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ESG is Central to Cintas

Cintas

The concept of corporate social responsibility has evolved in recent decades. Where the concept once explained a company’s commitment to philanthropy and responsible social practices, it now also incorporates its environmental impact, how it governs itself, and how it monitors compliance. Public interest in companies’ holistic environmental, social, and governance – or ESG – strategy is a relatively recent and evolving concept. At Cintas, we view our entrance into formal ESG reporting and the development of our company-wide ESG strategy as the latest steps in our progression. That’s because many of the core ESG concepts we now measure and report have been engrained in our company for decades. These foundations are rooted in our corporate culture and in our “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle” mindset. Our sustainable business model began almost 100 years ago at the very origin of the company and has continued to evolve in everything we’ve done since. So this development isn’t a drastic leap for us. Rather, it’s a natural evolution of our long-standing business practices. OUR ORIGINS The company’s sustainable principles date back to our origins in 1929 during the Great Depression. Out-of-work circus performers Doc Farmer and his wife Amelia gathered dirty shop rags that local businesses had thrown away, brought them home to wash, and sold the clean rags back to companies in the Cincinnati area. Unknowingly, they created a local circular economy and the resourceful spirit that Cintas is known for today. They also created our sustainable business model. As the company grew, their grandson, Richard “Dick” Farmer, created a burgeoning work uniform rental operation in 1959. This implemented the same business model, and provided an easy, affordable, and sustainable option for companies to outfit their employees. By renting businesses their uniforms, he realized we could extend the life of the garments, wash and dry them more responsibly and sustainably than employees could at home, and preserve natural resources in the process. His vision launched the company on its current path of success and confirmed that a sustainable business idea could be successful in the modern day … an idea ahead of his time. Further expansions into facility services, first aid and safety, and fire protection under subsequent CEOs – Bob Kohlhepp (1996-2003) and Dick’s son, Scott Farmer (2003-2021) – deepened the company’s model further. Cintas’ new offerings were based on reusing and recycling end-of-life products and reducing the overall use of natural resources. They also introduced products and services that help our customers keep their own facilities, employees, and customers cleaner, safer, and healthier. WHO WE ARE AND WHAT WE DO Dick Farmer – who we credit as the Founder of the modern-day Cintas – documented and formalized our corporate culture in his book  The Spirit Is The Difference.  His philosophy still carries forward today and underpins our business. The Spirit Is The Difference is a handbook describing how we run our business. Its central themes are collaboration and common respect, both for our people and the world around us. Respecting and valuing one another and each other’s contributions to our business is paramount. Over time, this has led to fantastic employee-partner engagement, great retention rates, a world-class safety program, and a widely respected management philosophy. All of this has supported our ongoing innovation, which has helped minimize the environmental impact of our business. Our steadfast belief in doing what’s right guides our efforts to foster a supportive, inclusive environment for all our employee-partners. They’re engrained in all of our decisions: we carefully consider potential impacts on them as carefully as we consider potential impacts on our overall business. Our care and compassion also extend to people affected by our business, including our customers, suppliers, vendors, and business partners. We expect ethical interactions with all stakeholders. We also insist on being a good corporate citizen and steward by governing ourselves with the core principles of accountability, fairness, ethical behavior, and compliance. In short, we believe we conduct our business the right way. TODAY'S CINTAS Doc and Amelia’s ingenuity and environmentally focused activities of almost 100 years ago remain at the core of our company in 2021. As we’ve grown, we’ve enacted processes and policies to promote conducting our business with the highest ethical standards and keeping people central in all our decisions. Our business growth has been buoyed by our ESG mindset. Today, Cintas: Incorporates sustainable practices throughout our operations Extends the lifespan of consumable goods to reduce their overall environmental impact Cleans items more effectively and efficiently than the consumer market and our competitors 1,2 Provides higher-performance, longer-lasting alternatives to disposable or single-use products Offers competitive wages and salaries; expansive benefits packages; and ongoing support, training and development opportunities to all of our employee-partners Supports and promotes the health, safety, and welfare of our employee-partners, as well as our customers and their employees Engrains ourselves in the communities in which we do business by owning and maintaining property and capital equipment; being fair taxpayers; and supporting local initiatives and community priorities. We’re proud that our history of ingenuity and innovation has resulted in industry-leading practices and continued reductions in natural resource use. Considering environmental impacts in our business decisions has been a successful strategy, and beneficial to our financial success. When a customer uses Cintas services or wears our uniforms, they have chosen to minimize their environmental footprint. Of the four available options in the market – Cintas, our competitors, disposable items, or do-it-yourself solutions – Cintas is the most energy and water efficient, reuses more materials, and needs fewer raw materials than other options. For our customers, that means we help them reduce their environmental footprint. For those who consider home laundry options, traditional at-home laundering and drying uses an average of 84% more water and 69% more energy than we do. 3 WHAT'S NEXT The concepts of operating a sustainable business and making environmentally conscious decisions are not new to us. We have continually improved our environmental management, our people strategies, and our management processes. As ESG priorities have become more clearly defined and this holistic measure of business has evolved, we’ve been watching, listening, and learning. Now we’re joining the conversation in a more meaningful way: we’re defining, measuring, and creating formal strategies centered on ESG principles. What we’ve accomplished so far is only the beginning. We’ve already been successful, but we’re still at the start of our journey – one that will be further rooted in ESG platforms and concepts. One of our core company values is positive discontent. It pushes us to do more, be better, and have a greater positive impact in our world. Our new ambition to achieve  Net Zero greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 2050  is just the next step in our young journey. What started in 2019 as an effort to collect and analyze our company data for our first ESG Report continues today as an enterprise-wide business review that is expected to continue into 2023. In August, we created our new  Vice President of ESG and Chief Compliance Officer (CCO) position  and finished a multiple-department reorganization to form a new Risk & Compliance Department that reports to the new VP of ESG and CCO. This group will define and implement our ESG strategy, activities, monitoring, and compliance. As our enterprise-wide assessment continues, we will continue to review our processes in the context of the developing ESG landscape. We expect to identify further opportunities to reduce our environmental impact, and to make even greater operational reductions in energy, emissions, water, raw materials, and waste. We also expect to bolster our initiatives around diversity and inclusion, human capital, safety and health, and our governance objectives, among other areas. Our company has been based in ESG-related principles since the beginning. Each new chief executive introduced initiatives that strengthened our commitments to the environment, our people, and our processes. VIEW OUR 2021 ESG REPORT For more information about our 2021 ESG Report or if you have questions, contact us at  ESG@cintas.com or through your stakeholder communications platform. View additional multimedia and more ESG storytelling from Cintas on 3blmedia.com

July 06, 2022 10:30 AM Eastern Daylight Time

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Metaverse Summit: The First Women-Led Web3 Conference will Take Place in Paris

Metaverse Summit

Metaverse Summit is an International Convention that celebrates Metaverse's Technology and Creativity. The Metaverse Summit brings together leading metaverse entrepreneurs, builders, investors, and experts to discuss and collaborate on Metaverse's future. Centered around women's representation in Web3, the Metaverse Summit aims to promote diversity through the inclusivity of women in the technology and innovation sector. The core value of the Metaverse Summit community is knowledge sharing and transmission, which is the most sustainable way to develop a decentralized and fertile metaverse future. The Metaverse Summit will help individuals and businesses define their positioning and strategy in the future of technology by bridging the gap between Web2 and Web3. Early adoption is essential to creating an equitable Web3 and ensuring women are leading the way. Through the inclusion of women and underrepresented groups who are often relegated to secondary in the technology field, Metaverse Summit visions to open doors of diversity in the Web3 industry. “We are honored to host an international first-ever women-led Metaverse convention and festival in Paris. Web3 adoption is critical to the advancement of women, and Metaverse Summit is thrilled to contribute to this initiative.” said Yingzi Yuan, Founder of Metaverse Summit. As a veteran of the gaming and blockchain industry, Yingzi has been advocating for technology and innovation in content and creation. By initiating Metaverse Summit, she aims to bring to highlight the voice of females in the diverse sectors around Metaverse. Metaverse Summit initiated the ' Global Metaverse Startup Competition ', a startup selection and advisory program aimed at showcasing the next generation of Metaverse entrepreneurs and builders. The competition attracted over 150 startups, and a jury of investors and executives will choose the best of them to present at the Metaverse Summit in 2022. Metaverse Startup Award had various initiatives to encourage female entrepreneurs, providing thought leadership platforms for women and developing innovative solutions for organizations committed to closing the gender gap in the workplace. Investors will have the opportunity to meet the winners of the Metaverse Startup Competition and learn more about metaverse-related entrepreneurs and skills. “We're here to help brands, startups, and corporations, specifically women-owned, find their place and strategy in the Metaverse by facilitating the growth of various stakeholders in the industry. Through this platform, we are determined to advocate for equal representation of women in this industry and provide them with the opportunities they deserve.” stated Yingzi YUAN, Founder of Metaverse Summit. To encourage more females to share, learn, and build, Metaverse Summit is collaborating with H.E.R. DAO and Unstoppable Women Of Web3. “Unstoppable Women of Web3 (WOW3) is supporting the initiative of educating all in Web3 and the Metaverse. The future is female.” stated Sandy Carter, SVP of Unstoppable Domains. “Diversity is a great catalyst for Innovation and with this collaboration, we hope to encourage and support many more womxn to find their place in The Metaverse.” said Tracey Bowen, Founder of H.E.R. DAO. With a vision to build an inclusive web3 community, the two-day conference in Paris will feature several events, including seminars and training sessions by renowned business leaders and professionals. By showcasing the world’s leading female entrepreneurs and executives, Metaverse Summit will be able to educate and facilitate women's advancement in this next frontier, making them early adopters of what will soon be a widely accepted and used forum of the web. About Metaverse Summit Metaverse Summit gathers entrepreneurs, builders, investors, and experts to explore and build the future of Metaverse together. This year, Metaverse Summit is set to host the first female-founded web3 conference to explore and build Metaverse's future together. The two-day event on July 16th-17th, 2022, in Paris will be a unique moment for the international community to meet in person, discover new collaborations, and develop projects. Contact Details Metaverse Summit media@metaverse-summit.org

July 06, 2022 10:29 AM Eastern Daylight Time

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Minuteman Press Franchise Owners André and Cindie Nel Grow Business in Costa Mesa, CA

Minuteman Press International Inc

In January 2020, André and Cindie Nel realized their dream of owning a business in the US by purchasing their Minuteman Press franchise located at 2930 College Ave., Unit C in Costa Mesa. “We have both always been entrepreneurs at heart,” says Cindie. As a dynamic husband and wife duo, André and Cindie have combined their strengths to create a highly successful Minuteman Press business in Costa Mesa, California, with strong growth since buying the business during the pandemic and through to today. Journey from South Africa to Costa Mesa Hailing from South Africa, André, as part of an owner run business, built a significant multi temperature logistics and distribution company for several large US fast food franchise brands. Cindie, through her strong sales and account management skills, built an innovative telecommunications brand. Cindie shares, “André, recognizing the value in investing in leading US Franchise organizations, set about purchasing a franchise in the US. Minuteman Press International, with its solid track record and stellar reputation not only in the US but in other global markets including South Africa, made the Minuteman Press franchise opportunity a front runner. This, combined with André being a college marketing major and me being a public relations major, meant there was an obvious synergy in the commercial print world, and this made Minuteman Press the perfect business opportunity for us.” Now operating in Costa Mesa for over two and a half years, André and Cindie have fully integrated themselves and Minuteman Press into their community. André says, “Costa Mesa is an inclusive community with businesses choosing to shop and support local and we have seen huge benefits in both supporting and receiving local support. Support includes not only business but also sharing facilities and neighborhood responsibilities.” “With so much being ‘virtual’ in today’s society, print is still something tangible that people can touch and feel and use to connect more personally with potential and existing clients. If the pandemic has taught us anything, it is the importance of connecting with one another at every opportunity, be it postcards, brochures, apparel, signage, customized mailings, etc. Print is highly personal and society is craving more and not less of it.” -Cindie Nel, co-owner, Minuteman Press, Costa Mesa Building the Business in Costa Mesa To grow the business, André and Cindie have successfully differentiated themselves from the competition. André explains, “Earning our clients’ trust through personal service, quick turnarounds and over delivering on expectations sets us apart from our competitors. We’ve learned to understand each client’s specific requirements and tailor our solutions accordingly. Rather than be a ‘Jack of all Trades’ we strive to become an expert for their essential needs and grow into their requirements from there.” For Minuteman Press in Costa Mesa, key product growth areas include customized labels, stickers, books, and custom branded apparel. André says, “We’ve invested and skilled up in the label/sticker and book capabilities. We’ve realized the key is in-house, quick turnaround service. We are price competitive, however, not the cheapest in town. Our clients love our personal service, with pre-production samples and our ability to meet tight in-hand deadlines setting us apart from our larger competitors.” He continues, “We have also managed to grow our customized apparel business through a great partnership with a decorator with whom we work closely in understanding the balance between exceptional quality and meeting customer in hand dates.” When it comes to marketing the business, Cindie shares, “Our biggest growth initiatives have been online marketing through Google optimization, with our five-star Google Reviews being a massive contributing success factor. The Minuteman Press pedigree is also key in clients locating us through Internet search filters. Other major growth contributing factors have been personal networking and client referrals. One of our largest clients, a realty company, is a friend of ours and it’s rewarding to be a part of their marketing and business development success.” She adds, “When you’ve invested in paid Internet optimization and client referrals, it’s critical you answer the phone and email as quickly and as professionally as possible to ensure these opportunities are secured.” Why Minuteman Press? For André and Cindie, joining the Minuteman Press franchise family enabled them to realize their dream of owning a business while also providing additional resources and support. Cindie says, “Becoming integrated into the Minuteman Press franchise system has been seamless and successful due to the informative training at World HQ and the ongoing solid local support from our Regional VP Dan Byers and the local field team. Minuteman Press checks all the right boxes in terms of onboarding, operational and financial training, and franchise support.” She continues, “Additionally, where Minuteman Press hits the ball out the park is in the inclusive ‘Minuteman Press family’ culture where everyone supports each other in challenging times and cheers each other on and celebrates sincerely in each other’s achievements. This is what makes Minuteman Press the unique and special place that it is. During these unprecedented times we’ve all been facing, the kindness and generosity shown by our Minuteman Press family has been remarkable.” When asked about the rewards of business ownership, Cindie states, “Our biggest personal reward for owning our own business is that we get to remain connected with our children through time flexibility and the ability to support them financially. Our son, Ethan, is a Computer Science Engineering Major at UCSC. We love that we get to visit him and the beautiful campus and town of Santa Cruz. Our daughter, Madison, a Junior at San Clemente High School, is an aspiring actress and we love having the time and ability to share her dreams and passions.” Cindie adds, “Our professional rewards are how our clients have become our partners and friends resulting in doubling the turnover of our business in the brief two and a half years we’ve owned our shop. This has been achieved with the mindset that every project is about how we can add value to our clients’ businesses or employees. Without our strategic relationships with our suppliers and service providers this would be impossible, so we therefore value, support and deeply invest in these companies who are an extension of our family.” Advice to Others For others who are looking into owning a business, Cindie shares, “Our advice to business owners is to do as we did; learn from the best. The key to success is to know your local market and client base and to let them dictate what and how much to invest in in-house capabilities.” She concludes, “Become experts in your field. Never hand over a job that is anything less than exceptional and also package and label your orders in the manner that you as a client would like to receive them. Always be excited and enthusiastic about every job you do for your client and rewards will follow!” Minuteman Press in Costa Mesa is located at 2930 College Ave., Unit C, Costa Mesa, CA 92626. For more information, visit their website: https://minuteman.com/us/locations/ca/costa-mesa/ Learn more about #1 rated Minuteman Press franchise opportunities at https://minutemanpressfranchise.com. Contact Details Minuteman Press International Chris Biscuiti +1 631-249-1370 cbiscuiti@mpihq.com Company Website https://minutemanpressfranchise.com

July 06, 2022 10:00 AM Eastern Daylight Time

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Cloud Learning Market Heats Up With This New Development

Amesite Inc.

Amesite Inc. (NASDAQ: AMST) is an artificial intelligence (AI) software company delivering an online learning platform and custom learning content creation for businesses, universities, nonprofits and government agencies. Amesite solutions include end-to-end infrastructure, reportedly allowing organizations to seamlessly create branded learning content and online courses. https://clients.tradigitalir.com/amst/ Amesite has just announced the launch of its upgraded, V5 cloud-based learning platform. The newest addition will contain many of the same features as the previous V4 model but with even more improvements. The company says that V5 now includes e-commerce solutions, online portals and learning systems in a box — new learning solutions can be branded to organizations in as quickly as 24 hours. It also offers further capabilities for integrations with other third-party software and partner sites. These features will be presented with an upgraded set of navigation buttons, allowing customers using the site to move more easily throughout the learning system. Designed For A Rewarding Experience? One of the reported hallmarks of Amesite is its feature-rich, intuitively designed platform. Users have a number of high-technology tools at their disposal. Amesite also has a goal of being strongly dedicated to ensuring its solutions are up-to-date and as modernized as possible. It looks to ensure content on the platform can be easily updated and regularly introduces new upgrades and features. Amesite says the latest V5 platform was developed out of direct feedback from current customers. Many were focused on scaling but didn’t have the resources to implement a whole IT department or hire contractors. Instead, Amesite developed V5 to fill this growing need. Through Amesite, users are already able to create customized courses and learning programs adapted to their organization’s audience. Many can opt to build courses from scratch or integrate their own content onto the platform. Amesite states that its technology helps ensure content is up-to-date and that necessary upgrades can be integrated seamlessly. The platform also enables active course monitoring, customer service and other infrastructure measures that support organizations as they scale. When Amesite was initially launched in 2017, the company was hyper-focused on last-mile delivery. This meant success was measured by each student’s ability to complete their educational journey. Since then, Amesite has grown to cater to an ever-growing array of online educational needs. The new V5 platform is the latest update in Amesite’s aim to lead the online learning market for businesses and other institutions. By 2026, the global e-learning market is expected to reach almost $400 billion. Other key players within this space include Coursera Inc. (NYSE: COUR) and Powerschool Holdings Inc. (NYSE: PWSC). Amesite has developed a number of strategic industry partnerships. For instance, the platform is hosted on Microsoft Corp. (NASDAQ: MSFT) Azure Cloud. Amesite reports that it also serves a number of elite organizations, including the City University of New York (CUNY) and EWIE Group of Companies (EGC), and proudly boasts a 98% retention rate. Learn more about Amesite here. Amesite Inc., an artificial intelligence driven platform and course designer, provides online products in the United States. The company uses machine learning to offer a mass customized experience to learners. Its customers include businesses, universities and colleges, K-12 schools, and non-profit organizations. The company was incorporated in 2017 and is headquartered in Detroit, Michigan. This post contains sponsored advertising content. This content is for informational purposes only and not intended to be investing advice. Contact Details Amesite, Inc. +1 734-876-8141 info@amesite.com Company Website http://www.amesite.io

July 06, 2022 10:00 AM Eastern Daylight Time

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The Path to Net Zero Offers Companies New Opportunities

TriplePundit

Over a fifth of the world’s largest companies have pledged to reach net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. Any such commitment to eliminate a company’s emissions within a generation, however, often creates more questions than answers — chief among them: Where does a company and its team of employees even start? The Netherlands-based health, nutrition and bioscience firm DSM says it has a plan. Based on the numbers it has racked up so far, the company may very well offer others a model on how to craft a net-zero program. “When we look beyond our current targets, getting to net zero really boils down to process, product innovation and substituting materials, often requiring extensive collaboration across value chains,” said Salla Sulasuo, DSM’s global climate lead. A starting point on the road to net zero DSM’s path toward net zero can be traced back to 2018 when the company announced a set of goals designed to tackle its greenhouse gas emissions. Working with the Science Based Targets Initiative (SBTi), the company was able to formulate goals for its Scope 1, 2 and 3 emissions, develop rigorous criteria, establish strong internal governance processes, and arrive at an effective monitoring system – all of which allows the company to manage GHG reductions in a systematic way. “We are also constantly updating our targets based on scientific insights from the likes of IPCC [the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change], and in 2021 we accelerated our commitment to reach a 50 percent emissions reduction from operations by 2030 compared to 2016,” Sulasuo told 3p. In the grand scheme of things, Scope 1 emissions — the direct emissions a company generates from its own operations — lend themselves to a five- or 10-year plan. The same goes for Scope 2, or indirect emissions that result from the generation of the electricity a company purchases. Where it gets difficult is when it comes to Scope 3 — which encompasses all other emissions across a company’s value chain — and here is where DSM says it has a robust plan and roadmap toward reducing those emissions over the next several years. Scope 3: Challenges and opportunities Scope 3 emissions — which stem from a company’s value chain or supply chain, from raw materials sourcing through the end of a product’s life — have proven to be a challenge for any company embarking on a net zero transition. DSM is not alone in this challenge, as like many companies its Scope 3 emissions comprise the largest part of its total greenhouse gas footprint. On that point, DSM is working on engaging its supply chain through initiatives such as its CO2Reduce program, which gathers insights and other information such as product-level climate data. The result offers a tool with which DSM can partner with suppliers on various projects to sort out where exactly they can decrease emissions. “It is important to understand where we can get the lowest carbon footprint inputs. It goes beyond simply collecting information; it is also about knowledge sharing,” Sulasuo explained. “For us, it is important to work upstream and downstream — with suppliers and customers — to genuinely address our maximum impact in the total value chain.” The close engagement with suppliers and customers, as well as the mining of data while monitoring emissions, generates various benefits. One of them is the ability to roll out more sustainable and climate-friendly products. In addition, DSM can keep honing and improving its methodology for evaluating more accurate lifecycle assessments of farm operations across its value chain. “Close cooperation with customers in a consultative manner allows us to identify hotspots in their emissions footprint and take corrective action,” Sulasuo added. Energy efficiency can’t be overlooked Energy efficiency is an important component of reaching any net zero target, and as such it’s a key focus for the GHG reduction team at DSM. In 2021, the company’s energy-efficiency improvement on primary energy was 6 percent compared to 2020, far exceeding DSM’s original goal. That improvement was largely thanks to a portfolio of energy-saving projects the company first piloted at various sites and then rolled out more broadly last year, Sulasuo explained. The company also saw benefits such as cost savings and water savings from bringing these efficiency programs to more of its sites around the world. Among some of the projects that witnessed lower energy consumption were improvements in steam and hot oil systems and upgrades for chilling equipment. Last year, DSM accelerated replacements of aged and low-efficiency cooling with state-of-the-art machines, including the installation of low global warming potential (GWP) refrigerants in China and France. Other new technologies include the deployment of an industrial heat pump in Exton, Pennsylvania, where heat from a cooling machine is now captured to pre-heat boiler feed water. For a global company like DSM, it’s indeed a challenge to identify all the opportunities for energy-efficiency improvements across sites. “It can feel like a monumental task, but we have teams in place at each site tasked with leading this issue,” Sulasuo said. “Timing is always part of the challenge to make the business case for certain immediate reductions. But the payback periods for these kinds of projects are typically not very long, particularly at current energy prices, so these investments have ultimately been very well received. What I like to keep in mind is that it is about incremental improvement: All these small streams end up having a big, positive impact in aggregate.” A net zero strategy can help boost employee engagement Employees are an important part of any net zero strategy, as such a plan cannot be completed by the work of the C-suite or a company’s sustainability team alone. That is certainly true at DSM. Making it clear to employees that they are an important part of the company’s net zero plan can also help keep teams motivated, Sulasuo told 3p. “For us, it is not just an effort from a few people, but it is really a large group of individuals working on this,” she explained. “We strive for every employee to have an understanding of what they can do to make this happen, whether it is on helping to reduce emissions at their roles wherever they are, at the office or at the factory or in the laboratory. It is important for them to have this pride and awareness of what we are trying to achieve.” Bottom line: A net zero plan requires all hands, and all departments, on deck. “We are trying to make sustainability part of everyone's job,” Sulasuo insisted as she wrapped up the interview with 3p. “Within our functions and business groups there is now an individual or team that is responsible for sustainability — whether it is finance, procurement, innovation or production.” This article series is sponsored by DSM Animal Nutrition and Health. Image credit: View additional multimedia and more ESG storytelling from TriplePundit on 3blmedia.com

July 06, 2022 09:35 AM Eastern Daylight Time

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Business-led Solutions to Combat Climate Change

GRI

July 6, 2022 /3BL Media/ - How is sustainability reporting supporting efforts to mitigate the effects of climate change, or protect the oceans? In the latest two episodes of SDGs: The Rising Tide, experts in sustainable development and business set out to address this question – and other pressing issues on how companies can enable climate action and show accountability for their impacts on the marine environment. The regular podcast series from GRI delves into the challenges and opportunities of business reporting on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). SDG 13: Climate Action This episode explores how data and insights achieved through sustainability reporting help to measure organizational impacts on climate, and the environment more broadly. Mindy Lubber, President and CEO of Ceres, and Giulia Genuardi, Head of Sustainability Planning, Performance Management and Human Rights at Enel, share their views. A key focus of their discussion is on the well-established relationship between improving corporate disclosure and securing stronger financial results, and the enabling role of reporting frameworks. Mindy explains: “Currently, we are on a journey to get aligned, so that we do not have five different standard-setters, but only one or two. Alignment in language is also important. In 2004, we hosted our first Investors Summit on Climate Risk, inviting all the largest investors in the world. Back then, investors simply did not know what we were talking about and the impact of the environment-related issues on their portfolios. Now, of course, every one of the major financial firms does nothing but put out reports on the financial implications of climate.” Giulia agrees that alignment of standards is necessary, to ensure greater transparency by companies on climate impacts. She shares: “We have to define common guidelines – a sort of ‘common sense’ – for measuring and reporting but, at the same time, ensure the differences in language because of varied sustainability contexts around the world. At Enel, we have the same targets in different parts and sectors of the company – including the strategy, our sustainability plan, remuneration plan as well as financial instruments. That way, we are totally aligned with our purpose.” SDG 14: Life Below Water In this episode, we hear from Kate Bonzon, Vice President of the Oceans Global Initiatives at the Environmental Defense Fund, and Lene Serpa, Head of Corporate Sustainability and ESG at Maersk. They consider the current state of the world’s oceans and explore the key issues related to overfishing and the mismanagement of water resources. As Kate highlights: “Our oceans and fisheries are in trouble. The single biggest threat to the oceans is climate change. Overfishing is also taking a huge toll. Together, these two challenges are putting strain on our fisheries, marine ecosystems and food supply.” In the second half of the episode, Lene identifies how corporate strategy influences reaching ESG goals and targets, including the SDGs: “If you look at the SDGs, the greatest impact that Maersk can have is on decarbonization, which, in itself, will have an effect on improving the general health of the oceans. Of course, our ambitious goals drive greater focus on data and reporting, as we need to be able to standardize and quantify the areas where we might have negative impact. Reporting is also helping us to identify our strategic direction and opportunities.” The Rising Tide can be accessed on Spotify, Apple, and Google podcast. GRI would like to thank the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida) for supporting this project. Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) is the independent, international organization that helps businesses and other organizations take responsibility for their impacts, by providing the global common language to report those impacts. The GRI Standards are developed through a multi-stakeholder process and provided as a free public good. View additional multimedia and more ESG storytelling from GRI on 3blmedia.com

July 06, 2022 09:30 AM Eastern Daylight Time

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Ecocentricity Blog - Solving the Intermittency Challenge: The Importance of Grid Storage as Renewable Electricity Rises

Ray C. Anderson Foundation

Intermittency. It’s the Achilles heel of renewable energy, and though it might sound fancy and complicated, it’s really a simple concept. Because the sun doesn’t always shine and the wind doesn’t always blow, these forms of electricity generation do not deliver a constant flow of energy. They are intermittent, and so we cannot rely upon them for the steady “base load” demand for electricity that exists in each region of our country. For some people, intermittency is the reason they are opposed to accelerating the adoption of renewable energy. For others, including myself, intermittency is simply an obstacle to be overcome. Intermittency - More of a “Tomorrow” Problem than a “Today” One The obvious question is, “How?” I’ll spend some time looking at a couple of answers to that question, but I want to start first by saying that intermittency is not really a problem - at least not yet. As of now, wind and solar only make up a small percentage of electricity generation in the country. We call this their “grid penetration,” and in 2020, wind and solar had national penetrations of 8.4% and 2.3% respectively. At those percentages, the intermittency of renewables gets smoothed out. It’s kind of like if you substitute honey for sugar when making a batch of cookies. If you only replaced 10% of the sugar with honey, you might not notice a change in the flavor. As you replace more sugar with honey though, you’ll eventually get to a point where your tastebuds notice the difference. In that respect, intermittency is an impediment to the scalability of renewable forms of electricity generation. We need to solve it in order to have a grid that can accommodate higher and higher percentages of renewables and their more variable form of power. Fortunately, we have a few arrows in our quiver for this particular challenge. The Various Ways We Can Increase Grid Flexibility The folks at Resources for the Future have a handy explainer article on renewables and how they integrate with the grid. The whole thing is worth a read, but I want to lift up in particular the five bullet points they list at the end. They represent a list of ways that we can increase grid flexibility, which is another way of saying that we can accommodate the intermittency of renewable forms of electricity. One of them is to build more (I would add “and better” as an important qualifier as well) transmission lines. If we have better linkages between the places where wind and solar are the least intermittent and the places where we need to use electricity, that would reduce the uncertainty in adding more wind and solar to the grid. Another example is to combine different sources of renewable energy. Blending sources smoothes out variability, just as diversifying types of investment classes smoothes out the volatility in financial portfolios. Sure, the sun may not always shine and the wind may not always blow, but by having both types balanced on the grid, you’re more likely to have at least some electrons produced at all times. They mention demand-side management as well, also known as demand response, which can help smooth out the variability of electricity demand in general. A grid could accommodate the intermittency of renewables a lot easier if it didn’t also have to accommodate the variability of when we use electricity. In my opinion though, the big one is the first bullet point they mention - energy storage. Or to use another word - batteries. Why Lithium Ion Batteries Are King of the Hill In recent years, we’ve seen lithium ion batteries burst onto the technology scene in earnest. They power most of our computers, our phones, our electric vehicles, and even some of our homes. Why, exactly, have they become such a prevalent form of battery? That’s actually a big question warranting its own blog post, but for now, I’ll sum it up this way - they work well, and they’ve successfully come down the cost curve. To that former part, take a look at this information provided by the University of Washington’s Clean Energy Institute. The graphic halfway down the page does a good job of showing how lithium ion batteries outcompete other types of chemical batteries in both specific energy density (amount of energy for a given battery weight) and volumetric energy density (amount of energy for a given battery size). And as to that cost curve part, lithium ion batteries cost 97% less than they did when first introduced commercially in 1991. For all of their dominance though, lithium ion batteries still are not being used broadly to store electricity for the grid. The reason is because, as good and cheap as they’ve become, they aren’t good enough or cheap enough yet to be attractive for grid storage. That might change going forward - they could continue to fall down the cost curve and get us there. But are they the Obi-Wan Kenobi of grid storage? Are they our only hope? Other Battery Types That are in the Game, and Which Might Just Win It No, they aren’t. I’m going to be keeping my eye on an entirely different type of battery that could be suitable for grid storage, and it’s called a flow battery. With this type of battery, two different solutions (usually liquids) are pumped through the system, with the solutions separated by a thin membrane. Ions are exchanged across this membrane, which means electricity flows, but the two solutions do not mix. They are rechargeable, but they can also function like a fuel cell in that the solutions can be removed when their energy is spent and replaced with new ones. There are a couple of potential advantages that flow batteries might have over lithium ion batteries at scale. The first is that flow batteries tend to use more abundant, cheaper, and safer materials than lithium ion batteries. Another is that flow batteries could offer longer durations of energy storage than lithium does currently. One company to watch is ESS Inc., a publicly traded company whose iron flow battery has been deployed here in the United States and is now heading across the pond too. Another to watch is Form Energy. Earlier this year, the Massachusetts-based company announced a pilot with Georgia Power to deploy their iron-air battery technology. They describe their battery process as “reversible rusting.” The battery discharges by introducing oxygen to iron metal, causing it to rust. Then the application of an electric current reverses that process, expelling oxygen and effectively recharging the batteries. They are boasting 100 hours of energy storage with these batteries, which could be revolutionary in the grid-storage game. None of these technologies are a surefire bet. Ultimately, they are competing not with each other so much as they are competing with natural gas, and until there is a price on carbon, the deck will be stacked against them. All the same, they offer multiple reasons for hope that we can, some day, fully solve the intermittency challenge of wind and solar. View additional multimedia and more ESG storytelling from Ray C. Anderson Foundation on 3blmedia.com

July 06, 2022 09:30 AM Eastern Daylight Time

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How Juneteenth Celebrations Highlight Freedom and Equality

Duke Energy

Along with Juneteenth picnics, parades and other celebrations, museums around the country are taking the opportunity to educate and inspire people about freedom and justice. The Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts + Culture in Charlotte joins another museum in Duke Energy’s service area – the Underground Railroad Freedom Center in Cincinnati – and other institutions to commemorate Juneteenth through BLKFREEDOM.org and the second annual Virtual Juneteenth celebration. These institutions have each produced short films interpreting the meaning of “ We the People,” from the preamble to the U.S. Constitution. In We the People, each museum chose a theme for their film. The Freedom Center selected “Persevere” as its theme. The Gantt Center partnered with South Carolina-based visual artist Frankie Zombie to produce a film around the theme of “Create,” which shows how the process of creating art represents freedom for him and opportunity for all people. Juneteenth takes its name from the date in summer of 1865 (June 19) when Union Gen. Gordon Granger arrived in Galveston, Texas, and informed the state’s 250,000 black slaves they were free. It was 2½ years after President Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation freeing slaves held in the Confederate states and two months after Gen. Robert E. Lee’s surrender to Gen. Ulysses S. Grant ended the Civil War. Juneteenth was initially recognized in Texas. “Freedom Day” became a federal holiday in 2021. “Engaging communities around Juneteenth is important part of American history and American culture,” said Afeni Grace, educational initiatives and public programs manager at the Gantt Center. “The holiday is a symbol of freedom, liberty and justice, which are all at the foundation of American ideals. It is beautiful example of celebrating that and remembering that what true freedom is.” Duke Energy's employee resource group, Advocates for African Americans, encourages teammates to attend events in their area to participate. Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer Cameron McDonald said: “As a company, our vision is to create a culture of inclusion and belonging. We believe it’s important to support our local communities, and our employee resource groups play a big role in connecting and reflecting the communities we serve.” Grace said the lessons from Juneteenth are as still important today. “The current issues we see in our communities with social justice are rooted in this history,” said Grace. “Juneteenth allows us as an American people to reflect on what freedom truly is and how freedom is not simply reserved for a certain type or class of people – but for all of us." View original content here. View additional multimedia and more ESG storytelling from Duke Energy on 3blmedia.com

July 06, 2022 09:25 AM Eastern Daylight Time

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Cummins' Environmental Month Educates and Empowers Employees on Climate Strategy

Cummins Inc.

July 6, 2022 /3BL Media/ Cummins Inc. last week wrapped up its 9 th annual June Environmental Month, a four-week series of seminars, presentations and more to help employees learn about the company’s commitment to a healthy planet, and the important role they play in implementing it. Discussion topics ranged from climate change to environmental justice as well as the state of PLANET 2050, the global power leader’s environmental sustainability strategy, and Destination Zero, Cummins’ newest initiative to guide its decarbonization journey. “It is very exciting to see how Cummins has embraced our PLANET 2050 goals and announced important efforts so we can do our part to preserve clean air, available water and a sustainable planet for future generations to enjoy,” said Vice President Jim Fier, the company’s Chief Technical Officer, in a note to employees introducing this month’s activities. Cummins is committed to taking a leadership role on the world’s climate challenges, working with other stakeholders to take action. The company is reducing the carbon produced by its core products, including internal combustion engines, while bringing to market the new technologies that will power the future, including battery-electric platforms and hydrogen fuel cells.  This year’s kick-off event was a presentation by Cummins board member Dr. Franklin Chang Diaz, a former NASA astronaut and founder, Chairman and CEO of the Ad Astra Rocket Company. Ad Astra is a leading spaceflight technology company dedicated to the development of advanced plasma rocket propulsion. Chang Diaz and Ad Astra have been pioneers in exploring the potential of green hydrogen as a no-carbon fuel to address the world’s climate issues. Chang Diaz shared his perspectives on various technologies and the best course of action to address the environmental challenges the world faces. About 1,300 employees watched the live event or a video recorded of it. Environmental Month also served as an opportunity to discuss how Destination Zero aligns to PLANET 2050 and the company’s business strategy. Cummins’ PLANET 2050 strategy includes nine environmental goals timed to 2030. In addition to the new goals, PLANET 2050 also includes the aspiration to power customer success with net-zero emissions technology by 2050. Destination Zero is the company’s strategy to achieve that aspiration in a way that serves all of the company’s stakeholders. Company leaders believe the global drive to reduce carbon is a growth opportunity for Cummins.  Even employees who do not have a role directly tied to the company’s products can be part of the PLANET 2050 initiative by volunteering on a community-based environmental project or joining Cummins’ PLANET 2050 Influencer program, designed to raise awareness about the company’s environmental efforts. Nearly 250 employees have volunteered for the influencer program, so far. Brian Mormino, Cummins’ Executive Director of Technical Environmental Systems, told employees attending his Environmental Month presentation that PLANET 2050 aligns seamlessly with Destination Zero, which connects with the company’s business strategy. “Together, they provide a path to making a positive impact on the environmental challenges we face that aligns with Cummins’ mission to make people’s lives better by powering a more prosperous world,” Mormino said. “We can’t have a prosperous world without clean air, water and land, and every employee has a role to play.” View additional multimedia and more ESG storytelling from Cummins Inc. on 3blmedia.com

July 06, 2022 09:20 AM Eastern Daylight Time

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