“Fast-Pass” to Service with Verified Volunteers

Providing safe and vetted volunteer resources is important for today’s nonprofits and the people they serve. Verified Volunteers was founded three years ago with the goal of transforming the screening process for America’s nonprofits.

Tom Klein, Executive Director of Verified Volunteers, leads the organization’s mission to propel service organizations and nonprofits by empowering volunteers. Prior to launching Verified Volunteers, Tom handled acquisition and business development activities for SterlingBackcheck, one of the largest background screening companies in the world. Previously, he worked for Calera Capital Partners, a leading middle market private equity firm. Tom began his career with Goldman, Sachs & Co. and spent a year with American International Group in Thailand as a Princeton-in-Asia fellow. He holds an MBA from Harvard Business School and an A.B. from Princeton University, where he graduated magna cum laude. Tom volunteers actively in New York and works closely with Harlem Academy, an independent school serving grades 1-8. Tom is based in New York City.

For years now, Human Resource departments have been running background checks on potential employees. What prompted you to build a company based on verifying volunteers in the nonprofit and social sector?

Statistics tell us that as many as 50% of volunteers give their time and resources to three or four organizations or volunteer programs. If each of these organizations screen their volunteers, this can become extremely frustrating for the individual who wants to serve – and it can delay their onboarding with each organization. This can also become very expensive for nonprofits (or for volunteers if they are expected to pay for their own background screens).

Having identified these problems, we decided to conduct focus groups with nonprofits to learn more about how they were verifying volunteers and the obstacles that nonprofits face when bringing people onboard. We found out a lot. For instance, nonprofits were receiving poor background checks, lacked the tools they needed to perform the checks and were undergoing arduous screening processes.

We wanted to solve these issues – so we reached out to Points of Light, the world’s largest organization focused on volunteer management and problem-solving in the volunteer sector. …

Balancing Mission and Margin Through Relationship Building

KeyBank has been a leader in creating business opportunities by focusing on long-term relationships with and developing responsible products for underserved, low-to-moderate income communities for more than a decade.

Bruce Murphy is EVP and Head of the Corporate Responsibility group at KeyBank. He currently is responsible for the bank’s: fair and responsible products and services; community investments, including community development lending/investing and philanthropy; a diverse and inclusive workplace and business environment, including supplier diversity; and environmental sustainability efforts that help neighborhoods across the nation thrive. He also serves as Board Chair for the Center for Financial Services Innovation and sits on the FDIC Advisory Committee on Economic Inclusion. Above all, he is a firm believer that conscientious corporate citizens strike a balance between earning returns and doing so responsibly.

What are the challenges you face with regard to customers and the banking industry?

So many things happened to shake the consumer’s confidence in the banking industry over the last decade. The subprime lending debacle, bankers leveraging relationship advances, and industry abuses all resulted in broken trust between lenders and the people they serve. Even with the formation of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, we, as an industry, still have not yet fully earned consumer trust back.

Our industry is trying to sort out how it failed, determine what the future demands and rebuild its profile with our customers.

Asia Pulp and Paper Advances Zero Deforestation Policy

Preventing the destruction of natural forests is a top priority for Asia Pulp and Paper. The company has engaged NGOs, government officials, and local communities to assist in their efforts to build comprehensive programs and zero deforestation policies. In 2014, APP worked with the Rainforest Alliance to perform an assessment on their programs to measure the progress that has been made since original targets for sustainable operations were set. The assessment supplied a “moderate” rating on the company’s progress and provided feedback on key issues that the Alliance thought needed to be addressed. Many in the media took this as an opportunity to provide additional insights, comments, and criticisms.

While they’ve been disparaged in the past by some for not moving quickly enough to achieve ambitious goals, APP is moving forward, and with an all-out effort: they have more programs in this area than any company I’ve talked to or read about. The people at APP really are fighting the good fight for sustainability.

Recently, I traveled to Indonesia as their guest to see first-hand for myself. APP has an operation that is massive in both scope and scale, but despite its sprawling size, it is well run, with a tightly managed supply chain from raw materials to finished products. While in Jakarta and Sumatra, I saw a very large company trying to do what is right for their business and for all stakeholders, even though the complexities are challenging.

There are many observations to report. I saw healthy working conditions and capacity building in communities in the form of housing, healthcare, and habitat preservation. Care and concern for worker health and safety were in place everywhere. The commitment to preserving wild life habitat was clear in their tiger reserve and in elephants in botanical gardens. Speaking with numerous APP employees, I heard their deep commitment to zero deforestation policies. The focus on research and development for sustainable wood species and forestry management practices was exemplified in the company’s laboratory, propagation fields, nursery, and managed forests.

Engaged Employees Launch KeyBank’s First Ever Green Office Week

KeyBank has a strong culture of aligning community and employee engagement in the name of corporate responsibility. With a focus on creating new employee behaviors that enable sustainable operations, KeyBank launched its first ever Green Office Week. The purpose of this week was to launch a collection of events aimed at getting employees involved in company-wide efforts to increase efficiency, improve the environment, and promote health and wellness.

Andrew Watterson is the Head of Sustainability in charge of Green Office Week. Having joined the team in 2014, he uses his sustainability and organizational change expertise to lead the bank in the development and execution of a sustainability strategy that positions the bank for growth. In his role, he works with the Corporate Responsibility team and bank leadership to help KeyBank balance margin and mission and to achieve dependable results.

How does employee engagement in sustainability programs help KeyBank and its customers?

Employee engagement programs help boost morale and keep our workforce up to date with all the new initiatives going on. By sharing ideas across the enterprise, we’re enabling employees to look at new ways of doing things. It’s important to us that our employees are involved in bringing new ideas into the company and that’s why we launched a new program that emphasizes continuous improvement.

Through this program, our employees are proposing new products and service offerings and their peers vote on the ideas and vet them out. If the ideas are ranked highly and make it through the test, we then send those ideas to the appropriate department to be launched. This makes employees feel heard and they can see their impact on helping to make our company more efficient and to deliver better service and shareholder value to stakeholders.

Unleashing the Greatest Period of Economic Growth with Gender Equality

Ten years of research on gender diversity suggests that providing more opportunities for women increases a company’s market performance and unleashes untapped economic value. Aligning global gender equality initiatives with private sector goals has the potential to advance the position of women in business.

Joe Keefe is President and CEO of Pax World Management LLC. He is a UN-recognized advocate for women’s equality and implements change by encouraging investors to align their investments with their values by supporting global organizations that promote the empowerment and advancement of women. In partnership with Sallie Krawcheck’s Ellevate Asset Management, Joe launched The Pax Ellevate Global Women’s Index Fund, the first U.S. mutual fund focused solely on investing in the highest-rated companies in the world in advancing women. He is the recipient of the United Nations’ 2014 Women’s Empowerment Principles Leadership Award – Business Case for Action.

Why is it important for companies to take gender equality issues into account when directing resources and opportunities?

It’s a moral and economic imperative to take gender equality issues seriously. It doesn’t make sense to discriminate against half the world’s population nor is it feasible to disregard so much untapped business value…

Access to Life Saving Healthcare with Floating Doctors

Recently, I had the opportunity to accompany the sustainability team from Asia Pulp and Paper (APP) on a tour of their offices, research and development center, and pulp and paper plants in Jakarta, Indonesia and Jambi, Sumatra. One of the most impassioned parts of the trip was getting the chance to see philanthropy and community care in action through APP’s support of the Floating Doctors program in a remote village upstream of the plant.

APP sponsors a mobile medical clinic for workers, their families, and their communities in the remote villages along the river way in Jambi Province, Sumatra. With the challenges of isolation, socio-economic barriers, and limited resources, healthcare is often non-existent for the people of this region…

Empowering Sustainable Decisions: New GRI Priorities

GRI believes that better business decisions can be made by leveraging sustainability reporting information. With four new strategic priorities to enable transparency, informed decision making and trust, GRI takes its next big leap forward as a leader in sustainability reporting.

Michael Meehan is the Chief Executive of GRI, an international independent organization that helps businesses, governments and other organizations understand and communicate the impact of business on critical sustainability issues such as climate change, human rights, corruption and many others. With thousands of reporters in over 90 countries, GRI provides the world’s most trusted and widely used standards for sustainability reporting and disclosure. Michael has been a chief executive, entrepreneur, and advisor in technology and sustainability for almost 20 years and has advised multinationals and governments around the world, including the White House, United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCC), and the California State Senate. Michael was voted one of the “Top CEOs to Follow” by BusinessWeek magazine and is the inventor of several clean technology patents. He has led several companies as CEO around the world, focused on the intersection of technology, sustainability, and innovation.

Why has GRI chosen to expand the scope of sustainability reporting in 2015?

The ways in which organizations and stakeholders use sustainability reporting to inform decision making have been expanding since GRI pioneered the process back in the year 2000.

Today, companies use sustainability reporting information in more ways …

“Clothes the Loop” Recycling: The North Face Way

Approximately 12 million tons of textile waste go into landfills each year in the U.S. With its recently expanded program called Clothes the Loop, The North Face is making great strides to reduce textile waste by setting an ambitious goal of collecting 100,000 pounds of apparel and footwear in the year 2015.

I had the opportunity to get the details on Clothes the Loop with Adam Mott, who oversees the Corporate Sustainability program at The North Face. He helps develop and integrate the sustainability strategy across the entire business by focusing on the development of environmentally responsible products, implementing greenhouse gas emission management and reduction programs, and by building community engagement programs based on the elimination of operational waste.

What is the Clothes the Loop project and why is it important?

Our heritage at the North Face is built on a love of exploring the outdoors and that means we’re passionate about protecting it…

Prevent Costly Stop Shipments, Fines, and Fees with Design for Compliance

Preventing costly stop shipments, fines, and fees is manageable if the supporting documentation, declarations, and due diligence programs are in place. Design for Compliance programs help companies manage product regulatory requirements early on in the design phase, minimizing costly rework and enforcement penalties.

Unni Meecheri is the General Manager for Enventure Technologies, a privately owned company headquartered in Bangalore, India. Enventure provides engineering, procurement and product compliance around the globe. Mr. Meecheri helps companies align product design, engineering, and environmental compliance requirements with data collection and design processes with a focus on complying with global product compliance regulations. His team specializes in compliance to the European Union’s REACH and RoHS regulations, as well as, the United States Dodd-Frank Conflict Minerals Section 1502 regulation.

Why is environmental product compliance so important when designing new products and sourcing for existing products?

Because without meeting the regulatory requirements, companies might not be able to sell their products and are more likely to incur stop shipments, fines, and fees that severely impact their revenues and their capability to sell into various regions…

Sustainability Drives Innovation and Leadership at Eastman

At Eastman Chemical, sustainability drives the innovation of new products, processes and technologies. By watching trends in consumer behavior, emerging markets, and technologies, Eastman has created new product lines that meet the growing customer demand for sustainable alternatives.

Godefroy Motte, Senior Vice President of Integrated Supply Chain, and Chief Regional and Sustainability Officer for Eastman Chemical Company, is helping to identify and implement opportunities to continue driving this sustainably-minded innovation. Motte joined Eastman in 1985 in Paris, France where his early career focused on the commercial and product side of chemicals and polymers. Throughout his career, Godefroy has gained a wealth of experience relevant to sustainability, having led the European Chemical Association (CEFIC) Responsible Care® Programme as well as Eastman’s participation in REACH (Registration, Evaluation, Authorization and Restriction of Chemicals). He is also currently a member of the ACOM Board of the European Chemical Association (CEFIC), The World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD), and the Advisory Board of the Rotterdam School of Management.

What trends are you watching that might help Eastman grow its business?

Sustainability is behind several macro-trends driving our industry. We know that people want to buy products that are healthy, and we can be part of the solution by providing products that meet consumer needs…