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As people, communities, institutions and governments move towards a greener and more sustainable future, it is imperative that corporations also embrace the move, but more importantly, that corporations help lead the way. Corporations from all over the world are in a unique position to not only set a positive example, but to also make real change- change that overtime will help them grow and succeed.

Here at Corporate Green, we celebrate those corporations who are making a difference by profiling them and introducing you to their people and how they have made a difference. We also provide helpful information that corporations can put to use right away when embracing sustainability and looking for fresh ideas that will keep their teams excited.

If you know of a great corporate green story that you think we should report on, please let us know.

 Schneider Electric Named 2016

Clean Energy Company of the Year



Schneider Electric, the global specialist in energy management and automation, has been honoured as the Clean Energy Company of the year by the Northeast Clean Energy Council (NECEC) and the NECEC Institute during the organization's Ninth Annual "Green Tie Gala" awards. The award recognizes Schneider Electric for its leadership and contributions to the region's clean energy economy, unwavering commitment to provide innovative business models, connected technologies and solutions, and for its significant deployment of clean energy in the Northeast region.


Trends including urbanization, digitization and industrialization are transforming how people and organizations consume energy, automate industrial processes, make business decisions and improve their lives. Through its products, solutions and services, Schneider Electric helps customers take advantage of this fundamental shift to ensure their energy is safe, reliable, efficient, sustainable, and connected. The Company's technologies enable distributed and connected energy, redefining the way we live our lives and ensuring that Life Is On for everyone, everywhere and at every moment.



"We take great pride in this recognition as it acknowledges our commitment to our core mission. We believe that access to energy is a fundamental, basic human right. At the same time, we are also convinced that the current way of managing, consuming and producing energy is unsustainable," said Kevin Self, Senior Vice President, Strategy, Business Development and Government Affairs, Schneider Electric. "At Schneider Electric we are energy optimists – we believe the solution is possible by using the technologies of today to help our customers manage their energy better. From the convergence of IT and OT, to the advancement of renewables, the energy landscape is evolving and we are excited to be part of the solution."


"Schneider Electric earned our Clean Energy Company of the Year award largely due to its leadership in clean energy world-wide and throughout the Northeast, and for its dedication to integrating sustainability into its business strategy, decision making and overall performance," said NECEC President Peter Rothstein. "Additionally, Schneider's investment in energy innovation and strong commitment to diversity and inclusion in its workforce sets them apart from others in the industry."  


In addition to the NECEC Clean Energy Company of the Year Award, Schneider Electric has received the following "Green" awards in 2016:







Congratulations to the team at Schneider!


 U.S. can help provide light to millions with

new Give Brighter Plan



Direct Energy now offers new Give Brighter electricity and natural gas plans to customers in its United States' markets. The fixed plans leverage a partnership with MPOWERD, the company behind Luci® light, a solar inflatable light. Each time a customer signs up for a new energy plan, they will receive an inflatable, solar Luci light, and one will be donated on their behalf to someone who lives without electricity.


The Give Brighter plan has been available to Texas electricity customers since June. Within the first three months of the product launch, more than 2,000 lights have been sent to MPOWERD's partners. These lights will go to school children in Malawi, families in South America, and women entrepreneurs in South Sudan.


"This program has been so well-received by the Texas market, we wanted to extend the opportunity to all our customers in the United States to give back," said Cullen Hay, General Manager - U.S. Energy, Direct Energy. "We hope that this program not only helps the 1.5 billion people living without electricity, but also helps to bring an added value to our customers."


Created by MPOWERD, Luci lights offer a safe, reliable light source for any situation. Luci lights use solar power and can brighten a room for up to 18 hours after charging in the sun for 8 hours. MPOWERD works with non-profit community partners to distribute the lights to people in need in countries including Kenya, Haiti, Nepal and the Philippines. The lights enable people to continue their day past sunset, so children can study, entrepreneurs can keep working, and health clinics can stay open.


"Not only has Direct Energy's ongoing contribution to our Give Luci program been heartwarming, but it has bolstered our global efforts in distributing light to those who don't have access to clean energy. They've led the way and set the moral standard around the imperative for corporations to materially participate in solving global issues," said John Salzinger, Co-Founder and Chief Business Development Officer, MPOWERD.


The Give Brighter plan is available to residents in New York, New Jersey, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware, Ohio, Illinois, Michigan, Indiana and Washington, D.C.



Survey Finds Corporate Employees

Support Advocacy on Social Issues


Photo credit Mark Hillary


Major corporations are facing growing pressure to weigh in on social issues — and much of this pressure is coming from company employees themselves, says a new study, Taking a Stand: How Corporations Speak Out on Social Issues, from the Public Affairs Council.


The poll of 92 businesses in a wide variety of industries finds that – over the last three years – 60 percent have experienced rising stakeholder pressure to speak out on social issues such as discrimination, sustainability, education and human rights. None of the respondents reported that pressure had decreased. What's more, 74 percent of respondents said they expect pressure to get involved in social issues will increase over the next three years.


More than half have been involved in efforts to end discrimination and restrictions based on sexual orientation or gender identity.


Earlier this year, North Carolina passed a controversial law that eliminates LGBT anti-discrimination protections and requires that people in government buildings may only use restroom and changing facilities that correspond to the sex on their birth certificates. Many companies have publicly opposed the law, some going so far as to boycott events and business activities in the state.


According to the survey, the groups with the most influence over a company's decision to get involved are senior management, regular employees and customers. Other stakeholders with influence include advocacy groups and shareholders.


Expectations for involvement are highest among companies with more than $15 billion in annual revenue. More than three-quarters of these firms said they experienced increased pressure to weigh in on social issues. High percentages of companies said they were most involved recently in efforts to protect the environment (74%), end discrimination/restrictions based on sexual orientation (59%) or gender (54%), improve access to quality education (59%), protect human rights abroad (49%) and end discrimination/restrictions based on gender identity (52%).


Publicly traded corporations were more likely than private companies to experience growing pressure to engage, and they were more likely to be involved in efforts to support various social issues. Very few companies, public or private, reported they had been involved in efforts to oppose any of the listed issues.


The most common strategies used by companies in their social issue advocacy efforts have been to join a coalition, lobby at the state/local level, distribute a press release or public statement, lobby at the federal level, sign a petition, publish a formal policy position or conduct media interviews.


"Many of these social issues are now viewed as business issues," said Council President Doug Pinkham. "They affect a company's ability to attract and retain talent and meet the expectations of customers. Other areas of involvement also demonstrate the belief that it's possible for a firm to be financially successful while protecting the environment and supporting local communities."



Bacardi Awards Employees for

Remarkable Sustainability Efforts



It's been said that good starts make excellent finishes. This is true both with the production of premium spirits and corporate responsibility, like the employee initiatives nominated for the 2nd Annual Bacardi Limited Good Spirited awards. A total of 11 employees, teams and facilities received recognition for their outstanding environmental achievements within five different award categories. From new bottle recycling plants in India, using reclaimed MARTINI® cork plugs for building materials, and a no straws campaign, among other programs, the winners and honorable mention recipients produced many gains through a variety of methods. In the process, several facilities garnered the highest government approvals and certifications for clean burning biomass use and supply chain efficiencies.



"Abraham Lincoln once stated, 'You cannot escape the responsibility of tomorrow by evading it today,' and this is exactly what the Bacardi Good Spirited environmental initiative is all about," says Jim Gallagher, chief communications officer for Bacardi Limited, the largest privately held spirits company in the world. "It's inspiring to see the ongoing commitment our colleagues have toward building a more sustainable future as they make willing steps to make a positive impact."


The noteworthy, eco-conscious endeavors recognized with the Good Spirited awards will provide Bacardi with long-term improvements and reductions for a more sustainable future across operations, packaging and responsible sourcing and will drive the Company's global infrastructure closer to its goal to reach a net-zero impact—to put back into the environment at least as much as it takes away. Naturally, in support of the Good Spirited mission, the award trophies are made from recycled oak and acknowledge activities between April 1, 2015 and March 31, 2016 (FY16).


The 2nd Annual Bacardi Limited Good Spirited Award recipients are:


Production Facility Improvement


Winner: Tultitlán, Mexico – For its multi-facility "Clean and Lean" programs, the Federal Environment Protection Attorney's Office (PROFEPA) bestowed "Clean Industry" certificates for all three of the Company's facilities in Mexico: the La Galarza distillery, just northwest of Puebla and southeast of Mexico City; the BACARDÍ® bottling plant in Tultitlán; and the Jalisco, Arandas-area Tequila CAZADORES® distillery and bottling facility. The rare Clean Industry distinction identifies exemplary companies that go well beyond regular environmental compliance regulations to demonstrate exceptional social commitment.


Honorable Mention: Pessione, Italy – The Pessione facility, which distills and bottles MARTINI® vermouth and Italian sparkling wines, became 100% waste-free in FY16 as the facility achieved an astounding 4.6% reduction in waste, which is the equivalent of 115 tons. The site reached its zero-waste-to-landfill goal through an awareness campaign and a partnership with a local incinerator plant in Turin, which will reuse the portion of waste items identified as "not directly recyclable" as fuel.


Production Facility Sustainability Project


Co-Winner: Fuel Oil Consumption – Cataño, Puerto Rico – The facility, which is the largest premium rum plant in the world, decreased fuel oil consumption by 35% (from 0.084 gal/pg to 0.052 gal/pg) — the equivalent to 400,000 gallons of fuel oil. With this fuel reduction, Cataño, Puerto Rico, home to BACARDÍ® reduced its greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) by an astonishing 25%.


Co-Winner: John Dewar & Sons Transition to Biomass – Royal Brackla, UK - The Aberfeldy and Royal Brackla John Dewar & Sons Limited distilleries made the transition from the exclusive use of heavy fuel oil to 100% clean-burning renewable fuel biomass and substantially reduced the amount of GHG emissions they produce. Together, the changeover to biomass nearly cut energy use at the sites in half. At the Aberfeldy distillery, the ecofriendly change has reduced GHG emissions by an extraordinary 2.2kg of CO2 per liter of alcohol produced. At Royal Brackla, once the transition is complete, GHG emissions will be reduced by an equally astounding 1.73kg of CO2.


Honorable Mention: Glass Bottle Recycling – India – At the India BACARDÍ® rum facility, 315kg of CO2 GHG emissions are saved per ton of glass recycled. The bottle recycling plants also use steam recovery systems that reduce fuel and water consumption by 70%. The bottle-recycling project in India is projected to reduce CO2 emissions by about 1,400 tons from FY16 to FY17.


Sustainable Office


Winner: Arandas, Mexico – The office, which supports the crafting of the CAZADORES® and CORZO® tequila brands, reduced its energy use from 12,156kW to 2,026kW, which represents an 83% reduction in CO2 GHG emissions — the equivalent to the amount of energy used in eight houses, monthly. To accomplish this task, the team members consolidated 12 offices into one larger office. They also have gone as paperless as possible, changed over to solar-powered lighting and use water-free toilets.


Honorable Mention: Jacksonville, United States – The bottling facility for BACARDÍ® rum conducted three environmental initiatives that involved the removal of 30 printers, 100 large office waste bins and all plastic cutlery.


Partnership


Winner: Bacardi USA Supply Chain & Ryder System, Inc. – As one of only 11 companies nationwide to receive a coveted U.S. EPA SmartWay Excellence Award, Bacardi USA manages to do more, sustainably, with less energy and emissions through its partnership with Ryder. Since 2008, Bacardi USA and Ryder have worked together to institute the EPA's SmartWay Program and have successfully reduced carbon emissions by more than 20%. In 2009, 65% of Bacardi shipments out of its Jacksonville, Florida, bottling facility were over the road. In just six years, Bacardi USA reversed that with just 35% of shipments by truck; 65% by rail. In the last nine years, Bacardi USA reduced the weight of its packaging by more than 7%—equivalent to taking 1,100 full truckloads off the road.


Honorable Mention: Pessione & Artimestieri, Italy – Cork Plugs Initiative – The Pessione facility's discarded MARTINI® cork stoppers are delivered close by to Artimestieri, a non-profit cooperative and environmental advocacy organization, to be reused for natural decorations and green building. This program saves approximately 100,000 corks from becoming landfill waste in Italy.


Green Champions


Winner: Ian McLaren, Coral Gables, USA – Bacardi Trade Advocacy Director Ian McLaren, a sought-after speaker on sustainability, led a no-straws campaign at the Company's North America regional headquarters office in Coral Gables, Florida, and has inspired other Bacardi facilities including the Company's gin distillery in southern England to do without non-biodegradable straws and stirrers. The internal response and commitment to take the "No Straws" pledge from Bacardi offices, distilleries and brand homes was immediate. Within two weeks, all brand homes and visitor centers made the commitment. By getting rid of straws at its in-house events globally, Bacardi will prevent an estimated 650,000 straws and stirrers from entering landfills each year.


Honorable Mention: Jonathan Wilson, Aberfeldy, UK – For the first time ever, the Aberfeldy distillery is national accredited as a Silver Standard "Green Tourism" site because of Mr. Wilson's many environmental programs such as using green consumables and office supplies, and the implementation of a new no-straws policy, among many other things.


The award recipients and their individual campaigns represent only the tip of the iceberg with regard to the many Bacardi Limited Good Spirited activities that took place over the last fiscal year that produced sizable reductions in water, GHG emissions, and waste to landfill. Many strategies also involved community support, increased biodiversity, key stakeholder engagement with government, media and customers to impart benefits within the local communities the Company serves. Overall, the sum total of every initiative, from the smallest to largest, has improved environmental awareness and made the Bacardi company name synonymous with sustainability.


"Our Good Spirited initiative is a uniting campaign because regional successes stimulate and encourage more reductions within our global infrastructure, and motivate others with the desire to do even more," adds Mr. Gallagher. "The out-of-the-box strategies demonstrate the ingenuity of our corporate culture to reduce the company's carbon footprint and the reductions and savings from these employee-led initiatives increase, remarkably, every year."


With environmental stewardship weaved into the fabric of the Company's culture from the beginning, the launch of the Bacardi Limited Good Spirited environmental initiative marked the beginning of new era of accountability for the Company and all of its brands worldwide. Good Spirited has challenged Bacardi employees to accelerate innovation and creativity and demonstrate their true passion and support for the premise that environmental conservation is a collaboration that starts with personal responsibility.


Since 2006, when Bacardi began tracking its global impact on the environment, it has improved water use efficiency by 44% and reduced GHG intensity ratio by 46%. Building on current programs and efficiencies that reduce its environmental impacts, the Bacardi Limited "Good Spirited" sustainability program sets specific goals in three areas to help the Company reach its vision of a net zero impact:


Responsible Sourcing: Bacardi strives to obtain all raw materials and packaging from sustainably sourced, renewable or recycled materials while maintaining or enhancing the economic status of growers and suppliers. By 2017, the goal is to obtain 40% of the sugarcane-derived products used to make its rum from certified, sustainable sources – and 100% by 2022. This pledge from Bacardi is an industry first.


Global Packaging: Bacardi commits to use eco-design to craft sustainability into its brand packaging and point-of-sale materials. By 2017, Bacardi plans to reduce the weight of its packaging by 10% and achieve 15% by 2022.


Operational Efficiencies: Bacardi continues to focus on reducing water use and GHG emissions with a 2017 goal to cut water use by 55% and GHG emissions by 50%. In addition, Bacardi aims to eliminate landfill waste at all of its production sites by 2022.



 L'Oréal USA Announces Annual Volunteer Day



L'Oréal USA announces the kickoff of their annual Volunteer Day, where more than 5,000 employees from 20 facilities in Arkansas, New Jersey, New York, Texas and Washington will come together to give back to local communities across the country. Through more than 150 service projects, employees will donate more than 20,000 hours of community service.

Volunteer Day is part of L'Oréal's global Citizen Day initiative, the company's ongoing effort to support its local communities and customers worldwide. Last year, more than 25,000 L'Oréal employees from 62 countries volunteered 200,000 hours of community service.

"Volunteer Day is a source of pride for our employees, who are eager to make positive contributions in the communities where they live and work," said Frédéric Rozé, President & Chief Executive Officer of L'Oréal USA. "We're proud to dedicate an entire day to corporate citizenship and inspire our employees to support those in need through projects rooted in our dedication to sustainability, science and beauty."

For the 11th year, L'Oréal's New York office has partnered with New York Cares to create a series of diverse volunteer projects focusing on the company's key corporate social commitments – sustainability, science and providing beauty for all - with projects ranging from environmental education, ecology, and career and professional development to health, fitness and technology.

In keeping with the company's passion for scientific innovation, several volunteer projects are focused on science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM):

Coding Workshop at PS 234 Q: Through a hands-on workshop led by L'Oréal digital experts, middle school students will be exposed to hands-on coding workshops to strengthen their technology and problem-solving skills. They will work with volunteer mentors to understand basic programming concepts, which will include lessons from scratch.mit.edu and code.org.

Lego Robotics Workshop at IS 62 K: L'Oréal USA employees along with IS 62 K faculty will teach young and aspiring middle school students the basics of programming while inspiring them to build their own robots using Lego Robotics construction sets.

Science Scavenger Hunt at the New York Hall of Science: Kindergarten students from PS 330 Q will bring science to life through an interactive scavenger hunt followed by the screening of a 3D robotics movie at the New York Hall of Science.

Customized Shampoo Workshop at Harrison Elementary School: L'Oréal USA scientists will host a half-day science activity with 170 eight and nine-year-old students, to make customized shampoos at Harrison Elementary School in Roselle, New Jersey. The project is a joint effort with L'Oréal USA's For Women in Science philanthropy program, which awards five female postdoctoral scientists annually with grants of up to $60,000 each for their contributions in STEM and commitment to serving as role models for younger generations.


For the seventh year in a row, L'Oréal was recognized by Ethisphere as a World's Most Ethical Company® for its ethical standards of behavior and its commitment to operating a sustainable business which provides economic growth, environmental respect and social responsibility for its employees and consumers.

The company's sustainability commitment, Sharing Beauty With All, seeks to improve every part of L'Oréal's value chain, from research to operations, while sharing its growth with the communities it touches.



Hospital Patients Reunite With Their Pets



Time to time we come across some really great stories of companies really making an impact when it comes to making a difference back into our society, and every now and then we come across companies partnering with health care providers to make a profound difference back to our community. And that recently happened when the Children’s Hospital of St. Louis asked for a helping hand, or maybe we should say, a helping paw from Purina, one of the world’s largest pet supply companies.


Madison Taliaferro spent weeks in the hospital in 2012. After a decade of suffering from cystic fibrosis, she underwent a double lung transplant. She powered through the difficult surgery and the recovery that followed –long days of physical therapy and rehabilitation. Her parents were there. Her best friend visited from Kansas. Grandparents rotated shifts so she was never alone. But one request still lingered.


I just wanted to see my dogs,” she remembers.


Having suffered from the effects of chronic illness for the decade prior, Madison was no stranger to long days at home, isolated from the school germs that could turn her illness into a critical condition with a single sneeze. When her friends couldn’t visit, her dogs were there. But at the hospital, they weren’t.


“Our doctors see every day the importance of medicine and world class technology,” says Jill Malan, manager of Child Life Services at St. Louis Children’s Hospital. “We see every day the impact a child’s emotional wellbeing has on their overall recovery.”




With several examples to site, Malan proposed the idea of a room at the hospital which could facilitate visits between patients and their cats and dogs.  Studies have shown that spending time with pets can reduce pain, anxiety, depression and fatigue in people with a wide range of health issues, and those staying in long-term care facilities.


“As soon as she suggested it, I knew we had to make it happen,” says Larry Vancil, director of facility services at Children’s.


Vancil approached the St. Louis Children’s Hospital Foundation; the Foundation contacted Purina, and Purina didn’t hesitate. They enthusiastically agreed to support the construction and staffing of the center with a gift of $450,000. The Purina Family Pet Center at St. Louis Children’s Hospital officially opened Wednesday with a ribbon tugging, led by a Golden Retriever-Labrador mix named “Happy Jack.”


“At Purina we believe that pets and people are better together, and our friends at St. Louis Children’s Hospital clearly share our belief,” said Nina Leigh Krueger, Purina president. “Our goal for the Purina Family Pet Center is to bring joy and comfort to children and their families by helping them reunite with their pets during their stay.”


The Purina Family Pet Center at St. Louis Children’s Hospital gives patients the opportunity to see their pets without leaving the building, their doctors or the technology on which so many of them rely.


It is the first center of its kind in the region, and the fourth in the world.


The 300-square-foot room, adjacent to the hospital’s second-floor entrance, features washable surfaces and windows to provide natural light. It can accommodate a child in a wheelchair or hospital bed, and provides a comfortable, private visiting space for the child, pet and family. It will also include toys for the pets and Purina treats the patients can feed their pets.


Purina has participated in the planning and design of the new pet-friendly center at St. Louis Children’s Hospital. With expertise in animal behavior, the company shared information and provided advice to make the visit of the dogs and cats with their families as pleasant, safe and fun as possible. Purina behaviorists provided insights on the type of construction materials, access flow for the pets, furniture, paint colors and photos that will make the space warm and welcoming for the families and pets.


“We are so grateful to have received this gift,” says Flip Becker, senior director with the St. Louis Children’s Hospital Foundation. “I know what a difference this will make in the lives of our patients – a difference only made possible through the generous support of Purina.”


Madison’s mother, Desiree Taliaferro, echoes that sentiment. Though three years removed from transplant, her family still remembers those days and weeks clearly.


“It would have meant the world to Madison to see her dogs,” Taliaferro says. “It will mean the world to the next family.”



EPA Environmental Merit Awards

to recognize the Arpin Group



For more than 45 years, EPA New England has honored those who have made outstanding contributions to protect the New England's environment.  EPA's Environmental Merit Awards Program has honored teachers, citizen activists, business leaders, scientists, public officials and others who have made outstanding contributions on behalf of the region's public health and natural environment. The Environmental Merit Awards recognize outstanding accomplishments during the past year and over a lifetime.

The Arpin Group, a world leader in moving services that specializes in providing U.S. domestic and worldwide moving and storage services, global information storage management services and environmental business initiatives through its various subsidies will be recognized with the 2016 EPA Environmental Merit Award for its exceptional work and commitment to the environment on Tuesday, May 10. Receiving the award on behalf of the Arpin Group is Senior Partner, and Vice President, Peter Arpin, he said this about the honor, "This is a great honor for the entire, global Arpin team and family.  Yet, we view this as a huge win for our planet and future.  A dedication to triple-bottom line investments and zeal is the real value any company can deliver to customers and the communities they serve."

This special ceremony is being held at Boston Faneuil Hall, One Faneuil Hall Square in Boston on Tuesday, May 10, 2016, from 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.  To attend, and information for this historic event please click here.  This annual ceremony has recognized the environmental achievements of Americans for more than four decades, and this year ReNewable Now will be there reporting on those award winners. Hope to see you there!


Cascadian Farm commits to funding pollinator habitat


 

Cascadian Farm, a certified organic food brand founded in 1972, has announced that they will be working with the Xerces Society to plant 100,000 acres of pollinator habitat at the brand's supplier farms by the end of 2020. Cascadian Farm has been working with The Xerces Society, a leader in pollinator conservation, for several years to protect pollinators and their habitat. This expanded partnership represents a first-of-its kind effort to conserve pollinators, bringing together an organic brand, farmers, and scientists to work on this shared goal.


Pollinators – chiefly bees – are necessary for the reproduction of nearly 85 percent of the world's flowering plants.  Yet, since 2006, regions around the world have been reporting an average annual loss of 30 percent of worker honey bee populations.


Cascadian Farm, a certified organic food brand, has committed to funding 100,000 acres of pollinator habitat planting on its supplier farms by 2020.




The U.S. Interagency Presidential Pollinator Health Task Force identifies and lays out strategies for the multiple stressors on pollinator health: habitat loss, poor nutrition due to reduced food diversity, viral and parasitic diseases and pesticide exposure.


"Cascadian Farm has chosen to focus on pollinator habitat as a solution, given our brand's connection to nature," said Stephanie Moffat, associate marketing manager for Cascadian Farm.  "As a pioneer in the organic food industry, we are excited to use our scale to aid in this important cause."


The Xerces Society's Eric Lee-Mӓder, Pollinator Program Co-Director, adds, "Cascadian Farm represents one of the most respected, credible, and leading edge brands in the organic and natural foods sector. Beyond simply embracing this concept and working to truly make pollinator conservation a central part of the brand's mission, this partnership sets a high bar for the rest of the food industry. We believe this is a huge and critical step for ensuring a secure future for pollinators."


Cascadian Farm has worked to protect pollinators over the past several years. Efforts such as an on-package "bee-friendlier" donation code and Buzz Crunch cereal have led to contributions of more than $200,000 over the past two years to the Xerces Society and University of Minnesota Bee Lab.  Additionally, Cascadian's home farm in Skagit Valley, Washington, demonstrates the brand's commitment by using pollinator-friendly organic farming practices. For example, the farm uses a diverse crop production system with different crops blooming at different times. Also, the farm has leveraged Xerces' pollinator habitat evaluation tool, which led to planting a flowering summer blooming cover crop and planning for a fall-blooming native wildflower meadow.



Boxed Water Donates to
Flint, MI Residents Amid Water Crisis


 

As residents of Flint are still wrestling with contaminated water, local companies are stepping-up to help their fellow neighbors.  One company we want to showcase who is doing their part in Flint it Boxed Water, an eco-friendly packaged water company based in Grand Rapids, Michigan, they announced this week that it will be donating to the local Flint, Michigan, residents to provide relief and support for the ongoing water crisis in the city.


Boxed Water will deliver water to local Flint organizations starting on Monday, February 1. The Boxed Water donation project will start with an initial shipment of 11,520 units and further donations throughout the month of February.


"We feel for the local community and those impacted by the Flint water crisis, and as a Michigan based water company, we strongly believe it's our responsibility to help the community during this time," commented David Lee, Chief Operating Officer for Boxed Water. "We encourage everyone involved to continue donations and continue volunteering time and energy to raise awareness for this issue and to help those in need during this time."


Boxed Water is a sustainable packaged-water company that enables socially conscious consumption by re-thinking the way water is sold, shipped and consumed. Founded in 2009, Boxed Water is an alternative to bottled water that is built on three principles: sustainability, efficiency and philanthropy. Each carton is recyclable and made using renewable paper from well-managed forests. Boxed Water has also reduced its carbon footprint and increased efficiency by shipping its cartons flat to its plants to be filled. Once filled, its square-shape reduces shipping waste versus round bottles, reducing the number of trucks needed to transport the product.  One percent of Boxed Water's annual sales support reforestation and water relief through partnerships with The National Forest Foundation and Water.org. The company currently has offices in Grand Rapids, Mich. and Los Angeles, and is currently produced and filled in Holland, Mich. and Lindon, Utah.



Big Brands Committing To 100% Renewables


 

BMW Group, Coca-Cola Enterprises and several other major brands have announced they will source 100% of their electricity from renewable energy sources.


The companies take the total number of The Climate Group’s RE100 members to 53; joining other iconic brands including Microsoft, Adobe and Google.


According to The Climate Group, just these 53 companies represent 1% of electricity used by industry globally – enough to power Hong Kong and Singapore combined.


Once these companies are 100% renewable energy powered, it will save around 56 million tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions each year. If  1,000 of the world’s most influential companies became fully powered by renewable electricity, it would avoid more than the emissions of all of Africa; around 1,080 million tonnes every year.


“Many companies are switching to renewable power at a remarkable rate, and encouraging their suppliers and customers to do the same,” said Emily Farnworth, RE100 Campaign Director at The Climate Group.


“Our analysis of the private sector’s electricity consumption and carbon emissions indicated that a switch to power from renewable sources could cut global CO2 by nearly 15%.”


Arpin Group Recognized For Their Innovation

 

 

On Thursday, Sept. 17, Arpin Group was awarded PBN's Fastest Growing Innovative Companies for 2015 for energy and environmental pursuits.


Over the years, Arpin Group has transformed itself into becoming the world's greenest moving company by initiating numerous programs, such as  ZERO waste service, which was achieved by 2006. Every element such as cardboard, paper, etc., was recycled and did not go into the Central Landfill, resulting in year over year average savings of 1,200 trees,  485,000 gallons of water, 40,000 lbs of air pollutants, and 215 yards of landfill space. What was an added bonus was the reverse logistic cycle that allowed Arpin Group to sell the materials back to the manufacturer at a cost of 60 - 80% less than the cost of utilizing virgin materials.


In 2007, Arpin Group began hosting e-waste collection events across the state that have netted 92,000lbs of e-waste, which otherwise would have went to the Central Landfill. During these collections voluntary donations were collected that total $8,000 that were give to Narragansett Save The Bay, the R.I. Audubon Society, and The Arctic Mission, all non-profits.


n 2010,  Arpin Group, along with Cardi's furniture, took an aggressive leadership role by installing the state's very first Electric Car Charging station and showing the future possibility of electric vehicles for everyone.


When word of the award was received, Peter Arpin said, "Arpin Group is committed to positive change and transformation. We are 115 years old but do not want to be the same company for the next 115 years.  Our investments in R & D, focused on building an efficient, streamlined, sustainable global moving company for the benefit of our customers, have completely changed and improved our operations. We are honored to be recognized for our efforts."

To see Arpin Groups complete list of Green Initiatives you can CLICK HERE. 



PepsiCo joins Feed the Children

and Positive American Youth

 

ReNewable Now is always looking for great stories when it comes to companies giving back to the community and we are happy to share with you PepsiCo’s most recent community outreach initiatives that’s tackling hunger around the country.


PepsiCo joined Feed the Children and Positive American Youth to lend a hand to 800 Atlanta families in need, providing them with food, daily essentials, and fresh produce. The event took place at 2865 Donald Lee Hollowell Pkwy NW.


ogether, Feed the Children and PepsiCo provided enough supplemental food and necessities to help support a family of four for up to a week:


    • 25-lb. box of food
    • 10-lb. box of necessities
    • Box of AVON products
    • 20-ct. Smart Mix
    • 2-L Pepsi beverage
    • 10-ct. Quaker Chewy Chocolate Chip Bars
    • 13-oz. box Life Cereal
    • 18-oz. standard Quaker Oats
    • Tropicana Orange Juice
    • Georgia Pacific 24-roll pack of toilet paper
    • Fresh Produce donated by Walmart


"PepsiCo is excited to be partnering with Feed the Children for its fourth year of giving back and providing food and daily essentials to families in the Atlanta area," said Scott Closson, Frito-Lay Sales Zone Director, South Georgia.


The event is one of many Feed the Children has planned across the country, so that instead of worrying about having enough to eat, thousands of kids can just be kids this summer. In Atlanta alone, 25 percent of families live below the poverty line. Often, these children are unsure of where they will find their next meal.


"We call the U.S. the land of plenty, and for most of us, that's true. Yet, millions of boys and girls are going to bed hungry every night," said Travis Arnold, Feed the Children Interim CEO/President and COO. "By combining efforts today with PepsiCo and Positive American Youth, we are trying to put an end to that. These families are not only receiving food and necessities, but also the skills needed to break the cycle of poverty."



Since 1979, Feed the Children has grown into one of the largest U.S.-based charities. They are accredited by GuideStar Exchange and the BBB Wise Giving Alliance and have a 3-star rating from Charity Navigator. By banding together with their network of agencies to defeat hunger, Feed the Children distributed over $344 million in food, essentials, educational supplies, and medicine to over 10 million individuals in the United States and 18 other countries in fiscal year 2013. Visit www.feedthechildren.org for more information.



Panasonic Donates More Solar Lanterns


Panasonic Corporation has donated 3,000 solar lanterns to the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) for use in Ebola affected regions.


This latest donation adds to a previous distribution in December last year. The lanterns in this shipment are destined for Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone.


While the Ebola crisis in West Africa has disappeared from the headlines, the battle goes on and the aftermath presents many challenges.


Even simple things such as adequate lighting for treating patients can be scarce. Additionally, as all the personal belongings of patients must be destroyed as a measure to contain the disease, this has left many already poor people even worse off.


The solar lanterns,  which can be used for 6 to 8 hours during the night, will be distributed to medical personnel, community workers, as well as to patients who survived. For many of the latter, it will be their only source of reliable light.


“Businesses are now helping us fight Ebola with unprecedented innovation and creativity. Their contribution will also stay in those countries on the long-term, serving very important basic needs,” said Abdoulaye Mar Dieye, the Director of UNDP’s Regional Bureau for Africa.


The recent incident was the first Ebola virus outbreak to reach epidemic proportions. As at July 12, 2015, there have been 27,678 reported cases and 11,276 deaths according to the World Health Organisation (WHO).


For the survivors, the physical effects linger; with many suffering Post-Ebola Syndrome. This includes joint pain, hair and memory loss and vision problems – which can ultimately lead to blindness.


The epidemic has had major economic consequences in the three countries, particularly relating to tourism.


The latest donation from Panasonic is part of an ambitious, larger goal. By 2018,  the company intends donating 100,000 solar lanterns to NPOs, NGOs, humanitarian assistance institutions and other international organizations for use in emerging/developing countries through the “100 Thousand Solar Lanterns Project ."


The Solar Powered Smart Palm


Solar panel powered Smart Palms are popping up in various locations in Dubai in the United Arab Emirates.


The Smart Palm project, created by Didea Media in association with UAE telecom provider Du, provides a wide range of services; all free of charge.




The six metre tall stations are powered by a total of 12.8 square meters of  monocrystalline solar cell “leaves” boasting up to 21% efficiency.


A major feature of the structure is it acts as a free Wi-Fi hotspot that works in a range of 53 metres radius, allowing up to 50 users access to the Internet at any given time.


At night, the underside of the leaves provide lighting via high-efficiency LED’s.

A digital user-guide called Smarty assists users in making the most of the services offered; including taking “selfies” with its inbuilt camera.


It also features a shaded “relax point” where devices are charged; more commonly referred to as “seating”. But as the Smart Palm is crammed with so much whizz-bang high-tech gear, we guess it just wouldn’t be fitting to call it what it is.


The Smart Palm may also incorporate some form of energy storage, but details and specifications don’t appear to be available.




The project took just ten months from conception to installing the first unit. The first Smart Palm “grew” in Zabeel Park in April and the latest installation was commissioned at Umm Suqeim Beach early this month. All up, 53 locations across the Emirates will have Smart Palms installed during 2015, for a total of more than 100 units.


Each Smart Palm is remotely monitored by a central control center, 24/7.

The creators hope to expand the project throughout the Gulf region and then around the world.


REC SolarBox Helping

To Power Philippines Community



REC has brought solar power to Bantayan Island in Philippines, one of the communities severely affected by Typhoon Haiyan.


Typhoon Haiyan ( Typhoon Yolanda in the Philippines)  in early November 2013 was one of the strongest tropical cyclones ever recorded and caused considerable damage to the entire island, including electricity infrastructure.


To assist the community, REC partnered with Temasys Communications and donated a SolarBox to the Bantayan community through the Philippines Red Cross. The power station has been operating since January this year.


REC SolarBox is a full off-grid solar-based mini power station consisting of 80 REC Peak Energy Series solar panels, an inverter system, a deep cycle battery bank and a backup diesel generator.


The 20kW capacity SolarBox has been developed in a way that allows for full setup within 2 days of arriving on site.


SolarBox will reduce the Bantayan community’s reliance on diesel generation by up to 95%. The local school has experienced major benefits – in addition to having reliable power, it is saving it up to US$68.50 per month; which is a significant sum in that part of the world.


“We are proud to be a part of the community’s growth and are heartened that our SolarBox is helping to rebuild their lives,” said Jen Tan, REC’s Vice President for Sales and Marketing in Asia-Pacific. ” The donation of our SolarBox embodies REC’s vision – that every person benefits from electricity directly from the sun.”


REC’s SolarBox is also helping to power 5 street lights and an additional 50 street lights will be connected.


REC says there has been an increasing demand for the integration of solar energy on island grids and off-grid resorts in the Philipinnes in recent years.


In other recent REC news, the company recently released its Q1 2015 report. While overall sales were down mainly due to a drop in demand in Europe, sales in the US in Q1 2015, measured in MW, increased 62.7 % compared to the final quarter of last year. The US market, accounting for approximately 39 % of REC’s solar panels sold, represented the largest market for REC in the first quarter of this year.


“Currency movements are impacting the relative attractiveness of our key markets,” says the report. ” The strengthening of the USD currency versus other currencies has increased the importance of the US market.”


Award-winning REC solar panels were introduced to the Australian market by Energy Matters in 2010 and now feature in many home and commercial solar installations throughout the country.

Bloomberg, Coal’s Never Ending Pain,

with Deep Pockets


Bloomberg Philanthropies will invest an additional USD $30 million to assist the Sierra Club in its goals to see half the USA’s coal fleet retired by 2017, with view to replacing it with clean energy capacity.

The latest contribution builds on a previous $50 million from Bloomberg Philanthropies, founded by Michael Bloomberg. Mr. Bloomberg is the founder of global data and media company, Bloomberg LP, and was also the 108th Mayor of New York City; holding office for three consecutive terms beginning with his first election in 2001.

Mr. Bloomberg has little sympathy for the coal sector.

“Many of coal’s defenders refer to these efforts as a “war on coal” — without mentioning the actual death toll. Coal is still killing 7,500 people annually,” said
Mr. Bloomberg; referring to coal-attributed deaths in the USA. 


“That’s 7,500 too many, but it’s down from 13,000 just four years ago, when Bloomberg Philanthropies teamed up with the Sierra Club to set an ambitious goal: retiring one-third of the U.S. coal fleet by 2020.”

The next phase of the Beyond Coal campaign will also see Mr. Bloomberg drum up a matching $30 million from a coalition of funders.


“The single biggest reduction in carbon pollution in the U.S. has come by retiring and repurposing coal-fired power plants – and that’s the direct result of our Beyond Coal campaign.”

According to the Sierra Club, the partnership has already resulted in 187 coal plants retired or announcing their retirement. Dependence on coal has plunged from 52% of US electricity generation to under 40%; avoiding more than 280 million metric tons of carbon emissions from the electricity generation sector.

For every 50 gigawatts of coal taken offline, the Sierra Club says more than 3,600 deaths and 60,000 asthma attacks are prevented, plus USD $2.3 billion in health care costs are saved each year.

In addition to a well-funded war chest, the Sierra Club has massive human clout – 2.4 million members. Founded by conservationist John Muir in 1892, the Sierra Club is the USA’s largest and most influential grassroots environmental organization; helping pass the Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act, and Endangered Species Act. The group also played a crucial role in the protection of 250 million acres.



ARPIN GROUP

Leading Through Example


March has been a big month for sustainability for the Arpin Group one of the world’s oldest family owned moving companies. Winning awards and implementing a corporate Sustainability Committee were just a couple of things that topped their list.


On Friday, March 6 the Arpin Group was the recipient of the 2015 Clean Energy Future Award for business leadership and innovation. The awards acknowledge individuals, companies and organizations that show exemplary achievement and leadership in promoting energy efficiency, renewable energy and clean transportation throughout the Ocean State. When asked about the award Peter Arpin said,  “It is our honor to be recoginized for our efforts and we not only take great pride in this award, but we also know that we need to continue to show leadership and push forward so that we can lead by example.”


 On March 20, an on the heels of a sustainability self-assessment, Arpin Group announced this month that it has formed a sustainability committee to continue its commitment to building a greener future. This committee will oversee the development of environmentally responsible programs and initiatives as the company continues to grow internationally.


"When we invited the International Society of Sustainability Professionals to assist us with a voluntary self-assessment last fall, not only were we able to chart our progress in a number of key practice areas, we saw the opportunity to weave sustainability into the fabric of our company for decades to come," said Peter Arpin, partner of Arpin Group and president of Arpin Renewable Energy. "Our new sustainability committee will provide a continuous means of self-assessment and advise the Arpin board of directors on all matters pertaining to environmentally responsible worldwide growth."



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GM’s First Wind Power Purchase



General Motors (GM) will be using wind energy to help power one of its manufacturing facilities in Mexico.

GM says the 34 MW of wind power will enable the company to achieve its corporate goal of renewable energy use four years early.

The clean electricity will be supplied under a PPA (Power Purchase Agreement) with Enel Green Power; which is commencing construction of a major wind farm in Palo Alto, California in the second quarter of this year.

GM says with the addition of the wind power, 12% of  the company’s North American energy consumption will come from renewable sources – up from a current 9%. Seventy-five percent of the energy coming from the seventeen 2-MW wind turbines will power most of GM’s Toluca Complex and the remainder will be used at its Silao, San Luis Potosi and Ramos Arizpe facilities.

“Our commitment to sustainable manufacturing processes is one way we serve and improve the communities in which we work and live,” said Jim DeLuca, GM executive vice president of Global Manufacturing. “Using more renewable energy to power our plants helps us reduce costs, minimize risk and leave a smaller carbon footprint.”

Among its other renewable energy efforts, GM has 46 MW of solar capacity at 18 facilities globally. Its Zaragoza, Spain facility was the world’s largest commercial rooftop solar installation until 2012. Half of the electricity consumed at GM’s California distribution is sourced from solar power via what was the first U.S. public solar project over 1 megawatt; which began operating in 2006.

The cheapest and greenest watt being the one that doesn’t have to be produced, GM has also made solid inroads in energy efficiency.

“We reduced energy use at our global facilities 28% on a per-vehicle-produced basis from 2005 to 2010 and 10% from 2010 to 2013,”
states the company’s web site.

Enel Green Power North America, Inc. (EGP-NA) has projects operating and under development in 21 U.S. states and two Canadian provinces. The company owns and operates over 90  hydropower, wind, geothermal and solar energy plants with an installed capacity exceeding 1.9 GW. EGP-NA has more than doubled its total North American installed capacity since 2010 and says it plans to double it again within the next 5 years.



Whirlpool's Wind Power Debut



Appliance manufacturer Whirlpool Corporation has announced it will use wind energy to help power its manufacturing facility located in Findlay, Ohio.


The Findlay Wind Farm, a USD $18 million “Wind for Industry” project, will have five wind turbines with Whirlpool utilizing two and nearby Ball Company using three. The turbines are expected to offset an estimated 22% of the manufacturing facility’s electric consumption; with the two turbines generating enough clean electricity to power the equivalent of 600 – 800 average homes.


“For more than 40 years, Whirlpool Corporation has made a number of significant advancements in sustainability,” said Dale Laws, Vice President Findlay Operations, Whirlpool Corporation.


"The Findlay Wind Farm project is an example of how global companies like Whirlpool can make a positive impact at the local level, and the global level by minimizing the impact of our operations on the environment.”


Construction of the project, which is being financed by One Energy, is scheduled to begin in a couple of months and the wind farm is expected to be operational by the end of this year.


An offshoot of the project is Whirlpool’s $5,000 Megawatt Scholarship. Two scholarships (one per turbine) will be awarded annually each year the turbines are in operation to a graduating high school senior from the local school districts.


Among its other sustainability efforts, Whirlpool Corporation is also a member of the Alliance for Water Efficiency and the Alliance to Save Energy. The company says it has reduced the amount of water consumed to make one appliance from 272 gallons in 1975 to 39 gallons today.


Whirlpool now has almost 7 million square feet of LEED certified facilities and is also using electric truck lifts in the United States to further reduce emissions. A fuel efficiency program related to shipping products has seen the company save the equivalent of 7.5 million gallons of diesel fuel per year, reducing carbon emissions by more than 77,000 tonnes.


That so many companies are now looking to the wind and sun to produce electricity to power operations isn’t just a warm and fuzzy marketing ploy designed to appeal to eco-savvy consumers – it’s simply good business practice. Wind and solar power is becoming increasingly competitive with traditional mains grid supplied electricity, enabling companies to make substantial savings on energy.


While up-front costs were a barrier to many companies going solar just a few years ago, that barrier has been removed with the advent of leasing and Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) programs.




Ben & Jerry's: More Than Great Ice Cream


Azzurra Catucci chatting with Ben & Jerry's PR Media Maven, Lindsay Bumps


Last week, ReNewable Now traveled up to South Burlington, VT to the  headquarters of the one and only Ben & Jerry's to do a feature story on the company's sense of social responsibility and their overall culture. This article is an early preview to an extensive report and video series that will be coming out early next year. But for now, we wanted to give our readers a bit of a taste of a company that walks the talk, and may just be the model for all others to follow.


As we made our way up North through the beautiful countryside of Vermont, we could easily see why this is called the Green Mountain State. As we admired what nature brought to this part of the United States, we couldn't help but notice the number of farms that I could see from the highway that had their own solar fields. For many years now, Vermont has been a true leader when it comes to environmental issues and sustainability, so we shouldn't have been that surprised. But it was just such a great thing to see as we made our way towards South Burlington.


Once off the highway and on our way to Ben & Jerry's, we could easily spot the headquarters amidst the white snow and grey buildings, because it was the only hint of color on the block!  When we entered the front lobby, we were welcomed by smiley receptionists and an indoor tree house (used as a conference room!) and slide. Yup, we were going to have a very special report, indeed.


We proceeded to meet with Kelly Mohr, Manager of Public
Spock taking control at Ben & Jerry'sRelations Shenanigans, and Lindsay Bumps, Public Relations Media Mavin (GOTTA LOVE THEIR TITLES), who gave us some insight into the history and philosophy of the company, as well as a tour of the facility, which included the gym, yoga room (known as the Zen Den), and kitchen, just to name a few.  We also encountered their rescue dogs, Spock and Quinby. Yes, employees are welcome to bring their dogs to work. If that isn't a great benefit, I don't know what is!

Our final interviewee was Christopher Miller, Activism Manager for Ben & Jerry's. He spoke with us about the company's specific campaign,
"ISSUES WE CARE ABOUT." These are social concerns that are explained- and beyond the explanation, a call to action is put into place, not only for Ben & Jerry's, but also for citizens around the world. Responsibility towards these  issues, in one way or another, finds its way into all of Ben & Jerry's business decisions and products. Christopher explained to us that businesses are in a unique position, one that allows them to be a tremendous source for positive change. In our on-camera interview, Christopher really shared his passion for these issues, and explains the importance of companies embracing social responsibility. He also provides us with tips on how companies can begin to take steps in growing and developing their very own social responsibility efforts from the ground up.

After having the opportunity to learn more about Ben & Jerry's and really see the company up close, it has easily become one of our favorites.  Not only do they make tasty ice cream, but they treat their employees with care, take initiatives towards social change, and maintain sustainability as a top priority. Kelly, Lindsay, and Christopher were all lovely and informative, and we look forward to working with them again!

The next time I get a cone from my local Ben & Jerry's (one scoop of Chocolate Fudge Brownie, one scoop of Milk and Cookies with rainbow sprinkles on top!), I will know that not only am I enjoying a tasty treat, but I am supporting a company that is making the world a better place.

Be on the look-out for the featured report from Ben & Jerry's coming next month...




LG Donates Solar Powered Fridges



LG has donated 20 solar powered refrigerators to be used in impoverished communities in Kenya, South Sudan, Tanzania and Peru.


World Vision Kenya will use the solar refrigerators to improve immunization coverage in Kenya’s West Pokot County.


West Pokot County has a population of around 500,000 and a poverty rate of 69%. The immunization rate for West Pokot County is currently just 56 percent. The region experiences a high infant mortality and death rate for children under the age of five; with many of these deaths due to preventable diseases.


Most vaccines must be kept cool – between 2 and 8 degrees Celsius – a difficult task in the region given the local climate and poor access to reliable power. As much as 5% of vaccines may be wasted during a vaccination campaign due to temperature control issues. If five out of every hundred doses is discarded, this can translate to the loss of five lives.


The National Tambos Program in Peru will use the units to help serve those living in remote mountain villages with no access to a local power grid.


The solar refrigerator systems consists of a high efficiency LG refrigerator, solar panels, controllers and a battery so that the refrigerators can continue running at night and in cloudy weather. LG says the refrigerators feature a Smart Inverter Compressor; which is 36 percent more energy efficient than conventional models equipped with non-inverter compressor. The fridges can also tolerate voltage variations, helping protect the units from unpredictable high-voltage streams or power surges.


“LG is committed to using its innovative technology to help improve the lives of vulnerable children and communities around the world,” said Young-il Park, head of the refrigerator business unit at LG. “At LG, we believe that giving back to our communities is what defines a true global citizen.”


LG Electronics has a significant corporate social responsibility program and was the first Korean corporation in the electronics industry to join the UN Global Compact; which consists of ten principles in the areas of human rights, labour, the environment and anti-corruption.




Sustainability Professionals Converge

at ISSP Conference 2014



It was a "who's who of sustainability" last week at the ISSP (International Society of Sustainability Professionals) Conference 2014 in Denver, Colorado, where leaders in sustainability came together to network, educate, discuss, and honor leaders within the profession. The agenda included the important task of shaping the future of sustainability. ReNewable Now was also on hand, gathering exclusive video coverage and interviews. These will be released in a series over the next few weeks.


This conference was something special, and yes, you could feel it in the air. When you think of the timing, it couldn't have been any better with opening day occurring on the same day as the historic climate change deal between the U.S. and China. Some may have said that this was only a coincidence, but for ReNewable Now there are no coincidences; this is a reflection of the growing importance of all around sustainability on every level. During the conference, we did hear from a number of speakers about the need to be dealing with climate change and how this is a matter of urgency. This couldn't have been better articulated or emphasized by noneHunter Lovins with Peter Arpin other than Hunter Lovins during the “Sustainability Hall Of Fame Wisdom Panel”. Hunter, in her own classic Hunter way, got the attention of the audience when she shouted, "Get prepared for a !#@% STORM (you can fill in the blank) if we conduct business as usual, we are looking at a collapse of all living systems!" If that doesn't get your attention, we don't know what will. The entire video of the “Sustainability Hall Of Fame Wisdom Panel” will be released by ISSP for your viewing in upcoming weeks.


ReNewable Now conducted over 50 interviews, and we tried to attend as many break-out sessions as possible. Our takeaway from the conference is that businesses who aren't thinking about how to incorporate sustainability will fail long term.  Those who embrace it will not only continue to be in existence, but will be part of the solution. In some cases, businesses will see the opportunity in problem solving innovations and profit accordingly. And for us that is what it is all about, rolling up your sleeves, be willing to sweat a bit, and feel good about being part of moving future generations in the right direction.


Our congratulations goes to the entire ISSP staff for putting together such an inspirational conference. We especially want to give a special shout out to ISSP Marketing Director, Ray Berardinelli, and his assistant, Elias Kauders for helping us coordinate all the interviews.




Solar Now An Employment Perk For 100,000



A coalition of U.S. corporate giants has announced a nationwide employee benefits program designed to help bring cheap solar power to communities across all 50 US states and parts of Canada.


The Solar Communities Initiative is facilitated by the World Wildlife Fund and modeled on similar programs in towns and neighborhoods elsewhere. The program offers 100,000 employees, friends and families of 3M, Kimberly-Clarke and The National Geographic Society discount rooftop solar energy systems at a flat rate 35 per cent lower than the national average and roughly 50 per cent less expensive than average electric utility rates.


“We are pleased to offer our US and Canada employees a renewable energy alternative to cut their own electric bills,” said Ali Ahmed, manager, Cisco Global Energy Management and Sustainability. “By extending the benefits of affordable solar energy that we have as a corporation to our employees and other stakeholders, we are multiplying our sustainability impact.”


According to the WWF, the program enables home owners to have solar panels installed without any up-front outlay. The organisation says if just one per cent of the workers went solar, 74,500 metric tons of carbon emissions would be avoided each year – the equivalent of taking more than 15,000 cars off the road.


“This takes the bulk purchase model from individual neighborhoods and organizations to a national scale,” said Keya Chatterjee, senior director of renewable energy at WWF. “A coast-to-coast, low, flat rate helps mitigate two major barriers of solar adoption – complexity and price – making it possible for more American families to save the planet without leaving their homes.”


U.S. solar provider Geostellar, a company with an established Solar Community program in place, won an intensive bidding war under the Energy Department’s SunShot Incubator program and was chosen to coordinate all aspects of the initiative; including system design, supplying panels and coordinating with local qualified solar installers.





Patagonia To Help Hawai’s Go Solar


Environmentally conscious retailer Patagonia has announced a USD $13 million tax equity investment in solar energy for Hawai‘i that will see the installation of more than 1,000 rooftop solar power systems.

A partnership with solar finance company Kina‘ole Capital Partners, the fund will total $27 million and utilize state and federal tax credits to funnel Patagonia’s tax dollars into the clean energy project.

“This is smart business for Patagonia and good news for homeowners in Hawaii‘s, who pay way too much for dirty electricity,” said Patagonia CEO Rose Marcario. “I hope other companies see how this strategy can bring strong returns and think seriously about doing the same thing. Business is in a unique position to accelerate the creation of renewable energy infrastructure.”

The initiative will also be quite a boost for Hawaii’s solar industry – it will be made available to all suitably qualified installation companies in the state.

Founded by Yvon Chouinard in 1973, part of Patagonia’s mission is to use business to implement solutions to environmental issues. Yvon Chouinard believes business should “work with nature rather than use it up.”

Since 1985, Patagonia has dedicated one percent of sales each year to environmental causes and has a
significant environment and social responsibility program.

While solar has certainly been taking off in Hawai’i – more than 129 megawatts of solar capacity was added to Hawaiian Electric Companies’ grids last year – renewable energy currently accounts for just 10 percent of its overall energy consumption. The state still relies heavily on imports of petroleum and coal for power and its residents pay the highest prices for electricity in the USA.

Patagonia says greenhouse gas emission r
eductions achieved  through the initiative will be an estimated 153,000 tons – equivalent to 323,000 barrels of oil, 75,000 tons of coal or taking 29,000 passenger vehicles off the road.

Under the scheme, households will not have to outlay any money – they will purchase electricity generated by the solar panel systems at a fixed rate less than the local utility’s rate. Participants are projected to save 35 percent on their energy bills after installation.




Dell Boosts Renewables
Electricity Consumption to 35%



Computer maker Dell says its
FY14 Corporate Responsibility Report details a strong start to its 2020 "Legacy For Good" plan.
   
The Legacy For Good initiative sets a rather lofty goal:  
   
"The good that will come from our technology will be 10x what it takes to create and use it."

   
In FY14, Dell says it commenced establishing a framework for working with customers, suppliers, consultants and industry partners to develop models for measuring this goal.
   
The company also made solid inroads in slashing its greenhouse gas impact; reducing emissions from its facilities and logistics operations by a combined 8 percent and putting Dell on track to meet its 2020 goal.
   
In terms of renewable energy, the company sourced more than 35 percent (263,000,000 kWh) of its our purchased energy needs from renewably generated sources in FY14- an increase from almost 23 percent in FY13. The 2020 goal is 50% and Dell intends on reducing the energy intensity of its product portfolio by 80%.
   
By the end of FY14, 21 Dell facilities purchased 100 percent of their electricity needs from renewable sources; up from 16 facilities in FY13.
   
Dell notes it was one of only eight organizations nationwide to receive a 2013 Green Power Leadership Award from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
(EPA) for purchasing green electricity.
   
"Our commitment is to run our business responsibly, ethically and in the best interests of the global community," says Chairman and CEO, Michael Dell.
   
"This is more than just reducing the energy you need to run the technology; it’s about the broader benefits technology enables for our customers—building a lasting legacy of good."
   

Dell's FY14 Corporate Responsibility Report




Arpin Strong,  Corporate Social Responsibility
with a Heart



Does your company have a heart? Many employees may be asking themselves that very question when it comes to the company they work for, but for the Arpin Group, there is no doubt that they not only have a heart, but it's in the right place. 



On Friday, June 20, 2014, Jonathan Stone, Executive Director of Narragansett's SAVE THE BAY and his team visited Arpin Group’s World Headquarters in West Warwick, Rhode Island, where they were presented with a charitable donation of $3,500.00 to help in their efforts to keep the Narragansett Bay alive and healthy.


For many years, Arpin has been a contributor to community causes, and after the horrific Boston Marathon bombing in 2013, Arpin Group wanted to make a much more impactful difference in their community. The result was the creation of the Arpin Charitable Fund, Inc., a/k/a Arpin Strong, a 5013c non-profit organization that focuses on helping other non-profits through the donations of funds and volunteering of time. This relatively new organization isMark Dearborn, President of Arpin Strong managed by a Board of Directors which is comprised of Arpin Group’s employees who serve for a two-year term. Serving as its current President is Mark Dearborn, who is also Vice President of Corporate Accounts within Arpin Group. When Mark was asked about the impact Arpin Strong has made he responded, "Beyond all the great charities we've been able to help, we have also found a great response from the company's own employees in volunteering their time to help others. This camaraderie has also helped to instill a sense of pride throughout the company knowing that we are making a difference." And that is what it is all about: giving, helping, and building the heart of a company through employee involvement.



World Cup Sustainability- will it score?


With the world's biggest sporting event now underway, ReNewable Now did some research to see how the world's most popular sport is helping to bring about environmental awareness.  The government of Brazil has been highly scrutinized by many around the world, and even its own citizens, on how things are being handled. We went to FIFA to get a better sense of what the sport's governing body may be doing to make a difference, and this is what we found.  

The FIFA World Cup™ is the biggest single-event sporting competition in the world and its impact on society and the environment is indisputable. Staging such a world-class event requires careful consideration of all aspects to ensure a balanced approach and sustainable outcome. FIFA and the LOC take this responsibility very seriously and are committed to delivering a sustainable event in Brazil in 2014.

Through its worldwide reach, the FIFA World Cup also offers a unique platform to raise awareness and highlight selected social and environmental concerns on a global scale. Considering the interest and expectations that such an occasion arouses among a whole host of stakeholders, there is a risk of becoming overwhelmed by the large number of requests and opportunities. Therefore, it is essential for FIFA and the LOC to define a clear, ambitious and yet realistic focus for their approach.

Over the coming years, the 2014 FIFA World Cup™ Sustainability Strategy will guide our efforts towards staging a sustainable event and, ultimately, contributing to building a better future.

A few examples of selected activities

  • Green buildings: Many stadiums in Brazil are planning to achieve LEED certification for green buildings and many are installing solar panels on their roofs to generate renewable energy. In addition, FIFA and the LOC will organise certified training courses on sustainable management for stadium managers.

  • Waste management: The objective of a new waste law in Brazil is to better control the handling and the destination of waste. FIFA and the LOC will ensure that waste management in stadiums and other venues will be dealt with according to the new regulations and will promote recycling in collaboration with local cooperatives.

  • Volunteer training: Becoming a volunteer for the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil™ and welcoming the world to Brazil will be a once-in-a-lifetime experience for all participants. FIFA and the LOC will organise additional training modules to supplement the basic volunteer training and help enhance the future employment opportunities of the participants.

  • Community support: Numerous local organisations in Brazil are tackling social challenges in their communities with the aid of football. FIFA and the LOC will support such organisations with funding and know-how, through FIFA’s well-established Football for Hope initiative.

  • Climate Change: Global warming is one of the most pressing issues of our time. One of the main factors in the change in temperature is the Carbon Dioxide (CO2) that is released into the atmosphere through human activities. FIFA and the LOC will estimate the carbon footprint of the tournament and develop measures to avoid, reduce and offset its emissions.

  • Capacity development: Through its Football for Hope initiative, FIFA will organise various forums for community-based organisations in Brazil and abroad to discuss and exchange ideas on the effective use of football as a tool to tackle social challenges.

  • Reporting: FIFA and the LOC will jointly produce a comprehensive sustainability report according to the Sustainability Reporting Guidelines & Event Organisers Sector Supplement developed by the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI).


ReNewable Now will be following up with FIFA to see how this platform has been received.



DNB buys renewable energy –
aiming to become carbon neutral 


Oslo – DNB, Norway’s largest financial services group, aims to reduce its carbon footprint and has signed an agreement with ECOHZ to buy renewable energy. DNB is among the first large Norwegian companies that have committed to use renewable energy documented by Guarantees of Origin. ECOHZ is Europe’s largest independent supplier of Guarantees of Origin from renewable energy.

“Buying electricity from renewable energy sources is an effective way to neutralize the impact of greenhouse gases. For us, it is important to diligently document that we use renewable energy sources,” says Dag Arne Kristensen, Executive Vice President CSR & Corporate identity, DNB.

“Guarantees of Origin from renewable energy sources is the only way to document renewable energy consumption. We are delighted that DNB has taken this significant step,” says Tom Lindberg, Managing Director, ECOHZ.

“We see DNB as an important partner and hope that we can continue to help the bank find the best renewable solutions to support their environmental commitment. At the same time, we hope that other large companies will follow DNB’s decision and put energy behavior so clearly on the agenda.”




It Pays to Recycle Apples !

Apple has come up with an ingenious way of exercising their environmental corporate responsibility when it comes to keeping their products out of land fills, while helping to fill their customers' pockets.

Most people are pretty eager to get the latest of the shiny electronic gadgets as soon as they come out. Apple is now encouraging that rush, but with an eco-friendly twist: they’re now offering gift cards in exchange for your old electronics.

Apple’s Reuse and Recycling Program will recycle any device and, if it’s not particularly ancient, will issue a gift card equivalent to the item’s worth. They explain on their website, “Turn that iPhone, iPad, or computer — Mac or PC — you’re not using anymore into something brand new. Send it to us and we’ll determine if it qualifies for reuse. If it does, that means your device has monetary value that we’ll apply to an Apple Store Gift Card, which you can use for purchases at any Apple Retail Store or the Apple Online Store. If your iPhone, iPad, Mac, or PC doesn’t qualify for reuse, we’ll recycle it responsibly at no cost to you.”

Apple contracts with PowerON, a California-based reseller of used and refurbished Macintosh hardware and software. They’ll issue the fair market price for your old item and will also send you a convenient shipping package.



APPLE Puts Climate Change
Above Investment Returns
 
!

Tim Cook to Apple Investors: Drop Dead

Apple CEO Tim Cook tells Investors Who Care More About Return on Investment than Climate Change: Your Money is No Longer Welcome

As Board Member Al Gore Cheers the Tech Giant's Dedication to Environmental Activism, Investors Left to Wonder Just How Much Shareholder Value is Being Destroyed in Efforts to Combat "Climate Change"

Free-Market Activist Presents Shareholder Resolution to Computer Giant Apple Calling for Transparency on Environmental Issues; Company Balks

Cupertino, CA / Washington DC - At the annual meeting of Apple shareholders in Cupertino, California, Apple CEO Tim Cook informed investors that are primarily concerned with making reasonable economic returns that their money is no longer welcome.

The message came in response to the National Center for Public Policy Research's shareholder resolution asking the tech giant to be transparent about its environmental activism and a question from the National Center about the company's environmental initiatives.

"Mr. Cook made it very clear to me that if I, or any other investor, was more concerned with return on investment than reducing carbon dioxide emissions, my investment is no longer welcome at Apple," said Justin Danhof, Esq., director of the National Center's Free Enterprise Project.

Danhof also asked Apple CEO Tim Cook about the company's green energy pursuits. Danhof asked whether the company's environmental investments increased or decreased the company's bottom line. After initially suggesting that the investments make economic sense, Cook said the company would pursue environmental goals even if there was no economic point at all to the venture. Danhof further asked if the company's projects would continue to make sense if the federal government stopped heavily subsidizing alternative energy. Cook completely ignored the inquiry and became visibly agitated.

Danhof went on to ask if Cook was willing to amend Apple's corporate documents to indicate that the company would not pursue environmental initiatives that have some sort of reasonable return on investment - similar to the concession the National Center recently received from General Electric. This question was greeted by boos and hisses from the Al Gore contingency in the room.

"Here's the bottom line: Apple is as obsessed with the theory of so-called climate change as its board member Al Gore is," said Danhof. "The company's CEO fervently wants investors who care more about return on investments than reducing CO2 emissions to no longer invest in Apple. Maybe they should take him up on that advice."

"Although the National Center's proposal did not receive the required votes to pass, millions of Apple shareholders now know that the company is involved with organizations that don't appear to have the best interest of Apple's investors in mind," said Danhof. "Too often investors look at short-term returns and are unaware of corporate policy decisions that may affect long-term financial prospects. After today's meeting, investors can be certain that Apple is wasting untold amounts of shareholder money to combat so-called climate change. The only remaining question is: how much?"

The National Center's shareholder resolution noted that "[s]ome trade associations and business organizations have expanded beyond the promotion of traditional business goals and are lobbying business executives to pursue objectives with primarily social benefits. This may affect Company profitability and shareholder value. The Company's involvement and acquiescence in these endeavors lacks transparency, and publicly-available information about the Company's trade association memberships and related activities is minimal. An annual report to shareholders will help protect shareholder value."

Apple's full 2014 proxy statement is available here. The National Center's proposal, "Report on Company Membership and Involvement with Certain Trade Associations and Business Organizations," appears on page 60.

The National Center filed the resolution, in part, because of Apple's membership in the Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA), one of the country's largest trade associations. In its 2013 "Retail Sustainability Report," RILA states: "Companies will often develop individual or industry voluntary programs to reduce the need for government regulations. If a retail company minimizes its waste generation, energy and fuel usage, land-use footprint, and other environmental impacts, and strives to improve the labor conditions of the workers across its product supply chains, it will have a competitive advantage when regulations are developed."

"This shows that rather than fighting increased government regulation, RILA is cooperating with Washington, D.C.'s stranglehold on American business in a misguided effort to stop so-called climate change," said Danhof. "That is not an appropriate role for a trade association."

For even more information on RILA, read "The Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA): A Cartel that Threatens Innovation and Competitiveness," by National Center Senior Fellow Dr. Bonner Cohen.

"Rather than opting for transparency, Apple opposed the National Center's resolution," noted Danhof. "Apple's actions, from hiring of President Obama's former head of the Environmental Protection Agency Lisa Jackson, to its investments in supposedly 100 percent renewable data centers, to Cook's antics at today's meeting, appear to be geared more towards combating so-called climate change rather than developing new and innovative phones and computers."

After Danhof presented the proposal, a representative of CalPERS rose to object and stated that climate change should be one of corporate America's primary concerns, and after she called carbon dioxide emissions a "mortal danger," Apple board member and former vice president Al Gore turned around and loudly clapped and cheered.

"If Apple wants to follow Al Gore and his chimera of climate change, it does so at its own peril," said Danhof. "Sustainability and the free market can work in concert, but not if Al Gore is directing corporate behavior."

"Tim Cook, like every other American, is entitled to his own political views and to be an activist of any legal sort he likes on his own time," said Amy Ridenour, chairman of the National Center for Public Policy Research. "And if Tim Cook, private citizen, does not care that over 95 percent of all climate models have over-forecast the extent of predicted global warming, and wishes to use those faulty models to lobby for government policies that raise prices, kill jobs and retard economic growth and extended lifespans in the Third World, he has a right to lobby as he likes. But as the CEO of a publicly-held corporation, Tim Cook has a responsibility to, consistent with the law, to make money for his investors. If he'd rather be CEO of the Sierra Club or Greenpeace, he should apply."

"As in the past, Cook took but a handful of questions from the many shareholders present who were eager to ask a question at the one meeting a year in which shareholder questions are taken," added Ridenour, "leaving many disappointed. Environmentalism may be a byword at Apple, but transparency surely is not."



Kelloggs goes 'Deforestation free' !

The global cereal giant Kellogg has committed to sourcing palm oil that is deforestation-free. It will also ensure that carbon rich tropical peatlands are preserved.

The move will help to protect the forest habitat of countless rare, beautiful and often endangered species such as the orangutan.

Kellogg has released a commitment to sourcing palm oil that does not cause deforestation.

"As a socially responsible company, traceable, transparent sourcing of palm oil is important to us",
said Diane Holdorf, Kellogg Company Chief Sustainability Officer.

"We are collaborating with our suppliers to make sure the palm oil we use is not associated with deforestation, climate change or the violation of human rights."

To achieve its goals, Kellogg will require all global palm oil suppliers to trace palm oil to plantations that are independently verified as legally compliant; adherent to the company's principles for protecting forests, peat lands, and communities; and compliant with all Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) principles and criteria.

Suppliers must comply with the requirement by the end of 2015, or be working to close any gaps identified in their action plans.

An important step


The Union of Concerned Scientists welcomed the move: "Kellogg's announcement is a step in the right direction, especially after the company was harangued in 2012 for not working with two Girl Scouts who were working towards deforestation-free Girl Scout Cookies."

Palm oil is used in everything from food and fuel to beauty products and cleaning agents. The demand for palm oil has risen dramatically. Such increases in demand are driving increases in deforestation.

Ten percent of all global warming emissions result from deforestation. This practice also destroys irreplaceable forests that are home to endangered species and a resource for forest-dependent communities.

Sharon Smith, Campaign Manager with UCS's Tropical Forest & Climate Initiative, said the initiative will "help pull the industry towards palm oil that is deforestation-free.

Protecting peatlands


"The commitment goes on to address peatlands, carbon-rich areas of decayed vegetation. Kellogg's expressly notes that it will work to protect peatlands and not develop these areas, period.

We were also pleased to see the Kelloggs intends to guard High Carbon Stock forest, areas storing a great deal of carbon.

If companies start demanding palm oil that doesn't contribute to deforestation, isn't grown on peatlands and doesn't exploit human rights, palm oil producers on the ground will start to provide a better product. This better oil will ultimately protect our environment by reducing emissions."

In addition the move will help to protect the forest habitat of countless rare, beautiful and often endangered species such as the orangutan.



BROWN UNIVERSITY VOTES "NO"
ON
COAL DIVESTMENT



BROWN gets a failing grade when it comes to this social responsibility cause.


Brown University's Board of Trustees voted against a proposal to remove the University's investments in the 15 largest coal companies in the U.S, despite the recommendation of the school's Advisory Committee on Corporate Responsibility and Investment Policy. "I'm deeply disappointed in our administration. The board completely ignored the voices of Brown's community, and of the endowment oversight committee. This could have been a moment for Brown to step up as a leader in the fight against climate change. Instead, the Administration chose to continue supporting an industry that profits from wreaking havoc on frontline communities and destroying our chance for a sustainable future," said Brown student Ruby Goldberg '17.

Prior to Friday's meeting, students from the Brown Divest Coal campaign formally requested that five members of the Board with connections to the coal industry recuse themselves from the vote, to be consistent with Brown's conflict of interest policy. None of those members (Brian Moynihan ’81 P’14, Richard Friedman ’79, Steven Cohen P’08 P’16, Theresia Gouw ’90, Todd Fisher ’87 P’17) acknowledged that request. “The voting process at Brown echos the coal industry’s stranglehold on our nation’s governing bodies. Once again, a corrupt process lead to a dangerous outcome. Unless we confront this system, we won’t be able to make meaningful progress to address climate change,” said Ian Giorgianna ’15, a member of Brown Divest Coal.

The coal industry is the largest source of greenhouse gas emissions worldwide, and the number one driver of global warming. The industry also has a considerable impact on the health of communities where it is mined and burned, causing over 13,000 deaths each year. The communities faced with these local environmental hazards of the coal industry are disproportionately low income communities of color. The divestment campaign at Brown is one of 400 fossil fuel divestment campaigns across the country, seeking to signal that it is morally unacceptable to profit from climate change. These campaigns follow in the footsteps of the South African apartheid divestment movement, and hope to similarly mobilize the political will to address the industry’s harms.

The Board’s vote came after a year of active campaigning from the Brown Divest Coal student campaign. Since the fall, students have held rallies, phone-banked, hosted teach-ins, met with administrators, and gathered over 3600 petition signatures from students, alumni, faculty and staff in support of divestment. “To me this vote shows that Brown doesn’t take its commitments to social justice and combating climate change seriously. What’s the point of teaching about climate science or environmental racism if we won’t act on that knowledge? Today our administration was too timid to challenge the status quo, but we’re going to keep pushing them to stand for what is right. Until then, our ‘Boldly Brown’ motto sounds laughable,” said Divest Coal member Kari Malkki ’16


Carbon for Water, The  Lifestraw Model


ReNewable Now is constantly looking for positive stories to share with our audience, stories that not only make you feel good, but that can set an example and provide our audience with a model they can apply to what they do. This month we feel we have come across an exceptional story that originates from Switzerland and takes us to Africa with a company named  Vestergaard Frandsen, their incredible product "Life Straw," and their carbon for water program.

OVERVIEW


LifeStraw® Carbon for Water™, launched in 2011, provides LifeStraw® Family water filters to nearly 880,000 households in Western Province, Kenya, reaching 4.5 million people with access to safe drinking water. Vestergaard earns carbon credits on the program, which it sells to companies, then reinvests the money to maintain the water filters in households and provide training and health education to the entire Province. The program launch was funded by Vestergaard. Ongoing implementation is managed by Vestergaard in partnership with Kenya’s Ministry of Public Health and Sanitation and through collaboration with several other ministries. Monitoring of the program includes regular surveying of between 14,000 and 20,000 households for every carbon credit issuance. In addition, an external organization is brought  in to conduct randomized surveys to verify the numbers. Further to this process, an independent auditor verifies use of the filters and the emission reductions claimed. Carbon credits are only issued after each verification.

OUTCOMES

Access to Water

Prior to the program, less than 10 percent of Kenyans in Western Province had access to piped water. The majority of Western Province consists of rural homes spread across farm land and, because of the high expense of reaching these areas, the government estimates that the majority of the Province will not have piped water within the next ten years. By providing households with LifeStraw® Family water filters and complimentary health and hygiene education as well as instructions on safe storage, Vestergaard has enabled households to treat their water within the home, cutting down on the risk of contamination and subsequent illness.
 
Health Impact

External evaluators, in collaboration with the Kenya Medical Research Institute, are currently monitoring health indicators from 14 health facilities to assess the health impact of filter usage on children under five and people living with HIV/AIDS. This study is ongoing and includes clinic based reporting of safe water behaviors as well as household surveys and water quality testing. Simultaneously, the Ministry of Public Health and Sanitation is tracking indicators and has noted a reduction in the odds of diarrhea among children under-five whose families are exclusively using LifeStraw® Family water filters.
 
Program Performance

In February 2012, the LifeStraw® Carbon for Water program issued the first 1.35 million carbon credits earned over the first six months of operation. In 2012, an additional 1.3 million carbon credits were issued. Vestergaard expects the remaining credits for 2012 to be issued after an external evaluation is conducted.  This external evaluation, done through an independent academic institution working in collaboration with the Gold Standard Technical Advisory Committee and Vestergaard will ensure that the reported data on program performance and the monitoring tools used are of the highest quality and aligned with World Health Organization recommendations.

Because of Vestergaard’s experience implementing LifeStraw® Carbon for Water™ in Kenya, the company was asked to work with World Health Organization’s Household Water Treatment and Safe Storage working group to help write guidelines for measurement of household water treatment and safe storage, and has been actively working with the Gold Standard and external evaluators to use the recommended data collection methods and to have the data verified externally. (Reference:  http://apps.who.int/iris/bitstream/10665/76568/1/978241504621)

Community Impact


Employment and Volunteer Opportunities: Thousands of Kenyans have been employed in regular campaigns to distribute filters and train recipients on usage. Ongoing  staff serve as district coordinators and run 32 repair and replacement centers throughout the province. All repairs and spare parts are provided for free, with no cost to the end user. Over 3,000 community based volunteers assist with household visits and community education. Between January and July of 2013, just over 26,000 spare parts were consumed through continuous repair services offered in the community.

Safe Water and Hygiene Promotion in Schools: To encourage school children to use LifeStraw® in their homes, LifeStraw®, safe water and hygiene education has been provided in over 2,700 primary schools in the program region.

What is the company’s return on its investment?

Vestergaard has invested approximately USD40 million in the program to date. This does not include the cost of capital or regular product replacement. It does include the initial investment of approximately USD30 million for start-up and distribution, plus an estimated USD4 million each year to conduct LifeStraw® training and health education campaigns for each household that received the filter as well other community activities. It will be a significant challenge for Vestergaard to make a profit on this project, given the failing carbon markets and dropping price of carbon but Vestergaard is committed to continuing to provide Western Province with access to safe water and is working on solutions to sustain its engagement.

The Kenyan Government and the Kenyan Ministry of Public Health and Sanitation has partnered closely with Vestergaard on this project and has co-led the program activities. Because the Government is seeing progress on indicators as a result of this program they have asked and Vestergaard has agreed to work to sustain the program and engagement with the community.

It is critical to provide communities such as the Western Province with sustainable health programs, including access to safe drinking water, along with the necessary education and community support to ensure active involvement in these programs. Vestergaard strongly believes that the style of financing that is the backbone of the LifeStraw® Carbon for Water™ program offers one of the best means ensure that funding will be available over a sustained period of time to enable communities to benefit from critically needed health programs.


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