Blue Cross and Blue Shield (BCBS) companies collectively devoted more than $363 million to support community health initiatives in 2013, according to a new report by the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association.The sixth annual Investing in America’s Health report demonstrates the 37 BCBS companies’ efforts to promote healthier communities nationwide. One in three Americans rely on these companies for access to healthcare which, according to the report, puts them in a good position to create and maintain lasting partnerships with doctors, hospitals, schools and other organizations to help create stronger, healthier communities.
Intel is the largest user of clean energy within the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Green Power Partnership for the fourth consecutive year, according to the agency’s recently updated National Top 100 Partners list.The technology company annually generates 3,102,050,000 kWh of clean energy from biogas, biomass, small-hydro, solar, and wind, EPA says. Last year, Intel produced around the same amount.
Since the release of the Responsible Down Standard (RDS) in January, we have been working diligently to get it rolled out to the industry and implemented across our own supply chain. Doing this has been a complex and challenging project for The North Face and our partners, but we believe the RDS will make some critical changes to the down supply chain to improve traceability and ethical treatment of animals.
Only 41 percent of Americans trust the federal government to solve the country’s most pressing problems, and three-quarters say it’s important for major companies to help on this front, according to the 2014 Public Affairs Pulse survey.In particular, Americans want corporations to help improve the quality of health care (66%) and education (63%), and provide community services such as food banks, free clinics and job training for the poor (65%).The majority of Americans also want corporations to weigh in on social issues such as wilderness protection (73%), and racial and gender discrimination (62%).
We all know sustainability is an important issue when it comes to the growth of a business, but what steps can we take to ensure it is fully ingrained in each and every business decision?For me, the significance of education in driving sustainability cannot be overestimated. Education is key to driving innovative, sustainable solutions to business-critical issues, and it is the responsibility of business and education providers to work together to ensure future leaders are fully equipped for the challenges they will face.
Ecolab has the best environmental management of all the companies in the Russell 3000 index, according to a new study that evaluates environmental policies and infrastructure.With a score of 91 out of 100 points, Ecolab witnessed an increase in score of 38 points (72 percent) during the past two years. Intel came in second with 89 points after two consecutive years in the top spot. Lexmark was third, increasing by 10 points from 2011, to 84 points.
CVS Caremark, in partnership with IBM, has announced a $1.5 million commitment to support the use of innovative technology in community health centers to increase patient engagement and to improve patient care and outcomes.The "Technology Solutions for Smarter Health" grants will be awarded to community health centers nationwide that are in need of advanced technology that will help people on their path to better health. The grants will enhance technology infrastructure currently in place to help centers easily communicate and share health information with patients through secure electronic messaging. The advanced technology will also provide patients with the ability to view,download and transmit their health information online.
The WWF and IKEA have released a new report highlighting the impacts of their work with the Better Cotton Initiative (BCI), as the organization restates its aim to make up 30 percent of global cotton production by 2020.
Previous articles in this series talked about leading businesses taking bold steps on their own for the common good — because it's the right thing to do — even if it costs the company financially in the short term.This time I want to point to the latest wave of businesses working collaboratively on the urgent, common ground issues of renewable energy and climate policy. In America's history of westward expansion and exploration, pioneer families came together in wagon trains for mutual support. In the same way, the examples below show that businesses are taking action, together, to ensure a more certain future that's good for all of us and for business.
The sustainability movement, in the last few years, has figured out that “doing less harm” is insufficient. It is based on fixed ideas to which we implicitly agree to adhere. We become attached to their ‘rightness’ and do as much as possible to adhere to them and correct anything off course – e.g. fair trade may not make a village work better, it is just less bad. I call this approach “arresting disorder,” which translates to paying a lot of attention to slowing down destructive actions.
Apple announced on Monday it has closed a deal to annex 100 acres in Claremont, NC for a new 17.5-megawatt solar farm, the construction of which is expected to cost some $55 million, according to Apple Insider. The Hickory Daily Record reports that Apple's latest olar installation will bring 100 acres of land into the city's corporate limits and should generate roughly 75 jobs, which the company agreed to source locally. Construction of the farm is expected to be completed in five years.
IKEA has announced it will raise its average minimum wage in its US stores to $10.76, a 17 percent increase over the current wage, and $3.51 above the current federal minimum wage.The furniture company says the increase will impact approximately half of its US retail workers. Hourly wages will vary based on the cost of living in each store location -- this is a departure from determining wages based on the local competitive situation and is centered on the needs of the employee. The wage increase is based on the MIT Living Wage Calculator, which takes into consideration housing, food, medical and transportation costs plus annual taxes.
Future 500 CEO Bill Shireman moderated two discussions during Sustainable Brands 2014 earlier this month that explored major progress made in the past two years in advancing zero-deforestation supply chains and implications for climate, human rights and transparency.Shireman kicked off the session on day one with an intriguing quote by a famous revolutionary: "There are decades where nothing happens, and there are weeks where decades happen."
Increasing efficiency is among the several sustainability moves that will be critical for increasing the world’s food production by an estimated 70 percent to feed a projected global population of 9.6 billion people by 2050, according to the 2013 US Dairy Sustainability Report.The report, published by The Innovation Center for US Dairy®, outlines progress to measure, communicate and improve the social, environmental and economic performance of the dairy industry. This progress has helped strengthen dairy’s role in a sustainable food system, the organization says.
UPS announced today that Rhonda Clark will become the company’s Chief Sustainability Officer (CSO) effective immediately. Clark will succeed Scott Wicker, who helped create UPS’s sustainability architecture and implemented numerous successful initiatives during his seven years leading UPS’s Sustainability group.During this period, the company set aggressive sustainability goals, achieved success in key areas by improving efficiencies in operations and expanded its alternative fuel/advanced technology fleet by more than 50 percent.
Jeana Wirtenberg knows sustainability is about people. Living, caring human beings – who get things done.It’s not “green.” Or “eco.” Not goals or dashboards. Not on their own, at any rate. It’s people who make these things actually happen.Sustainability is people at every level of a business making decisions and working with their colleagues, customers and communities, day in and day out. Sustainability is people — not programs or promises — taking actions that move their company towards more sustainable business outcomes. It’s culture.
Leadership has traditionally been positioned as a finite social resource that can only be possessed by a few individuals at any given moment.After all, not everyone can be a leader all the time. Right?Wrong.Leadership is changing — it is no longer a finite pool, but an expanding network of possibly infinite potential. With the rise of the social web and a deeper linkage between global context and our everyday decisions, leadership is flatter, faster and hyper-connected worldwide. Knowing how and when to lead from the top-down, the bottom-up, as an individual and as a collaborative group are all equally critical.
Society. It’s one of the three pillars of sustainability, but the least defined and the least understood. Corporations have traditionally struggled to blend social purpose with hard-nosed business acumen, but as consumers increasingly look to brands to combat key societal issues such as climate change, human rights, equality and unemployment, this is starting to change. Social brand value is becoming much more sought after, and with it the necessity for a new type of leadership — a more honest CEO.
The business world is waking up to the challenge of climate change.Apple CEO Tim Cook recently lashed out at a shareholder who pressed the company to stop investing in carbon reduction and renewable energy. In the most recent World Economic Forum Global Risk survey of CEOs and world leaders, three of the top six issues of “highest concern” were failure to tackle climate change, extreme weather, and water crises.
At an event this morning in Mountain View, Calif., during a visit from President Barack Obama, Walmart announced that it will double the number of on-site solar energy projects at its US stores, Sam’s Clubs and distribution centers by 2020. The commitment is part of Walmart’s global initiative to drive the production or procurement of 7 billion kWh of renewable energy by the end of 2020.