 commodity sourcing areas worldwide to establish a baseline for measuring progress in eliminating deforestation.

  • Taking action to build stronger communities: During fiscal year 2017, Cargill provided training for more than 650,000 farmers worldwide, which will help them increase productivity sustainably. Partnerships with organizations such as CARE, Feeding America and World Food Program USA were deepened, benefiting farmers, school children, educators and communities around the world. Cargill’s global corporate contributions this year totaled $54.7 million.

The 2017 annual report, available online at https://www.cargill.com/annual-report/ provides more depth and detail on these stories and more. You can find additional content there, including a video overview with CEO David MacLennan and other Cargill leaders. Cargill will share further information on Twitter via @Cargill.

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

Ashridge Executive Education: 'Action Research' Method Trains Business Leaders to Make Impact

Tue, 08/08/2017 - 12:52pm

The challenges facing us – population growth, migration, globalisation, shifting centres of economic power, increasing inequality of life and the deterioration of the environment – are pressing. Now, many advocates for change have realised that change and innovation is predominantly a socio-technological phenomenon and that the standard approaches no longer work.

So perhaps it is time for a more radical approach to the dynamics of stability and change? Leaders should take a look at themselves, as well as their organisations, when they are asking how we do good business as a global community.

The Executive Doctorate in Organisational Change at Ashridge Executive Education, at Hult International Business School, is not for the faint-hearted. Through the discipline of ‘Action Research’, it throws students – be they CEOs, managers, entrepreneurs or individuals – into the lions’ den and pushes them to research themselves as much as their corporation or organisation.

“As a business school we’re obviously rooted in business, but at the same time we’re challenging business,” says Dr Steve Marshall, Academic Director. “We are deliberately radical and we are looking for people who want to change their organisations – be it a church or charity, a hospital or a multinational – for the better. What really interests us is how the individual, the researcher, can bring about change in existing social systems.

“We rate our students on the impact they have, not the number of times someone reads their research,” he says.

The key buzzwords here are research with, not research on, Marshall explains. ‘Traditional research, the ‘Expert Model’, involves coming up with a hypothesis, working out the methodology and going into the field. Researchers will go into an organisation, for example, study its practices, conduct focus groups, opinion polls or surveys, and come up with a diagnosis. The researchers keep control of the research while the participants are held at a distance. The researchers reach the conclusions.’

The Ashridge method, ‘Action Research’, is a three-pronged personal approach based on First Person, Second Person, Third Person. “First, we look at ourselves as researchers, understand our interest and motives in this research, how we are seeing the problem and why?” says Marshall. “Our concept is that first the researcher must know themself before going on to work with others.

“Secondly, in the ‘second person’ part, we explain our ideas to the participants and get their feedback on the research and our methods so that they share the issues and the research is as participatory as possible. If researchers simply fire questions, it is another case of the subjects being told what to do and you are far less likely to achieve anything of consequence. If, on the other hand, we convene the community and ask: what’s the best way to get this knowledge? and we join with the participants as co-researchers and co-inquirers, they will be more likely to speak up and the results will be more valuable,” he continues.

“And ‘third person’ means we take our research out into the world and make sure it has impact. While the doctorate is academic, this is nevertheless research for positive change – rather than research for publishing in some arcane journal and adding only to our theoretical knowledge.”

“In the thesis,” says Marshall, “we are looking for the impact of the individual, at how they have convened a conversation in a different way so as to make a difference and change an organisation.

“It is so easy for individuals to think “but what can I do? How can I make a difference?” and feel deflated, but individuals can make an impact, Marshall insists.”

He quotes the example of a doctoral student who had two very sick children whom she felt were being treated as ‘numbers’ by an overstretched NHS. She began to examine how this depersonalisation could be avoided in a large medical organisation. “She invited other parents, doctors and nurses to a group discussion to co-inquire and today she is addressing large audiences on the same issue.”

 Another difference from conventional research is that the research question can often change during the research as students examine their own roles as researchers. For example, a senior policeman inquiring into better leadership in the police force discovered that there was a gender issue that prevented this happening. “The topic of the research changed,” says Marshall, “and the methods and questions shifted as we went along.

“Our aim is not to prove or disprove a hypothesis that is set in stone at the beginning.”

Action Research has its beginnings as far back as the end of the Second World War with the emancipatory philosophies that started to look at what makes a worthwhile organisation, says Marshall. Today, as social responsibility and sustainability are coming to the fore in the corporate agenda, as well as new concepts of civil society, an increasing number of people are realising that the conventional change models are not working. They want to know: what do we do now for the greater collective good; how do we do good business?

“We, at Ashridge, see ourselves as consultants for change. Our role is not to oppose business but to challenge it and we believe that helping to develop individuals and training people to go out and change the world is the most important work we can do.

 “Many people reach the stage when they question what they want to do with their life, and how they can meaningfully contribute to the good of the global community,” says Marshall, “and this doctorate is precisely for those who want to initiate and sustain change within their organisations. It is aimed at those who want to make a unique contribution in their chosen field.”

The Ashridge doctorate programme challenges participants’ implicit and explicit assumptions and the implications of those assumptions for their practice. Students undertake this research in collaboration with like-minded peers and the support of like-minded tutors.

It is, warns Marshall, a radical doctorate. “Getting people to speak out, break the rules, be creative and challenge hierarchies can have consequences. When we get students to subject themselves, as well as their organisations, to research, to challenge their own motives and practices, they can change in ways that are shocking even to themselves.

“This is a very developmental program and this, in itself, carries risks and can put students in a vulnerable position. We, as a faculty, are very aware that our role is as much in supporting students as in challenging them.

“Some will end up changing their own roles – even their whole lifestyles – quite significantly.”


Ashridge has contributed to the success of thousands of individuals, teams and organizations by helping to develop their leadership capabilities. As part of Hult International Business School, one of the world’s truly global business schools with seven campuses around  the world, Ashridge has an unrivaled international platform to deliver teaching. Ashridge Executive Education attracts clients from every continent and is in the 1% of providers globally to be accredited by all

three major executive education bodies: AACSB, EQUIS and AMBA. We work with more than 800 companies from over 60 countries. Ashridge Executive Education programs are consistently ranked amongst the best in the world by the Financial Times.

COMMENT: By Simon Webley, Research Director, Institute of Business Ethics

There is growing evidence that the ways organisations are doing their business in the developed world are being challenged. Considerable changes are taking place with increasing acceleration. Ashridge’s new program is a prime example. The acceleration is partly due to the application of new technological knowledge which is challenging the traditional ways that products and services are produced and distributed.

How far is business education keeping up with changes like this? Only spasmodically. Too many are still concentrating on yesterday’s issues and outmoded approaches to ways forward.

It is therefore, refreshing to hear of Ashridge’s doctorate course that involves participants in actual consideration and resolution of genuine change challenges. Its program moves past inadequate traditional models, especially when a question is raised like “how do we do good business?” in a difficult situation.

Post graduate students in this type of programme need effective support: it is provided!

Points of note:

• Motives for a research project are considered

• Information is gained by discussion rather than questions

• Initiation and sustainability of change is at the heart of the programme

• Research is collaborative

FigBytes Inc. Granted Membership of the Social Stock Exchange

Tue, 08/08/2017 - 9:51am

FigBytes Inc. (“FigBytes”), today announced that it has been approved as a member of the Social Stock Exchange (SSX), (www.socialstockexchange.com)  following the ratification of its impact report by the independent Admissions Panel.

The Social Stock Exchange enables its accredited impact issuers to increase their visibility, raise capital and undertake primary or secondary listings of debt or equity instruments. 

Debbie Ryan, Managing Director of the SSX stated, "Admission to the Social Stock Exchange relies on companies having a measurable social or environmental impact at the core of their mission. With FigBytes’ ambition to take sustainability from a compliance metric to becoming a strategic part of their customers’ businesses, this is clearly the case. We know there is a growing desire to deliver against the UN’s 17 sustainable development goals and it is clear that FigBytes is already addressing the needs of the sustainable businesses of tomorrow - we are delighted to welcome them as members”.

FigBytes’ next-generation sustainability software platform has the unique ability to create a forward-looking roadmap for organisations to track their progress towards long-term goals and to be able to see progress in close to real-time.  FigBytes works with companies, cities, not-for-profits and other progressive organisations, allowing them to track sustainability and CSR data from quantitative measures of carbon, water and waste, to tracking more subjective CSR metrics such as community engagement.

FigBytes’ CEO, Colin Grant, stated, “We are honoured to have been accepted for admission to the Social Stock Exchange and look forward to connecting with like-minded companies and investors.  FigBytes’ mission runs far deeper than providing another ESG/EHS compliance product to a crowded market.  We are building a platform that can unite humankind in tackling the enormous challenges we face.  Around the world we see companies, cities and countries adopting the UN Global Goals, the Paris Accord and stretch goals like 100% renewable energy. Finally, we will have a way to move beyond discussions and software for compliance and “non-financial reporting” to being able to unite all of these plans and to see if our collective efforts are achieving what has to be achieved”.

About FigBytes 

The FigBytes Sustainability Platform is cloud-based software that empowers corporations, cities, and other organizations to integrate the principles of environmental sustainability and corporate social responsibility (CSR) into core strategies, performance and brand.   FigBytes replaces outdated, disconnected reporting tools with a cloud-based system that can transform raw data into intuitive and beautiful visualizations of strategy and progress and link clients' roadmaps to the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and humankind’s efforts to tackling the critical challenges we face by 2030.

About the Social Stock Exchange

The Social Stock Exchange provides access to the world’s first regulated exchange dedicated to businesses and investors seeking to achieve a positive social and environmental impact through their activities. The aim of the exchange is to help these businesses connect with investors and unlock capital at scale.  All issuer member companies must meet a rigorous set of criteria before joining, including the publication of an Impact Report.

The Social Stock Exchange has an agreement with NEX Exchange (formerly ISDX) to operate the Social Stock Exchange branded market segment for impact businesses.

The Social Stock Exchange Ltd (FRN: 625231) is an appointed representative of Kession Capital Limited (FRN: 582160) which is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (“FCA”) in the UK.

NEX is a Recognised Investment Exchange operating a regulated market and a growth market and provides a secondary market trading facility.  NEX is supervised by the FCA.


For more information please contact:

Debbie Ryan

Social Stock Exchange

T: +44 (0) 203 608 8056

E: d.ryan@socialstockexchange.com


Sara-Louise Porter

Social Stock Exchange

T: +44 (0) 203 608 8841


Lillian Grant

FigBytes Inc

T: 778-457-2020

E: lgrant@figbytes.com

JPMorgan Chase Invests $500,000 to Prepare Chicagoans for High-Demand Careers on the South Side

Tue, 08/08/2017 - 9:51am

JPMorgan Chase & Co. today announced a $500,000 data-driven investment to the Arthur M. Brazier Foundation to help expand Chicago residents’ access to economic opportunity through a robotics technician training program operated by BSD Industries.  BSD is a social enterprise of the Brazier Foundation that is focused on bringing economic opportunities to South side neighborhoods.

With upgraded technology in the manufacturing sector requiring advanced skills, and turnover in an aging workforce, there is significant demand for skilled workers in advanced manufacturing roles in Chicago. Careers for middle-skill computer controlled programmers and machining and installation occupations, for example, are projected to grow 9 percent by 2023 across the Chicago region.

JPMorgan Chase is investing over $350 million in data-driven solutions to skills development around the world. In Chicago, the firm is investing the time and skills of its employees as well as working closely with area employers, community leaders, education institutions, workforce system and other leaders to develop a set of strategies to address workforce challenges.

“Businesses and the community working together is our best chance to solve big issues, like access to good jobs, and that is what’s happening in Chicago’s South side,” said Jamie DimonChairman and CEO, JPMorgan Chase. “Our investment will help BSD Industries provide the neighborhood workforce with the skills and experience they need to get a job in advanced manufacturing and put themselves on a path to a better life.”

JPMorgan Chase’s $500,000, 2-year investment will fund a robotics technician training and support program on the South side of Chicago where many people don’t have access to living-wage employment or career paths. The initiative is a social enterprise that will reinvest profits from its manufactured goods back into the training program and South side community development opportunities, with a goal of becoming fully self-sustaining by 2020.

“If we want our city to thrive, we have to work together to bridge the gap between our workforce and in-demand jobs,” said Dr. Byron BrazierPresident, Brazier Foundation.  “We are excited to partner with JPMorgan Chase to make this training facility a reality that will create economic opportunity for so many of our neighbors.”

In addition to the firm’s $500,000 Brazier investment, JPMorgan Chase recently sent a Service Corps team to BSD where four JPMorgan Chase employees put their skills and expertise to work helping BSD improve their procurement process. Together they helped BSD negotiate a lower cost for sourcing sustainable materials for the biodegradable cutlery they produce. Revenues from BSD’s cutlery sales go back into their parent nonprofit, the Brazier Foundation, which then injects funds back into the community.

Investment Overview

This innovative apprenticeship program aims to create career pathways in the following ways.

  • Supporting a 13-month certificate training program including job readiness skills, Computer Assisted Design (CAD), industrial control systems, automation controls programming and robotics programming.

  • Providing advanced manufacturing internship and apprenticeship opportunities that can lead to careers in electrical controls support ($45,000 annual salary) and robotics/automation technician ($60,000 annual salary).

  • Training approximately 120 trainees per year for 20- week paid apprenticeships at the same facility.

Many industry sectors in the Chicago metropolitan region are having difficulty filling certain middle-skill positions. World Business Chicago has identified the shortage of middle-skill workers as a major regional hurdle. Approximately 60 percent of job openings require middle-skill credentials, but only 54 percent of the region’s workforce has the necessary education levels – reflecting the mismatch between the education and skills that workers currently have and the skills required by the regions’ emerging industries.

Through several targeted philanthropic initiatives, JPMorgan Chase is investing over $350 million in data-driven solutions to skills development around the world. Investing in this workforce is part of the firm’s five-year, $250 million New Skills at Work initiative to help inform and accelerate efforts to address the mismatch between the needs of employers and the skills of job seekers. The firm has also committed $75 million to a separate five-year effort called New Skills for Youth to address the youth unemployment crisis by increasing the number of young people who complete career pathways that begin in high school and end with postsecondary degrees or credentials aligned with good-paying, high-demand jobs.

About BSD Industries L3C

BSD Industries L3C is a manufacturing company that produces a range of high quality, sustainable, plastic products. The introductory line of cutlery products also includes cups and lids. BSD Industries helps community residents build self-determination through robotics training and development of a career support system that will assist in the fulfillment of current and future job employment. As a social enterprise, our profits are used to invest in the stabilization of communities.

About JPMorgan Chase

JPMorgan Chase & Co. is a leading global financial services firm with assets of $2.6 trillion and operations worldwide. The Firm is a leader in investment banking, financial services for consumers and small businesses, commercial banking, financial transaction processing, and asset management. A component of the Dow Jones Industrial Average, JPMorgan Chase & Co. serves millions of customers in the United States and many of the world's most prominent corporate, institutional and government clients under its J.P. Morgan and Chase brands. Information about JPMorgan Chase & Co. is available at www.jpmorganchase.com.

National Soil Health Measurements to Accelerate Agricultural Transformation

Mon, 08/07/2017 - 3:50pm

For scientists, farmers and ag policy makers, one nagging question has yet to be completely “unearthed:” Just how healthy (or unhealthy) are the nation’s soils?

“We can’t really know the answer to that question until we have a set of common soil health measurements that scientists and farmers can compare and track over time,” said Dr. Wayne Honeycutt, CEO of the Soil Health Institute. “But we believe our endorsement of 19 measures today will help us seek and track that common ground – and ultimately answer that important question.”

The concept of soil health is gaining widespread attention because it promotes agricultural practices that are not only good for the farmer, but also good for the environment. An abundance of research shows that improving soil health boosts crop yield, enhances water quality, increases drought resilience, reduces greenhouse gas emissions, increases carbon sequestration, provides pollinator habitat, and builds disease suppression. To help implement widely-applicable, consistent measures of soil health, the Soil Health Institute announces its endorsement of 19 national soil health measurements.

Over the last three years, scientists from public and private sectors, farmers, field conservationists, soil test laboratories and many others provided input to develop a “Tier 1” list of recommended soil health measures, considered effective indicators of soil health. These specific measurements are regionally defined, have known thresholds, and help define management strategies to improve soil function – like providing nutrients and water.

“Establishing these measurements of soil health will allow a broad group of stakeholders to speak the same language,” said Honeycutt. “This will go a long way in mobilizing further efforts to improve sustainability of our food production systems.”

"The National Association of Conservation Districts believes a shared, foundational understanding of how we measure soil health is critical to advancing the adoption of conservation management practices countrywide," NACD President Brent Van Dyke said. "We anticipate that through our own Soil Health Champions Network, and supported by the measurement efforts of the Soil Health Institute, our nation's agricultural producers will be better equipped than ever to sustainably grow America's food, fuel, and fiber in an era of unprecedented global demand."

Soil health, like human health, is a complex and holistic concept.  For example, when a person goes to a medical doctor, their health is not judged by blood pressure alone.  Instead, many tests are used to assess their health.  In a similar way, soil health is based on numerous chemical, physical, and biological measurements.

Examples of the specific Tier 1 measures include organic carbon, pH, water-stable aggregation, bulk density and available water holding capacity. A complete list of all 19 endorsed soil health measurements is available at www.soilhealthinstitute.org.

“Many of these Tier 1 measures have proven effective to help producers achieve high yields for decades,” Honeycutt said.  “Consequently, many of the soil test laboratories and field conservationists are already using these measurements.  Currently, the Soil Health Institute is reaching out to those organizations to explore additional implementation opportunities.” 

“We support the widescale adoption of these soil health indicators, recognizing the robust process and scientific collaboration behind them,” said Nick Goeser, director of the Soil Health Partnership, and National Corn Growers Association director of soil health and sustainability. “We encourage farmers and agronomists to regularly test soil, use these indicators as business management tools for greater insight, and adopt practices that will improve soil health, like reducing the intensity of tillage to build soil organic matter.”

“The Soil Science Society of America supports development of scientifically-rigorous methodologies to quantify soil health, foster research, and promote outreach of reliable metrics to ranchers and farmers,” added Dr. Andrew Sharpley, President, SSSA.

Work continues with the agricultural industry to add more measurements to the Tier 1 classification – currently being researched as Tier 2 and Tier 3 measurements. They require additional research to elevate them to Tier 1 usefulness. Such research may involve understanding regional differences in interpretation, establishing thresholds, and developing management recommendations to improve soil functioning.

“In particular, several biological measurements have significant potential to help suppress diseases naturally, improve water quality, build drought resilience, increase carbon sequestration, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions,” said Dr. Steven Shafer, Chief Scientific Officer with the Soil Health Institute.  “However, additional research is needed to evaluate Tier 2 and Tier 3 measurements and interpret their contributions to soil health in different climates, soils, and production systems.”

“We are working with numerous partners to advance that research and are already making plans to get it into the hands of farmers and ranchers,” added Honeycutt.

For further information, visit www.soilhealthinstitute.org.


About the Soil Health Institute

The Soil Health Institute's (www.soilhealthinstitute.org) mission is to safeguard and enhance the vitality and productivity of soil through scientific research and advancement. An evolution of the Soil Renaissance, an initiative established in 2013 by the Noble Foundation and Farm Foundation to advance soil health and make it the cornerstone of land use management decisions, the Soil Health Institute serves as the primary resource for soil health information.

MainStreet Partners Releases Its Annual Impact Report

Mon, 08/07/2017 - 9:49am

MainStreet Partners was founded to provide any investor with transparent and easy access to companies and funds that achieve consistent financial returns while improving people’s lives and protecting the planet. Where and how capital is deployed has a strong influence in shaping the future of our world. For this reason, we are proud to announce the publication of MainStreet Partners’ annual Impact Report to present the social and environmental results generated by our investments across all sectors in which we invest. We also highlight several investments in our portfolios to provide real examples of how they contribute to a more sustainable society and environment. 

In 2016, our assets under advisement grew by over 20% and helped achieve the following results:

  • Financial Services: over 61,000 loans provided to micro-small enterprises

  • Climate Change: over 30,000 tonnes of CO2 reduced

  • Healthcare: over 103,000 medical treatments provided to patients in critical conditions

  • Housing: 40 housing units provided to disadvantaged people

  • Education: 95 low income students supported

  • Food: over 738,000 organic meals produced

Rodolfo Fracassi, Managing Director said, “Individuals and asset owners are increasingly interested in achieving tangible and positive impact through their investments. Today we are able to provide well-diversified investment solutions that offer a compelling alternative to traditional investments. In addition to that, we intentionally target and report the social, environmental and financial results per EUR 1 million invested.”

You can access the report here.

About MainStreet Partners:

MainStreet Partners is a London based investment company fully dedicated to sustainable and impact investments. Working in partnership with some of the leading European private banks and asset owners, it has developed a consistent track record in Green & Thematic Bonds, Micro & SME Finance, and Manager Selection across multiple geographies and sectors.

Follow MainStreet Partners on Twitter at @MSPartners_2008.

City Developments Limited: The Singapore Sustainability Academy Launches as Training and Networking Hub

Mon, 08/07/2017 - 6:48am

Singapore Sustainability Academy (SSA), a major training and networking hub dedicated to achieving a cleaner, greener and more sustainable future, opened in June.  

Focusing on the key areas of advocacy, building capacity and collaboration, education and training, information and resource sharing, and community engagement, the SSA is a unique partnership between a private developer, City Developments Limited (CDL) and an NGO, the Sustainable Energy Association of Singapore (SEAS).   Drawing on CDL’s strength in green building and user engagement, the expertise of SEAS in sustainable energy, and supporting agencies and industry partners, the Academy will harness their knowledge and network to build collaborations among various stakeholders in the areas of sustainable development.   And the Academy is not just talking the talk: the zero-energy SSA building itself features a photovoltaic system that is expected to generate an annual energy yield of over 60,000 kWh, which is more than the SSA’s estimated annual energy consumption of about 50,000 kWh/year.    Moreover, the SSA is the first building in Singapore to have its construction materials – Cross Laminated Timber (CLT) and Glued Laminated Timber (Glulam) – verified by the Nature’s BarcodeTM system as coming from responsible sources. This entails scientific tests including DNA analysis to minimise the risk that the wood comes from illegal logging.   “The timber is a treat for the senses. Apart from being visually appealing, it creates a clean, rustic and natural atmosphere, and the woody scent invokes a sense of calm within,” says Esther An, CDL’s Chief Sustainability Officer and a key player in realising the vision of the Academy.    The SSA, she explains, was conceived in mid-2015 under the leadership of CDL’s late Deputy Chairman and prominent sustainability advocate Mr. Kwek Leng Joo, who passed away in late 2015. “With his visionary leadership, CDL started our CSR journey founded on the ethos of ‘Conserve as we Construct’ in 1995. I am hugely honoured to have worked with him from the beginning, and to now continue his legacy by stepping up our efforts in ESG integration, making it a strong business case.”    Indeed, CDL, Singapore’s pioneer real estate developer with a global presence in 97 locations across 26 countries and specialising in residences, offices, hotels and malls totaling over 18 million square feet of floor area, has an impressive list of international sustainability awards to its name. The company has built a track record in developing quality green spaces and industry-changing innovations, which inspire eco-friendly lifestyles and sustainable workplace practices.   “Buildings are so much a part of life – we all live, work and play in and around built spaces, especially in highly built-up Singapore,” says An.    “Globally, buildings consume 40% of energy, 25% of water, and 40% of resources, and are responsible for 30% of greenhouse gas emissions. At CDL, we apply a three-pronged sustainability strategy that focuses on developing and adopting game-changing green building innovations and methods; managing our buildings in an energy and resource efficient manner; and user engagement and advocacy.”   The SSA is CDL’s third major 3P (People, Public and Private) ground-up initiative, following its purpose-built zero-energy CDL Green Gallery @Singapore Botanic Gardens and My Tree House, the world’s first green library for kids to encourage them to learn and care about the environment.   Located on a roof terrace in Singapore’s first eco-mall, City Square Mall, and surrounded by greenery, the 4,300 square feet Academy comprises classrooms, a veranda, an office, and an exhibition gallery.    “The walkway leading from a modern mall setting to the Academy contains infographics aimed at creating a sense of urgency and environmental consciousness among visitors,” says An. “The walkway walls feature thought-provoking issues on whether our planet will survive rapid population growth, rising demand for natural resources and climate change. It also features the United Nations (UN) Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and best practices of some of the most sustainable global cities that lead the way to saving our planet.”     “Simply put, the Academy is a small space with a big vision and I am truly excited about SSA’s mission in community education and engagement, building a strong coalition and force to combat climate change and contribute to a sustainable future.”   SSA has set its sights on training and engaging sustainability professionals and communities beyond Singapore. SEAS has an established partnership with Asian Development Bank to provide training programmes for energy practitioners in the region.   Similarly, the SSA Programme Committee, chaired by An, is in talks with various partners, including NPOs, think tanks and industry associations, to bring experts from international organisations such as the UN Global Compact, Business Council for Sustainable Development, and World Green Building Council, to share best practices and expertise with audiences from Singapore and the region.     SEAS, the operator, will focus on training and capacity building while CDL, as the owner of the Academy, will spearhead the planning of programmes, thought leadership, advocacy, networking and partnerships amongst public, private and people sectors, explains An.     The programmes will be funded mainly by CDL and its partners, who will hold sustainability-related activities at the Academy. SEAS will continue to run their training classes using the organisation’s current sustainable business model as a non-profit.     “Examples of some programmes we have planned are capability building workshops, sustainability forums and youth workshops on topics such as the circular economy, sustainability reporting, green financing, etc.,” says An. Focusing on youth is particularly important, she says. “Young people are our future. They are the next generation of consumers, workforce and leaders who will be shaping our future economy and society. For two decades now, CDL has been active in youth development, one of our four key community investment areas.     “For the SSA, we have brought together our track record in youth development and our network of partners to develop innovative programmes with a strong focus on social-environmental advocacy. For example, we will be launching a new format for the 8th edition of CDL’s E-Generation Challenge through the platform of SSA. In partnership with the Global Green Economic Forum, the Challenge aims to raise eco-awareness amongst young people between the ages of 18 to 35 and to discover outstanding young champions for the environment. The winner of the challenge will embark on a 12-day study trip to the International Antarctic Expedition, led by renowned explorer and conservationist Robert Swan. The young champion will return to assume an advocacy role on environmental conservation to inspire more youths to follow.”    In addition to youth development, CDL is setting up the first network for women in Singapore’s green sectors, Women4Green. “This aims to engage women executives who work in the green building, clean energy, technology, green financing and consultancy fields to inspire each other to do more for their respective causes,” says An. “As there is an increasing number of women in the forefront of climate action, this network will engage women leaders to inspire, mentor and empower other females to charge forward and accelerate our transition to a low-carbon future. It also aims to support SDG 5 on Gender Equality.”

THE COMPANY: City Developments Limited (CDL) is a Singapore-listed international real estate operating company with a global presence spanning 97 locations in 26 countries. As one of Singapore’s largest companies by market capitalisation, its portfolio comprises residences, offices, hotels, serviced apartments, integrated developments and shopping malls, totalling over 18 million square feet of floor area globally. CDL is ranked Top Singapore Company and Most Sustainable Real Estate Management and Development Company in the 2017 Global 100 Most Sustainable Corporations in the World ranking. It is the first Singapore company to be listed on four of the world’s leading sustainability benchmarks – FTSE4Good Index Series (since 2002), MSCI Global Sustainability Indexes (since 2009), Global 100 (since 2010) and Dow Jones Sustainability Indices (since 2011).

COMMENT: By Simon Webley, Research Director, Institute of Business Ethics CDL is a significant organisation in the property development sector. Operating in 26 countries, this Singaporean-based estate developer is outstanding for one main reason: it only builds what it describes as ‘green’ buildings, which are those that are eco-friendly in all aspects of that description. But that is not all it is doing to improve the environment. Its management, following the initiative of a former deputy chairman, realises that to be effective in the long term, it is necessary to convince the next generations that an environmental strategy requires innovations and imaginative education. Hence, CDL’s sponsorship of the Singapore Sustainability Academy (SSA) in partnership with the Sustainable Energy Association of Singapore (SEAS). This educational facility, which SEAS will operate, is to be opened this year to help promote eco-awareness and the ingredients of a sustainable future to the next generations.    Points of note: 
  • Buildings consume 40% of all energy and are responsible for 30% of greenhouse gas emissions  

  • Helping to bring gender equality to the forefront in fighting climate change  

  • The priority of user engagement and advocacy in the overall sustainability strategy.

Sustainability Thought Leaders and Innovators to Come Together at Yale University

Mon, 08/07/2017 - 12:48am

Sustainability professionals from around the world will gather at Yale University this September 12-15 for four days of thought-provoking lectures and interactive discussions at the Yale Sustainability Leadership Forum.

The Forum’s small class size fosters an environment of idea sharing and gives participants and speakers an opportunity to interact one-on-one. Speakers are distinguished thought leaders and innovators drawn from Yale's renowned Law School, School of Management, and School of Forestry & Environmental Studies, as well as leading practitioners in government and industry. They collectively offer an essential set of strategies and sustainability principles to guide our institutions, governments, businesses, and society. 

The Director of the Forum, Professor Daniel C. Esty, brings decades of groundbreaking thinking on environmental law, policy, sustainability innovation, and public-private partnerships to the Forum. 

Video: Professor Esty discusses the Forum’s agenda, speakers, benefits for participants, and why you can't miss this incredible educational experience: https://youtu.be/CiXCLYK-UOA

Yale Faculty returning to teach again this fall are standouts in the field of sustainability. Professors William Nordhaus, Marian Chertow, Gary Brudvig, E. Donald Elliott, and Bradford Gentry specialize respectively in carbon pricing, industrial ecology, molecular biophysics and biochemistry, environmental law, and land conservation. Each of their modules will examine current trends in their disciplines, along with sustainability principles and strategies for innovation.

New speakers joining the Forum bring an equally rich set of insights to share. The U.S. State Department's former top climate change lawyer and a key architect of the Paris Climate Agreement, Susan Biniaz, will teach a module on climate change negotiations. David Lubin, a world leader in the field of corporate performance management will teach a module on sustainable investing. Other speakers include Kenneth Gillingham, Julie Zimmerman, Anthony Leiserowitz, and Andrew Winston, who will teach respectively on the latest innovations in energy and environmental economics, green design, climate change communications, and corporate sustainability management.

To view the agenda, click here. To view the speaker line-up, click here.

Participants of the 2016 inaugural Forum praised the depth and breadth of the candid discussions and felt confident that they left Yale inspired and armed with a myriad of innovative and practical takeaways. “The Forum was an excellent opportunity for me to receive a compact overview of the main trends and challenges in our quest to transition to sustainable societies. Listening to and engaging with some of the field’s brightest minds and leading scholars was both inspiring and an opportunity to calibrate some aspects of my work so that I can be more effective and successful,” said Tanja Srebotjnak, Hixon Professor of Sustainable Environmental Design at Harvey Mudd College.

Jonathan Steinberg, State Representative at the Connecticut General Assembly, echoed that sentiment, saying, "If sustainability is truly the defining framework for this century, this forum is an invaluable medium for grasping the critical issues and opportunities which will determine our planet’s continuing viability.” 

YSLF is designed to advance sustainability thought leadership and to inspire sustainability action. To learn from leaders in the field and other sustainability professionals, apply for the 2017 program here. Applications are being accepted on a rolling basis and space is limited. 

For more information on the Forum and to apply, please visit sustainability-forum.yale.edu.

Lockheed Martin Releases 2016 Global Diversity & Inclusion Report Affirming “Conscious Inclusion” as Key Business Imperative

Fri, 08/04/2017 - 3:36pm

Lockheed Martin (NYSE: LMT) has released its 2016 Global Diversity & Inclusion Annual Report highlighting its commitment to Conscious Inclusion – an intentional focus on creating a diverse, inclusive and engaged workforce built on a strong foundation of equal opportunity. Lockheed Martin’s Conscious Inclusion model has three strategic focus areas: employee engagement, inclusive leadership and diversity outreach; and the 2016 report outlines efforts in all of these key areas. 

The report also includes initiatives from Lockheed Martin’s diverse array of 70+ employee resource groups, professional development and training opportunities, forums and inclusion councils; like the African American Council for Excellence, Hispanic Organization for Leadership & Awareness, PRIDE (LGBT Professional Network), Women’s Impact Network, Professional Asian American Network, Military/Veterans Employee Resource Groups and others.

“Lockheed Martin’s ability to maintain a vibrant workforce relies on fostering a culture of inclusion and a highly engaged community,” said Rainia L. Washington, vice president of Global Diversity & Inclusion. “We are proud of our success in creating an atmosphere where employees can bring their full self to work and we appreciate seeing external validation of how hard we’re working to ensure this happens.”

As examples: for the past nine years, Lockheed Martin has achieved a perfect score on the Human Rights Campaign’s Corporate Equality Index and recognized as one of the “Best Places to Work for LGBT Equality” for 2017. Lockheed Martin is also ranked as a top-tier supporter of Historically Black Colleges and Universities, with initiatives at 22 minority-serving institutions that drive efforts to build a pipeline of diverse STEM talent. Additionally, the corporation’s commitment to creating a high-performance, inclusive workplace culture is reinforced in its Sustainability Management Plan; a thoughtful framework that serves as a reflection of Lockheed Martin’s corporate values and a blueprint for its business strategy.

Diversity and inclusion efforts help to evolve Lockheed Martin’s culture to encourage collaboration and innovation; shape the organization to embrace change; and to create a supportive and welcoming work environment. Highlights for 2016 include seven leadership forums focusing on leadership development, business strategy and networking. The company also held its annual Diversity Day with 30 locations across the country and 2,100 employees participating in the 4th annual Walk of Inclusion.

More information about Lockheed Martin's diversity and inclusion efforts is available at: http://www.lockheedmartin.com/us/who-we-are/diversity.html.

About Lockheed Martin:
Headquartered in Bethesda, Maryland, Lockheed Martin is a global security and aerospace company that employs approximately 97,000 people worldwide and is principally engaged in the research, design, development, manufacture, integration and sustainment of advanced technology systems, products and services.

PepsiCo Reports Continued Progress Towards Goal of 100 Percent Sustainable Palm Oil

Fri, 08/04/2017 - 3:36pm

PepsiCo today reported continued progress in the company's efforts to strengthen its palm oil supply chain, including new steps taken to promote human rights, responsible land use and supplier transparency. These moves support PepsiCo's previously announced goal for 100 percent of the palm oil it uses to be sustainably sourced by 2020.

In its annual Palm Oil Action Plan Progress Report, the global food and beverage company disclosed that 89 percent of the palm oil it expects to use during 2017 has been traced to the mill level, up from 65 percent in 2015. PepsiCo has also taken steps to extend traceability beyond the mill to plantation level across its entire palm oil supply chain, which it aims to achieve by 2020.

As part of the report, PepsiCo unveiled robust new efforts designed to improve practices in the palm oil sector. Alongside advanced traceability protocols, this includes the introduction of a scorecard that will enable the company to work with certain direct suppliers of palm oil to improve their performance in areas such as human rights, deforestation, peat loss and land use policies. PepsiCo has also formalized its grievance system for dealing with allegations of inappropriate supplier conduct. Under this process, reports of non-compliance with PepsiCo's standards are thoroughly investigated and support is provided to ensure that the issues are addressed. In instances where a supplier fails to take sufficient corrective measures, they can be subject to significant action, as illustrated by a recent example that involved the removal of a supplier from PepsiCo's supply chain.

"PepsiCo takes environmental and social issues within the palm oil industry very seriously, and we are making significant investments to improve every aspect of our palm oil supply chain," said Rob Meyers, Sustainability Director at PepsiCo. "We have made important progress, achieving substantially greater visibility into our suppliers' activities and moving closer to our goal of sustainably sourcing 100 percent of our palm oil by 2020. PepsiCo is committed to doing much more, and we believe that the steps we are taking to promote higher standards among palm suppliers will place us at the forefront of our industry."

PepsiCo's goal to source 100 percent physically certified sustainable palm oil by 2020, using the Roundtable for Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) standard, was outlined in its 2015 Palm Oil Action Plan. This initiative sought to address significant concerns about the environmental and human rights impacts associated with some palm oil production. Last year, PepsiCo's plan was evaluated by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) in a global ranking of consumer goods companies, and it received the highest possible score for leading the way on essential actions on progress on sustainable palm oil.

Further progress in meeting the objectives of the Action Plan includes:

  • Currently, 16 percent of the palm oil that PepsiCo buys is RSPO physically certified sustainable. The company expects that figure to rise to 30 percent by the end of 2017, and it aims to maintain a similar rate of progress to meet its 100 percent goal by 2020.

  • 98 percent of the palm oil that PepsiCo currently uses comes from suppliers who are RSPO members.

  • PepsiCo has begun to invest in the improvement of practices in key sourcing regions. For example, it is sponsoring the National Interpretation of the RSPO Principles and Criteria in Mexico and supporting a program that will provide training on High Conservation Value (HCV) and High Carbon Stock (HCS) assessments.

"We are pleased to see the progress that PepsiCo has made on the implementation of their Palm Oil Action Plan, and the level of transparency demonstrated in this report," said Darrel Webber, Chief Executive Officer of the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil. "The progress made on the ground in the plantations and at the mills relies heavily on the commitment of our membership, sometimes on the other side of the world, increasing their purchasing of certified sustainable palm oil for the products that they make or sell. It is paramount that all actors avoid short-termism while setting time-bound commitments and working to implement those commitments with urgency. This, together with reporting on progress transparently, will put us on the path to a more sustainable palm oil industry, and to more sustainable communities in the producer nations."

About PepsiCo
PepsiCo products are enjoyed by consumers one billion times a day in more than 200 countries and territories around the world. PepsiCo generated approximately $63 billion in net revenue in 2016, driven by a complementary food and beverage portfolio that includes Frito-Lay, Gatorade, Pepsi-Cola, Quaker and Tropicana. PepsiCo's product portfolio includes a wide range of enjoyable foods and beverages, including 22 brands that generate more than $1 billion each in estimated annual retail sales.

At the heart of PepsiCo is Performance with Purpose – our fundamental belief that the success of our company is inextricably linked to the sustainability of the world around us. We believe that continuously improving the products we sell, operating responsibly to protect our planet and empowering people around the world is what enables PepsiCo to run a successful global company that creates long-term value for society and our shareholders. For more information, visit www.pepsico.com.

Cautionary Statement 
Statements in this release that are "forward-looking statements" are based on currently available information, operating plans and projections about future events and trends. Forward-looking statements inherently involve risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from those predicted in any such forward-looking statement. Such risks and uncertainties include, but are not limited to: changes in demand for PepsiCo's products, as a result of changes in consumer preferences or otherwise; changes in, or failure to comply with, applicable laws and regulations; imposition or proposed imposition of new or increased taxes aimed at PepsiCo's products; imposition of labeling or warning requirements on PepsiCo's products; changes in laws related to packaging and disposal of PepsiCo's products; PepsiCo's ability to compete effectively; political conditions, civil unrest or other developments and risks in the markets where PepsiCo's products are made, manufactured, distributed or sold; the ability to protect information systems against, or effectively respond to, a cybersecurity incident or other disruption; damage to PepsiCo's reputation or brand image; and other factors that may adversely affect the price of PepsiCo's publicly traded securities and financial performance.

For additional information on these and other factors that could cause PepsiCo's actual results to materially differ from those set forth herein, please see PepsiCo's filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, including its most recent annual report on Form 10-K and subsequent reports on Forms 10-Q and 8-K. Investors are cautioned not to place undue reliance on any such forward-looking statements, which speak only as of the date they are made. PepsiCo undertakes no obligation to update any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.

Related Links:

Palm Oil Action Plan Progress Report 

Palm Oil: Our Approach and Policy


Posted from PepsiCo

Duke Energy Helping Home Fund to Serve 700 Additional Income-Qualified North Carolina Families

Fri, 08/04/2017 - 3:36pm

More than 700 income-qualified North Carolina families will save energy and money through free home energy makeovers provided by Duke Energy's Helping Home Fund.

The program serves families at or below 200 percent of federal poverty guidelines and provides energy efficiency upgrades at no cost to income-qualified customers.

Duke Energy is boosting the Helping Home Fund with an additional $2.5 million for weatherization upgrades, heating and cooling system repairs, appliance replacements and health and safety upgrades to customers' homes.

The Helping Home Fund has provided energy-saving measures and upgrades to more than 3,500 North Carolina families since launching in 2015 as a $20 millionprogram.

"Helping our customers save energy and money is important to Duke Energy," said David Fountain, Duke Energy's North Carolina president. "For many of our low-income and elderly customers, energy-efficient appliances and technology are simply beyond their financial reach. The Helping Home Fund empowers customers to save energy by providing tools and upgrades that they otherwise might not be able to afford."

The program is administered by the N.C. Community Action Association (NCCAA) and offered through 28 agencies across the state.

"We can't thank Duke Energy enough for entrusting NCCAA and its network of agencies with doing this important work in communities across North Carolina," said Sharon Goodson, executive director of the N.C. Community Action Association. "We're excited Duke Energy is providing an additional $2.5 million to give even more low-income families across North Carolina the comfort and safety of an energy efficient home."

About Helping Home Fund 
An energy assessment is conducted at each participant's home to determine which measures are most appropriate. In addition to the installation of energy-efficiency measures, customers also receive information on their home's energy use and strategies to reduce energy costs in the future.

Services provided by the program include:

  • Health and safety repairs up to $3,000 per home such as installation of hand rails, carbon monoxide detectors, minor roof, plumbing leaks and electrical repairs.

  • Appliance replacement up to $2,000 per home including washing machine, refrigerator, and room air conditioners.

  • Heating and cooling system repair up to $800 per home.

The additional funds to the Helping Home Fund were authorized through an agreement with the N.C. Public Staff and approved by the N.C. Utilities Commission during the 2016 Duke Energy and Piedmont Natural Gas merger.

Information on participating agencies and how to apply for funds can be found at www.duke-energy.com/helpinghomefund

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

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

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

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