CSRwire Press Releases, Events and Reports

CSR: A Strategic Imperative for Long-Term Value

The material impact that CSR initiatives have on corporate performance has resulted in a sea change. CSR has evolved from simple corporate giving and employee volunteer programs into comprehensive environmental, social, and governance (ESG) programs that integrate sustainability into business strategy

Study after study shows that the financial benefits of CSR are significant. For example, an extensive study1 among consumer goods supply chains found companies that implemented “triple advantage” practices – where companies achieve profitability while integrating initiatives that improve ESG outcomes – realized between:

That might explain why 65% of CFOs have become involved in sustainability initiatives according to an Ernst & Young and GreenBiz survey among corporations with revenues over $1 billion. Cost reductions (74%) and managing risks (61%) were stated as two leading drivers in the company’s sustainability agenda.

Another key factor driving CFOs into the sustainability world is the fact that institutional investors from banks and insurance companies to private equity funds are now considering the sustainability rankings of the companies in which they invest. A recent McKinsey article pointed to a Deutsche Bank study that tells us why. Deutsche Bank evaluated 56 academic studies and found:

1. Companies with high ESG ratings have lower cost of debt and equity; and
2. 89% of the studies examined show companies with high ESG ratings outperform the market in the medium (three to five years) and long (five to ten years) term.

Given this remarkable upside potential and opportunity to expand the aperture of risk management, CFOs are becoming key stakeholders that shape sustainability strategy and goals across the organization. This is particularly true when a large capital expenditure or operating expense like energy procurement is involved.

How Clean Energy Helps CFOs Sleep at Night:
Material Impact on Financial Performance and Company Reputation 

Among all sustainability initiatives within an organization, energy is arguably the most impactful on corporate performance and long-term brand equity, as well as achieving sustainability goals. A move to a clean energy source such as solar, whether onsite at your facility or offsite at a nearby remote location, provides CFOs with four vital areas to create greater short and long-term value:

I. Financial Benefits

Organizations can save on energy costs on day one with zero capital outlay through a power purchase agreement (PPA). Or, if an organization determines asset ownership offers more value, owning a solar system can offer 8-12% returns, and a 100% payback on investment in 6-8 years. Financial benefits to explore include:

  • Reduction of operating expenses with lower cost electricity

  • Stable electricity pricing for predictable budgeting

  • Tax credits

  • Accelerated depreciation

  • Lower cost of debt and capital from institutional investors that favor organizations with strong CSR ratings

  • Renewable Energy Credits (RECs) — depending on state

 II. Risk Mitigation

In addition to protecting and enhancing corporate reputation, and thus brand equity, another critical risk that can be reduced is the price volatility for electricity.  Price swings in electricity markets can cause costs to vary by millions of dollars making it difficult for companies to accurately budget and plan for electricity expenses.

Solar energy PPAs provide predictability and stability making it possible to budget with certainty. A solar PPA offers stable price contracts of 20, or even 25, years.

III. Environmental

Solar energy directly reduces carbon emissions and makes a significant contribution to corporate sustainability goals.  High CSR ratings is now an attribute considered by many debt and equity firms when analyzing investments.  

IV. Brand Equity

There is no shortage of surveys regarding the link between brand value and sustainability either. Customer acquisition and retention are strongly tied to an organization’s CSR initiatives and outcomes. For example, the Nielsen Global Survey on Corporate Social Responsibility polled 30,000 consumers in 60 countries* Fifty-five percent of global online consumers responded that they are willing to pay more for goods and services from companies that are committed to positive social and environmental impact: Asia-Pacific (64%), Latin America (63%) and Middle East/Africa (63%). The numbers for North America and Europe are 42 and 40%, respectively.

In the end, there are a number of internal stakeholders involved in the analysis and decision to procure solar energy, whether onsite or through an offsite PPA. To ensure the greatest success and value, the CFO should be engaged in the process as early and often as possible.

1SOURCE: Beyond Supply Chain conducted by the World Economic Forum & Accenture

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Covestro’s Lucore to Keynote on Social Purpose at 2017 NGO Expo During Climate Week NYC

Rebecca Lucore, head of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and Sustainability at Covestro LLC, will deliver a keynote at the 2017 NGO Expo September 22 in New York City. Her presentation is titled “Harnessing Corporate Purpose to Drive Social Change.”

Click to tweet: .@CovestroGroup’s @LucoreRebecca to keynote on driving social change thru #purpose at @ngo_expo @ClimateWeekNYC: http://bit.ly/2wuoMg6.

Organized by Climate Week NYC, which is taking place alongside the UN General Assembly Sept. 18-24, NGO Expo is a major global platform for NGOs, non-profits and charities to advance the global social good agenda and spark partnerships with granters, donors, philanthropists and corporate foundation executives.

Lucore will discuss how Covestro, through its i3 (ignite, imagine, innovate) CSR initiative, is empowering employees’ desire for social purpose by enabling them to become “citizen philanthropists” through skills-based volunteer training. She will demonstrate how nonprofits can utilize this kind of “human capital” giving to build capacity and become more sustainable organizations. She’ll also provide insight into how corporations can leverage employees’ desire for purpose to attract, retain and develop talent. 

The two-day event is expected to draw more than 1,000 attendees. 


About NGO Expo and Climate Week NYC

NGO Expo encompasses a conference, exhibition with meeting areas to network, source, supply and learn. It delivers immersive education through keynote speakers, timely topic-driven panels and hands-on workshops, while also showcasing the latest products and solutions to help deepen understanding and create new ideas that will drive innovation. Its fundamental aim is to engage the sector at every level. Attendees leave NGO Expo inspired by what’s new and what’s next, armed with the tools and techniques they need to shift and re-imagine their own businesses. 

Climate Week NYC is one of the key summits in the international calendar and has been driving climate action forward since it was first launched by The Climate Group in 2009. This year, Climate Week NYC comes at a critical point in the global response to climate change. The summit will take place alongside the UN General Assembly and will bring together international leaders from business, government and civil society to showcase the unstoppable momentum of global climate action. Climate Week NYC is the collaborative space for climate-related events in support of the implementation of the Paris Agreement and the achievement of the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

About Covestro LLC and i3 (ignite, imagine, innovate):

Covestro LLC is one of the leading producers of high-performance polymers in North America and is part of the global Covestro business, which is among the world’s largest polymer companies with 2016 sales of EUR 11.9 billion. Business activities are focused on the manufacture of high-tech polymer materials and the development of innovative solutions for products used in many areas of daily life. The main segments served are the automotive, construction, wood processing and furniture, electrical and electronics, and medical industries. Other sectors include sports and leisure, cosmetics and the chemical industry itself. Covestro has 30 production sites worldwide and employed approximately 15,600 people at the end of 2016.

i3 (ignite, imagine, innovate) is Covestro LLC’s companywide corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiative that aims to spark curiosity, to envision what could be and to help create it. Built on the three pillars of philanthropy (i3 Give), employee volunteerism (i3 Engage) and STEM education (i3 STEM), i3 seeks to create sustainable and lasting impacts. 

i3 Give is designed to innovate corporate philanthropy strategies that combine both human and financial resources to build stronger communities. i3 Engage re-imagines the way employees from for-profits and nonprofits engage with one another for more effective outcomes. And, i3 STEM ignites young minds to become the innovators of tomorrow through support of hands-on, inquiry-based STEM education, workforce experience and employee volunteerism.

Forward-Looking Statements

This press release may contain forward-looking statements based on current assumptions and forecasts made by Covestro AG. Various known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors could lead to material differences between the actual future results, financial situation, development or performance of the company and the estimates given here. These factors include those discussed in Covestro’s public reports which are available on the Covestro website at www.covestro.com. Covestro assumes no liability whatsoever to update these forward-looking statements or to conform them to future events or developments.

This press release is available for download from our website. Click here to view all our press releases.

Editor’s Note: Follow news from Covestro on Twitter: www.twitter.com/CovestroGroup

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Corporate Citizenship’s Megan DeYoung to Reveal Research at COMMIT!Forum on Fortune 50 Participation in United Nations Sustainable Development Goals

In the two years since the formation of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), organizations have been working to formulate strategies that will contribute to the worldwide goals of eradicating poverty, creating a healthy planet for future generations, and building peaceful and inclusive societies.

Many organizations, however, are struggling with how – and are hungry for meaningful data that will help them plan for the future and allocate resources they’ll need to contribute to this new global development framework.

Megan DeYoung, vice president Americas of the global management consultancy Corporate Citizenship, has answers – and will reveal exclusively for attendees at COMMIT!Forum’s “Brand Taking Stands” event how Fortune 50 companies are mapping their corporate responsibility strategies to the Global Goals.

“Many companies are seeking clarity on the role they should play in the SDGs. Understanding what others do can provide useful insight, which is why Corporate Citizenship has assessed Fortune 50 companies’ actions on the SDGs.” said DeYoung, who is also a member of the Corporate Responsibility Association. “Sharing this research for the first time at COMMIT!Forum can help attendees get a sense of how they compare to peers and become inspired to take more action.”

At COMMIT!Forum, DeYoung will discuss findings extracted from a three-year global survey that shows how a variety of Fortune’s 50 sustainably minded companies are responding to the SDGs, what trends are emerging, and how this new data can serve as a roadmap for organizations that want to take action but need quantifiable ROI. The session will be moderated by John Friedman, sustainability manager at WGL Holdings, Inc., a diversified energy business providing natural gas, electricity, green energy, and carbon reduction and energy services.

A member of Corporate Citizenship’s Executive Team, DeYoung directs the consultancy’s North and Latin American practices, and advises leading companies worldwide on incorporating social, environmental, and economic issues into their strategies and business practices.

COMMIT!Forum, the annual leading event for corporate responsibility and sustainability practitioners, will convene on Oct. 10-12, 2017, at the MGM National Harbor near Washington. Attendees will have the opportunity to network, discuss, and gain professional development by attending pre-conference workshops, roundtable discussions, and sessions that will focus on the event theme, “Brands Taking Stands.”

More than 50 speakers, panelists, and interviewers from a broad range of industries will facilitate and contribute to discussions around sustainable business operations, prioritizing corporate responsibility goals, combining sustainability and profitability, brand and reputation management, sustainable and diverse workforce recruitment and retention, among many more topics.

About COMMIT!Forum
COMMIT!Forum (http://www.commitforum.com) is an annual gathering of corporate responsibility and sustainability practitioners with emphasis on networking, case studies, new research, and compelling presentations from companies committed to making progress against an ambitious environmental, social, and governance (ESG) agenda. The event is produced by the Corporate Responsibility Association and CR Magazine.

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minuteKEY Commits to Planting 100,000 Trees Per Year in National Forests

The National Forest Foundation (NFF) is pleased to announce the expansion of a partnership with minuteKEY, the world’s first self-service key duplicating kiosk. Since 2015, minuteKEY and the NFF have been partners through minuteKEY’s Secure Our Forests campaign, planting more than 15,000 trees on National Forests across the country. Now, minuteKEY is expanding the partnership by pledging to support the planting of 100,000 trees on National Forests annually.

Through this expanded partnership, minuteKEY is committing to plant one tree for every two custom forest-themed keys purchased at minuteKEY kiosks. The partnership is part of NFF's ongoing efforts to address the significant reforestation needs on our National Forests.

Unbeknownst to many Americans, millions of acres of forest cover are lost every year due to wildfire, insects and disease. Reforestation partnerships like these help fund vital projects that plant trees on National Forests to protect watersheds, restore wildlife habitat and fight climate change.

“The National Forest Foundation is excited to expand our work with minuteKEY. Reforestation partnerships like this help protect watersheds, restore wildlife habitat and fight climate change, said Mary Mitsos, NFF President. “With support from minuteKEY and their customers, we will be securing the future of our forests for all Americans.”

"minuteKEY is honored to partner with the National Forest Foundation and support its mission to protect and restore the beauty and health of our nation's forests," said Randy Fagundo, CEO of minuteKEY. "We're also excited about providing our customers an easy way to make a positive impact on the environment.  We are committed to planting 100,000 trees in a year.  Because we are headquartered in Boulder, CO  most of our associates spend much of their free time in the outdoors hiking, skiing and biking.  They are so proud and supportive of our partnership with NFF" 

 The Secure Our Forests campaign will continue across college campuses and retail locations this fall. As part of their campaign, minuteKEY has partnered with Boulder, CO artist Phil Lewis for a specially designed, limited edition key for the campaign. For more information on this partnership with MinuteKey, visit www.minutekey.com/sustainability

For more information on the NFF’s tree planting efforts, visit www.nationalforests.org.


About the National Forest Foundation

The National Forest Foundation promotes the enhancement and public enjoyment of the 193-million-acre National Forest System. By directly engaging Americans and leveraging private and public funding, the NFF improves forest health and Americans’ outdoor experiences. The NFF’s programs inform millions of Americans about the importance of these treasured landscapes. Each year, the NFF restores fish and wildlife habitat, plants trees in areas affected by fires, insects and disease, improves recreational opportunities, and enables communities to steward their National Forests and Grasslands. Learn more at www.nationalforests.org.

About minuteKEY

minuteKEY makes the world's first patented self-service, key duplication kiosk. As innovators in an age-old industry, minuteKEY founders invested several years developing the technology to create a highly accurate, secure and easy-to-use key-cutting device. Today's kiosk, found in thousands of high-traffic retail locations in the United States and Canada including Walmart, Lowe's and Menards, combines innovations in robotics, electronics and software engineering. See the minuteKEY website for more information and kiosk locations.

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Webinar: How 3M, Williams-Sonoma and SupplyShift Leverage Data to Transform Supply Chains Across All Tiers

Ethical Corporation is running a live webinar on how to transform data across every tier in your supply chain.

Join the 60-minute webinar next September 26th at 7am PST (3pm UK/ 10am EST) with 3M, Williams-Sonoma and SupplyShift here.

Learnings include:

  • Williams-Sonoma shares their approach towards industry standard compliance and traceability of wool to the source.

  • How 3M increases its upstream supplier visibility / traceability and streamlines supplier assessments to assess and reduce risk.

  • Best practice with SupplyShift to promote supplier benchmarking and supplier engagement across your supply chain tiers. 

Can’t join? Sign up anyway to receive the full post-webinar recordings.

Krina Amin,
Head of Strategy at Ethical Corporation

#RBSWest – How to deliver social impact and drive commercial success

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Greenpeace Co-founder Rex Weyler Condemns Chevron for “Ecological Crimes” in Ecuador’s Amazon Region

One of the founders of the legendary environmental organization Greenpeace has blasted Chevron and its high-priced team of corporate lawyers for using “intimidation” tactics to evade responsibility for committing some of the world's “worst ecological crimes” in Ecuador’s Amazon region. 

Rex Weyler -- a Canadian resident and author who with friends in Vancouver founded Greenpeace International in the early 1970s -- published a blog on the Greenpeace site in support of the Ecuadorian indigenous and farmer communities who won a historic $9.5 billion environmental judgment against the oil giant. Chevron has vowed never to pay the judgment and company officials have brazenly threatened the indigenous groups with a “lifetime of litigation” if they persist.

After describing Chevron’s dumping of billions of gallons of oil waste in Ecuador as probably “the worst oil-related catastrophe on earth”, Weyler lashed out at the company for trying to delay resolution of the case for 24 years.

“This tragic story reveals almost unthinkable corporate irresponsibility, intimidation, and arrogance, not just by Chevron executives, but by their 60 law firms, 2,000 lawyers and paralegals, six public relations firms, squads of private investigators, thugs and bribed witnesses, and at least one severely compromised U.S. judge,” he wrote. “Chevron has probably spent more money trying to weasel out of this case than any corporation in world history.”

“If we sometimes wonder why significant ecological progress appears so monumentally difficult, this blood-curdling case will give us some clues,” he added. 

He also said Chevron’s predecessor company Texaco in Ecuador “perpetrated some of the most horrendous ecological crimes in history” against the indigenous Cofan, Siona, Secoya, Quichua and Huaorani peoples. Texaco operated in Ecuador from 1964 to 1992, when it abandoned the country after taking out an estimated $25 billion in profits. Texaco then merged with Chevron. 

Citing evidence from the court case, Weyler wrote that Chevron/Texaco “dumped some 16 billion gallons of wastewater laced with carcinogens into rivers and streams. The company abandoned hundreds of waste pits in the rainforest – containing toxic oil sludge, in violation of basic industry standards. The indigenous inhabitants were left with poisoned land, food supply, and drinking water. The region’s river sediment remains contaminated with heavy metals and chemical toxins.”

Weyler also explained how Chevron tried to “hide its crimes” by destroying internal company records documenting many oil spills in its area of operations.

He then blasted Chevron for hiring a “notorious” New York law firm, Gibson Dunn, to fabricate a story of judicial bribery in Ecuador to evade the judgment. Chevron itself and Gibson Dunn lawyers bribed a witness with a $2 million payment to make up the story. 

The Ecuadorians have filed an action to enforce their judgment against Chevron’s assets in Canada, where they already have received the unanimous backing of the country’s Supreme Court. The next court hearing in the Canadian enforcement action is Oct. 10 in Toronto. 

Chevron has an estimated $15 to $25 billion of assets in Canada, or more than enough to pay the full amount of the Ecuador judgment. The original $9.5 billion judgment is now worth $12 billion with accrued interest under Canadian law.

Weyler warned his colleagues in the environmental and social justice movements: "Human rights advocates the world over need to carefully study Chevron’s playbook of spending massively to buy witnesses against its adversaries to evade paying compensation to the people it harmed. If U.S. courts refuse to provide the Ecuadorians a fair hearing, then Canada’s courts must do so for the sake of corporate accountability, universal principles of justice, and Indigenous rights.”

(Here is background on the overwhelming evidence against Chevron in the Ecuador pollution case. Here is a photo essay on the people affected.)

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