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Updated: 9 min 57 sec ago

Big Problems Big Ideas 2017-2018 Announcement

9 min 57 sec ago

Taylor Thompson, founder of the Taylor Wilson Thompson Family Foundation, announces the Foundation’s Big Problems Big Ideas Challenge of 2017-2018. The Big Problems Big Ideas Challenge is designed to develop leadership skills of middle school and high school students by engaging them in team building, unstructured problem solving activities and design thinking while developing analytical skills, evidence collecting, research skills, creative problems solving skills, communication and writing skills necessary for the 21st Century.  The Foundation is a charitable body dedicated to positively impacting schools across country by empowering youth leadership.

Each year, the Taylor Wilson Thompson Family Foundation selects 8-10 schools nation-wide to be part of the Big Problems Big Ideas Challenge as a way to empower and challenge students to identify a ‘big problem’ in their community or other location and then, develop a ‘big idea’ to solve it.

Schools selected to participate in the challenge receive $1000.00 to help support the student research involved in generating the submitted solution. The winning school receives a $4000.00 “Leadership Prize” to continue their efforts in developing young leaders.

Past winners of Big Problems Big Ideas include Brownsville Early College High School of Brownsville Texas whose challenge team developed its own sexual education curriculum for the school to use after identifying gaps in the current school curricula. Another previous winner was the Butler Middle school that created an anti-bullying project which received city-wide recognition and whose challenge team was even featured on CBS News Channel 47, and the local newspaper.

The Taylor Wilson Thompson Family Foundation, believes young people hold profound potential to make positive change in their communities.  And their voices should be heard as they begin thinking about the issues that face them as they become adults. We also believe that many young people already possess the confidence and leadership skills to create solutions to some of the weighty problems societies face. To assist our students with their development, we recognize that guidance from adults who are willing to spend time with them is essential for the students’ long term success. As such, the Big Problems Big Ideas Challenge provides an opportunity for students to identify a local or national problem, analyze it, select alternative solutions and develop a rationale, budget and plan for employing the best solution.

Over the past three years, teachers and principals recognized the value of student’s involvement in Big Problems Big Ideas Challenge and noted that the competition helped their young people develop strong analytical, research, and writing skills, in addition to group problem solving and adaptive learning skills.  Additional school administrators have said that students and teachers have learned how to conduct interdisciplinary research and use a multifaceted approach to solving problems around them. Teachers have also indicated they have been able to link the topic selected by their competition teams to their History, Social Studies and STEM classes and to current events. Students have said that the competition was one of the most interactive and engaging projects that they have ever completed and that they have gained invaluable leadership skills.

The Big Problems Big Ideas Challenge teams will begin their work in November 2017, and projects will be completed and submitted to The Foundation on March 15, 2018. The Foundation will announce the competition winner in late March 2018.

IMPACT2030 Launches Employees for the Global Goals (#Employees4SDGs)

9 min 57 sec ago

IMPACT2030 has launched Employees for the Global Goals, announcing the resources as a Commitment to the SDGs at the United Nations Private Sector Forum. The open-source, multi-lingual resources are designed to help companies engage their employees on the Sustainable Development Goals and inspire change. The goals - set by 193 world leaders in 2015 - aim to end extreme poverty, fight inequality and injustice and address climate change by the year 2030. Employees for the Global Goals resources include:

  1. Introducing the Global Goals, a workshop created in collaboration with AIM2Flourish, the world’s first sustainable development higher-education curriculum, and the Medtronic Foundation, committed to activating a global volunteer workforce of employees, patients and retirees to contribute to the Global Goals. The workshop inspires employees on the role they can play in advancing the SDGs in their local communities;

  2. Employees Teach the Global Goals is a collaboration with The World’s Largest Lesson, an initiative to raise children and young people’s awareness of the Global Goals and to encourage them to become actively involved in their achievement. This innovative workshop is already placing employee volunteers into classrooms around the world to help children see they have the power to channel their individual energies toward a better future. IMPACT2030 Founding Partners involved in the development of Employees Teach the Global Goals include Grant Thornton, SAP, The Ritz-Carlton, and TATA Consultancy Services.

“For the SDGs to succeed, citizens must be mobilized to support the Global Goals. Employees for the Global Goals will enable companies to activate their most valuable asset, their people, to do good for the world. Our IMPACT2030 Partner companies already represent millions of employees across 220 countries and these resources will connect them to their own communities and coalesce the next generation of citizens around the work needed to be done before 2030,” said Sue Stephenson, IMPACT2030 Interim CEO.

IMPACT2030 has three primary objectives:

  • Activate: Inspiring awareness of the SDGs to employees around the world and showcasing how human capital investments are contributing to the achievement of the SDGs.

  • Collaborate: Creating and facilitating avenues for cross-sector and cross-industry collaboration between companies and stakeholders to initiate joint commitment impacting the SDGs. Our Regional Voice Network provides a platform for action teams to focus efforts on a local, regional and country basis.

  • Measure: Leveraging existing resources to develop frameworks and methodologies to measure the impact of human capital investments on the SDGs. 

Further context can be found in the 2-minute IMPACT2030 Video

To learn more, join @IMPACT2030 for the #Employees4SDGs Twitter Chat, hosted by David Connor, @davidcoethica, Founder of 2030hub & Coethica and IMPACT 2030 UK Regional Voice Lead at 12:00pm EST on Wednesday, September 27.   

Connect with us on TwitterFacebook, and LinkedIn where we are highlighting the Global Goals and the work our Partners and Stakeholders are contributing to their achievement.

Learn more at impact2030.com or contact partnership@impact2030.com.

ABOUT IMPACT2030

IMPACT2030 is a business sector-led initiative, in collaboration with the United Nations, public and social sectors with the unique mission to activate human capital investments through employee volunteer programs to advance the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). 

The organizations that have come together to found IMPACT 2030 are:

  • Founding Partners: UPS, IBM Corporation, SAP SE, Google, GSK, Medtronic, PwC, Pfizer, The Ritz-Carlton, TATA Consultancy Services, Dow Chemical, Perkins Coie, Mars Symbioscience, Realized Worth, Chevron, Grant Thornton, WE Communications, PIMCO.

  • Collaborating Partners: Singtel, Arconic, CH2M, Pentair, Cemex, Marriott International, La Caixa Banking Foundation, Edelman, Southwest Airlines, ARM, Telefonica, Blackbaud, Ball Corporation, Amway, Royal Bank of Canada, McInnes Cooper, Bank of America, BD, Avnet, Franklin Templeton, Berkshire Bank, DP World, eBay, Emirates NBD, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, Iberdrola, Johnson & Johnson, Linklaters, MyEffect, SJ Consulting.

  • Founding Stakeholders: Global Compact, UN Volunteers, International Association of Volunteer Effort – IAVE, Global Impact, Voluntare, US Chamber of Commerce Foundation, The Nature Conservancy, Grameen Foundation, United Way, Points of Light Institute, PYXERA Global, YSA, Taproot Foundation, AIESEC, UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), Aga Khan Foundation, JA Worldwide, Project Everyone, UNDP, UNOP, VEGA Alliance, VSO International, World’s Largest Lesson.

www.impact2030.com

www.twitter.com/impact2030

Sustainability Forum 2017 Takes Place on October 5

2 hours 10 min ago

Almost three weeks left until the 6th «Sustainability Forum 2017, a Τraining, Networking and Professional Development Event». The Forum, is organised by Global Sustain and will take place on October 5th, at the Center of Sustainable Entrepreneurship “Excelixi” premises, in Athens.

Just like the previous years, prominent speakers from all around the world will participate in the Forum, coming from organisations and companies such as: European Commission, International Integrated Reporting Council, European Sustainability Academy (ESA), Flex, Schneider Electric, European Investment Bank, Walgreens Boots Alliance, Global Sustain Group, Trillium Asset Management, Atradius Credit Insurance, AHC Group. Inc, Global Reporting Initiative (GRI), S&P Dow Jones Indices. They will share their knowledge and expertise with the attendees, through specialised workshops and plenary sessions.

Workshop Topics:

  • Climate & Sustainability Targets through Public Policy: Decarbonization, Circular Economy and post COP21.

  • Integrated Reporting – solution to global business challenges.

  • Capacity building magic for sustainable enterprise.

  • How technology enables sustainability.

  • Redefining energy with innovation and sustainability.

  • Green Bonds – do they add value and latest developments.

  • Award Winning case study – How Walgreens Boots Alliance has successfully integrated SDGs into business operations.

  • Sustainability Innovation – Walking the Talk.

  • Sustainability Strategy from A to Z.

  • Trillium Asset Management's approach to responsible investing

  • Credit Risk & Sustainability.

  • Sustainability Reporting through the GRI Standards: how and why.

  • Sustainability Indices – Elements of success.

For further information about registration and sponsorship opportunities please visit http://sustainabilityforum.gr/.  

  • Continuous update of the Forum is available at the official Facebook page Sustainability Forum.   

  • Participants will receive a certificate of attendance

New! SF Tour!
If you are also interested in a 3-day Tour following the Sustainability Forum please click here http://sustainabilityforum.gr/sf-tour/ to reserve your seat!

Supporters and Sponsors
Gold Sponsor: Alpha Bank
Silver Sponsor: ICAP Group
Supporters: CAPITALS Circle Group, European Reliance, AHC Group, KPMG, ELBISCO, PHILIPS, INTERAMERICAN, Gilead Sciences, Schneider Electric, KYVERNITIS Travel
Venue Sponsor: Center of Sustainable Entrepreneurship “Excelixi”
Coffee Sponsor: Nespresso
Beer Sponsor: Athenian Brewery
Graphic Designer Partner: Greenmind
Printing Partner: Pressious Arvanitidis
Carbon Offset Partner: Green Evolution
Conference Experience Partner: Conferience 
Web & Social Media Partner: Think Plus
Institutional Supporters: American-Hellenic Chamber of Commerce, CEO Clubs International, The Hellenic-Dutch Association of Commerce and Industry, Alliance for Greece, Hellenic Advertisers Association, Union of Listed Companies, Greek Association of Environmental Protection Companies
Communication Supporters: Re:CSR, CSRweek, csrnews.gr, Marketing Week, Plant, marketingweek.gr, CSRindex, Insurance Marketing, Insurance Daily News, Asian NGO, Business Wire

Sustainability Forum 2016 Takes Place on October 5

Sat, 09/23/2017 - 06:43

Almost three weeks left until the 6th «Sustainability Forum 2016, a Τraining, Networking and Professional Development Event». The Forum, is organised by Global Sustain and will take place on October 5th, at the Center of Sustainable Entrepreneurship “Excelixi” premises, in Athens.

Just like the previous years, prominent speakers from all around the world will participate in the Forum, coming from organisations and companies such as: European Commission, International Integrated Reporting Council, European Sustainability Academy (ESA), Flex, Schneider Electric, European Investment Bank, Walgreens Boots Alliance, Global Sustain Group, Trillium Asset Management, Atradius Credit Insurance, AHC Group. Inc, Global Reporting Initiative (GRI), S&P Dow Jones Indices. They will share their knowledge and expertise with the attendees, through specialised workshops and plenary sessions.

Workshop Topics:

  • Climate & Sustainability Targets through Public Policy: Decarbonization, Circular Economy and post COP21.

  • Integrated Reporting – solution to global business challenges.

  • Capacity building magic for sustainable enterprise.

  • How technology enables sustainability.

  • Redefining energy with innovation and sustainability.

  • Green Bonds – do they add value and latest developments.

  • Award Winning case study – How Walgreens Boots Alliance has successfully integrated SDGs into business operations.

  • Sustainability Innovation – Walking the Talk.

  • Sustainability Strategy from A to Z.

  • Trillium Asset Management's approach to responsible investing

  • Credit Risk & Sustainability.

  • Sustainability Reporting through the GRI Standards: how and why.

  • Sustainability Indices – Elements of success.

For further information about registration and sponsorship opportunities please visit http://sustainabilityforum.gr/.  

  • Continuous update of the Forum is available at the official Facebook page Sustainability Forum.   

  • Participants will receive a certificate of attendance

New! SF Tour!
If you are also interested in a 3-day Tour following the Sustainability Forum please click here http://sustainabilityforum.gr/sf-tour/ to reserve your seat!

Supporters and Sponsors
Gold Sponsor: Alpha Bank
Silver Sponsor: ICAP Group
Supporters: CAPITALS Circle Group, European Reliance, AHC Group, KPMG, ELBISCO, PHILIPS, INTERAMERICAN, Gilead Sciences, Schneider Electric, KYVERNITIS Travel
Venue Sponsor: Center of Sustainable Entrepreneurship “Excelixi”
Coffee Sponsor: Nespresso
Beer Sponsor: Athenian Brewery
Graphic Designer Partner: Greenmind
Printing Partner: Pressious Arvanitidis
Carbon Offset Partner: Green Evolution
Conference Experience Partner: Conferience 
Web & Social Media Partner: Think Plus
Institutional Supporters: American-Hellenic Chamber of Commerce, CEO Clubs International, The Hellenic-Dutch Association of Commerce and Industry, Alliance for Greece, Hellenic Advertisers Association, Union of Listed Companies, Greek Association of Environmental Protection Companies
Communication Supporters: Re:CSR, CSRweek, csrnews.gr, Marketing Week, Plant, marketingweek.gr, CSRindex, Insurance Marketing, Insurance Daily News, Asian NGO, Business Wire

Anti-Slavery Organization International Justice Mission Announces Grant From Walmart Foundation to Address Human Trafficking in Thai Fishing Industry

Fri, 09/22/2017 - 13:42

Today International Justice Mission (IJM), the world’s largest international anti-slavery organization, announced support from the Walmart Foundation to address human trafficking, also known as modern slavery, in the Thai fishing industry.

News reports of modern slavery in supply chains in Southeast Asia are making international headlines. While these reports have shown how migrant workers are being forced to work in the Thai seafood industry, there has not yet been a comprehensive study documenting the prevalence of forced labor and exploitation of fishermen on Thai fishing vessels. With funding from the Walmart Foundation, IJM commissioned Issara Institute to conduct groundbreaking research in Thailand documenting the prevalence of forced labor.

The study surveyed migrant fishermen who worked on Thai fishing boats from 2011 – 2016. The findings[1] show that labor trafficking of migrant fishermen has been widespread (37.9% were identified as victims of trafficking), and there are common patterns of abuse in the industry (14.1% were physically abused; 31.5% witnessed a crewmate’s abuse at sea; 76.2% accrued debt prior to even beginning work). A summary of key findings, as well as the full report can be found here

The Walmart Foundation grant to IJM builds upon funding from the U.S. Department of State’s Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons (TIP Office), which helped open the IJM Bangkok office to work alongside the Royal Thai Government as it combats human trafficking in the fishing industry. The funds will also help ensure strong casework development, improved law enforcement efforts against human trafficking, and criminal deterrence to help stem impunity for criminal actors and to ensure stronger victim protection. This coming together of public and private foundation resources to co-support a single initiative is the first-of-its-kind and an innovative approach to ending modern slavery in a region where many seafood global supply chains begin.  

“Many of the greatest risks to worker dignity are complex, systemic and industry-wide issues that no single organization can solve. By working with industry stakeholders, nonprofit organizations, governments and others, we are striving to improve transparency, empower workers and create positive change throughout supply chains,” said Kathleen McLaughlin, President of the Walmart Foundation. “We believe IJM’s work will help strengthen the systems in Thailand, and, with the information from the prevalence study, create real and sustainable change for the workers in the seafood supply chain.”

“No person should have to live under the oppression or ownership of another, and, as consumers, we shouldn’t have to wonder if the products we’re purchasing are the result of violent injustice,” said Gary Haugen, CEO of International Justice Mission. “IJM is grateful for the partnership of the Walmart Foundation, as well as the Department of State’s TIP Office, as we support the Thai Government’s efforts to stop the horrific crime of human trafficking in the fishing industry.”

IJM’s experience over the past 20 years has demonstrated the importance of strengthening a criminal justice response so would-be perpetrators are deterred from committing human trafficking crimes. Unless the Thai justice system routinely and effectively holds traffickers accountable, boat captains, brokers, recruiters, local business owners and complicit officials will continue to abuse vulnerable migrant laborers at sea and on shore with impunity.

The Thai Government has made significant efforts to combat human trafficking. In fact, the Thai Government has strengthened its 2008 anti-trafficking in persons act by amending it in 2015 and 2017. More specifically, in 2015 the Thai Government operationalized specialized anti-trafficking units within each sector of the criminal justice system and issued a human trafficking criminal procedure act. IJM’s work will continue to support those efforts to fight the complex, cross-border crime.

Progress against human trafficking is being made, but there is still more work to do. Bolstered by this new research and with the public-private investment from the U.S. Department of State’s TIP Office and Walmart Foundation, IJM’s office in Bangkok is positioned to support the Thai Government’s efforts to combat human trafficking in the fishing industry.

About IJM:  International Justice Mission is the world’s largest international anti-slavery organization working in 17 communities across the developing world to combat slavery, trafficking, and other forms of violence against the poor by rescuing and restoring victims, holding perpetrators accountable, and transforming broken public justice systems. 

[1] http://www.ijm.org/thai-fishing-study

Contact:

Walmart Media Relations
1-800-331-0085
news.walmart.com/reporter

Tree Pittsburgh Receives “Net Zero” Sustainability Grant from Green Mountain Energy Sun Club

Fri, 09/22/2017 - 07:42

The ambitious goal of achieving net zero energy status and LEED Platinum certification is becoming a reality for Tree Pittsburgh’s new campus thanks in large part to a $134,800 solar and sustainability grant from the Green Mountain Energy Sun Club. As a nonprofit dedicated to restoring and protecting the city’s urban forest, Tree Pittsburgh is committed to serving as a leader in sustainability. The donation from the Sun Club, a nonprofit dedicated to advancing sustainability, will help establish them as the only agricultural organization in Pennsylvania powered by 100 percent solar energy.

“Tree Pittsburgh enriches the local community by connecting people to nature and educating them on the many environmental, social, economic and health benefits trees provide,” said Mark Parsons, president of Green Mountain Energy Sun Club. “Supporting organizations like Tree Pittsburgh is why the Sun Club was founded, and we’re proud to help them achieve net zero and LEED Platinum certification.”

Tree Pittsburgh’s sustainability project includes:

  • 57-kilowatt solar array on the roof of Tree Pittsburgh’s new office building
  • Battery system for solar energy storage
  • Rainwater capture system to collect 100 percent of rooftop runoff for landscape irrigation
  • Tree planting along the campus’ riverfront to restore critical riparian zone  

“We are so thankful for the Sun Club's generosity,” said Danielle Crumrine, executive director of Tree Pittsburgh. “Their donation of solar equipment for our new campus along the Allegheny River allows our building to be more sustainable and will benefit our organization and the environment for years to come.”

The public is invited to attend Tree Pittsburgh’s annual Arbor Aid music festival, which benefits the urban forest, and Pittsburgh’s first-ever Pawpaw Fest on Saturday, September 23, 2017, from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. at Carrie Furnaces National Historic Landmark. The family-friendly music event will include 10+ bands and artists, kids’ activities, food trucks, local beer and all things pawpaw. The Sun Club, along with city officials, will dedicate the sustainability project before performer Melinda takes the stage at 4:30 p.m. The Sun Club will also have solar powered popcorn and a community art piece involving solar panels.

To date, the Sun Club has donated more than $6.5 million to support nearly 100 nonprofits in the Northeast and Texas through solar and sustainability projects like the one at Tree Pittsburgh. To learn more about the Sun Club and how to nominate a worthy nonprofit for a sustainability grant, visit gmesunclub.org.

About Tree Pittsburgh

Tree Pittsburgh is an environmental non-profit organization dedicated to enhancing community vitality by restoring and protecting the urban forest through tree planting and care, education, and advocacy. To learn more, visit www.treepittsburgh.org.

About Green Mountain Energy Sun Club

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

FSC Gathers Global Forestry Leaders to Plan Future of Re-Sponsible Forest Management

Fri, 09/22/2017 - 07:42

The world’s leading forest certification organization, the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), will hold its triennial global General Assembly in Vancouver, Canada from 8 to 13 October, 2017. Over 800 people from more than 80 countries, including leaders in global forestry, will be attending to focus on the challenges of global responsible forestry and how FSC certification can work to enhance it. 

As FSC’s highest decision making body, the General Assembly sets the direction for the organization for the coming years, with several important areas of responsible forest management, conservation and sustainability on the agenda. These include, among others, the protection of High Conservation Value areas such as Intact Forest Landscapes, ensuring the rights and participation of Indigenous Peoples in forest development, and the future directions for forest restoration and conservation, all while permitting forests to continue to supply the vital products the world depends on for many purposes.

“This is a vital time in the development of FSC and forest certification as we address the issues that are key to the success not just of FSC but the future of the world’s forests,” said Kim Carstensen, Director General of FSC. “We made a lot of progress at our last General Assembly in 2014 with the launch of several new initiatives. In Vancouver we will review how we have progressed and chart a clear path forward to continue our work.”

High Level Forum and side events

One of the highlights of the General Assembly is the High Level Forum and side events. During three days, high-profile speakers from some of the most representative businesses, social and environmental advocacy groups will explore the role that FSC can play as a voluntary certification scheme for responsible forest management and how to incentivize consumer demand for sustainably sourced forest products.

The first High Level Forum will be dedicated to The True Value of Forests, where participants will discuss the extent of the contribution of forests to society. The Forum’s second day will be on Solid Wood, which will include discussions on identifying the market drivers for certified solid wood products regionally and internationally and the increasing importance of green building. The final High Level Forum debate, FSC in our Daily Lives, will explore how companies are leading the way in promoting sustainable consumer trends.

Confirmed speakers at the General Assembly are Luc Blanchette, Quebec Minister of Forests, Wildlife and Parks; Doug Donaldson, British Columbia Minister of Forests, Lands, Natural Resources Operations and Rural Development; Jonathan Wilkinson, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Environment and Climate Change of the Government of Canada and Glenn Mason, Assistant Deputy Minister, Canadian Forest Services of Natural Resources Canada.

Among the speakers participating in the High Level Forum are Michael Green, a Vancouver based architect who is leading the use of wood in construction; Peter Lantin, President of the Haida Nation; and Sarah Chandler, Director of Operations, Product Development and Environmental Initiatives at Apple Inc.

Numerous side events at the General Assembly will also offer engaging debates on the current issues that directly touch upon world forestry. Canada’s Boreal forest will be a highlight of these where participants will be able to understand the importance this biome has for Canada’s forestry industry and the global environment.

“We look forward to hosting delegates from around the world at the General Assembly in Vancouver and collaborating on vital decisions that will affect how our forest certification process will meet the requirement for responsible forestry in the 21st century,” said François Dufresne, President, FSC Canada. “The collaborative process of FSC in addressing these issues with all stakeholders present is the key to our success.”

Sponsor support enables membership attendance

SIG is the Green Sponsor for the 2017 FSC General Assembly. The generous support of SIG will facilitate the presence of those FSC members who otherwise may not have the resources required to attend the assembly and exercise their membership rights.

In 2016, SIG was the first carton provider to secure a sufficient supply of FSC-certified liquid packaging board, guaranteeing its customers the choice of including the FSC label on any of its cartons. More than 60 billion SIG packs have now been sold with the FSC label.

Additional support for the FSC General Assembly is provided by: Kingfisher, Fibria, IKEA, CMPC, TetraPak, International Paper, Kimberly-Clark, Precious Woods, Mondi, Lenzing, Klabin, Sappi, Arauco, Greenberg Traurig, Tembec, Arkhangelsk Pulp and Paper Mill, Air Canada, WWF, Sveaskog, National Wildlife Federation, Mercer and BWI.

Full details about the General Assembly are available at www.ga2017.fsc.org

About FSC and the FSC General Assembly

The Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) is a global not-for-profit organization dedicated to promoting environmentally sound, socially beneficial and economically prosperous management of the world’s forests. FSC was created in 1993 to help consumers and businesses identify products from well-managed forests and sets standards by which forests are certified, offering credible verification to people who are buying wood and wood products. Currently almost 200 million hectares and 33,000 companies worldwide are certified to FSC standards. For more information visit www.fsc.org.

At the GA, members decide through a governance structure that is unique to FSC where delegates from three chambers – environmental, social and economic – vote on motions that have previously been submitted by the members in a balanced system that allows for equal representation to all. This maintains the balance of voting power among different interests, ensuring effective, consensus-based solutions for forest management and the trade of forest products. For information about the GA, including participants, speakers, motions, and background about FSC, please visit: https://ga2017.fsc.org/

*****

High-Level UN Dialogue on Harnessing Africa's Demographic Dividend

Fri, 09/22/2017 - 06:42

Today, at the United Nations, His Excellency Prof. Alpha Condé, President of Guinea and Chairperson of the African Union, convened a high-level meeting to strengthen the partnership with the private sector and discuss opportunities created by Africa’s demographic change. Bringing together African leaders, CEOs and other development partners, the event explored how smart investments in health, empowerment, education and employment can reduce vulnerability and support young people to reach their full potential.

Mabingue Ngom, Regional Director West and Central African Region UNFPA, highlighted that: “Such high-level dialogues further strengthen public-private partnership, which is required to attract increased private sector investment, thereby harnessing the demographic dividend in Africa and accelerate Africa’s industrialization.”

The UNFPA and GBCHealth are joining forces to create a platform to facilitate the exchange of expertise between the private and public sectors.

The UN estimates that Africa will make up a quarter of the world’s population by 2050 – with an average 60% of the population under 24 years old. This youth bulge presents a tremendous opportunity to transform the economic and social landscape of the continent. Harnessing this potential into a positive force for development, will ensure African nations are able to reap significant dividends over the coming years.

Nancy Wildfeir-Field, President of GBCHealth, called on all businesses to promote demographic transformation in Africa. “Companies have a vital role to play utilizing resources, but more importantly their experience and expertise, to improve the health and wellbeing of youth across the continent. This partnership will serve as a platform to ensure that the public and private sectors work hand-in-hand to achieve the goal of a prosperous and growing Africa.”

However, with an adolescent fertility rate of 100 per 1000 among young women in Sub-Saharan Africa the region remains at continued risk of high levels of unemployment and political instability. A partnership between the UNFPA and GBCHealth will engage the private sector on Africa’s demographic dividend to empower women and youth, focused initially on improving access to high-quality sexual and reproductive health products and services.

Following the UN General Assembly event, the UNFPA, GBCHealth and AfriYAN will hold a special side event on October 5th in Brussels in the lead up to the Re-Branding Africa Forum.

About the UNFPA:

The UNFPA is the lead UN agency for delivering a world where every pregnancy is wanted, every childbirth is safe and every young person’s potential is fulfilled. Since the UNPA started working in 1969, the number- and rate- of women dying from complications of pregnancy or childbirth has been halved. Families are smaller and healthier. Young people are more connected and empowered than ever before.

 About GBCHealth:

GBCHealth is dedicated to leveraging the resources and expertise of the private sector to meet today’s most pressing health challenges. Founded in 2001, under the leadership of Ambassador Richard C. Holbrooke, GBCHealth has built a strong track record of mobilizing business action to address workplace and community health issues. Today, the organization works with a network of more than 300 organizations globally to drive collective action in areas where business can have the greatest impact – particularly in Africa.

Global Sustain Presents the Yearbook 2016/17 in Berlin

Fri, 09/22/2017 - 06:42

Global Sustain cordially invites you to attend the presentation of its 10th international Yearbook 2016/17, “The Energy [R]evolution”, that will take place on Tuesday, October 17, 2017 (18.00), at the unique and innovative new space of SRH Berlin University (SRH Startup Lab), Berlin.

This 10th year's carbon neutral edition was established in collaboration with the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), UN Sustainable Energy for All, World Energy Council, European Commission, etc. In the face of a growing global population and the increase in energy demand, one of the greatest challenges of the 21st century is meeting our energy needs in a sustainable way. The yearbook focuses on the evolution and challenges of the energy market that impact on the climate, geopolitics and world economy, aiming to navigate and better understand our energy future. During the event, chief executive officers will give speeches and present their vision and experiences to a special audience. Global Sustain has already presented the 10th Yearbook in Athens, while the presentation in London is scheduled for September 25th (More info here)The last presentation will be held in Brussels.

Free admission on presentation of the invitation. Due to the limited positions and for safety reasons, early registration is recommended.

Registration details:

E-mail: events@globalsustain.org

About the Yearbook series

Yearbook series aim at highlighting critical sustainability issues and constitute a catalyst for constructive dialogue and positive change. This annual global publication is trusted by top companies and important stakeholders from all around the world. Each year, Global Sustain selects a topic of universal interest relevant to the people-planet-profit concept and analyses all the aspects through the views of internationally renowned personalities, business leaders, politicians, visionaries and academia. Industry opinion formers and decision makers across the world contribute with policy and business intelligence to the publication, while leading corporations showcase their best practices and flagship products and services in the sustainability field. The hard copy publication is presented every year in special events and venues, with high level participants and is distributed to a worldwide targeted audience. To date, Yearbooks have been distributed in more than 50 countries on 5 continents, profiling more than 200 CEOs.

Chevron Hit Hard In Canada: Major Indigenous Leaders Back Collection of $12b Ecuador Pollution Judgment

Thu, 09/21/2017 - 16:41

In a blow to Chevron’s prospects in the historic Ecuador pollution litigation, three major Canadian indigenous leaders and a co-founder of Greenpeace have announced they are joining with rainforest communities to force the oil major to comply with an Ecuador court order that it remediate damage caused by the deliberate dumping of billions of gallons of toxic waste in the Amazon region. 

The move is significant largely because Chevron is potentially on the hook in Canadian courts for 100% of a $9.5 billion Ecuador judgment, which was won by the communities in 2011. The amount since has risen to $12 billion due to interest that has accrued since an enforcement action was filed in Canada in 2012. Chevron has vowed not to pay the judgment and has promised the indigenous groups “a lifetime of litigation” if they persist.

Chevron has assets in Canada estimated to be worth $15 billion to $25 billion. The company also is building new pipelines in Canada through indigenous territory without permission of the local communities in an apparent violation of the law, the leaders say.

The three Canadian indigenous leaders joining the battle against Chevron include Phil Fontaine, former National Chief of Canada’s Assembly of First Nations (AFN), comprised of Canada’s 633 indigenous nationalities; Grand Chief Wilton Littlechild, a Cree chief, lawyer, and former member of Canadian Parliament, who helped draft the original UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples; and Grand Chief Ed John, a hereditary Chief of Tl’azt’en Nation in British Columbia, a lawyer, member of BC's First Nations Summit Task Group on Aboriginal Title and Rights, and a Representative to the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues.

Also joining forces with the Ecuadorians is Canadian resident Rex Weyler, a co-founder of Greenpeace in the 1970s. Weyler, a successful author and longtime environmental activist, now writes the "Deep Green" blog that has attracted a global following on the Greenpeace International website.

The three indigenous leaders and Weyler were invited to join the campaign against Chevron by the Amazon Defense Coalition (FDA), a non-profit organization based in Ecuador that brought the original lawsuit in 1993. The FDA represents the 80 indigenous and farmer communities in an impacted area of 1,500 sq. miles that locals call the “Amazon Cherobyl”; one its leaders, Luis Yanza, won the prestigious Goldman Environmental Prize, considered the “Nobel” of the environment.

The Canadian indigenous leaders said that Chevron’s “irresponsible” refusal to remediate the damage it caused to indigenous communities in the Amazon “raises deep concerns about how Chevron is dealing with our own indigenous communities in Canada as it plans to develop major pipelines through aboriginal territories in Western Canada without the consent of the aboriginal peoples, just as happened years ago in Ecuador,” said Fontaine, who in 2008 helped to negotiate a settlement with the Canadian government for $6 billion on behalf of 36,000 indigenous victims of residential school abuse.

Fontaine added that much of Chevron’s development in Canada, as it was in Ecuador’s Amazon region, is through untouched and inaccessible territories except to the aboriginal titleholders. 

“I am pleased to join forces with our indigenous brothers and sisters in Ecuador in their fight for justice,” said Fontaine. “Clearly Chevron has caused significant harm to the environment and to the health of the indigenous peoples in this area and must be held accountable.  It is unconscionable that they have been allowed to shirk their responsibility for as long as they have. Times have changed and the rights of Indigenous people across the world must be recognized and respected.”

Grand Chief Ed John added: “No legal case involving indigenous rights and environmental justice should take almost 25 years to see justice done.  We plan to work with the indigenous groups in Ecuador to demand that Canadian courts resolve this case once and for all so the impacted communities can obtain justice, and Chevron’s policy of forum shopping and tying courts in procedural knots ends.”

Weyler, after extensively studying summaries of the evidentiary record in the case, blasted Chevron’s “corporate irresponsibility” and “arrogance” in an article published last week.

“This tragic story reveals almost unthinkable corporate irresponsibility, intimidation, and arrogance, not just by Chevron executives, but by their 60 law firms, 2,000 lawyers and paralegals, six public relations firms, squads of private investigators, thugs and bribed witnesses, and at least one severely compromised U.S. judge,” he wrote. “Chevron has probably spent more money trying to weasel out of this case than any corporation in world history.”

The FDA plans to bring the Canadian leaders to Ecuador to bear witness to the impacts of toxic dumping into rivers and streams used for drinking water, fishing, and bathing. Billions of gallons of cancer-causing waste have resulted in birth defects, a cancer epidemic, and shattered communities. An Ecuador court in 2011 found Chevron guilty of the toxic dumping following an eight-year trial that produced 220,000 pages of evidence and 105 technical evidentiary reports.

The Canadian leaders have sterling resumes in the battle for human and ecological rights.

Fontaine, along with a group of lawyers and human rights law professor Kathleen Mahoney, led negotiations with the Canadian government that resulted in the settlement for indigenous victims in the infamous Indian Residential Schools scandal. Mr. Fontaine is the recipient of 18 honorary doctorates from various universities and colleges across Canada and the United States.

Chief Ed John and Chief Wilton Littlejohn are both seasoned lawyers, who have fought for indigenous rights in Canadahelped draft the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, and have served with the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues.

Weyler, an award-winning author, with a 45-year history of ecological work at Greenpeace, is also the founder and former Executive Director of Hollyhock, a noted Canadian intellectual and learning center on Cortes Island, off the coast of British Columbia, that counts the current mayor of Vancouver as one its members.

The next key date in the legal effort to seize Chevron’s assets in Canada is a hearing scheduled for October 10 and 11 in Toronto. Before a three-judge panel, Chevron will be forced to defend its position that its wholly-owned subsidiary in Canada (Chevron Canada) should be removed as a defendant in the enforcement action. The Ecuadorian communities are being represented by Alan Lenczner, considered one of the leading litigators in Canada.

Also haunting Chevron is the refusal of the oil major to set aside reserves to pay the Ecuador judgment, prompting formal shareholder complaints to the Securities and Exchange Commission and a near-rebellion at the company’s last annual meeting. Worldwide, Chevron has used at least 60 law firms and 2,000 lawyers to attack the indigenous groups of Ecuador.

The three Canadian indigenous leaders and Weyler follow numerous prominent political luminaries, entertainers, media figures, law scholars and activists who have criticized Chevron’s scorched-earth tactics against the Ecuadorian communities and their lawyers.  

Among those who have supported the campaign of the affected communities against Chevron are actor-producer Trudie Styler, who started a clean water program for the region; her husband Sting; Rogers Waters, formerly of Pink Floyd; Rep. James McGovern, a U.S Congressman who has written eloquently about the humanitarian crisis caused by Chevron’s dumping; the actor Daryl Hannah; human rights activist Bianca Jagger; acclaimed documentary filmmaker Joe Berlinger, who directed the documentary film Crude; Amazon Watch Founder Atossa Soltani; Sierra Club Executive Director Michael Brune; and Marco Simons, the chief lawyer at Earth Rights International.

UN Sustainable Development Goals Set High Standards for North America Sustainability Reporting

Thu, 09/21/2017 - 11:41

The Centre for Sustainability and Excellence (CSE) released its second study looking closely at sustainability reporting trends in North America.  Sustainability Reporting Trends in North America 2017 provides a valuable representation of Sustainability (Corporate Social Responsibility) reporting by companies and organizations that are based in North America.  This research identifies links between having a sustainability strategy, goals and reports to improved financial performance.

An important insight to be covered during the Oct. 11, 2017, CSE live webinar is the less than stellar adoption of the United Nations Sustainability Development Goals (SDGs) of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable DevelopmentSince the SGDs came into force on 1 January 2016, they have not been widely used by the companies in North America. Of the 551 companies in the study, only 6.2% integrated SDGs in their sustainability reports.

While the introduction and implementation of SDGs is in the initial stage, there are many opportunities for businesses to incorporate these universally adopted goals. We estimate that 41% of businesses will embed SDGs into their strategy and the way they do business within the next five years, and 71% of businesses say they are already planning how they will engage with the SDGs.

The SDGs provide a global framework for national efforts to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity.  They provide specific targets for each goal, defining global priorities and aspirations for 2030. Companies can maximize their contribution to the SDGS by aligning their strategies with the goals. However, most companies are not engaging despite the key role they play in achieving the SDGs’ ambitions.  The Sustainability Academy, with online courses and free modules, offers a quick and efficient way for companies to acquire SDG basics to begin this process.

For North American companies reporting SDGs, not all are equally represented. Only 6% have integrated all 17 SDGs in their reports. Notable stand-outs include Johnson & Johnson, Microsoft, Intel, Biogen, Cisco and Praxair.  Also included are Coca Cola, MillerCoors, Merck and Pepsi, managers of whom have trained with CSE’s Certified Sustainability Practitioner Program.

 Of the companies in the report, most (74%) have integrated some of the SDGs, and 21% of companies at least mentioned them, stating going to review, assessment and intent to integrate the goals.  This percentage is considered extremely high, given that for this reporting period, the SDGs are a recent development.

 Register for free, live webinar on Sustainability Reporting Trends in North America

October 11, 2017, 10amET

 We expect the prominence of SDGs in company strategy and reporting to rise significantly in the next reporting period as companies see their importance for strategy and sustainability goal setting practices.  CSE’s upcoming Certified Sustainability Practitioner Programs (Advanced Edition 2017) offer corporate trainings in Toronto, Oct. 26-27, San Diego, Oct. 31-Nov. 1, 2017, and Atlanta, March 8-9, 2018. 

The Consumer Goods Forum Reaffirms Climate Change Commitment

Thu, 09/21/2017 - 11:41

The Consumer Goods Forum reaffirms its commitment to taking action in recognition of the serious risks that climate change poses for our businesses, our supply chains and our consumers. The Paris Climate Agreement presents a critical opportunity to strengthen efforts globally addressing the causes and consequences of climate change, and to demonstrate action by businesses and other non-state actors.

In 2010, the CGF Board committed to mobilising resources within our respective businesses to address two aspects of climate change:

  • To help achieve zero net deforestation by 2020 through sustainable sourcing of key commodities; and

  • To begin rapidly phasing down HFC refrigerants and replacing them with natural and ultra-low GWP (global warming potential) refrigerants.

Furthermore, we are conscious that food waste is responsible for adding 3.3 billion tonnes of greenhouse gases to the planet's atmosphere per year. Therefore, we also committed in 2015 to halve food waste within our own operations by 2025 and contribute to the Sustainable Development Goal 12.3 by helping reduce (per capita) food waste by 50%.

In doing this,

  • We reaffirm our commitment to these actions, and acknowledge the vital need to work in partnership with governments and civil society to transform markets at scale. Working with the Tropical Forest Alliance, the Banking Environment Initiative and others, we believe that further engagement of supply chain partners, including commodity traders and financiers, can help accelerate progress. 

  • We embrace our unique role as The Consumer Goods Industry in enabling and empowering consumers - through innovation, communication and partnership - to make sustainable changes in their purchasing and in their lives.

The urgency of this action is underpinned by the science, which is clearer than it has ever been. The latest report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) concluded that climate change is unequivocal and that limiting anthropogenic climate change will require substantial and sustained reductions of greenhouse gas emissions.

We reaffirm our commitment to engage and act with determination, leadership and ambition to address challenges posed by climate change and to help advance progress against the goals and objective outlined in the Paris Climate Agreement. 

-- Ends --

About The Consumer Goods Forum

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

For further information, please contact:

Lee Green,

Director, Communications
The Consumer Goods Forum

l.green@theconsumergoodsforum.com

Walmart Foundation Announces $565,000 Towards Mexico Earthquake Relief and Recovery

Thu, 09/21/2017 - 11:41

In response to the recent 7.1 magnitude earthquake in Mexico, the Walmart Foundation has committed $565,000 (10 million pesos) to help organizations providing immediate recovery and relief. This commitment builds upon to the $2.2 million (40 million pesos) commitment of cash and 300 tons of product donations made by Walmart de México y Centroamérica to assist those in need.

“Our thoughts are with the people of Mexico City in the aftermath of this devastating earthquake,” said Kathleen McLaughlin, president of the Walmart Foundation. “We hope our support will help further the immediate response and relief efforts, and stand as a gesture of solidarity with our fellow associates, customers and friends in Mexico as they continue to recover.”

In addition to the commitment by the Walmart Foundation, Walmart Mexico is working closely with organizations immediately responding, while coordinating efforts with elected officials and governmental entities to help meet the needs of those affected. Walmart Mexico is supporting these organizations in addressing immediate needs in the community and will continue to monitor in the coming days to provide additional assistance.

Walmart has a long history of providing aid in times of disasters, helping communities prepare and recover by donating emergency supplies, such as food and water, home and personal products. Since 2005, Walmart and the Walmart Foundation have donated more than $60 million in cash and in-kind donations in response to disaster events.

About Walmart
Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE: WMT) helps people around the world save money and live better - anytime and anywhere - in retail stores, online, and through their mobile devices. Each week, over 260 million customers and members visit our more than 11,600 stores under 59 banners in 28 countries and e-commerce websites in 11 countries. With fiscal year 2017 revenue of $485.9 billion, Walmart employs approximately 2.3 million associates worldwide. Walmart continues to be a leader in sustainability, corporate philanthropy and employment opportunity. Additional information about Walmart can be found by visiting http://corporate.walmart.com, on Facebook at http://facebook.com/walmart and on Twitter at http://twitter.com/walmart.

About Philanthropy at Walmart 
By using our strengths to help others, Walmart and the Walmart Foundation create opportunities for people to live better every day. Walmart has stores in 28 countries, employing more than 2.4 million associates and doing business with thousands of suppliers who, in turn, employ millions of people. Our philanthropy helps people live better by supporting upward job mobility and economic development for the retail workforce; addressing hunger and making healthier, more sustainably-grown food a reality; and building strong communities where Walmart operates and inspiring our associates to give back. Whether it is helping to lead the fight against hunger in the United States with $2 billion in cash and in-kind donations or supporting Women’s Economic Empowerment through a series of grants totaling $10 million to the Women in Factories training program in Bangladesh, China, India and Central America, Walmart and the Walmart Foundation are not only working to tackle key social issues, we are also collaborating with others to inspire solutions for long-lasting systemic change. To learn more about Walmart’s giving, visit http://www.foundation.walmart.com.

2016 Net Impact Conference

Thu, 09/21/2017 - 11:41

The Net Impact Conference is the premier gathering of students and professionals who are committed to making a lasting social and environmental impact now and throughout their careers; this year the 24th Net Impact Conference heads to Philadelphia, a city where history is made. Expected to draw nearly 3000 students and young professionals from interdisciplinary sectors, the 2016 Net Impact Conference will give participants the skills, connections, and experiences for a lifetime of impact.

Every year the Net Impact Conference features inspiring, authentic, and energizing speakers who are making real impact from the boardroom to the classroom and beyond our borders. This year our notable lineup of speakers includes; Chad Dickerson, the CEO of Etsy; Alicia Garza, the Co-Founder of #BlackLivesMatter; and Doug McMillon, President and CEO of Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. The conference will feature more than 80 breakout sessions designed to address the world’s toughest challenges including; climate change, equity, and food systems while looking for new solutions through tracks including; social entrepreneurship, impact investing, and purposeful careers. Diverse session formats encourage collaboration and learning. Formats include; boot camps (Break Out of the Pack to Land Your Impact Dream Job); panels (Integrating Sustainability and Impact into Employee Engagement); and debates (What Works in Global Development?).

The conference will also feature career advancement opportunities including our Career Expo. The Career Expo provides an opportunity to network with professionals and recruiters from international corporations, social enterprises, and nonprofits that have the ability and drive to use their organizations for social and environmental good. The expo also features a special expo Career Corner providing the opportunity to spend 15 minutes one-on-one with an Idealist professional or headshots taken by a professional photographer for LinkedIn profiles.

Registration is open at: https://netimpact.org/conference

Consumers Energy Helps 10,000 Small Businesses Through Program that Rewards Energy Efficiency

Wed, 09/20/2017 - 09:39

Consumers Energy has helped 10,000 small businesses across Michigan lower their costs through an eight-year-old program that rewards them financially for taking steps to use less energy.

“Michigan is powered by its small businesses, and we are pleased to help so many of them realize savings that put people to work,” said Lauren Youngdahl Snyder, Consumers Energy’s vice president of customer experience. “From grocery stores to nonprofits to restaurants, these Michigan small businesses save over $21 million each year through energy efficiency upgrades.”

Consumers Energy’s Small Business Energy Efficiency Program provides financial benefits to electric customers who voluntarily participate. Small businesses receive free assessments that identify ways to reduce energy use and are directed toward rebates for upgrades that reduce their energy use.

Since the program started in 2009, small businesses have received over $35 million in incentives from Consumers Energy. This year also projects to the program’s busiest yet, with 2,600 small businesses expected to make energy efficiency upgrades. Over 50 trained electrical contractors, employing hundreds of Michigan workers, participate in the program. 

Degage Ministries in Grand Rapids was the program’s 10,000th participant, retrofitting over 300 light fixtures and installing 700 LED light bulbs through its facility this year. The nonprofit ministry, which provides shelter and other services for homeless people, will reduce its energy costs by over $5,800 each year.

“We are so thankful for Consumers Energy’s Small Business Energy Efficiency Program! Consumers Energy and the contractor they choose were amazing to work with. The changes have had a positive impact on our patrons who use our services daily,” said Executive Director Marge Palmerlee.

“Not only does the environment feel safer and brighter, but the energy efficient lighting has proven to be cost efficient. The money that we are saving on light costs will go toward meeting the needs of the most vulnerable in our community.”

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

For more information about Consumers Energy, go to www.ConsumersEnergy.com.

Walmart and the Coalition for Veteran Owned Business Host VetSource Event to Boost Business Opportunities for Veteran Entrepreneurs

Wed, 09/20/2017 - 08:39

Today, Walmart and the Coalition for Veteran Owned Business (CVOB) are hosting a first-of-its-kind event, VetSource, to support the success of veteran, military and military spouse-owned businesses by connecting them to several Fortune 500 companies in one day for procurement opportunities.

VetSource was created by the Coalition for Veteran Owned Business (CVOB), part of the Institute for Veterans and Military Families (IVMF) at Syracuse University, as a unique way to convene corporations and military entrepreneurs, offering resources both for those ready to sell their offerings and those interested in learning how to become procurement-ready. The event includes supply chain matchmaking opportunities, workshop tracks for veterans with established businesses as well as those ready to grow and educational support for attendees following the event.

More than 200 participants are expected to take part in the inaugural VetSource event held in Norfolk, Va., which includes keynote speakers and sessions hosted by top Fortune 500 corporations and retail industry leaders, who will introduce the tools, resources and training opportunities needed to become successful veteran entrepreneurs. In addition, Sam’s Club is announcing a $400,000 grant to the SCORE Foundation to support the 2018 American Small Business Championship which celebrates and recognizes America’s entrepreneurs. The SCORE Foundation is the charitable arm of SCORE, mentors to America’s small businesses.

Veterans are an important part of the nation’s labor force, both as workers and as business owners. According to the Small Business Administration, more than 2.5 million small businesses in the U.S. are veteran-owned. In addition, veteran-owned businesses generate more than $1.2 trillion in sales per year and employ more than 5.8 million people in the U.S.

“Veteran-owned businesses are vital for a healthy economy,” said Maureen Casey, chief operating officer of the IVMF. “By creating networking opportunities and strengthening business-to-business commerce between veteran businesses and our corporate partners like Walmart, we can sustain economic growth and advance the lives of our nation’s military veterans and their families.”

The CVOB is the first national initiative to provide innovative solutions and thought leadership to grow and support military spouse and veteran-owned businesses, entrepreneurs and suppliers by connecting them with organizations, resources and information. As the world’s largest retailer and one of the 14 founding companies of the CVOB, Walmart is uniquely positioned to lead and sponsor the first VetSource event, encouraging other Fortune 500 companies to follow suit and source from veteran-owned businesses.

“Many veterans gained important skills and leadership abilities from their active duty experiences that lead to successful business ownership, such as strong work ethic, teamwork and adaptability,” said retired Brig. Gen. Gary Profit, senior director of military programs at Walmart. “By hosting the first VetSource, Walmart is convening other corporations and encouraging them to join us in lending counsel, support and purchasing opportunities that help veteran-owned businesses grow.”

Walmart has a long history of supporting members of the military, veterans and their families.As part of its Veterans Welcome Home Commitment, the company has hired more than 179,000 veterans since the initiative was announced in May 2013, and of those hires, more than 24,000 have been promoted to jobs of greater responsibility. Walmart recently announced major changes to its military leave of absence policy, offering differential pay to associates for any military assignment, including voluntary service like basic training, allowing associates who are considering enlisting in the armed forces to do so without fear of losing wages. In addition, since 2011, Walmart and the Walmart Foundation have pledged a total of $40 million for veteran reintegration programs through 2019 to help address challenges many veterans face when returning to civilian life.

For more information on the IVMF and the CVOB, visit ivmf.syracuse.edu and veteranbusinesscoalition.org. For more information about Walmart’s commitment to veterans, service members and military families, please visit: http://corporate.walmart.com/global-responsibility/veterans-military-families/

About Walmart
Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE: WMT) helps people around the world save money and live better - anytime and anywhere - in retail stores, online, and through their mobile devices. Each week, over 260 million customers and members visit our 11,695 stores under 59 banners in 28 countries and e-commerce websites in 11 countries. With fiscal year 2017 revenue of $485.9 billion, Walmart employs approximately 2.3 million associates worldwide. Walmart continues to be a leader in sustainability, corporate philanthropy and employment opportunity. Additional information about Walmart can be found by visiting http://corporate.walmart.com on Facebook at http://facebook.com/walmart and on Twitter at http://twitter.com/walmart.

About the Coalition for Veteran Owned Business (CVOB)
The CVOB is the first-of-its-kind national initiative, which supports the success of veteran, service member, and military spouse-owned businesses by connecting them with entrepreneurial education and training, small business resources and solutions, and commerce and supplier opportunities. Through the commitment of our Fortune500 stakeholders and partners, the CVOB aims to increase opportunities and information for the veteran and military spouse businesses within corporate supply chains. The CVOB continues to drive awareness and commerce opportunities for veteran and military spouse businesses in the public marketplace, create networking opportunities for veteran-owned businesses (VOB) and large companies, provide educational resources, and contribute to veteran and military employment. For more information, please visit: http://veteranbusinesscoalition.org/.

About the Institute for Veterans and Military Families (IVMF)
The Institute for Veterans and Military Families (IVMF) is the first interdisciplinary national institute in higher education focused on the social, economic, education, and policy issues impacting veterans and their families. Through its professional staff and experts, the IVMF delivers leading programs in career, vocational, and entrepreneurship education and training, while also conducting actionable research, policy analysis, and program evaluations. The IVMF also supports communities through collective impact efforts that enhance delivery and access to services and care. The Institute, supported by a distinguished advisory board, along with public and private partners, is committed to advancing the lives of those who have served in America’s armed forces and their families. For more information, visit ivmf.syracuse.edu and follow the IVMF on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.

YourCause Sees Record Number of Companies Take Action in Wake of Recent Hurricanes

Wed, 09/20/2017 - 08:39

In response to the impact of recent hurricanes Harvey and Irma, YourCause experienced a record-breaking number of corporations answering the call for disaster relief support.  In total, YourCause’s CSRconnect platform facilitated over $10,000,000 in employee donations and matching gifts for disaster relief within the last four weeks.

Within hours of Hurricane Harvey making landfall, YourCause’s Global Good Network launched over 150-disaster relief campaigns, empowering more than 6.5 million employees to deliver needed funds to support those impacted.  YourCause’s commitment to maximizing employee and corporate generosity by not taking a percentage of donations resulted in record high participation and employee satisfaction.

“HCA Healthcare raised significant dollars for our employees in need in a very short time with the help of YourCause’s user-friendly, intuitive platform,” Joe Flynn, Director of Community Engagement & HCA Hope Fund explained. “The HCA team did not have to worry about the technology. We were able to focus on the needs of our employees and tell their co-workers how they could help through the special disaster match program set up specifically in response to the hurricanes.  Through its partnership with YourCause, HCA and its employees donated over $800,000 in just three short weeks.”

Knowing individuals are motivated to support disaster efforts within the first seven days after a disaster has hit, YourCause’s speed of deployment has proven to be critical to over 200 clients’ abilities to successfully drive impact in times of crisis. By taking action, companies and their employees gain a clear vision of the impact that can be made through united relief efforts. While the intention of the companies that deployed a disaster relief page was to solely support those affected by the hurricanes’ destruction, providing timely opportunities to engage in relief efforts help build a culture of philanthropy rather than simply offering transactional programs. Historical data from YourCause’s most recent Industry Report shows 65% of first-time donors in a disaster relief campaign return within the next twelve months to make an additional donation or volunteer. 

“Through all of the recent natural disasters it was great to work with the team at YourCause who could anticipate the quickness with which we needed to move on decisions,” said Kyra Scalea, Manager, Community Stewardship, Vanguard. “On the corporate side, we were all making decisions as fast as possible. To have the YourCause team ready to ’turn on‘ our response programs saved massive amounts of work and reduced employee inquiries.  Additionally, it was delightful to know that YourCause has a high level of philanthropy knowledge and could educate us on the idea of merging disaster relief donations with our annual campaign donations for a holistic picture.”

YourCause applauds the Global Good Network for their compassion, quick response, and thoughtful impact over the last few weeks. The results are a reminder of what happens when corporations and their employees band together to make a collective impact on those in need. 

“The natural disasters we have experienced over the past couple of weeks have been difficult on many different fronts.  During a time when our feelings of utter helplessness are elevated, I am glad our product and team have been able to play a small role in supporting the millions of people truly in need. I am proud to be a part of YourCause, and am proud of the response from the Global Good Network,” said Matt Combs, Founder and CEO of YourCause.

 About YourCause

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

To learn more about YourCause visit: YourCause.com

HP Reinvents Learning in the Developing World

Wed, 09/20/2017 - 07:39

Today, HP Inc. (NYSE:HPQ) announced the new HP School Cloud featuring the HP Open Learning Platform during Global Citizen Week. HP School Cloud will provide access to educational materials and apps to students, teachers and adult learners in rural and poor communities around the world.

The HP School Cloud is a hybrid cloud appliance, meaning it acts as both an advanced wireless router and state-of-the-art file and content server. Each device will leverage a range of free, open source educational material from OpenStax—with more Open Education Resource partners to be announced later this fall. Schools without Internet access can simply install an HP School Cloud, turn it on, and let students dive into millions of e-textbooks and thousands of lessons on reading, science, mathematics, and more.

Furthermore, HP School Cloud equips teachers with the ability to monitor and measure individual progress of students in a safe, secure environment. All resources will be aligned with international curricular and instructional standards from UNESCO, OECD and others. The HP School Cloud featuring the HP Open Learning Platform will be available for select markets in early 2018.

“HP has a long commitment to improving education. Last year alone we improved learning for over four million students. The HP School Cloud helps us impact even more students,” said Ron Coughlin, President of Personal Systems Business at HP. “By providing access to a wide and relevant range of educational content and resources, HP School Cloud ensures today’s aspiring students develop the skills for the jobs of tomorrow, even those without reliable internet access.”

“This partnership unlocks enormous potential for students all over the world,” said Daniel Williamson, managing director for OpenStax. “By pairing OpenStax textbooks already in use by 1.5 million students with HP School Cloud featuring the HP Open Learning Platform, we’re providing equitable access to high-quality education content for millions more, including the world’s most marginalized.”

HP aims to reach one million learners by 2020 and is partnering with Intel to seed over 1,700 HP School Clouds to schools all over the developing world. The technology will pilot in The Kilgoris Project schools in Kenya and at schools in Malawi, Africa, this fall, contributing to a better learning environment for all students.

HP is also partnering with the Global Business Coalition for Education and Education Cannot Wait, the first global movement and fund dedicated to education in emergencies, to explore where the new technology could be most needed to support students and teachers in other countries affected by conflicts, natural disasters and protracted crises.

In addition to HP School Cloud, the company announced with Microsoft the launch of AppFactory, a program to improve the state of software development and bring quality learning, IT skills development and entrepreneurship training to the people living in the Dzaleka Refugee Camp in Malawi. HP is providing computing technology to ensure refugee youth living in the Malawi camp have the tools to participate in the AppFactory program.

Additionally, the company opened two HP Learning Studios in Jordan in September, in collaboration with the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR), InZone and CARE. The studios are located in Amman and at the Azraq Refugee Camp – with a third studio to open soon in the town community of Azraq. Each one is equipped with hardware, software, and teacher training services that together inspire instructional innovation and next-generation learning experiences.

This announcement follows through on a commitment made last year during United Nations General Assembly Week to establish six new HP Learning Studios in Jordan and Lebanon in partnership with Digital Promise Global, Global Business Coalition for Education, Microsoft and Intel. HP is currently working with the UNHCR to select locations and partners for the three HP Learning Studios to be built in Lebanon.

These announcements mark a significant step in advancing HP’s goal of improving learning outcomes for 100 million people by 2025.

About HP Inc.
HP Inc. creates technology that makes life better for everyone, everywhere. Through our portfolio of printers, PCs, mobile devices, solutions and services, we engineer experiences that amaze. More information about HP Inc. is available at http://www.hp.com.

Contact:
Emily Horn, HP
emily.horn@hp.com

www.hp.com/go/newsroom

Points of Light Releases The 2017 Civic 50 Report

Wed, 09/20/2017 - 07:39

Points of Light, the world’s largest organization dedicated to volunteer service, has released a new report, “Inspiring and Leading in Times of Change: Insights and Best Practices from The 2017 Civic 50.” The Civic 50 provides a national standard for superior corporate citizenship and showcases how companies can use their time, skills and other resources to improve the quality of life in the communities where they do business. The report presents the benchmarking information, insights and best practices of The 2017 Civic 50 and illustrates the best examples of how the corporate community can lead and inspire during times of rapid and complex change.

“The 2017 Civic 50 represents the very best of business in America. Honorees are daring to get connected through service and reaffirming those classic values of citizenship in the belief that they can be an example for the future,” said Jennifer Lawson, president of networks at Points of Light. “They are leaning into models of investment for social impact that leverage capital investment with strategic and skilled volunteer service, using their products and knowledge to make significant progress to address social challenges. We hope that the insights and best practices in this report provide guidance to help inform other business managers and corporate citizenship leaders who want their organizations to turn good intentions into sound business practices.”

The Civic 50 honorees are public and private companies with U.S. operations and revenues of $1 billion or more, and are selected based on four dimensions of their U.S. community engagement program – investment, integration, institutionalization and impact.

Key Statistics and Highlights from The Civic 50 Report

  • Being a community-minded company is about better engagement, not more. Companies are adopting strategic practices to accelerate impact in communities. Skills-based volunteering, multi-faceted investment and matching gifts are on the rise, and companies are taking on leadership roles to advance social issues.

    • The most community-minded companies in the country realize they can make a bigger impact in communities and harness the talents of their employees by contributing time and talent to critical causes. The average percentage of skilled volunteer time at Civic 50 companies increased from 20 percent in 2014 to 26 percent in 2017.

    • The average percentage of grants from The Civic 50 companies providing additional support through volunteers, in-kind goods or multi-year pledges increased from 38 percent in 2016 to 43 percent in 2017.

    • Total giving for employee matches and Dollars for Doers grants increased, up from $135 million in 2016 to $146 million in 2017. This demonstrates how companies can support and empower employee giving and volunteering, and it sends a message to employees that the causes they care about are important to the organization.

    • Companies continue to use their voice to take leadership positions on social issues by promoting public awareness or behavior change. Companies are stepping into new and uncharted roles as leaders and advocates in social action, policy and community-building. In 2017, 62 percent of Civic 50 companies took a leadership position on four or more national public education and/or policy advocacy efforts. 

  • Companies are taking to heart the adage of “doing well by doing good” and putting it at the center of business. Civic 50 honorees use community engagement to drive key business functions, including employee engagement (88 percent), diversity and inclusion (84 percent), marketing and PR (84 percent), and skill development (72 percent).

  • Civic 50 companies are building community values into their business and empowering changemakers to be a powerful force for change.

    • 100 percent of Civic 50 companies seek input from community leaders on local needs and their community engagement programs, and 74 percent have formal efforts that actively solicit community feedback through surveys, focus groups or community meetings.

    • 62 percent of Civic 50 companies include community engagement as a formal component of employees’ performance reviews, emphasizing its importance to organizational culture. This is up from 50 percent in 2016.

    • 64 percent of Civic 50 companies offer employees volunteer time off to support their service to the community.

    • 78 percent of Civic 50 companies list community engagement on department or business unit scorecards, creating incentive and accountability structures around community goals.

    • At nearly 70 percent of Civic 50 companies, executive leaders support community engagement by participating in community activities at least once a month.

    • At nearly 80 percent of Civic 50 companies, executive leaders encourage employees to participate in community activities at least once a month.

  • Civic 50 companies are demonstrating their impact by measuring what matters — social and business outcomes. While storytelling and volunteer recognition are important, Civic 50 companies are also using robust measurement practices to evaluate and demonstrate how they are making an impact.

    • 76 percent of Civic 50 companies measure the social outcomes of their volunteer programs, going beyond measuring outputs, and 76 percent measure the outcomes of their social advocacy work.

    • Recognizing that doing good also helps the business bottom-line, 68 percent of Civic 50 companies measure the outcomes of their community engagement programs on marketing/PR, 66 percent measure business outcomes related to employee engagement, and 64 percent measure outcomes related to diversity inclusion.

The Civic 50 survey is administered by True Impact, a company specializing in helping organizations maximize and measure their social and business value. The survey instrument consists of quantitative and multiple-choice questions that inform The Civic 50 scoring process. The Civic 50 is the only survey and ranking system that exclusively measures corporate involvement in communities. Points of Light partners with VeraWorks to analyze the data and to produce The Civic 50 report.

“Inspiring and Leading in Times of Change: Insights and Best Practices from The 2017 Civic 50” has full analysis of The 2017 Civic 50 data, best practices and case studies for each of the ten sector leaders. For more information about The Civic 50, to download the report or to learn about learning webinars taking place through October, please visit www.civic50.org.

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 bring the power of people to bear where it’s needed most. For more information, go to www.pointsoflight.org.

About True Impact
True Impact provides web-based tools and consulting support to help organizations measure the social, financial, and environmental return on investment (ROI) of their programs and operations. For more information, visit www.trueimpact.com.

About VeraWorks
VeraWorks is a global consulting firm that helps managers and companies offer employees the opportunity to do societal good through their everyday jobs. For more information, visit www.veraworks.com.

CONTACT:
Meghann Gibbons
Vice President, Marketing & Communications
mgibbons@pointsoflight.org 

Benevity Data Shows 2016 Election Cycle Kicked Off Major Shift in Corporate Giving Trends

Wed, 09/20/2017 - 06:39

(GlobeNewswire) - Benevity, the market leader in workplace giving, volunteering and community investment software, announced today the release of new data showing a significant shift in charitable donation trends in 2016 and 2017. Benevity compiled the data from their work with nearly 300 global companies representing more than $1 billion in donations to more than 100,000 charities worldwide.

The data shows a marked shift in employee and company giving trends, with human rights organizations taking top slots from long-standing leaders. Additionally, the data points to new trends with workers immediately responding to newsworthy events with the support of their employers who are making event-triggered giving and volunteering easier through consumer-grade enterprise “Goodness” technology, like Benevity’s.

Highlights include:  

  • For the first time ever, the American Civil Liberties Union tops the charitable causes chart – a massive leap from the 87th spot just two years ago

  • Planned Parenthood moved from number 9 to number 3, sustaining quadruple the donation volume for months

  • Corporate giving trends are now influenced by current events. For example, following the Charlottesville White Supremacist March in August, donations to Southern Law Poverty Center spiked to 29 times year over year growth.

Likely sparked by the current socio-political climate and by long-brewing changes in the way companies and their people look at giving back, the data points to a growing notion that today’s corporate giving landscape is at a tipping point. No longer merely about seeking a tax deduction or requiring dutiful participation in a company’s  annual fundraising campaign, corporate “Goodness” is increasingly about companies allowing – and often helping - their people to take the lead on social impact initiatives and support the causes that matter to them personally.

“Companies aren’t simply leveraging the news cycle or vocalizing their political views for branding purposes,” says Benevity Founder and CEO Bryan de Lottinville. “The most progressive companies in the area of employee engagement are recognizing that the current socio-political climate requires them to create diverse and inclusive workplaces in which people feel a sense of belonging in a world rife with tension.” de Lottinville continues, “Companies and their senior leadership recognize that they need a new approach to their corporate and workplace giving programs that is responsive to the passions and purpose of their people, and which helps define their corporate culture. If they truly want to win the war on talent, corporations need to value the values of their people in a way that adds meaning and purpose to their work and life.”

While the U.S. Presidential election was a major catalyst for this shift, other notable trends -- such as a greater expectations from people for corporations to be agents of social change, the availability of consumer-grade, experiential technologies that make it easier for companies to empower their people to be pro-social at work on a global scale, and a shifting workforce that sees more Millennials at work -- are all contributing as well.

About Benevity
Benevity Inc. is the global leader in online workplace giving, matching, volunteering and community investment software. Many of the world’s most iconic brands rely on Spark, Benevity’s award-winning cloud solution, to power corporate “Goodness Programs” that attract, retain and engage today’s diverse workforce by connecting people to the causes that matter to them. With software that is available in 16 languages, to several million users around the world, Benevity has processed over a billion dollars in donations to more than 100,000 charities worldwide.

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