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An Exploration of the Magical World of Mushrooms

Chelsea Green - Mon, Aug 18, 2014 - 12:59 pm

What would it take to grow mushrooms in space? How can mushroom cultivation reduce our dependence on herbicides? Is it possible to use mushrooms to clean up oil spills? For more than twenty years, mycologist Tradd Cotter has been investigating the fascinating world of mushrooms and researching the answers to questions just like these. In his […]

The post An Exploration of the Magical World of Mushrooms appeared first on Chelsea Green.

Categories: Sustainability

Why the world's biggest companies are investing in recycling

Green Business News - Mon, Aug 18, 2014 - 02:11 am

Interest in recycling is looping back around. Here's $100 million to make that happen.

Why the world's biggest companies are investing in recycling
Categories: Green Business

Kellogg's sets crunch time goals for climate

Green Business News - Mon, Aug 18, 2014 - 02:01 am

All suppliers will be required to reduce, measure and disclose their greenhouse gas emissions by the end of 2015.

Kellogg's sets crunch time goals for climate
Categories: Green Business

The Solutions Project's green superheroes use science and stardom

Green Business News - Mon, Aug 18, 2014 - 02:01 am

Josh Fox, Marko Krapels, Mark Jacobson and Mark Ruffalo join forces to boost renewables. Backed by science and full of popular appeal, it's a smash.

The Solutions Project's green superheroes use science and stardom
Categories: Green Business

How good water stewardship becomes a 'license to grow'

Green Business News - Mon, Aug 18, 2014 - 02:01 am

Many businesses miss the connection between the water strategy within their own walls and stewardship outside them. Here's how to tweak that thinking.

How good water stewardship becomes a 'license to grow'
Categories: Green Business

Andersen Windows opens up on sustainability vision

Green Business News - Mon, Aug 18, 2014 - 02:01 am

The company wants to do a massive retrofit of the 1 billion residential windows that perform below energy efficiency standards.

Andersen Windows opens up on sustainability vision
Categories: Green Business

'Industry 4.0' and the next wave of embedded machines

Green Business News - Mon, Aug 18, 2014 - 02:01 am

Connecting industrial equipment to the Internet of Things isn't just cool. It's a way to make automation more efficient.

'Industry 4.0' and the next wave of embedded machines
Categories: Green Business

TIFFANY & CO. RELEASES RE-DESIGNED 2013 CORPORATE RESPONSIBILITY REPORT

CSR Wire - Tue, Aug 05, 2014 - 02:37 pm

  

 TIFFANY & CO. RELEASES RE-DESIGNED 2013 CORPORATE RESPONSIBILITY REPORT

 New York, NY (August 4, 2014)—Tiffany & Co. today released its annual Corporate Responsibility Report. The full report can be accessed at the Company’s website (tiffany.com/sustainability, #tiffanycsr) and covers Tiffany’s corporate sustainability initiatives and long history of environmental and social responsibility.

 “The report details our strong, industry-leading commitment to business practices that are socially and environmentally responsible,” said Tiffany & Co. Chairman and CEO Michael J. Kowalski. “As leaders in the jewelry industry, we believe there is both a business imperative and a moral obligation to look beyond our own practices to support responsible behavior throughout the entire jewelry supply chain.”

In our fourth year of formal sustainability reporting, our 2013 Corporate Responsibility Report and website has been redesigned and revamped. The Company’s CSR report and website have been redesigned to ensure the information continues to be meaningful, robust and allows us to connect to our diverse stakeholders on the issues they care about.

 The 2013 Corporate Responsibility Report provides an overview of Tiffany’s most important environmental and social challenges, with a focus on responsible mining and sourcing of our raw materials, ranging from diamonds and gold to the paper in our iconic Blue Boxes and bags. The following highlights specific areas of the report, which aligns with the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) G4 “In Accordance – Core” and United Nations Global Compact reporting frameworks. Tiffany & Co. is among the first retailers to use the progressive G4 framework to report on our economic, environmental and social performance.

 Responsible Mining: As long-time sustainability leaders in the jewelry industry, Tiffany strives to advance rigorous responsible mining standards. With the Initiative for Responsible Mining Assurance (IRMA), significant progress was made in 2013 toward the development of a globally recognized standard for mining. After years of productive dialogue, IRMA recently released its draft standard for public comment with the plan to pilot the standard in 2015.

Tiffany also invests in diamond-producing countries, actively advocates for preservation efforts and encourages more progressive and effective government oversight. By investing in diamond-producing countries, we are able to maintain the integrity of our supply chain while creating jobs, training unskilled workers and benefitting local economies – all important goals of Tiffany’s sustainability work. The Company purchases rough diamonds only from those countries that are participants in the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme (KPCS).

 Unique within the jewelry industry, we have taken an innovative approach to our sourcing by forming direct relationships with many of the mines that supply our diamonds and precious metals. In 2013, Tiffany received 100% of rough diamonds either directly from a known mine or a supplier with multiple known mines, and the Company traced 98% of raw precious metals procured by its manufacturing facilities directly to a mine or recycler.

 In addition, the Tiffany & Co. Board of Directors also adopted a Conflict Minerals Policy, which articulates principles for responsible gold mining to our vendors.

 Tiffany & Co. continues to raise awareness of the risks associated with the development of the proposed Pebble Mine in Bristol Bay, Alaska. The Company has publicly declared, for many years, that it will not source gold from the Pebble Mine, should it be developed, and applauds the United States Environmental Protection Agency’s responsible and prudent use of its clear authority under the Clean Water Act to protect this extraordinary natural resource.

 Paper and Packaging: We are committed to responsibly sourcing not only our jewelry, but also the iconic Blue Boxes and bags in which it is presented. 100% of paper suppliers of Tiffany Blue Boxes and bags in 2013 were Forest Stewardship Council® (FSC®)-certified.  In addition our Blue boxes and bags are produced with recycled paper, ensuring the paper for our iconic packaging is responsible sourced.

 Governance: Tiffany’s commitment to corporate social responsibility continues to be led by Chairman and CEO Michael J. Kowalski as well as by the CSR Committee of the Company’s Board of Directors.

 Building Footprint: Further demonstrating our commitment to developing and exceeding quantifiable environmental goals, Tiffany & Co. set a goal to reduce our global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 15% from 2013 to 2020. Exemplifying our dedication to reducing our environmental footprint in the global locations in which we work, the Company had installed energy efficient LED lighting in retail displays at over 39 U.S. retail locations by the end of 2013. An additional 16 North American locations are planned for 2014.

 Our Employees: Tiffany & Co.’s commitment to excellence extends to the commitment we make to our employees and the global communities in which we operate. Our high standards are evident in the way we treat our employees and the benefits offered to them. We continue to report on key metrics, including our diversity and safety figures.

 Charitable Giving: Charitable giving is an important part of the Company’s culture. In 2013, Tiffany & Co. made charitable contributions totaling over 2% of pre-tax earnings. Further, The Tiffany & Co. Foundation continues to play a key role in the Company’s sustainability efforts, supporting leading organizations working in areas like responsible mining and coral conservation. 

 For more details on these highlights and to read the full report, please visit tiffany.com/sustainability

 Tiffany & Co. operates jewelry stores and manufactures products through its subsidiary corporations. Its principal subsidiary is Tiffany and Company. The Company operates TIFFANY & CO. retail stores in the Americas, Asia-Pacific, Japan and Europe, as well as in the United Arab Emirates and Russia. It also engages in direct selling through Internet, catalog and business gift operations. For more information, please visit Tiffany.com.

 TIFFANY, TIFFANY & CO., T&CO., the TIFFANY BLUE BOX and the color TIFFANY BLUE are trademarks of Tiffany and Company and its affiliates.

Reflections on the 20th Anniversary of the Caux Round Table Principles for Business

CSR Wire - Tue, Aug 05, 2014 - 02:37 pm

Reflections on the 20th Anniversary of the Caux Round Table Principles for Business

  

The Caux Round Table ("CRT") Principles for Business were launched 20 years ago this past week.

 In retrospect, after the collapse of Communism and socialism as viable alternatives to capitalism, the CRT Principles were the first rigorous intellectual advance in the understanding of how free markets and business enterprise could more comprehensively succeed from the perspectives of human flourishing and social justice concerns.

The Japanese, European and American business leaders who authored the CRT Principles in 1994 innovatively raised the level of practical expectations for the outcomes of capitalism as an economic system, one taking into account the relevant demands of civil society and achieving sustainable prosperity.

The CRT Principles were presented to U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan.  Several years later, his office sponsored the Global Compact, by which companies and other private sector organizations could pledge their support for nine goals (later ten) set forth for governments by international treaty commitments among sovereign states.

Georg Kell, Executive Director of the U.N. Global Compact, once told me that the Secretary General's office did not adopt the CRT Principles because of a fear that such principles had no authority behind them, giving them no claim on the conscience of decision-makers.  Instead, he and his colleagues decided to use aspirations for government-provided entitlements, which had behind them the legal authority of the treaty-making process under international law.  The provisions of the Global Compact were taken initially from international agreements on working conditions, the environment and human rights and later, on elimination of corruption.

But, this public relations anxiety to find proper authority overlooked a long-standing understanding about morality and ethics.  It is an axiom of moral philosophy that the state does not create human moral imaginations and cannot be the ultimate judge of ethical reasoning.  To the contrary, the state and its laws are subordinate to the moral and ethical visions of the community which sustains them.

Moral propositions and ethical duties do not need government to be true.  They are self-justifying, given cultural, religious and philosophical beliefs.  Moreover, human dignity demands freedom of conscience and rejects out of hand any subjugation of the person to coercive political indoctrination.

Thus, at the suggestion of the late Thomas Dunfee, former Professor at the Wharton School, the CRT subsequently investigated important sources of moral imagination and ethical reasoning - our many wisdom traditions - as to how they validate the CRT Principles.  The results of these studies are available on our website at: http://www.cauxroundtable.org/.

The supreme challenge of business ethics and corporate social responsibility ("CSR") is to integrate moral and ethical perspectives directly into the decision-making metrics of owners and managers.

The CRT Principles accomplish this integration through consideration by business decision-makers of stakeholder constituencies, perspectives not included in the treaties drawn upon by the Global Compact.

The desire to apply concern for stakeholders to business decision-making emerged in the drafting of the CRT Principles from overlapping judgments central to three ethical visions.

First, Canon's then CEO, Ryuzaburo Kaku, put on the table the Japanese naturalistic concept of KyoseiKyosei presumes that where living, natural systems thrive, they are in mutual interdependence so that the success of one sub-system turns, in part, on its beneficial relationship with another source of energy or protection.

Secondly, Jean-Loup Dherse of France then proposed the ethical standard of human dignity as a supplement to the obligations inherent in living with the sustainability and success possible in Kyosei environments.  This ethical standard he took from the recently issued Papal Encyclical Centesimus Annus of Pope (now Saint) John Paul II.

Thirdly, Americans added to the intellectual mix of ethical considerations the fiduciary responsibilities inherent in good stewardship, where those who can make a difference in the lives of others are charged with taking due care in their actions.

These three ethical precepts fit rather easily together to frame the CRT’s Principles for Business as released to the public in July, 1994.

Later, the Global Compact would sponsor the Principles of Responsible Investment ("PRI"), which moved closer to the CRT’s understanding of how to change capitalism.  The PRI effort placed its emphasis on the environmental, social, and good governance ("ESG") outcomes of business.  It issued a demand that investors apply analysis of these factors, in addition to traditional profitability metrics when making investments to encourage companies seeking funds to commit to seeking better ESG outcomes.  Many investment firms have thoughtfully agreed to this recommendation.

 Following publication of the CRT Principles and alongside the launch of the Global Compact came the Global Reporting Initiative ("GRI"), which sought to solve a different problem in old-school capitalism.  The GRI project sought to invent new data collection points and related reporting formats for private sector firms.  The GRI’s intended contribution to a new, more socially responsible capitalism was to elevate awareness of the non-financial impacts of business on society and the environment.  The GRI initiative proceeded from a critique of capitalism that highlighted its myopic fixation on financial returns, especially short-term financial results.  The GRI patrons proposed that by highlighting other results of operations, company owners and managers would first reflect on a wider range of outcomes contingent on their business decisions and then make their decisions with a view to improving their company’s impacts on society and the environment.

 But, a serious challenge to the GRI project lay in a disconnect between its suggested data points with any public scheme of moral or ethical redemption of greed, which might intentionally and fittingly intersect with free markets and private sector wealth creation.  The GRI looked at data which only hinted at, but did not specify the exact dimensions of a new strategy of cultural purpose for business.

 The GRI project opened the door to confusion as to which data points and which social and environmental concerns should have priority for a business firm.  Not every fact could deserve pre-eminent consideration and not every concern could be given top priority.  The GRI data points are not self-evidently germane to many business decisions.  The GRI reports have become extensive, but not trenchant or indispensable for investors and business executives.

 Yet, a simple association of data with stakeholder constituencies, as is required by the CRT Principles, provides for the exquisite materiality of some facts over others.  Data that provides insight into the quality of a firm’s management of its stakeholder relationships is material data for its owners and managers.

 Thus, the CRT drafted a different approach to CSR reporting based on the prior success of the Quality Movement.  The CRT approach is to assess business results from the perspective of stakeholder interests.  This assessment and reporting process is the Arcturus management improvement system.

 In the 2004 book Moral Capitalism, the CRT Principles were provided with policy frameworks in moral philosophy, macro-economics for the system of capitalism and micro-economics at the level of the firm.  A new theory of the firm was suggested, one that incorporated the dynamic of Kyosei and stakeholder engagement as the high road to sustainable profitability in capitalism.

 This CRT approach to re-designing capitalism was validated by the European Commission in 2011.  The Commission then selected a new definition of CSR as "The responsibility of enterprises for their impacts on society." 

 The Commission continued, as if it were following the conclusions of Moral Capitalism, that "To fully meet their corporate social responsibility, enterprises should have in place a process to integrate social, environmental, ethical, human rights and consumer concerns into their business operations and core strategy in close collaboration with their stakeholders, with the aim of: maximizing the creation of shared value for their owners/shareholders and for their other stakeholders and society at large and identifying, preventing and mitigating their possible adverse impacts."

 It seems that the CRT leaders really did get it right at the start of the modern CSR movement.

 The CRT approach to CSR as proper management of stakeholder relationships has been further validated in practice by codes of conduct adopted by many industries, such as the coffee code of conduct, electronic industry code of conduct, jewelry industry code of conduct, Wolfsburg Principles on money-laundering for the banking industry, the SA 8000 code for employee working conditions in factories and the responsible care initiative of the chemical industry.  Even the dairy industry in the United States has recently adopted a code of best practices.

 A second challenge confronting the GRI experiment lay in integration of non-financial with financial data in order to assess the successes and failures of free market private sector investments.  New initiatives arose, especially the Sustainability Accounting Standards Board, to consider integration of both sets of data into one comprehensive reporting framework.

 The CRT solution to this conundrum was inspired by the failure of asset valuations, which led first to the asset bubble in sub-prime mortgages and then to the collapse of global credit markets in the fall of 2008.  Misleading over-valuations at first attracted heedless buying and excessive leverage in the bubble phase of the unsustainable dis-equilibrium of financial markets and then caused the collapse in market confidence when their shortcomings were finally exposed in the recession phase of the dis-equilibrium.  More accurate valuations from the start would have avoided much of the dis-equilibrium, during both its up and its down swings in asset pricing.  More accurate valuations could have been derived from use of more comprehensive, stakeholder-focused, valuation methodologies.

 In several global dialogues after the 2008 collapse of financial markets, the CRT developed an approach to valuation derived from its stakeholder approach to CSR.

 The CRT proposed that stakeholders actually constitute assets and/or liabilities of a firm.  Good stakeholder relationships can be booked as intangible firm assets leading to future revenues.  Careful and considerate management of stakeholder relationships lowers future risks and by so doing, increases both the calculated net present value of the firm and the multiplier used to determine the present capital value of the firm.  Under the CRT formula of moral capitalism, good ethics becomes good business.

 The new CRT thinking on lessons learned from the crash of 2008 and on valuation as the necessary focal point for integration of stakeholder relationships with traditional profit and loss analysis will soon be available in a new book, The Way to Moral Capitalism, which the CRT will publish as an ebook in a few months.

 Stakeholder relationships constitute an important part of the intangible goodwill associated with the calculated capital value of the firm.  This new understanding of success in capitalism calls for new emphasis on balance sheets.  Accounting rules for balance sheets now need to be revised and expanded to take account of intangibles and better valuation analysis.  This permits shifting the benchmarks for success in capitalism from profit and loss statements to balance sheets.  Profit and loss statements consider only past activity as it bears upon short-term results.  Balance sheet thinking, on the other hand, considers long-term perspectives on the overall capital value of the asset, which is the firm – is the firm getting more or less valuable?

 Thus, the innovative leadership shown by the CRT with the 1994 publication of its Principles for Business has continued over the 20 years since then.

 The CRT’s 1994 proposal that ethical and moral principles should have a leading role in capitalism had an oft-overlooked implication for business leaders. Principles remove the center of gravity in good decision-making from individuals to ethical reasoning itself, away from positions of organizational command to genuine leadership in action.  The locus of leadership is not those who occupy prominent positions, but lies in what they should believe.  Principles come alive through thought and reflection.  The work of ethics, then, must become educational in many ways.

When principles come to the fore, they provide a standard by which individual decision-makers can be assessed against a moral compass.  When principles come to the fore, it is not power that counts, but how that power is used.

Authority is not a personal prerogative, but depends on personal alignment with higher standards of right and the common good.  Authority in every organization is held in trust to serve a greater good than self-advancement.  Leadership is an office of ethical responsibility, which is open to anyone willing to do what is right.

Those who hold positions of formal authority may or may not display leadership in their decisions.  Though placed in a position of high authority, they may still be ignorant, limited in imagination, too risk-averse, wedded to convention, clumsy, insensitive, self-serving, too easily swayed by base emotions or by socio-pathology or other forms of ego mania.

Inversely, those not in formal positions of senior authority in organizations may yet display informal leadership through their dedication and alignment with principles and good ethics.  It is ethics, including moral courage, that make a leader.

 It is not the position that confers leadership, but the inner personality.

The CRT Principles lend themselves to open-sourced leadership and rationally based decision-making.  They do not ratify hierarchy only for the sake of order, decorum and protocol.  They look past formalisms to substance.  They stand apart from power and its status quo to facilitate assessment of the use of power.

The continuing work of the CRT is advocacy of principles for the enhancement of leadership rooted in the deepest and most just moral instincts with which our species has been endowed since antiquity and which we now express in many forms of faith and culture.

Such advocacy is as relevant for currently sitting CEOs as it is for members of the Millennial Generation, which will produce the CEOs of the future.

 

QBE issues 23 US non profit grants

CSR Wire - Tue, Aug 05, 2014 - 02:37 pm

QBE Foundation awards grants to 23 US charities

 New York, July 30, 2014 — Four times a year, the QBE Foundation awards grants of up to $10,000 to local nonprofit organizations nominated by the company’s employees. This summer, the Foundation awarded more than $100,000 for in grants for programs provided by 23 charitable organizations around the country.

 This summer’s grants exemplify QBE’s ongoing commitment to supporting community organizations that help people live more independently, successfully and productively.

 The Foundation’s grant program supports large and small nonprofits serving diverse populations. The program also matches employee fundraising efforts on behalf of qualified charities.

 Since its formation in 2011, the QBE Foundation has given away more than $3.3 million to eligible charities in North America. In addition to its local grant program, the Foundation funds charities that have a national footprint. In past years, these awards have ranged from $25,000 to $175,000. The Foundation also supports groups that provide assistance following a natural disaster. Employees nominate the charities for disaster-relief grants of up to $5,000 each.  

 “Throughout the year, we encourage our employees to nominate their favorite charities for grants,” says QBE Foundation Chair Sue Harnett. “As you can see, the groups represent many different interests but they all provide important services to adults and children. These charities make a difference in people’s lives.” 

 The following is a list of organizations that received QBE Foundation grants for the second quarter of 2014:

• St. Baldrick’s Foundation, Monrovia, CA

 • Next Step Hoops, Moorpark, CA

 • Celebrating All That is Feminine, Elgin, IL

 • National Multiple Sclerosis Society, Denver, CO

 • Ear Community, Broomfield, CO

• WaterAid America, New York, NY

 • The Extension, Marietta, GA

 • Four Block Foundation, New York, NY

 • DonorsChoose.org, New York, NY

 • Working Wardrobes, Costa Mesa, CA

 • Child Crisis Center, Mesa, AZ

 • University of Wisconsin Foundation, Madison, WI

 • Boys Hope Girls Hope, Bridgeton, MO

 • Children's Healthcare of Atlanta, Atlanta, GA

 • The Forum School, Waldwick, NJ

 • Brooklyn Community Services, Brooklyn, NY

 • Apollo Theater Academy, New York, NY

 • Sun Prairie Education Foundation, Sun Prairie, WI

 • College Possible, St. Paul, MN

 • Bladder Exstrophy Research Foundation, Newport Beach, CA

 • We Care WSMGA, Raleigh, NC

 • New York Asian Women's Center, New York, NY

 • Hopelink, Redmond, WA

 About QBE

 QBE North America is part of QBE Insurance Group Limited, one of the top 20 insurers and reinsurers worldwide. QBE NA reported Gross Written Premiums in 2013 of $5.855 billion. QBE Insurance Group’s 2012 results can be found at http://www.qbena.com/. Headquartered in Sydney, Australia, QBE operates out of 43 countries around the globe, with a presence in every key insurance market. The North America division, headquartered in New York, conducts business through its property and casualty insurance subsidiaries. QBE insurance companies are rated “A” (Excellent) by A.M. Best and “A+” by Standard & Poor’s 

Grammy Award-Winning Poet J. Ivy Helps Launch ServiceWorks, a 10-City Initiative to Help 25,000 Underserved Young Adults Develop Skills for College, Careers

CSR Wire - Tue, Aug 05, 2014 - 02:37 pm

Grammy Award-Winning Poet J. Ivy Helps Launch ServiceWorks, a 10-City Initiative to Help 25,000 Underserved Young Adults Develop Skills for College, Careers

 AmeriCorps, Citi Foundation and Points of Light Join in Three-Year, $10 Million Public-Private Partnership

 Two Local Nonprofits, The Door and Jersey Cares, Play Critical Roles 

 NEW YORK CITY, July 31, 2014 – Abe Sierra grew up in Boston, with few resources and fewer role models. He dropped out of high school but eventually got his GED and joined City Year as an AmeriCorps member. Serving as a tutor for elementary school students gave him purpose and the motivation to do more. “I want to inspire young people in my community to avoid many of the stumbling blocks I encountered,” he says.

 Today Sierra will be sworn in for a second term of duty. He will become one of the first 50 AmeriCorps VISTA members to help run ServiceWorks, a major public-private partnership recently identified by President Obama as part of My Brother’s Keeper, an administrative initiative to address persistent opportunity gaps faced by boys and young men of color and ensure that all young people can reach their full potential.

 Funded by a $10 million grant from the Citi Foundation, ServiceWorks will engage 225 AmeriCorps members over three years to help 25,000 underserved young adults (men and women) in 10 cities develop the skills they need to prepare for college and careers. It will be the nation’s largest corporate-sponsored AmeriCorps VISTA program and will build a large-scale volunteer response to the crisis of low college and career readiness.

 Through ServiceWorks, 25,000 young people – in Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, Newark, San Francisco, St. Louis and Washington, D.C. – will receive training in critical 21st century leadership and workplace skills, the chance to build their networks and connections to community, and the opportunity to use their new skills by participating in, and leading, volunteer service projects. Thousands of people in the participating cities – including Citi employees – will volunteer as success coaches and professional skills trainers.

 Part of a ground-breaking initiative of the Citi Foundation, called Pathways to Progress, ServiceWorks will be managed by Points of Light, the largest organization in the world dedicated to volunteer service. In the New York area, The Door and Jersey Cares, two local nonprofits, will serve as host agencies for the AmeriCorps members.

 Today’s swearing-in ceremony will be led by Grammy Award-winning poet J. Ivy at Citi’s headquarters in New York. Speakers will include Sierra as well as Deon Jones, another young man who says that helping others helped him succeed.

 Ed Skyler, Citi’s Executive Vice President of Global Public Affairs and Chairman of the Citi Foundation, cited ServiceWorks as part of the answer to the critical question: “How do we make sure young people – the future of this country – are prepared to succeed in the 21rst century job market?”

 “With the youth unemployment rate at 15% nationally, we launched Pathways to Progress to try to close the job-skills mismatch and ensure young people are capable of landing the jobs  that are actually out there,” said Skyler. “Through ServiceWorks, young people will learn about volunteerism, leadership and team building, and develop key communication skills, all of which are necessary in the workplace. Especially at a young age, we need to do everything we can to connect youth with opportunities that fuel their career ambitions and our $50 million Pathways initiative is an investment in their future.”

 Neil Bush, Chair of the Points of Light board, said, “ServiceWorks will show the world that national and volunteer service works to help underserved young adults develop the skills they need for college and careers. And ServiceWorks will prove that government, business and the nonprofit sector can and must work together to build strong communities.”

 Wendy Spencer, CEO of the Corporation for National and Community Service (the federal agency that administers AmeriCorps), said, “By creating opportunities for young people to prepare for college and careers through volunteering, we give them the chance to experience the power we all have inside to make a difference in our world. The earlier we do this, the better – and it’s never too late to start.”

 The Corporation for National and Community Service is the federal agency that engages more than five million Americans in service through its AmeriCorps, Senior Corps, Social Innovation Fund, and Volunteer Generation Fund programs, and leads the President's national call to service initiative, United We Serve. For more information, visit www.NationalService.gov.

 The Citi Foundation works to promote economic progress in communities around the world and focuses on initiatives that expand financial inclusion. We collaborate with best-in-class partners to create measurable economic improvements that strengthen low-income families and communities. Through a “More than Philanthropy” approach, Citi’s business resources and human capital enhance our philanthropic investments and impact. For more information, visit www.citifoundation.com.

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 where it’s needed most. For more information, go to www.pointsoflight.org.

GoodCompany Ventures Responds to President’s Climate Data Initiative

CSR Wire - Tue, Aug 05, 2014 - 02:37 pm

GoodCompany Ventures Responds to President’s Climate Data Initiative

Joins White House, NASA, Wharton, the Impact Hub and MIT Climate Co-Lab in launching Climate Ventures 2.0


PRESS RELEASE: Philadelphia, PA – July 28, 14

GoodCompany Ventures is pleased to announce, in response to the President’s call to action via the Climate Data Initiative (CDI), the launch of Climate Ventures 2.0.  In collaboration with NASA, the Wharton Social Impact Initiative, the Impact Hub, the MIT Climate CoLab and other CDI participants, Climate Ventures 2.0 will define new markets for climate change preparedness and identify, accelerate and deploy entrepreneurial solutions. Climate Ventures 2.0 will focus on innovations that leverage scientific and government data to enhance climate change preparedness in areas such as food security, agriculture, flood, and drought. 

“Through his Climate Data Initiative, President Obama is calling for all hands on deck to unleash data and technology in ways that will make businesses and communities more resilient to climate change,” said John P. Holdren, President Obama’s Science Advisor. “The commitments being announced today answer that call.”

The Challenge.  Just as the effects of climate change transcend sectors, jurisdictions and borders, so too must effective solutions.  The White House demonstrated significant leadership in this space in March, 2014, when it launched the Climate Data Initiative (CDI), aligning Administration efforts to open data on climate change risks and impacts with ambitious private and philanthropic sector commitments to mobilize data and information technology for climate change action.

The data is there; the technology is there. The markets and entrepreneurs, however, are not. An effective response to a complex global problem like climate change demands the type of systemic, multilateral collaboration among institutional leaders that the CDI fosters.  But new solutions are created most measurably, effectively and sustainably when entrepreneurs are engaged as agents of change, using proven processes to drive powerful outcomes.  

The Response. GoodCompany Ventures empowers social entrepreneurs with proven strategies, powerful tools and efficient resources to (i) reframe persistent social problems as market opportunities, (ii) design and launch business models that scale to support long term change, and (ii) mobilize capital to maximize their impact.

“GoodCompany Ventures was designed to equip entrepreneurs with the tools they need to bring social innovation to scale."  said Garrett Melby, Managing Director, "We are excited by the opportunity for Climate Ventures 2.0 create a platform to connect entrepreneurs with the world-class data, technology and financial resources that the Climate Data Initiative has mobilized."
Climate Ventures 2.0 Timeline

Identify

  • Reframe and quantify Climate Change Preparedness as a market opportunity (Q4 2014).
  • Idea competitions and call for applications (Q1-Q2, 2015)
  • Selection of top 10 solutions (Q2 2015)

Accelerate

  • 12-week GoodCompany Ventures acceleration (Q3, 2015)

Deploy

  • Impact evaluation and deployment of innovations (Q4 2015)

Press Inquiries Contact:

Garrett Melby 
Managing Director, GoodCompany Ventures
Garrett@GoodCompanyGroup.org

Catherine Griffin
Director of Operations, GoodCompany Ventues
Catherine@GoodCompanyGroup.org

About GoodCompany Ventures

GoodCompany Ventures is a 501(c)3 nonprofit defined by the needs of the emerging social enterprise sector. The GoodCompany Ventures Capstone Accelerator identifies entrepreneurs with innovative ideas for social impact and helps them implement these ideas with the strategies and resources of the venture capital community. To date, GCV entrepreneurs have raised over $40mm in private capital to fuel social innovation.

 

Airport Corridor “Super Stop” To Debut July 29

CSR Wire - Tue, Aug 05, 2014 - 02:37 pm

Benefits Bus Riders, Motorists, Pedestrians, Bicyclists

Airport Corridor “Super Stop” To Debut July 29


PITTSBURGH    The region’s first “Super Stop”—a hub bus stop with innovative amenities for bus riders, cyclists, and pedestrians—will have its Grand Opening at 10:30 am on Tuesday, July 29. Local, regional, and state dignitaries will attend the celebration, organized by the nonprofit Airport Corridor Transportation Association (ACTA; www.acta-pgh.org/). ACTA works to foster economic vitality while encouraging robust and varied commuting options.

For the Super Stop Grand Opening event, featured speakers include Governor Tom Corbett (invited),
State Senator Matt Smith, and County Executive Rich Fitzgerald.

Located in front of the Pittsburgh IKEA store at 2001 Park Manor Boulevard in Robinson Township, the Super Stop is the busiest bus stop in the Airport Corridor. It’s also the transfer point for the popular RideACTA shuttle, which carries hundreds of workers daily between the stop and workplaces up to 1.5 miles away.

The Super Stop—which is already drawing attention across the region—will represent a major advance in safety and convenience. Set safely back from the roadway, it will be accessible and will offer ample room for riders to sit or stand while sheltered from the elements. An unusual touch will be the application to the backs of the bus shelters of a plastic film with images of IKEA furnishings within a room-setting, so when riders sit on a shelter’s bench it will look like they’re in a living room. Swedish retailer IKEA has taken this approach previously in Europe, where it was well received by transit riders.

Amenities will include bike racks, picnic tables and benches, and trash receptacles. A new pedestrian crossing on Park Manor Boulevard will link the Super Stop and IKEA to Robinson Town Centre.

The stop will also house the Airport Corridor’s first bike workstation—a self-contained, free-standing facility where cyclists can make simple repairs.

Super Stop is centerpiece of improvements

The Super Stop is the centerpiece of a range of improvements in the immediate area, also being publicly introduced on July 29. Among the improvements, all designed to enhance safety and mobility for motorists, pedestrians, and cyclists:\

  • A new four-leg intersection, including a new traffic signal and pedestrian crosswalks, will enhance safety on Park Manor Boulevard where it connects the IKEA Driveway and Robinson Town Centre (western) Driveway.
  • On Park Manor Boulevard at the PNC driveway—site oof many accidents—a new protected lane will help drivers making the left turn.
  • Bicycle/vehicle lanes with new signage will support sharing the road between the Montour Trail and the Super Stop.

ACTA initiated and managed the project, securing a $700,000 competitive grant from PennDOT. The planning was based on two recent ACTA studies (“Rethinking the Suburban Bus Stop” and “Moving Around Within a Suburban Commercial Area”), which attracted attention from planners in other cities. Many suburban areas across the US are in the same situation as the Airport Corridor—they are thriving economically, but their infrastructure is dependent on automobile traffic and the areas are often widely spread out, so it’s difficult for public transportation to provide service, and for pedestrians and cyclists to get around. The project addresses these issues.

Bike Connections Map to be introduced

Also to be introduced at the July 29 event: the Airport Corridor’s first Bike Connections Map, designed to help bike commuters by showing the connections among local bicycle trails, the roads to which they connect, and local worksites.

With major funding from PennDOT, the map was produced by volunteers from more than a dozen local organizations coordinated by ACTA. It’s printed on waterproof material, and will be available from ACTA and partner organizations and permanently displayed at the Super Stop. An interactive version of the map on which users can zoom and move about will be available online at www.actabikemap.org and as a smartphone app. The online map will be available on July 29; the Android map is available now and the iPhone map will be available soon (search both Android and iPhone stores for “ACTA bike map”).

Successful project relied on many partners

The project is an example of a successful public-private partnership, combining the vision and resources of governmental, nonprofit, and for-profit entities.
 
Financial partners for the project, including the Super Stop, include PennDOT, IKEA, PNC Bank, and Robinson Township.

IKEA contributed more than $250,000 toward the project and the bike map, including donating the land for the right-of-way for the new Super Stop, and also spent more than a million dollars on improvements to its own property, to coordinate with the public improvements.
 
Designers and builders of the new project include Donegal Construction, Informing Design/Bob Firth, Mackin Engineering Company, Maynes & Associates, and Michael Baker Jr., Inc.

Liberty Global Announces Environmental Targets

CSR Wire - Tue, Aug 05, 2014 - 02:37 pm

Liberty Global Announces Environmental Targets

  •  Energy and emissions efficiency improve in 2013
  • Publishes 2013 Corporate Responsibility Report

   Denver, Colorado – July 27, 2014:

 Liberty Global plc (“Liberty Global”) (NASDAQ: LBTYA, LBTYB and LBTYK) announces environmental targets as part of the company's commitment to Corporate Responsibility (CR). Liberty Global commits to improve the energy efficiency of its electricity consumption by 15% every year through 2020 (in kWh/TB), and be five times more carbon efficient (in metric tons of CO2e/TB) by 2020, using 2012 as our base year. We will normalize our environmental performance per terabyte (TB) of data transported through our networks as this measurement most closely represents the scale of our business and therefore the impact it has on the environment.

 In 2013, Liberty Global began delivering on this multi-year commitment with a 29% increase in energy efficiency and a 32% increase in greenhouse gas (GHG) efficiency. These savings were primarily achieved through continued investment in new network technologies and the optimization of energy use at our data centers, as well as the production and procurement of renewable energy.

 These targets are being released as part of our new 2013 Corporate Responsibility Report, entitled ‘Empowering a Digital Society’. This report provides a comprehensive overview of Liberty Global's performance against its strategic CR Framework and prior year commitments in four areas of focus: promoting a digital society, building trust with our customers, managing our environmental impacts and being a responsible business.

 In developing the report, Liberty Global became an early adopter of the Global Reporting Initiative's G4 Framework, which has become the leading standard for sustainability reporting. ‘Empowering a Digital Society’ is written in accordance with the G4 Framework at a core level, which requires CR disclosures on topics that are of material interest to our stakeholders and support our business objectives.

 In addition to our environmental performance, highlights of the report include:

  • The refurbishment of 4.3 million set-top boxes and modems in 2013, avoiding 7,200 metric tons of waste that would otherwise have ended up in landfills, resulting in financial savings of $280 million
  • Reducing the absolute energy consumption of our new Horizon Multimedia Gateway by 40%
  • Improving broadband speeds in nearly all of our markets, and supporting “connectivity everywhere” for our broadband subscribers with hotspots, homespots and Community WiFi
  • Paving the way for digital jobs through hosting CoderDojo workshops for young people to learn to create websites and applications
  • Protecting children online with the launch of a new toolkit for teens called ‘The Web We Want’, developed by European Schoolnet

Rick Westerman, head of Liberty Global’s CR Committee, said: “Each year we embed our culture of Corporate Responsibility more deeply into our business, while adapting to the inevitable changes in our fast-paced markets, the aspirations of our increasingly sophisticated customers, and the significant growth of our company. 2013 was a pivotal year in which we acquired Virgin Media in the UK, creating substantial scale and greater opportunities to pursue our CR agenda. With the publication of these environmental targets, we are challenging our organization to achieve even more in the coming years."

Liberty Global’s 2013 CR Report can be accessed through http://www.libertyglobal.com/cr..

About Liberty Global

Liberty Global is the largest international cable company with operations in 14 countries. We connect people to the digital world and enable them to discover and experience its endless possibilities. Our market-leading triple-play services are provided through next-generation networks and innovative technology platforms that connected 25 million customers subscribing to 49 million television, broadband internet and telephony services at March 31, 2014.

Liberty Global's consumer brands include Virgin Media, UPC, Unitymedia, Kabel BW, Telenet and VTR. Our operations also include Liberty Global Business Services, our commercial division and Liberty Global Ventures, our investment fund. For more information, please visit http://www.libertyglobal.com or contact:

   

Investor Relations: 

 

 

Corporate Communications: 

 

Christopher Noyes

 

+1 303.220.6693

Marcus Smith

+44 20.7190.6374

Oskar Nooij

 

+1 303.220.4218

Bert Holtkamp

+31 20.778.9800

John Rea

+1 303.220.4238

Hanne Wolf

+1 303.220.6678

 

Technology and Sustainability Startups Converge in San Francisco

CSR Wire - Tue, Aug 05, 2014 - 02:37 pm

 VERGE Accelerate returns to San Francisco this fall to provide a global stage for tech startups at the intersection of technology and sustainability. Sixteen hand-picked entrepreneurs will showcase their tech solutions before some of the world’s largest companies, investors and cities.

Now in its third year, VERGE Accelerate will take place during VERGE San Francisco 2014, October 27-30, the flagship in GreenBiz Group’s global event series focused on how technology accelerates sustainability solutions in a climate-constrained world. The event will have more than 1,200 corporate executives, city, state and federal government officials, utilities professionals and a broad spectrum of investors, thought leaders and early adopters in attendance, as well as an online audience in the thousands. Featured VERGE SF speakers include: Chris Anderson of 3D Robotics, Robyn Beavers of NRG Energy, Janine Benyus of Biomimicry 3.8 and Amory Lovins of Rocky Mountain Institute.

The Accelerate showcase, sponsored by Autodesk, is designed to elevate disruptive technologies, services or apps that address the systems explored at VERGE: buildings, energy, water, food, cities, transportation, logistics, supply chains and manufacturing. In rapid-fire pitches, entrepreneurs will present the specific problem they are addressing, their solution and what makes their product or service better than what’s currently available.

“Accelerating the market penetration of innovative technologies and new business models is primary to our mission with VERGE,” said Shana Rappaport, Director of Engagement for VERGE. “We’re excited about bringing a new set of entrepreneurs on to the VERGE stage, and the opportunity to advance their game-changing ideas.”

Previous Accelerate events have yielded impressive results for entrepreneurs. “Accelerate catapulted our idea onto the world stage at a critical moment, and we haven’t looked back,” said Aaron Selverston, co-founder and CEO of Owlized and a 2013 VERGE Accelerate participant. “It was our first public pitch, and due to the success it afforded us, will likely be our last.”

This year’s VERGE Accelerate program is strengthened by partnerships with allied organizations that support early-stage ventures. They include the Alchemist Accelerator, Cleantech Open, Code for America, Green Business BASE CAMP, Imagine H2O, San Francisco Mayor’s Office of Civic Innovation, SfunCube, Silicon Valley Robotics and Tumml.

"At Tumml, our mission is to support early-stage entrepreneurs developing solutions to our most pressing urban challenges," said Clara Brenner, CEO of Tumml. "We are so excited about the opportunity VERGE Accelerate presents to further amplify their important solutions on a global stage."

The VERGE Accelerate application process is currently underway. Interested companies are invited to review eligibility criteria and submit a 60-second video by August 1, 2014. Qualifying videos will be posted online and put to a vote by the VERGE community. To apply, or for more information, visit the VERGE Accelerate webpage.

For more information about VERGE San Francisco, visit GreenBiz.com/VERGE.

About GreenBiz Group
GreenBiz Group’s mission is to define and accelerate the business of sustainability. It does this through a wide range of products and services, including its acclaimed website GreenBiz.com and e-newsletters, GreenBuzz and VERGE; webcasts on topics of importance to sustainability and energy executives; research reports, including the annual State of Green Business; the GreenBiz Executive Network, a membership-based, peer-to-peer learning forum for sustainability executives; and conferences: GreenBiz Forum and VERGE.

Novartis Releases 2013 Corporate Responsibility Performance Report Using Best-in-class Reporting Standard, Increasing Transparency

CSR Wire - Tue, Aug 05, 2014 - 02:37 pm

Novartis has published a Corporate Responsibility (CR) Performance Report for 2013. The report reflects the best-in-class reporting standard, the Global Reporting Initiative’s (GRI) G4 guidelines, one year in advance of required implementation.

“Our corporate responsibility work is embedded in our business strategy, which is to use science-based innovation to improve patient health around the world. This would not be possible without ensuring trust among our stakeholders,” said Joseph Jimenez, Chief Executive Officer of Novartis. “We understand and respect the need to build trust through greater transparency and disclosure.”

The Performance Report enhances the company’s transparency in several key areas, including in human resources, supply chain and ethics, and aims to meet the needs and expectations of CR professional audiences by offering easy access to key data. The report also details progress against Novartis priorities, defined following a CR materiality analysis completed in 2013.

“We are proud of our progress in 2013 to help improve access to medicine and do business in a responsible way,” said Juergen Brokatzky-Geiger, Global Head of Corporate Responsibility. “We take this responsibility very seriously – because it’s the right thing to do for society and the right thing to do for our business.”

The company has a strong history of CR activities, and transparent reporting is a central part of our commitment to corporate responsibility. Novartis has publicly reported on our performance in this area since 2000 through its Annual Report and several online and printed materials. The 2013 CR Performance Report consolidates information previously published in our separate GRI; Health, Safety and Environment; and United Nations Global Compact reports. In 2013, Novartis made a number of changes to ensure more oversight of CR, including expanding the mandate of a Board of Directors committee to oversee corporate responsibility strategy and governance at the highest levels of the company.

The GRI’s fourth generation of CR reporting guidelines, G4, were launched in May 2013. They emphasize the need for companies to focus on the process of identifying topics that are material for corporate responsibility in their specific business and among their key stakeholders.

Highlights of Novartis achievements in 2013 include:

  • Provided medicine to more than 100 million patients as well as health education, infrastructure development and other programs to another 8.1 million people worldwide
  • Developed affordable vaccines for typhoid and paratyphoid A fevers, through the Novartis Vaccines Institute for Global Health
  • Joined Malaria No More’s Power of One campaign and committed to donate up to 1 million pediatric antimalarial treatments every year through 2015
  • Reached 4.5 million people with health education through “Healthy Family” Social Ventures in India, Kenya and Vietnam; programs recognized through several industry awards
  • Worked with leading leprosy experts through the Novartis Foundation for Sustainable Development to develop a new strategy to help eliminate the disease
  • Completed a best-in-class materiality assessment – based on surveys and interviews with approximately 100 internal and external stakeholders
  • Launched Responsible Procurement, a new integrated approach to ethical issues in our supply chain including labor rights, health, safety and environment, animal welfare, and anti-bribery
  • One of only six healthcare companies included in the Dow Jones Sustainability World Index
  • Included in the new UN 100 Index as one of the best performing companies regarding adherence to the Global Compact’s 10 principles
  • Reached Novartis employees worldwide with Code of Conduct training via e-learning; over 113 000 associates completed certification
  • Saved 2.65 million gigajoules and USD 68 million through energy projects, achieving the 2015 Novartis target two years ahead of time

Find out more about our corporate responsibility activities online at www.novartis.com/corporate-responsibility/index.shtml.

Disclaimer
This press release contains expressed or implied forward-looking statements, including statements that can be identified by terminology such as “strategy,” “aims,” “commitment,” “committed,” “launched,” or similar expressions. Such forward-looking statements reflect the current views of the Group regarding future events, and involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors that may cause actual results to be materially different from any future results expressed or implied by such statements. These expectations could be affected by, among other things, risks and factors referred to in the Risk Factors section of Novartis AG's current Form 20-F on file with the US Securities and Exchange Commission. Novartis is providing the information in this press release as of this date and does not undertake any obligation to update it in the future.

About Novartis
Novartis provides innovative healthcare solutions that address the evolving needs of patients and societies. Headquartered in Basel, Switzerland, Novartis offers a diversified portfolio to best meet these needs: innovative medicines, eye care, cost-saving generic pharmaceuticals, preventive vaccines, over-the-counter and animal health products. Novartis is the only global company with leading positions in these areas. In 2013, the Group achieved net sales of USD 57.9 billion, while R&D throughout the Group amounted to approximately USD 9.9 billion (USD 9.6 billion excluding impairment and amortization charges). Novartis Group companies employ approximately 135,000 full-time-equivalent associates and sell products in more than 150 countries around the world. For more information, please visit www.novartis.com.

Novartis is on Twitter. Sign up to follow @Novartis at twitter.com/novartis.

Novartis Media Contacts

For Novartis multimedia content, please visit www.thenewsmarket.com/Novartis.
For questions about the site or required registration, please contact: journalisthelp@thenewsmarket.com.

Stakeholder Chat: A Conversation with Mars, Incorporated on its 2013 Principles in Action Summary

CSR Wire - Tue, Aug 05, 2014 - 02:37 pm

Mars, Incorporated publishes its fourth annual Principles in Action Summary this month, which details the company’s approach to business – its progress and the shared challenges facing both its business and society. The Principles in Action Summary underscores its commitment to put Mars’ Five Principles into action to make a difference to people and the planet through its performance. Mars remains a private, family-owned business dedicated to the objective first expressed by Forrest E. Mars, Sr. in 1947 – to create a mutuality of benefits for all its stakeholders through its operations.

The Summary outlines the particular challenges and accomplishments associated with manufacturing food across a number of global iconic brands such as M&M’S®, SNICKERS®, PEDIGREE®, Wrigley’s EXTRA®, UNCLE BEN’S®, WHISKAS® and more.

In partnership with TriplePundit and CSRwire, Mars will discuss via Twitter chat how it, as one of the world’s leading food manufacturers with more than 130 manufacturing sites, handles sustainability. This is Mars’ second Twitter chat with TriplePundit and CSRwire. Attendees can expect the company to share updates on some of its biggest goals, challenges and accomplishments in meeting milestones and plans for the years to come.

Specifically we’ll be discussing:

  • How the company balances the needs of consumers with its commitments to bring prosperity to farmers at the base of the supply chain.
  • What Mars’ “Sustainable in a Generation” commitment includes and the challenges and steps needed to achieve.
  • How investment in a new massive wind farm equivalent to the size of Paris is one of the ways Mars is achieving its goal to make its operations “Sustainable in a Generation” by eliminating all greenhouse gas emissions from its direct operations by 2040.
  • What a sustainable supply chain looks like in 2014 with particular focus on cocoa, fish, tea, coffee, mint and palm oil.
  • Mars’ new Deforestation policy, which prioritizes palm oil, beef, paper and pulp, and soy.
  • What it means to “communicate responsibly.”
  • Mars’ commitment to investing in Associates and their communities

The chat will be led by Barry Parkin, Mars’ Chief Sustainability Officer, who is responsible for developing and driving Mars’ global sustainability programs across the value chain from farmers through to consumers. TriplePundit founder Nick Aster and CSRwire’s Editorial Director Aman Singh will facilitate the chat, providing an opportunity for journalists, bloggers, industry analysts and other interested parties to get an in-depth look at Mars’ sustainability strategy.

Details:

Date: Thursday, July 24, 2014

Time: 11:30am-12:30pm ET / 8:30am-9:30am PT

Where: To register, drop us an email at nick@triplepundit.com and join us on Twitter at #MarsSusty

Accounts to follow: @MarsGlobal @triplepundit @CSRwire @nickaster @amansinghcsr

To RSVP Please send the following tweet:

I'm joining @NickAster & @AmanSinghCSR to talk to @MarsGlobal about sustainability & its 2013 PiA Summary http://bit.ly/MarsSusty #MarsSusty

About Mars, Incorporated

In 1911, Frank C. Mars made the first Mars candies in his Tacoma, Washington kitchen and established Mars’ first roots as a confectionery company. In the 1920s, Forrest E. Mars, Sr. joined his father in business and together they launched the MILKY WAY® bar. In 1932, Forrest, Sr. moved to the United Kingdom with a dream of building a business based on the objective of creating a “mutuality of benefits for all stakeholders” – this objective serves as the foundation of Mars, Incorporated today. Based in McLean, Virginia, Mars has net sales of more than $33 billion, six business segments including Petcare, Chocolate, Wrigley, Food, Drinks, Symbioscience, and more than 75,000 Associates worldwide that are putting its Principles into action to make a difference for people and the planet through its performance.

Mars brands include: Petcare – PEDIGREE®, ROYAL CANIN®, WHISKAS®, BANFIELD® Pet Hospital, CESAR®, SHEBA®, DREAMIES® and NUTRO®; Chocolate – M&M’S®, SNICKERS®, DOVE®, GALAXY®, MARS®, MILKY WAY® and TWIX®; Wrigley – DOUBLEMINT®, EXTRA®, ORBIT® and 5™ chewing gums, SKITTLES® and STARBURST® candies, and ALTOIDS® AND LIFESAVERS® mints. Food – UNCLE BEN’S®, DOLMIO®, EBLY®, MASTERFOODS®, SEEDS OF CHANGE® and ROYCO®; Drinks – ALTERRA COFFEE ROASTERS™, THE BRIGHT TEA COMPANY™, KLIX® and FLAVIA®; Symbioscience – COCOAVIA® and WISDOM PANEL®.

For more information about Mars, Incorporated, please visit mars.com. Follow us: facebook.com/Mars, twitter.com/marsglobal, youtube.com/mars, linkedin.com/company/mars.

About TriplePundit

Founded in 2005, TriplePundit (3p) is a new-media company for the business community that cultivates awareness and understanding of the triple bottom line – an expanded spectrum of values and criteria for measuring organizational success: economic, ecological and social. With monthly readership exceeding 250K unique readers and tens of thousands more across social media, 3p is among the leading online destinations for conversations on sustainable business.

About CSRwire

CSRwire is the leading global source of corporate social responsibility and sustainability news. Founded in 1999 to advance the movement toward a more economically-just and environmentally-sustainable society and away from single bottom line capitalism, CSRwire has paved the way for new standards of corporate citizenship, earning the international respect of thought leaders, business leaders, academics, philanthropists, activists and the media community.

Donziger Appeal: Judge Kaplan Allowed Corrupt Witness Testimony, Violated International Law and Stretched RICO Past "Breaking Point"

CSR Wire - Tue, Aug 05, 2014 - 02:37 pm

U.S. Judge Lewis A. Kaplan stretched the RICO statute beyond its “breaking point,” committed reversible error by accepting corrupt witness testimony, disregarded the overwhelming scientific evidence of Chevron’s contamination in Ecuador, and unlawfully interfered with a final decision from another nation’s Supreme Court when he imposed an injunction in favor of the oil company in a two-decade dispute with rainforest villagers over widespread oil contamination, according to a 120-page appeal filed by New York attorney Steven Donziger that asks the Second Circuit to vacate the judge’s decision.

The brief, filed by lead appellate lawyer Deepak Gupta, charges that Chevron has used its “bottomless war chest” to shift “the focus from its own wrongdoing in the Amazon to trumped-up allegations of corruption and misconduct” centered on a strategy “to demonize” Donziger and his colleagues, as stated expressly in internal company emails. Donziger is a solo practitioner with an emphasis on human rights law who has advised the Amazon communities (known as Los Afectados, or the “affected ones”) since the inception of the case in 1993, when it was first filed in the same U.S. federal court in New York where Judge Kaplan sits.

Chevron, which has vowed never to pay the $9.5 billion judgment even though it promised to do so in 2001 as a condition of the case being transferred from U.S. federal court to Ecuador, is abusing the civil justice system by “stringing its victims along across decades, courtrooms, and continents,” said the brief, which is available here.

Attorneys for Donziger allege that Judge Kaplan made numerous errors when he imposed, in March of this year, an injunction purportedly barring Ecuadorian villagers from collecting on their judgment anywhere in the world – an injunction that both Donziger and the Ecuadorians say has no valid legal basis and violates clear precedent from the Second Circuit Court of Appeals as well as principles of international comity.

The judge – who repeatedly had disparaged the villagers from the bench, as these legal petitions (here and here) document – also barred Donziger from personally profiting from the case.

The villagers and Donziger have long disputed Judge Kaplan’s legitimacy to rule on the matter, claiming that the RICO allegations are part of a Chevron campaign to retaliate against those who have exercised their First Amendment rights to hold the company accountable for decades of toxic dumping that has decimated several indigenous tribes. See here for a summary of the evidence in the Ecuador case and here for background on the many problems with Judge Kaplan’s handling of the RICO matter.

“We believe this brief eviscerates Chevron’s RICO case and proves that Judge Kaplan never even had the right to take up the matter, much less enter a toothless injunction that interferes with the decision of the Supreme Court of a foreign judicial system in the very country where Chevron insisted the trial be held,” said Christopher Gowen, one of Donziger’s trial lawyers.

“This appeal clearly demonstrate that Judge Kaplan distorted the law to issue a series of bizarre rulings to help Chevron in its abusive campaign to evade its obligation to clean up the ecological disaster it caused in Ecuador, where numerous people have died from cancer and thousands more face grave harm if there is no immediate action taken to avert a growing humanitarian crisis,” he added.

Background

Among the errors requiring that Judge Kaplan’s decision and factual findings be vacated, according to the brief:

**Disregard of Ecuador appellate court decisions: The brief contends that Chevron and Judge Kaplan made a critical error by attacking the Ecuador trial court judgment, when in reality the relevant decision was made by an appellate court after a de novo review that was in effect a retrial. “Chevron is akin to a criminal defendant who has been given a retrial and who has been convicted again, but still complains of irregularities in the first trial,” said the brief.

**Misuse of RICO to attack a foreign court: Judge Kaplan pushed the RICO statute “beyond the breaking point” by letting Chevron mount an unprecedented attack on a foreign judgment that has been affirmed unanimously by two separate appellate courts, including Ecuador’s highest court. “A federal district court cannot use its authority as a fact finder to make pronouncements of another nation’s laws that contravene the nation’s highest court,” said the brief, which also claimed that Chevron was trying to take “the radical step of transforming RICO into a right of global appellate review” not authorized by Congress.

**Misuse of RICO to impose an unauthorized injunction: Judge Kaplan also violated RICO by allowing Chevron to use the statute to obtain an injunction rather than for money damages. Prior to the decision, no court in American history had used RICO to impose an injunction for a private party without first having a jury determine liability and damages as the statute plainly requires. (Chevron dropped its damages claims on the eve of trail to avoid a jury, enabling Judge Kaplan to conduct a bench trial and rule alone.)

**Corrupt Witness Testimony: Judge Kaplan allowed Chevron to base the most critical part of its case – that the trial court judge was bribed by the plaintiffs -- on the testimony of Alberto Guerra, an Ecuadorian witness to whom the company has promised to pay more than $1 million in benefits even though the individual’s last salary was only $500 per month. Guerra admitted on the stand that he had taken numerous bribes when he was a judge in Ecuador and conceded that he made several false statements so he could “sweeten” his financial deal with Chevron. Guerra also admitted rehearsing his testimony with Chevron’s lawyers on 53 separate days. “If anyone here was guilty of bribery, it wasn’t Steven Donziger,” said the brief.

**The court never had jurisdiction: Judge Kaplan allowed the case to proceed despite the fact Chevron failed to satisfy the basic elements of jurisdiction or standing under Article III of the Constitution, including injury, causation, and a remedy that redresses the supposed harm. Donziger’s lawyers argue that Chevron’s injury was caused by its own pollution, and not by anything Donziger did; that Chevron failed to prove the trial court judgment caused its injury, rather than its own pollution or the de novo review (equivalent to a retrial) from the appellate panel where there is no allegation of corruption; and that Chevron failed to show that Judge Kaplan’s injunction can redress its claimed injuries, given that the Ecuadorians can still enforce their judgment in other jurisdictions and are doing so.

**Violation of international comity. Judge Kaplan violated international comity by engaging in an “unseemly display of American judicial imperialism” by condemning Ecuador’s entire judicial system as being incapable of producing decisions worthy of respect. This determination amounted to a clear violation of a mandate handed down in 2012 by the New York appellate court reversing Kaplan for issuing an injunction (without even holding an evidentiary hearing) that purported to block worldwide enforcement of the Ecuador judgment. Such a finding is causing “diplomatic friction” between Ecuador and the U.S. and “is intolerable in light of the history of this litigation” given that Chevron requested the matter be heard in Ecuador and promised U.S. courts to abide by any adverse judgment as a condition of the case being transferred, said the brief.

**Estoppel: Because Chevron had repeatedly praised Ecuador’s court system when it succeeded in transferring the case to Ecuador in 2001 (after nine years of litigation in the U.S.), the company is now barred from claiming Ecuador’s courts are unworthy of deciding the dispute. Chevron’s claims that Ecuador’s courts have deteriorated are contradicted by the company’s own evidence and State Department reports, the brief pointed out.

The brief also emphasized that Chevron failed to pursue other remedies available to it in Ecuador to attack the judgment on the basis of an alleged fraud, including a statute (called the Collusion Prosecution Act) explicitly created for that very purpose.

The Ecuadorians and Donziger have long emphasized that Judge Kaplan does not have the authority to block enforcement actions in foreign jurisdictions to seize Chevron assets to pay for the Ecuador judgment. Such actions are currently pending in Canada, Brazil, and Argentina. In November, Canada’s Supreme Court will hear argument that could lead to a limited trial in 2015 related to the seizure of some of an estimated $15 billion of Chevron assets in that country, an amount that would cover the entirety of the award.

In a fact section prior to argument, Donziger’s attorneys made Kaplan’s bias an issue by pointing out some of his controversial comments. Before even holding an evidentiary hearing, the judge had called the case a “giant game” that was “akin to mud wrestling”, said that Donziger’s main objective was to “help fix the balance of payments deficit” of the U.S., and repeatedly referred to the Ecuadorians as the “so-called plaintiffs” rather than treating them as legitimate litigants. Donziger and the Ecuadorians asked Kaplan to recuse himself several times, but he refused.

In ruling in favor of Chevron, Judge Kaplan refused to consider any of the overwhelming scientific evidence of the company’s contamination in Ecuador that courts there used as the basis for a finding of liability. He also refused to read the 220,000-page Ecuador trial record, nor would he consider evidence that Chevron tried to threaten judges and corrupt the trial process.

“The scale of Chevron’s efforts to avoid compensating its victims is breathtaking,” said Donziger’s brief. “But nobody should lose sight of the one thing that Chevron has chosen not to litigate: the fact that Chevron dumped billions of gallons of toxic waste into a region roughly the size of Rhode Island.”

Donziger has long asserted that Chevron falsified evidence and used bribery and intimidation with judges and witnesses in Ecuador, and that neither he nor his colleagues did anything out of the ordinary for lawyers fighting on behalf of politically powerless clients in a court system that historically favored the oil company. Prior to this case, Chevron never faced even a single adverse judgment during 25 years of operating in Ecuador even though it admitted to dumping billions of gallons of toxic water of production and abandoning more than 900 open-air pits filled with oil waste.

Donziger said he remains unbowed in the face of Chevron’s attacks, which include near-constant surveillance of him and his family and doing battle with more than 60 law firms and 2,000 legal personnel hired by the oil giant to work on the case.

“To be clear, I categorically reject Chevron’s allegations which Judge Kaplan adopted wholesale without considering contrary evidence,” said Donziger. “Any pressure we applied to the court in Ecuador was completely appropriate and designed to ensure our clients received a fair trial in the face of Chevron’s constant attempts to corrupt and sabotage the proceedings. The only bribe that took place came from Chevron’s lawyers and it went to the company’s star witness in Judge Kaplan’s trial, Alberto Guerra.”

Separately, a prominent law professor from New York University, Burt Neuborne, filed an appellate brief for two Ecuadorians who appeared before Judge Kaplan, Javier Piaguaje and Hugo Camacho. In urging the court to vacate Judge Kaplan’s decision, that brief said “the litigation’s current focus has been skillfully diverted from the central issue of Chevron’s legal duty to remediate the ravaged land, to a distasteful sideshow featuring unremitting assaults on the integrity of Steven Donziger.”

The brief for the Ecuadorians can be read here.

In addition to Gupta, Donziger was represented by Greg Beck and Jon Taylor from Gupta Beck; and Justin Marceau and John Campbell from the Sturm College of Law at the University of Denver. The team was assisted by law students from the University of Denver, Yale and Georgetown.

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