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MySocialGoodNews is dedicated to sharing news about
social entrepreneurship, impact investing, philanthropy
and corporate social responsibility.

Crowdfunding for Social Good

Devin D. Thorpe

Devin Thorpe

Social Entrepreneurship

This category includes articles about social entrepreneurs, typically about businesses with a for-profit model with a social mission embedded into the fabric of the business.

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BlueOrchard launches UCITS Impact Bond Fund to address UN Sustainable Development Goals in emerging markets

Press Release – Zurich, 10 December 2018 – Swiss-based impact investment manager BlueOrchard Finance Ltd (“BlueOrchard”) has launched a UCITS-compliant Emerging Markets SDG Impact Bond Fund to grant retail and institutional investors access to a “liquid impact fund”. The Fund is designed for investors that seek a scalable and liquid alternative to traditional microfinance funds.

The BlueOrchard UCITS-Emerging Markets SDG Impact Bond Fund invests in bond issuances from corporations and public/private financial institutions that finance or engage in impact activities which advance the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The fund will invest in a diversified portfolio in emerging and frontier markets with the goal of providing retail and institutional investors with a scalable, impact oriented alternative to traditional fixed income products. The Fund, registered in Luxembourg and managed by BlueOrchard Asset Management (Luxembourg), SA is accessible to investors with a variety of share classes in different currencies to suit investor requirements.

“Our investors have expressed considerable interest of late in a vehicle that combines financial and social returns with liquidity. We have responded by creating this Fund and believe that it presents an excellent opportunity for both BlueOrchard and our investors to further engage in key emerging markets and expand our impact,” said Patrick Scheurle, CEO of BlueOrchard.

“As a company founded by initiative of the UN, we are extremely proud to launch an impact fund dedicated to helping advance the UN Sustainable Development Goals in emerging markets,” said Peter A. Fanconi, BlueOrchard’s Chairman of the Board.

The Fund is managed by an experienced team with a long track record of successful debt investments in emerging and frontier markets. They combine a unique field presence, proprietary rating methodologies and broad hedging capabilities to deliver innovative impact investment products. BlueOrchard applies a robust country selection process and rigorous bottom-up credit selection governed by a proven risk management framework. In addition to financial analysis, BlueOrchard conducts a social performance analysis on all investments based on “SPIRIT”, the firm’s proprietary social performance assessment tool.

Building a financial system that supports sustainable and climate-smart growth has taken the center stage of global efforts to advance and achieve the SDGs. To address the growing investment gap in emerging and frontier markets, urgent and concerted action is needed. For BlueOrchard, closing this gap has been our mission since day one. The company has focused its mission and its investment strategies on empowering people in the developing world since 2001 and has deployed more than USD 5bn in more than 80 markets.

About BlueOrchard Finance Ltd

BlueOrchard is a leading global impact investment manager. The firm is dedicated to fostering inclusive and climate-smart growth, while providing attractive returns for investors. BlueOrchard was founded in 2001, by initiative of the UN, as the world’s first commercial manager of microfinance debt investments. Today, BlueOrchard provides investors around the world with premium investment solutions, including credit, private equity, and sustainable infrastructure. Being an expert in innovative blended finance mandates, the firm is a trusted partner of leading global development finance institutions. With a major global presence and offices on four continents, BlueOrchard has invested to date more than USD 5bn across 80 emerging and frontier markets, enabling tangible social and environmental impact. BlueOrchard is a licensed Swiss asset manager of collective investment schemes authorized by FINMA. Its Luxembourg entity, BlueOrchard Asset Management S.A., is a licensed UCITS management company as well as a licensed alternative investment fund manager (AIFM) authorized by CSSF. For additional information, please visit: www.blueorchard.com.

Disclaimer:

The information in this document was produced by BlueOrchard Finance Ltd (“BOF”) to the best of its present knowledge and belief. However, all data and financial information provided is on an unaudited and “as is” basis. The opinions expressed in this document are those of BOF and its employees and are subject to change at any time without notice. BOF provides no guarantee with regard to the accuracy and completeness of the content in this document and BOF does not under any circumstance, accept liability for any losses or damages which may arise from making use of, or relying upon any information, content or opinion provided by BOF in this document. This document may contain references or links to other documents and websites and BOF has not reviewed such other documents and websites and is not responsible in any way in relation to the content of such documents and websites.

The information in this document is the sole property of BOF unless otherwise noted, and may not be reproduced in full or in part without the express prior written consent of BOF.

All investments involve risk. We note specifically that past performance is not an indication of future results. Emerging markets impact investments involve a unique and substantial level of risk that is critical to understand before engaging in any prospective relationship with BOF and its various managed funds. Investments in emerging markets, particularly those involving foreign currencies, may present significant additional risk and in all cases the risks implicated in this disclaimer include the risk of loss of invested capital.

The materials provided in this document are for informational purposes only and nothing in this document can be construed as constituting any offer to purchase any product, or a recommendation/solicitation or other inducement to buy or sell any financial instrument of any kind and shall not under any circumstances be construed as absolving any reader of this document of his/her responsibility for making an independent evaluation of the risks and potential rewards of any financial transaction. We note in particular that none of the investment products referred to in this document constitute securities registered under the Securities Act of 1933 (of the United States of America) and BOF and its managed/advised funds are materially limited in their capacity to sell any financial products of any kind in the United States. No investment product referenced in this document may be publicly offered for sale in the United States and nothing in this document shall be construed under any circumstances as a solicitation of a US Person (as defined in applicable law/regulation) to purchase any BOF investment product.

The information provided in this document is intended for review and receipt only by those persons who are qualified (in accordance with applicable legal/regulatory definitions) in their respective place of residence and/or business to view it, and the information is not intended under any circumstances to be provided to any person who is not legally eligible to receive it. Any recipient of information from this document who wishes to engage with BOF in furtherance of any transaction or any relationship whatsoever must consult his/her own tax, legal and investment professionals to determine whether such relationship and/or transaction is suitable.

BOF disclaims all liability for any direct or indirect damages and/or costs that may arise from the use of (whether such use is proper or improper), or access to, this document (or the inability to access this document).

Copyright © 2018, BlueOrchard Finance Ltd. All rights reserved.


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Business Must Scale Up Efforts To Avoid Environmental Calamity, Says Top Bluewater Executive At UN Climate Change Conference

Press Release – Katowice, Poland, December 9, 2018 – Anders Jacobson, President of Bluewater, a world leader in game-changing water technologies and solutions, today told over 600 environmental policy-makers and climate technology innovators that the business community must scale up and speed efforts to help find solutions to tackle a looming plastics calamity.

“Business can and must provide the thought-leadership to create and drive the innovative technologies and solutions required to disrupt an industry that today sees 1.4 billion plastic bottles produced every day, many of which end up in landfill and our oceans,” Anders Jacobson said. He added one consequence is that 83 percent of all tap water on average around the world has been shown to contain micro plastic particles, according to research.

Mr. Jacobson was speaking at the Sustainability Innovation Forum, the largest business-focused event taking place during the United Nations climate change conference underway in the Polish city of Katowice.

Following his keynote presentation, Mr. Jacobson was joined by environment ministers from the UK, Finland and Iceland for a panel discussion on how to tackle single use plastic and its impact on the planet’s oceans.

Noting that pervasive micro plastics are now found literally everywhere on the planet from the water we drink to the food we eat and the air we breathe, Mr. Jacobson said Bluewater daily demonstrates how human ingenuity can deliver tech solutions dramatically cutting the need for throwaway plastic bottles.

Bluewater is a Swedish water technology company, founded in 2013, on a belief that clean water is a basic human right, made sustainably at the source and free from toxic single-use plastics.

Designed for use in homes, businesses and public spaces, Bluewater’s purifiers are today deployed in diverse environments to provide alternatives to plastic bottles at marathons, football matches, music and large-scale yoga events across Asia, the USA, Europe and Africa.

Bluewater does not stop at innovating, making and selling its unique reverse osmosis water purifiers, the company is also spearheading a global movement to enhance human and planetary health by eliminating single-use plastics.

“This action model has already forged high impact partnerships with a range of nonprofits in affected communities like Flint, MI and with global sporting actors like Volvo Ocean Race that produce meaningful and tangible benefits to communities and demonstrate there are technologies and solutions already available today to avoid single-use plastics,” Anders Jacobson said.

Background

Joining Anders Jacobson on the Sustainable Innovation Forum panel discussing how to tackle single use plastic and its impact on the oceans were Dr. Therese Coffey, UK Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for the Environment, Gudmundur Ing Gudbrandsson, Iceland’s Minister of Environment and Natural Resources, and Hanna Pokka, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Environment, Finland.

Bluewater is a world leading water purification company with its global headquarters in Stockholm, Sweden. Bluewater innovates, manufactures and comercializes compact water purifiers for residential, business and public use that harness the company’s patented reverse osmosis technology to remove virtually all pollutants from tap water, including lead, bacteria, pesticides, medical residues, chlorine and lime-scale. Please visit us at www.bluewatergroup.com

Follow us for water-related news on Facebook, Twitter and Wechat (Search ID: Bluewater). Journalists and bloggers can follow our press releases and blogs at http://www.mynewsdesk.com/us/bluewater. And everyone is welcome to enjoy our themed Bluewater music playlist on spotify at BluewaterPure Radio.


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Win $100,000 in the Utah Entrepreneur Challenge

All university students in Utah are welcome to compete for cash and prizes; registration deadline is Feb. 14, 2019

Press Release – Dec. 6, 2018 – Registration for the 2018-19 Utah Entrepreneur Challenge is now open. The statewide business model competition is open to all university students in Utah. Teams compete for $100,000 in cash and in-kind prizes, including a $40,000 grand prize. The registration deadline is Thursday, Feb. 14, 2019.

The competition is managed by the Lassonde Entrepreneur Institute, an interdisciplinary division of the David Eccles School of Business at the University of Utah, and sponsored by Zions Bank.

“The Utah Entrepreneur Challenge encourages competitors to think critically and take a real-world approach throughout the competition,” said Dakota Rose, the student associate of marketing for the competition. The student competition chair, Parker Andriese, added, “The skills to be a successful competitor will not only enhance students’ future educational paths, but may stem into a career.”

With equity-free funding from Zions Bank, support from local businesses and an expanded professional network, the Utah Entrepreneur Challenge helps students launch their startup ideas.

Last year’s $40,000 grand prizewinner, Portal, is developing a product that assists wheelchair users in opening doors. The device is attached to an existing automatic door, and when a user who has downloaded the accompanying app comes within 5 feet of the door, it opens automatically. Other past winners have gone on to raise millions of dollars in funding and expand worldwide.

To participate, students can visit the event website to download the competition packet and apply online. Students must submit a written business model.

The top 20 teams will be selected based on their business models and announced on Feb. 27, 2019. These teams advance to compete in the remaining phases of the competition, which include creating a two-minute video, two pitches for in-person judging and tabling during the public showcase at Lassonde Studios on the University of Utah campus on March 30, 2019.

The Lassonde Entrepreneur Institute also hosts a related competition for high school students. The High School Utah Entrepreneur Challenge is open to all students in Utah ages 14-18. Teams are competing this year for $30,000 in cash and prizes. The application is open now until Feb. 28, 2019.

Learn more about the Utah Entrepreneur Challenge at lassonde.utah.edu/uec.

2018-2019 Competition Timeline

  • Wednesday, Nov. 21, 2018: Applications open for submission
  • Thursday, Feb. 14, 2019: Application submission deadline, midnight
  • Friday, Feb. 15, 2019, to Monday, Feb. 22, 2019: Online judging
  • Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2019: Top 20 announced at noon
  • Friday, March 12, 2019: Top 20 video submission deadline, midnight
  • Monday, March 14, 2019: Live voting for top 20 videos begins
  • Thursday, March 28, 2019: Top 20 PowerPoint submission deadline, midnight
  • Friday, March 29, 2019: Video voting ends at midnight
  • Saturday, March 30, 2019: Final judging and showcase at the University of Utah
    • 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.: Pitches and judging at the Spencer Fox Eccles Business Building
    • 4 to 6 p.m.: Public showcase and awards ceremony at Lassonde Studios

About the Lassonde Entrepreneur Institute

The Lassonde Entrepreneur Institute is a nationally ranked hub for student entrepreneurship and innovation at the University of Utah and an interdisciplinary division of the David Eccles School of Business. The first programs were offered in 2001, through the vision and support of Pierre Lassonde, an alumnus of the Eccles School and successful mining entrepreneur. The institute now provides opportunities for thousands of students to learn about entrepreneurship and innovation. Programs include workshops, networking events, business-plan competitions, startup support, innovation programs, graduate seminars, scholarships, community outreach and more. All programs are open to students from any academic major or background. The Lassonde Institute also manages Lassonde Studios, a new five-story innovation space and housing facility for all students. Learn more at lassonde.utah.edu.


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Somya Munjal Releases Thought-Provoking Guide to Socially Conscious Business

Press Release – An engaging mix of inspirational storytelling, practical manual and self-discovery workbook,

Somya Munjal’s new book, Audacious Endeavors: 8 Steps to Social Consciousness that will Spark Your Inner Fire (Third Edition), is a must read for anyone yearning to launch into social entrepreneurship and ignite change.

Munjal, a social entrepreneur with a strong portfolio of successful impact projects, penned the book to inspire and equip aspiring social entrepreneurs with the tools and fortitude needed to create thriving, conscious businesses.

“The book’s introspective process helps readers uncover their purpose and life mission, while presenting data on economic disparities and palatable analysis of relevant current and historic events”, Munjal shares. She also provides guidance through examples from her own journey away from corporate finance to social entrepreneurship.

A product of Munjal’s firm belief in the value of education reform and resource redistribution, the book encourages the adoption of a sustainable people, planet, profit approach. “With more entrepreneurs engaged in socially conscious businesses”, Munjal says, “we can create a fair, heart-centered human experience, eradicating poverty and strife.”

The 34-year-old social change leader, socioeconomic empowerment expert and speaker, is an example for young change-makers, having dedicated years in passionate pursuit of her personal mission through several purpose-driven initiatives. Her projects empower the disenfranchised, focusing mainly on youth education. These include: CPA for the People, a finance firm with a social good mission for fiscal and monetary policy reform; Youthful Savings, an education technology company; the Youthful Savings Foundation, which provides youth scholarships and business investment; Learning Marketplace, a virtual hub for experiential K-12 education, launched under the Youthful Savings umbrella; and Audacious Endeavors, an art-based social change agency.

Munjal will be donating all royalties from book sales to the Youthful Savings Foundation, which go towards scholarships and youth entrepreneurial investments. The book is published by Bold & Bright Media, and is currently available for pre-order online at https://boldandbrightmedia.com/audacious-endeavors-book/.


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Virtual Hub for Experiential K-12 Education Offers Conscious Gifting Option this Season

Press Release – Learning Marketplace, a trailblazing new education technology platform launched this past October, is shifting the landscape of gift-giving this season by providing conscious, engaging and effective learning tools for teens and children.

The platform is a virtual hub for experiential K-12 education products that focus on expanding the decision-making capabilities of its young target demographic through brain and heart development.

With studies showing that globally 1.8 billion youth are constantly immersed in technology, Learning Marketplace presents a modern approach that was built to fit within the scope of this cultural shift. The programs available on the platform are designed by a stellar community of global educators, and are created to correlate to the new cognitive processes and learning preferences of today’s youth.

The 34-year-old change-maker and social entrepreneur who headed up the launch and production of the project, Somya Munjal, is driven by a quest for the economic empowerment of all and the disruption of the wealth gap, through a primary focus on optimizing youth potential. “The prefrontal cortex of the brain gets developed by the age of 25”, Munjal reasons.

She explains that exposing youth to heart-centered, socially conscious ideas, and modes of living and doing business – rather than trying to redirect already solidified belief systems in those who are older – generates greater possibility for a brighter future. “We want our future world leaders to be sincere humans that lead themselves and their communities well”, Munjal adds.

Munjal built Learning Marketplace with friends Waseem Gorgi and Phil Callahan. The platform is powered by Youthful Savings, a social enterprise she founded, which specializes in the creation of entrepreneurial and financial tech education tools created to foster social change through youth empowerment. Several web courses and apps have been launched under the Youthful Savings umbrella, with Learning Marketplace being its latest major project.

For more information, visit Learning Marketplace at www.learningmarketplace.org.


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Nuveen Expands Responsible Investing Offering with Addition of Actively-Managed Green Bond and Short Duration Impact Bond Funds

Press Release – NEW YORK–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Nuveen, a leading global investment manager, added two actively-managed fixed income mutual funds to its responsible investing suite of funds. The TIAA-CREF Green Bond Fund (TGROX) and TIAA-CREF Short Duration Impact Bond Fund (TSDBX) draw on the firm’s decades of experience with both fixed income and responsible investing. The funds seek to deliver competitive financial returns and positive environmental, social and governance (ESG) outcomes.

“Responsible investing should be at the core of prudent portfolio construction. It continues to appeal to today’s diverse generation of investors who are seeking specific social and environmental outcomes, alongside the financial performance objectives established for their portfolios,” said Amy O’Brien, managing director and global head of responsible investing at Nuveen. “We are committed to offering investors competitive investment solutions that leverage the combined knowledge and talents of our investment professionals and our legacy of responsible investing innovation.”

The TIAA-CREF Green Bond Fund invests in diversified investment-grade portfolio that leverages Nuveen’s expertise in labeled and unlabeled green fixed income securities designed to deliver competitive long-term risk-adjusted investment returns against its benchmark, the Bloomberg Barclays MSCI U.S. Green Bond Index. Investments primarily include securities issued by sovereign and local governments, corporations, securitized bonds and multinational agencies, with an emphasis on renewable energy, climate change and natural resources. This fixed-income subset may be attractive to investors who wish to make a positive impact on the environment and climate without compromising risk or returns.

The TIAA-CREF Short Duration Impact Bond Fund seeks current income by investing primarily in a diversified portfolio of fixed income securities with an average maturity of three and a half years. The fund makes strategic allocations to bonds that demonstrate environmental and societal impact within affordable housing, community or economic development, and renewable energy, climate change and natural resources. The limited amount of time until maturity helps manage risks associated with rising interest rates and is designed to appeal to investors with a shorter time horizon or for retirees in a draw down phase. The fund’s benchmark is the Bloomberg Barclays U.S. 1-3 Year Government/Credit Bond Index.

The funds will be co-managed by Stephen M. Liberatore, CFA, and Jessica Zarzycki, CFA.

Both funds focus on undervalued, investment-grade securities and seek to add value through sector allocation, security selection and duration, and yield curve positioning. This investment approach gives special consideration to certain ESG criteria, with an emphasis on identifying publicly traded fixed income securities with a direct and measurable societal or environmental impact.

“The launch of these innovative funds underscores our commitment to helping investors access the broad and deep responsible investing and fixed income solutions at Nuveen and build out this critical component of their portfolios,” said Scott Warner, managing director and fixed income product manager at Nuveen.

The funds further diversify Nuveen’s existing suite of responsible investing-focused products, including the following mutual funds: TIAA-CREF Social Choice Bond (TSBRX), TIAA-CREF Social Choice Equity (TICRX), TIAA-CREF Social Choice International Equity (TSORX), and TIAA-CREF Social Choice Low Carbon Equity (TLWCX).

To learn more about responsible fixed income investing, we offer Public Fixed Income: Impact Investing—Unique and Attractive Opportunities in Green Bonds.

Responsible Investing at Nuveen

With nearly five decades of responsible investing leadership, Nuveen is committed to applying principles of environmental, social and governance responsibility across the asset classes it manages to champion and advance better outcomes for investors, communities and the environment. Nuveen has more than 20 dedicated responsible investing experts, along with a comprehensive offering of responsible investing-focused mutual funds and ETFs. Nuveen is at the forefront of this approach, with innovations in ESG integration, impact and engagement. Two-thirds of Nuveen’s assets under management are invested in accordance with the UN-backed Principles for Responsible Investment. For an overview of responsible investing at Nuveen, explore our 2018 Responsible Investing Summary Report.

About Nuveen

Nuveen, the investment manager of TIAA, offers a comprehensive range of outcome-focused investment solutions designed to secure the long-term financial goals of institutional and individual investors. Nuveen has $988 billion in assets under management as of 9/30/18 and operations in 16 countries. Its affiliates offer deep expertise across a comprehensive range of traditional and alternative investments through a wide array of vehicles and customized strategies. For more information, please visit www.nuveen.com.

Investing involves risk; principal loss is possible. There is no guarantee the Fund’s investment objectives will be achieved.

Before investing, carefully consider fund investment objectives, risks, charges and expenses. For this and other information that should be read carefully, please request a prospectus or summary prospectus from Nuveen at 800.752.8700 or visit www.nuveen.com.

The investment advisory services, strategies and expertise of TIAA Investments, a division of Nuveen, are provided by Teachers Advisors, LLC and TIAA-CREF Investment Management, LLC. Nuveen Securities, LLC member FINRA and SIPC.

(MTC) MPS-680970PM-O1218X


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High-School Students around the U.S. Take Virtual STEM Field Trip to Lockheed Martin’s Famous Skunk Works®

Press Release – Palmdale, Calif. and Silver Spring, Md. (Tuesday, December 4, 2018) – Lockheed Martin and Discovery Education, the leading provider of digital content and professional development for K-12 classrooms, today took high school students on a virtual field trip to Lockheed Martin Skunk Works,® where they learned about five advanced technology developments being pioneered by Lockheed Martin engineers and scientists, or “skunks,” who work there. The immersive experience was designed to introduce students to the exciting work a career in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) can offer.

“STEM education is critical to America’s national security and economy – without the right technical talent, we risk losing our competitive advantage,” said Jeff Babione, vice president and general manager of Skunk Works®. “Technology companies like Lockheed Martin play an important role in helping to inspire and encourage the next generation of technical talent. With our ‘Generation Beyond’ program, we’re challenging high school students to think differently, take risks, innovate and collaborate – skills that are necessary to succeed in a fast-moving, global high-tech economy.”

The Virtual Field Trip is part of Lockheed Martin’s Generation Beyond STEM education program, a free, digital STEM education program used in thousands of U.S. classrooms. Launched in 2016 in partnership with Discovery Education, Generation Beyond puts students in the shoes of scientists and engineers to tackle real-world technology challenges and demonstrate the exciting work that a STEM education and career can offer.

“Discovery Education is proud to partner with Lockheed Martin to engage a new generation of innovators in STEM learning experiences that inspire youth to take an interest in space exploration and aviation,” said Lori McFarling, senior vice president and chief marketing officer, Discovery Education. “‘Generation Beyond in School’ demonstrates Lockheed Martin’s commitment to advancing technologies that form the future and the initiative encourages students everywhere to push boundaries that advance future of STEM.”

In addition to developing career-focused STEM education programs like Generation Beyond, Lockheed Martin has also invested $50 million in tax-reform savings to fund STEM scholarships and additional education initiatives, as well as $100 million to ensure our existing employees are prepared for jobs of the future through education and training opportunities.

Generation Beyond resources are available at no-cost at generationbeyondinschool.com and are integrated into Discovery Education Streaming. For more information about Discovery Education’s digital content and professional development services, visit discoveryeducation.com. Stay connected with Discovery Education through social media on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest @DiscoveryEd.


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SunTrust Foundation Awards $50,000 Grant to Support Innovation through Synapse Challenges

Press Release – TAMPA, Fla., December 4, 2018 – Synapse, Florida’s premier center for accelerating innovation, is the recipient of a $50,000 grant from the SunTrust Foundation – Tampa/Southwest Florida, to support future Synapse Challenges.

Synapse Challenges are a crowdsourcing solution for organizations to solve real-world problems and create opportunities for students, entrepreneurs, investors, and forward-thinking businesses. The benefits are two-fold: companies find inventive solutions and options more quickly and cost-effectively while challenge participants apply their knowledge and talent practically to create new products and services, as well as advance career opportunities.

According to Brian Kornfeld, Synapse President and Co-founder, “The Synapse Challenges ignite and fuel the talented people within our innovation communities throughout Florida. We’re tapping into amazing ideas and technologies by connecting companies with creative teams of students, innovators, and startups.”

The SunTrust Foundation is aligned with SunTrust Bank’s mission of “Lighting the Way to Financial Well-Being.” The $50,000 grant provided to Synapse will be used to support financial education, career readiness and small business/entrepreneurship through the Synapse Challenges.

Synapse Challenges have produced technology solutions for companies including Metropolitan Ministries, ConnectWise, Metro Development Group, Blockspaces, and Hashed Health. Synapse Challenges will be presented at the 2019 Synapse Summit: Innovation Lives Here, January 23 and 24, 2019, at the Amalie Arena, Tampa, Fla. For more information, visit www.synapsesummit.com and www.synapse.com.


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Anuvia Plant Nutrients Wins SEAL Award for Environmental Initiatives

Press Release – Zellwood, Fla., December 4, 2018 – Anuvia™ Plant Nutrients has been named a winner of the 2018 SEAL (Sustainability, Environmental Achievement and Leadership) Award recognizing leadership and commitment to sustainable business practices.

Anuvia was among 12 companies honored for their specific environmental and sustainability initiatives. Key criteria for selection included: impact metrics, innovation, sharing of insights and investment levels. Anuvia rated highest on both leadership and impact.

“We are honored to receive this recognition,” says Amy Yoder, Anuvia Plant Nutrients CEO. “It reflects our mission to help farmers face the challenges to produce more food for a growing world population more sustainably. As an industry, farming has successfully embraced innovation and technologies that boost production to ever-increasing levels. However, we must be careful to steward the soil with sound practices. Anuvia’s technology allows farmers a way to protect the very resource that provides sustenance for all living things.”

Anuvia’s fertilizer technology addresses the issue of how to produce more food and do so sustainably. Located in Zellwood, Fla., Anuvia manufactures homogenous multi-nutrient enhanced efficiency plant nutrients. Their unique proprietary technology slowly releases nutrients in forms readily available to plants helping to reduce nutrient loss via leaching and volatilization. Anuvia’s technology efficiently feeds plants as it feeds the soil by returning up to 16 per cent organic matter back to the soil thereby improving soil health. Anuvia’s products improve yields, soil health and a contribute to a healthier environment.

In the United States, farming is responsible for approximately nine per cent of all greenhouse gas emissions. When Anuvia products are used, greenhouse gas emissions can be reduced as much as 27 per cent on the acre.

“We understand the economics of providing plug and play inputs, and the importance of sustainable resource efficient farming practices.” Yoder says. ‘Our products are part of the solution that will help farmers profitably achieve higher yields while protecting the environment and preserving our natural resources for future generations.”

The SEAL Awards celebrate organizations that embrace responsibility to drive change. According to Matt Harney, founder of the SEAL Awards, “Companies have a unique opportunity and responsibility to drive environmental progress. Recipients of this award demonstrate our core beliefs that environmental progress requires true leadership; leadership deserves recognition; and recognition is a form of accountability. We are excited to honor Anuvia’s sustainability leadership.”

Anuvia products and its technology represent a model for the circular economy: effective re-use of resources creating products of economic value. Its products hold the promise to make agriculture more sustainable by reducing nutrient loss in the environment while delivering a balanced nutrient package for healthier crops.


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Gold Standard Launches Social Enterprise SustainCERT to Mainstream SDG Impact Certification

SustainCERT’s user-centric, tech-driven approach is designed to reduce barriers and add value to impact certification to scale action toward climate security and the Sustainable Development Goals

Press Release – 3 December 2018, Geneva, Switzerland – With demand for sustainable goods and sustainability claims on the rise, Gold Standard, the benchmark standard for climate and development interventions, has launched SustainCERT, a social enterprise that will provide user-centric and tech-driven impact assessment for sustainability-minded businesses and investors.

While corporate climate commitments are increasing and impact investing is accelerating – companies and investors still face barriers to credibly and efficiently quantify and report on their social and environmental impacts. SustainCERT’s flexible ‘user-centric’ approach to impact assessment can be customised to specific needs, driven by technology solutions to make the process efficient and scalable. The objective is to maximise the impact of every dollar spent in pursuit of sustainability to create real and measurable environmental, social and economic value.

SustainCERT will be the official certification body for Gold Standard for the Global Goals, a next-generation standard to quantify and certify impact toward climate security and the Sustainable Development Goals. In addition to managing certification for Gold Standard’s 1400+ carbon offset project portfolio, SustainCERT will focus new solutions on certifying climate and development impacts from corporate supply chain interventions and for impact investment funds for credible reporting. Business and impact investors can also choose to monetise their impacts through, for example, environmental markets, social impact bonds or other results-based finance mechanisms, as well as embedding sustainability attributes to earn premiums for goods and services.

Lisa Rosen, previously Gold Standard’s Chief Operations Officer (COO), will act as Interim CEO until Marion Verles, who has been Gold Standard’s CEO since 2015, will transition to take the helm at SustainCERT in the Spring of 2019. Verles states, “to catalyse the transformational change required to meet the ambitions of the Paris Climate Agreement and Sustainable Development Goals, we need a truly user-centric approach combined with disruptive technologies to make credible impact assessment simple so it can become business-as-usual.” Gold Standard’s first CEO, Michael Schlup, currently COO for impact investment firm Sail Ventures, will chair the SustainCERT Board of Directors.

Gold Standard is now recruiting for a new CEO to implement the strategy initiated by the Gold Standard Board and CEO Verles in 2015. Outgoing Gold Standard Chairman David Shelmerdine adds, “This move allows Gold Standard to focus innovating in standard setting to ensure the highest levels of rigour, while SustainCERT enables that rigour to scale.”

First clients committed to using SustainCERT’s new impact certification solutions for supply chains and impact investment funds include Danone, Mars, the Livelihoods Fund and BlueOrchard. Seed round investors include BlueOrchard, WWF Switzerland, and 1to4. The development of SustainCERT was also supported by a grant from EIT ClimateKIC.

“BlueOrchard as a pioneer in impact investing has been at the forefront of developing cutting-edge solutions for almost 20 years. We are therefore excited to join SustainCERT as investor and partner as it provides much-needed solution to increase the attractiveness and applicability of impact certification for large-scale investments,” says Patrick Scheurle, CEO of BlueOrchard.

Eric Soubeiran, Global Nature, Human Rights & Water Cycle Director at Danone adds, “Our ambitious sustainability goals require a transformation in how food is grown – in this framework, the transparency consumers and stakeholders request is legitimate, with agile new ways to quantify and certify real GHG reductions.”

Gold Standard, a majority shareholder, will partner closely with SustainCERT to co-develop user-centric innovative solutions for credible impact certification to help scale contributions to climate security and the Sustainable Development Goals.

About Gold Standard

Gold Standard was established in 2003 by WWF and other international NGOs as a best practice standard to ensure projects that reduced carbon emissions under the UN’s Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) also contributed to sustainable development. Its next-generation standard launched in 2017, Gold Standard for the Global Goals, allows climate and development initiatives to quantify, certify, and maximise their impacts toward climate security and sustainable development. Certification against the standard provides the confidence that these results are measured and verified, enabling credible tracking of progress toward the Paris Climate Agreement and the Sustainable Development Goals. Gold Standard now has more than 80 NGO supporters and 1400+ certified projects in over 80 countries, creating billions of dollars of shared value from climate and development action worldwide.

www.goldstandard.org @cdmgoldstandard

About SustainCERT

SustainCERT is a mission-driven company committed to mainstreaming credible impact certification through user-centric, tech-driven solutions. SustainCERT is the official certification body for Gold Standard for the Global Goals – a next-generation standard to quantify, certify and maximise impact toward climate security and sustainable development. With customised certification pathways for a wide range of sustainability interventions, businesses and investors can easily embed SustainCERT impact assessment and assurance into their initiatives, whether a supply chain improvement, a sustainable product, or a large scale impact investment. This helps more accurately and efficiently quantify and report on the social and environmental impacts for higher credibility and recognition.

www.sustain-cert.com @Sustain_CERT


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