Powering the Future: the Value of Sustainability to Caterpillar

A video summary of the company’s path to recognizing sustainability as a core value

SOURCE: Caterpillar


In 2013, Caterpillar began a transformational journey with respect to sustainability. From February through November, a “Powering the Future” team, one of our Leadership Excellence in Accountability and Development (L.E.A.D.) leadership development programs, performed an in-depth analysis of our existing sustainability capabilities and strategy. The team was comprised of Caterpillar leaders from a wide range of backgrounds and perspectives. They compared Caterpillar sustainability commitments and achievements to those of our peers and competitors. They also examined a variety of global trends and how they relate to the Caterpillar enterprise and our employees.

As the team dug deeper into the various challenges and opportunities, they all reached the same conclusion: It is time to officially recognize sustainability as a core value at Caterpillar. They developed a bold recommendation for this important shift during the 2013 Strategic Planning Committee (SPC) review. Following careful consideration and approval by the Executive Office, sustainability will now be recognized as a core value at Caterpillar. We captured some of the team’s perspectives and observations from this project and they can be viewed here: http://youtu.be/zfaHhrYCxnk

Click here to read more in the 2013 Sustainability Report about sustainability as a core value at Caterpillar.

Click here to see other videos that higlight Caterpillar values, initiatives, stories and products.

Tweet me: .@CaterpillarInc video “Powering the Future” explores the path of #sustainability as a core value http://3bl.me/d453ab

KEYWORDS: Ethical Production and Consumption, Business & Trade, Caterpillar Inc., sustainability, 2013 Sustainability Report, Our Values in Action, core values

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Building Economic Stability through Education and Empowerment

By Charlene Lake, Senior Vice President of Public Affairs and Chief Sustainability Officer



Over the last two weeks I’ve had the pleasure of spending time with an incredible group of women entrepreneurs who have traveled thousands of miles to be in Dallas for PEACE THROUGH BUSINESS®.

Now in its eighth year, PEACE THROUGH BUSINESS® is a program designed to educate and empower women from Afghanistan and Rwanda through a business training and mentorship program.  AT&T has supported the program since its inception because it encompasses so many important issues we care about as a company – closing gender gaps and bringing people to economic stability through education.

Bringing women from emerging markets into the global economic mainstream represents a tremendous force for stability and prosperity worldwide. And the women in this program are proof that by providing opportunities to enhance their economic stability, real change can begin to happen – community by community, and country by country. In fact, PEACE THROUGH BUSINESS® graduates create, on average, 22 jobs when they return home to Rwanda, and in Afghanistan that number climbs to 28 new jobs.

Elise Rida Musomandera was only a teenager when she lost her parents and most of her family in the Rwandan genocide. She was the only one left to raise her young siblings, so she became the head of her household as a teenager. However, Elise Rida didn’t use that as an excuse to put aside her own schooling and career goals. When not taking care of household duties or meeting all the needs of her siblings,  Elise Rida worked tirelessly to excel in her studies. Her hard work resulted in a scholarship from the government to attend university in Kigali. After graduation, she opened her own handicraft store selling jewelry, baskets and bags created by African women – most of them orphans and widows like herself. Elise Rida says: “It makes me happy to know that with my business, I can change the lives of many people in the country.” 

Kubra Jafari was born and raised in a refugee camp where she learned about hard work at a very early age.  As a young girl, she helped support her family by working in fields and weaving carpets. Very few young women in her community were educated.  As the Afghani facilitator informed me, in Afghanistan, women make up just a third of high school students and 17 percent of university students. There is only a 12 percent literacy rate among Afghan women. Despite those odds, Kubra had a vision of one day attending university and owning her own company. Her persistence and drive enabled her to achieve that dream.  While studying political science on a scholarship at the American University of Afghanistan, she developed a passion for multi-media journalism. Since then, Kubra established her business, KJ Productions, and hand produced seven documentaries on how women and others are making a positive change in the country.

Elise Rida and Kubra are just two of the amazing 20 women who are graduating from the PEACE THROUGH BUSINESS® program this week. The 2014 class includes women running businesses in nearly every sector – agriculture, financial services, fashion, strategic communications, technology and many others. Each of them have a story to tell – about perseverance, about determination, and perhaps most importantly, about how to help and inspire other women.  A key focus of the PEACE THROUGH BUSINESS® program is passing on knowledge to others. And that is just as important to our employees as it is to the women in the program because we all can — and should — play a part in helping to improve outcomes for women everywhere.

According to a study by the World Bank, women and girls reinvest an average of 90 percent of their income in their families, compared to a 30 to 40 percent reinvestment rate for men. In study after study, findings suggest that if we want to see societies emerge from instability and conflict, we have to focus on women. When we educate a woman, we change the world.

So join us! Learn more about these women. Sign up to become a mentor for future PEACE THROUGH BUSINESS® students, or support the program with your resources. Find out more by visiting the Institute for Economic Empowerment of Women, at ieew.org.

Tweet me: .@ATT “Building Economic Stability through Education and Empowerment” http://soc.att.com/1xqCGct #ATTImpact

KEYWORDS: Diversity and Human Resources, Women In Business, att, PEACE THROUGH BUSINESS, Afghanistan, Rwanda, Women Entrepreneurs, Institute for Economic Empowerment of Women, IEEW

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Sigma-Aldrich Achieves Record Success in Environmental, Community Initiatives

New Report Shows Positive Impacts of Company’s Global Citizenship Efforts

SOURCE: Sigma-Aldrich Corporation


ST. LOUIS, July 29, 2014 /3BL Media/ – Sigma-Aldrich Corporation (NASDAQ: SIAL) dramatically decreased its global water and energy use, increased its investment in Green Chemistry and donated more than 8,000 hours of community service around the world last year, the Company announced Monday in its new 2013 Global Citizenship Report: What if Science Changed the World?

The report comes in a year when Sigma-Aldrich has earned several honors for being a responsible corporate citizen, including recognition for the second consecutive year on CDP’s Carbon Disclosure Leadership Index, an inaugural listing on the Dow Jones Sustainability Index and a top position as the No. 1 company in the materials sector on The Civic 50, a national ranking of the most community-minded companies in the U.S.

“Sigma-Aldrich continues to strengthen its focus on Global Citizenship enabling us to deliver tangible results that benefit our employees, customers and the world at large,” said President and CEO Rakesh Sachdev. “We are pleased with the recognition we have received by taking a leadership position when it comes to innovation and sustainability, and we continue to collaborate with our stakeholders to broaden the benefits of our Global Citizenship programs.”

The 2013 Sigma-Aldrich Global Citizenship Report highlights a number of successes accomplished during the calendar year, including:

  • A major reduction in energy and water use, achieving an absolute reduction in water usage of more than 100,000 cubic meters. Since 2009, the Company has saved more than 1.9 million cubic meters of water — enough to fill more than 1,000 Olympic-sized swimming pools. The Company cut its electrical energy usage by 4 million kilowatt hours in 2013, enough to power more than 365 homes for an entire year.
  • Promoting innovation in Green Chemistry through its nine global Centers of Green Chemistry Excellence, enabling the Company to deliver new products with smaller environmental footprints.
  • More than 8,000 hours of employee volunteer community service, worth approximately a half million dollars in donated time. Employees participated in 72 charity events in 31 locations worldwide, including St. Louis, Milwaukee, India, Singapore, Germany, and the UK among others. The Company reached 8,350 students around the globe with its Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) initiatives and donated a total of $2.2 million in cash and products to charitable organizations.
  • The launch of a new, interactive Global Citizenship website with enhanced functionality and a unique, live-time carbon footprint feature.

“Sigma-Aldrich has grown its Global Citizenship platform by focusing on initiatives that have a substantive, positive impact,” said Jeffrey Whitford, Global Citizenship Manager. “As we ramp up our engagement efforts internally and externally, we increase our ability to create positive change.”

Sigma-Aldrich uses several external guidelines and measurement frameworks to inform the scope of its reporting including the U.N. Global Compact and the Global Reporting Initiative G4.  This is the first year the report has been aligned to the G4.

For more information about Sigma-Aldrich’s corporate citizenship efforts, or to use the new interactive sustainability tools, visit www.sigmaaldrich.com/globalcitizenship.

About Sigma-Aldrich:  Sigma-Aldrich, a leading Life Science and High Technology company focused on enhancing human health and safety, manufactures and distributes more than 230,000 chemicals, biochemicals and other essential products to more than 1.4 million customers globally in research and applied labs as well as in industrial and commercial markets. With three distinct business units – Research, Applied and SAFC Commercial – Sigma-Aldrich is committed to enabling science to improve the quality of life. The Company operates in 37 countries, has more than 9,000 employees worldwide and had sales of $2.7 billion in 2013. For more information about Sigma-Aldrich, visit its website at www.sigma-aldrich.com.

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Tweet me: .@SigmaAldrich making a positive impact through #water savings, #energy reduction & investment in #STEM #education http://bit.ly/1AuJc6z

KEYWORDS: Reports, Education, Green Chemistry

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General Mills Joins BICEP Coalition

BICEP (Business for Innovative Climate & Energy Policy) announced today that one of the world’s largest and most storied food companies, General Mills, has joined the BICEP coalition to advocate for innovative climate and clean energy policies.



BOSTON, MA, Jul 28, 2014 /3BL Media/ – BICEP (Business for Innovative Climate & Energy Policy) announced today that one of the world’s largest and most storied food companies, General Mills, has joined the BICEP coalition to advocate for innovative climate and clean energy policies.

BICEP, a project of Ceres, was launched in 2008 with a core group of five companies, including Starbucks, Nike, and Timberland. It has since expanded to 31 leading companies, such as eBay Inc., Symantec and Jones Lang LaSalle, which represent a broad spectrum of business sectors. BICEP members have been vocal proponents of renewable energy, greener transportation, and stricter pollution controls on power plants.

General Mills, with worldwide sales of $17.9 billion, produces and markets foods for more than 100 consumer brands, including Cheerios, Green Giant, Nature Valley, Old El Paso and Pillsbury. The 148-year-old company’s sustainability platform includes goals for sustainably sourcing its top key ingredients by 2020 and for reducing its energy use and greenhouse gas emissions (GHG).

“General Mills has long recognized the need to mitigate the risks that climate change presents to our planet, our business and each one of us. Science-based evidence underscores the urgency to take action and form effective and efficient climate and energy policies,” said Ken Powell, General Mills Chairman and CEO. “BICEP will be a key partner for us as we advocate for large scale progress on this issue.”

In 2005, General Mills pledged to reduce GHG emissions in its direct operations by 20 percent by 2015, and in 2009, it added a goal to reduce transportation fuel by 35 percent by 2015.

Given that nearly two-thirds of General Mills’ GHG emissions and 99 percent of water use throughout its value chain occur upstream of direct operations – primarily in agriculture – General Mills has focused on advancing sustainable agriculture. To this end, General Mills has committed to sustainably source 100 percent of its 10 priority ingredients by 2020. These ingredients represent 50 percent of its total raw material purchases.

General Mills is also working to reduce GHGs from its agricultural products through collaboration with the Michigan Milk Producers Association to measure the carbon footprint of milk production and processing. General Mills is a leader in Field to Market: The Alliance for Sustainable Agriculture, which among its many sustainability initiatives is addressing GHG emissions stemming from row crops.

To combat GHG emissions from deforestation, General Mills committed to sourcing 100 percent of its palm oil from responsible and sustainable sources by 2015. Deforestation is a major contributor to global climate change, accounting for an estimated 15 percent of global GHG emissions. Already, General Mills is sourcing more than 50 percent of its palm oil sustainably, and expects to hit 75 percent by the end of calendar year 2014.

By joining BICEP, General Mills has committed to expanding its global sustainability efforts by working with businesses and policymakers to enact meaningful energy and climate policies.

“General Mills is showing increasing leadership on climate change and we are proud to welcome the company as our newest member of BICEP,” said Mindy Lubber, Ceres President. “With General Mills’ global commitment to sustainable sourcing and the work it is doing to reduce GHG emissions in its direct operations and in agriculture, the company brings a lot to the table. We are certain General Mills will be an effective advocate for strong climate and energy policies.”

More information on General Mills’ sustainability efforts is available at GeneralMills.com

About General Mills
General Mills is one of the world’s leading food companies, operating in more than 100 countries around the world. Its brands include Cheerios, Fiber One, Haagen-Dazs, Nature Valley, Yoplait, Betty Crocker, Pillsbury, Green Giant, Old El Paso, Wanchai Ferry, Yoki and more. Headquartered in Minneapolis, Minn., USA, General Mills had fiscal 2014 worldwide sales of US $17.9 billion.

About Ceres
is an advocate for sustainability leadership. Ceres mobilizes a powerful coalition of investors, companies and public interest groups to accelerate and expand the adoption of sustainable business practices and solutions to build a healthy global economy. Ceres directs the Investor Network on Climate Risk (INCR), a network of over 100 institutional investors with collective assets totaling more than $13 trillion. Ceres also directs Business for Innovative Climate and Energy Policy (BICEP), an advocacy coalition of nearly 30 businesses committed to working with policy makers to pass meaningful energy and climate legislation. For more information, visit www.ceres.org or follow on Twitter @CeresNews.


Tweet me: General Mills Joins @BICEPnews Coalition http://3bl.me/3m3q7v

Contact Info:

Meg Wilcox
+1 (617) 247-0700ext. 155

KEYWORDS: Environment and Climate Change, Business & Trade, CERES, General Mills, BICEP, climate change policy, climate change

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Guest Post: A New Era of Collaboration and Innovation for GRI



GRI this month welcomes a new Chief Executive, Michael Meehan

GRI’s announcement states:

Mr. Meehan’s appointment comes at a crucial juncture for GRI and for sustainability disclosures. In an evolving sustainability reporting landscape, Mr. Meehan will lead GRI in working with new methodologies such as those on natural capital and around integrated reporting, and will drive GRI’s collaboration with global reporting frameworks. He will guide the organization in achieving its mission of making sustainability reporting standard practice worldwide, and promoting the role of sustainability disclosures in addressing global sustainability challenges.
Sounds like Michael is going to have a lot on his plate. And certainly, he has a strong legacy left by Ernst Ligteringen who has done a sterling job leading GRI in the face of many challenges over the past 12 years. After chatting with Michael, I am left with optimism that he will know how to embrace the value that GRI has created while skillfully navigating new themes in the zeitgeist of sustainable development and the needs of sustainability disclosure. It’s a complex map, and the sort of practical entrepreneurial spirit, driven by clarity of vision and collaborative orientation that Michael Meehan brings, seems to be the right mix. I wish MM warm congratulations on his appointment and good luck as he takes up residence in GRI’s Amsterdam hub. 
As Michael takes up his role, I am sure the word strategy will feature quite a lot in the first few weeks and months. I am sure that everyone will be wanting to know what his priorities are, goals, targets, new ways of doing things, more of this, less of that, new broom and all that. I expect there will be quite a few who have some advice and recommendations, seeing a new chief as a new opportunity to get some things straight and promote an agenda. Allen White was top-speed off the mark in an open letter to MM published in the Guardian (I always wondered about the point of open letters…seems a bit oxymoronish to me) in which he lays down his priorities for the new boss. I expect there will be plenty more open, closed and ajar letters that attempt to influence the new boy on the block as he scans the landscape. However, for me, what’s more important than giving Michael Meehan my views about where he should lead GRI, is getting to understand who he is. I am interested in knowing more about what’s important to Michael and what motivates him, because that will influence what he does at GRI. (Anyone who doesn’t like ice cream, for example, would be a complete non-starter, as far as I am concerned. Happily, this is not the case with Michael Meehan).
Elaine Cohen is the founding partner of Beyond Business Ltd (www.b-yond.biz/en), a social and environmental business consulting firm, specialising in CSR strategy and roadmap developent, implementation of CSR processes, reporting and assurance. We work globally with large corporate clients, SME’s and non profits, offering a full range of CSR and sustainability expertise. Post originally appeared on the CSR Reporting Blog. Distributed with permission of the author. 

Tweet me: A New Era of Collaboration and Innovation for #GRI http://3bl.me/qkmrhs. New post from @elainecohen. #CSR

KEYWORDS: Media & Communications, Business & Trade, CEO, collaboration, GRI, Innovation, Michael Meehan, Reporting Framework, reporting quality, sustainability, sustainability reporting, Sustainable Business, sustainable development

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Fair Trade Brings Big Sales and a Clear Conscience

SOURCE: Fair Trade USA


Brooklyn Roasting Co. has a booming business based on helping people thousands of miles away.

Ninety percent of the coffee the New York-based company sells is Fair Trade — certified as produced by people who are treated and paid well.

Being socially responsible pays off for Brooklyn Roasting, which sells to restaurants, food stores and the public through its website. Sales of its Fair Trade coffee, which comes from Mexico, Peru, Indonesia and Ethiopia, have soared from $900,000 in 2011 to $4.4 million last year. They are expected to reach $6 million in 2014.

“In a thoughtful urban center like New York City, I think it’s a smart business decision to be the company known for responsible coffee sourcing,” co-owner Jim Munson says.

Demand for Fair Trade products is rising as people become more aware of how their food and other products are made. That makes the Fair Trade market a growing opportunity for small business owners. While companies sell Fair Trade food, clothing and bedding products because they believe in being socially responsible, the goods can also be part of a marketing strategy, says Russell Winer, a marketing professor at New York University’s Stern School of Business. Sixty percent of shoppers are willing to pay the higher prices that Fair Trade items tend to have, according to a 2013 study he co-wrote.

This is how it works. Goods — coffee is the best known, but there’s also chocolate, sugar, coconut, cotton, tea, flowers, nuts, fruits and vegetables — are certified as Fair Trade by a handful of organizations around the world. They pledge to visit farms and production areas to inspect working and living conditions.

In return for the certification, product manufacturers pay a premium. For coffee, it’s 20 cents a pound; for chocolate, $200 per metric ton. This cost is usually passed on to shoppers, who can tell products are certified by labels on packages.


Finish reading full artile from AP here: http://bigstory.ap.org/article/fair-trade-brings-big-sales-and-clear-conscience

Tweet me: How #FairTrade drives sales and impact. Doing good is just good business. Via @AP: http://bit.ly/1qbgBMl

KEYWORDS: Business & Trade, Environment and Climate Change, fair trade, Brooklyn Roasting Company, PACT, Fair Trade USA, Whole Foods Market, farmers, Coffee, chocolate, tea, Sugar, flowers, produce, impact, ethical products, certification

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Sustainability: Cows, Sage Grouses, and Grasslands

SOURCE: EarthSayers.tv


Two disconnected events yesterday and today were linked in my mind to the large, open spaces of the West and the challenges we face in striving for a sustainable future.  The first was spotting this marquee yesterday with “The Sustainability Secret” catching my eye.  The cowspiracy took longer to process.

Cowspiracy is a new environmental documentary (trailer here) with the emphasis on the industry with the link to a sustainability secret being secondary as suggested in the title. After reading about the intrepid filmmaker “uncovering the most destructive industry facing the planet today, and investigates why the world’s leading environmental organizations are too afraid to talk about it” I don’t think the film reflects a whole systems approach to problem solving, but I won’t say much more until I have a chance to see it.  And there was that nasty situation in 1998 summed up in this story headline as “Oprah Winfrey vs. The Beef People.”  Will maintain an open mind.

What came along today in my inbox was a New York Times documentary on the Sage Grouse and Wind Turbines.  These two events together got me thinking of several sustainability champions that address climate change from the perspective of grasslands, carbon, cows and (what wasn’t mentioned much) climate change:

In this videoGrasslands, Carbon, and Climate Change, Jeff Goebel talks about the importance of restoring grasslands to pull carbon out of the atmosphere, doing so rather quickly, and the relationship of grassland restoration to climate change. His interview relates to cows and places like Wyoming where sage grouse live.  Jeff has been influenced by the work of Allan Savory who isPresident and Co-founder of the Savory Institute in Boulder, Colorado and is featured here in this video interview, How to green the world’s deserts and reverse climate change.

“Desertification is a fancy word for land that is turning to desert,” begins Allan Savory in this quietly powerful talk. And terrifyingly, it’s happening to about two-thirds of the world’s grasslands, accelerating climate change and causing traditional grazing societies to descend into social chaos. Savory has devoted his life to stopping it. He now believes — and his work so far shows — that a surprising factor can protect grasslands and even reclaim degraded land that was once desert.

As an urbanite I feel more comfortable learning about the economic and social aspects of sustainability especially when it comes to understanding the conversations and recommendations of experts. Yet my roots are firmly planted in the farmlands of Ireland and Canada, my family having been dairy farmers so I’ve been interviewing farmers and experts like Jeff Goebel and Allan Savory then adding them to the EarthSayers.tv in special collections addressing biodiversity and climate change.  I hope this post proves useful to understanding what may well be a sustainability secret, one I would argue of many.


Tweet me: Connecting cows, sage grouses, grasslands to climate change and sustainability. http://bit.ly/dotconnection

KEYWORDS: Environment and Climate Change, Energy, Sage Grouse, Wildlife, Cowspiracy Film, Allan Savory, Jeff Goebel, earthsayers.tv, Holistic Management


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24 Years Later, Americans with Disabilities Act a Landmark Success, but Work Still Remains



July 26thwill mark the 24th anniversary of the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Signed into law by President George H.W. Bush, the ADA is a landmark piece of civil rights legislation that recognized and sought to reverse the discrimination that persons with disabilities face in the areas of employment, transportation, public services and access to information. The law also paved the way for future disability rights gains nationally and internationally, including the 21st Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act (CVAA) of 2010. The CVAA was a critical step toward ensuring that persons with disabilities have access to online information. The UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities was also based in large part on the ADA to help promote the civil rights of persons with disabilities around the world. The US can be proud of its leadership role on disability issues. AT&T hopes to see the Senate ratify the CRPD soon.

Technology has the potential to greatly improve life for persons with disabilities by promoting full inclusion and economic independence. Persons with and without disabilities can use their computers to seek and obtain employment, and use their smart phones to access household appliances and security systems. With today’s technology a voice can be heard whether you can speak or not. To ensure additional progress, technology companies must continue to address the ability of persons with disabilities to harness technology that is both innovative and inclusive.

In particular, helping to ensure persons with disabilities have opportunities to work is critical. According to the Department of Labor, persons with disabilities face a high unemployment rate (12.9% for persons with disabilities versus 6.1% for persons without disabilities) and a very low labor force participation rate (19.3% versus 69.3%). Today’s technology can help with these numbers by creating employment opportunities for persons with disabilities. We will continue to work with organizations like the American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD) to provide internship and career growth opportunities to persons with disabilities.  

At AT&T, we fully support the principles of inclusion and accessibility embodied by the Americans with Disabilities Act and the related legislation it has inspired. For us, accessibility is not only the right thing for consumers but also for our business. Offering accessible products and services—and providing accessible customer service—has enabled us to access the large and growing market that Americans with disabilities comprise. Our strength in recruiting, retaining and promoting employees with disabilities strengthens and diversifies our workforce and provides us with a competitive advantage in producing cutting-edge accessible products.

This year, we at AT&T are honored to be recognized for our efforts by AAPD, with its Justice for All Corporate Leadership Award. On the 24th anniversary of the passage of the ADA, we celebrate how far we have come and remind ourselves of the work left to be done. Along with my colleagues at AT&T, I look forward to continuing our work with the disability community to make a fully accessible society a reality. 


Tweet me: .@ATT “24 Years Later, Americans with Disabilities Act a Landmark Success, but Work Still Remains” http://soc.att.com/1jXDMMg #ATTImpact

KEYWORDS: Diversity and Human Resources, att, Americans with Disabilities Act

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