first_imgThe task force analyzed the data they were gathering from participating shelters and police reports and discovered that while 911 emergency calls were decreasing across many cities, those related to domestic violence were increasing. Anurudran and her growing team of 80 members helped connect shelters across the U.S. so that organizations in various parts of the country could share successful strategies. The task force also got involved in policy and advocacy efforts, such as placing informational flyers in grocery stores and pharmacies, partnering with food-distribution programs to discreetly provide resources in grocery packages, and submitting op-eds to local newspapers.“The roots of domestic and gender-based violence are the same across all contexts, but we have the tools to prevent and respond to it everywhere,” she said.Anurudran has been passionate about violence prevention since childhood, moved by her parents’ experiences surviving a civil war in Sri Lanka before immigrating to the U.S. At Harvard College, she studied economics and global health while working at the Office of Sexual Assault Prevention and Response. She also founded Empower to Eliminate, an organization that works with local NGOs in Kisumu, Kenya, to develop and implement a gender-based violence prevention program for high-risk children.Anurudran hopes that more people will come to recognize the warning signs of domestic violence and know what to do when they see them. “Reaching out in an unsafe way can escalate an unsafe situation and make it worse,” she said. “As we think about responsible allyship, we need to educate people in exactly how and when to help survivors. Open-minded communication is key; letting them know you’re always there for them, no matter what.”Connecting volunteers with clinical trialsRaj Kapoor, M.B.A. ’96World Without COVIDAfter Raj Kapoor contracted COVID-19 in March, he shared his diagnosis on social media to help combat stigma and provide emotional support for others dealing with the virus. He wanted to get involved in research efforts, but was frustrated by a lack of clear information about how to sign up for clinical trials, a common issue that hampers efforts to develop effective treatments.Raj Kapoor.Kapoor decided to create a registry that would match people to local trials for COVID-19. He envisioned a free service that would connect volunteers — both those who have recovered from the virus and those who have not been exposed to it — with ways to participate in research near their homes, without stigma.As chief strategy officer for Lyft, Kapoor was eager to translate strategies from the business world to streamline public health efforts. “Persistency and speed are two things I’ve learned from the tech ecosystem,” he said. “It’s easy to give up because of bureaucracy moving too slowly, but if you can impress upon others a sense of urgency, then things will happen.”A Harvard Business School classmate, Jennifer Fonstad, M.B.A. ’96, introduced him to Clara Health, a startup that was already making connections between clinical trials and volunteers for a range of diseases. Two weeks later, they launched World Without COVID, a free public health service that matches volunteers with opportunities to participate in vaccine and treatment trials, as well as antibody testing and blood plasma donations across the U.S. and internationally.Kapoor’s wife, Lydia, a physician, had also recovered from COVID-19 and wanted to help find ways to shorten delays in the research community — especially surrounding blood plasma donations — so that they could both give. As they investigated further, they found that around 80 percent of clinical research was slowed down by inadequate patient recruitment. “For patients, it can be such a complicated process,” said Kapoor. “We’re trying to accelerate the end of the pandemic by speeding up clinical trials on testing, treatments, and vaccines.”Since launching World Without COVID this spring, their work has grown from connecting patients to a handful of trials to more than 1,400 trials and counting. With so many people eager to help, Kapoor emphasized that medical researchers need a wide variety of volunteers — not just those who have recovered from COVID-19 — and encouraged the Harvard community to sign up for the registry. “If we can fill these trials up faster, we can make an impact,” he said.Nourishing communityJacob Bindman ’19SF New DealAs the pandemic shuttered restaurants across San Francisco and left food-insecure residents even more vulnerable, Jacob Bindman teamed up with local bakery owner Lenore Estrada to create SF New Deal, an organization that puts restaurants together with community organizations to provide free meals throughout the city. On their first day, they made and delivered 100 sandwiches. Since then, they have scaled up in a big way, collaborating with over 20 restaurants to deliver 48,000 meals per week to communities in need.,From the beginning, SF New Deal’s dual focus has been to support restaurants economically while partnering with community organizations such as Citywide Case Management, which offers mental health resources to communities in need, and the San Francisco African American Faith-Based Coalition, a network of 21 Black churches across the city. Bindman said SF New Deal serves as a centralized resource to connect restaurants with 18 groups providing food support for San Francisco residents and to foster these relationships for years to come.The expertise and inspiration of community leaders were essential in getting the project off the ground. Bindman said individuals such as Mindy Oppenheim of Citywide and Veronica Shepard of the African American Faith-Based Coalition “demonstrate to me in so many ways how to build the community you want to be a part of … with open communication and trust.”Bindman, who studied architecture and applied math at Harvard, had worked in the food service industry and was inspired to research Harvard’s dining program as an undergraduate. This experience helped him in his new role as service operations lead for SF New Deal.As he built out roles across the organization, Bindman reached out to two friends based in San Francisco — Eloi Le Roux ’17, who helps with technical operations, and Jeremy Welborn ’18, who works directly with restaurant owners — as well as Molly Leavens ’19, who works remotely from Utah as a community captain, calling restaurants every week to collect feedback.Bindman said that his goal now is to bring together business owners, restaurants, community organizations, and city leaders to work out a long-term solution for food insecurity in the city. “The issues we’re working to address right now have long been happening across San Francisco and across the United States,” he said. “Seeing the community come together to find a solution has been incredibly inspiring.” A COVID-19 battle with many fronts In the trenches As the COVID-19 pandemic has escalated, Harvard alumni have acted swiftly, often in creative ways, to help those in need, pitching in with everything from participating in research efforts and volunteering in hospitals to spearheading public health campaigns and donating personal protective equipment (PPE). The Gazette spoke to three — Ashri Anurudran ’19, Raj Kapoor, M.B.A. ’96, and Jacob Bindman ’19 — who each called upon Harvard friends and mentors to help them tackle issues worsened by the crisis, including domestic violence, clinical trial recruitment, and food insecurity.Providing a lifeline when home is unsafeAshri Anurudran ’19COVID-19 Task Force on Domestic ViolenceAshri Anurudran was finishing coursework for her master’s degree in public health at the University of Cambridge when the pandemic hit. On her flight home to Houston, the crew handed passengers forms from the CDC asking where they had traveled, whether they had symptoms, and where they were planning to quarantine. Anurudran, a violence-prevention advocate, was struck by the absence of one question: “Why doesn’t anyone ask me if I’m going home to a safe place?” she wondered.Ashri Anurudran.The next day, she began looking up resources for those experiencing domestic violence during lockdown, and found that it wasn’t easy to access information. This motivated Anurudran, a former Cheng Fellow at Harvard Kennedy School’s Social Innovation + Change Initiative, to form the COVID-19 Task Force on Domestic Violence, a team of students and activists who created an internet database of resources and research for those in unsafe homes and those who want to help.“I realized that staying at home [during the lockdown] provides worse outcomes for people experiencing domestic violence,” Anurudran said. “I wanted to find a way to help as many of these resilient survivors — and their allies — as possible.”Many survivors of domestic violence face a harrowing choice: either quarantine in a dangerous home, or leave and increase the risk of infection. Making matters worse, most public health guidance does not address their situation, and they often encounter obstacles to getting help. The task force aims to make information freely accessible to educate and connect survivors, health care providers, teachers, and supporters, as well as promote collaboration across shelters and community organizations.To get the project off the ground, Anurudran reached out to friends, including Katherine Harrison ’19, who built the website, along with faculty mentors Thomas Burke, associate professor at Harvard Medical School, Vandana Sharma, project director for the External Evaluation of the Disasters and Emergencies Preparedness Programme at the Harvard Humanitarian Initiative, and Jeffrey Miron, director of undergraduate studies in the Department of Economics, to identify information gaps and lead virtual seminars. Many survivors of domestic violence face a harrowing choice: either quarantine in a dangerous home, or leave and increase the risk of infection. Alumni spearhead public health campaigns, data visualization maps, and outbreak plans for Native American tribal leaders Three physicians in three distinct settings detail life in the midst of pandemic Harvard students, alumni, faculty, and staff from the nationwide ‘To Serve Better’ project reflect on how coronavirus is affecting their communities center_img Related To Serve Better Stories of people committed to public purpose and to making a positive difference in communities throughout the country. The collective effort The Daily Gazette Sign up for daily emails to get the latest Harvard news. Explorelast_img read more


first_imgAs we near the finish line of the 2018 partner program, I wanted to take a moment to reflect on what a phenomenal year it has been. When I stepped in to lead Global Channel, OEM & IoT just over a year ago, I spent my very first day in role at a Partner Advisory Board. I can vividly remember the enthusiasm that was in the room that day, for our collective futures and the opportunity in front of us. This was an opportunity to learn from dozens of strategic partners and get a true assessment of what was going well, and where I would need to place my efforts in the coming months. It was exciting, invigorating, energizing on that day, and remains just as much so today.In all the conversations I’ve had with partners this year, I’ve continued to be amazed by their commitment and active participation. We treat your feedback as a gift and it helps inform our priorities, raise the bar and leap beyond the status quo. Thanks to you, today we are better delivering on our promise to be Simple. Predictable. Profitable.™Simple.Your feedback shaped our #1 priority for the year: make it easier to do more business with Dell Technologies. Earlier this year we appointed Darren Sullivan to lead a team focused on transforming our partner tools and processes. We’ve made some big improvements: accelerating accurate quoting, getting you the best price faster, reducing exceptions and fast-tracking rebate and MDF payment. But we’re not done. This remains one of my top priorities and you’ll continue to see more improvements and results through 2019.We are also focused on making it easier for you to do more business across the full Dell Technologies’ family of brands. We recently kicked off a pilot of the Dell Technologies Partner Framework, helping us test and expand the program in the coming years. The goal is to offer you a fully operational Dell Technologies’ status and benefits, business execution, and centralized resourcing. This is the framework of the future – supporting your transformative selling motion.Predictable. You asked for more predictable engagement with the Dell core sales team, and we took that feedback to heart. This year we launched the Partner Preferred Program, designed to help you drive new business with more competitive discounts, a revenue true-up for our sales teams to mitigate friction, and most importantly, partner of record protection. Plus, we’ve updated our processes around Rules of Engagement, so Dell’s regional sales leaders and the channel leadership team have full visibility to enforce consistent guidelines. Going forward, we’re looking at new, predictable forms of account protection. Stay tuned for that in the new fiscal year.Profitable.Our storage portfolio was a key focus area and we’ve listened attentively to your feedback. We’ve concentrated efforts on making you more profitable with programs such as Partner Preferred, Competitive Swap and Tech Refresh.  We’ve simplified our portfolio positioning, launched proof of concept and Demo unit programs and introduced new products, like PowerMax, to address competitive threats. Thanks to your guidance and these new programs, the Dell Technologies channel is on fire. In Q3, storage order revenue was up 12% Y/Y, server revenue was up 38%, client revenue was up 13% Y/Y. Partners were rewarded lucratively for their successes, especially when they sold the full portfolio. In fact, partners who sold all three lines of business earned 8x the revenue as compared to partners selling two lines of business, and 21x the revenue as compared to partners who sold only one line of business.These highlights only scratch the surface of what partners have helped us accomplish this year. Your feedback also helped us win awards, create new Partner Technical Advisory Boards and become a more trusted partner. Not to mention, over the past year the Dell Technologies Global Channel has delivered $49 billion in orders.* We have you to thank for this incredible success.Looking towards Program Year 2019:All new beginnings hold infinite possibilities, and 2019 is no different. It’s the year of the data-driven digital ecosystem, when we’ll continue to unlock the power of data to deliver value to businesses in ways never imagined a few short years ago. 5G will come to life, edge computing will kick into high gear and Gen Z will enter the workforce with higher technical expectations and sophistication than any generation before. Through all this change, Dell Technologies will be by your side, helping you deliver transformational solutions and navigate unchartered territories. Together, we’ll help our customers reach new heights.In 2019, we will continue to work tirelessly to be seen as the best in your eyes. With your guidance and partnership, we’re raising the bar on what it means to be Simple. Predictable. Profitable.™As we close out the 2018 Program year, I have a few asks of you:Finish Q4 strong. Stay focused on new business, storage and services.View the Program Tracker to ensure you’ve met your desired tier’s revenue and training requirements.Register for the February 6th Dell EMC Partner Program broadcast, where we’ll announce the details of the 2019 program and initiativesRegister for Global Partner Summit, our biggest Dell EMC Partner event of the year.We have the partners, the portfolio, the plans and the determination to take a #GiantLeapForward. Let’s make 2019 our best year yet.*Based on trailing twelve months (TTM) order run rate as of Q3FY19last_img read more


first_img Joseph Gordon-Levitt Like MacFarlane, Gordon-Levitt has never starred in a musical before, so having him tackle a leading role live on TV is admittedly a risk. But did you see him nail “Make ‘Em Laugh” live on SNL? We think he’s definitely up to the task. View Comments Norbert Leo Butz This two-time Tony winner had charisma coming out his ears in Broadway’s Big Fish (and, let’s face it, in every role he’s ever played) so we think he’d be a fantastic choice to win over the town of River City, Iowa, as the smooth-talking Harold Hill. Seth MacFarlane The Family Guy creator already proven his penchant for the patter: He sang “Ya Got Trouble” on BBC’s Proms and has rocked “The Sadder But Wiser Girl” at his concerts. We hope Fox will let NBC borrow him for the evening, because he’s been our top choice to play Harold Hill for years! Santino Fontana After surprising us with his vocal chops in Cinderella, we’d love to see Act One star Santino Fontana organize a boys’ marching band for the fine folks of River City. But if this happens, NBC, you must make us a deal: Laura Osnes will play Marian “the Librarian” Paroo. This is absolutely non-negotiable. Star Filescenter_img Gavin Creel Two-time Tony nominee Gavin Creel just snagged an Olivier Award for his performance in The Book of Mormon in the West End, and we think it’s high time he made a trip home. Now that he’s traveled the world as a Mormon missionary, it’s the perfect opportunity for him to make a pit stop in Iowa and swindle unsuspecting townsfolks! May we have your attention please: NBC is airing a live telecast of The Music Man in 2015! We’re so excited we could break out our 76 trombones and 110 cornets right here, but first, there is some very important business to discuss. Who will be playing fast-talking con man Harold Hill?! There are a couple of ground rules: He must be dreamy, bursting with charisma, and a smooth schmoozer that can talk his way out of anything. NBC, we have five great Harold Hills we’d love to submit for your approval. Check out our top choices, then leave your own ideas in the comments below! Santino Fontana Norbert Leo Butzlast_img read more


first_img Arthur Miller’s The Price Danny DeVito, Mark Ruffalo, Jessica Hecht & Tony Shalhoub(Photo: Emilio Madrid-Kuser) View Comments Related Showscenter_img Arthur Miller’s The Price returns to Broadway this season with a cast full of acting heavy-hitters. Golden Globe and Emmy winner Danny DeVito will make his Great White Way debut in the drama. As previously announced, Oscar and Tony nominee Mark Ruffalo takes on the role of Victor Franz, stepping in for John Turturro, who left the production due to his filming schedule. Tony nominee Jessica Hecht and Emmy winner Tony Shalhoub complete the all-star company. Steppenwolf co-founder and Tony nominee Terry Kinney (see below) directs the play, which focuses on Franz as he returns to his childhood home to sell his parents’ estate. Performances begin at the American Airlines Theatre on February 16, and the production is scheduled to open on March 16. Check out Broadway.com’s hot shots of the cast, and be sure to catch this limited engagement, which will run through May 7. Show Closed This production ended its run on May 14, 2017last_img read more


first_imgBy Clint Waltzand GilLandryUniversity of GeorgiaWarm-season turf grasses such as Bermuda, centipede, zoysia andSt. Augustine suffer some common problems with springtimegreen-up. Here are the ones we see most often.Mowing height is the most commonproblem as these grasses go from dormancy to active growth.Scalping is more common in zoysia grasses, especially in thedenser-growth cultivars like Emerald.Zoysia grasses don’t tolerate scalping as Bermuda will. As arule, zoysia will be set back anytime it’s cut low enough thatyou can see the black mold under the leaf canopy. This isgenerally below the node of the growing leaves. It can occur atany mowing height from as low as 0.5 inches to more than 3 inches.Regardless of the grass species and normal mowing height, takingthe grass down below the node will set it back. Generally, thehigher the mowing height, the more this is a problem.Ideally, maintain Bermuda grass and centipede between 1 and 2inches, zoysia from 0.5 to 2 inches and St. Augustine from 2 to 3inches.Mowing frequency is just as important as mowing height. If youremove more than one-third of the leaf height at a single mowing,the grass will be stressed.Fertility requirements differ witheach grass. Consult your county University of Georgia ExtensionService agent or visit www.GeorgiaTurf.com for fertilityrecommendations.No matter what the species, though, fertilizing too early in theseason, before soils are warm enough to support continual growth,can accelerate green-up but cause detrimental long-term effects.Fertilizing these grasses in late-winter or early spring cancause them to break dormancy. Then when the inevitablelate-season cold snap hits, they’ve used their stored foodreserves. They have no energy to withstand environmentalextremes. To avoid this, don’t fertilize until the soil reaches65 degrees.Thatch, as lawns get older,becomes more problematic, particularly if the turf has been mowedabove its recommended height ranges. Increased thatch slows downthe turf’s spring transition. It makes it more susceptible todisease, too.Water — either too much or toolittle or even a combination of the two — can cause problemsfor grasses, especially zoysia.Diseases can strike during springgreen-up. The most common is Rhizoctonia large patch, whichappears as large areas of blighted grass.This disease is most active when night temperatures are between50 and 60 degrees. When conditions are right, it’s common for thedisease to become active first in the fall and then again in thespring.You can see its typical “halo” when the disease is active. Falland spring fungicide applications can control it. Consult yourcounty UGA Extension agent for proper fungicides and rates.Applying nitrogen just before or during active infection willincrease disease problems.Cool temperatures make centipedeand zoysia slower to green up in the spring.Microclimates can cause problems,too. Emerald zoysia growing north of Atlanta has been killed bythe low temperatures in shaded sites that don’t get much wintersun.Varietal differences can betroublesome. Some incidences suggest that many types of Emeraldzoysia exist in the landscape and green up at different rates.Cooperative research with the Georgia Crop ImprovementAssociation and Auburn University is under way to evaluate thesegrass differences.(Clint Waltz is an Extension Service turf scientist and GilLandry the director of the Georgia Center for Urban Agriculturewith the University of Georgia College of Agricultural andEnvironmental Sciences.) Volume XXIXNumber 1Page 29last_img read more


first_imgFounded in 1970 by U.S. Senator Gaylord Nelson, Earth Day has emerged as a national awakening to society’s growing disregard for the planet’s health and well-being. From the destruction of waterways and treasured wild lands to rampant air pollution and harmful mining practices, post 1970s America placed little emphasis on environmental preservation. While Earth Day’s founding ushered in an unprecedented level of awareness about environmental issues, pressing problems persist. In honor of Earth Day, educate yourself about some of those issues with this top 10 list of eco-minded documentaries, complete with trailers and Netflix descriptions.1. River of No ReturnThis film is a journey into one of America’s best-kept secrets: the Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness, with a pair of newlyweds as guides.2. VirungaThe Oscar-nominated true story of the rangers risking their lives to save Africa’s most precious national park and its endangered gorillas3. Mission BlueThis documentary follows oceanographer Sylvia Earle’s campaign to save the world’s oceans from threats such as overfishing and toxic waste.4. Vanishing BeesThis documentary details the economic, political and ecological consequences of a puzzling phenomenon: a dwindling world honeybee population.5. DamNationThis documentary reveals the ecological cost of two centuries of American dam building, from degraded waterways to the loss of wildlife habitat.6. A Fierce Green FireThis documentary profiles the evolution of environmental movements, from early efforts at conservation to current concerns over global climate change.7. WatermarkExploring the force that sustains all life, this documentary brings together diverse stories from around the globe about our relationship with water8. PumpAfter World War II, consumer tastes and government policy steer America into a fateful reliance on oil-fueled technology that must and can be broken.9. 180 Degrees SouthA band of bliss-seeking surfer-mountaineers sets out — in 2007, by boat — on a journey to Patagonia, South America, in this adventure documentary10. The Great InvisibleThis film plumbs the depths of the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil rig catastrophe, including the causes and aftermath of the unprecedented disaster. All of these documentaries are currently streaming on Netflix.last_img read more


first_img The NCUA on Wednesday released its draft budget for 2019 and 2020, which estimates $304.4 million and $316.2 million in spending, respectively. The agency will hold a budget briefing Oct. 17; NAFCU has long supported public budget briefings to help ensure transparency and accountability in the budgeting process.“NAFCU and our members appreciate the NCUA’s continued commitment to an open and transparent budgeting process,” said NAFCU President and CEO Dan Berger. “The passage of the Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief, and Consumer Protection Act ensures that the current NCUA Board’s commitment will continue under the direction of future boards. We look forward to reviewing the draft budget and providing the agency with our thoughtful feedback to ensure a strong but cost-effective NCUA.”NAFCU is currently reviewing the proposal, but a summary indicates the agency is continuing to implement its reorganization plan and will reduce the number of staff by 10 positions in 2019.The revised 2019 operating budget is roughly $1.7 million higher than the previously approved two-year budget. The 2019 combined total for operating, capital, and share insurance fund administration budgets is 1.1 percent higher than 2018 at $334.8 million. NCUA headquarters continue reading »center_img ShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblrlast_img read more


first_imgRead also: Three Indonesians who attended mass prayer in Malaysia test positive for COVID-19He said a special task force would soon be deployed to handle COVID-19 patients in North Sumatra. “Patients with COVID-19 will get free treatment,” Edy assured, citing that being infected with the deadly virus could be categorized as an “emergency” state. Restuti Hidayani, a member of North Sumatra task force formed to deal with coronavirus contagion, said at least 75 people were currently under observation in the region. They were all being treated in isolation rooms, which were “spread across a number of hospitals”.Read also: Think you have COVID-19? Here’s how to get tested in IndonesiaAdam Malik Hospital in the capital Medan reportedly received five additional suspected cases on Monday, bringing the total number of isolated patients at the hospital to eight. “Our isolation rooms are at full capacity right now,” the hospital’s coordinator for COVID-19 handling, Ade Rahmaini, said. As of Wednesday morning, Indonesia has reported 172 confirmed COVID-19 cases, resulting in five deaths. (vny)Topics : The North Sumatra administration says it is preparing 1,000 isolation rooms to handle potential COVID-19 patients in the region, as the number of confirmed cases in the country continues to rise.North Sumatra governor Edy Rahmayadi said that his administration had already prepared 330 isolation rooms by Wednesday, while the North Sumatra Police would help with another 400 rooms.”I have coordinated [with various relevant parties] to provide more, in the hope that we could eventually provide 1,000 such rooms in the near future,” Edy told journalists after attending a coordination meeting to deal with the coronavirus spread on Tuesday. last_img read more


first_imgPresident Vladimir Putin urged Russians to stick to social distancing rules and said he wanted to avoid another strict lockdown on Thursday, when the daily tally of new COVID-19 cases was the highest in more than two months.Russia’s COVID-19 response center recorded 6,595 new infections on Thursday, the highest daily count since mid-July. Moscow had 1,050 new cases, more than any other city or region in Russia.Russia exited lockdown in early June, and many shops, businesses and the transport network in Moscow are now operating as usual, though office occupancy rates remain sharply lower. Topics : Guidelines on social distancing remain in place, and people must wear face coverings in shops and on public transport in the Russian capital, though some flout those rules which are not rigorously enforced.”You have to ask people to observe the necessary rules, including the mask regime,” Putin said in video conference with regional governors. “Of course, this is not always comfortable for people, but falling ill is worse.”I would really, really not like to return again to the restrictive measures we introduced this spring.”Officials in the capital have insisted there will not be another lockdown and have played down the prospect of a second wave.center_img The number of coronavirus patients hospitalized in Moscow each day increased by around 30% in the last week, the capital’s COVID-19 response center said on Thursday, but did not provide patient numbers.The response center said 149 people had died nationwide in the last 24 hours, taking the overall death toll to 19,948.Russia’s case tally of 1,128,836 is the world’s fourth-highest.Consumer health watchdog Rospotrebnadzor on Wednesday said Russians returning from abroad by plane would have to self-isolate from now on until they could produce a negative coronavirus test. Foreigners must provide a negative test to enter the country.last_img read more


first_imgThe Pensions Trust has therefore updated its Statement of Investment Principles and voting and engagement policy to make reference to climate change risks.It will also incorporate climate change risk analysis and reporting requirements into new mandates where appropriate and make sure this is part of the discussion during manager update meetings.The third part of its policy is about actively engaging with the wider investment community and policymakers on climate change.As part of this, The Pensions Trust – which has been a signatory to the UN-backed Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI) since May 2010 – has decided to become a member of the Institutional Investors Group on Climate Change (IIGCC).The pension scheme received an A rating in the Asset Owners Disclosure Project (AODP) survey 2013-14 on the management of climate change risks and opportunities for pension and superannuation funds.The Pensions Trust now ranks 17 out of 458 asset owners on the Asset Owners Disclosure Project’s list of top-rated asset owners, up from 92, a C rating in 2012.The top-rated asset owners are those that score AAA to A.Stephen Nichols, chief executive of The Pensions Trust, said: “The Pensions Trust is thrilled to receive an A rating in the AODP survey. The potential impact of climate change is a key focus area for the Trust, and this achievement recognises the work being undertaken to ensure regulatory risks from climate change are considered in investment decisions, and further reinforces the Trust’s commitment to being a responsible investor.” In other news, European investors worth €7.5trn have urged policymakers to act quickly on climate proposals by the European Commission (EC).Stephanie Pfeifer, chief executive of the IIGCC, said about the publication of the EC’s 2030 energy and climate proposals: “[The] proposals are an important first step to restoring investor confidence in the EU’s vision for a low-carbon energy future. A 40% emissions reduction target is the minimum necessary to keep Europe on course for a low-carbon economy, as outlined in the EU’s 2050 Roadmap. Achieving this target is well within member state capabilities and crucial for long-term policy certainty.”Pfeifer said plans for reform of the Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) had been long awaited and that the establishment of a reserve mechanism that could support a strong carbon price was a welcome move. However, she said investors would like more clarity on how this reserve mechanism would bring about a meaningful carbon price over the long term.She added: “A well-functioning ETS, which puts a high and stable price on carbon, is critical to delivering investment in low-carbon and renewable technologies. The separate target for renewable energy must therefore be designed so it complements the broader mix of EU climate policies. National governments will now discuss these proposals ahead of a meeting of leaders in March.“Investors need policy fixed for the long term to plan multi-decade energy investments. The longer policy is delayed, the more severe Europe’s energy investment challenge becomes. Policymakers should act with urgency and waste no time in turning these proposals into legislative reality.”Lastly, a survey by extra-financial analysis provider Vigeo on governance structures and corporate responsibility has found significant differences between countries and sectors.European companies are most advanced regarding the supervision of corporate responsibility by their board of directors and within their audit and control systems, according to the study, while North American companies are more advanced in the integration of corporate responsibility criteria within their executives’ remuneration.Companies operating in highly regulated contexts, or in sectors exposed to stakeholder scrutiny, are those that strive most to demonstrate corporate responsibility is actively supported by their directors.Vigeo’s study provides a list of companies whose governance structure is more advanced in the leadership and control of corporate responsibility processes. Fouad Benseddik, director of methodology and institutional relationships at Vigeo, said: “Although much remains to be done, innovative practices identified by Vigeo show that tools and processes exist that will facilitate the implementation of corporate governance.”Vigeo carried out the study based on the assumption that corporate responsibility is more credible if supervised by a governance structure.Within the study, the supervision by the board of directors, the perimeters of the audit and internal control and the inclusion of corporate responsibility criteria in executive remuneration are compared between regions and sectors.The survey was based on its rating of 1,223 companies listed in North America, Asia and Europe. The £5.7bn (€6.9bn) UK occupational pension fund The Pensions Trust has announced it has adopted a climate change policy to help ensure climate change risk is explicitly considered throughout the investment process.Its policy is firstly about understanding how exposed its portfolio is to climate change. This will include a review of its portfolio to understand where there might be value at risk, which will be used to inform its future investment strategy.The second part of its policy is about making sure new and existing investments are managed in way that takes account of climate change risks.last_img read more