8 CSR Lessons from Clinton Global Initiative Members

3p Conferences
| Monday September 29th, 2014 | 0 Comments

CGI logoBy Cindy Mehallow

What makes the efforts of Clinton Global Initiative (GCI) members so successful? CGI members include foundations, corporations and NGOs that have made tangible progress in tackling some of the world’s most pressing problems. From 2005 through 2013, CGI community members have made 2,872 Commitments to Action that have affected the lives of 430 million people across 180 countries. Their efforts have helped rebuild Haiti, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, fight food insecurity, and promote education and economic opportunity for women and girls — to name a few of their initiatives.

So, how do they achieve these results? Listening to presenters during the recent CGI annual meeting in New York, I paid more attention to how they drove change than to what they accomplished.

As the meeting progressed, several themes began to emerge. Many of the ideas and principles described by presenters echoed success factors I’ve observed firsthand through my work with sustainability reporting clients and my pro-bono work on the municipal level. Even though I’d heard much of this advice before, it was a valuable reminder of some essential principles.

Here is a distillation of their wisdom for assessing your own corporate social responsibility (CSR) and sustainability efforts.

Click to continue reading »

Permalink CONTINUES » discuss Discuss This »

podium[Your News Here]

Zagster Aims a For a New Bike Sharing Model in Cleveland

Leon Kaye | Monday September 29th, 2014 | 0 Comments
Zagster, bike sharing, bicycling, Cleveland, bicycle sharing, public transportation, Ohio City, Leon Kaye

Bike Share for the city of Cleveland is entirely privately-funded and operated.

It did not attract as much attention as the bicycle sharing programs in Washington, D.C. and New York City, but earlier this month Zagster and several partners launched a program Cleveland, Ohio.

Part of the reason for the lack of coverage is that this pilot program is only in one part of the city. Meanwhile D.C.’s Capital Bikeshare had scored much attention for its extensiveness, while CitiBank’s big check to sponsor New York’s raised many eyebrows in the Big Apple. With the constant handwringing over whether bikesharing can survive in the long run, is Cleveland taking a risk — especially considering the cold temperatures several months out of the year?

But for Zagster, Cleveland offered an opportunity to complement the company’s success on corporate and academic campuses. Already boasting of clients including DTE Energy, GM, Quicken Loans and most recently, Duke University, this Cambridge-based company is bullish on the future of bike sharing — with a few caveats.

Click to continue reading »

Permalink CONTINUES » discuss Discuss This »

Hershey Sweetens Up Its Palm Oil Sourcing Policy

Lauren Zanolli
| Monday September 29th, 2014 | 1 Comment

hershey's chocolate barThe Hershey Co. last week announced updates to its palm oil sourcing policy that provide more specific standards for growers to meet under its 2013 commitment to 100 percent sustainable and traceable palm oil. The updates fall largely in line with existing industry standards on sustainable growing practices but, with the help of a nonprofit supply chain consultant, denote an increased focus on traceability — a growing trend across the consumer products industry.

The new supplier standards include clarifications on previous commitments to avoid environmentally impactful growing practices like deforestation and peat farming. They also help to define best practices through international labor and human rights standards from the United Nations and the International Labor Organization. Hershey’s updated standards match existing standards for responsible farming from the industry’s leading certification group, the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO), which Hershey joined in 2011.

Earlier this year, the Pennsylvania-based company said it had met its goal of buying 100 percent “mass balance” RSPO certified palm oil — a mixture of sustainable-certified and conventional palm oils — a year ahead of its stated 2015 goal. Last year, the confectionery company announced it would commit to buying only fully traceable palm oil by the end of 2014.

Click to continue reading »

Permalink CONTINUES » discuss Discuss This »

Caesars Entertainment’s Environmental Stewardship Sparkles

Gina-Marie Cheeseman
| Monday September 29th, 2014 | 0 Comments

149539626_b11347df12_zCaesars Entertainment touts its commitment to environmental stewardship, but the company’s latest Corporate Citizenship Report demonstrates that it is more than just a mere boast.

The company achieved a 12.6 percent reduction in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in 2013, surpassing its goal of a 10 percent reduction. Caesars surpassed other goals including its goal for water reduction. The hotel chain reduced water use by 18 percent per air conditioned 1,000 square feet in 2013. The goal was to reduce water use by 10 percent by 2015 and 15 percent by 2020.

Environmental stewardship is a long-term strategy Caesars developed about six years ago, Gwen Migita, vice president of corporate citizenship and sustainability, told me. The company is currently in the next stage of its five-year strategy. “Environmental stewardship was a long-term strategy we really developed about six years ago,” Migita said. “From the top down, our CEO has made a commitment to sponsor and support our sustainability strategy.”

Click to continue reading »

Permalink CONTINUES » discuss Discuss This »

3p Weekend: Top 10 Sustainable U.S. Breweries

Mary Mazzoni
| Friday September 26th, 2014 | 1 Comment

Love sustainable beer? Join Triple Pundit as we take our ‘Stories & Beer’ series on the road! It all starts in Philadelphia on Sept. 30, where we’ll discuss the B Corp movement and “measuring positive impact.” Then, it’s on to New York City on Oct. 2 for a chat about sustainable fashion and water conservation. We’ll wrap things up with a happy hour event at SXSW Eco in Austin on Oct. 7. Hope to see you there! 

Among its many sustainability initiatives, New Belgium Brewing is a known supporter of cycling as a way to reduce carbon emissions. It provides bike-to-work incentives for employees and hosts the ever-popular Tour de Fat cycling event each year.

Among its many sustainability initiatives, New Belgium Brewing is a big supporter of cycling. It provides bike-to-work incentives for employees and hosts the ever-popular Tour de Fat cycling event each year.

With a busy week behind you and the weekend within reach, there’s no shame in taking things a bit easy on Friday afternoon. With this in mind, every Friday TriplePundit will give you a fun, easy read on a topic you care about. So, take a break from those endless email threads, and spend five minutes catching up on the latest trends in sustainability and business.

It’s Friday afternoon, and you’re bound to be feeling a little thirsty. To help you choose a sustainable sip for tonight’s happy hour, this week we’re rounding up 10 of the most sustainable breweries in the U.S. So, grab a cold one, and rest easy knowing it had little to no impact on our planet.

1. New Belgium Brewing

New Belgium is widely regarded as one of the most sustainable breweries in the nation. Taking a holistic approach to sustainability, the Fort Collins, Colorado-based brewery uses science-based metrics to track environmental performance.

New Belgium is currently diverting 99.9 percent of its waste from landfills and has reduced water use per barrel of beer to 3.5:1 (averages range from 6:1 to 10:1). The company is also a partner in the Brewers for Clean Water campaign and has donated close to half a million dollars to restore local waterways. The brewery also takes a “high-involvement” approach when it comes to its community, hosting events and give-back initiatives to help support the people that love its beer. The fact that it’s 100 percent employee-owned doesn’t hurt either.

Click to continue reading »

Permalink CONTINUES » discuss Discuss This »

SolarCity to Build PV ‘Gigafactory’ in Buffalo

| Friday September 26th, 2014 | 4 Comments

solar-city-truck-505 (1) Perhaps no two companies have made a bigger splash — or more clearly demonstrated the potential of clean technology to revitalize manufacturing, create jobs and spur “green” growth of the U.S. economy — than Elon Musk’s Tesla Motors and SolarCity.

Hot on the heels of Tesla announcing it will build its lithium-ion battery ‘Gigafactory’ in Nevada, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced a groundbreaking ceremony for an equally massive SolarCity facility in Buffalo. The manufacturing plant will devote 1.2 million square feet to produce solar photovoltaic (PV) cells, the governor announced Sept. 23.

“Gov. Cuomo shares our view that the United States can return to its place atop the world in advanced technology manufacturing,” SolarCity CEO Lyndon Rive was quoted in a press release. “Thanks to the governor’s leadership, we will be able to quintuple the output capacity and economic impact of Silevo’s original commitment. I couldn’t be more excited to partner with the state to make Western New York a global capital for clean energy development.”

Click to continue reading »

Permalink CONTINUES » discuss Discuss This »

What the Environmental Movement Can Learn From Marriage Equality

3p Contributor | Friday September 26th, 2014 | 2 Comments
Marriage equality supporters brave the cold to attend a rally at the at the U.S. Supreme Court on March 26, 2013.

Marriage equality supporters brave the cold to attend a rally at the at the U.S. Supreme Court on March 26, 2013.

By Jessalyn Kiesa

As global leaders join forces at the United Nations Climate Summit this week and grassroots organizers celebrate the success of last weekend’s climate march — the largest in history, with over 300,000 participants — there’s a sense that the environmental movement and its advocates face a new set of opportunities. With the next big round of international climate talks scheduled for December 2015, the moment to change public opinion and drive global legislative change is now.

But how do we get and keep supporters engaged? The answer might come from one of the defining social justice movements of our time. Given its success and continued momentum, we can learn a lot from the movement for marriage equality.

Click to continue reading »

Permalink CONTINUES » discuss Discuss This »

Southwest to Fly with Forest Waste Biofuel

Bill DiBenedetto | Friday September 26th, 2014 | 0 Comments

Southwest Heart OneAs early as 2016, biofuel made from forest waste might propel passengers on some Southwest Airlines flights.

The airline’s recent agreement with Colorado’s Red Rock Biofuels will have a double benefit: The low-carbon renewable jet fuel — made using forest residues or remnants — will help reduce the risk of destructive wildfires in the Western United States.

The agreement with Red Rock covers the purchase of about 3 million gallons annually. It is expected that the renewable fuel will be incorporated as a blend with conventional jet fuel in Southwest airplanes originating from San Francisco airports starting in 2016.

Click to continue reading »

Permalink CONTINUES » discuss Discuss This »

In Wake of New Protests, H&M and Others Commit to Living Wages in Cambodia

Michael Kourabas
| Friday September 26th, 2014 | 0 Comments

74486342_826562872a_oA group of eight international fashion retailers, including H&M, Inditex (the owner of Zara) and Britain’s Primark, announced last week that they would support fair living wages for Cambodian garment workers and were prepared to factor such wages into their pricing.  The official support came just days after the Cambodian government, for the second time this year, deployed armed troops in response to rallies by garment workers seeking higher minimum wages.

On Sept. 17, thousands of textile workers gathered in and around Cambodia’s capital, Phnom Penh, demanding a significant increase in the monthly minimum wage, from $100 to $177.  A previous demand for a wage hike to $160 had been rejected by employers, who earlier this year raised wages to $100 from around $80. Importantly, no incidents of violence against either police or protesters were reported, in contrast to the government’s response to a January 2014 protest, when Cambodian troops opened fire on striking workers — killing at least four and injuring many more.

The retailers’ commitment

H&M and the other retailers made their support for the garment workers known in a letter to the deputy prime minister and the chairman of the local Garment Manufacturers Association, written just one day after the latest protests.  The letter states that “[w]orkers in all production countries have a right to a fair living wage.”  As such, going forward the retailers’ “purchasing practices will enable the payment of a fair living wage and increased wages will be reflected in our prices.”  The retailers also wrote that they expect and will support “the installation of an annual industry collective bargaining process for wages that is fair and takes into account the [International Labor Organization’s] technical expertise.”

(The letter goes on to note, however, that the retailers anticipate that the higher cost of wages will be offset by remedying perceived inefficiencies in Cambodian factories.  The letter is also light on specifics and does not explicitly endorse the workers’ demand for $177/month or any other particular figure.)

Click to continue reading »

Permalink CONTINUES » discuss Discuss This »

On the Heels of U.N. Summit, Nations Announce Partnerships to End Deforestation

Gina-Marie Cheeseman
| Friday September 26th, 2014 | 1 Comment

forestationHeads of government, business leaders and activists met in New York, this week for the one-day U.N. Climate Summit. One thing is for certain: If we are to reduce greenhouse gas emissions globally, we have to stop deforestation, which is the second leading contributor of carbon emissions after burning fossil fuels.

On the same day delegates gathered at the summit, Liberia and Norway announced a partnership to protect forests in the African country. Norway will support Liberia’s efforts with up to $150 million until 2020. Announced at a joint press conference, the partnership means Liberia will become the first African nation to stop deforestation in exchange for aid from a developed country. In the first years, Norway will devote up to $70 million to implement policy measures and the necessary institution building.

Click to continue reading »

Permalink CONTINUES » discuss Discuss This »

Health is Everyone’s Business

3p Contributor | Friday September 26th, 2014 | 2 Comments
Humana CEO   Bruce D. Broussard, Nicole Newman of D.C. Promise Neighborhood, President Barack Obama and elementary students at an event commemorating this year’s National Day of Service and Remembrance in Washington, D.C.

Humana CEO Bruce D. Broussard (second from left), Nicole Newman of D.C. Promise Neighborhood, President Barack Obama and elementary students at an event commemorating this year’s National Day of Service and Remembrance in Washington, D.C.

By Bruce Broussard

Americans spend in excess of $2.7 trillion dollars on health care each year. This is roughly one of every six dollars spent in the U.S. economy. It’s estimated that approximately 20 percent of this spending is inefficient and therefore wasteful.

We’ve heard a lot recently about the challenges we face and the importance of “fixing” health care in the U.S. We recognize that people face challenges as they navigate complex and changing health care systems, and we are committed to helping our members and patients achieve better health.

As the head of one of the country’s largest health insurers, I want to share some observations about what we at Humana believe are important components to overcoming these challenges.

Click to continue reading »

Permalink CONTINUES » discuss Discuss This »

Companies Scramble to Meet Consumer Demand for Zero Deforestation

3p Contributor | Thursday September 25th, 2014 | 0 Comments

CIFOR: Cleared LandBy Adam Wiskind

The global uptake of ‘zero deforestation‘ claims is growing, with demand for deforestation-free products on the rise. The Consumer Goods Forum, representing 400 global brands such as L’Oreal, Proctor & Gamble and Unilever, has committed to help members “achieve zero net deforestation” in their supply chains by 2020. Retailers have also stepped up, such as Safeway, with its recent pledge to source palm oil only from sites where “no deforestation has occurred after Dec. 20, 2013.”

In fact, more than 50 percent of the palm oil traded globally is now covered by some “deforestation-free” commitment. Governments, too, are taking action, with more than 60 countries signing onto the World Wildlife Fund’s Zero Net Deforestation pledge in 2013.

These pledges are significant and represent an important driver of interest and attention. How these claims are translated on the ground will determine their actual impact in terms of protecting critical forest habitat around the globe.  The next step is verified action. This is where leveraging existing responsible forestry and palm oil certification schemes can help.

Click to continue reading »

Permalink CONTINUES » discuss Discuss This »

Masdar Invests $858M in U.K. Offshore Wind

Mary Mazzoni
| Thursday September 25th, 2014 | 0 Comments
From Left to Right - Christian Rynning-Tønnesen, President and CEO of Statkraft; Dr. Sultan Ahmad Al Jaber, Chairman of Masdar; Ed Davey, Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, United Kingdom; Helge Lund, CEO of Statoil

From Left to Right – Christian Rynning-Tønnesen, President and CEO of Statkraft; Dr. Sultan Ahmad Al Jaber, Chairman of Masdar; Ed Davey, Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, United Kingdom; Helge Lund, CEO of Statoil

Yesterday Masdar announced its partnership with two Norwegian firms in the Dudgeon offshore wind farm, located off the Norfolk coast in Eastern England. Valued at £1.5 billion (around US$1.9 billion or AED 8.95 billion), the wind farm will provide enough energy to power 410,000 homes in the U.K.

Masdar, Abu Dhabi’s renewable energy company, acquired a 35 percent stake in the project from Statoil, a Harstad, Norway-based oil and gas company. Statoil remains as operator of the project with a 35 percent stake, with the remaining 30 percent owned by Statkraft — an international hydropower company and Europe’s largest generator of renewable energy.

“As the only OPEC nation supplying both traditional and renewable energy to international markets, the United Arab Emirates is committed to accelerating the use of wind energy as an effective means of balancing the global energy mix as we move toward a sustainable, low-carbon future,” Dr. Sultan Al Jaber, chairman of Masdar, said in a statement.

Al Jaber, along with Ed Davey, U.K. Secretary of State for Energy & Climate Change, Statoil CEO Helge Lund and Statkraft CEO Christian Rynning-Tonnesen, announced the investment on the sidelines of the United Nations’ Climate Change Summit in New York.

Click to continue reading »

Permalink CONTINUES » discuss Discuss This »

Note to U.N. Climate Delegates: Don’t Forget Renewable Natural Gas

3p Contributor | Thursday September 25th, 2014 | 1 Comment
Energy Vision President Joanna D. Underwood (left) at the People's Climate March in New York City on Sunday.

Energy Vision President Joanna D. Underwood (left) at the People’s Climate March in New York City on Sunday.

By Joanna D. Underwood

Amid clamor for bolder action on climate change, there’s dispute over the U.S. strategy of boosting production and dependence on natural gas as a bridge to a low-carbon future.

2013 was a record year for global CO2 emissions, and included a 2.9 percent rise in U.S. CO2 emissions after several years of decline. Burning natural gas to generate power releases only half the CO2 of burning coal, and when it is used as a vehicle fuel, it’s 20 to 25 percent better in terms of overall greenhouse gas emissions than gasoline or diesel.

But it is, after all, still a fossil fuel. It consists mostly of methane, an unregulated heat-trapping gas 25 times more powerful than carbon dioxide. Methane leakage from well sites and pipelines has become a hot topic. U.S. environmental groups are demanding the EPA regulate it, and it’s an issue at the United Nations Climate Summit taking place in New York this week.

Renewable energy advocates point out that the money spent on natural gas development preempts renewables spending, and there’s a limit to how much methane leakage and emissions regulation can be controlled and how much natural gas emissions can be improved. It’s understandable why, for many, swapping natural gas for oil and mitigating carbon dioxide emissions with methane seems like incremental punting — not a robust solution to climate change.

But natural gas critics and boosters alike are missing something important: the advent of a fuel called renewable natural gas (RNG), which is chemically similar to fossil natural gas, but better. It is produced not by drilling or hydrofracking fossilized deposits, but by capturing biogases wherever organic wastes decompose: in landfills, wastewater treatment plants, etc. The stream of organic waste is massive, but until recently, we’ve largely ignored it as a source of energy and emissions savings.

Click to continue reading »

Permalink CONTINUES » discuss Discuss This »

Seattle Assesses Fine to Homeowners for Wasting Food

Jan Lee
Jan Lee | Thursday September 25th, 2014 | 4 Comments

640px-Garbage_Truck_landfillThe push for increased sustainable methods can be seen everywhere these days — certainly when it comes to local efforts to pare down on what we toss in the landfill.

Massachusetts’ ongoing effort to increase composting throughout the state is one such example, which will require any company or facility that disposes of at least a ton of organic material a week to compost its food scraps and other compostable materials. The disposal ban takes effect on Oct. 1 and affects more than 1,500 businesses, hospitals, public offices and facilities. Connecticut and Vermont have similar bans for wasting food that exceeds a 2-ton limit on organic waste per week.

The city of Seattle has also embraced the composting idea with a bit more of a creative edge: In an effort to encourage residents to stop wasting food, the city council passed an ordinance this last Monday that allows households to be fined $1 each time that garbage collectors find more than 10 percent of organic waste in their garbage bins.

Click to continue reading »

Permalink CONTINUES » discuss Discuss This »