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Updated: 58 min 35 sec ago

350.org Leads Climate Awareness Parade Tomorrow

4 hours 58 min ago

San Francisco’s green community kicks off Earth Day Weekend with a special parade down Market Street to raise awareness about the climate crisis (www.350bayarea.org/earthday-sf), culminating with speeches from the main stage at the Earth Day San Francisco Fesival (www.earthdaysf.org) highlighted by 350.org co-founder Bill McKibben at about 1:30 PM.   Marchers will gather at Justin Herman Plaza at 11:00 AM and start down Market at about 11:30 AM.

“The time has come to put citizen action back into Earth Day,” says 350 Bay Area’s Rand Wrobel, the parade’s main organizer.  “This  ‘Earth Day Action Parade” is a good way to put our feet in the street to declare that the earth and its climate needs our action now - as the recent IPCC report warns (see links below).”

Besides 350.Org, there are several influential Bay Area Environmental organizations participating in the parade: 350 Bay Area & 350 San Francisco, the Sierra Club’s SF Bay Chapter, CREDO Action, Sunflower Alliance, 350 Marin, AFSCME Council 57, Greenaction, Ecology Center, Citizens Climate Lobby, Amazon Watch, Berkeley Climate Action Coalition,  OccupySF Environmental Justice, 350 Silicon Valley and others.

 "There will be marchers of all sorts,” Wrobel expains.  “We have a large youth group participating, and another group of bicyclists, some electric vehicles, and even a brass band.  We’re getting a lot of interest from people representing communities threatened by crude oil ‘bomb’ trains and air pollution, as well as folks fighting the Keystone XL pipeline and those supporting the Air District's plan for the Bay Area to lead the nation in an 80% reduction in carbon pollution by 2050."

After McKibben and other speakers address the crowd, the event’s main music stage features a mini-Jam Band festival (http://www.earthdaysf.org/line-up.html), including local favorites New Monsoon and The Earth Day SF All Starts (Rat Dog’s Mark Karran, Hot Butter Rum’s Nat Keefe, Further’s Sunshine Becker and others. 

There are two other multi-cultural stages offering a wide variety of performances and presentations, highlighted by the special Planet Dance Electronic Music Show featuring the Crystal Method’s Ken Jordan and six of the area’s top DJs.  There are also many onsite lectures, DIY workshops on subjects varying from raw foods to greening your home, 80+ eco-friendly exhibits, Eco-Chic Fashion Shows, Clean Energy Zone featuring electric cars (sponsored the Chevrolet Volt and the All Electric Smart Car), Green Kids Zone, Green Tech Pavilion, natural food sampling, live music and the Organic Food & Beer Court. Key sponsors are Rogers Family Coffee, KTVU TV 2, Alice 97.3 FM, KCBS 740 AM, KALW and The Park Trust Alliance.  For more information go to www.earthdaysf.org, or call 415-272-8889.

About Earth Day San Francisco:

First conceived by United States Senator Gaylord Nelson in 1970, Earth Day has become a major international holiday, and nowhere is that more evident than San Francisco.  Local organizer Douglas Kolberg and his steering committee of influential activists and green businesses are in their fourth year producing San Francisco’s Official Earth Day celebration at San Francisco Civic Center’s United Nations Plaza on Saturday, April 19, from 10 AM to 6 PM.  The event is expected to draw over 10,000 attendees.

Recent IPCC Report Background Info:

http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2014/04/13/ipcc-report-touts-clean-energy/7593073/)

http://www.theguardian.com/environment/blog/2014/apr/14/ipcc-report-scientists-world-seize-opportunity-roadmap

http://news.sciencemag.org/climate/2014/04/ipcc-mitigating-climate-change-more-challenging-ever

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Green-N-Fit

10 hours 58 min ago

On April 26, 2014, 1,000 volunteers will repair and renovate more than 20 homes on Pendleton Avenue and Pickett Place, in Springfield's Old Hill Neighborhood.

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Points of Light Announces 2014 Leadership Partners

April 17, 2014 - 10:55

 Points of Light announced recently its 2014 Leadership Partners, companies whose investments in social responsibility advance Points of Light’s mission to mobilize millions of people to take action that is changing the world.

“The support of these Leadership Partners in 2013 enabled us to launch major skills-based volunteering initiatives, develop programs that empower people to create solutions to community issues, open dialogue with community leaders, empower tens of thousands of children to participate in service projects and more,” said Points of Light President Tracy Hoover.

“New ways of volunteering are expanding rapidly,” said Hoover. Companies and individuals are increasingly finding ways to contribute their skills and talent. Youth and young adult volunteering is growing, as online mobilization, fundraising and petitions combine with more traditional volunteer opportunities to get people engaged. “These 2014 Leadership Partners give Points of Light the capacity to develop and advance the next generation of volunteerism, and are establishing a high standard for corporate service to communities,” continued Hoover.

The Leadership Partners program for 2014 includes the following companies at the $1 million-plus tier:

  • Bank of America – Bank of America is a significant contributor to Points of Light, supporting a number of program areas including: the development and launch of the Financial Opportunity Corps, which supports AmeriCorps VISTA members in equipping community residents and Bank of America employee volunteers to serve as financial coaches for individuals in low- to moderate- income communities; leadership of Points of Light’s Corporate Service Council, the premier global platform for advancing corporate employee volunteerism; and volunteer leadership and pro bono service to drive growth in the service sector in the Asia Pacific region. The Bank of America Charitable Foundation supports the company's purpose to improve the financial lives of the customers, clients and communities it serves through a range of national and local philanthropic partnerships. As part of its 10-year, $2 billion giving goal, the Foundation focuses on needs related to workforce development and education, community development, and basic human services. Extending the company's impact on these issues, in 2013 Bank of America employees volunteered 2 million hours of service to strengthen communities in the U.S. and across the globe.

  • Hasbro – Hasbro aims to bring the “sparkle of play and the power of service” to youth. As the founding partner of generationOn (Points of Light’s youth enterprise) and a $5 million-plus investor in its success, Hasbro has helped hundreds of thousands of young people access tools, resources, project ideas, mini grants and inspiration needed to make their mark on the world through service. For example, through the Joy Maker campaign, over 90,000 kids and teens from around the world gave joy by volunteering, making cards, creating scarves for the homeless, singing carols to seniors and more, with their actions generating a $1 million donation in toys and games for Toys for Tots. Hasbro and generationOn celebrate extraordinary youth through the Hasbro Community Action Heroes, awarding education scholarships and providing youth leadership training – helping our young recipients continue to advance their work in communities across the globe. The 2013 awardees included Yash Gupta, a high school junior who formed his own nonprofit and has collected and distributed $350,000 worth of eyeglasses to 15,000 people in Mexico, Honduras and Haiti, and Zachary Morgan, a second grader from Louisiana who created Zach’s Lidz for Kidz and has given more than 1,000 baseball caps to children in hospitals. Through the generous support of Hasbro generationOn has been able to reach millions of kids – inspiring them to service – and engaged over 750,000 directly in volunteer service to others.
  • Exelis – The Community Blueprint, a national initiative to support the reintegration of returning military service members, veterans and their families, has received a five-year, $5 million investment from Exelis. The Community Blueprint is now introducing new tools and resources and deploying AmeriCorps members across the country to enable local communities and leaders to foster greater coordination and collaboration of veterans services. Exelis is also engaging its employees through the Exelis Action Corps – a robust employee volunteer program designed to create large-scale, team and individual volunteer projects to support and engage returning military service members, veterans and their families across the U.S.
  • JPMorgan Chase – In 2013, JPMorgan Chase joined Points of Light as the founding partner of the “One America” campaign, a call for people to come together in service to make a difference. The initiative is focused on inspiring and enabling people-powered solutions to tough community issues and has reached 133 million Americans to date. One America kicked off at the opening plenary of the Conference on Volunteering and Service, of which JPMorgan Chase was the title sponsor, with Donna Brazile and Karl Rove dancing on stage to highlight the power of unity. The campaign has included powerful voices promoting volunteerism in cities across the country, including First Lady Barbara Bush, the New York Giants’ Victor Cruz, renowned chef José Andrés and “Extra” TV host Maria Menounos. The firm’s partnership with Points of Light builds on its commitment to service. More than 47,000 JPMorgan Chase employees provided 540,000 hours of volunteer service in local communities around the globe through company-sponsored service opportunities in 2013, working with organizations like HandsOn Network, a network affiliated with Points of Light.
  • Target – Building on its strong support of education and literacy, and its commitment to give $1 billion to education by the end of 2015, Target has worked closely with Points of Light to combine education with volunteering. In 2013, Target was the Official Excellence in Education Sponsor of the Conference on Volunteering and Service and hosted a series of education-focused America’s Sunday Suppers across the country, engaging community leaders in a dialogue and a meal to outline service solutions to the education crisis and how education is a pathway to economic opportunity for our youth. Sunday Suppers kicked off during Martin Luther King, Jr. Day with 8,000 people coming together at the DC Armory for a service project followed by a brunch with Gen. Colin and Mrs. Alma Powell. Other distinguished Sunday Supper speakers included singer John Legend, Wolfgang Puck, President Jimmy Carter and Bernice King, daughter of Dr. King, who reflected on the 50th Anniversary of the March on Washington. Target also served as the Founding Sponsor of Points of Light’s Good & Ready disaster preparedness campaign, helping youth and families learn more about preparedness as part of their educational experience.
  • The UPS Foundation – For more than a decade, The UPS Foundation has been a significant contributor to Points of Light, helping build capacity to mobilize volunteers and engage individuals, communities, businesses and nonprofits in volunteer leadership. UPS and Points of Light are also developing innovative new technologies and training to better mobilize volunteers in times of disaster. UPS serves as a leading sponsor of the Conference on Volunteering and Service and supports Points of Light’s veterans programming, global expansion and engagement in local markets. UPS and its employees, active and retired, invest more than $100 million in charitable giving and 1.8 million volunteer hours around the world. The company’s investments in community involvement nationally and globally have significantly shaped the service movement and continue to pave the way for innovation, action and impact.

  • The Walt Disney Company – Disney has worked closely with Points of Light for more than 20 years to help mobilize the nation into action through volunteerism and service. Disney’s ongoing commitment includes principal supporter of Family Volunteer Day and founding sponsor of the Daily Points of Light Trust that recognizes individuals and organizations who promote volunteering for kids and families. Continuing a legacy of support that began in 1991, when Disney hosted and celebrated the first 575 Daily Point of Light honorees, the company’s connection to Points of Light – and its youth division generationOn – has engaged tens of thousands of young people and their families in service projects in communities across the country. Volunteer projects are a meaningful way to share an experience that shows kids firsthand how their own actions can make a real difference in a life or in the world. Disney is proud to sponsor Points of Light initiatives to inspire kids and families to develop a lifelong love of service. Together, we are committed to creating a brighter tomorrow by inspiring kids and families everywhere to join us in taking action and caring for the world we share.

Additional Leadership Partners committing more than $500,000 in funding include Altria, which invests in volunteerism that aligns with its core focus areas of education, positive youth development and the environment; Allstate, which educates and equips people to be better prepared for times of disaster through kit building events around the country and as lead sponsor of Good & Ready; Belk, which completed 125 Days of Service as part of its 125th Anniversary benefitting 250 title 1 schools in 16 states; Google, which brings the power of technology to nonprofits through HandsOn Tech Corps; Hilton Worldwide, which strengthens communities and engages Team Members where they live, work and travel through the service culture and expertise in the travel and hospitality industry; and PwC Charitable Foundation, which supports civic innovation and entrepreneurship as a founding sponsor of the Civic Accelerator. Our 2013 strategic in-kind partners include McKenna, Long & Aldridge and IBM.

About Points of Light
Points of Light – the world’s largest organization dedicated to volunteer service – mobilizes millions of people to take action that is changing the world. Through affiliates in 250 cities and partnerships with thousands of nonprofits and corporations, Points of Light engages 4 million volunteers in 30 million hours of service each year. We put people at the center of change. For more information, go to www.pointsoflight.org, Facebook or Twitter to learn more.

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Minerva Selected to Participate in U.S. Commerce Certified Nordic Trade Mission, May 12-15

April 17, 2014 - 08:55

 Minerva Capital Group, a Miami-based impact investment firm, will take part in the U.S. Department of Commerce’s second U.S. Impact & Sustainable Certified Trade Mission, May 12-15, 2014. The mission will focus on the Nordic region, hosting meetings in Oslo, Copenhagen, Stockholm and Helsinki with those countries’ pension funds, asset managers and investment firms. The purpose of the trade mission is education and there will be no offers to sell securities or solicitations of offers.

In these meetings, the Minerva Capital Group will present to Nordic institutional investors its Mexico Debt capabilities. The fund’s expertise focuses on portfolios with fewer than 25 leading small and medium-size companies that are determined to be leaders in their markets with strong management teams and large, predictable cash flows.

“Our Minerva Mexico Debt team will share its expertise with Nordic investors on structures that put their capital to work in companies that, through rigorous due diligence, we have found can generate measurable social and environmental impacts, as well as substantial financial returns,” says Jocelyn Cortez-Young, founding partner and CEO of the Minerva Capital Group and one of the fund’s managing partners. “We appreciate the opportunity to join this important trade mission of the U.S. Commerce Department.”

Cortez-Young explains that the Minerva Mexico Debt team is unique in focusing on investing in the private debt of a select few of the country’s market leaders instead of their equity. “Private debt as an asset class has historically outperformed public debt by significant margins,” she says. “The focus of our Minerva Mexico Debt team is to drive this increase in performance by our ability to leverage return drivers that are much different from those of other asset classes, including traditional equity investing.”

Examples of those return drivers are:

  • Helping portfolio companies move from traditional hierarchical decision-making processes to faster, more collaborative ones—thereby improving their abilities to execute, especially in volatile economic environments with rapid business cycles, like Latin America.

  • Increasing their management diversity, thereby enriching their overall strategic perspectives, problem solving, and improving their tactical execution with faster, more insightful solutions to day-to-day operating challenges.

  • Crystallizing their corporate governance around a formal, disciplined framework of first principles grounded in accountable behavior—thereby building a more powerful and differentiated brand, to best showcase a company that makes all its decisions with a keen consideration of their social and environmental consequences on the interests of all stakeholders, not just owners but also employees, suppliers, customers and the community at large.

Impact investing is an emerging investment strategy that Minerva Capital has helped pioneer, with a special focus on Latin America, where its partners have substantial experience. The upcoming U.S. Impact & Sustainable Certified Trade Mission, led by the Watershed Capital Group, an impact investment-consulting firm, follows a similar and successful trade mission to Amsterdam, London and Zurich last year.

About Minerva Capital Group
Founded in 2009, Minerva Capital Group is a double bottom-lined impact investment firm, focused on identifying unique, socially impactful investment opportunities in select emerging markets. It seeks to transform small and medium enterprises in these markets by applying its capital, expertise and guidance to their decision-making and management structures. The cornerstone of its investment philosophy is the firm belief that positive investment returns and constructive social, environmental and financial impacts are all strongly linked.

About Impact & Sustainable Private Equity Certified Trade Mission
The trade mission organized by Watershed Capital Group in cooperation with the U.S. Department of Commerce, features U.S.-based private equity and venture capital firms representing the United States as a compelling destination for foreign alternative investments. U.S. and Foreign Commercial Service supports the goals of this event, but does not endorse the specific products or views of the participating organizations. The government of the United States, particularly the United States Department of Commerce and U.S. Embassies, are not involved in selecting or recruiting for this mission. Such selection and recruitment is strictly left to the mission organizer.

About Impact Investing
Impact Investing is an emerging investment strategy that seeks to generate positive financial, environmental and social returns. JP Morgan’s survey indicates a growing market for impact investing, with respondents planning to commit USD 9 billion to impact investing in 2013, up from a total commitment of USD 8 billion in 2012.

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New Survey Shows Knowledge Gap in Car Battery Recycling

April 17, 2014 - 08:55

A recent consumer survey commissioned by Johnson Controls found that seven out of 10 Americans don’t know their options for recycling used car batteries.

With more than 2 million conventional batteries going unrecycled every year in the United States, Johnson Controls, a global multi-industrial company with established core businesses in the automotive, building, and energy storage industries, is aiming to raise awareness about how to easily and safely recycle car batteries. To assist consumers, the company has created www.recyclingmybattery.com, where people can enter their zip codes to find nearby battery recycling locations, such as retail stores.

“About 97 percent of car batteries are recycled each year in the U.S., and our vision is a world where we reach 100 percent,” said Ron Weller, global vice president and general manager of Components and Integrated Supply Chain at Johnson Controls Power Solutions. “Without batteries, the world would stand still. Johnson Controls wants to keep the world moving in a sustainable way – through recycling.”

Survey Findings:

A survey of 1,016 U.S. adults conducted in March of 2014 found significant misperceptions about battery recycling. Notable findings are summarized below:

Survey Finding           

Reality

  • Two-thirds of Americans think that dead car batteries mostly sit in landfills and create a hazard.
  • 71% of Americans think that car batteries can only be dropped off for recycling at special recycling centers.
  • Consumers are four times more likely to believe that aluminum has a higher recyclability rate than car batteries.
  • One-third of Americans don’t know how much of a car battery is recyclable.
  • In the United States, 97% of car batteries are recycled.
  • Used car batteries can be dropped off at a wide range of retail outlets and auto shops, many of which are listed on www.recyclingmybattery.com.
  • Car batteries have a higher rate of being recycled (97%) than aluminum cans (55%), paper (45%) and glass (26%).[1]
  • Up to 99% of the components in a car battery are recyclable.

“Last year, Johnson Controls recycled the equivalent of 8,000 batteries every hour, keeping millions of batteries out of landfills,” said Weller. “As the manufacturer of one-third of the world’s car batteries, we come to work every day committed to design, make, transport and recycle batteries in the safest and most sustainable way.”

Data source:

The data results come from a telephone omnibus survey (combined landline and cell phone) conducted by ORC International. Nationally, the sample included 493 men and 523 female, 18 years of age and older. The survey was fielded from March 26-30, 2014. At the 95 percent confidence level, the national results have a margin of error of +/- 3 percentage points.

About Johnson Controls
Johnson Controls is a global diversified technology and industrial leader serving customers in more than 150 countries. The company's 170,000 employees create quality products, services and solutions to optimize energy and operational efficiencies of buildings; conventional automotive batteries and advanced batteries for hybrid and electric vehicles; and interior systems for automobiles. Johnson Controls' commitment to sustainability dates back to its roots in 1885, with the invention of the first electric room thermostat. Through its growth strategies and by increasing market share, Johnson Controls is committed to delivering value to shareholders and making its customers successful. In 2013, Corporate Responsibility Magazine recognized Johnson Controls as the #14 company in its annual "100 Best Corporate Citizens" list. For additional information, please visit www.johnsoncontrols.com.

About Johnson Controls Power Solutions
Johnson Controls Power Solutions is the global leader in conventional automotive batteries and advanced batteries for Start-Stop, hybrid and electric vehicles. Its 50 manufacturing, recycling and distribution centers supply more than one third of the world's conventional batteries to major automakers and aftermarket retailers. Through its innovations the company is building the advanced battery industry for hybrid and electric vehicles. Johnson Controls was the first company in the world to produce lithium-ion batteries for mass-production hybrid vehicles. The company's commitment to sustainability is evidenced by our world-class technology, manufacturing and recycling capabilities.

[1] Battery Council International, 2012

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Advancing STEM Skills: Can Professional Training Be The Missing Key To Turn Mobile Technology Into Educational Tools?

April 17, 2014 - 08:55

 Recent data show there is a significant demand for workers trained in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields and that currently, too few students are pursuing degrees in STEM areas to meet the demand. 

How can companies with know how, expertise and scale address the gap and attract more students to explore a career in STEM? Join CSRwire and Verizon for a live roundtable discussion to address the need to increase student interest in STEM subjects, as well as how mobile technology could positively impact student achievement when used effectively. [Take a look at Verizon's 2013 CSR Report]

When:  Wednesday, April 23, 2014: 12:30pm ET/10:30am MT/9:30am PT            

Register here: http://bit.ly/stemtechno 

Joining CSRwire's Editorial Director Aman Singh will be education technology leaders from STEMConnector, the International Society for Technology in Education and Verizon. Among the topics they will explore:

  • How the integration of mobile technology in the classroom is addressing the enormous challenge of improving student interest and performance in STEM subjects.
  • The need to provide teachers with on-going training [professional development] to employ mobile technology effectively to improve student outcomes.
  • Best practices to train teachers to harness the power of mobile technology to address the 21st century education agenda.

More on our panel:

Ted Wells is chief strategy officer at STEMConnector, a one-stop online destination on STEM information. He will share insights on the importance of leveraging accessible and familiar technology to engage students in high impact inquiry-based learning programs and how mobile technology can be a vehicle for students to gain technological fluency that is critical for all workforce levels as well as how competitions like the Verizon Innovative App challenge are encouraging students to use their mobile devices to learn programming skills.

Dr. Wendy Drexler is chief innovation officer for the International Society for Technology in Education, a premier nonprofit organization for educators and education leaders committed to empowering connected learners in a connected world. She will share her views about technology as a catalyst for connecting and empowering students and teachers to transform learning, and best practices for training teachers to maximize the use of mobile technology in their lessons.

Rose Stuckey Kirk is the president of the Verizon Foundation and vice president of global corporate citizenship at Verizon. She will share results of the Verizon Innovative Learning Schools program in partnership with ISTE. The program, in its second year, has provided on-going training [professional development] to teachers in 24 schools to help them effectively and innovatively integrate mobile technology into the classroom to enhance student achievement.

About CSRwire's Stakeholder Engagement Campaigns

CSRwire regularly conducts webinars and Twitter chats with its member organizations. These webinars and chats, developed as facilitated conversations, are aimed at taking a pulse of our community, sharing knowledge and inspiring action. Learn more by emailing aman@csrwire.com.

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Responsible Investment Leaders to Gather in Toronto

April 17, 2014 - 07:55

Responsible investment (RI) leaders and professionals from around the world will gather at the Canadian Responsible Investment Conference, May 26-28 at the Hyatt Regency Toronto. The annual conference brings together experts and thought leaders from industry, academia, government and nonprofits to tackle the latest environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG) issues that present both challenges and opportunities for investors.

The conference is the flagship event of Canada’s inaugural Responsible Investment Week.

The conference, which is hosted by Canada’s Responsible Investment Association, will feature three days of presentations, panel discussions and workshops on the hottest topics in the field of RI.

One of those topics is the issue of fossil fuels and investment. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s recent report highlights the urgent need for investors to develop strategies that address climate change. Cary Krosinsky, who co-founded the Carbon Tracker Initiative and teaches at the Earth Institute, Columbia University, will share his insights in the plenary session titled “Carbon Constraints and Investment Strategy.” This session will be followed by a workshop on climate change strategies, which will be led by Heather Lang of Sustainalytics.

Another hot topic in the field is the issue of rising income inequality. Chrystia Freeland, Canadian Member of Parliament and distinguished writer, will kick off the conference with a plenary session titled, “The Global Super-Rich and the New Economy: Implications for Investors.” Few commentators have diagnosed the technological, economic and structural factors leading to growing inequality as thoroughly as Chrystia. Chrystia will be joined by Bob Walker of NEI Investments, who will discuss effective investor responses to the problem of growing income inequality.

In light of the recent tragedies at garment and textile factories in Bangladesh, another key topic in the field is the issue of safety and fairness in the supply chain. Bob Chant, Senior Vice President of Corporate Affairs and Communication at Loblaw Ltd., will be on hand to discuss the steps Loblaw has taken to protect worker and human rights in its supply chain. He will also join a panel discussion to explore what still needs to be done to create sustainable, fair and safe global supply chains.

These are just a few of the many experts and topics being showcased at the conference. The conference will also feature sessions and workshops on:

  • human rights and digital technology;
  • the relationship between investors and emerging economies;
  • corporate corruption;
  • sustainability in the extractive industry;
  • impact investing;
  • thematic environmental investing;
  • building a successful RI advisory practice;
  • and, many other critical topics for RI professionals.

To learn more about the conference speakers and topics, visit the conference agenda webpage here. Note that the plenary sessions will be offered in both English and French.

Early Bird discounts on conference registration are available until May 1st. For more information, visit www.riaconference.ca.

About the Responsible Investment Association
The Responsible Investment Association (RIA) is Canada’s leader on responsible investment (RI). RI refers to the integration of environmental, social and governance (ESG) criteria into investment selection and management. The RIA is a national, nonprofit, membership-based organization composed of financial institutions, mutual fund companies, investment firms, financial advisors and various organizations and individuals who practice and support responsible investing. The RIA and its members strongly believe that RI is a valuable investment tool to enhance returns, reduce risk and catalyze positive social change. @RIACanada

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Alliance Data Supports, Helps Raise Awareness for Adults with Cognitive Disabilities

April 17, 2014 - 07:55

With a growing number of adults in North Texas living with disabilities – 650,000 as of 2013* – the need for care and job training and employment opportunities is also growing. Two Dallas/Ft. Worth-area nonprofit organizations, LaunchAbility and My Possibilities, are leading the effort with some incredible programs for children and adults with special needs, and Alliance Data has made a commitment to support both organizations, most recently as the presenting sponsor for both annual fundraising events.

My Possibilities, a Plano-based nonprofit center dedicated to empowering adults with special needs, provides vocational instruction, independent living skills training, and a variety of enriching programs for adults with disabilities. LaunchAbility provides the next phase of opportunity for these individuals, as the mission of the Dallas-based nonprofit is to help children and adults with developmental disabilities achieve their maximum potential, gain and keep steady employment and lead fulfilling lives within our community.

“Alliance Data is committed to helping adults with developmental disabilities achieve independence,” said Karen Wald, Alliance Data senior vice president of corporate affairs. “We foster a culture of inclusiveness and giving back in the communities in which our associates live and work, and believe in providing financial and volunteer assistance where measurable impacts are happening. Alliance Data is an ardent supporter of these organizations because they help maximize the independence and self-determination of highly capable individuals. Both LaunchAbility and My Possibilities provide critical – and complementary – services that are often an overlooked need for many families in our community.”

As the presenting sponsor of the 2014 A Special Evening with Smokey Robinson benefit concert held March 31 for LaunchAbility, Alliance Data helped raise funds necessary for the organization’s programs, which provide a measurable impact. For each person placed in a full-time job through programs such as LaunchAbility’s, approximately $47,000 in social services costs are saved annually that otherwise would have to be paid by tax payers. The employment of three LaunchAbility clients, ongoing financial contributions, commitment to active board participation, as well as employee volunteer support has enabled Alliance Data to develop a multifaceted—and mutually beneficial—relationship with LaunchAbility over the last 12 years.

“LaunchAbility's work – and My Possibilities' – is that of changing lives of adults with disabilities. Our service would not be possible without the support of companies like Alliance Data, but they are more than a donor. This company is a model for corporate citizenship,” said Kathryn Parsons, LaunchAbilitiy chief executive officer. “Real impact happens at the individual level, and Alliance Data is engaged to make a difference. Having trained our clients in their corporate offices, we can promise this is more than a motto; the culture of commitment is evident throughout all levels of the organization.”

Alliance Data was the presenting sponsor of the inaugural My Possibilities Community Ball held April 4, an event that helped bring awareness to the organization’s mission to make every day count for the variety of adults with special needs they serve, affectionately named HIPsters (Hugely Important People). In addition to this support, employees have several volunteer opportunities and are represented through board membership service.

Approaching its six-year anniversary, My Possibilities has quickly gained local and statewide support from elected officials and is considered a special needs leader in the local Plano community and throughout North Texas. Alliance Data is proud to be one of the first leading Dallas corporations to partner with the organization to help increase their capacity to make a long-term impact on the lives of their clients and their families.

“My Possibilities is very proud to partner with Alliance Data because they share the same dedication, passion and commitment to fundamentally impact and change the lives of adults with cognitive challenges,” said Charmaine Solomon, founder and chairman of the board. “Through strategic partnerships with Alliance Data and LaunchAbility, we have the potential to impact more lives, expand our reach, and to significantly impact our local community.”

Each organization has their own unique approach to serving children and adults with special needs, and they are just beginning to work together to enable greater support for these individuals across Dallas-Ft. Worth.

You can learn more about LaunchAbility by visiting launchability.org. To learn more about My Possibilities, visit www.mypossibilities.org.

*http://governor.state.tx.us/files/twic/Disabilities_Profile.pdf (DARS and the Governor’s Committee on People with Disabilities are credited in the report as providing guidance that was critical in determining both the data to include in the report and the types of analyses that would be useful to stakeholders. Additionally, DARS provided the county-level data in the report and feedback on a prepublication draft.)

About Alliance Data
Alliance Data® (NYSE: ADS) and its combined businesses is a leading global provider of data-driven marketing and loyalty solutions serving large, consumer-based industries. The Company creates and deploys customized solutions, enhancing the critical customer marketing experience; the result is measurably changing consumer behavior while driving business growth and profitability for some of today's most recognizable brands. Alliance Data helps its clients create and increase customer loyalty through solutions that engage millions of customers each day across multiple touch points using traditional, digital, mobile and emerging technologies. An S&P 500 company headquartered in Dallas, Alliance Data and its three businesses employ approximately 12,000 associates at more than 80 locations worldwide. Alliance Data was named to FORTUNE Magazine's 2014 list of World's Most Admired Companies.

Alliance Data consists of three businesses: Alliance Data Retail Services, a leading provider of marketing-driven credit solutions; Epsilon®, a leading provider of multichannel, data-driven technologies and marketing services; and LoyaltyOne®, which owns and operates the AIR MILES® Reward Program, Canada's premier coalition loyalty program. For more information about the company, visit our website, www.alliancedata.com, or follow us on Twitter via @AllianceData.

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Reversing Perception, Creating Impact: MGM CEO to Participate in Live Forum with CSRwire

April 17, 2014 - 07:55

What does corporate social responsibility mean for a leading entertainment and hospitality brand?

The diversity of its stakeholders – from customers, investors, community activists to local governments and shareholders – and the prickly pieces of its business model aren't lost on MGM Resorts International, which has a widespread portfolio of resorts across the U.S. and China.

For a company that promotes lifestyle choices and has expansive scale, CSR becomes a carefully woven strategy that binds responsibility with accountability and transparency to forge a sustainable enterprise through a mosaic of networks including its employees, philanthropic initiatives and community groups, inclusiveness, environmental and economic empowerment causes.

Having won numerous awards for its diversity initiative, community work and sustainability programs, what does MGM Resorts' CSR strategy look like from the inside? What is a company in the hospitality, entertainment and gaming industry doing to turn the tides on how its business is perceived through a genuine commitment to CSR?

In the company's first-ever Twitter chat, join us for an open conversation with MGM Resorts International Chairman and CEO Jim Murren, along with Chief Diversity Officer Phyllis A. James and Chief Sustainability Officer Cindy Ortega.

Moderated by CSRwire's Editorial Director Aman Singh, the conversation will explore the motivations and ambitions behind the company's CSR strategy and how its commitment to corporate citizenship is being carried out.

Details:

When: April 28, 2014 at 2pm EST (11am PST)

Where: #MGMImpact

Twitter handles: @MGMResortsIntl | @CSRwire | @AmanSinghCSR

To register, send out the following tweet:

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About MGM Resorts International

MGM Resorts International (NYSE: MGM) is one of the world's leading global hospitality companies, operating destination resort brands including Bellagio, MGM Grand, Mandalay Bay and The Mirage. The Company also owns 51% of MGM China Holdings Limited, which owns the MGM Macau resort and casino and is in the process of developing a gaming resort in Cotai, and 50% of CityCenter in Las Vegas, which features ARIA Resort and Casino.

About CSRwire's Stakeholder Engagement Campaigns

CSRwire regularly conducts webinars and Twitter chats with its member organizations. These interactive sessions provide valuable feedback in real time without the burden of expensive and time-consuming surveys. Whether the topic is sustainable living, shared value, responsible careers or the top trends for 2014, these sessions act as live panels - an hour to demonstrate your authenticity, transparency and efforts to engage on issues that matter.

Learn more by emailing engagement@csrwire.com.

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Give Your Garbage Another Life On Earth Day (April 22)

April 17, 2014 - 06:55

Keep America Beautiful and the Ad Council announced today the launch of two new Spanish-language television PSAs and a series of infographics charting the journey of recyclable materials. This launch is a dynamic extension of the groundbreaking “I Want To Be Recycled” multimedia campaign and another national call-to-action to give garbage another life and recycle.

The average American produces about 4.4 pounds of trash a day, which totals to more than 250 million tons of trash a year generated in the U.S. However, only 34.5 percent is currently recycled, according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

The “I Want To Be Recycled” campaign aims to motivate Americans to recycle every day. Created by San Francisco-based ad agency Pereira & O’Dell, the Spanish-language TV PSAs and new infographics illustrate that recyclable materials can be given another life if someone chooses to recycle.

Each of the five infographics in the series chart the step-by-step journey a recyclable material—aluminum can, cereal box, glass bottle, shampoo bottle and steel food can—takes from the recycling bin to becoming a new, useable product.

The English-language campaign directs audiences to IWantToBeRecycled.org, while the new Spanish PSAs drive to Quieroserreciclado.org. Here, Americans can find information about recycling, including a localized search tool showing their nearby recycling locations either at their curbside or their nearest recycling center. Users can also follow the campaign on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube or Tumblr to share their own stories and receive inspirational and educational content about recycling.

“Recycling is participatory environmentalism,” said Jennifer M. Jehn, president and CEO of Keep America Beautiful. “Individuals identify the simple act of recycling as one of their most immediate contributions to keeping America beautiful.”

On Earth Day and throughout the spring, Keep America Beautiful and its national network of community-based affiliates are organizing Great American Cleanup volunteer events. These events taking place across the country bring individuals together to improve their communities as well as provide experiential education programs to inspire future generations of environmental stewards. In addition to increasing recycling, the volunteer events and education programs are designed to beautify parks, trails and recreation areas; clean shorelines and waterways; reduce waste; remove litter and debris; and, plant trees and build community gardens among other activities. To find more information or an event near you, visit here.

“Every American can play a part in increasing our recycling rates nationwide and creating a more sustainable environment,” said Peggy Conlon, president and CEO of the Ad Council. “Together with our longstanding partner, Keep America Beautiful, we will continue to provide the tools, information, and inspiration to help convert the ‘occasional’ recycler to a ‘consistent’ recycler.”

National sponsors of the “I Want To Be Recycled” campaign include Alcoa Foundation, American Chemistry Council, Anheuser-Busch, Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries, Nestlé Waters North America, Niagara Bottling, Unilever and Waste Management.

The Ad Council and Keep America Beautiful first partnered more than four decades ago in 1971, creating the iconic Iron Eyes Cody, “The Crying Indian,” PSA. Launching on Earth Day in 1971, the ad emphasized the personal responsibility each American has to help protect the environment.

The “I Want To Be Recycled” campaign was launched by Keep America Beautiful and Ad Council in July 2013 with a series of television, radio, outdoor and digital PSAs. Since the launch of the campaign, nearly $25 million in donated media has been received. Following the Ad Council’s model, the new Spanish-language PSAs will be made available to Spanish stations nationwide and will run in time and space entirely donated by the media.

About Keep America Beautiful
Keep America Beautiful is the nation’s leading nonprofit that brings people together to build and sustain vibrant communities. With our national network of community-based affiliates, we work with millions of volunteers who take action in their communities to transform public spaces into beautiful places. Through our programs and public-private partnerships, we engage individuals to take greater responsibility for improving their community’s environment. For more information, visit kab.org, follow @kabtweet on Twitter and like us on facebook.com/keepamericabeautiful.

About Ad Council
The Ad Council is a private, non-profit organization with a rich history of marshaling volunteer talent from the advertising and media industries to deliver critical messages to the American public. Having produced literally thousands of PSA campaigns addressing the most pressing social issues of the day, the Ad Council has affected, and continues to affect, tremendous positive change by raising awareness, inspiring action and saving lives. To learn more about the Ad Council and its campaigns, visit Adcouncil.org, like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter or view our PSAs on YouTube.

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Sustainable Brands® Announces 2014 Innovation Open Semi-finalists

April 17, 2014 - 06:55

 Sustainable Brands® recently announced 10 semi-finalists selected to compete during the Sustainable Brands Innovation Open (SBIO) startup competition at SB’14 San Diego June 2-5th. Presented by Target and co-sponsored by PRé Sustainability, this competition attracts world-changing entrepreneurial teams who are working hard to leverage the power of business and brands to solve pressing environmental and social concerns.

The 2014 SBIO semi-finalists include:

  • Akwamag – water softening technology that prevents scaling at low cost while stopping water waste, eliminating salt contamination, and alleviating the maintenance hassles associates with salt-based water softeners.
  • Amazi – a location-based app to locate water from filters, fountains and faucets to fill reusable bottles.
  • CREW – a distribution system that can leverage to tens of thousands of social enterprises, green businesses and appropriate technologies, while empowering millions of people to be part of the solution and creating "distributed capitalism."
  • FoodLoop – platform for a sustainable and optimized supply chain with an app where retailers can automatically market high-quality fresh food at discounted-pricing, as the best-before dates draw closer in near real-time. Consumers will receive bargain offers pushed directly on their smartphones.
  • Okeanos – next-generation, ultra-efficient desalination microtechnology to address our planet’s chronic and increasingly alarming fresh water shortages.
  • Servergy – the CleanTech Server® reduces global datacenters’ server energies, cooling, space, weight, water and carbon footprints by up to 90% or more.
  • SupplyShift – enables companies with large supply chains to understand their supply chain sustainability and social responsibility, reduce risk, build shared value with their suppliers, and incentivize supplier improvement.
  • Sustainably Fresh Systems – freezing, air freight and plastic packaging with preservative-free, FDA-approved, Controlled-Atmosphere technology that enables customers to deliver and sell fresher fish, meats and meals safely, at lower-cost and more sustainably.
  • World Panel – developed a portable and expandable solar panel that charges phones and other devices as fast as a wall plug. The products are developed in Africa specifically for African communities.
  • Raffle For Good – an online fundraising platform for organizations to raise money through an interactive, skill-based raffle system.

The distinguished panel of judges includes KoAnn Skrzyniarz, founder of Sustainable Brands, Andrew Winston, well-known author and founder of The Big Pivot and Winston Eco-Strategies, and senior executives from Target, Fenton Communications, PRé Sustainability, and YouNoodle, the technology provider. Semi-finalists receive a full conference pass to SB’14 San Diego where they will have the chance to pitch their business plans to a group of social and sustainable investors, executives from leading companies, top brand consultancies and nearly 2,500 business and brand leaders attending the conference and Activation Hub. The winner will receive cash and in-kind prizes, consultancy time with PRé Sustainability experts, and exposure to members of the global Sustainable Brands community.

“The Innovation Open aims to catalyze the progress of moving businesses towards a more flourishing future through innovation,” says Ben Pawsey, Executive Producer at Sustainable Brands. “These entrepreneurs venture beyond innovation and seek to disrupt, and the Sustainable Brands community embraces that passion. The ideas that will come from these contenders will spark conversations to drive environmental and social impact.”

Business plan pitches will run back-to-back beginning Tuesday, June 3rd. Four finalists will then be selected to present on the main stage the following day, which will be broadcast worldwide through the conference live stream.

This year’s competition also features the Target Consumer Products prize. The consumer product startup that wins this prize will receive a $1,000 Target gift card and strategic consultation from Target’s sustainability and merchandizing teams to strengthen their business case and model.

Further information about SB’14 San Diego, including the Innovation Open and the Activation Hub, can be found at www.SB14sd.com.

About Sustainable Brands
Sustainable Brands® is the premier global community of brand innovators who are shaping the future of commerce worldwide. Since 2006, our mission has been to inspire, engage and equip today’s business and brand leaders to prosper for the near and long term by leading the way to a better future. Digitally published news articles and issues-focused conversation topics, internationally known conferences and regional events, a robust e-learning library and peer-to-peer membership groups all facilitate community learning and engagement throughout the year. Sustainable Brands is hosted by Sustainable Brands Worldwide, a division of Sustainable Life Media headquartered in San Francisco, CA.

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Humana Announces New Corporate Social Responsibility Goals and Issues Report on Recent Progress

April 17, 2014 - 06:55

Humana Inc. (NYSE: HUM), one of the nation’s leading health and well-being companies, today announced a series of new sustainability goals within its third Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) report. The 2012-2013 report highlights Humana’s unique commitment to helping people achieve lifelong well-being through the company’s Healthy People, Healthy Planet, Healthy Performance CSR platform. The report shares a number of significant achievements including an eight percent reduction in energy use, receiving LEED Commercial Interiors Certification at Humana offices in Tampa Bay, Fla. and launching a 150 data-point employee well-being scorecard.

The report, a self-declared Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) Level B, details Humana's continuing effort to assess and evaluate existing CSR endeavors and establish new metrics and benchmarks for tracking impacts and progress. As part of this effort, Humana assessed its environmental sustainability program, in accordance with industry best practices (as described by GRI). The assessment identified operational efficiency, supply-chain sustainability and procurement, and associate engagement as top priorities moving forward.

Humana also recognizes the intrinsic link between the health of the planet and the services the company provides. The report acknowledges that climate change poses a serious challenge to the planet and impacts the health and well-being of those Humana serves. As a result, Humana has set goals it intends to accomplish by the end of 2015, including:

  • Reduce annual energy consumption by 5 percent;
  • Decrease greenhouse gas emissions by 5 percent; and
  • Increase landfill diversion to 40 percent of the waste stream.

Going forward, Humana will adopt facility environmental and green standards and set goals and metrics to track progress; assess and survey its largest suppliers’ sustainability efforts to share best practices and Humana’s supplier expectations; and identify new ways to engage Humana’s 52,000 associates in the company’s CSR efforts.

“At its core, our business is about partnering with people to help them achieve their best health. Inspiring health is one of our values,” said Bruce D. Broussard, Humana President and Chief Executive Officer. “This report illustrates how our CSR endeavors – from associate engagement to greenhouse gas emissions reductions – connect with Humana’s work to promote lifelong well-being. Our 2012-2013 CSR Report provides the foundation for us to take bigger, broader, more impactful actions going forward.”

Humana is committed to supporting and promoting associate participation in a variety of volunteer opportunities. The report showcases how these volunteer opportunities support Humana’s work to help its associates, members, and communities live healthier lives while boosting associate morale and engagement. Humana’s continuing efforts to promote lifelong well-being include examples such as:

  • Humana Helps, a program for people wanting to learn more about the Affordable Care Act and how to get covered, with partners including CVS/pharmacy and YMCA of the USA
  • HumanaVitality, an incentive-based wellness and rewards program that rewards healthy behaviors like preventative screenings, smoking cessation, exercise, and blood donation
  • Working with KaBOOM!, a nonprofit that helps to create safe and active play spaces for America’s children, to build more than 50 playgrounds in underserved neighborhoods by the end of 2014
  • The Humana Legacy Program, a partnership of the Humana Foundation and Big Brothers Big Sisters of Kentuckiana, to create an intergenerational mentoring program that pairs adults 55+ with children

To learn more about Humana’s Healthy People, Healthy Planet, Healthy Performance platform, view the just-released 2012-2013 Humana Corporate Social Responsibility Report at www.humanacsrreport.com.

About Humana
Humana Inc., headquartered in Louisville, Ky., is a leading health care company that offers a wide range of insurance products and health and wellness services that incorporate an integrated approach to lifelong well-being. By leveraging the strengths of its core businesses, Humana believes it can better explore opportunities for existing and emerging adjacencies in health care that can further enhance wellness opportunities for the millions of people across the nation with whom the company has relationships.

More information regarding Humana is available to investors via the Investor Relations page of the company’s website at www.humana.com, including copies of:

  • Annual reports to stockholders
  • Securities and Exchange Commission filings
  • Most recent investor conference presentations
  • Quarterly earnings news releases
  • Replays of most recent earnings release conference calls
  • Calendar of events (including upcoming earnings conference call dates and times, as well as planned interaction with research analysts and institutional investors)
  • Corporate Governance information
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Merck Renews Commitment to The Woodmont House at The Children’s Inn at NIH

April 16, 2014 - 14:55

The Children’s Inn at NIH today announced a $5 million contribution from the Merck Foundation to support and maintain programs and services at The Inn’s Woodmont House, a transitional home for patients who are participating in pediatric research at the National Institutes of Health's (NIH) Clinical Center.  The Woodmont House is "A Place Like Home" for up to five families whose children are no longer in the acute phase of their illnesses but still require treatment. This grant is the Foundation’s second major gift to The Woodmont House since the home, adjacent to the NIH campus, opened in 2010.

The partnership with Merck began 25 years ago with its initial gift of $3.7 million to build The Inn.  Merck’s total giving now tops $20 million—a remarkable level of support and commitment to The Inn’s mission.

“The Inn and The Woodmont House would not exist today without Merck’s support,” said Inn CEO Kathy L. Russell. “With more than two decades of generous support of The Children’s Inn, Merck and the Merck Foundation have built a legacy of philanthropy that has touched thousands of lives and will benefit many more seriously ill children and their families who will stay at The Inn in the future.”

Most children who come to the NIH for treatment are facing life-threatening illnesses that resist conventional therapy. Since its opening in 1990, The Children’s Inn has hosted 12,000 children from all over the United States and more than 80 other countries. More than 116 children and their families from 11 states and Puerto Rico, and eight other countries have stayed at The Woodmont House over the past four years. On average, families stay for several weeks or months, and the house has proved to be a perfect space for families with children receiving transplants—which entails a 120-day monitoring period following a transplant.  Like all Inn families, they pay nothing regardless of the length of their stay. 

“We are proud of Merck’s long-standing partnership with The Children’s Inn,” said Geralyn S. Ritter, president, Merck Foundation. “Continuing our support of The Woodmont House and the Inn naturally ties into Merck’s commitment to improving access to health, and we applaud The Inn’s staff for their tireless efforts in providing a healing environment for so many children and their families.”

About The Children’s Inn at NIH

The Children’s Inn at NIH is a residential "Place Like Home" for seriously ill children and their families who travel from across the country and around the world. Families enjoy The Inn’s healing environment while receiving groundbreaking medical treatments at the NIH, the world's leading biomedical research center. While the NIH takes care of the child's medical needs, The Inn tends to the child's heart, soul and spirit. Families stay at The Inn free of charge, no matter how long. www.childrensinn.org

About The Merck Foundation

The Merck Foundation is a U.S.-based, private charitable foundation.  Established in 1957 by Merck, a global healthcare leader, the Foundation is funded entirely by the company and is Merck's chief source of funding support to qualified non-profit, charitable organizations.  Since its inception, the Merck Foundation has contributed more than $785 million to support important initiatives that address societal needs and are consistent with Merck's overall mission to help the world be well. For more information, visit www.merckgiving.com

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Rutgers Institute for Ethical Leadership Hosts Ethics & Sustainability Conference Featuring Regional and National Business Leaders

April 16, 2014 - 13:55

The Rutgers Institute for Ethical Leadership (IEL) will bring together more than 200 business, academic and government leaders to discuss the need for sustainable business leadership and how ethical, environmental and social objectives can be built into businesses’ core missions and operations.

The “Ethical Environment of Business Sustainability” conference will be held Friday, June 6, from 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. at the Newark Museum (49 Washington Street, Newark, NJ).

Panel discussions and presentations on business’ role in environmental and geopolitical stability, as well as the role of corporations in community health and their impact on social innovation will be featured. Speakers include:

  • Richard A. Smith, Chairman, CEO and President of Realogy Holdings Corp., a New Jersey-based global leader in real estate franchising, Realogy’s brands include CENTURY 21, Coldwell Banker, ERA, Sotheby’s International Realty and Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate. Smith has been named the “Most Powerful Person in Residential Real Estate Brokerage” in the Swanepoel Power 200 rankings, and Realogy has been named one of the World’s Most Ethical Companies by Ethisphere Institute in each of the past three years. Mr. Smith will deliver the keynote address, “Why is an ethical environment within your company critical to its sustainability?”
  • Christine Bader, Author, The Evolution of a Corporate Idealist: When Girl Meets Oil (Bibliomotion, March 2014), and former Manager of Policy Development, where she oversaw the social impacts of some of the company’s largest projects in the developing world. She will discuss life on the front lines of integrating human rights into business -- including what happens when it all goes wrong.
  • Leading the panel discussions is Gregory Sauter, Executive Vice President, Chief Corporate Officer, AECOM. Comprised of more than 45,000 employees in 150 countries, AECOM provides professional technical and management support services to a broad range of markets, including transportation, facilities, environmental, energy, water, and government. Sauter is also Board President of Engineers without Borders. He will lead panel discussions on the role of business in environmental and geopolitical stability, and on the health of local communities.

Panelists are:

  • Kevin Lyons, PhD, Supply Chain Professor, Rutgers Business School 
  • Guy Story, Chief Technology Officer and Chief Scientist, Audible.com 
  • Paula Luff, Vice President, Corporate Social Responsibility, Hess Corporation
  • Derek Veenhof, Executive Vice President, Sustainable Solutions, Covanta

“A business has a responsibility to reward shareholders while ensuring that the communities in which it operates have the human and natural resources necessary to thrive in the future,” said IEL co-founder James Abruzzo. “This conference will be an opportunity for more than 200 attendees to learn from strategic thinkers and practitioners who understand how to navigate complexities of true sustainable leadership.”

Now in its fifth year, the annual Ethical Leadership Conference brings together experts from all sectors to address the most pressing current ethical issues in the corporate, government and non-profit sectors.

“IEL is proud to host this annual event to educate and raise awareness on the importance of ethical leadership,” Abruzzo added. 

The 2014 Ethical Leadership Conference is sponsored by Wells Fargo, AECOM, Verizon and KPMG. For information on available sponsorships, the agenda, and to register for the conference, please visit http://www.business.rutgers.edu/iel/programs/business-government/2014-conference, call 973-353-1135 or email leadership@business.rutgers.edu.

About the Institute for Ethical Leadership

The Institute for Ethical Leadership at Rutgers Business School works with business and government, nonprofit and philanthropic organizations, and within Rutgers University to provide leaders and future leaders with the education, training and critical-thinking tools needed to become more effective leaders and managers and make ethical decisions for real-world challenges.  For more information, visit www.business.rutgers.edu/iel

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VolunteerMatch to Pilot International Expansion of Corporate Volunteering Network Using TechSoup Global Technology

April 16, 2014 - 10:55

VolunteerMatch, the web's largest volunteer engagement network, and TechSoup Global, the international network that leverages technology to help build the capacity of non-governmental organizations (NGOs), announced today a collaboration to increase social impact across the globe.

These seasoned nonprofit organizations will leverage each other’s strengths in technologies for the greater good. The collaboration enables the growth of VolunteerMatch’s expansive network of U.S.- based nonprofits to include NGOs from around the world by utilizing TechSoup Global’s technology to validate these organizations.

Through TechSoup Global's unparalleled international NGO partner network and its expertise in NGO validation, VolunteerMatch will begin providing volunteer engagement services outside the U.S. for the first time. VolunteerMatch is initially offering the service for its community of corporate clients and will make international listings available to their employees around the world. This pilot project promises to strengthen the global NGO community and amplify the social impact of employee volunteer programs — no matter where they are.

VolunteerMatch is piloting the initiative in the United Kingdom, Canada and Australia and is evaluating additional countries and regions.

 “Today’s world needs a global solution to connect good people and good causes,” said Greg Baldwin, president of VolunteerMatch. “To get there, we are going to need to work together with the best. By aligning our strengths, we are breaking new ground and innovating to improve our products and services."

Paul van Haver, TechSoup Global’s vice president of Global Data Services, added:

“We are proud to support VolunteerMatch’s international expansion. Our global validation service helps NGOs connect with a broad range of resources, and this is one example of how collaboration can help further optimize our offerings for the benefit of the entire sector.”

To learn more about VolunteerMatch’s services for volunteers, nonprofits and companies, visit www.volunteermatch.org

About VolunteerMatch

VolunteerMatch is the world’s largest volunteer engagement network on the Web, with more than 97,000 participating nonprofits, 170 network partners and 10 million annual visitors. Founded in 1998, VolunteerMatch offers solutions to make it easier for individuals, nonprofits and companies to make a difference. Since its launch, VolunteerMatch has helped nonprofits attract more than $5.4 billion worth of volunteer services. VolunteerMatch is a two-time Webby Award winner, a Smithsonian inductee, and has been recognized for its work by The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, CNN, Time, Oprah Winfrey and Presidents Clinton and Bush. To learn more, visit www.volunteermatch.org.

About TechSoup Global

TechSoup Global is an international network of 53 partner NGOs in Africa, the Americas, Asia Pacific, Europe, and the Middle East. For over 26 years, it has leveraged technology to build NGO capacity towards solving problems in local communities and fostering global social change. TechSoup Global's core competencies include running one of the biggest technology philanthropy programs in the world; providing NGO validation services to funders and corporations; gathering, analyzing, and distributing global social-sector data; and catalyzing community-oriented technology innovations. Today, its global network covers 70 countries and supports 569.000 NGOs with activities resulting in more than $4 billion saved for the sector through 90+ corporate partnerships. To learn more, visit www.techsoupglobal.org.

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KPMG to Celebrate Earth Day With Week of Environmental Sustainability Service Projects Nationwide

April 16, 2014 - 07:55

(GLOBE NEWSWIRE) - KPMG LLP, the audit, tax and advisory firm, today announced it will celebrate Earth Day – which takes place on April 22 – with a week devoted to conducting environmental sustainability service projects in its 90 offices throughout the United States.

"Living Green Week" – part of KPMG's Living Green program – will commence on April 21. Examples of projects include performing clean ups and tree and flower plantings in local parks, teaching environmental awareness programs at schools affiliated with KPMG's Family for Literacy program, and holding re-use and recycling drives for local charities.

"Sustainability is fundamental to our business strategy," said Kathy Hannan, national managing partner for Diversity and Corporate Responsibility at KPMG. "Our Living Green program focused on environmental sustainability is integrated into the way we do business – from recruiting to operations, to supplier relationships, to the way we serve our clients and the impact we make in the communities where we live and work."

Tree Planted for Every New Hire

KPMG also is launching a new initiative in collaboration with the Arbor Day Foundation through which a Ponderosa pine tree will be planted in California's Tahoe National Forest in honor of each new KPMG hire. This effort supports the reforestation of 150 acres of forest burned by fire in late 2011, helping to restore the diverse historical forest.

"For our new hires, the tree planting initiative serves as an important introduction to KPMG's commitment to corporate responsibility," said Hannan. "I also want our people to understand the role they play in helping drive KPMG's commitment to sustaining the environment."

Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day

Children of KPMG professionals participating in Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day on April 24 – which takes place during Living Green Week – will also have a chance to "live green" through activities designed to raise environmental awareness and sensitivity. Activities include potting plants, eco-friendly demonstrations such as double-sided printing, and recycling various office materials.

The Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day theme this year is "Plant a Seed, Grow a Future" and KPMG hopes to inspire and show these future leaders how they can start driving environmental change today through its Living Green Week activities.

About KPMG LLP
KPMG LLP, the audit, tax and advisory firm (www.kpmg.com/us), is the U.S. member firm of KPMG International Cooperative ("KPMG International"). KPMG International's member firms have 155,000 professionals, including more than 8,600 partners, in 155 countries.

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GRI G4: One Year On - How Organisations are Creatively Applying GRI G4

April 16, 2014 - 07:55

The objective of this webinar (45-minute presentation / 15-minute Q&A) is to reinforce the business case for organization’s to adopt leading and robust sustainability communications framework. With a range of standards moving from sustainability reporting to integrated reporting now available or in development organizations needs to consider and choose the best framework to maximize their sustainability message. There are global drivers, including GRI G4 and integrated reporting (IIRC) that will mean that companies need to prepare to disclose their data if they are not already, and for those that are reporting they need to focus on the robustness of their public sustainability stories by choosing the right framework. This webinar will outline and explore the reporting standards emerging or in place and discuss how organizations can references these.

Agenda

  • Why frameworks are critical for sustainability communications clarity
  • A review and comparison of current and developing standards
  • How you can integrate the optimum framework for your organization
  • How SGS can support your organization with the standards

Target Audience
This webinar will be most of interest to organizational sustainability strategists, reporting specialists, corporate communications teams, finance officers, senior leadership teams at organizations around the globe, sustainability professionals.

Presenter
Dr. Colin Morgan, SGS Global Program Manager – Social Responsibility

Language
English

Cost
No charge

Event location
Online

You will receive logistics after approval of registration. Save the attachment to synchronize with your calendar. We hope to see you there!

*This webinar will be recorded and made available 24-48 hours after the live event via sustainable-development@sgs.com.

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General Mills Reports Progress on Global Responsibility Commitments

April 16, 2014 - 06:55

General Mills released its annual Global Responsibility Report today, outlining its approach to creating economic, environmental and social value in the countries where it operates. The company reported progress in the areas most material to its business – health, environment, sourcing, workplace and community engagement. The full report can be accessed on the General Mills website.

For 2013, which marks the 44th year General Mills has shared an annual responsibility report with stakeholders and the community, the company again aligned the report with the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) framework. This is the third year General Mills has used GRI, the globally recognized standard for environmental, social and governance reporting.

“In pursuit of our goal to stand among the world’s most socially responsible food companies and to sustain our business for the long term, we continue to improve our practices, our products and our supply chains as we work to fulfill our mission of Nourishing Lives,” said Ken Powell, chairman and CEO of General Mills. “We are encouraged by the progress we’re making and remain committed to our pursuit of continuous improvement.”

General Mills’ 2020 sourcing commitment, health profile improvements and water stewardship efforts are among the key highlights of this year’s report.

The company’s sustainability mission is to conserve and protect the natural resources and communities upon which the business depends. In fiscal 2013, General Mills committed to sustainably sourcing 100 percent of its 10 priority ingredients by 2020 – representing more than 50 percent of the company’s annual raw material purchases. The commitment, part of General Mills’ long-term sustainable sourcing strategy, covers a broad range of raw materials including oats, wheat, corn, dairy, fiber packaging, cocoa, vanilla, palm oil, sugar cane and sugar beets.


General Mills continues to improve its practices, products and supply chain as it works to fulfill its mission of Nourishing Lives.

In addition, as a food company, General Mills recognizes the nutrition-related challenges faced by global consumers, ranging from hunger and malnutrition to obesity. The company reported this year on how it is working to be part of the solution – through products, consumer education and philanthropic efforts.

Also in fiscal 2013, General Mills strengthened its commitment to global water stewardship. This year’s Global Responsibility Report outlines progress towards a global water risk assessment of all General Mills plants and growing regions. Part of this assessment includes the identification of eight at risk watersheds and collaboration with The Nature Conservancy (TNC) on a global water stewardship strategy.

“Water is the silent currency that drives our economy – from energy production, to urban water supplies, to food production,” said Adam Freed, Director, Global Securing Water Program, The Nature Conservancy. “Our management of this finite resource is critical to sustaining future growth and a healthy planet. General Mills’ strong leadership and commitment to enhancing the sustainability of its supply chains is a model for corporate water stewardship and an essential ingredient to securing a sustainable future for our farmers, communities, economy, and the ecosystems on which we all depend.”

In addition, General Mills advanced its mission of Nourishing Lives this past year through:

  • Health improvements: General Mills has improved the health profile of 73 percent of its U.S. Retail sales volume since 2005. In fiscal 2013 alone, the company improved nearly 20 percent of its U.S. Retail sales volume. Nutritional improvements touched all General Mills U.S. Retail platforms, including Baking, Cereal, Dairy, Meals and Snacks.
  • Sustainable sourcing: General Mills continues to make progress on sustainable sourcing strategies impacting both the developed and the developing world. The company is collaborating with industry groups, suppliers and North American growers to reduce the environmental impact of agriculture through its leadership in Field to Market: The Alliance for Sustainable Agriculture. In addition, in 2013, General Mills began working with vanilla supplier Virginia Dare, the international humanitarian organization CARE and Madagascar-based NGO Fanamby on a pilot to improve smallholder farmer incomes as well as the quality, quantity and traceability of vanilla grown in Madagascar. The goal is to help vanilla farmers improve their livelihoods, while ensuring a sustainable and quality supply of vanilla for the future. Madagascar is the world’s leading producer of vanilla and the primary source of the high-quality vanilla used in Häagen-Dazs ice cream.
  • Environmental stewardship: General Mills continues to work toward its fiscal 2015 goal of achieving significant, measurable reductions in energy usage, greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, water usage and other sustainability metrics. In fiscal 2013, the company achieved its 2015 GHG emissions goal early and made progress towards all other environmental goals, with the exception of water usage rates, which were impacted by recent acquisitions.
  • Workplace excellence: General Mills received numerous awards in 2013. In the U.S., Working Mother magazine included the company on its list of best companies for the 10th year in a row, and the company was named to Fortune magazine’s annual list of the “100 Best Companies to Work For” for the 11th time. Other workplace honors were received in Australia, France, Germany, Greece, Mexico, Spain, Sweden and the U.K.
  • Remarkable philanthropy: In fiscal 2013, General Mills donated more than $153 million (nearly $3 million a week) to key initiatives that support communities around the globe. General Mills and its Foundation have given more than$1 billion to charitable causes worldwide since 1954.

“General Mills is prioritizing efforts where the company can have the greatest impact,” said Jerry Lynch, vice president and chief sustainability officer, General Mills. “We will continue to work with industry partners and non-governmental agencies across our supply chain to identify solutions that create long-term value for our business and society.”

General Mills will be discussing its Global Responsibility Report with a focus on the company’s sustainable sourcing efforts during a Twitterchat on April 23 from 3-4pm EST. Follow #GenMillsSusty to participate. General Mills representatives include: Jerry Lynch, General Mills vice president and chief sustainability officer (@gmills_Jerry) and Steve Peterson, General Mills sourcing director (@gmills_Steve), with moderation provided by CSRwire editorial director Aman Singh (@AmanSinghCSR) and Triple Pundit founder and publisher Nick Aster (@NickAster).

About General Mills
General Mills is one of the world’s leading food companies, operating in more than 100 countries around the world. Its brands include Cheerios, Fiber One, Häagen-Dazs, Nature Valley, Yoplait, Betty Crocker, Pillsbury, Green Giant, Old El Paso, Wanchai Ferry, Yoki and more. Headquartered in Minneapolis, Minn., USA, General Mills had fiscal 2013 worldwide sales of US $17.8 billion.

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