Family Reunion Gossip: What Really Happens When…

By Roman Smith, AT&T Director – Sustainability Operations



Last month, AT&T hosted the Global e-Sustainability Initiative (GeSI) Assembly at our headquarters in Dallas, TX. we welcomed a room full of the world’s leading service providers and vendors from the  ICT (Information Communication Technology) sector.   In other words, sustainability heavyweights from around the world.

GeSI is a collaborative organization made up of  major companies that are active in the ICT sector, as well as  international organizations, all  committed to creating and promoting technologies and  practices that foster economic, environmental and social sustainability. All of which drive economic growth and productivity. AT&T has been a GeSI member for years, and I’ve been able to see the great work the group has done –most notably the Smarter2020 Report that analyzes the environmental benefits of ICT – but I’ve never seen what really happens when this group gets together.

I don’t know why – maybe it was the impending holiday family gatherings – but it felt like a family reunion of sorts, complete with favorite uncles and previously unknown cousins.

Here’s what happens when this ICT family gathers for their annual reunion: we check our differences  at the door and collaborate to discover new ways to work together to improve the way we think about how technology can create solutions for some of our most pressing challenges.

In particular, we talked about:

  • The strategic, material and thought leadership initiatives that GeSI will drive in the next three years to propel ICT as an enabler for sustainability and profitable growth, specifically in the areas of climate change, industry responsibility, human rights and cross-sector engagement;
  • Integrating sustainability into core business and product/service development;
  • Communicating more effectively by understanding and creating effective messages for our different audiences like internal business leaders, customers, investors and employees; and
  • Collaboration:  working together to address our  common sustainability challenges and opportunities. 

It was a very productive few days with our ICT family and an absolute pleasure to host them in Dallas. On the last night of the meetings, AT&T invited  the family to a Texas-sized dinner that included favorites such as local grass fed steaks and rattlesnake chili. We hope our cousins had great stories to tell when they got home!

To learn more about how we collaborate to address persistent social and environmental challenges, check out our issue brief.

Tweet me: .@ConnectToGood “Family Reunion Gossip: What Really Happens When…” #ATTimpact

KEYWORDS: Environment and Climate Change, AT&T

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Building a Stronger World Through the Power of Giving

by Tae Yoo

SOURCE: Cisco Systems Inc.


Here in Silicon Valley and many towns across the globe, it’s that time of year. The time of year when we’re looking forward to spending time with family and friends. It’s also the time of year when we turn our attention to giving back to those who are less fortunate.

This season, I want to direct the focus to just a few of the Cisco Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) partners and non-profits who work tirelessly to give back all year long. These connections are what make the CSR work we do possible. Our partners give us the ability to scale our efforts and create exponential social, environmental, and business impact.

One of our CSR focus areas is education. As the world becomes more connected, new career growth and opportunities in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields are more plentiful than ever. Yet the majority of U.S. students lack foundational skills in STEM. MIND Research Institute set out to ensure that all students are mathematically equipped to solve the world’s most challenging problems. By developing the game-based Spatial Temporal (ST) Math instructional software program, MIND Research Institute is revolutionizing math education through visual learning. Amazingly, schools that fully implement ST Math see double, and even triple, the growth in math proficiency than comparable schools. Cisco has partnered with MIND Research Institute for over a decade now, helping the organization scale delivery and access to ST Math by transitioning the software to a web-based platform. I’m extremely proud that this work and investment has increased access from 55,000 students in 2007 to more than 800,000 students and 31,000 teachers in 40 states, and is helping develop the workforce of the future.

Cisco CSR is also focused on critical human needs. Every year, natural disasters cause devastation around the world. We support organizations such as NetHopeCAREFeeding AmericaHabitat for Humanity, and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies to deliver life-saving resources to those in need. Reaching 150 million people in 189 National Societies through the work of over 17 million volunteers, the Red Cross and Red Crescent federation is the world’s largest humanitarian organization. Through this partnership, we’re able to reach millions of people affected by disasters – from fires to hurricanes and floods, earthquakes, tornadoes, hazardous material spills, accidents, and more – each year. Just last week, millions of people were displaced and at least 27 killed in the Philippines when Super Typhoon Hagupit, locally known as Ruby, hit. The response efforts of the Red Cross and Red Crescent are invaluable in both international and local situations that leave so many devastated.

And while disasters ravage societies in one unsettling event, many people face dire consequences on an ongoing, daily basis. Three billion people – nearly half the world’s population – live on less than US$2 per day. Those who live in poverty often have no recourse or resources to change their situation, leaving them chained to a cycle of poverty that plagues generations, not only affecting individuals but entire communities and regions. The Grameen Foundation provides access to essential financial services and information on agriculture and health – assistance that can have wide-scale impact by helping people become economically self-sufficient. Cisco joined forces with Grameen Foundation in 2006, and in that time the non-profit has developed and expanded adoption of its technology-based tools among organizations working to alleviate poverty. Its financing, mobile health, and mobile agriculture solutions have benefited 4.7 million people worldwide.

This is just a small sampling of the many partners that Cisco CSR works with to address some of society’s biggest challenges around education, critical human needs and disaster relief, healthcare, and economic empowerment. This season, and throughout the year, I want to acknowledge the efforts and initiatives that each of our partners drive. When we give back to society, we create a powerhouse that not only touches and changes the lives of individuals, but builds a stronger, more resilient world – a world that doesn’t merely exist, but thrives.

Watch this blog and follow Cisco CSR on Twitter as we continue to discuss ways to multiply impact and bring positive change in the world.

Tweet me: Building a stronger world through the power of giving #WeAreCisco via @CiscoEdu @CiscoCSR

KEYWORDS: Education, Business & Trade, MIND Research, steam, STEM, csr, Cisco

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Has your organization had its annual Sustainability Audit?

A sustainability audit is an indispensable management tool for CSOs and sustainability managers. A sustainability audit provides a snapshot of an organization’s current sustainability performance. It also provides specific recommendations how to improve performance and what additional initiatives should be considered.

What is a Sustainability Audit?

A sustainability audit takes an inventory of the policies, procedures and practices of an organization and compares these to industry best practices.  An audit is both a ‘gap analysis’ and a ‘maturity analysis’ of the sustainability practices of an organization. In other words, it documents ‘what practices are in place’ and ‘to what extent these practices are implemented’ across a wide range of sustainability categories.

A sustainability audit has many functions.  Here is a list of some of the most important ones:

  • Compares policies, procedures and practices to Industry Best Practices – This is one of the most important functions of a sustainability audit.  An audit should clearly show where an organization exceeds, meets and does not meet industry best practices across a wide range a sustainability categories.
  • Improves Planning, Structure and Accountability – A sustainability audit helps identify key initiatives and provides a means for accounting for these within a sustainability program.  This assists planning and accountability for sustainability activities across an organization.
  • Identifies New Sustainability Initiatives – A sustainability audit will quickly identify sustainability activities that have either never been considered or have yet to be implemented.
  • Facilitates ‘Period to Period’ and ‘Business to Business’ Tracking – Once a sustainability audit has been conducted, an organization will have a comprehensive snapshot of all green activities.  If an organization has multiple locations, it will now have a tool to compare these using exactly the same criteria.  The same is true about comparing operations from period-to-period.
  • Helps Improves Sustainability Performance – A sustainability audit can help an organization improve its sustainability performance.  It provides critical information that will improve planning, execution and follow-through for a range of initiatives.


To read more – click HERE

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Forest City receives Award of Excellence from DC Water as part of Clean Rivers Project

CLEVELAND, Ohio, December 16, 2014 /3BL Media/ – The Washington, D.C. office of Forest City Enterprises, Inc. (NYSE: FCEA and FCEB) recently received an Award of Excellence for Public/Private Initiative as part of the Clean Rivers Project from the District of Columbia Water and Sewer Authority, also known as DC Water.

The award, which was presented at DC Water’s December board meeting held earlier this month, recognizes Forest City’s role in managing the design, construction and third-party inspections of the Tingey Street Diversion Sewer, which includes a 1,200-foot-long, 72-inch diameter tunnel that runs directly under The Yards, Forest City’s mixed-use redevelopment of the DC Naval Yards along the Anacostia River.  The Diversion Sewer enhances existing water and sewer infrastructure by providing additional containment capacity to prevent untreated sewage from reaching the Anacostia during periods of heavy rains. Overall, the Clean Rivers Project is intended to reduce sewer overflow into the Anacostia by 98 percent.

“We’re honored to accept this award and proud of the cooperative public/private partnership we have built with DC Water,” said Deborah Ratner Salzberg, president of Forest City Washington. “As we continue to build out The Yards into a vibrant new neighborhood, we recognize that we share in the responsibility to be good stewards of the land and infrastructure that sustain this part of the District. This project reflects our commitment to making The Yards, and the whole Capitol Riverfront District, a great place to live, work, shop and play.” Continue reading

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"La Linea Rosa"

PepsiCo Mexico’s Production Line Staffed Entirely by Women



At the PepsiCo Vallejo Biscuit Plant in Mexico City, one of PepsiCo’s main manufacturing facilities for Gamesa cookies, there is one product packaging line that is a little different from the rest.

The line is called “La Linea Rosa,” or “the Pink Line,” and it’s staffed entirely by women who wear pink vests and operate pink equipment. 

“The Pink Line was developed as part of PepsiCo Mexico’s cultural transformation process, and our focus on diversity and inclusion,” said Gustavo O’Farrill, director of the Vallejo Biscuit Plant. 

“Certain key positions at the plant were traditionally held by men,” he said.  “We wanted to find ways to increase job opportunities for our female associates, to help them advance and succeed, while at the same time increasing the availability of high-quality talent to help keep our plant strong and successful.”

In early 2013, representatives from the plant’s safety, human resources, production and occupational health offices began planning development and training programs to help female employees qualify for non-traditional jobs.

During discussions about the planned changes with a committee representing the plant’s female associates, committee members proposed the creation of a production line staffed entirely by women.  The reason, they said, was to demonstrate the ability of the plant’s female associates to deliver outstanding results.

The idea was accepted and today the Pink Line serves as a developmental program, training and preparing women for non-traditional jobs.

Read the full story on

Learn more about the Pink Line and how PepsiCo is working to promote diversity and inclusion in PepsiCo Mexico’s business and operations.

Tweet me: PepsiCo’s Mexico City plant has a new take on the production line; “La Linea Rosa” is staffed entirely by women:

KEYWORDS: Diversity and Human Resources, Pepsico, Pepsico Performance with Purpose, diversity and inclusion, human sustainability, Global, Mexico, pepsico mexico


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Reimagining Career Paths

By: Anne Wintroub



Over the past decade, technology has fundamentally transformed so much of our world – the way we meet people, build a business, explore neighborhoods. Technology has changed how we learn, how we work, and increasingly, the work that we do.

Software skills are in high-demand in the modern economy, and many tech companies struggle to find employees with these qualifications.  To ensure that our current and future workforce has the skills needed to fill these 21st century jobs, it’s time to reimagine the way students learn and the types of credentials that they earn.

AT&T and education industry leaders like Udacity and Maricopa Corporate College are participating in an event today hosted by the Center for American Progress to discuss innovative ways we can educate and prepare our workforce.  Through flexible, accessible and affordable training, such as Udacity’s nanodegrees (which we’re proud to be the pioneer corporate collaborator of) more learners will gain the skills needed by the tech industry, and more job seekers will be prepared for the jobs of the future.

It’s exhilarating to consider how education will continue to evolve over the next decade, and the opportunities technology offers learners across the globe.  Are you learning differently today?  How?  And, how do you see education changing tomorrow?  

Tweet me: .@ConnectToGood “Reimagining Career Paths” #ATTAspire

KEYWORDS: Education, AT&T, NanoDegree, Aspire, AT&T Aspire, online degree, Online

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From AIAG: Why We Do What We Do

Why do long-time industry professionals like GM’s Al Hildreth volunteer their time?

SOURCE: General Motors


We’ve all heard it said: Volunteering for your industry is one of the most important — and most needed — acts a professional will ever do. But in today’s increasingly challenging global climate, finding time is harder than ever. So why do people do it?

As our interview series continues, General Motors’ Al Hildreth, who was honored along with his colleagues on the Corporate Responsibility Summit Planning Group with a 2014 AIAG Outstanding Achievement Award, shares his perspective.

Hildreth says he gained his appreciation for our natural resources from spending summers at his uncle’s farm in northern Minnesota. The rivers there were a far cry from the sad state of the rivers and streams in the Detroit area, where the Rouge River had enough pollutants in the water to stain clothing. “It was so bad, I had to throw away my clothes after I ventured into the river,” says Hildreth. “Observing the poor quality of our waterways led me to sign up for environmental courses when I went away to college. I wanted to make a positive impact on the environment when I emerged with a degree.”

After graduation from Oakland University with a degree in engineering, Hildreth says he turned his desire to help the environment into a job helping GM boost its sustainability efforts. While working for a company that designed and manufactured air pollution control equipment, he did some testing at a GM foundry and elsewhere at a hazardous waste incinerator. The foundry was his first exposure to the automaker, which eventually led to a job.

AIAG: Please tell us about your background in the automotive industry and your current role and responsibilities at General Motors.

Hildreth: I worked for GM for 35 years in facilities, starting as a plant engineer at a foundry, then as an environmental engineer for 10 years in Spring Hill, TN. I’ve been in Global Facilities for the last 18 years working on energy. In the 1970s, the environmental engineering career path existed, but it was still in its infancy. As it expanded, I saw more ways I could insert my expertise.This led to assignments in Korea and Europe working with counterparts there to develop regional best practices for carbon and energy management within GM. I’m currently GM’s global energy manager working on greenhouse gas, energy, and water reduction as well as reporting. 

AIAG: How did your work evolve into your current involvement with AIAG’s corporate responsibility team?

Hildreth: When I returned from my international assignments in 2010, I was asked to participate on AIAG’s GHG workgroup. Since I wanted some external networking related to supply chain GHG reporting, as it was now my responsibility, I joined the group.

AIAG: Tell us about someone (mentor, sponsor, friend, hero) who affected your sustainability journey, and how.

Hildreth: When I worked at Saturn Corp., our director of facilities, the late David Skiven, instilled in us to always consider protecting the environment. It was refreshing to have company values so well aligned with my own.

AIAG: What is the best advice you have ever received?

Hildreth: Always act with integrity, regardless of whoever is watching, and you never have to worry about sleeping at night.

AIAG: Can you share a recent accomplishment you are especially proud of?

Hildreth: GM has been an Energy Star® partner for 19 years, and we were awarded the ENERGY STAR® Partner of the Year Award for the last three years. We also helped more than half of GM’s manufacturing facilities to meet the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s ENERGY STAR Challenge for Industry.

In 2013, after reporting our carbon emissions to the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP), we were included in their disclosure leadership index. It all comes back to the company’s overall sustainability efforts, which means balancing our actions across three pillars: economy, environment, and society. When one of those legs in the three-legged stool is not in balance, the entire idea falls apart. Regularly working with NGOs, suppliers, and customers has been beneficial, and those conversations bring a fresh new perspective on the state of the entire value chain. GM doesn’t work on an island. We need involvement from all parties to ensure we maximize our investment in the environment. With the population expanding, environmental sustainability will become essential for our survival, not just a popular business ethic.

I’m also proud of my team. By working on a global scale, we are able to save money for GM through carbon, energy, and water conservation projects. We discover and share all of the best practices globally, and since the company spends more than $1 billion on utilities, there are still lots of energy savings opportunities that remain.

These aren’t quite as good as three grandkids, but are ones that I am proud of at work.

AIAG: If you had the power to make one major change at your company or in your industry, what would it be?

Hildreth: When the automotive industry fully understands the benefits of environmental sustainability and the potential for cost savings, we will be able to make substantial improvements in the areas of energy, carbon emissions, and water. GM cut its greenhouse gas emissions in half over the last two decades, but new technologies and methods will be required to achieve GM’s aggressive commitment of a 20 percent reduction by 2020 over a 2010 baseline. I want to instill in the next generation of energy engineers a desire to protect the environment as well as enhance our profitability.

If that doesn’t work, I can always rely on my grandkids. In the movie “The Lorax”, a once pristine land has been contaminated, but the citizens of Thneedville don’t want for anything. Deforestation led to the creation of this walled city made up entirely of artificial things. It’s a thinly veiled plot to show how damaged the world might become if we don’t act sustainably. We watched this movie together numerous times, and my grandkids seem interested in my job. It allows me to relate to them what I do for a living in a way that they can understand.

AIAG: What do you see as the value of volunteering time with AIAG?

Hildreth: For me, it’s been the personal growth through networking with external stakeholders. It enhances my job performance and provides a diverse perspective on environmental issues.

Reprinted with permission from AIAG.

Tweet me: .@GM FastLane Guest Post: From AIAG: Why We Do What We Do

KEYWORDS: Environment and Climate Change, GM, General Motors, AIAG, Energy Star, Corporate Responsibility Summit Planning Group, Al Hildreth

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Arizona, Illinois, Indiana and Michigan FIRST Robotics Teams, Students Gear Up for Competition with $250,000 from The Chrysler Foundation

Latest round of grants will enable an estimated 1,100 students to participate in FIRST Robotics Competition and FIRST Tech Challenge programs

SOURCE: Chrysler Group LLC


Since 1995, The Chrysler Foundation has awarded more than $2.3 million in grants to FIRST programs


December 15, 2014 /3BL Media/ – The Chrysler Foundation today announced more than a quarter of a million dollars in grants to support students participating in FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC) (grades 9-12) and FIRST Tech Challenge (FTC) (grades 7-12) programs in Arizona, Illinois, Indiana and Michigan. In total, The Chrysler Foundation will distribute 47 grants valued at $250,250 to help young people discover and develop a passion for science, technology, engineering and math.   

VIDEO: Students share their FIRST experiences –

“Chrysler Group’s ability to compete and succeed in the future depends in part upon our ability to maintain the pipeline of students that pursue STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) careers,” said John Nigro, Head of NAFTA Product Development – Chrysler Group LLC.  “The real-world experience that students gain through their participation in FIRST is invaluable in preparing students for the future.”    

The Chrysler Foundation grants – ranging from $750 to $5,000 per team – will enable an estimated 1,100 middle and high school students to participate in regional and district competitions. Subsequently, The Chrysler Foundation will award a total of $21,000 in grants to teams that advance to the 2015 FIRST Championship, April 22-25, 2015 in St. Louis, MO. 

“The Chrysler Foundation is proud to play a role in helping students discover the rewards and excitement of education and careers in science, technology, engineering and math,” said Jody Trapasso, Senior Vice President – External Affairs, Chrysler Group LLC and President of The Chrysler Foundation. “We are equally proud of our employees who generously give their time and skills to help mentor students and serve as competition coordinators.”  

The Chrysler Foundation awarded a $5,000 grant to each of the following FRC teams:
Format: School(s) – Team Name, Team Number

Kingman High School – Bionic Bulldogs, 60                                      
Belvidere, Belvidere North & North Boone High Schools – Flaming Monkeys 4-H Robotics Club, 3352      
Northwestern High School (Kokomo) – CyberTooth, 3940           
Western High School (Russiaville) – Panthertech, 292                   
Almont High School – Shock and Awe-sum, 4961
Ann Arbor Huron High School – The RatPack, 830
Berkley, Hazel Park and Shrine Catholic High Schools – Da Bears, 247
Birmingham Seaholm and Birmingham Groves High Schools – Automation Nation, 2960
Bishop Foley Catholic High School (Madison Heights) – The Foley Freeze, 910
Bloomfield Hills High School – Bionic Black Hawks, 2834
Brandon and Holly High Schools – Truck Town Thunder, 68
Capac Community Schools – Metal and Soul, 2604
Cardinal Mooney Catholic High School (Marine City) – RoboSapiens, 4779
Chelsea High School – Technical Difficulties, 1502
Dundee High School – Dundee Vi-Borgs, 4395
Genesee Robotics Area Youth Team (Fenton) – GRAYT, 1322
Goodrich High School – Martians and More Martians, 494 and 70 (Note: Teams will share a single $5,000 grant)
Grand Blanc High School – EngiNERDs, 2337
Hartland High School – Electro Eagles, 3536
Imlay City High School – Spartronics, 5048
Lake Orion High School – The Dragons, 302
Lapeer County Ed-Tech – Galaktech Invaders, 3535
Linden High School – RoboEagles, 3568
Macomb Academy of Arts and Sciences (Armada) – Fighting Pi, 1718
Marysville High School – ViBots, 5167
Notre Dame Preparatory (Auburn Hills) – Killer Bees, 33
Oakland Tech Northeast (Pontiac) – The Juggernauts, 1
OSMTech Academy at Clarkston High School – Team RUSH, 27
Our Lady of the Lakes High School (Waterford) – Lakers, 5053
Oxford Community Schools (Oxford) – TORC, 2137
Pontiac High School – The Wings of Fire, 51
Rochester Adams and Stoney Creek High Schools (Rochester Hills) – Adambots, 245
Rochester High School (Rochester Hills) – The FEDS, 201
Skyline High School (Ann Arbor) – Eagle Imperium, 3322
South Lake High School (St. Clair Shores) – The Mighty CavBots, 5214
South Lyon Community Schools and South Lyon Robotics – The Flying Toasters, 3641
Southeastern High School of Technology (Detroit) – JungleBots, 4851
Stevenson, Henry Ford II and Utica High Schools – Crevolution, 2851
Walled Lake Schools – The Monsters, 308
Warren Consolidated Schools – Steel Armadillos, 818
Waterford Kettering High School – The Captains, 3098
The Chrysler Foundation awarded a $750 grant to each of the following FTC teams (all in Michigan):
Bloomfield Hills Middle School – Mechanical Monkeys, 7047
Home Middle School (Fenton) – Lightning Boltz, 5954                     
Life Learning Community School (Ann Arbor) – The GearCats, 7305                                                
Linden Middle School – Battle Blazers, 7031                                    
Our Lady of the Lakes (Waterford) – OLL Laker Bots, 8133          
Additionally, FIRST in Michigan will receive a $2,500 grant to support its FIRST LEGO League program, which introduces students (grades 4-8) to the fun and excitement of science and technology.
Additional facts about The Chrysler Foundation’s support of FIRST:

  • In 2014, The Chrysler Foundation awarded grants to 41 U.S. and Canadian-based robotics teams.
    • 34 of those teams were based in the United States: 1 in Arizona; 1 in Illinois; 2 in Indiana; and 30 in Michigan, which led the nation in the number of registered FIRST Robotics Teams;
    • 14 of the 41 teams sponsored by The Chrysler Foundation (12 Michigan and 2 Canadian teams) qualified to compete in 2014 FIRST Championship. Overall, 400 teams competed in the FIRST Championship;
      • Team RUSH, CSM Tech Academy and Clarkston High School, Clarkston, Mich., received the prestigious Championship Chairman’s Award. Camron Razdar, a member of Team RUSH, was one of 10 National Dean’s List Winners.
    • 70 U.S.-based Chrysler Group employees served as FRC team mentors; employees also supported regional and district events as competition coordinators and event volunteers. 
  • Since 1995, The Chrysler Foundation, a FIRST Founding Sponsor, has invested more than $2.3 million to support FIRST programs in the United States and Canada.
  •  Go “Inside the Hive” with the Killer Bees FRC team — read “Dream Factory” ( on

Tweet me: .@FIRSTweets The Chrysler Foundation pledges $250,000 to Gear Up @FRCTeams @FTCTeams. #ChryslerCares

Contact Info:

Kevin E. Frazier
Chrysler Group LLC – Corprorate Communications
+1 (248) 512-2678

KEYWORDS: Technology, Awards and Recognition, FIRST Robotics, STEM, Science, engineering, math, steam, high school, STEM grants, Grants, STEM and girls, Arizona, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan


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