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Experts at UN conference call for action to mitigate climate-related health risks

UNFCC Climate Change Headlines - 1 hour 59 min ago
Source: UN News Centre - Experts are urging the international community to act fast to reduce climate change and its health consequences at the first-ever global conference on health and climate, which opened today at the Geneva headquarters of the United Nations World Health Organization (WHO).
Categories: Climate Change News

Samoan PM calls on Canberra to do more to tackle climate change

UNFCC Climate Change Headlines - 1 hour 59 min ago
Source: ABC Radio Australia - Samoa's prime minister has issued an impassioned plea on behalf all Pacific nations for more help to cope with climate change and he has called on Australia, to lift its focus from the federal budget and lead the way.
Categories: Climate Change News

Clean energy industry calls for inquiry into renewable energy target review

UNFCC Climate Change Headlines - 1 hour 59 min ago
Source: Sydney Morning Herald - The Abbott government is set to release its long-awaited review into the renewable energy target on Thursday.
Categories: Climate Change News

Chile launches its biggest wind farm

UNFCC Climate Change Headlines - 1 hour 59 min ago
Source: BBC - Chile has inaugurated its biggest ever wind farm as part of its bid to wean itself off fossil fuels and tap its massive potential for renewable energy.
Categories: Climate Change News

U.N. Climate Chief Urges Action From Health Ministers

UNFCC Climate Change Headlines - 1 hour 59 min ago
Source: National Journal - Christiana Figueres, the United Nations official overseeing global climate talks, on Wednesday implored national health ministers to become advocates for reaching a strong international climate accord next year.
Categories: Climate Change News

Obama Charges Ahead on Climate Change Policy

UNFCC Climate Change Headlines - 1 hour 59 min ago
Source: US News & World Report - The president's reported plan to seek a nonbinding climate agreement to address global warming meets expectations, experts say.
Categories: Climate Change News

Roads expanding fast worldwide, better planning needed to aid food output : study

UNFCC Climate Change Headlines - 1 hour 59 min ago
Source: Reuters - New roads long enough to girdle the Earth 600 times are expected to be built by 2050 and better planning is needed to protect the environment while also raising food production, a study showed on Wednesday.
Categories: Climate Change News

Island states told to press onward

UNFCC Climate Change Headlines - 1 hour 59 min ago
Source: Solomon Star News - Small Island Developing States(SIDS) have been told that there is no time to waste sitting back and wait but to focus and press forward to make their voices heard in addressing their issues in the UNSIDS conference next week.
Categories: Climate Change News

Durable Partnerships for the Pacific

UNFCC Climate Change Headlines - 2 hours 1 sec ago
Source: Tonga Daily News - Around 3,000 delegates from around the world, including representatives from all Forum member countries, will meet in Samoa next week to discuss global efforts to address the unique challenges faced by small island developing states.
Categories: Climate Change News

NZ academic urges SIDS to address 'blatant inequalities'

UNFCC Climate Change Headlines - 2 hours 10 sec ago
Source: Radio New Zealand International - A New Zealand academic is urging leaders of developing states in the Pacific to use a major United Nations conference in Samoa as an opportunity to address blatant inequalities in the region.
Categories: Climate Change News

Authorities stop 'greatest destroyers of the Brazilian Amazon rainforest'

Mongabay Rainforest News - 3 hours 43 min ago
A criminal organization involved in the illicit deforestation of large portions of Brazil's forests has been stopped, with at least six members of the organization arrested as of Aug. 28 and warrants issued for others. The gang has been accused of committing crimes worth over $220 million.
Categories: REDD and Rainforests

Blue Ocean Film Festival Presented to the People of Samoa by the United Nations

CSRwire - 5 hours 59 min ago

(Apia, Samoa) 26 August 2014 – As a special gift to the people of Samoa for hosting the Third International Conference on Small Island Developing States, the United Nations is sponsoring a four-day film festival in partnership with the United States-based BLUE Ocean Film Festival and the National University of Samoa.

 “We are pleased to support this unique initiative between BLUE and the National University of Samoa,” said Christian Clark, United Nations Spokesperson for the Third International Conference on Small Island Developing States. “Media has the power to catalyze important discussions. We hope this festival will help inspire dialogue between the Samoan people and arriving delegations, media and others attending this important meeting.”

 The Conference will focus the world’s attention on a group of countries that remain a special case for sustainable development in view of their unique and particular vulnerabilities. The meeting seeks a renewed political commitment to address the special needs and vulnerabilities of small islands and aims to identify opportunities for sustainable development of those states, particularly through the strengthening of partnerships between small islands and the international community. 

 “We are honored to support the Third International Conference on Small Island Developing States, and to partner with the United Nations for our films,” said Deborah Kinder, Co-founder and CEO of BLUE. “This supports our mission to provide global educational outreach that inspires people everywhere to connect with ocean conservation, and to serve as a catalyst for discussion.”

 The United Nations has selected a number of different films for BLUE On Tour to engage a broad range of people, from experts to governments, on the issues surrounding ocean and climate change. This is the first time that the UN has partnered with BLUE, which was chosen for its wide range of ocean films.

The four-day BLUE On Tour film festival will be held at the National University of Samoa in Apia, Samoa on 26-29 August at lunchtime in Room D-210.


Film Schedule: UPDATE: Films will also be shown Friday afternoon

 Tuesday, 26 August - Planet Ocean - Part I, Hope Productions

 Wednesday, 27 August - Planet Ocean - Part II, Hope Productions

Thursday, 28 August - World's Largest Marine Park, Khalid bin Sultan Living Oceans, Foundation: Mapping the Blue; Selected Shorts, UNEP, The Krill is Gone

 Friday, 29 August - Saving Our Tuna, UNDP; Swains Island, Jean Michel Cousteau, Ocean Futures Society

 For more information regarding this event, please visit: http://www.blueoceanfilmfestival.org/blue_on_tou_samoa.htm


Media Contacts:




BLUE On Tour

Charlotte Vick, charlotte.vick@gmail.com

UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs

Diane Loughran, loughran@un.org


New York

 UN Department of Public Information

 Wynne Boelt, boelt@un.org


BLUE On Tour Samoa media inquiries (USA)

Martha Shaw mailto:Martha@earthadvertising.com    


Grow-Trees.com and Vodafone India to Plant 300,000 trees in Kanha-Pench to develop India's First Private Wildlife Corridor

CSRwire - 5 hours 59 min ago
Grow-Trees.com and Vodafone India to plant 300,000 trees in Kanha-Pench to develop India’s First Private Wildlife Corridor  
  •  ·        Tree planting to benefit rural communities with livelihood opportunities
  • ·         Provide enhanced forest cover linking Kanha - Pench National Parks to facilitate wildlife movement, enlarge wildlife habitats and improve water catchment
  • ·         Help Vodafone India to offset the carbon footprint generated by its offices across the country


Bhopal, 27 August, 2014:  Vodafone India, one of India’s leading telecom services providers, and Grow-Trees.com, the exclusive Indian Planting Partner for United Nation’s Environment Program’s Billion Tree Campaign, today announced the formal launch of their join initiative to create India’s first private wildlife corridor. This corridor is being developed between Kanha-Pench wildlife reserves by planting 3,00,000 trees over a 3-year period. The trees will be planted over 100 hectares of forest land between the two reserves.    To formally launch this plantation drive, Mr. Rohit Adya, External Affairs Director, Vodafone India and Mr. Ashish Chandra, Business Head – MP&CG, Vodafone India, handed over a sapling to Mr. Bikrant Tiwary, CEO, Grow-Trees.com.   Speaking on the occasion, Mr. Rohit Adya, External Affairs Director, Vodafone India, said, “Vodafone India is committed to supporting sustainable initiatives that benefit all – the organisation, the community and the environment. With this unique project, we will be able to offset 33 million kg of carbon footprint generated by our offices every year for 3-years. In addition, we will be able to support livelihood opportunities, enable reforestation and create a corridor between Kanha and Pench to facilitate habitat connectivity in tiger breeding areas.”   Elaborating on the significance of this initiative, Mr Ashish Chandra, Business Head – MP&CG, Vodafone India, said, “Madhya Pradesh is endowed with rich and diverse forest resources. With 9 national parks and 25 wildlife sanctuaries, almost 25% of the state is covered with forests.  Home to a large tribal population and an attractive tourist destination, these forests provide a source of income to several thousands. This initiative with Grow-Trees.com is our way of supporting conservation of an importance natural resource and means of livelihood.”    This project will create about 25,000 workdays of direct jobs mainly for women and tribals inhabiting the area in addition to supporting several allied livelihood generating activities such as farming, fruit and honey gathering etc. on a sustained basis. The site is in Sijhora Range and would be jointly protected by three villages - Majhipur, Jogisoda and Chandiya. A variety of trees, including Karani, Harra, Baheda, Bamboo, Khamer, Ladiya, Mango and Amla, that are local to the region will be planted. Saplings of these are already being grown in the special nurseries funded by Grow-Trees.com.    Speaking on the occasion, Mr Bikrant Tiwary, CEO, Grow-Trees.com, said, “Approximately 45% of India's land is degraded primarily due to deforestation, unsustainable agricultural practices, mining and excessive groundwater extraction. More than two thirds of this can be regenerated and our endeavour is to facilitate this by providing planting opportunities to individual and corporate customers. We are delighted to have Vodafone India as our corporate partner to support this novel project of wildlife corridors for enlarging wildlife habitats. The size and scale of this private reforestation initiative is the biggest till date in the country.  The planting process on site will be led by our on ground partner FES.”   About Kanha and Pench Tiger reserves  Kanha Tiger Reserve in Madhya Pradesh and Pench Tiger Reserve straddling Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra are important habitats for the tiger population in central India. As tigers need large home ranges to ensure population viability, it is important to ensure habitat connectivity between different breeding areas. The Kanha– Pench corridor therefore gains high importance in the efforts to save the tiger and other wildlife. Such a corridor is vital for the long term survival and viability of tigers as it connects smaller tiger populations in Pench to larger populations such as at Kanha. Without these linkages tiger populations isolated within individual tiger reserves face a higher risk of extinction due to poaching and loss in genetic vigour over generations. A tiger straying out of a forest also has to confront a range of challenges such as hostile villagers, retaliatory poisoning for livestock kills, poaching, and electrocution by live wires, apart from road and rail traffic that cause further fragmentation of forest cover.  The trees planted will help improve the forest connectivity between Kanha and Pench and provide a sheltered corridor for tigers and animals to traverse between the two reserves. About Grow Trees  www.Grow-Trees.com gives companies and individuals the ability to plant trees from their computer to welcome new customers, celebrate birthdays, anniversaries, festivals or special occasions. Companies and individuals can send a personalized e-TreeCertificate with their message and logo or personal photograph. Trees are planted only on government and community lands with the objective of benefitting rural communities (through flowers, fruit, fuel and fodder), wildlife, improving water catchment areas, preventing soil erosion, reversing deforestation and fighting global warming by decarbonising the atmosphere. Grow-Trees was launched on World Environment Day, June 5, 2010. About 7,14,000 trees have been planted so far through the site in different projects across India by over 175 companies and thousands of individuals. About Vodafone India    Vodafone India is a 100% fully owned subsidiary of the Vodafone Group Plc. with operations across the country serving over 170 million customers. Commencing operations in 2007, Vodafone in its long-term commitment to India, has built a robust business in a highly competitive and price sensitive market. Vodafone India has been providing innovative, customer friendly and reliable products and services by continuously differentiating itself with a strong brand, best quality network, unique distribution and great customer service. This has been acknowledged at several prestigious forums where Vodafone India has won awards and recognition across different segments consistently.   Serving the needs of businesses, Vodafone Business Services provides total telecommunications (Voice and Data) solutions across mobility and wireline platforms. With the advantage of global expertise and experience and the knowledge of local markets, the business is run through the following verticals – Vodafone Global Enterprise (VGE), National Corporate (NC), Small and Medium Enterprise (SME) and a dedicated vertical for Government customers. Vodafone Business Services has steadily taken leadership position and is currently providing both mobile and wireline services to global and national businesses equipped with a robust and superior network infrastructure and a 24x7 NOC.   As a value based organization, Vodafone is committed to achieving the highest standards of Health, Safety and Well-being not only for its employees but also for all its partners. For creating such a responsible culture in the organization, the company received the Golden Peacock Occupational Health & Safety Award 2013. At Vodafone, sustainability is an integral part of the company’s mission and strategy, shaping the conduct of business every day. ‘Vodafone Cares’ is a platform to showcase all the good that Vodafone does for the society and has championed several projects and initiatives under the three pillars of Education, Environment and Empowerment. The Vodafone Foundation in India is committed to leverage the potential of mobile technology to address some of India’s most pressing challenges relating to education, health, equality and access. Its activities focus on the 4Ms of empowering individuals – m Health, m Education, m Agriculture and m Women.   Vodafone is one of the world's largest telecommunications companies with over 435 million customers in its controlled and jointly controlled markets as of 30 June 2014. Vodafone has equity interests in telecommunications operations in nearly 30 countries and around 50 partner networks worldwide. For more information, please visit: www.vodafone.com. Follow us on twitter @Vodafone IN   For Further Information, please contact: Vodafone India | indiacorpcomm@vodafone.com  Sonika Ladhi
Trainee Account Executive, Adfactors PR Social M  :  +91 90049 10684
D  :  +91 22 67574455
E   :  sonika.ladhi@adfactorspr.com
W :  www.adfactorspr.com   

Sustainalytics strenghtens corporate governance capabilities

CSRwire - 5 hours 59 min ago


Sustainalytics strengthens corporate governance capabilities
Names New Head of Governance Research to Lead Development of Expanded Solution Set 


Amsterdam – August 27, 2014 – Sustainalytics, a leading provider of environmental, social and governance (ESG) research and analysis, announced today that the firm is making a new and significant investment in strengthening the corporate governance pillar of its ESG research and ratings solutions.

Gary Hewitt, former head of governance research at GMI Ratings, has joined the firm and will lead the development of an expanded suite of corporate governance research and data products designed to complement and integrate with Sustainalytics’ existing market-leading ESG research solutions. Previously, Mr. Hewitt led a research team at Watson Wyatt (now Towers Watson) and spent almost a decade with a leading proxy advisory firm, Institutional Shareholder Services, with a focus on executive compensation analysis and ratings development.

“With the increasingly important role ESG research is playing in investment decision-making and risk management, combined with the recent consolidation of ESG research providers, we firmly believe that institutional investors and ESG professionals desperately need a stable, independent and focused provider of research and analytics across the entire Environmental, Social and Governance spectrum,” said Michael Jantzi, CEO of Sustainalytics. “Gary Hewitt’s extensive corporate governance knowledge will allow us to deepen our corporate offering, create new services for our clients and expand our governance thought leadership.”

Celebrating its five year anniversary operating as Sustainalytics, a firm built on the bedrock of more than 20 years of previous ESG experience around the globe, the firm works with more than 250 asset owners, asset managers and related organizations globally to identify, analyze and assess the potential for material portfolio risk related to companies’ ESG practices.

“The scope of corporate governance practices and behaviors impacting a company’s long-term ability to create shareholder value continues to expand,” said Hewitt. “This is an exciting time in the field of corporate governance and an exciting time at Sustainalytics. The firm already offers quality products and advisory services across the ESG continuum. I look forward to working with my colleagues and with our clients to expand the solution set and to provide even more meaningful governance insights into the investment process.”

For more information please contact:
Marthe Reinette

 About Sustainalytics

Sustainalytics is an independent ESG research and analysis firm supporting investors around the world with the development and implementation of responsible investment strategies. The firm partners with institutional investors who integrate environmental, social and governance information and assessments into their investment decisions.

Headquartered in Amsterdam, Sustainalytics has offices in Boston, Bucharest, Frankfurt, London, New York, Paris, Singapore, Timisoara and Toronto, and representatives in Bogotá, Brussels, and Copenhagen. The firm has 175 staff members, including more than 100 analysts with varied multidisciplinary expertise and thorough understanding of more than 40 industries. In 2012 and 2013, Sustainalytics was voted best independent sustainable and responsible investment research firm in the Thomson Reuters Extel’s IRRI survey.



Copyright © 2014 Sustainalytics
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CSRwire - 5 hours 59 min ago
LARGEST SOCAP TO DATE WILL HOST OVER 180 PANELS AND CONVENE 2,500 ATTENDEES ON IMPACT INVESTING, SOCIAL ENTREPRENEURSHIP AND USING BUSINESS TO CREATE POSITIVE SOCIAL IMPACT San Francisco, August 27, 2014 - This year’s annual Social Capital Markets conference (SOCAP) - SOCAP14, taking place from September 2-5 in San Francisco, will unite innovators in business, finance, tech, the sharing economy, health, philanthropy and more to advance environmental and social causes. A sector now surpassing $46 Billion under management and expected to explode when millennials focus on investing, SOCAP14 continues to grow this year making this the biggest SOCAP to date with 2,500 in attendance, many of whom are first-timers. Speakers range from the founders of today’s most-loved startups, to leading Fortune 100’s, to major venture capital investors, along with sector-specific leaders. Sponsors making announcements include American Express, Google.org and Omidyar Network. The conference’s theme “Igniting Vibrant Communities” encompasses the range of topics that will be covered and which combined lead to healthy and thriving communities, evidence of successful impact. “SOCAP’s mission has been to show the world that the market at the intersection of money and meaning - the place between giving and investing - is real, big and growing,” said Kevin Jones, Co-founder & Convener, Social Capital Markets. “The incredible interest and participation in SOCAP14 shows that we have expanded the possibilities for social entrepreneurs. The market is maturing and so are we.” Notable developments in the impact investing space this year show that every major sector is now engaged:  
  1. There’s critical mass among major financial institutions given their increased monetary commitments. SOCAP’s “Major Wealth Platforms in Impact” session features representatives of major financial institutions including Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, Deutsche Bank and others speaking about their increasing role.
  2. Government is turning to impact investing models in place of traditional aid. “Powering Africa Beyond the Grid” features a discussion on the potential of the most significant impact investing initiative by the U.S. government so far to not only accelerate energy access in Africa, but to bolster a new generation of clean, reliable energy companies.
  3. Foundations are placing more of their funding power into impact investing. More than 20 private corporations and foundations including Prudential Financial, Rockefeller Brothers Fund, Ford Foundation and more announced a commitment of over $1.5 billion combined to new impact investments, timed with the launch of the United States National Advisory Board (NAB) on impact investing’s report: “Private Capital, Public Good: How Smart Federal Policy Can Galvanize Impact Investing – and Why It’s Urgent.” SOCAP14 will host a discussion on the outcomes of the report.
 Confirmed Speakers include:
  • •    Jacqueline Fuller, Director, Google.org
  • •    William H. Draper, Co-Chair, Draper Richards Kaplan Foundation
  • •    Dr. Rajiv Shah, Administrator, USAID
  • •    Dan Schulman, Group President of Enterprise Growth, American Express
  • •    Douglas Atkin, Global Head of Community, Airbnb
  • •    Danae Ringelmann, Founder and Chief Development Officer, Indiegogo
  • •    Leila Janah, Founder and CEO, Samasource
   Topics span:
  • •    Impact Investing
  • •    Health
  • •    Place-based Innovation
  • •    Financial Inclusion
  • •    Food Systems
  • •    Resilience
  • •    Sharing Economy
 This year, SOCAP expanded its brand presence with the success of partner events, SHARE: Catalyzing the Sharing Economy” presented with Peers, and “SOCAP Health: Creating the Market that Values Health” at The New York Academy of Medicine. SOCAP aims to grow the network of heart-centered investors, entrepreneurs, and social impact leaders and create experiences where changemakers can connect and present their ideas to a global audience. SOCAP started in 2008 with 600 attendees. This year the conference will host close to 2,500 people - many of whom are attending for the first time. SOCAP14 scholarships were awarded to 130 social entrepreneurs, the largest cohort yet, from around the world focusing on a range of issues.   Primary SOCAP14 Sponsors are:
•       American Express: Dan Schulman, Group President, Enterprise Growth and Neal Sample, CIO &  Chief Marketing Technologist, Enterprise Growth will discuss new initiatives to help improve financial inclusion in the         U.S.American Express will also host a screening of Spent: Looking For Change, a film about everyday Americans without the financial options most of us take for granted and the movement giving them renewed hope.
  • •   Omidyar Network: SOCAP will be the West Coast launch of Omidyar Network’s National Advisory Board on Impact investing. The board launched its first report “Private Capital, Public Good” in June.
  • •   Google.org: Google.org will showcase grant recipients selected from the organization’s recent Impact Challenge, which invited Bay Area nonprofits to submit their ideas for addressing the region’s most pressing problems. All 25 nonprofits will receive technical support from Google and one year of accelerator support through Impact Hub SF. Google.org will also be a part of a conversation on place-based innovation in the Bay area.
    Other notable sponsors include:
  • •    Herman Miller International
    • •   Halloran Philanthropies
    • •   Vodafone Americas Foundation
    • •   IDB
    • •   USAID
    • •   Wells Fargo
    • •   Prudential Financial Services
    • •   Deutsche Bank
    • •   Shell Foundation
About SOCAP  SOCAP (Social Capital Markets) is a world-renowned conference series dedicated to increasing the flow of capital toward social good. SOCAP's annual flagship event in San Francisco is the leading gathering for impact investors and social entrepreneurs. Our unique approach emphasizes cross-sector convening and gathers voices across a broad spectrum to catalyze unexpected connections. From the leading edge to established players, SOCAP brings together global innovators, investors, foundations, governments, institutions, and social entrepreneurs to build the world we want to leave to future generations. We actively seek out opportunities to accelerate the market at the intersection of money and meaning and, in pursuit of that goal, have convened more than 10,000 people since our founding in 2008. Media Contact:                                                                                Nicole Shore     (347) 627-0134 Nicole.Shore@zerotosixtycommunications.com

Report calls for step change on human rights conduct of business in Greater China region

CSRwire - 5 hours 59 min ago
    Report calls for step change on human rights conduct of business in Greater China region Time to close the gap between international standards and actual practices by Chinese and foreign firms   International, 26 Aug 2014, Companies operating in Greater China – as well as Chinese firms operating overseas – must do more to respect human rights, according to a new report by an international human rights organization.
  The report, released today in Chinese and English by Business & Human Rights Resource Centre, looks at how companies in the region address human rights concerns. The Centre invites companies to respond publicly to allegations of misconduct in areas such as the treatment of workers, environmental pollution, and complicity by technology firms in surveillance or censorship activities. The briefing analyses 223 such approaches to companies.
The response rate from firms headquartered outside the region about their operations in Greater China is 77%. The response rate from firms headquartered in Greater China is 50%. Despite the lower response rate, when firms headquartered in Greater China do  respond, they are more likely to do so in detail, directly addressing each specific allegation point-by-point (52%), than non-Greater China firms (38%).
Privately owned Chinese firms are more likely to respond to allegations (56%) than state-owned companies (40%).
Lowell Chow, Greater China Researcher & Representative for BHRRC said:"It is time for business in the Greater China region to match principles on human rights – whether in internationally-recognized frameworks such as the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, or in their own codes of conduct – with their actions.
"An environment in which thousands of migrant workers toil in unsafe conditions, working long hours for less than a living wage, or when communities are pushed off their land for industrial projects with inadequate compensation, is unsustainable. There are now clear standards and guidance materials on human rights for business. Companies can no longer feign ignorance of their responsibility to respect human rights, or claim that they do not have the tools to help them do so."
  While a response by a company does not always lead to action, it does indicate the company’s willingness to engage publicly with concerns raised by human rights advocates, and provides a public statement that the company can be held to.
Overall, 23% of the firms headquartered in Greater China that responded either admit or partially admit the concerns raised – with 61% denying them (other firms said further investigations were needed, or referred to another business entity). For firms headquartered outside Greater China, these figures are 32% and 41% respectively.
Phil Bloomer, Executive Director, Business & Human Rights Resource Centre, said: "We commend the practical steps that many companies are taking to avoid human rights abuses, either directly or through their supply chains – as well as the significant progress the Chinese government has made in lifting people out of poverty. Now all companies and the government must act quickly to ensure workers and communities affected by business activities are treated with dignity and respect."
  The briefing says that now is the time for action on business and human rights, given:
- Increasing activism by workers and by communities affected by industrial projects;

- Growing awareness among business that operating responsibly can help prevent and limit unrest and preserve reputation;

- A government concerned by growing inequality, environmental damage, and public disquiet; and

- The strong frameworks that are now available for companies and governments that want to do the right thing, including the UN Guiding Principles on Business & Human Rights, which the Chinese government has endorsed.

The briefing concludes with a clear set of recommendations for business and government. For companies, the briefing calls on them to adopt a clear public human rights policy; conduct a thorough impact assessment for their operations whether within China or overseas; implement clear management processes on human rights; report publicly on their progress; engage with critics; and remedy abuses.
It calls on government to develop a national action plan on business and human rights; strengthen the legal framework for victims of human rights abuses to seek and secure redress; enforce existing laws in the areas of labour rights and environmental protection; and strengthen human rights guidance for Chinese firms operating at home and overseas.
                1. To arrange interviews contact: Hong Kong: Lowell Chow, Greater China Researcher & Representative, Business & Human Rights Resource Centre – chow (at) business-humanrights.org / tel +86 14715496030 (mainland China) or +852 54896030 (Hong Kong)   New York: Annabel Short, Program Director, Business & Human Rights Resource Centre – short (at) business-humanrights.org / tel +1 212 546 9160   2. The full briefing paper including a record of company responses / non-responses can be downloaded from here: http://business-humanrights.org/en/greater-china-briefings
3. Greater China refers to mainland China, Taiwan and Hong Kong.   4. Four of the over 200 cases to which the Resource Centre has sought company responses relating to Greater China:

China Water Electric responded in detail to a report by the Cameroonian Network of Human Rights organizations. The report alleged human rights abuses associated with its work on the Lom Pangar dam in Cameroon – including cramped conditions and limited access to potable water at the workers’ camp, environmental contamination, and that Cameroonian workers receive worse treatment than Chinese workers. In its response the company described steps it had on access to drinking water (digging wells, monitoring water quality) and on addressing pollution, and it denied discrimination.
Royal Caribbean Cruises responded to Friends of the Earth Hong Kong’s campaign for it to use low sulphur oil when docked in the city, given the serious health impacts of sulphur dioxide pollution from cruise ships. The company responded that it would be switching to low-sulphur fuel when docked.
China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC) ressponded to allegations of human rights abuses related to the company’s Shwe natural gas and Myanmar-China oil transport projects in Myanmar (including land confiscation without adequate compensation, damage to farmers’ and community land, military profiteering, and harm to fishing areas), detailed in reports by Shwe Gas Movement, EarthRights International (ERI) and Northern Shan Farmers’ Committee (NSFC).
Apple’s suppliers Jabil, Toyo Rikagaku Kenkyusho and Wintek responded to China Labor Watch’s report "Beyond Foxconn: Deplorable Working Conditions Characterize Apple’s Entire Supply Chain". Two other suppliers Catcher  and Pegatron declined to respond, and Apple itself did not respond. (Our overall response rate from Apple to human rights concerns is 38%, compared with a global average of 70%).
5. About the Resource Centre:

Business & Human Rights Resource Centre is an independent non-profit organization. We provide the leading information hub on business & human rights: www.business-humanrights.org. Our aims are:
Transparency: We track the human rights conduct of over 5,600 companies worldwide – including abuses and advances
Accountability: We invite companies to respond publicly to allegations by civil society (with a global response rate of 70%)
Empowerment: We equip people in NGOs, companies, and governments with the information they need to make the right decisions, and stimulate informed debate
Website:  www.business-humanrights.org
Simplified Chinese website: www.business-humanrights.org/zh-hans Traditional Chinese website: www.business-humanrights.org/zh-hant
Blog: www.business-humanrights.org/en/about-us/blog
Our researchers are based in Brazil, China, Colombia, Hong Kong, India, Japan, Kenya, Lebanon, Senegal, South Africa, Thailand, UK, Ukraine and USA.
This Greater China briefing joins our other regional briefings on over 10 regions/countries.
For further details, see the "About us" section of our website.

DNV GL Launches Interactive Arctic Risk Map To Communicate Region's Complex Risk Picture

CSRwire - 5 hours 59 min ago
DNV GL LAUNCHES INTERACTIVE ARCTIC RISK MAP TO COMMUNICATE REGION’S COMPLEX RISK PICTURE ONS, Stavanger: The world’s need for energy is driving interest in further industrial activity in the Arctic, yet the region’s conditions are highly variable depending on the type of activity, location and time of year. This creates a complex risk picture. DNV GL, the leading technical advisor to the oil & gas industry, has therefore developed an interactive Arctic Risk Map to present the risks associated with offshore and maritime activities in the Arctic. The map aims to provide stakeholders with a comprehensive tool for decision-making and transparent communications. “The Arctic is not a monolithic area and the risk picture varies accordingly. Stakeholders therefore need a sound decision basis for understanding the risks associated with Arctic development and transportation. The DNV GL Arctic Risk Map can help facilitate transparent discussions to address the many dilemmas related to activity in the region,” says Børre Paaske, project manager at DNV GL – Oil & Gas. The map presents multiple dimensions, such as the seasonal distribution of ice, metocean (physical environment) conditions, sea-ice concentrations, biological assets, shipping traffic and oil and gas resources, in a user-friendly, single layout. It also includes a Safety and Operability Index, showing the variation in different factors that impact the risk level depending on the season and their location in the Arctic.   In addition, a location- and season-specific index has been developed showing the environmental vulnerability of marine resources with respect to oil spill as an external stressor. In general, DNV GL’s analysis shows that the Arctic environment is characterised by seasonal variations in vulnerability, and that this vulnerability increases in the summer months along with the level of industrial activity. However, this differs greatly between regions. Some areas, for example, are particularly vulnerable in winter, when they are used by birds for wintering or as spawning grounds for fish.   As a result, the consequences of an accident in the Arctic would likely be more severe in some areas than others. The map is a useful tool to identify regions that require special attention when it comes to planning activities and for imposing mitigation measures throughout the year. The map can also provide input to decisions-makers about restricting certain types of activities in specific areas at different times of the year. “The risk level in the Arctic must be equivalent to – or better than – the best performance in the industry today. The Arctic’s varied and complex conditions require the industry to take a stepwise approach in which learning and technology are developed progressively regarding the more challenging Arctic areas,” says Elisabeth Tørstad, CEO of Oil & Gas, DNV GL. “As an independent body, DNV GL takes an active role in ensuring that any increase in industrial activity has a strong focus on safeguarding life, property and the environment.  This Arctic Risk Map is a great example of our vision in action,” she adds. The link to the Arctic Risk Map is available at www.dnvgl.com/arctic Download images here: http://production.presstogo.com/mars/public_sharing.lb?p_colshar_id=7517&p_hash=5238    About the Arctic Risk Map The Arctic Risk Map has been developed to present the spatial and seasonal distribution of ice and metocean parameters, biological resources, ship traffic, oil and gas resources and accident history. The map is interactive and web-based, developed using the GIS software ArcGIS. The map includes the following locations: Baffin Bay & Davis Strait, including West Greenland, the Barents Sea, including the Pechora Sea, the Beaufort Sea, Bering Sea (East), Bering Sea (West), Canadian Arctic Archipelago, Central Arctic, Chukchi Sea, Greenland Sea (East), Hudson, Kara Sea, Laptev Sea, Siberian Sea and Okhotsk Sea. In addition, the map contains aggregated safety and operability indexes for the Faroe Islands, Iceland and the Norwegian Sea. The map uses the most up-to-date pan-Arctic species-distribution data available. However, it is important to note that there are uncertainties when it comes to both the degree of coverage and quality of the data set that could have an effect on the overall safety and operability picture presented. The information included herein is based upon a non-exhaustive selection of publicly available information which has been compiled by DNV GL. DNV GL has not undertaken an independent verification of the accuracy of the available sources, and the information provided does not constitute a basis for decision-making. By entering this site, you hereby acknowledge that all use of the information given is at the user’s sole risk. You must not rely on the information as an alternative to advice from appropriately qualified professionals. DNV GL accepts no liability whatsoever for the content or for the consequences of any actions taken on the basis of the information provided. No responsibility whatsoever will be assumed by DNV GL for any errors or omissions made. If you have any specific questions about any of these matters, you should consult an appropriately qualified professional. About DNV GL DNV and GL have merged to form DNV GL. We are now the world's largest ship and offshore classification society, the leading technical advisor to the global oil and gas industry and a leading expert for the energy value chain, including renewables and energy efficiency. We have also taken a position as one of the top three certification bodies in the world. Read more here: www.dnvgl.com/merger About DNV GL Oil & Gas In the oil and gas industry, GL Noble Denton and DNV’s Oil & Gas business have joined forces to enable safe, reliable and enhanced performance in projects and operations. We provide integrated services in: technical assurance; marine assurance and advisory; risk management advisory and offshore classification. Our 5,500 people combine industry expertise, multi-disciplinary skills and innovation to solve complex challenges for our customers. Together with our partners, we drive the industry forward by developing best practices and standards across the asset lifecycle.     Media contact: Eli Turander
DNV GL - Oil & Gas
Email : Elinor.Turander@dnvgl.com
Tel: +47 953 35 795     f you would rather not receive future communications from DNV GL, let us know by clicking here.
DNV GL, Hovikveien 1, Høvik, - 1322 Norway

Cause Consulting & Youth Design Inspire Boston Teens to Take Action

CSRwire - 5 hours 59 min ago

Cause Consulting & Youth Design Inspire Boston Teens to Take Action

2014 Youth Design Competition Winners Announced

 BOSTON, MA, August 25, 2014– Stereotyping, police violence, pollution, smoking, GMOs and education were among the issues tackled by Boston's young people during this year’s Youth Designers Take Action Competition, in partnership with Cause Consulting. Youth Design, a year-round program connecting urban youth with the creative profession, is proud to announce that Bethany Barrant, a recent graduate of Boston Latin High School, is the winner of the 2014 competition for her powerful anti-stereotyping PSA highlighting “my appearance is not my story.”

 “If anyone doubts they can do something, I tell them to just go forward and try it,” says 2014 winner Bethany Barrant. “Until two years ago, I never had the chance to take an art class. Today, I can translate images and concepts from thoughts into inspiring ideas. Youth Design gave me the tools, internships, networks, support, exposure and training to help me grow.”

 Throughout the summer, Boston-based social issue and CSR strategy firm Cause Consulting led the students through the PSA creation process. Students were coached by design firm internship mentors, virtual creative directors and Cause Consulting team members. First, each student selected a topic that concerned them, then determined a target audience and finally designed a poster to inspire them to take action. To help students arrive at their final entry, Cause Consulting facilitated a workshop with the students teaching them how to define and research their audience, learn about their chosen issue and create the right messaging and call-to-action. The highlight of the process for many students was working on a mock assignment for John Barros, the Chief of Economic Development in the Mayor’s Office for the City of Boston. To their surprise, John Barros himself joined the Youth Designers at the end of the workshop to hear their perspective on teens and jobs and how they can play a vital role in the creative economy.

 “The students’ designs demonstrate the skill, inherent talent, passion and potential for Boston’s young people to cause change,” says Mark Feldman, Managing Director of Cause Consulting and Youth Design Board Member. “We are proud to invest our time to empower these amazing young peopleto bring their ideas to life.”

 A panel of volunteer judges selected the winners based on their use of powerful imagery, chosen messaging and motivational calls-to-action. The 2014 Youth Designers Take Action winners are:

  • ·        First place –Bethany Barrant for “Stop Stereotyping. My appearance is not my story.”
  • ·         Second place –Yamilet Acevedo for “Pollution, it’s like taking water from a baby.”
  • ·         Third place –Christina Fernandez for “edUcation, U are being left behind.”

 All the PSA’s can be viewed at: http://ow.ly/AH0Gy

Youth Design is a leading Boston-based nonprofit organization that is focused on addressing critical socioeconomic needs of urban youth by teaching them highly marketable design skills, providing access to unparalleled professional mentors, and supporting them along the path toward higher education.  Since 2003, Youth Design has helped to shape the next generation of diverse design professionals through aggressive educational and workforce development initiatives set in the context of design while promoting diversity in the creative economy.

 Cause Consulting is a Boston-based strategy and communications firm that helps companies simultaneously strengthen business and impact society.  Ranked as the #2 CSR Communications Agency by CR Magazine, , the firm specializes in CSR strategy, signature programs, cause marketing, employee engagement and communications. 

Blue Cross Blue Shield Association Releases ‘Investing in America’s Health’

CSRwire - 5 hours 59 min ago
    Blue Cross Blue Shield Association Releases ‘Investing in America’s Health’ Annual report demonstrates Blue Cross and Blue Shield companies’ impact in creating healthier communities nationwide   CHICAGO – Blue Cross and Blue Shield (BCBS) companies around the country collectively devoted more than $363 million to support community health initiatives in 2013, and their employees volunteered more than 370,361 hours to community service, according to “Investing in America’s Health,” a report by the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association (BCBSA). The sixth annual report demonstrates the 37 BCBS companies’ commitment to creating healthier communities nationwide.   “Across every ZIP code in the U.S., nearly one in three Americans rely on Blue Cross and Blue Shield for access to safe, quality and affordable healthcare,” said Scott Serota, president and CEO of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association. “With local roots in every community, Blue companies are uniquely positioned to create and maintain lasting partnerships with doctors, hospitals, schools and other organizations to help create stronger, healthier communities.” By working alongside local physicians and hospitals, BCBS companies help deliver better quality and more affordable care. They provide leadership and help fund local programs that improve the health and wellness of more than 105 million members and their communities. This collective support demonstrates The Power of Blue and its three focus areas: improving access to healthcare, improving healthcare quality and affordability, and enabling healthier living.  Improving Access to Healthcare BCBS companies are working to address a predicted shortage of tens of thousands of medical professionals by 2025. In an effort to ensure Americans have access to physicians, nurses, hospitals and other healthcare facilities, BCBS companies are investing in education and development programs for America’s healthcare workforce. BCBS companies also support local clinics that provide services in underserved areas. Improving Healthcare Quality and Affordability The Blues® are developing innovative tools and programs to improve the quality of care and help make it affordable for all Americans. Today, BCBS companies are leading a shift toward care delivery programs that provide incentives for better health outcomes for patients while reducing costly duplication and waste in care delivery. About one in five claim dollars are now spent in these new models, with more than 24 million BCBS members in 350 locally tailored programs that reward doctors for better coordinated care and improved health outcomes. BCBS companies also recognize medical facilities that demonstrate proven expertise in delivering safe, effective and cost-efficient care through the Blue Distinction® program. Additionally, BCBSA’s Center for Clinical Effectiveness assesses the effectiveness of medical devices, procedures and biological products through comprehensive reviews and clinical evidence. Enabling Healthier Living With a commitment to improving the health and wellness of the communities they serve, BCBS companies provide a variety of resources to organizations, schools, families and individuals to help create a healthier living environment. A key focus is reversing the trend of childhood obesity. In collaboration with the Partnership for a Healthier America (PHA), BCBS companies in 10 cities hosted more than 72,000 people at 48 events in 2013. These events gave communities a place to play by closing roads to traffic and opening them up for families to jump, run and stay active. BCBS companies also work alongside local chapters of national charitable organizations that share their vision of a healthier America. BCBS employees donated $8.9 million to community and social causes and volunteered 370,361 hours by building playgrounds, working in community gardens, bringing meals to the homeless, organizing community walks to support non-profits, mentoring students, donating blood and serving on boards. “For 85 years, the locally operated Blue Cross and Blue Shield companies have been committed to improving health and wellness in the communities they serve,” Serota said. “They devote valuable resources to help create healthier communities — not just for members, but for every American.” To learn more about how BCBS companies are improving the health and wellness of members and their communities through The Power of Blue, view the report at www.bcbs.com/investingincommunities.   Blue Cross Blue Shield Association is a national federation of 37 independent, community-based and locally operated Blue Cross and Blue Shield companies that collectively provide healthcare coverage for more than 105 million members – one in three Americans. For more information on the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association and its member companies, please visit www.BCBS.com.  We encourage you to connect with us on Facebook, check out our videos on YouTube, follow us on Twitter and check out The BCBS Blog for up-to-date information about BCBSA.

Seventh Generation Advances Key Sustainability Goals

CSRwire - 5 hours 59 min ago

Seventh Generation Advances Key Sustainability Goals

2013 Corporate Consciousness Report Details Industry-Leading Evolution

BURLINGTON, VT--(Marketwired - Aug 5, 2014) -  Seventh Generation, the nation's number one brand of renewable, bio-based consumer products, has unveiled its 2013 Corporate Consciousness Report. The company's latest sustainability performance review examines the progress it's made on its objectives to Nurture Nature, Enhance Health, Transform Commerce, and Build Community as it works toward the ambitious end-of-decade goals set forth in its 2020 Roadmap.

The new report adheres to the Global Reporting Initiative G4 guidelines, a leading, globally relevant framework which require a new higher standard of transparency. Seventh Generation is an early champion of the revised guidelines that aren't scheduled to be introduced until 2016. Among the reports highlights are a series of supply chain changes that significantly boost the renewability of the company's many products. Chief among this is Forest Stewardship Council sustainability certification for 62% of its wood pulp consumption, a groundbreaking industry-first that dramatically exceeds the year's goal of 50% certification. Additionally in 2013, all products eligible for the USDA's Certified Bio-Based Product labeling received the program's seal, and the introduction of new bottle caps made from 50% post-consumer recycled plastic led the way to a 25% company-wide reduction in the use of virgin plastic. The company also reports reducing its greenhouse gas emissions per metric ton of product by 11%.

Socially, 2013 was a banner year at Seventh Generation as well. The company's community volunteering program, which encourages employees to devote work time to local causes, had a 100% participation rate and total hours donated were 40% above the year's target. The firm also moved from #11 to #3 on Vermont's "Best Places to Work" survey; made financial and product donations of $225,000 to non-profit organizations working to make the world a better place; and led efforts to reform chemical safety laws on both a national and state level.

Seventh Generation's industry influence continues to grow as well. In an effort to reform the wasteful bottled water market, the company purchased bobble, a leading reusable bottle maker for which the company will supply wide distribution. It also developed a supplier code of conduct, launched sustainability collaborations with its retail partners and Tier 2 suppliers, and became a founding signatory of the Climate Declaration urging federal climate change action.

"What I like best about our new report is that it shows us refusing to rest on our laurels," said Corporate Consciousness manager Ashley Orgain. "We're still making meaningful progress despite the fact that each year progress gets harder to make. We've picked all the low-hanging environmental fruit -- now we're reaching for the high stuff. That makes any achievement pretty remarkable yet alone the strides we saw in 2013. And that's really our message; every person and each business can live sustainably. You just have to take that first step and then keep on walking."

To read the 2013 Seventh Generation Corporate Consciousness Report, visit www.seventhgeneration.com/2013-report

Seventh Generation is committed to being the most trusted brand of household and personal-care products for your living home. Our products are healthy solutions for the air, surfaces, fabrics, pets and people within your home -- and for the community and environment outside of it. Seventh Generation also offers baby products that are safe for your children and the planet. The company derives its name from the Great Law of the Iroquois Confederacy that states, "In our every deliberation, we must consider the impact of our decisions on the next seven generations." Every time you use a Seventh Generation product you are making a difference by saving natural resources, reducing pollution, and making the world a better place for this and the next seven generations.

For information on Seventh Generation cleaning, paper, baby and feminine personal care products, to find store locations, and explore the company's website visit www.seventhgeneration.com.

Brandi Thomas
Seventh Generation
(802) 658-3773 x760

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