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The 3BL Media CSR feed - full text version

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    TORONTO, April 3, 2018 /3BL Media/- Scotiabank has released its 2017 Corporate Social Responsibility Report, "Building the Economy of Everyone", which details the progress made over the past 12 months on the Bank's CSR strategy: Better Future, Better Off.

    "Our report highlights the role that Scotiabank continues to play in supporting strong communities, a healthy environment and economic growth," said Brian Porter, Scotiabank's President and CEO in the Report. "The priorities set out in this report were developed to reflect our commitment to making a real and lasting difference in communities across our footprint."

    Scotiabank's 2017 Corporate Social Responsibility Report highlights progress on priorities that reflect our core purpose and the way Scotiabank is working to create value for society. In particular, the Report shows that:

    • As a critical part of the economic and social fabric of the communities in which we operate, Scotiabank continues to be a leader in employee volunteer hours and community donations across our global footprint.
    • Scotiabank is committed to addressing our environmental footprint. Scotiabank is also addressing its climate change risk through support of the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) recommendations.
    • Scotiabank has increased access to finance for the unbanked and underbanked, increasing micro-lending loans in Latin America by 8.9 % year over year. The Bank also increased access to banking for Aboriginal communities, with the number of customers growing 7% year on year. Total loans for Canadian small businesses increased 9.2% year on year.

    The Report highlights initiatives in support of Scotiabank's CSR priorities, for example:

    • Scotiabank has set an internal carbon price at $15/tonne to generate a pool of funding to reinvest in energy efficiency measures such as HVAC installation and solar panels.
    • Scotiabank financed $4.7 billion in the renewable energy industry, totaling more than $12 billion over the last three years.
    • We continued to increase our women in senior leadership roles (VP+) globally. In 2017, the percentage of women at VP+ roles was 39% in Canada and 20% internationally.

    "Scotiabank has a long legacy of supporting the communities where we live and work," said Meigan Terry, Senior Vice President, Global Communications at Scotiabank. "We work to ensure that our Corporate Social Responsibility priorities are aligned with our pledge to help young people reach their infinite potential. And, we are steadfast in our commitment to being good corporate citizens, conscious of our economic, environmental and social impact in the countries in which we operate around the world."

    For more examples of the impact Scotiabank is making to help its customers become better off and to read the full report, it is now available online at

    About Scotiabank
    Scotiabank believes that every customer has the right to become better off. When customers succeed, businesses, communities, and entire societies benefit as well. Through our CSR strategy, Better Future, Better Off, we seek to create economic, social and environmental value that benefits every customer. Through our five commitments to Customers, Employees, Communities, the Environment, and strong Corporate Governance practices, we aim to create a better future for both society and Scotiabank. For more information on our priorities and the impact we have made, please visit

    Scotiabank is Canada's international bank and a leading financial services provider in North America, Latin America, the Caribbean and Central America, and Asia-Pacific. We are dedicated to helping our 24 million customers become better off through a broad range of advice, products and services, including personal and commercial banking, wealth management and private banking, corporate and investment banking, and capital markets. With a team of more than 89,000 employees and assets of over $923 billion (as at January 31, 2018), Scotiabank trades on the Toronto (TSX: BNS) and New York Exchanges (NYSE: BNS). For more information, please visit and follow us on Twitter @Scotiabank.

    For media enquiries only:
    Heather Armstrong, Global Communications, Scotiabank, PH: (416) 933-3250;

    For more information:


    Tweet me:"Better Future, Better Off" - @Scotiabank 2017 report details #CSR programs and progress made over the past 12 months #sustainability #renewableenergy #diversity

    KEYWORDS: Scotiabank

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    NORTHBROOK, Ill., April 3, 2018 /3BL Media/ -- The Illinois Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR) Awards program has selected Astellas for its highest honor – the Pro Patria Award – as the state's top large employer over the past year. At a recent ceremony in Springfield, Ill., the U.S. Department of Defense national ESGR Awards program recognized Astellas for demonstrating "exceptional support for national defense by adopting policies that make it easier for employees to participate in the National Guard and Reserve." Among the factors that contributed to Astellas receiving the employer-of-choice recognition are the company's 10 days paid military leave per year to support active service employees, its dynamic Military Employee Resource Group (MERG), employee-volunteer support for the annual adaptive-sports Warrior Games, the 11,000 square foot "Heroes Garden" at the entrance to the Astellas corporate headquarters in Northbrook, Ill., and the 2017 donation by Astellas employees of nearly 2.2 million airline miles during a Veterans Day donation drive.

    Additionally, the Astellas Brighter Tomorrows charitable giving program awards grants to nonprofit Veterans' organizations that support patients and caregivers' communities that increase disease and resource awareness or that raise peer networking opportunities in one of Astellas' therapeutic areas such as prostate cancer, overactive bladder or transplantation/immunology.

    "The ESGR Pro Patria Award is a testament to the outstanding work by so many Astellas employees to support the needs of their colleagues serving in the military and to honor veterans, whether they also work at our company or are members of our community," said Collette Taylor, Astellas senior vice president, Human Resources and Facilities, and executive sponsor of the company's Military Employee Resource Group. "The Astellas culture embraces our focus on the recruitment, retention and recognition of employees with military experience."

    Since 2015, Astellas has appeared in several top employer lists in a variety of areas, including LGBT equality, female empowerment, environmental sustainability and military support. This is reflective of the company's efforts to become a preeminent employer in the pharmaceutical industry. Recently, Astellas appeared again on Forbes America's top midsize workplaces list, the company's third consecutive appearance on the Forbes Best Employers list.

    About Astellas
    Astellas is a pharmaceutical company dedicated to improving the health of people around the world through the provision of innovative and reliable pharmaceutical products. For more information on Astellas, please visit our website at You can also follow us on Twitter at @AstellasUS, Facebook at or LinkedIn at

    For further information:
    Jennifer Saputo
    Office: 224-205-5364
    Cell: 847-686-1806

    KEYWORDS: astellas, Illinois Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve, Astellas Brighter Tomorrows

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    Open Nature’s 2018 growth expected to include 240 new products; food items remain free from 110 ingredients like antibiotics, nitrates, sulfites, benzoates, and MSG-type ingredients

    SOURCE:Albertsons Companies


    BOISE, Idaho, April 03, 2018 /3BL Media/ - As customers continue to pursue real food and natural products that are free from artificial ingredients, Albertsons Companies, one of the nation’s largest grocery retailers, today announced that it is expanding its exclusive Open Nature® brand into non-food categories and expects to release more than 240 new Open Nature products in 2018.

    Albertsons Companies plans to introduce Open Nature home care products this year, which follows the recent releases of Open Nature goods in both the baby and pet food categories. Open Nature’s pet food offers both grain and grain-free options.

    “We know that our customers want high-quality, clean, and more natural products at affordable prices,” said Geoff White, President of Own Brands. “Whether it’s for their spouse, child, or pet, we know how important it is to feel good about the food they feed their family and the products that come into their homes. We’re more committed than ever to offering customers that experience, which is why we are excited to introduce a wider variety of Open Nature products and expand the brand’s free-from approach into non-food categories.”

    Open Nature launched in 2011 with approximately 100 products and a vision to provide customers with access to simple and flavorful food. Since then, more and more customers across Albertsons Companies’ banners are enjoying Open Nature food products because they are free from 110 ingredients that consumers of natural products want to avoid, such as antibiotics, MSG-type ingredients, nitrates, and preservatives like sulfites and benzoates. Open Nature meats are free from preservatives and added hormones.

    In January, the company announced that it would introduce more than 450 new products under its O Organics® line in 2018. Together, Open Nature and O Organics comprise $1.4 billion in sales. Open Nature and O Organics products are sold only in Albertsons Companies stores.

    Other Albertsons Companies Own Brands include Signature Select, Lucerne, Primo Taglio, and Value Corner. The company’s lineup of Own Brands products achieved over $11 billion in sales in fiscal year 2017.

    About Albertsons Companies

    Albertsons Companies is one of the largest food and drug retailers in the United States, with both a strong local presence and national scale. We operate stores across 35 states and the District of Columbia under 20 well-known banners including Albertsons, Safeway, Vons, Jewel-Osco, Shaw’s, Acme, Tom Thumb, Randalls, United Supermarkets, Pavilions, Star Market, Haggen and Carrs, as well as meal kit company Plated based in New York City. Albertsons Companies is committed to helping people across the country live better lives by making a meaningful difference, neighborhood by neighborhood. In 2017 alone, along with the Albertsons Companies Foundation, the company gave nearly $300 million in food and financial support. These efforts helped millions of people in the areas of hunger relief, education, cancer research and treatment, programs for people with disabilities and veterans outreach.

    Important Notice Regarding Forward-Looking Statements

    This press release contains certain forward-looking statements. Statements that are not historical facts, including statements about our perspectives and expectations, are forward looking statements. The words “expect,” “believe,” “estimate,” “intend,” “plan” and similar expressions, when related to the company and its subsidiaries, indicate forward-looking statements. These statements reflect the current view of management and are subject to various risks and uncertainties. These statements are based on various assumptions and factors, including general economic, market, industry and operational factors. Any changes to these assumptions or factors may lead to practical results different from current expectations. Excessive reliance should not be placed on those statements. Forward-looking statements relate only to the date they were made, and the company and its subsidiaries undertake no obligation to update forward-looking statements to reflect events or circumstances after the date they were made.

    Tweet me:.@AlbertsonsCos expects to release more than 240 new Open Nature products this year

    KEYWORDS: Albertsons Companies, Open Nature, Free From


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    SOURCE:America's Charities


    By Jim Starr, President & CEO, America's Charities

    The Tallahassee Democrat recently reported that lawmakers have decided to shut down the Florida State Employees’ Charitable Campaign (FSECC) for good.

    In its heyday, this 38-year-old state campaign generated nearly $5 million a year for nonprofits across the state. Unfortunately, for many reasons which I’ve outlined below, donations and participation have declined drastically with a historic low of $282,000 raised in 2016, with more than half of those proceeds which were set to go to Solix - the campaigns’ fiscal agent – before the campaign was shut down.

    While a few lawmakers attempted to file legislation to fix the program, Chad Poppell (then Secretary of the Department of Management Services) said, “a “middleman” wasn’t needed between state workers and charity anymore.” He noted, during a meeting before lawmakers, that “employees can give directly through the internet or cell phones.” And Ted Granger, president of the United Way of Florida, suggested “I think given where the campaign is now and has been for the last couple of years, probably the best thing to do is just to kill it.”

    The truth is the FSECC didn’t have to die.

    With just a few best practices, the charitable campaign could have easily thrived and continued to pour millions of much-needed dollars into charities supporting the local community.

    How to Prevent Your Charity Campaign From Crashing & Why Workplace Giving Campaigns Remain Vital:

    (1) Who You Select as Your Campaign’s Fiscal Agent and Manager Matters:

    More than half – some 63% – of the funds raised through the FSECC in 2016 were set to go to Solix, the fiscal agent contracted with the FSECC. That is an astronomically high percentage for any fiscal agent. Certainly, it takes money to raise money, and that’s true of every fundraising campaign in the workplace or out. However, this high percentage is outrageous and frankly irresponsible. There should have been a sincere effort to increase contributions while reducing administrative costs well in advance of, as well as during, the campaign.   

    When done correctly with the right partner, workplace giving is one the most efficient ways for nonprofits to raise money. From helping nonprofits gain access to public and private sector workplace giving campaigns, to managing both private and public sector state to county-level campaigns for employers across the country, we at America’s Charities know this from almost forty years of first-hand experience. We know that fiscal agent fees for public sector campaigns like the FSECC should be a fraction of the funds raised. While these dollars cover vital services that every campaign needs – charity vetting, pledge processing, paper pledge procedure and tracking, donor support, and more – those fees also eat into the total dollars nonprofits bring home. For most nonprofits, a small fixed percentage is a no-brainer. These campaigns pay for themselves because the nonprofit itself doesn’t have to foot the bill for hundreds of fundraising initiatives but instead benefit from one, coordinated campaign across thousands of donors. In this situation, however, the fee was exorbitant, and local charities were robbed of crucial donations. There is also no doubt this campaign could have been more efficient, as well as effective.

    With Florida’s decision to put an end to the FSECC, Solix won’t be getting paid for their 2016 work. Unfortunately, that also means that none of the charities participating in the FSECC will see any money from the campaign either. Pledges from workplace giving campaigns are a significant source of money for charities, providing sustainable, unrestricted funds that charities rely on to operate. Shutting down the FSECC will no doubt hurt the charities providing critical services in Florida and throughout the country, who State employees have supported since 1980 when the campaign first started.

    (2) Employee Engagement & Charity Choice are Very Important:

    Choice and engagement are critical to employees participating in workplace giving programs. One of the most resonant messages from America’s Charities’ Snapshot 2017 report is that employees highly value programs that offer them choices, with more than three quarters of survey respondents saying that having the ability to choose causes they care about is imperative or very important to a positive donation experience. By contrast, employees are turned off when employers dictate employees’ charity choices, with nearly three in 10 employees saying they don’t give through their workplace giving programs because the causes they care about are not offered as choices. Additionally, some employees are leery of workplace giving programs because they feel pressured to give.

    Unfortunately, as well-intentioned as the FSECC was, employee engagement was not its strong suit and accusations of over-aggressive fundraising ultimately contributed to the FSECC’s decline. Employees should not be ‘strong-armed’ into participating. Partnering with an organization like America’s Charities which understands the charitable sector AND workplace giving is vital for an effective charitable giving program that inspires employee giving.

    (3) Workplace Giving Campaigns Should Evolve with Technology; Not be Replaced by it:

    Chad Poppell’s statement about no longer needing a workplace giving campaign due to newer technology sadly demonstrates a lack of knowledge about why workplace giving campaigns matter, how workplace giving benefits charities and employee donors, and why it’s important that workplace giving campaigns evolve with new technology rather than be replaced by it.

    It’s imperative or very important to employees’ donation experience to be able to give easily and make informed choices about their giving – both of which are aided by platforms that are easy-to-understand and navigate like those America’s Charities offers in our range of solutions.

    Mobile giving and social media are fantastic examples of how technology has helped advance fundraising and elevated the donor’s connection to charities in the community. Many donors don’t just want to give money to a charity – they want to engage more fully, whether that’s learning more about a charity’s programs, or directly volunteering, or social sharing, or any other number of other ways. The fact is technology is paramount to this engagement. That’s exactly why campaigns should embrace technology and enhance their workplace giving platforms with features like mobile giving and social media that improve the employee donor’s overall giving experience.

    Even more important are the donation methods made available to donors through workplace giving and the efficiency with which those funds are distributed to charities. Whereas donors can easily donate directly to a charity through its website via credit card and in some cases PayPal (both which, it should be noted, costs the nonprofit money to facilitate), workplace giving platforms like America’s Charities solutions offers those AND additional payment method options. Giving employees the opportunity to donate through payroll deduction eliminates additional credit card fees plus enables them to make a larger impact overall without hurting their bottom-line. With payroll giving, employees’ donations are automatically deducted from their paychecks in small increments throughout the year. As a result, donors give on average five times more through workplace giving than the one-time donations donors make directly to charities through the internet. And charities, many of them helping our most vulnerable populations, end up receiving that much more funding and support.

    Unfortunately, employees who participated in the FSECC will no longer have the option to donate via payroll deduction. Florida’s bill to end the FSECC will do more than end the state charitable giving campaign; it will effectively prohibit state employees and charities from interacting and fundraising in the workplace. While employees can still go to their favorite charities’ websites, they are likely to give significantly less (if they even give at all) since payroll deduction is no longer an option.

    Kelly Otte, executive director of the PACE Center for Girls, shared with the Tallahassee Democratthat she’s happy to see Solix bow out. But she wants to see the FSECC go on. “Here in Leon County, human service nonprofits have all suffered because of the loss of FSECC dollars over the years,” Kelly Otte said. “What needs to happen is that we need to recognize the value of providing that [workplace] giving tool to our state employee neighbors.”

    We couldn’t agree more with Kelly.

    Workplace giving campaigns are an efficient way for nonprofits to raise money and are also a fun, meaningful way for employees to engage with charities and their peers through the giving process. Deciding to end a workplace giving campaign as established as the FSECC will negatively impact Florida’s community and the charities that support that community. Rather than end their once-successful campaign, they should look to qualified partners like America’s Charities for help. Other campaigns (whether private sector, Federal, or State-run) can learn from the FSECC’s experience and thrive if they take into consideration the best practices outlined above.

    Tweet me:.@AmerCharities: How to Kill a #WorkplaceGiving Campaign - Lessons from the Florida State Employees’ Charitable Campaign #EmployeeEngagement

    KEYWORDS: America’s Charities, workplace giving, Corporate Social Responsibility, charity vetting, Fundraising, Employee Engagement, Florida State Employees’ Charitable Campaign (FSECC), Fiscal agent, Donation Funds Management

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    SOURCE:National Grid


    “Something that stood out and appealed to me was the activity about building your own bridge out of paper, balloons and tape”, said Givanna Puran, New Hyde Park High School student. “This experience enlightened me by creating a bridge with the smallest amount of materials. It definitely showed me that small things can have a significant impact.”

    On March 20, the Melville Hub was buzzing with young women seeking leadership skills advice from our own leaders. The day’s activities were designed to inspire the next generation of empowered women. Fifty-four 10th, 11th and 12th graders from New Hyde Park, Connetquot and Sewanhaka high schools attended the Young Women’s Leadership conference that we co-hosted with Junior Achievement.

    Kicking off the event was Keith Rooney, Director of Customer Management, Government Relations and Community, discussing his own journey, including how the women in our workplace have inspired him throughout his career.  He also talked about the company’s commitment to equality, and our emphasis on sexual harassment policy under the current climate.

    The young women were placed into three groups for break-out sessions on …

    Panel discussions focused on getting exposed to different careers by learning the background on each of our employee panelists, getting recommendations on evaluating strengths and weaknesses, gaining valuable experience, and becoming self-sufficient.

    Business Communications to learn about social media, personal branding, resume tips, written correspondence and the importance of networking.

    Team building in a bridge building activity using balloons, paper and tape. The activity helps build communication, problem solving and leadership skills.

    And then, of course, room for a bit of balloon tossing/passing fun …

    Clara Giustino, Vice President, Project Development and Capital Delivery, closed out the day telling the students about her own career path as a female engineer; leaving a great impression. The young ladies left our facility with smiles, talks of coming back next year and loads of excitement of building on the skills they learned throughout the day.

    Special shout out to all the leaders who took part in this wonderful event:

    Brian Varga– (Junior Achievement Board Member), Alanna Russo, Shandy Arroyo, Courtney Acker, Sarah Kahrs, Rossalyn Quaye, Juana Silverio, Shelly Gonsalves, Jennifer Papazian, Cheryl Passee, Aimee Polizzotti, Therese Sullivan, Monica Guido, Susan Montano, Lauren Perry

    About National Grid

    National Grid (LSE: NG; NYSE: NGG) is an electricity, natural gas, and clean energy delivery company that supplies the energy for more than 20 million people through its networks in New York, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island. It is the largest distributor of natural gas in the Northeast. National Grid also operates the systems that deliver gas and electricity across Great Britain. 

    National Grid is transforming its electricity and natural gas networks to support the 21st century digital economy with smarter, cleaner, and more resilient energy solutions. Read more about the innovative projects happening across our footprint in The Democratization of Energy, an eBook written by National Grid’s US president, Dean Seavers. 

    For more information please visit our website. You can also follow us on Twitter, watch us on YouTube, friend us on Facebook, find our photos on Instagram.

    Tweet me:.@nationalgridus and @JA_USA co-host Young Women’s Leadership conference to inspire the next generation of empowered women

    KEYWORDS: National Grid, Young Women’s Leadership conference, junior achievement


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    SCE’s Charge Ready pilot final report details successes, lessons learned.

    SOURCE:Edison International


    “Our employees love it!”

    That’s what Kenny Tang, Cathay Bank facility manager, says of the 17 electric vehicle charging ports recently installed at the bank’s El Monte office through Southern California Edison’s Charge Ready pilot program.

    In fact, “Employees Love It” could be the title of the Charge Ready pilot final report filed by SCE today with the California Public Utilities Commission. The report shows that most of the charging stations installed through the pilot — 64 percent — went into workplace parking lots.

    Cathay Bank is one of 60 locations where more than 1,000 EV chargers have been added or are now in construction through the pilot program. Since the $22-million Charge Ready pilot launched in April 2016, SCE has been working with cities, employers, apartment building owners, charging equipment manufacturers and others to install EV charging stations at locations where plug-in EVs can be parked for four hours or more.

    More than 30 of Cathay Bank’s 300 El Monte employees drive EVs, and, before the company participated in the Charge Ready program, they only had six chargers to share among them.

    “We were looking to install more chargers, and we saw that Edison had this great program, so why not?” Tang said. Through Charge Ready, SCE provides the electrical infrastructure necessary for EV charging, as well as a rebate to help pay for the charging stations themselves.

    Other workplace sites that participated in the program include Hyundai Motor America in Fountain Valley and schools in the El Monte Union High School District.

    “Workplace charging provides an additional sense of security for people who drive electric vehicles to work because they don’t have to rely solely on charging at home to make it to work and back,” said Katie Sloan, SCE principal manager of Innovation, Development and Controls. “Additionally, those workers are helping to clean the air in the communities they drive through on their commute to work.”

    This is especially important if those workplaces are located in communities the state has identified as being disproportionately affected by air pollution, Sloan said. Nearly 50 percent of Charge Ready charging stations are located in these so-called “disadvantaged” communities, far surpassing the pilot’s initial goal, which was at least 10 percent.

    Other Charge Ready sites include public parking lots, hospitals, campuses, destination centers, apartment and condominium complexes and fleet parking areas. But the success of the pilot isn’t necessarily measured simply by the number of charging stations installed, but by whether those charging stations are used.

    “It’s exciting for me when I show up at a site and see every charger is being used,” said Simon Horton, SCE project manager. “At our largest deployment, which has 80 ports, I saw 77 of those were plugged in. It tells me that what we’re providing is very much needed.”

    The report also notes some lessons learned during the pilot that might help save money and increase participation in future charging installations, including:

    • Parking structures are less expensive to install than parking lots because they can accommodate surface-mounted conduit, requiring minimal site restoration following installation.  
    • Costs vary significantly depending on how many charging ports are on the site. The more ports at the site, the lower cost per port.
    • Apartments and condos are particularly challenging because parking is typically limited and mostly already assigned to residents. Large complexes often want to deploy charging stations throughout the grounds rather than in single, defined areas, creating intricate and expensive infrastructures.

    Later this year, SCE plans to seek the utilities commission’s approval for a second, much larger phase of Charge Ready that would provide infrastructure for many thousands more charging stations across its service area. While that request is being considered, SCE is asking for approval to support a minimum of 1,000 additional charge ports.

    “The success of the Charge Ready pilot is a critical element of SCE’s Clean Power and Electrification Pathway, which is our plan to help achieve the state’s progressive and important greenhouse gas reduction goals,” Sloan said.

    Tweet me:.@SCE’s Charge Ready pilot final report details successes, lessons learned: #evs #sustainability #transportation


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    by Tam Nguyen, Global Head of Sustainability; Contributors: Bruce Colvin, Kit Ng, Stew Taylor, and Peter Toth



    As part of Bechtel’s commitment to contribute 100 ideas to support the United Nation’s 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), this case study examines how we can improve the resilience and security of vulnerable communities against the impact and implications of natural hazards by delivering projects that combine nature-based (green), traditional infrastructure (grey) and disaster risk reduction (DRR) solutions.


    Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable.

    11.5: By 2030, significantly reduce the number of deaths and the number of people affected and substantially decrease the direct economic losses relative to global gross domestic product caused by disasters, including water-related disasters, with a focus on protecting the poor and people in vulnerable situations.


Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts.

    13.1: Strengthen resilience and adaptive capacity to climate-related hazards and natural disasters in all countries.
    13.2: Integrate climate change measures into national policies, strategies and planning.
    13.3: Improve education, awareness-raising and human and institutional capacity on climate change mitigation, adaptation, impact reduction and early warning.


    Revitalize the global partnership for sustainable development

    17.16: Enhance the global partnership for sustainable development, complemented by multi-stakeholder partnerships that mobilize and share knowledge, expertise, technology and financial resources, to support the achievement of the sustainable development goals in all countries, in particular developing countries.
    17.17: Encourage and promote effective public, public-private and civil society partnerships, building on the experience and resourcing strategies of partnerships.

    I. Challenge

    The impact of climate change on the built environment, including urban, peri-urban, rural, and coastal areas pose complex challenges on human security, economic development, and environmental protection. According to the United Nations, the frequency and intensity of natural disasters is increasing. In the past 20 years, nearly 4.4 billion people have been impacted by natural hazards, causing an estimated $1.7 trillion dollars in damage to communities and the environment worldwide. All reports indicate this trend will continue.

    While there are efforts to mitigate the effects of climate change like transitioning to low carbon fuels, there is also a parallel effort to adapt to these effects by rethinking and reorienting the way we design, build, and operate the physical environment while promoting economic development in these areas.

    One of the findings from our own text analytics, where we analyzed over 300,000 unique content and conversations, is that innovation was key to addressing the long-term challenge of climate adaptation and building more resilient communities.

    Over the past decade, enhanced approaches to design and build that has the dual effects of resiliency and sustainability have emerged. This is particularly important for communities dependent on land, water and other eco-system services for their economic livelihood. For example, building a physical structure (e.g., dams and dykes) to reduce the effects of a storm surge, yet blocks or obstructs the ability of locals in a coastal community to access critical fishing areas may improve resilience but it may not be sustainable. A more human-centric and systems approach is evolving that engages communities, optimizes nature-based structures (e.g., mangroves and seagrass) with physical engineering solutions, and incorporates emergency preparedness. These ideas draw from a body of knowledge and practical applications, including the Dutch concepts of “building with nature”, various engineering disciplines, and disaster risk reduction programs.

    II. Approach

    In 2017, Bechtel organized a workshop that involved the U.S. Agency for International Development Office for Disaster Assistance, Development Alternatives, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and Conservation International to establish a set of operating principles and objectives around how to deliver both resilient and sustainable outcomes in vulnerable communities by integrating nature-based (green), engineering (grey), and DRR solutions.

    The outcome from this workshop was the Green-Grey™ approach that would be the applied to all Bechtel’s Building Resilient Communities projects. We would also use technology, science and data wherever practicable to identify at-risk locations and vulnerable communities to build their resilience before the next natural hazard occurs. This includes communities with disadvantaged groups such as women, children, and people with disabilities. And, all projects would engage governments, communities, public aid agencies, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), and businesses to strengthen local knowledge, networks, and capacities. Through this effort we hope to help communities rebuild and recover quickly, safely and more sustainably, as well as improve relevant design, building and safety standards and policies.

    III. Key Learnings

    The green-grey approach is being applied to nearly eleven Building Resilient Community projects across four continents involving seventeen collaborating organizations. In our first flagship project with Conservation International, we are delivering a coastal protection project in the Philippines on several pilot sites of the Municipality of Concepcion (province of Iloilo). This municipality has been weakened significantly by the impacts of Typhoon Haiyan. Bechtel’s environmental scientists and engineers, and a team of sustainability specialists from Conservation International met with several communities and assessed their vulnerabilities. Each one had its own micro-economy, educational system, unique governance, politics, and language. Several communities had little access to basic human needs like clean water and reliable electricity. A critical and complicating issue was the importance of fishing as both an economic livelihood and food security. The early engagement with the community was essential, and we are updating a conceptual design that factored in green-grey resilience (e.g., mangroves and breakwater structures) with their economic sustainability. We are headed back to the community to get their final input before we help deliver a detailed design that would inform the construction plan.

    We hope this project, and others, encourages the integration of this type of solution into coastal protection policies on a regional and national scale in the Philippines.

    Tweet me:READ @Bechtel's #CaseStudy on building resilient communities with #greengrey approaches #SDGs #greeninfrastructure

    KEYWORDS: disaster risk reduction (DRR), Bechtel


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    Walmart, Feeding America and Nextdoor are working to inspire discussions on hunger



    BENTONVILLE, ARK., April 3, 2018 /3BL Media/ – Walmart kicked off its fifth annual nationwide “Fight Hunger. Spark Change.” campaign today online and in stores by asking its 150 million weekly shoppers to raise the bar to support the Feeding America network of 200 local food banks and the one in eight people who battle hunger in America at some point during the year.

    Walmart and Feeding America are doubling their meal goal to 200 million meals, increasing supplier participation to 14, and introducing the Walmart Credit Card as a new way for customers to get involved in the campaign. In another first, Walmart is uniting with social networking site, Nextdoor, to bring community leaders and neighbors together around a donated communal table to discuss the local impact of hunger in select cities.

    “In communities big and small across the country, there are families struggling with hunger,” said Kathleen McLaughlin, president of the Walmart Foundation and chief sustainability officer for Walmart. “By working together during this campaign with our suppliers, customers and friends at Feeding America, we can help secure 200 million meals that will help those who need it most.”

    The ‘’Fight Hunger. Spark Change.’’ campaign launches at a critical time. One in eight Americans (41 million), including one in six children (nearly 13 million), struggle with hunger at some point during the year, according to the USDA. Hunger also affects certain populations more profoundly including children, seniors, and Latino communities, where one in four children are in food insecure households.

    Walmart will start the campaign with a $1.5 million donation and aims to donate a total of $3 million to Feeding America based on the public’s social media engagement in the “Fight Hunger. Spark Change.” campaign. 

    Beginning today through April 30, Walmart is offering four easy ways that customers can get involved and fight hunger online, in-store and through social sharing to help secure meals for local food banks. Visit for further details. Here are the ways customers can participate in the fight against hunger.

    1. Purchase Product: For every participating product purchased at U.S. and Puerto Rico Walmart stores or on from April 2 – April 30, 2018, the supplier will donate the monetary equivalent of one meal ($0.10) on behalf of a Feeding America member food bank, up to applicable limits. Participating suppliers represent some of the nation’s leading food companies: General Mills, The Coca-Cola Company, Kellogg, Kraft Heinz, PepsiCo/Frito-Lay/Quaker, Bush Brothers, Clorox Sales Company, Conagra, Motts, Unilever, Maruchan, Pinnacle Foods, Post, and JM Smucker.
    2. Donate money to your local Feeding America food bank at participating Walmart stores in the U.S. and Puerto Rico. Donations can be made at the register to local Feeding America food banks in increments of $1, $2, $5 or an amount chosen by the customer. Donating is also an option at the self-checkout (Scan and Go) register. When customers click “Finish & Pay” on totals over $10, it will trigger the prompt with details on donating.
    3. Make an online act of support: For every traceable post of campaign content with #FightHunger on Instagram and for every traceable share or retweet on Facebook and Twitter of campaign content, Walmart will donate $10.00 to Feeding America and for every click on the support button on the program website, Walmart will donate $1.00 to Feeding America, up to $1.5 million.
    4. Use the Walmart Credit Card: Synchrony Bank will donate the monetary equivalent of one meal ($0.10) for each Walmart Credit Card transaction made at Walmart stores and on during the campaign, up to $750,000.

    “Hunger impacts every single county in the United States. Every day, the Feeding America network of 200 member food banks are on the ground helping children and families who need it most, but we know that we can’t end hunger alone. Feeding America is grateful to Walmart for its long-standing commitment to fighting hunger in communities across the country.  Through the ‘Fight Hunger. Spark Change.’ campaign, Walmart has created an opportunity for suppliers and customers to join the fight to end hunger. We hope everyone is inspired to take action and support their neighbors in need,” said Matt Knott, President of Feeding America.

    During this year’s campaign, Walmart and Feeding America are collaborating with Nextdoor, a private social media network active in 170,000 neighborhoods nationwide. Nextdoor is inviting community leaders, city officials, local chefs, the local food bank, journalists and area neighbors to come together around handcrafted tables made by Neighbor’s Table, which will remain as a gift in the community from Neighbor’s Table, to discuss how to best combat hunger locally. Following the community gatherings, members of each community are invited to learn more about ways they can take action to help their local food bank and will be encouraged to meet and connect.

    To download and use in its entirety with permission: A short film by Walmart and Nextdoor of the first event in Charlotte, North Carolina:

    To embed the short film:

    “It’s a tremendous honor to partner with local food banks and community leaders across the country to support those facing hunger in our neighborhoods,” said Nextdoor Co-founder and CEO Nirav Tolia. “Walmart continues to step up to take action against hunger and help local Feeding America food banks, and this undertaking aligns perfectly with our commitment to help neighbors come together to build stronger communities in America. The food crisis that is impacting millions of Americans every day is a huge challenge, but neighbors coming together in local communities can make a true difference."

    As the nation’s largest grocer, Walmart is in a unique leadership position to positively impact the issue of hunger in the United States. In October 2014, Walmart announced a commitment to create a more sustainable food system, with a focus on improving the affordability of food by lowering the “true cost” of food for both customers and the environment, increasing access to food, making healthier eating easier, and improving the safety and transparency of the food chain. This commitment includes a goal of providing 4 billion meals to those struggling with hunger in the U.S. by 2020.

    To learn more about the campaign and to track donations, visit


    About Walmart
    Walmart Inc. (NYSE: WMT) helps people around the world save money and live better - anytime and anywhere - in retail stores, online, and through their mobile devices. Each week, nearly 270 million customers and members visit our more than 11,700 stores under 59 banners in 28 countries and eCommerce websites. With fiscal year 2018 revenue of $500.3 billion, Walmart employs approximately 2.3 million associates worldwide. Walmart continues to be a leader in sustainability, corporate philanthropy and employment opportunity. Additional information about Walmart can be found by visiting, on Facebook at and on Twitter at

    Tweet me:.@Walmart "Fight Hunger. Spark Change." campaign gives communities a seat at the table for #HungerRelief @Nextdoor @FeedingAmerica #FightHunger

    KEYWORDS: Walmart, The Walmart Foundation, Feeding America, Nextdoor

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    SOURCE:PNC Financial Services Group


    WASHINGTON, D.C., April 3, 2018 /3BL Media/ – Pro Bono Institute (PBI) has selected Gregory B. Jordan and the Legal Department of The PNC Financial Services Group, Inc. (PNC) as the recipient of the 2018 Laurie D. Zelon Pro Bono Award for its pro bono efforts and leadership within the legal community to increase pro bono legal services and improve access to justice. The award was presented at a lunch reception at the 2018 PBI Annual Conference at the Capital Hilton in Washington, D.C., on February 22.

    PNC’s commitment to “helping to build strong communities and create financial opportunities for individuals, families and businesses” shines through in its dedication to pro bono. PNC has engaged its legal staff in pro bono across every legal department office: Chicago, Cincinnati, Kansas City, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, and Washington, D.C.

    Under Jordan’s leadership, PNC began developing its pro bono program in December 2013. One of the department’s first steps was to form a pro bono committee, chaired by Mark Gittelman, Chief Practice Counsel for Asset Recovery at PNC. Gittelman and his colleagues spent months researching pro bono opportunities, drafting policies, and addressing common concerns, like malpractice insurance and matter management. The committee created an infrastructure, including a website to manage the program and forms to streamline volunteer engagement. With 30 engagements in the second half of 2014 and more than 70 in 2015, the project far surpassed its goals. Those numbers also show the program is achieving its goal of ingraining pro bono work in the culture of the company’s legal employees.

    “Greg and his team have built a strong culture of pro bono. Every member is encouraged and empowered to engage in it,” said Eve Runyon, PBI President and CEO. “Creating a culture that embraces and sustains pro bono engagement does not happen overnight. We’re proud to recognize PNC's efforts, time, and dedication through this award.”

    PNC’s lawyers are engaged in a range of pro bono projects, including: helping aspiring small-business owners with the legal aspects of forming their business, and creating wills and living wills for senior citizens. Staff are involved with initiatives like The Name Change Project, which helps transgender people navigate the legal aspects of changing their names to match their identities, and the Special Immigrant Juvenile Project, which assists guardians obtain legal custody of refugee children.

    PNC lawyers are also providing legal services to Guardian Angels Medical Service Dogs to assist disabled veterans, and to youths in the Pittsburgh and Philadelphia foster care system, making sure that, while other lawyers are looking out for their parents’ interests, someone is advocating for them. The program also recently added a Pittsburgh location to the work PNC’s lawyers in Philadelphia have been doing with the Pennsylvania Innocence Project. PNC’s pro bono program has also added legal service clinics in more cities across the company’s footprint, and begun coordinating efforts between SeniorLAW Center locations in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh to protect the rights of older Pennsylvanians.

    “We are honored by this recognition from Pro Bono Institute, a leader in the provision of pro bono by law firms and legal departments,” Jordan said. “PNC strongly advocates for the physical, financial and personal well-being of our communities. Providing pro bono legal services to the most vulnerable among us is one important way we can deliver on this value.”

    To learn more about PBI’s award recipient, visit the 2018 Laurie D. Zelon Pro Bono Award page on PBI’s website.

    About PBI’s Laurie D. Zelon Pro Bono Award
    The award is given each year to an individual or organization that has provided exemplary pro bono service. It honors the leadership of Associate Justice of the California Court of Appeal Laurie D. Zelon, who was one of the originators of the Law Firm Pro Bono Challenge®. Past recipients include chief legal officers from Aetna, Inc., BNY Mellon, Exelon Corporation, General Electric Company, Microsoft Corporation, Merck & Co., Inc., Intel Corporation, and among others.

    About Pro Bono Institute
    Founded in 1996, Pro Bono Institute (PBI) is a Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit organization. With an unparalleled depth of knowledge, resources and expertise, PBI is the respected resource for all things pro bono. Through PBI’s work with law firms, in-house legal departments, and public interest organizations, PBI is the global thought leader in exploring, identifying, evaluating, catalyzing, and taking to scale new approaches to and resources for the provision of legal services to the poor, disadvantaged, and other individuals or groups unable to secure legal assistance to address critical problems. For more information, visit

    About The PNC Financial Services Group, Inc.
    Operating primarily in 19 states and the District of Columbia, PNC provides retail and business banking, including a full range of lending products; specialized services for corporations and government entities, including corporate banking, real estate finance and asset-based lending; wealth management and asset management.

    Tweet me:.@PNCBank legal department receives 2018 Laurie D. Zelon #ProBono Award for exemplary service #csr #finance

    KEYWORDS: PNC Bank, Pro Bono Institute

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    SOURCE:America's Charities


    Is it better to manage your company's workplace giving charitable funds distribution in-house or to work with a 3rd party partner? 

    One Fortune 500 company was stunned when it calculated the cost of managing its company’s in-house system for processing employee charitable payroll contributions. The company assumed it was making a fiscally prudent decision by managing this process itself. However, after analyzing what it took to manage its homegrown system, the company quickly learned its assumption was false.

    Ater making some changes to its proccess, the Fortune 500 company ended up scaling its impact and cutting costs by more than $225,000. How did they do that?

    Whether you're a Fortune 500 company in a similar boat or you're a small company that would like to achieve Fortune 500-level results (on a small budget) - it's possible! 

    Find out how by downloading "Charitable Funds Management Case Study: How One Fortune 500 Company Scaled Its Impact and Cut Costs by More Than $225,000."



    Tweet me:.@AmerCharities: How to manage and distribute your company's #employeegiving charitable donations like a Fortune 500 company, but on a small business budget #WorkplaceGiving #CSR

    KEYWORDS: America’s Charities, workplace giving, employee giving, Corporate Social Responsibility, charity vetting, payroll deduction giving, Fundraising

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    SOURCE:Blackbaud Corporate Solutions


    In this episode of the Champions for Social Good podcast, Rachel Hutchisson, vice president of Corporate Citizenship and Philanthropy at Blackbaud, speaks with Justin Bakule executive director of the Shared Value Initiative (SVI), about the concept of shared value and how SVI is helping advance the practice of shared value through best practice sharing, capacity building, research, and its annual Shared Value Leadership Summit. Justin explains what shared value is at its core, and how it can help companies gain greater insights into their customers that lead to long-term value creation.  Concrete examples of companies practicing shared value are highlighted throughout the episode to help listeners understand the various ways shared value can be incorporated into a company’s core business model. Rachel and Justin also talk about how shared value and corporate social responsibility (CSR) can complement each other both directly and indirectly. Finally, Justin shares how the Shared Value Initiative is building an enterprise diagnostic tool that will allow companies to track their progress in incorporating shared value into their business practices and help them compare their progress against their plans. Listen now!

    Blackbaud's Champions for Social Good podcast, hosted by Rachel Hutchisson, VP of Corporate Citizenship & Philanthropy, brings together thought leaders and practitioners in the social good movement to share learnings, educate and inspire change across the sector. Subscribe to the Champions for Social Good Podcast on iTunesGoogle Play MusicStitcher, or your favorite podcast player.


    To learn more about Blackbaud, the world’s leading cloud software company powering social good, and about how we are helping companies advance their social impact, visit

    Tweet me:.@jbakule of @SVInitiative explains how companies can put #sharedvalue into practice on the newest episode of the Champions for Social Good podcast hosted by @blackbaud's @RachelHutchssn

    KEYWORDS: Blackbaud Corporate Solutions

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    SOURCE:Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption


    Israel is five years old. His mother and father say he makes friends wherever he goes, but it’s a far cry from how his life started.

    At just five years old, Israel has spent more than four years in foster care. He was put into eight different foster homes, he was separated from his siblings and he was labeled difficult and “unadoptable.” At only three years old, the system gave up on him.

    But that’s not where Israel’s story ends. Thankfully, The Milner family came into Israel’s life as his foster parents. Lucky number 8. They say that they knew Israel was meant to be a forever part of their family and after nearly two years in their home, they could adopt him.

    Israel’s adoption was finalized on March 2, 2018, after more than four years in foster care. This little five-year-old is now happy, healthy and living the life he deserves.

    “Israel truly completed our family. Foster to adopt has changed our whole family, and gave us all a bigger purpose, to love children who need forever homes,” said Israel’s mom.

    Welcome home, Israel! 

    The Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption believes that Unadoptable is Unacceptable.

    Help us find more forever families for the children who have been waiting the longest for a loving family.

    To learn more about the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption and its mission to dramatically increase adoptions from foster care, visit

    Tweet me:At only 3 years old, Israel was deemed "unadoptable" by the #fostercare system. 2 years later @DTFA found him his #foreverfamily. Unadoptable is unacceptable #adoption

    KEYWORDS: Dave Thomas, foster care, adoption, Recruiter, forever family, Wendy’s

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    SOURCE:Smithfield Foods


    COLUMBIA, Md., April 4, 2018 /3BL Media/ — The Smithfield Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Smithfield Foods, Inc., and The Global Good Fund, are pleased to announce their partnership to launch the Veterans Leadership Program. The Global Good Fund, a leadership development enterprise built by and for social entrepreneurs, will identify six veteran entrepreneurs to take part in an eight-month program focused on creating sustainable jobs and supporting job search and placement for underemployed and unemployed veterans.

    According to the Small Business Administration, there are 2.5 million veteran-owned businesses that employ more than 5 million people. While many military leadership traits translate well into business, many veteran entrepreneurs face unique challenges in growing and scaling their businesses.

    “Smithfield’s generous support of the Veterans Leadership Program will provide new learning opportunities and resources for our participants – catalysts for personal and professional development,” said Carrie Rich, co-founder and chief executive officer of The Global Good Fund. “This partnership speaks to Smithfield’s impressive commitment to finding innovative ways of making a long-term impact for veterans.”

    Funded by a $400,000 grant from the Smithfield Foundation, the Veterans Leadership Program will support the needs of its participants through personalized leadership development, executive mentoring, and targeted capital to invigorate leadership growth.

    “Part of Smithfield’s social purpose is to honor the service and sacrifice of American veterans. As such, we are proud to support veteran social entrpenuers as they build successful businesses. Through social entrepreneurship, these companies will not only benefit veterans, but also provide solutions to social issues. As a company firmly rooted in sustainability, this is a ‘win win’,” said Keira Lombardo, senior vice president of corporate affairs for Smithfield Foods and president of the Smithfield Foundation. “We are committed to showing our gratitude for these men and women and look forward to witnessing the enduring impact the Veterans Leadership Program will have for years to come.”

    Smithfield has a long history of supporting veterans and military families through volunteerism, food and charitable donations, and partnerships. In 2016, Smithfield introduced two new veterans' initiatives — Operation 4000! and Smithfield Salutes. Smithfield Salutes is an employee engagement program that helps veterans working at Smithfield in their transition to civilian life. Through Operation 4000!, Smithfield is working to employ 4,000 veterans—10 percent of its U.S. workforce—by 2020.

    To learn more about Smithfield's support of veterans, visit

    For more information about The Global Good Fund, please visit

    About Smithfield Foods

    Smithfield Foods is a $15 billion global food company and the world's largest pork processor and hog producer. In the United States, the company is also the leader in numerous packaged meats categories with popular brands including Smithfield, Eckrich, Nathan's Famous, Farmland, Armour, Farmer John, Kretschmar, John Morrell, Cook's, Gwaltney, Carando, Margherita, Curly's, Healthy Ones, Morliny, Krakus and Berlinki. Smithfield Foods is committed to providing good food in a responsible way and maintains robust animal care, community involvement, employee safety, environmental and food safety and quality programs. For more information, visit

    About The Global Good Fund

    Through its Fellowship program, The Global Good Fund invests in the human capital of high potential leaders committed to social impact around the world.  Fellows are individually paired with senior business executives who serve as mentors and are provided with seasoned leadership development coaches, assessment resources, a network of peer leaders, content expertise, and targeted financial capital.   The Global Good Fund created the 360 MIRROR – the first evidence-based leadership assessment for social entrepreneurs and impact driven corporate leaders – which is available to the public, modeled after the proven tools and services of The Global Good Fund Fellowship since its launch in 2012.

    Tweet me:.@SmithfieldFoods and the @GlobalGoodFund announce custom leadership development program for #veteran entrepreneurs

    Contact Info:

    Diana Souder
    Smithfield Foods, Inc.
    +1 (757) 357-1675

    Jamie Turow
    The Global Good Fund
    +1 (301) 233-5254

    KEYWORDS: Smithfield Foods, The Smithfield Foundation, The Global Good Fund, Veterans Leadership Program

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    Scotiabank Jamaica announced the eighth cohort of small business owners in the 2018 edition of the Scotia Vision Achiever Programme last Wednesday.

    The intensive 17-week course led by renowned business coach Marcia Woon Choy begins in April...

    Continue reading on Jamaica Observer

    Tweet me:.@Scotiabank Scotia Vision Achiever Programme to empower eighth cohort of small business owners @jamaicaobserver

    KEYWORDS: Scotiabank, entrepreneurship, professional development, Jamaica Observer, Scotia Vision Achiever Programme

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    By Tina Morefield, Director, Community Engagment, AT&T



    During April, National Volunteer Month, we’re celebrating our employees who go above and beyond to make a positive impact on their community. Throughout the month, employees across the country will be participating in marquee volunteer events with City Year Care Force.

    This year, we’re also celebrating 4,386 employees who have received the President’s Volunteer Service Award for volunteering more than 100 hours during 2017. The efforts of these incredible volunteers serve as an inspiration to us both in and outside of AT&T, and we’re proud to highlight a few of their amazing stories.

    Building a Better Future through Mentoring

    AT&T Marketing VP Caroline Leach believes education and mentoring open doors for people. She leads mentoring circles with the Women of AT&T and HACEMOS employee resource groups (ERGs) to help others build a better future. Together, these ERGs have over 36,000 members nationally. “It’s deeply fulfilling to see people take action toward becoming their best selves,” Caroline says of mentoring. “The culture at AT&T makes this possible, by supporting and encouraging each employee’s development through their work and involvement in making the world a better place.”

    Promoting Diversity in the Workplace and Beyond

    AT&T Lead Member of Technical Staff Jackson Ku is helping to promote cultural awareness and inclusion in the workplace and in the community. He is a lead mentor in multiple AT&T ERGs and community organizations, including OASIS (The Organization of Asian Indians at AT&T) and InspirASIAN, a non-profit, educational organization representing Asian Pacific Islanders. Jackson is also active in supporting DINE (Discover differences, Include one another, Navigate new perspectives, Eat), an organization that seeks to highlight the cultural differences, individual experiences and unique perspectives of AT&T employees through a variety of discussion-based dinner events.

    Continuing a Family Tradition of Service

    AT&T Technical Process & Quality Professional Christina Kuse was inspired to serve by her great-great grandmother Rosalie Keli’inoi, the first woman elected to the Hawai’i Territorial Legislature in 1925. In 2017, Christina served more than 1,000 hours as an AT&T volunteer with ERGs including HACEMOSIDEAL and LEAGUE, and. Her service is helping to create a supportive environment for opportunity youth, disabled and LGBTQA people where they live, work and play.

    Since 2012, thousands of our employees have been honored with the PVSA award, and these are just a few of their incredible stories. Check back here to read more about our employee volunteers making a difference, and join us in celebrating our volunteers on social media using the hashtag #ATTimpact.

    Tweet me:.@ConnectToGood "Celebrating our Employees Living a Life of Service" #ATTimpact #NationalVolunteerMonth

    KEYWORDS: AT&T, national volunteer month, City Year Care Force, President’s Volunteer Service Award, Mentoring, diversity, LGBTQA, Service, impact


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    By Joe Arvai, Max McGraw Professor of Sustainable Enterprise, and Director of the Erb Institute for Global Sustainable Enterprise, University of Michigan

    SOURCE:University of Michigan: Erb Institute | Business for Sustainability


    Between 2011 and 2017, Joe Arvai was a member of the U.S. EPA's Chartered Science Advisory Board. He is now among a group of scientists that is suing the agency over Scott Pruitt's actions.

    In 2017, just a few days after Donald Trump was sworn in as president, a freshman GOP lawmaker with only a few days on the job of his own, proposed House Resolution 861. Its language was ominous: “The Environmental Protection Agency shall terminate on December 31, 2018.”

    I was in my sixth year on the EPA’s Science Advisory Board when H.R.861 was introduced. When I called senior EPA colleagues to assess the threat, I was assured that it would never happen; the nation’s environmental laws, and the agency that makes and enforces them, could not be killed in two years by a 10-word resolution written by a rookie congressman.

    Then along came Scott Pruitt.

    Since taking over as administrator, Pruitt has overseen the nominations and appointments of a diverse array of lobbyists and corporate insiders while at the same time letting key vacancies languish. He has put the brakes on enforcement, slowed or suspended progressive regulatory actions initiated by his predecessors, and defended draconian budget cuts proposed by the White House.

    Continue reading on The Conversation

    Tweet me:READ: What is the path forward for the EPA? Forging stronger partnerships with business to craft sensible, adaptable regulations that balance #environmental, #social, and economic conditions. @DecisionLab @erbinstitute @ConversationUS

    KEYWORDS: EPA, university of michigan, Erb Institute, Sustainable Business, Scott Pruitt, Joe Arvai, The Conversation, Environmental Protection Agency, thought leadership, sustainability, Corporate Social Responsibility

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    SOURCE:General Mills


    Never did I imagine that a brief trip to Africa could have such a profound impact.

    In the course of just a few days, I learned how the work of Partners in Food Solutions (PFS) is improving the food value chain across Africa and how that work is also improving livelihoods in the most surprising ways.

    While my time in Africa opened my eyes to levels of material need I’d not seen before, it also filled my heart with awe at the power of human resilience.

    First, let me tell you a little about PFS.

    Founded by General Mills in 2008, PFS is a nonprofit organization cultivating a sustainable African food industry. I have the honor of serving PFS as a board member and I recently had the opportunity to take part in a Board of Directors trip to Nairobi, Kenya, in February.

    Personally and professionally, I’m a huge fan of the PFS model. The organization aggregates the know-how, experience and skills of employee volunteers from leading global food companies and shares that knowledge with small and growing food businesses in Africa. It’s one of the smartest forms of “intellectual philanthropy” that I’ve seen.

    The idea here is simple: if PFS can help build and strengthen African food businesses by transferring knowledge and technology then they can create increased demand for African ingredients from farmers and local suppliers which in turn could increase food supplies locally and help Africa to feed itself.

    Assisting Africa in developing a stable food supply chain is critically important work given that one in four sub-Saharan Africans lacks adequate food to live a healthy, active life.

    A major part of our trip entailed visiting food producers (clients) that are benefitting from PFS services and support. Our first client visit was to Soy Afric, a Kenyan-owned and operated agro-processing company specializing in soy-based supplementary food such as corn-soy blend (CSB).

    The company was founded by Cornelius Muthuri to meet the needs of non-governmental organizations like World Food Program, UNICEF and USAID– all of which have significant demand for local suppliers in its food aid programs.

    Soy Afric is one of PFS’ oldest clients. Over the years, PFS has helped the company on a range of projects, from process optimization to marketing strategy development.

    Having been schooled in the workplace organization method “5S” (sort, set in order, shine, standardize and sustain) by General Mills’ Continuous Improvement specialists over the years.

    Next, we made our way across bumpy and dusty roads to visit Mama Millers, a family-owned company specializing in milling maize (corn) grain. Its founder and CEO, Bernard Wainaina, offered an impressive overview of his company, its history, products, employees, challenges and business opportunities. But the best was yet to come.

    As his eyes began to sparkle and a smile broadened across his face, Wainaina began to tell us about his company’s Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) efforts.

    My first thought was … “What did he say? Corporate Social Responsibility? There are not even paved roads here …”

    As he finished, it was clear he had grabbed the attention and amazement of all.

    A few of the CSR projects that Wainaina started at his small company of 20 employees include:

    • Building a safe bridge across the snake-filled Sibwani River. The previous bridge was unsafe and put individuals at great risk, requiring those who dared to cross it to do so slowly, on their hands and knees, to avoid the risk of falling into the river below.
    • Starting an employee savings and investment program that includes education and mentoring in an effort to improve the standard of living for employees who live in a slum area of Thika.
    • Fortifying its products to improve the health and nutrition of its consumers. Despite significant supply chain challenges including an unreliable source of fortification premix, Wainaina stayed focused on his intent to fortify.  After making significant changes to his ingredient suppliers, he now proudly states that Mama Millers is consistently fortifying, fulfilling the company’s important brand promise.

    I learned some very important lessons during my time in Africa:

    1. African food producers and entrepreneurs embody a level of determination and resilience unmatched by many.
    2. Notwithstanding scarce resources (from water to finances to access to decent roads), African entrepreneurs believe in and are demonstrating innovative and impactful corporate social responsibility practices.
    3. Material possessions do not drive happiness. In the face of less (stuff), there seemed to be room for more (meaningful things in life) … more friendship, more happiness, more laughter and more compassion for one another.

    Informed and grateful, I left with a strong desire to do more for those who have less and to live the lessons learned.

    If you’re inspired to learn more and get involved at Partners in Food Solutions, visit

    This post by Mary Jane Melendez, executive director of the General Mills Foundation, was originally published on LinkedIn.

    Tweet me:Learn how @PFSCommunity is improving the food value chain across Africa and how that work is improving livelihoods in surprising ways @GeneralMills

    KEYWORDS: General Mills, General Mills Foundation, Partners in Food Solutions, africa


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    SOURCE:Sea Change Radio


    Sometimes we lose sight of what Audrey Hepburn called “that old-fashioned idea that others come first and you come second.” This week on Sea Change Radio, we hear from ProPublica reporter Lisa Song who has done some recent reporting on a little known problem that could have very big effects: the impact of illegal overbuilding of levee systems in the Midwestern flood-prone regions of the Mississippi River. The folks responsible are flouting the rules and lobbying to have them changed. Their argument is that they’re just trying to protect the communities they represent, but the effect is to make other communities far more vulnerable to flood. The valuable reporting that Song and her colleagues are doing to expose the issue will hopefully help to arm future flood victims against the rising tide of these  water district bullies.

    Tweet me:This week's @SeaChangeRadio - @LisaLSong of @ProPublica speaks to host @SweetAl about the levee wars along the Mississippi River

    KEYWORDS: flooding, sea change radio, levee systems, lisa song, Mississippi River, sustainable development

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    Collecting and analyzing information on companies’ sustainability risks, opportunities, and performance are essential to ensure market efficiency, optimal allocation of capital and reduction of information asymmetry. Vigeo Eiris is an independent rating agency, which plays an important role in translating companies’ environmental, social and governance (ESG) performance into tangible assessments for investors and other stakeholders.  We spoke to Elise Attal, Institutional Affairs Manager at Vigeo Eiris, who talked about the critical nature of transparency in building trust among investors. ​

    What role does sustainability reporting play in companies’ Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) efforts, and how does Vigeo Eiris fit into this ecosystem?
    Our role is to assess companies’ level of commitment and ability to recognize their responsibility for risk factors that are material both to their stakeholders and themselves. This is why we believe reporting is an essential component of CSR, as companies have to commit to taking stakeholder expectations into consideration, and be accountable to them. Commitment and accountability are two key aspects of CSR which must be based on understandable, comparable, reliable and accurate reporting, supported by qualitative and quantitative indicators. 
    To evaluate companies’ CSR performances, Vigeo Eiris has developed its own reporting assessment framework, based on our unique Equitics© Methodology. Our research framework is built upon six domains: the environment, community involvement, business behavior, human rights, governance and human resources. Our framework is highly consistent with the GRI Sustainability Reporting Standards: 96% of issues covered by the GRI framework are also included in our assessment.

    CSR reporting is gaining more importance in the business world, with investor interest in ESG data on the rise. What is driving this trend?
    Thanks to legislation, such as the EU Directive on Non-Financial Reporting, finally being transposed into national legislation, and companies’ commitment to improve their disclosure practices, CSR reporting is on the rise. As expectations and scrutiny from all stakeholders continue growing, companies have to become more transparent.  In addition to experiencing peer pressure, they also get a positive incentive to improve their CSR commitments, measures and results. Increased transparency, in turn, decreases information gap and builds trust among investors, who are concerned with sustainability issues. This allows them to make investment decisions based on robust CSR risk and opportunity assessments. 
    Vigeo Eiris makes assessments mainly based on data published in CSR reports. How does the use of different reporting frameworks play out in your work?
    We believe multiple reporting frameworks are instrumental in helping companies, as they give them appropriate tools to choose from and refer to. However, as stakeholders are now increasingly asking for better comparability of reporting, company metrics and KPIs, we believe all players and reporting framework providers should pursue their efforts to improve convergence between existing approaches. As such, we welcomed the Corporate Reporting Dialogue, which was launched in March 2016 by key players (GRI, IIRC, CDP, CDSB, IFRS, ISO, FASB & SASB) and provides a comparison of these frameworks, regarding their respective definitions of materiality and their various approaches to CSR reporting.
    What are the most pressing challenges facing sustainable finance, and how does Vigeo Eiris plan to contribute to solutions?
    Many challenges remain to further develop sustainable finance and socially responsible investment practices, and to align the investment community with long-term sustainability considerations. The increasing recognition of the material relevance of ESG factors motivated Vigeo Eiris to support an initiative calling for all issuers to publish their ESG ratings on all financial instruments as standard practice. 22 major European investors signed up to this initiative, which will scale up existing best practice and has the potential to harmonize how issuers communicate their extra-financial ratings. We are aware of these numerous and significant challenges and will endeavor to respond to stakeholder demands regarding sustainable finance.

    As an intermediary between companies and investors, how do you see the future of ESG disclosure?
    Following the release of the High-Level Expert Group’s interim report on sustainable finance and the current EU consultation, we encourage institutions such as the European Commission to support mandatory ESG assessments by ESG rating agencies for all European listed companies, as well as mandatory disclosure of ESG ratings by companies, just like they do with financial ratings.  
    We therefore would like to see companies disclosing their ESG rating and ranking more systematically. Reporting should be seen as an efficient tool for stakeholder engagement, internally and externally, and not as a compliance burden.  
    With the GRI Sustainability Reporting Standards, companies are able to unlock the transformative power of transparency, while contributing to the common sustainability agenda and reaping the benefits of increased stakeholder trust. Join the global community of organizations advancing the transparency agenda by joining the GRI GOLD Community. 

    Tweet me:Evaluating ESG risks, opportunities and performance are essential to ensure market efficiency and optimal allocation of capital. In this Q&A @EliseAttal of @VigeoEiris talks about trends driving #investor interest in #ESG & transparency in building trust: ​


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    Andy Mann describes the creation of The Scotts Miracle-Gro Foundation Water Positive Docuseries

    SOURCE:Scotts Miracle-Gro


    Over the last year The Scotts Miracle-Gro Foundation partnered with Andy Mann, a world-renowned National Geographic photographer and adventurer, to document the problem of nutrient pollution in America’s lakes and watersheds. In this video Andy reflects, “I’ve traveled the world sharing the heartbreaking stories of our planet’s water issues, and I’ve never seen anything like it.”

    View our full docuseries and learn more about water quality issues and solutions here. 

    Follow Andy Mann on Instagram.

    About The Scotts Miracle-Gro Foundation

    The Scotts Miracle-Gro Foundation is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization with a mission to inspire, connect, and cultivate communities of purpose in the areas of environmental improvement, youth empowerment, and community gardens and greenspaces. The Foundation carries out its mission by funding qualifying charitable entities that support its core initiatives in the form of grants, endowments, and multi-year capital gifts. The Foundation is deeply rooted in preserving our planet, empowering the next generation, and helping create healthier communities. For more information, visit

    Tweet me:Andy Mann discusses the creation of the @Scotts_MGro Foundation #WaterPositive docuseries #algalbloom #freshwater #waterpollution

    KEYWORDS: Andy Mann, The Scotts Miracle-Gro Foundation, algal blooms, fresh water

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