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Devin D. Thorpe

Devin Thorpe

Monthly Archives: January 2018

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Elering AS and WePower Announce a Pilot Project to Test Large Scale Tokenization of Energy Data on the Blockchain in Estonia

The project will be a real-world test using anonymized data to simulate and demonstrate what the future of energy trading utilizing blockchain technology might look in Europe

Press Release – Gibraltar, January 2018Elering AS, an independent electricity and gas system operator in Estonia, and WePower a blockchain based green energy trading platform that aims to drive global green energy adoption and promote sustainable living, today announced a pilot project to test the large scale tokenization of Energy data on the blockchain in Estonia. This project is the first of its kind in Europe and will pave the way for a future practical test that will connect European green energy producers to the Estonian Smart Grid.

To achieve this, WePower will integrate its blockchain and smart contract powered green energy trading platform into Elering’s Estfeed data exchange platform. This will form a proof-of-concept system for Estonia, demonstrating nation-state scale tokenization of energy consumption and production data on the blockchain. This system will be first of its kind, enabling concrete steps towards a global blockchain powered energy trading. This will make energy trading accessible to prosumers of all sizes and configurations. WePower will be leveraging Estonia’s existing advanced smart grid infrastructure, particularly the 100% smart meter coverage with hourly reading and a central data hub. These are the ideal technical conditions to test the true scalability for tokenized asset trading technology and provide a stronger bridge between green energy producers and traditional grid operators.

“Elering’s motivation in this project as a transmission system operator is to enable energy innovation by removing market barriers. For that purpose we have built the Estfeed data exchange platform, which enables people to share their energy meter data with new service providers. WePower is a great example of the potential of innovation in the energy sector that can be unleashed by transparent data access,” said Taavi Veskimägi, CEO of Elering.

“We are thrilled to announce our partnership with Elering AS,” said Nick Martyniuk, Co-Founder and CEO of WePower, “as it is the first step in our goals of making the smart grid greener. Estonia is the perfect country to start with, as it already has an existing advanced smart grid infrastructure that we can integrate out technology into. This partnership is an excellent use-case to show the viability of blockchain technology in the green energy space, and marks a huge achievement towards creating a global blockchain powered energy trading network.”

About WePower:

WePower is a blockchain-based green energy trading platform. It helps renewable energy producers to raise capital by issuing their own energy tokens. WePower connects energy buyers (end users and investors) directly with the green energy producers and creates an opportunity to purchase energy upfront at below market rates. WePower has developed Ethereum Smart Energy contract tokens to standardize, simplify and globally open currently existing energy investment ecosystem. Energy tokenization ensures liquidity and extends access to capital. WePower wants to help build an infrastructure to bridge renewable energy producers output and traditional energy grid operators thus making the grid a little greener. WePower blockchain solution is already recognized by Elering, one of the most innovative Transmission System Operators in Europe. For more information please visit WePower.

About Elering AS:

Elering is an independent electricity and gas system operator in Estonia whose main duty is to guarantee high-quality energy supply to Estonian consumers at all times. To ensure energy security of supply, Elering maintains and develops both electricity and gas internal transmission networks and external connections. In addition to the physical networks Elering is developing a smart grid platform in order to enable efficient market functioning. The technical basis for the platform is the Estfeed data exchange layer that allows end consumers, energy service providers, scattered (small) producers and network operators to easily and securely access the data that is needed in their daily operations. For more information, please visit Elering.

Source: https://pr.blonde20.com/wepower-elering/


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US SIF Names Kim Coble Chief Operating Officer

Press Release – WASHINGTON, D.C., January 4, 2018 –US SIF: The Forum for Sustainable and Responsible Investment announced today that Kim Coble has joined its staff as Chief Operating Officer.

US SIF is the leading voice advancing sustainable, responsible and impact investing across all asset classes. The Chief Operating Officer is a member of the senior management team and will lead ongoing oversight and reporting against US SIF’s strategic plan as well as play a key role in the day to day management of the organization.

“We’re thrilled to welcome Kim to the US SIF team and to this newly created role,” said Lisa Woll, CEO of US SIF. “She brings a passion for the environment and sustainability and a keen interest in sustainable investment. Her significant management and leadership experience will help us achieve our strategic goals in a time of unprecedented interest in sustainable and impact investing.”

Before joining US SIF, Coble spent 25 years with the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, where she served several roles including most recently as Vice President for Environmental Protection and Restoration, directing all policy, advocacy and restoration efforts. Coble serves on the boards of the Oyster Recovery Partnership and as the Board Chair of Restore America’s Estuaries. She is a graduate of Leadership Maryland and was named one of Maryland’s Top 100 Women. Kim was also appointed by the Senate President to the Maryland State Ethics Commission. Coble earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Biology from University of Puget Sound and a Master’s of Science in Public Health in Environmental Health and Toxicology from University of Washington.

Coble said, “I am very excited about this opportunity to drive capital to advance critical environmental and social concerns. I am so looking forward to getting to know the more than 300 firms who are part of US SIF and the many other stakeholders with whom US SIF works.“

About US SIF

US SIF: The Forum for Sustainable and Responsible Investment is the leading voice advancing sustainable, responsible and impact investing across all asset classes. Its mission is to rapidly shift investment practices toward sustainability, focusing on long-term investment and the generation of positive social and environmental impacts. US SIF members include investment management and advisory firms, mutual fund companies, pension funds, foundations and other asset owners, research firms, financial planners and advisors, broker-dealers, community investing organizations and nonprofit associations.

The 8th US SIF Annual Conference will take place from May 30 – June 1, 2018 in Washington, DC.

US SIF is supported in its work by the US SIF Foundation, a 501(C)(3) organization that undertakes educational, research and programmatic activities to advance the mission of US SIF, including offering trainings for advisors and other financial professionals on the Fundamentals of Sustainable and Impact Investment. The US SIF Foundation’s Report on US Sustainable, Responsible and Impact Investing Trends is the definitive and most comprehensive report on the sustainable investment industry and the 12th edition will be released in late 2018.

Learn more at www.ussif.org.


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New Mapping Tool Links Chinese Factory Environmental Impact to Brand Name Retailers; Bold Embrace of Radical Transparency Driving New Wave of Corporate Sustainability

Target, Esprit, New Balance, PUMA, Gap Inc. and Inditex Lead the Way in Publicly Sharing Supplier Environmental Performance

Press Release – NEW YORK, NY – Today, the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) in the U.S. and the Institute of Public & Environmental Affairs (IPE) in China launched the IPE Green Supply Chain Map, the only tool in the world to openly link leading multinational corporations to their suppliers’ environmental performance. Based on publicly available data from the Chinese government, IPE’s database and map provide real-time data and historical trends in air pollution emissions and wastewater discharge for nearly 15,000 major industrial facilities in China and access to environmental supervision records for over half a million more.

Six brands from the apparel sector –Target, Esprit, New Balance, PUMA, Gap Inc. and Inditex – are the first to step forward to be featured on the new map, publicly sharing their lists of suppliers and providing this information to IPE for its inaugural mapping efforts.

“Until now, customers have lacked effective tools to assess the environmental impact of their favorite brands’ global operations,” said Linda Greer, senior health scientist for NRDC and founder of its Clean by Design green supply chain program. “These companies that have stepped up to put their names first on the inaugural map are showing new levels of transparency on their manufacturing abroad and are demonstrating real leadership in supply chain responsibility.”

“The map has the potential to become a true game-changer for public environmental oversight and improvement efforts for industrial manufacturing in China,” said Ma Jun, environmentalist and director at IPE. “We hope to see more brands step up their game and join the map to connect the missing dots of accountability in the vast network of global supply chains.”

Over the past eight years, NRDC and IPE have partnered to address China’s air, water and soil pollution problems as the country has massively expanded its industrial manufacturing base. A staggering amount of this pollution – up to 25% of carbon emissions, for example – is linked to the manufacture of products for export abroad.

The bilingual IPE Green Supply Chain Map, which features both English and Chinese versions, gives companies the real-time information they need to ensure environmentally responsible operations from afar. It also allows customers and other concerned members of the public to gain greater transparency around companies’ environmental impact. Users can click the logo of the brand of interest at any location in the country and see exactly how its supplier factory is performing environmentally at that moment, as well as view a thirty-day trend of emissions and discharges. Users can also view factory responses and corrective actions toward environmental violation records, as well as voluntarily disclosed annual emissions data.

The creation of the map opens up significant opportunities for retailers and brands to green their supply chains by raising expectations that suppliers will actively maintain solid environmental management and transparency. Well-performing factories can be recognized and motivated by multinational and local Chinese firms, whose procurement departments can award greater market share for those demonstrating excellence in their environmental behavior. When used correctly, the IPE Green Supply Chain Map can reduce the time and expense associated with factory audits, which often don’t identify hidden problems as well.

“With this tool, we look forward to new levels of global collaboration and coordination with concerned companies and citizens around the world,” said Ma Jun, of the effort in China.

“We hope our map can serve as a reference for other countries and regions facing similar concerns about environmental impacts of rapid industrialization within their own borders,” added Kate Logan, green choice outreach director for IPE.

Source: https://www.nrdc.org/media/2018/180103


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The Mission Continues Honors Dr. King’s Legacy With National Day Of Service Projects Underscoring Dr. King’s Values

The veterans nonprofit will highlight eight service projects across the country focused on Dr. King’s key values during the Civil Rights Movement

Press Release – DETROIT (January 3, 2018) – On Martin Luther King Jr. Day, the national veterans nonprofit The Mission Continues will bring Dr. King’s core values to life through a series of community service projects. The core values that will be highlighted through the service projects include: Equality, Faith, Nonviolence, Education, Love, Leadership, Selflessness and Hope.

This initiative will bring together hundreds of veterans and community volunteers through real-life examples of the unity Dr. King envisioned for this country during the Civil Rights Movement. Projects range from efforts in community schools to improve graduation rates to working with immigrants and refugees seeking pathways to self-sufficiency.

“Dr. King’s values are at the core of what The Mission Continues strives for every day,” said Spencer Kympton, U.S. Army veteran and president of The Mission Continues. “We are humbled by the opportunity to carry on his legacy through a series of service projects that unite volunteers and community partners, working together toward a common goal, while continuing to provide a positive impact in their own communities.”

Details for each value-based community project include:

Atlanta – Hope

A support system of more than 300 volunteers will work together to foster hope for the future of Atlanta’s Westside community, once home to Dr. King and his family. Alongside The Missions Continues’ national partner, Starbucks and local community partner, Westside Volunteer Corps, volunteers will aid in the renovation of the Bellwood Salvation Army Boys & Girls Club, painting several interior rooms, installing desks for tutoring, building an outdoor fitness area and installing a new outdoor basketball court.

Detroit – Leadership

Detroit’s Central High School, the oldest school in the city, is a storied institution that today receives some of the lowest funding per student in the nation, and thus is one of Michigan’s lowest-performing schools. As part of an ongoing initiative with Operation Trailblazer, The Mission Continues’ day of service at Central involves renovation projects including the creation of a parent resource room and a student leadership lounge. By creating these resources, students will receive a leg up in shaping their careers and life goals, which, in turn, will help foster the future leaders of the community.

Houston – Selflessness

Houston is still healing from the effects of Hurricane Harvey, through the strong, selfless community that has been coming together to help rebuild. To continue in the ongoing relief effort, The Mission Continues, alongside national partner CarMax and the Greater Houston American Red Cross will spend the day at Roderick Paige Elementary School in the Kashmere Gardens Community. Together, more than 200 volunteers will help refurbish the school’s grounds. They will also build 3,000 Red Cross disaster kits to replenish the kits distributed during Hurricane Harvey. Located in a food desert where nearly half its residents are under the age of 24, the day’s project is part of ongoing efforts by The Mission Continues to support youth mentorship and community gardens in the Kashmere Garden Community.

Los Angeles – Nonviolence

In collaboration with The Partnership for LA Schools, a nonprofit organization working to transform the lowest-performing public schools in the Los Angeles area, volunteers will undertake beautification and improvement projects at Sunrise Elementary School in Boyle Heights. This initiative creates an opportunity to increase community and parent engagement, helping to improve school structure and keep students off the streets in an area that has historically struggled with gang violence and high crime rates.

Pittsburgh – Love

The Mission Continues is undergoing a large project to support the Center of Life’s after-school K-12 tutoring and enrichment program, Fusion. The program works to involve family members in their students’ personal and academic achievements, as a family’s love serves as one of the main drivers of success. This initiative will allow families to become more involved through the renovation of several classrooms, focusing on student-developed themes, to help foster more love for learning.

Sacramento – Faith

La Familia’s Maple Neighborhood Center places faith in future generations, and serves the community to ensure Sacramento’s youth and families have the resources necessary to feel empowered and overcome adversity. Volunteers from La Familia Counseling Center and veterans from The Mission Continues will spend the day sprucing up Maple Neighborhood Center, including updating the playground to make it a safe place for parents to interact with their children including installing new swings and painting.

Tacoma – Equality

The Tacoma Community House serves the families of immigrants and refugees in the South Sound community, striving to create equality and self-sufficiency among residents. In partnership with more than 40 post-9/11 veterans and community volunteers that represent the Tacoma 1st Service Platoon, volunteers will build Lending Libraries and aid in demolition improvement work in the area.

Washington D.C. – Education

The Mission Continues will work directly with students at Eagle Academy to beautify and improve the facilities within their school. Facility upgrades, such as the development of murals and stenciled inspirational quotes, planter benches and shelving, will ensure students have the optimal resources needed to support their education.

The 2018 MLK Jr. Day of Service is just one of many initiatives led by The Mission Continues that empowers veterans to continue serving at home by coming together to solve specific challenges in their communities. These veteran-led, community operations lead to increased personal growth through service, as well as positive community impact and a greater sense of connectedness among veterans.

To find additional details about these community projects, as well as additional events happening around the country, please visit www.missioncontinues.org.

About The Mission Continues

The Mission Continues is a national nonprofit organization that empowers veterans who are adjusting to life at home to find purpose through community impact. Our operations in cities across the country deploy veteran volunteers alongside non-profit partners and community leaders to solve some of the most challenging issues facing our communities: improving community education resources, eliminating food deserts, mentoring at-risk youth and more. Through this unique model, veterans build new skills and networks that help them successfully reintegrate to life after the military while making long-term, sustainable transformations in communities and inspiring future generations to serve. To learn more, visit: www.missioncontinues.org or follow us on Twitter @missioncontinue.


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Kendra Scott Announces 2018 Expansion Of Its Philanthropic Program, Kendra Cares, To 30 Hospitals

Retailer kicks off new year with major philanthropic growth plans.

Press Release – (AUSTIN) — One resolution Kendra Scott won’t break? Their dedication to philanthropy and giving back to the local community. The accessories brand is ringing in 2018 with plans to further expand its Kendra Cares Program, which brings the company’s customizable Color Bar™ jewelry experience to pediatric hospitals across the country. The program offers patients and their family members an opportunity to make a customized jewelry piece at no cost. To date, the Kendra Cares Program has donated over 6,500 pieces of jewelry and partnered with more than 10 pediatric hospitals in 2017 alone.

“With the Kendra Cares Program, we are able to bring a smile to the faces of these children and their caregivers, and offer a brief distraction from the struggles they face every day,” said Kendra Scott, the brand’s designer, CEO and founder. “I hope that one day we are able to bring this program to every hospital in the nation.”

The Kendra Cares Program began with a single children’s hospital in 2015 – the MD Anderson Children’s Cancer Hospital in Houston. It was there, during a tour of the pediatric floor, that Kendra was first inspired to bring her Color Bar™ experience to life in the hospital. Today, the program has grown into an international giveback program that has touched the lives of thousands of pediatric patients and their families.

The program has become such a well-loved success that the brand is looking to expand into a total of 30 hospitals in 2018. Already on the list of partners are the MD Anderson Children’s Cancer Hospital in Houston, Dell Children’s Medical Center of Central Texas in Austin, Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, Rady Children’s Hospital in San Diego, Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, Children’s National Medical Center in Washington, DC, Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago, Nicklaus Children’s Hospital in Miami, Cook Children’s Medical Center in Fort Worth and Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center.

Through the Kendra Cares Program, Kendra Scott has the opportunity to work with numerous world-renowned hospitals who are leading the advancements on pediatric cancer treatment and research. This January, Kendra Scott has chosen to donate a total of $150,000 to three of its Kendra Cares hospital partners: MD Anderson, Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, and Memorial Sloan Kettering. These funds will go to support child life programs and research at each hospital.

“As a mother to three boys of my own, it means the world to me to see the powerful impact these hospitals are making in child cancer research,” said Scott. “I am honored to further our relationship with these three incredible partners, and work together to create a healthy, cancer-free future for these children.”

“MD Anderson is proud to partner with Kendra Scott, and we’re grateful for its support of our patients over the past several years,” says Kevin Long, director, Pediatric Operations, The University of Texas MD Anderson Children’s Cancer Hospital. “Kendra Scott’s commitment to young cancer patients is clear. At MD Anderson Children’s Cancer Hospital, we’ve seen patients and their loved ones beam with happiness while making their very own Kendra Scott creation. It’s a special program.”

About Kendra Scott

Kendra Scott is a leading fashion accessories brand inspired by the personal experiences, travel, and sense of community of its CEO and designer, Kendra Scott. Sold at premiere retailers including Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom, Bloomingdale’s and over 600 specialty boutiques worldwide, the brand boasts a thriving web business and numerous namesake stores across the country. Kendra Scott is known for its kaleidoscope of beautiful accessories as well as the innovative and customizable Color Bar™ experience. As the brand continues to grow, the company remains true to its founding philosophy of “Family, Fashion, Philanthropy.”

About Memorial Sloan Kettering

Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSK) is the world’s oldest and largest hospital dedicated to cancer research and care. MSK’s Department of Pediatrics is committed to curing children with cancer so they can return healthfully to their homes, schools, and dreams of college, careers, and families of their own. MSK’s internationally recognized team of experts—who care for more pediatric cancer patients than any other institution in the world—has played an instrumental role in developing treatments that are not only safer and more effective, but that also improve the quality of life of these boys and girls.

About Children’s Hospital Los Angeles

Children’s Hospital Los Angeles is a nonprofit pediatric academic medical center that has been ranked as the best children’s hospital in California by U.S. News & World Report Honor Roll. Children’s Hospital is home to The Saban Research Institute, one of the largest and most productive pediatric research facilities in the United States. Children’s Hospital is also one of America’s premier teaching hospitals through its affiliation with the Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California since 1932.

About MD Anderson

The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston ranks as one of the world’s most respected centers focused on cancer patient care, research, education and prevention. The institution’s sole mission is to end cancer for patients and their families around the world. MD Anderson is one of only 47 comprehensive cancer centers designated by the National Cancer Institute (NCI). MD Anderson is ranked No.1 for cancer care in U.S. News & World Report’s “Best Hospitals” survey. It has ranked as one of the nation’s top two hospitals for cancer care since the survey began in 1990, and has ranked first 13 times in the last 16 years. MD Anderson receives a cancer center support grant from the NCI of the National Institutes of Health (P30 CA016672).


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“HealthTap for Good” Provides Access to Doctor Consultations Free of Charge

Press Release – Palo Alto, Calif. — January 3, 2017 — HealthTap, the world’s first Health Operating System powered by the largest network of interactive doctors and Artificial Intelligence today launched HealthTap for Good, a nonprofit initiative to bring its premium medical services to disadvantaged people and populations around the world–regardless of their ability to pay.

According to the World Health Organization, half of the world’s population lacks full coverage of essential health services. Even for those with access to health services, approximately 100 million of them are driven into extreme poverty by healthcare costs (defined as living on less than $2.00/day).

It doesn’t have to be this way. Starting today, HealthTap for Good will provide free-of-charge access to premium health services for individuals in need, as well as to medical providers and nonprofit organizations who take care of underprivileged populations worldwide.

Individuals in need can receive free virtual consultations with HealthTap Prime physicians via video, voice, or text. In addition, doctors operating in low-income areas can obtain free-of-charge licenses to HealthTap Concierge (Software-as-a Service that establishes a “Virtual Practice” connecting the doctor with patients using video, text, or voice calls.)

Moreover, nonprofit organizations serving underprivileged populations can now obtain through HealthTap for Good, a complimentary license to (HOPESTM) HealthTap’s proprietary Health Operating System. HOPES™ creates a fully personalized healthcare experience and provides users with individualized advice, information, adherence tools, and instant access to doctors and other providers anytime, anywhere. Giving free HOPES™ licenses to these organizations will enable them to provide access to more affordable care to large underserved populations.

“I founded HealthTap because I believe that healthcare is a fundamental human right” says Ron Gutman, HealthTap’s founder and CEO. “Since we launched we have helped hundreds of millions of people worldwide live healthier, happier longer lives by providing them access to the most trusted health information and tools to manage their health at no cost. In the past couple years, we’ve also launched premium paid services for individuals seeking world class concierge medicine, and have grown to provide enterprise software, technology, and tools to physicians, providers and payers worldwide. With this tremendous growth, comes responsibility to give back in any way we can. As we do better, we’re committed to giving more to those in need. That’s why we created HealthTap for Good.”

Individuals, providers, or nonprofit organizations in need of HealthTap for Good, are invited to apply here to receive immediate access to HealthTap’s top doctors and suite of apps and services.

For more information on HealthTap for Good, visit https://www.healthtap.org.

To learn more about HealthTap, visit https://www.healthtap.com/what_we_make/overview.

About HealthTap

HealthTap is the world’s first Health Operating System powered by Artificial Intelligence and the largest network of interactive doctors, delivering immediate healthcare, 24/7, from Query-to-Cure. HealthTap connects hundreds of millions of people in 174 countries via video, voice, and text chat on any mobile device or personal computer with health advice from our Medical Expert Network of more than 108,000 doctors across 147 specialties. HealthTap’s proprietary Health Operating System (HOPES™) and proprietary triaging technology (Dr. A.I.™) enable hospital systems, insurance companies, employers and governments to deliver the right care at the right time at the right price. HOPES is now powering the HealthTap Cloud™, a first-of-its-kind virtual cloud dedicated to healthcare and created for interoperability and ease of integration.

Our mission is to help people everyone live healthier, happier, longer lives.


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Evite and Common Sense Media Challenge You to Take #DeviceFreeDinner Pledge

Press Release – LOS ANGELES and SAN FRANCISCO (January 2, 2018) – Evite®, the leading digital service for bringing people together, and Common Sense Media, the leading independent nonprofit organization dedicated to helping kids thrive in a world of media and technology, today challenged the public to take the #DeviceFreeDinner pledge as part of their New Year’s resolutions. The pledge underscores the benefits of device-free gatherings.

Those who take the pledge will be entered in Evite’s “Device-Free Dinner” sweepstakes for a chance to win a $200 gift card for meals.

To take the #DeviceFreeDinner pledge, visit: www.evite.com/c/commonsensemedia

The two companies also teamed up to provide content around for device-free events. Evite has also designed device-free themed digital invitations, and developed content about device-free gatherings.

“Since Common Sense Media first launched the #DeviceFreeDinner campaign, the response has been overwhelmingly positive,” said James P. Steyer, Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Common Sense Media. “Research confirms the importance of family dinner for kids, including better vocabularies, fewer behavior problems, less substance abuse, and more.”

“The New Year is the perfect time to commit to new habits, including spending time with loved ones face-to-face without distraction,” said Victor Cho, Chief Executive Officer of Evite. “Evite is excited to help our users enjoy the benefits of device-free gatherings.”

About Evite

Evite (www.evite.com) is the leading digital service for bringing people together. With a wide array of free, easy-to-use invitation designs and inspirational party-planning tools, the company has sent over 2 billion event invitations in its history. Evite makes getting together effortless and more memorable for its 100+ million annual users, sending 20,000 invitations every hour and handling hundreds of millions of RSVPs every year. Launched in 1998, Evite is headquartered in Los Angeles and is a subsidiary of Liberty Interactive Corporation, attributed to the Liberty Ventures Group (NASDAQ: LVNTA, LVNTB).

About Common Sense

Common Sense is committed to making kids the nation’s top priority. We are a trusted guide for the families, educators, and advocates who help kids thrive. We provide resources to harness the power of media, technology, and public policy to improve the well-being of every child. Learn more at commonsense.org.


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Ringing in the New Year with a Forecast of the Top 10 Carbon Market Trends

The Climate Trust’s annual predictions on carbon market policies and ideas that will matter in 2018

Press Release – PORTLAND, Ore. – The Climate Trust, a mission-driven nonprofit that specializes in mobilizing finance for conservation projects, announced its fifth annual prediction list of carbon market trends.

The trends, which range from the maritime industry following aviation’s lead in carbon reduction commitments to increased dismantling of federal agencies addressing climate change, were identified by The Climate Trust based on interactions with their diverse group of working partners—government, investors, project developers, corporates, and the philanthropic community.

“In the face of federal inaction, the momentum around climate action in 2017 was extraordinary,” said Sean Penrith, Executive Director for The Climate Trust. “When our team gathered together to discuss our predictions for the New Year, it quickly became apparent that despite the big lift ahead of the U.S. (and the world) related to climate change, the room was filled with an overwhelming sense of positivity and anticipation to see what we could collectively accomplish in another year’s time. We hope that sentiment is reflected in our forecast.”

  1. More links will be added to the cap and trade chain gang. North America has had two regional cap and trade markets operating the last several years, the Western Climate Initiative (WCI), involving California, Ontario and Quebec, and the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), involving nine northeastern states. Mexico has just crashed the party announcing in mid-December plans to launch a national mandatory market in August 2018. The list of jurisdictions linking up with cap and trade markets will only grow in 2018. New Jersey and Virginia are on a clear pathway to join RGGI, and several states that are already part of RGGI are considering expanding cap and trade to the transportation sector. Oregon is also poised to join WCI in 2018, as passing cap and trade legislation is one of the Governor’s top priorities. Ontario is facing political uncertainty around its future in WCI with the party leading the polls pledging to pull out of WCI and pass a revenue neutral carbon tax instead. Despite this pledge, the challenges of pulling out of the linked market and broad business support in Ontario belie that a change in government doesn’t necessarily mean the end of cap and trade in Ontario. A dark horse jurisdiction may also emerge in 2018. Expect 2018 to be the year of continued momentum towards expanding cap and trade markets, and the emergence of new states examining whether such an approach makes sense for them.
  2. States, U.S. cities will quicken the pace in developing climate change adaptation plans. 2017 was a horrific year for natural disasters that wrought havoc throughout the United States. By October, natural disasters had already cost the United States over $25 billion according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and that was before wildfires broke out in southern California. PBS reports that 2017 is on track to break records for the number of major natural disasters in a year. With many of these events crippling major U.S. cities, officials and citizens will be thinking hard about how to prepare their cities for a future with more frequent and stronger disasters. Some cities have already taken the lead on developing and implementing climate adaptation strategies, such as Miami Beach’s efforts to elevate streets and install pumps. In 2018, we predict that a record number of cities will begin the process of developing climate change adaptation plans.
  3. Institutional investors will increasingly count social and environmental impact as part of their fiduciary obligation. Foundations will follow McKnight’s early lead by committing to invest endowment dollars (not just grant money) into climate mitigation and social improvement projects. Likewise, university endowments will adopt policies that address climate change in their investment portfolios as an integral part of their fiduciary commitment.
  4. Shipping will follow aviation’s lead and agree to a carbon reduction commitment that will rely on offsets at the onset. A few years ago, the biggest future carbon market you’ve never heard of was created when the international aviation sector agreed to carbon reduction targets. Given the international nature of airline travel, aviation emissions have proven difficult to regulate. The establishment of a commitment, overseen by the United Nations International Civil Aviation Organization, and the creation of an offset market to allow the sector time to develop biofuels and fuel-efficient fleets, has provided a roadmap for other multi-national industries to follow. The clear candidate to follow this blueprint is the maritime industry. Although a growing number of shippers have called for some form of regulation, developing countries, which are dependent on ships to transport their manufactured goods to major markets in developed countries, have called for a go-slow approach. However, annual shipping emissions are already 30% greater than those from air travel and forecast to grow by another 17% if left unchecked. Meeting the Paris commitments will require progress on developing and agreeing to a framework for the shipping industry—just like in the aviation sector.
  5. The first year of the Trump administration has seen deregulation and dismantling at agencies working to combat climate change. While President Trump has made broad and sweeping actions to reverse progress on addressing climate change, such as withdrawing the United States from the Paris Agreement, deliberate and quiet efforts are having a powerful effect at the agency level. Scott Pruitt, Director of the EPA, has taken a meticulous approach to deconstructing decades of regulation and basic environmental protections, including repeal of the Obama-era Clean Power Plan, which sought to curb greenhouse gas emissions. The Department of the Interior announced plans to hold the largest-ever auction of oil and gas leases in the Gulf of Mexico, and many scientific and administrative posts have been filled with people hostile to curbing greenhouse gas emissions. With at least three more years of the Trump presidency to go, we predict that the EPA and offices focused on climate change in other agencies will see further deconstruction in 2018.
  6. The Trump administration’s intransigence on climate science will backfire in the 2018 midterms. Republicans remain the only major party in a global democracy to deny basic climate science. With intensifying weather, scientific consensus that anthropogenic greenhouse gases are to blame, and cheap renewables and electrified transportation demonstrating that mitigation can be affordable and improve our lives, the position of the Trump administration and many Republican party members simply cannot be sustained. In 2018, we expect Democrats to increasingly fight for the economic and environmental benefits of carbon pricing and look to chastise climate-denying legislators for their ignorance and intransigence. This strategy (which David Roberts calls “agnoism”) will pay dividends in the 2018-midterm elections, and Republicans will (slowly) reconsider the tenability of their outdated position on climate change.
  7. U.S. companies will voluntarily, and increasingly, report on financial policies and performance related to the environment and social responsibility. The Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (SASB) recently published its Exposure Draft Standards for 79 industries, with the public comment period having closed on December 31, 2017. We predict there will be a continued increase in the number of U.S. companies that choose to include discussion of their policies and performance regarding the environment, social responsibility and similar matters in their required external reports or in what is often referred to as a sustainability report. Even though the standards are not legal requirements, we predict an upturn in voluntary acceptance that will inspire other companies to feel obligated to provide similar disclosure to their stakeholders. Due to the prominence and credibility of the SASB Board members, the SASB has generated considerable momentum in a short period. The end result is a win-win for the companies and capital markets because the disclosures are not onerous and focus on financially material sustainability factors that result in providing extremely useful information for investors.
  8. Public support of dairy digester development will shift to credit enhancements to mitigate risks for private investors. Explosive growth in the development of California digesters will continue in 2018. In 2017, California awarded grants to build 18 new digesters over the next two years (which will almost double the number of digesters in the state). With double the funding available in 2018, we expect more than 35 new projects to be supported. As projects become more cost-effective, their technology becomes increasingly understood and their impacts are proven, private capital can, and should, play a greater role in building new digesters to meet the state’s goals—significantly reducing methane emissions. To encourage this transition, expect climate-policy advocates, project developers, and the dairy industry to increasingly advocate for shifting public support from grant making to credit enhancements that mitigate risks for private investors in dairy digesters. In 2018 we expect to see a final design for California’s pilot financial mechanism to be proposed. We also expect a large number of advocates will line up to fund this mechanism, with at least $25 million to backstop price guarantees for the environmental markets that drive project economics but face real regulatory risk.
  9. Climate smart agriculture and soil health will gain prominence in 2018. Collective activities in agriculture, forestry, and land use change are responsible for 21% of our global emissions, second only to the energy sector. The international 2017 climate talks in Bonn released the blockade restraining the agricultural sector from playing an active role in solutions for climate change. At the 23rd Conference of Parties (COP), the Subsidiary Body for Implementation (SBI) and the Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice (SBSTA) took up the charge to “address issues related to agriculture.” The path set by the SBI and the SBSTA now engages agriculture as a strategic priority to develop on -the-ground practices that help curb greenhouse gas emissions. The Nature Conservancy found that natural climate solutions offers over one-third of the cost-effective climate mitigation we need by 2030 to achieve our Paris target of a less than 2 °C world. We will witness agriculture step up and adapt to climate friendly practices in the face of global population growth and the impacts of rising temperatures on smallholder farmers. The Sustainable Development Goal of achieving a hunger -free world by 2030 is being challenged by these mounting influences. The outcome of COP23 means that the theory, research, and discussions on agriculture will finally turn into tangible action on the ground.
  10. Global health implications of climate change will sound an alarm for insurance markets. Climate change is on track to deliver “the biggest global health threat of the 21st century,” according to the British medical publication, The Lancet. Increasing global temperatures will aid the spread of vector-borne diseases like Malaria, Lyme disease, Zika virus, and water born illnesses such as Cholera and Toxoplasmosis. We have already begun experiencing the increased mortality risks from flooding, intense precipitation, and high summer temperatures and fires. Sadly, we will witness even more pronounced health impacts this year. While the property and casualty insurance market has become aware of the effects of a changing climate, the healthcare sector is just starting to understand the import that this will have on health care costs, services, and delivery. Ceres conducted research that ranked 148 of the largest insurance companies in the country. While Blue Cross Blue Shield of MA recognizes climate change as a significant threat to public health, a few companies surveyed by Ceres stated that they do not believe climate change is a material business risk. We will see an awakening in the health insurance sector in 2018 and an effort to follow European insurers who are active in combatting and adapting to climate change. The former CEO for AXA SA, Henri de Castries, said in his 2016 speech, “We have no choice, a 2°C world might be insurable, a 4°C world certainly would not be.” The alarm clock for the health insurance industry will sound off loud and clear in 2018.

“The Trust’s two decades of expertise in this space has laid the foundation for our team to make sound carbon market predictions year after year,” said Sheldon Zakreski, Director of Asset Management for The Climate Trust. “In fact, a record number of our 2017 predictions hit the mark, including environmental justice groups taking an active role in climate policy decisions, private industry picking up U.S. government slack, the California Air Resources Board prevailing in a high-profile lawsuit, China taking the lead in carbon markets, as well as an alarming number of U.S. citizens becoming climate refugees, with a related surge in momentum for global climate litigation.”

Director of Investments, Kristen Kleiman, added, “In particular, California’s move to recommit to their cap and trade system provided a valuable market signal to support linkages and increase jurisdictional participation in offset markets. Riding this wave of market interest, The Trust is now poised to fully commit our $5.5M pilot carbon investment fund, and launch our $100M 10-year private equity Fund II in 2018.”


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