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Down with reshuffles!

Business Green - Wed, 07/16/2014 - 7:05pm

Alan Whitehead praises out-going Climate Change Minister Greg Barker and argues that we need more Ministers with a long-standing interest in their brief


Categories: Climate Change News

Could crowd-funding and Green ISAs help raise $1tr?

Business Green - Wed, 07/16/2014 - 7:05pm

BusinessGreen Leaders Awards Entrepreneur of the Year Julia Groves reveals Trillion Fund's ambitious plans for the future of clean energy investment


Categories: Climate Change News

30% of Borneo's rainforests destroyed since 1973

Mongabay Rainforest News - Wed, 07/16/2014 - 5:09pm
More than 30 percent of Borneo's rainforests have been destroyed over the past forty years due to fires, industrial logging, and the spread of plantations, finds a new study that provides the most comprehensive analysis of the island's forest cover to date. The research, published in the open-access journal PLOS ONE, shows that just over a quarter of Borneo's lowland forests remain intact.
Categories: REDD and Rainforests

[Indonesia] Appeal: Help us save forests from palm oil’s bulldozers

REDD Monitor - Wed, 07/16/2014 - 10:38am
EIA International, 10 July 2014 | Masrani sits on a tree stump, alongside his father and Muara Tae elder Petrus Asuy, surrounded by dusty ground and bulldozed trees where once thick, lush forest stood. Masrani is sad and afraid – sad at the destruction he sees around him and afraid that the company responsible for felling this area to clear the way for oil palm plantations will continue to clear the forest and take away his livelihood, along with the livelihoods of his children and grandchildren. ‘‘We feel like we are being killed,’’ he said. With half of their land already lost to coal mines, the people of Muara Tae in East Kalimantan, Indonesia, face losing what remains to two powerful oil palm companies which intend to clear the land to make way for plantations.
Categories: REDD and Rainforests

Climate Summit 2014

Business Green - Wed, 07/16/2014 - 9:26am

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon gathers world leaders to progress action on tackling climate change


Categories: Climate Change News

Has Cameron quietly downgraded his government’s climate change minister?

Business Green - Wed, 07/16/2014 - 8:48am

DECC insists change from minister of state for climate change to undersecretary of state for climate change 'doesn't make any difference' to government's approach


Categories: Climate Change News

Government green lights E.ON's Rampion offshore wind farm

Business Green - Wed, 07/16/2014 - 6:17am

Project off the coast of Sussex set to generate £2bn of investment


Categories: Climate Change News

Juncker eyes 30 per cent minimum energy savings target

Business Green - Wed, 07/16/2014 - 6:01am

New European Commission President highlights need for ambitious and binding energy efficiency target


Categories: Climate Change News

German development bank issues €1.5bn green bond

Business Green - Wed, 07/16/2014 - 5:59am

KfW aims to 'support the development of responsible investing from its niche into the broader capital market'


Categories: Climate Change News

Microsoft signs major wind power deal in green data centre push

Business Green - Wed, 07/16/2014 - 5:15am

Greenpeace uses the move as another chance to criticise Amazon Web Services


Categories: Climate Change News

Greg Barker: 'Climate change and care for our planet is the cause of my life'

Business Green - Wed, 07/16/2014 - 4:15am

Former Climate Change and Energy Minister suggests he may work with Environmental Defense Fund after quitting politics next year


Categories: Climate Change News

Technology and Sustainability Startups Converge in San Francisco

CSRwire - Wed, 07/16/2014 - 3:15am

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

CSRwire - Wed, 07/16/2014 - 3:15am

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

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

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

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

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

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

Highlights of Novartis achievements in 2013 include:

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

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

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

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

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

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

CSRwire - Wed, 07/16/2014 - 3:15am

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

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

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

Specifically we’ll be discussing:

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

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

Details:

Date: Thursday, July 24, 2014

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

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

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

To RSVP Please send the following tweet:

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

About Mars, Incorporated

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

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

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

About TriplePundit

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

About CSRwire

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

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

CSRwire - Wed, 07/16/2014 - 3:15am

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Background

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The brief for the Ecuadorians can be read here.

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

StewardChoice and Progressive Waste Solutions Announce Collaborative Agreement

CSRwire - Wed, 07/16/2014 - 3:15am

 StewardChoice Enterprises Inc. and Progressive Waste Solutions Ltd. announced a collaborative agreement to provide market based choices for expanding producer-funded collection and recycling services for packaging and printed paper in British Columbia. Progressive Waste Solutions is the first recycling services company to work with StewardChoice.

“We are very pleased to have Progressive Waste Solutions, a leading BC waste and recycling services provider, come on board to support the development of the new EPR program,” says Neil Hastie, Development Director for StewardChoice Enterprises. “Their involvement will provide choice and flexibility for producers and other stakeholders within the recycling supply chain as we work collaboratively to increase valuable material recovery and reduce overall system costs.”

The initial focus of the proposed StewardChoice program is to provide producer-funded collection and recycling to those residents who are currently not being serviced; particularly to those living in multi-family dwellings. Today, more than 20% of these BC households do not receive a producer-funded recycling service. Traditionally, recycling performance in multi-family dwellings has lagged behind single-family households for a few reasons: lack of educational material for residents, inconvenient recycling bin locations, and insufficient bin capacity to store recyclables.

"We believe that open and competitive markets provide producers and other stakeholders with cost-efficient collection and recycling services and facilitates more innovation in the marketplace," stated Tom Loewen, the BC Area Manager for Progressive Waste Solutions. "This proposed program is also consistent with the BC government’s desire to encourage more private sector investment and innovation in the province."

StewardChoice’s competitive draft stewardship plan will offer producers an opportunity to fulfill their legal obligations, under the BC Recycling Regulation, to recover at least 75% of their packaging and printed paper in the marketplace.

Last month, StewardChoice released its draft plan for public consultation. Prior to submitting the final plan to the BC Ministry of Environment, StewardChoice will engage in public consultation with stakeholders over a minimum 45-day period as required by the Ministry. Once the plan is approved, the new recycling service will commence as early as next year initially in multi-family buildings.

The StewardChoice Packaging and Printed Paper Stewardship Service Plan is available at stewardchoice.ca.

About StewardChoice Enterprises
StewardChoice Enterprises Inc. is a subsidiary of Reclay StewardEdge, a North American leader providing packaging stewardship solutions to consumer product goods organizations. StewardChoice is based and managed in the province of BC.For more information please see
www.stewardchoice.ca.

Reclay StewardEdge (RSE) is a leading Canadian-based international stewardship organization that has extensive experience and expertise in sustainability, related to end-of-life management of packaging and products. RSE has provided stewardship solutions to numerous producers across Canada and in 2012, StewardEdge became a part of the Reclay Group enabling them to offer a broader suite of services internationally.

About Progressive Waste Solutions Ltd.
Progressive Waste Solutions is a leading waste and recycling services company in BC that employs 400 persons and serves customers in the residential, industrial, commercial and institutional sectors. Progressive Waste Solutions is proud to play a leadership role in the BC waste services industry. The Company operates the province’s largest fleet of compressed natural gas (CNG) powered waste collection vehicles serving the City of Surrey.

Making the Most Out of Manufacturing: Metalsa Joins the Business Call to Action with a Plan for Training Young Engineers

CSRwire - Wed, 07/16/2014 - 3:15am

Leading manufacturing company Metalsa announced its plans to train and employ high school students in an effort to inspire young engineers towards future technical careers. The company’s new commitment to the Business Call to Action (BCtA) aims to train an estimated 7,600 new students by 2020.

To meet the challenge of providing technical skills and professional development to high school students in Mexico, Brazil and Argentina, the company has committed to employ an estimated 130 trainees. Metalsa will identify high-potential students and support them with specialized training in math, physics, and science. The company is also committed to providing continuous skills training and curriculum to support teachers and managers who often lack the resources to encourage math and science education. Targeting low-income communities, Metalsa is working to remove the barriers in educating youth and is providing hands-on training, workshops, and mentoring to prepare young people for viable workforce options.

“It is vital that companies like Metalsa work to inspire a new generation of young people in manufacturing and engineering careers,” stated Sahba Sobhani, Acting Programme Manager of the Business Call to Action. “Such efforts go a long way to help prepare qualified young people as technicians and in vocations with long-term potential.”

Metalsa’s commitment to preparing young people for technical careers and creating opportunities for improved livelihoods is part of its broader collaboration with partners including Lego Education and Mexico’s Department of Education. The company has currently adopted 11 schools in Argentina and Mexico, and is focused on further improving workforce readiness by providing innovative training in additional schools and with new partners.

“Being part of Business Call to Action strengthens our commitment to a better world in the educational field. We strive to inspire the knowledge and skills required in manufacturing required to gain meaningful employment,” according to Leopoldo Cedillo Villarreal, Chief Executive Officer of Metalsa.

Business Call to Action (BCtA)
Business Call to Action
is a global initiative that challenges companies to develop inclusive business models that offer the potential for development impact along with commercial success. The initiative is the result of a partnership between the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency, UK Department for International Development, US Agency for International Development, United Nations Development Programme, the United Nations Global Compact, and the Clinton Global Initiative to meet the anti-poverty Millennium Development Goals by 2015. Companies report on progress toward commitments on an annual basis. To learn more, please visit www.businesscalltoaction.org or join the conversation on Twitter at @BCtAInitiative.

About Metalsa S.A. de C.V.
Metalsa, a subsidiary of Grupo Proeza, manufactures structural components for the light and commercial vehicle markets. Products include chassis frames, body structural stampings and assemblies for passenger cars and light trucks as well as side rails and cross members for heavy trucks and buses. The company works in Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Germany, India, Japan, Mexico, Thailand, Russia, the United States and Venezuela, and in the United Kingdom through a joint venture. Metalsa distinguishes itself by offering quality, differentiated service and innovation, competitiveness and customization to each customer. Founded in 1956, Metalsa has approximately 9,000 employees globally. For additional information, visit www.metalsa.com.

About Grupo Proeza
Grupo Proeza is a privately held Mexican group with three business members: Metalsa, Citrofrut and Zanitas. Its corporate headquarters are located in Monterrey, Mexico and it employs 11,000 people. The Group has a global presence and provides services and products around the world. For additional information, visit www.proeza.com.mx.

2014 Corporate Citizenship Conference

CSRwire - Wed, 07/16/2014 - 3:15am
The Impact Equation: Stronger Business, Greater Results, Better World

Register before July 15 for Early Bird Pricing

Business engagement in communities is stronger than ever. They invest time, resources, and capital to help make the world a better place. But how do we know whether these efforts have been truly successful?

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation Corporate Citizenship Center’s 2014 conference is focused on results. In today’s world, companies must ensure that every dollar spent is meaningful, that every employee volunteer opportunity is worthwhile, and that every investment shows a return. There is more pressure than ever from corporate stakeholders to show meaningful outcomes. From philanthropy to shared value, from sustainability to governance, from partnerships to employee engagement, companies must ensure their work is driving measurable, lasting impact.

We believe that stronger businesses can achieve greater results that create a better world. Join us in Washington, D.C. this September to learn how.

Register before July 15 for Early Bird Pricing!
ccc.uschamber.com/event/2014-corporate-citizenship-conference

Five Middle School Essay Winners Experience Dream Jobs Through Office Depot Foundation 'Dream Up' Program

CSRwire - Wed, 07/16/2014 - 3:15am

Give them a few years, and the student winners of this year’s Office Depot Foundation Dream UP Career Exploration Program Essay Challenge will likely be making names for themselves in fields ranging from aerospace engineering to psychiatry.

Since it began in 2009, approximately 90,000 students from across the country have found the inspiration—and the knowledge—they need to attain their future career goals by participating in the Dream UP Program, which is offered to middle school teachers at no cost by the Office Depot Foundation – the independent, nonprofit foundation that serves as the primary charitable giving arm of Office Depot, Inc. (NYSE: ODP) – in collaboration with USA TODAY Charitable Foundation.

This spring and summer, five Dream UP Essay Challenge winners from the 2013-2014 school year are completing their dream job mentoring experiences. They include:

  • Lindsay Banks, Allen Central Middle School, Eastern, Ky. – The future police officer experienced her dream job with Chief of Police Mike Ormerod and his colleagues at the Prestonburg, Ky., Police Department. (Teacher: Sandra Stapleton)
  • Ethan Benson, Coral Springs Middle School, Coral Springs, Fla. – With a clear goal of becoming a fiction writer, Ethan joined writer Izzy Galante at Creative Classroom Solutions in Dania Beach, Fla., for his mentoring experience. (Teacher: Suzanne Fronrath)
  • Kosha Patel, Coral Springs Middle School, Coral Springs, Fla. – Kosha, who wants to be a website developer, had the opportunity to learn about the field at Metro Media Works in Wilton Manors, Fla. (Teacher: Suzanne Fronrath)
  • Izabella Fusin, Lone Jack Middle School Center, Pineville, Ky. – Izabella’s career choice is psychiatry – a profession she will explore in collaboration with Aaron Stevens, a therapist in Corbin, Ky. (Teacher: Sarah Brooks)
  • Jason Blake Warrens, Allen Central Middle School, Eastern, Ky. – The aspiring aerospace engineer spent a day at the Morehead State University Space Science Center in Morehead, Ky. Warrens also was a Dream UP Essay Challenge winner in 2013. (Teacher: Angela Mullins)

The Dream UP program seeks to address the alarming problem of middle school students dropping out of school. “By giving middle school students the tools and resources to begin to consider career opportunities, establish long-term goals and dream about what they might become in the future, we’re helping to keep students in the classroom, rather than losing them to the streets,” says Office Depot Foundation president Mary Wong. Dream UP student winners in previous years have experienced careers as diverse as veterinary medicine, journalism, teaching, automobile design and military service as a Coast Guardsman and fighter pilot.

Using the Dream UP project-based curriculum, students study current workplace trends, reading and analyzing the latest industry news from USA TODAY to identify career opportunities and understand professional requirements. Through Dream UP, students research several career options and develop a career portfolio. The project culminates with students selecting and writing essays about the professions that most intrigue and inspire them. Schools select the best essays to submit to the national Dream UP Essay Challenge and, each school year, five student winners are given the opportunity to live their dream job for a day.

Sandra Stapleton, the Allen Central Middle School teacher in Kentucky who has now taught two student winners, observes, “Dream UP allows students to explore interests, think about and set future goals, collaborate with peers about their education, engage with family through communication about real-life learning and improve awareness of the importance for educational success. The essay opportunity strengthens writing and communication skills by providing an avenue for published work. The bottom line – middle school kids think about their future in a new way and begin to dream, not only of success, but how to achieve that dream!”

To learn more about Dream UP, visit the USA TODAY Charitable Foundation website or the Office Depot Foundation website.

About the Office Depot Foundation
The Office Depot Foundation is an independent foundation – tax exempt under IRC Sec. 501(c)(3) – that serves as the independent charitable giving arm of Office Depot, Inc. In keeping with its mission, Listen Learn Care®, the Foundation supports a variety of programs that give children tools to succeed in school and in life; build the capacity of non-profit organizations through collaboration and innovation; and help communities prepare for disasters, as well as recovering and rebuilding afterwards. For more information, visit www.officedepotfoundation.org.

About the USA TODAY Charitable Foundation
The USA TODAY Charitable Foundation, a 501(c)(3) organization, supports and builds alliances that enhance innovative instructional programs and community outreach by providing the resources to promote opportunities and inspire all. It welcomes participation in efforts to engage, enlighten and inspire today’s students and educators by opening their classrooms to the real world. The Foundation seeks funding from other foundations, private companies and organizations to help provide educational programs for elementary, secondary schools, community colleges and/or programs in specific disciplines or curriculum areas. Staff work with interested parties to collaborate on the creation of an educational program that meets the mission and goals for respective companies or organizations. For more information, visit www.usatodaycharitablefoundation.org.

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