SAP Labs to Hire 60 People with Autism

SOURCE: SAP

DESCRIPTION:

Aimed at harnessing talents of people affected by autism to work in technology-oriented jobs, SAP Labs today said it will employ around 60 people by the end of this year.

The announcement is in line with SAP’s global aim to employ one per cent of its workforce with people affected by Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) by 2020.

Including India, SAP locations in the US, Canada, Ireland, Germany and Brazil will employ around 60 ASD affected people by the end of 2014, the company said in a statement.

Continue reading the original article on The Economic Times about SAP hiring people with autism >>

Tweet me: .@ET_Marketing article on #SAP Labs hiring http://bit.ly/1q2JJYU more people with #autism. @sustainableSAP

Contact Info:

SAP

KEYWORDS: Diversity and Human Resources, SAP, autism, autism spectrum disorder, ASD, Technology

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RSF Social Finance Blog: What Would Nature Do? – Part I

SOURCE: RSF Social Finance

DESCRIPTION:

This article was originally published in the Summer 2014 RSF Quarterly.

Last year I had the pleasure of meeting an investment-seeking rancher, who enlightened me about the glories of ranch life. Turns out, like any valuable endeavor, ranching is full of joy and challenge, reward and risk, hard work and…more hard work. What this endeavor was not full of, at least not in the beginning, was cash flow. This is not a criticism: we discussed his long-term plans for sustainable – maybe even regenerative – ranching practices, and the tangible, trackable benefits to the soil, the broader ecosystem, and the surrounding community. In the early years, the returns from this work would be seen in the growth of microorganisms, the health of cattle, and the strengthening of community. Later on, as some of those benefits took hold, the path towards solid cash flow became visible and compelling.

Unfortunately, traditional bank financing for this ranch project (if available at all) would only recognize return of dollars – not return of nematodes, or grasslands, or community. And the bankers needed to see those dollars starting on day one — not because they were greedy or thoughtless, but because that is what their financial tools required. A plain old loan requires plain old repayments, simple as that. It’s as if we are trying to sculpt a glorious 3-D universe out of granite, using nothing but a surgeon’s scalpel. The scalpel might be a fine tool in other contexts, but it is no match for the task at hand.

Here we were faced with a central dilemma of sustainable finance: often the multidimensional, sustainable enterprises that we want to support are still constructed with the assumptions of linear, short term tools and mechanisms of finance. Due to this mismatch, it sometimes seems impossible to be a responsible environmental steward and a responsible financial steward simultaneously.

In situations like this ranching enterprise, we spend a lot of time thinking about ways to invest differently IN nature. What if we also considered ways to invest AS nature, matching form to function? What if our investment tools and processes included more elements that we see in healthy natural systems — options that are relational, adaptive, and long-term in orientation, instead of being transactional, rigid, and short-term?

Biomimicry can help to create the tools of regenerative finance. Nature has adapted and thrived for 3.8 billion years – the most compelling track record around. We can learn from the principles that guide these systems, and orient towards approaches that are robust and resilient. The six major principles of biomimicry established by Janine Benyus and Dayna Baumeister, Life’s Principles, aren’t just clever buzzwords. These concepts describe how the world around us actually functions.

Biomimicry asks us to pause before we create a product, reorganize a team, or allocate investments to ask, WWND? (What Would Nature Do?). This deceptively simple question leads to decisions that are effective instead of merely efficient, simple instead of synthetic, mindful instead of mechanical. Biomimicry aims to embrace nature’s wisdom, rather than harvesting nature’s stuff.

For example, one of life’s principles is to integrate development with growth, much as a tree develops root structure in sync with its expanding canopy. For my rancher friend, this idea leads to some interesting questions about forms of investment and types of investors. What if in the early years the rancher could start with a small pool of funding from friends and family, who would be just as happy to be paid in grass-fed beef as in dollars? Later on, when cash flow improved, they could take on more traditional loans if needed, with the confidence that dollar-based resources would be available for repayments.

Click here for Part II

Katherine Collins is author of The Nature of Investing: Resilient Investment Strategies Through Biomimicry. She is also Founder and CEO of Honeybee Capital, a research firm dedicated to the pursuit of optimal investment decision-making. Katherine has previously served in numerous capacities at Fidelity Management and Research Company. After a career in traditional equity management, she set out to re-integrate her investment philosophy with the broader world, traveling as a pilgrim and volunteer, earning her MTS degree at Harvard Divinity School, and studying the natural world as guide for investing in a valuable and integrated way, beneficial to our communities and world.

 

    Tweet me: Read about ways to invest differently IN nature. http://bit.ly/1q2LgOI @rsfsocfinance #finance

    Contact Info:

    RSF Social Finance

    KEYWORDS: Finance & Socially Responsible Investment, katherine collins, RSF Social Finance, Finance, ranchers, Sustainable Finance, bank financing

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    Toyota Seize the Light with Engine Plant Solar Installation

    SOURCE: Toyota

    DESCRIPTION:

    Almost 13,000 solar panels have been fitted to Toyota’s engine manufacturing factory in Deeside, North Wales.

    Energy garnered from the panels will produce up to 3,475,000 kWh a year – enough electricity to build 22,500 engines and up to 10% of all the electricity required for manufacturing at the site.

    If used to their maximum capacity, Toyota could avoid 1,800 tonnes of CO2 emissions a year, the combined weight of 1,260 Auris hatchbacks.

     

    Continue reading the original article on The Green Car Website about Toyota’s solar panels >>

    Original source: The Green Car Website

    Tweet me: Major investment in renewable energy by @Toyota. http://bit.ly/1q2OVMo #solarpanels

    Contact Info:

    Toyota

    KEYWORDS: Energy, Toyota, renewable energy, solar panels, solar array, Deeside, North Wales

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    HP LIFE e-Learning Helps Students on Route to SkillsUSA Gold Medal Win

    SOURCE: HP

    DESCRIPTION:

    At HP, we are igniting a passion for entrepreneurship among students at community colleges throughout the United States. Through our collaboration with NAACE (National Association for Community College Entrepreneurship), we are helping instructors from both rural and urban schools integrate HP LIFE e-Learning courses into their classes.  It is part of HP Living Progress—our framework that guides how we do business. To us, Living Progress means creating a better future for everyone through our actions and innovations.

    A free, online program—powered by the HP cloud—HP LIFE e-Learning provides a forum for high-school and community-college students to learn essential business and IT skills by putting them into the shoes of an entrepreneur and giving them real-life business issues to tackle.

    Darcie Tumey, Instructor of Business Administration at Catawba Valley Community College in North Carolina, credits HP LIFE e-Learning as a key component in her students’ recent gold medal–winning submission in the Entrepreneurship category at SkillsUSA’s national conference. The competition challenges student teams to develop a business concept and a plan to bring it to market—and the winning team used HP LIFE e-Learning as a primary resource when developing their business plan. The team developed a concept and detailed plan for a series of books geared to helping children deal with major life issues—impressing the judges both with the relevance of their product for the market and with their target-market research.

    “Working with HP LIFE e-Learning over the past year has added a huge amount of value to our courses,” said Tumey. “The modules are very current. Online scenarios that discuss real life business challenges made the course modules extremely relevant for my students, who were grappling with the realities of starting a business. They helped them to develop practical applications to the business concepts they were studying.”

    HP LIFE e-Learning offers 24 interactive courses in seven languages that cover core business and IT areas, as well as special topics such as energy efficiency and social entrepreneurship.   

    “The HP LIFE e-Learning modules were easy to understand and to navigate,” said Angela Berasa, the team member who developed the original business concept. “I love the way they start out by presenting real-life scenarios of a business problem and then give you the tools to solve it.”

    HP LIFE e-Learning’s technical modules helped the students learn a range of new skills. They learned how to conduct market research on the internet, and how to investigate the competition—a huge benefit when developing their market plan. They also learned how to create financial and sales forecasting spreadsheets and to use Survey Monkey as a means to better understand customer needs.

    From a teaching perspective, HP LIFE e-Learning is flexible and can be tailored to an instructor’s individual needs.

    “I was able to integrate HP LIFE e-Learning into the classroom in a number of ways,” said Tumey. “It can serve as the platform for an entire class discussion; it can be introduced in class and then given to students as an assignment to complete at home; or the class can complete courses independently and then the concepts can be discussed in class. The value my students received was quite amazing. HP LIFE e-learning is a great partnership for our college.”

    Tweet me: .@HP LIFE contributes to gold medal win at @SkillsUSA competition http://3bl.me/aa3vdr

    KEYWORDS: Education, Awards and Recognition, HP, Hewlett-Packard, SkillsUSA, HP LIFE, NAACE, business skills, it skills, E-learning

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    GM Creates Green Construction Blueprint, Takes Program Global

    Facilities in Europe take cue from United States and roll out green construction programs to benefit the environment.

    SOURCE: General Motors

    DESCRIPTION:

    Since launching General Motor’s Green Construction program in 2012, all of our U.S. construction sites follow strict environmental requirements throughout the demolition, build and renovation processes. In fact, since 2009, GM has announced almost $11 billion of investments in U.S. facilities, all of which involve plant refurbishments.

    The program helps facility teams and partners reduce construction debris weight per project by 90 percent through recycling and reuse. It also helps manage indoor air quality by reducing airborne particles and reducing onsite energy use through rechargeable battery-powered equipment.

    Given the program’s success, we created a blueprint and shared the process with our colleagues around the world. The result: a couple of facilities in Russia and Europe are starting their own pilot programs.

    Our ultimate goal is to expand the effort even further, ensuring any new construction project no matter the location follows best practices to reduce waste and increase energy efficiency.

    “For every project that kicks off, there is a recycling component,” said Mike Mayra, group manager within facility projects. “Every contractor recycles waste from the site and tracks the progress.”

    In just the past year, our facilities have recycled 234,867.5 cubic yards of soil and earth excavation – enough to cover nearly half of a football field. Another 77,535 tons of steel were recycled, which is equivalent to about 57,433 cars’ worth.

    According to the National Resources Defense Council, recycling even one ton of steel saves the energy equivalent of 3.6 barrels of oil and 1.5 tons of iron ore.

    These facilities have also collectively sent thousands of tons of plastics, asphalt, concrete, wood and limestone to be recycled.  Better yet, some are repurposing materials right on site such as reusing wood as barriers and stairs.

    “Most of the contractors we work with already have their own recycling efforts in place and are tracking along the same lines,” Mayra said. “So adopting our recycling goals and policies was not difficult. We’re working in collaboration.”

    Ketan Desai, GM global facilities project engineer, says this program helps convey GM’s commitment to sustainable practices from the very start of each facility.

    “Many of our assembly plants and main manufacturing facilities are landfill-free,” said Ketan Desai, global facilities project engineer at GM. “We’re trying to establish this same mindset when executing construction projects.”

    Tweet me: .@GM FastLane: GM Creates Green Construction Blueprint, Takes Program Global http://bit.ly/1vGNHHo

    KEYWORDS: Environment and Climate Change, GM, General Motors, Landfill free, green construction, FastLane

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    CSX Safety Train Offers Training to More Than 1,300 First Responders in 14 Communities

    SOURCE: CSX Corporation

    DESCRIPTION:

    Over the past four months, CSX’s Safety Train: Energy Preparedness Program, with rolling classrooms and specialized hands-on training, has trained more than 1,300 first responders from more than 250 organizations in more than a dozen cities and towns, in partnership with the Firefighters Training and Education Foundation. This enhanced training program offers fire fighters, police officers, emergency management professionals and other first responders insights on how rail cars work and how to deal with rail-related incidents.

    “We want to make sure emergency responders along our rail lines receive the hands-on and classroom training to help them adequately prepare in the case of a train incident,” said Skip Elliott, vice president, public health, safety and environment, CSX. “We have expanded our engagement with first responders and emergency personnel along key routes to include training specific to crude oil movements, and we remain committed to moving these materials safely and as efficiently as possible.”
     
    The CSX Safety Train: Energy Preparedness Program began in Philadelphia in May 2014 and reached Chicago this week. Along the way, it has trained first responders in South Kearny, N.J.; Kingston, Albany, Syracuse, Rochester, Buffalo and New York, N.Y.; Erie, Pa.; Cleveland and Willard, Ohio; and Garrett, Ind. Future training is planned for responders in the Mid-Atlantic this fall. 

    The CSX Safety Train is comprised of a locomotive, four tank cars, one flat car equipped with a variety of tank car valves and fittings, two classroom cars and a caboose. CSX hazardous material specialists lead training sessions with specific instruction on how crude oil and other hazardous materials are shipped. The train and instruction help strengthen CSX’s partnership with first responders and provide a higher level of emergency readiness.

    As training came to a close on Thursday outside Chicago, a number of local first responders offered their thoughts about the quality, benefit and importance of in the CSX Safety Train.

    “This is a great opportunity for first responders and the railroad for partnership,” said Rob Scharnhorst, fire chief for Riverdale, Illinois, who participated in training with a dozen other fire fighters from Riverdale. 
    “What a huge benefit,” said LeeAnn McKay of the Homewood Acres, Illinois, Volunteer Fire Department. “You can tell me, but when you show me how to put on the gasket, close the valve and stop the leak—that’s what sticks.” 

    The CSX Safety Train is just one of a number of continuing programs through which CSX offers training and recognition to emergency responders and customers. CSX has reached more than 100,000 first responders over the past six years, through hands-on sessions at training centers operated by CSX and the Association of American Railroads, classroom training at local fire stations, exercises and table-top drills, web-based and self-study training courses and the Safety Train. In September 2013, nearly 100 crude oil customers were trained by a joint CSX team.

    “Safety training, no matter where you go, always pays off,” explained Romano De Simone, Director Hazardous Materials. “Better prepared responders can make better fact-based decisions to protect the public, which is why CSX continues to invest in skill- and knowledge-based training programs like the CSX Safety Train.”

    About CSX
    CSX, based in Jacksonville, Florida, is a premier transportation company. It provides rail, intermodal and rail-to-truck transload services and solutions to customers across a broad array of markets, including energy, industrial, construction, agricultural, and consumer products. For more than 185 years, CSX has played a critical role in the nation’s economic expansion and industrial development. Its network connects every major metropolitan area in the eastern United States, where nearly two-thirds of the nation’s population resides. It also links more than 240 short-line railroads and more than 70 ocean, river and lake ports with major population centers and small farming towns alike. More information about CSX Corporation and its subsidiaries is available at www.csx.com. Like us on Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/OfficialCSX) and follow us on Twitter (http://twitter.com/CSX).

    About the Firefighters Education and Training Foundation
    The Firefighters Education and Training Foundation is a not-for-profit corporation based in Springfield, Massachusetts dedicated to providing the necessary equipment and training programs to teach emergency responders, railroad personnel and government officials on how to deal with railroad emergencies. Since it began in 1994, the Foundation has continued to expand its equipment and training to meet the needs of first responders across the United States. For more information about the Foundation, please visit www.thesafetytrain.org

    Contact: 
    Carla Groleau
    Carla_groleau@csx.com

    Tweet me: . @CSX Safety Train Offers Training to More Than 1,300 First Responders in 14 Communities http://3bl.me/27f7my

    KEYWORDS: Education, csx corporation, first responders, CSX Safety Train: Energy Preparedness Program, emergency management, railroad safety

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    The Great Snow Gun Roundup to Save Energy and Dollars in Vermont

    RikertsnowgunsThis summer Vermont ski resorts are investing nearly $15 million to upgrade their snowmaking equipment, thanks in part to an innovative rebate offer from Efficiency Vermont. Efficiency Vermont’s

    Great Snow Gun Roundup supports the purchase of approximately 2,300 new low energy snow guns for the upcoming season, and in return the resorts will donate 1,800 older model snow guns to scrap. The snow gun exchange program is expected to help the state’s ski industry reduce carbon emissions and save $2 million a year in energy costs.

    For more, click HERE

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    China Making a Major Shift to Natural Gas

    Two weeks ago we wrote about the surprising announcement that Beijing would be banning the burning of coal by 2020. Though the move was largely prompted by the intolerable levels of air pollution, there is also growing evidence that they are determined to clean up their act on carbon emissions.

    A recent report from IEA says that a “golden age” of natural gas is coming to China. The report predicts a 2.2% annual growth in global demand for gas through 2019, driven largely by China where demand is expected to nearly double. That forecast is actually down slightly from the previous year, due to “slow economy, supply constraints, sluggish LNG trade, and competition from coal and renewables in the power sector.” Europe, in particular, saw a sharp drop in demand for gas. Even oil grew faster than gas last year which managed only a modest 1.2% pace. But that will likely be superseded by growing Chinese demand, which according to the report grew at a 13.3% rate. Continue reading

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