In the past decade, we’ve witnessed a stunning transition as corporate social responsibility (CSR) evolved from a nice-to-have silo to a fundamental strategic priority for businesses large and small. More recently, we’ve watched as companies went beyond their own walls, using their influence to advocate for global solutions around issues [...]
Simply outlining how a CSR initiative operates isn’t meaningful on its own; you must highlight its potential impact through storytelling.
Russia has the potential to double GDP by 2035, said former Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin who is now head of a leading Russian think tank, the Center for Strategic Research (CSR). Kudrin is the man behind a new economic program prepared for President Vladimir Putin, and he said that in order to reach the GDP goal, serious reforms must be implemented that will fundamentally change the Russian economy's structure. From crisis to growth “The Russian economy now grapples with a similar situation as the Soviet Union during the years of stagnation in the 1970s,” said Kudrin at the Gaidar Economic Forum in Moscow on Jan. 13. The current economic crisis and the devaluation of the ruble in 2014 led to a 3 percent drop in GDP in 2015, with a 0.5 percent drop expected in 2016, according to the Russian Finance Ministry. Brighter prospects lure international investors back to Russian market This situation can be corrected, said Kudrin, but it's necessary to implement those structural reforms that the government has been talking about for years but which were never realized. “The steps that the country, the government and the president should take are unconventional and quite serious,” said Kudrin, adding that structural reforms should aim to solve issues related to the lack of investment, weak access to world financial markets, technological backwardness, low productivity, and poor quality of public administration. Kudrin’s colleagues at CSR — the economists Pavel Trunin and Yevsei Gurvich — said that in the medium term Russia’s GDP may rise by 2 to 2.5 percent a year, and that by 2025–2030 this figure might reach 4 to 4.4 percent, reported (in Russian) RBC. Doubling GDP over 19 years “is not such an ambitious goal,“ the economists concluded. The Russian economy is expected to start growing this year, and Moody's forecasts that after two years of recession Russia will show positive GDP growth of 1 percent in 2017. Diversify to end raw material dependence The challenge for the Russian economy is not necessarily how to resuscitate the economy, but to ensure that after a short phase of growth "it does not slip back into stagnation," said Ksenia Yudaeva, first deputy head of the Russian Central Bank, during a Gaidar Forum panel that discussed a report by the World Bank. Structural reforms will help achieve that goal, she added. Russians work 44% more than Germans, says new report Russian exports are primarily in natural resources such as oil, gas and metals, and these markets face a glut. “Our economy needs to change its focus and instead produce items that others do not produce but which are needed,“ said Yudaeva. Our economy needs to become more flexible and responsive to the challenges of the global market.“ Russia's negative GDP trajectory of the past two years owes directly to the drop in prices for raw materials. On the other hand, however, this negative dynamic stimulates the development of alternative ways of increasing economic growth, said Sergei Khestanov, a macroeconomics adviser to the general director of Otkrytie Broker. Growth may be driven by a diversification of the economy, the removal of administrative barriers and better protection of property rights, which are envisaged in the concept of Kudrin's proposed structural reforms. “These factors do not guarantee rapid growth, but if successfully implemented they will make growth far more stable,“ Khestanov said. The target goal set by Kudrin and the CSR is feasible provided that the current fiscal and monetary policies of the Russian government and the Central Bank remain on course, said Timur Nigmatullin, an analyst with the Finam group of companies. “The middle income trap pushes up inflation and this is the main problem that the Russian economy came up against even before sanctions and falling oil prices,“ said Nigmatullin, adding that to avoid this trap the Russian Central Bank should continue to keep inflation at no more than 4 percent. Read more: Moody's expects Russia’s GDP to grow by 1% in 2017>>>
В настоящее время Дания не имеет собственной оружейной школы, как было еще сто лет назад во времена Мадсена, с пулемета которого, к слову, началась история завода имени В. А. Дегтярева. Несмотря на это местная оружейная компания SAI, расположенная в небольшом городе Хьерстьё, пытается заявить о себе в оружейном мире, представляя достаточно дерзкие по оружейным меркам проекты, одним из которых является антиснайперская сверхкомпактная винтовка CSR-50 калибра 12,7 мм под патрон .50BMG.
The combination of Qualcomm’s CSR acquisition last year with its upcoming acquisition of NXP and NXP’s new MiGLO hearable portfolio is a huge for hearables developers. Take a look at NXP’s MiGLO and a couple of the earbuds MiGLO enables.
As more companies embrace and expand corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiatives to engage their employees, address social issues, and increase brand awareness, the demand for measuring and evaluating their impact is heightened. Reporting impact helps companies differentiate their CSR initiatives while strengthening the internal business case for the continued investment [...]
"Success is liking yourself, liking what you do and liking how you do it." - Maya Angelou So many conversations I have with friends, family and colleagues center on this idea of colliding personal and professional passions, being more intentional about working with purpose and trying to find more joy in every moment. Across sectors, employees increasingly want to know and feel that the time and skills they put into their jobs are making a tangible, positive difference in the world. This is a common sentiment, especially prevalent among millennials, who are often more likely to seek out positions with organizations that offer and support active community engagement and skill-based volunteer opportunities. Proof in the pudding: 84 percent of millennials made a charitable donation in 2014 and 70 percent volunteered in some capacity, but only about half reported that they did so through their employers. Seventy percent say a company's commitment to corporate social responsibility (CSR) would influence their decision to work there, according to Douglas Marshall, Managing Director of Corporate Citizenship for Deloitte. As employees continue to show interest in community and volunteer engagement, and their organization's contribution to the global community, leaders are responding with more coordinated and coherent strategies and programs that support philanthropy and purposeful business activities. Fortune 500 firms currently spend more than $15 billion a year on CSR activities. That number is rising as businesses see signs that investments in CSR improve company performance, talent recruitment and retention. Giving in Numbers, a study published by the CECP that analyzes giving and corporate societal engagement trends, revealed companies that increased giving by at least 10 percent between 2013 and 2015 actually experienced upticks in revenue and pre-tax profit, while all other companies saw a decrease in both. Those organizations seeing the greatest success are making deeper and longer-term commitments that align with the values of their employees, their customers and the communities they serve. Stand-out trends include advocacy on social issues, an increase of resource allotment for community volunteerism and a focus on long-term social value versus meeting short-term profit goals. Evolution of the Corporate Statesman: Standing Up for Those Who Can't "A genuine leader is not a searcher for consensus but a molder of consensus." - Martin Luther King Jr. In the past, corporate leaders have shied away from taking a stand on controversial issues for fear of alienating large groups of potential constituents. However, as social media magnifies calls for change from both employees and consumers, CSR-minded corporations are increasing their support for causes, not only with dollars, but also by using their brands and voices to raise awareness of issues that affect our communities. "We're definitely seeing an evolution of the corporate statesman," said Barb Short, Managing Director of Corporate Leadership at CECP. "Bob Forrester of Newman's Own Foundation has often said that Paul Newman, one of CECP's key founders, would be gratified to see the progress in how today's most respected companies and CEOs are using their resources and influence to ensure that business plays a role in solving our most challenging social problems." For example, Adam Silver, Commissioner of the National Basketball Association, pulled the league's All-Star Game out of Charlotte, N.C. in response to protests over HB2, a state law seen by many as discriminatory against the LGBT community. The league's decision will have an estimated $100 million impact on the Charlotte Hornets franchise and local businesses. "It is always important to us to provide the best experience possible to our fans at all of our events," said Mike Bass, the NBA's Executive Vice President of Communications. "In order to successfully host a marquee event like the All-Star Game, we need to be able to provide an environment where all of our fans, players, business partners, league and team officials can feel welcome, and the current environment in North Carolina created by HB2 precluded us from doing that." While we often hear about professional athletes generously giving back on an individual basis, the NBA as an institution has been a progressive leader among major sports leagues in using its resources to reach out and support disadvantaged communities. "Our league and players have a long history of standing up for the principles of fairness, respect, diversity and inclusion," Bass said. "Through our NBA Cares platform, we aim to partner with organizations that embody these principles while also helping to create meaningful change all over the world. Examples include our partnership with LeanInTogether, which supports women and men standing up for equality; our commitment to My Brother's Keeper to recruit more than 25,000 adult mentors of color; and our relationship with Special Olympics, which connects our athletes to Special Olympics athletes around the world to provide opportunities to develop physical fitness and demonstrate courage and empowerment." Kenneth Faried of the Denver Nuggets with Special Olympics athletes. Credit: NBAE Photos. Healthy Leads to Happy and Happiness Matters "If you have health, you probably will be happy, and if you have health and happiness, you have all the wealth you need, even if it is not all you want." - Elbert Hubbard While organizational performance is multi-level and multi-dimensional, there is an undeniable link between the performance of organizational leadership and the overall performance of the entire organization. More leaders are acknowledging the very real correlation between health and happiness, and happiness and productivity (recent research shows that happy workers are 12 percent more productive). Therefore, more executives have increased attention on internal workplace issues such as employee health and wellness. One example is Aetna's CEO Mark Bertolini, who in the last two years, has raised the minimum wage for his employees to $16 an hour and launched a program to lower the out-of-pocket medical expenses for thousands of Aetna's lower-paid employees. Beginning in 2017, the company will start matching employees' student loan payments up to $2,000 annually with a lifetime maximum of up to $10,000 for qualifying loans. These are generous and innovative financial packages, but as Bertolini wrote in his Huffington Post column, companies need to go "beyond the paycheck" when looking at employee wellness. "The wellness programs that are most effective are simple, engaging, based on people's personal values, goal-oriented and fit into people's daily lives," Bertolini wrote. Aetna's initiatives combine the latest scientific research with access to a broad network of resources and healthcare professionals. Employees benefit from this holistic approach to wellness that boosts energy, creativity and productivity levels, and also addresses so many of people's health needs - such as physical fitness, sleep habits, disease prevention and stress management. According to Aetna's research, the 13,000 employees who participated in one of their mindfulness-based wellness programs from 2012-2014 regained 62 minutes per week of productivity with an approximate dollar return, in terms of productivity alone, of more than $3,000. Aetna and Bertolini have received numerous awards for the company's health and wellness programs, and Aetna is annually listed as one of the best corporate workplaces in the country. Increased Commitment to Community Service Opportunities "The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others." - Mahatma Gandhi According to the Imperative Workforce Index, employees who work for purpose-oriented companies experience a 20 percent longer tenure, 50 percent greater likelihood to hold a leadership position and 47 percent greater likelihood to serve as company advocates. For that reason, it's more important than ever to connect people with purpose in the workplace. "Interest continues to grow in work that elicits passion and allows individuals to pursue professional, personal and social goals simultaneously - and they are seeking employers with similar values that create opportunities for employees to pursue purpose in their daily work and through company initiatives," said Douglas Marshall, Managing Director of Corporate Citizenship at Deloitte. CECP says employee satisfaction rates continue to increase when employees are offered skills-based volunteer programs. For many employees, this is a critical way for them to find meaning in their work outside the office. CECP reported that companies who offered skills-based volunteer programs through pro bono service and board leadership had the highest participation rates among employees this past year. In an examination of 69 companies from 2013 to 2015, volunteer participation rates increased from 28 to 33 percent. Large economic institutions such as Deloitte and Bank of America are growing their skills-based volunteering programs so that employees can take their abilities beyond the workplace to explore their passions and provide meaningful service to nonprofits. Ninety-three percent of Deloitte employees said their participation in pro bono work made a positive impact on their job satisfaction, while 84 percent reported significant gains in job-related skills. These programs allow nonprofits to learn from experts in their fields who provide financial consulting, membership on boards and committees and development of technology solutions. "We work hard to ensure that our volunteer program offers employees an opportunity to connect in a meaningful way with nonprofits serving community needs," said Kerry Sullivan, president of the Bank of America Charitable Foundation. "From building leadership skills to gaining a better understanding of community challenges, we believe our employees develop and grow through volunteer efforts while also helping to build thriving communities in which to live and do business. Skills-based volunteering, such as board service, advancing better money habits or providing technology assistance to nonprofits, has been a great avenue for employees who wish to leverage their expertise to further the critical work of our nonprofit partners." Focus on Creating Long-Term Value over Short-Term Profits "The important thing is that men should have a purpose in life. It should be something useful, something good." - Dalai Lama With a lens toward sustainability, business leaders are thinking long-term and demanding a new standard of management that prizes constructive stakeholder engagement. Over the summer, Warren Buffett, Larry Fink, Bill McNabb and some of the other biggest institutional investors in the world released a letter called The Commonsense Corporate Governance Principles. In the letter, the investors state, "We share the view that constructive dialogue requires finding common ground -- a starting point to foster the economic growth that benefits shareholders, employees and the economy as a whole." They also suggest that "our financial markets have become too obsessed with quarterly earnings forecasts." They recommend that boards and executives of Fortune 500 companies focus on long-term CSR strategies like increasing diversity at the C level and improving transparency with shareholders and the public. To build solid foundations for their CSR efforts, many companies are linking purposeful activities to their own core competencies, allowing them to highlight the impact they are making on society while showcasing the value of their expertise in the real world. For example, global manufacturer 3M partnered with Discovery Education to create the Young Scientist Challenge, a mentorship program that identifies talented young minds and gives them the opportunity to work with professional scientists to brainstorm innovative, real-world solutions to significant societal challenges. Jon Lindekugel (left), Senior Vice President, 3M Business Development and Marketing-Sales, and Lori McFarling (right), Senior Vice-President & Chief Marketing Officer at Discovery Education, present a $25,000 check to 13-year-old Maanasa Mendu (middle) from Mason, OH, the winner of the 2016 Discovery Education 3M Young Scientist Challenge. Credit: Discovery Education. "We know firsthand the importance of inspiring the next generation of scientists and inventors," said Michele Whyle, 3M Brand Director, Global Marketing Excellence. "We work with schools to strengthen their STEM curriculum, send 'Visiting Wizards' into classrooms to perform experiments and welcome high school students into our laboratories for summer employment...It's a highly successful platform for us to showcase the brand in an authentic way that speaks to who we are and what we care about." Projects like the Young Scientist Challenge are part of a growing emphasis by businesses on education, particularly STEM subjects (science, technology, engineering and mathematics), the CECP report revealed. Corporate leaders hope their investments in public health, financial literacy and education will pay off down the road by creating a future labor force fluent in STEM concepts. This will make their future workers capable of pioneering new solutions that create a better society as well as advance their business interests. "It's tremendously gratifying to see organizations like 3M and others applying their expertise to support teaching and learning in their communities," said Lori McFarling, Senior Vice-President & Chief Marketing Officer at Discovery Education. "We're seeing more and more companies incorporating education into their corporate mission and making it a meaningful part of their brand profile. This authentic commitment to impacting young people strengthens communities and improves student access to meaningful opportunities for learning that were previously unavailable." Looking Ahead at the Future of CSR Efforts "Goodness is the only investment that never fails." - Henry David Thoreau Millennials' commitment to meaningful social impact will play a tremendous role in shaping the future of CSR. For the new generation of workers and consumers, wearing a white hat means more than just making a transactional donation. Investing in CSR has become part of the price of doing business. A recent trend Douglas Marshall from Deloitte said he has seen more of is the mentorship of younger millennials by older millennials and the idea of intrapreneurship. "Intrapreneurship is all about hacking the system, building from existing skills and frameworks, and finding agency and opportunity that are extensions of centrally organized efforts," Marshall said. "This is exciting, and we are actively thinking about how to be responsive to this energy, try new things and look to scale what works. We are committed to continual improvement, which involves assessing what's working and opportunities to enhance, listening to our people, innovating, piloting and evolving." In its report, CECP predicts that companies will consider corporate citizenship qualities such as integrity, altruism and collaboration as they hire and develop leaders at all levels to drive their business growth, weaving CSR into the fabric of their organizations. Fortune 500 companies have a powerful voice in our society and when they use their platform to tackle social issues, they improve their own organizational health, as well as advance the health of communities and society at large. By improving organizational performance, job satisfaction and striving to make the happiness and health of their employees a priority, so many of these organizations mentioned are providing inspiration across sectors of passionate leadership that understands and values today's interconnected society, and how business with a purpose creates both a dynamic culture while making a difference in this world for the better. -- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.
At Cabot Creamery Cooperative, we’ve seen firsthand that combining corporate self-interest with support for social and environmental issues is not a costly distraction. Quite the opposite, as a cooperative owned by dairy farm families, our focus on social and environmental issues has helped our company achieve an indisputable competitive advantage in our marketplace. Yet, when the marketing team suggested that Cabot become a certified B Corporation, I was skeptical. Didn’t we already “self-monitor” our sustainability initiatives? Why did we need an outside certification? But when I learned that our retail partners had recently started asking about the impact of our sustainability programs, I agreed that Cabot would undergo the rigorous B Corp certification process to provide an objective measure. In 2012, Cabot became a certified B Corp. To my surprise, certification not only addressed the questions posed by our retail partners but also delivered value beyond our expectations. B Corp certification encouraged more “whole-systems thinking” around our social and environmental practices, which led Cabot to develop even more robust customer and consumer programs, cut operating costs, and strengthen our brand reputation as a sustainability-minded company. Our story is not unique. For Cabot and the B Corp community, certification objectively demonstrates our strong commitment to sustainability at a time when more consumers support companies dedicated to social and environmental change, and as investors, the public, and the media hold companies to higher standards. Winning Over Conscious Consumers B Corps are riding a wave of consumer interest in sustainable companies. According to several studies, such as Nielsen’s The Sustainability Imperative, global consumers say they will pay more for sustainable consumer brands, and sales of consumer goods with a demonstrated commitment to sustainability have grown more than 4% globally, while those without grew less than 1%. But while consumers are clearly rewarding values-based businesses, there’s a very big catch: Consumers are not accepting brands’ social and environmental claims at face value. This means that companies must take steps to convince consumers that they “authentically demonstrate commitment to social and environmental impact build consumer trust and business value,” according to the study. Fetzer Vineyards is a B Corp that welcomes this level of scrutiny. As a sustainability pioneer in the wine industry, Fetzer’s Bonterra brand is now the largest-selling organic wine in the world, and the company consistently receives accolades for their environmental practices. Still, Fetzer became a B Corp to ensure that its environmental commitment was seen as authentic and credible with consumers. “As the largest organic wine brand in the world, we see that consumers are now better informed and more skeptical” says Giancarlo Bianchetti, CEO, Fetzer Vineyards. “B Corp certification substantiates our claims with consumers who consider a company’s sustainability record. It also makes us part of a community of like-minded business leaders and provides a platform for shaping the sustainable practices of our industry.” The Nielsen study also identified a troubling disconnect between corporate leaders and the general public when asked to describe the current state of corporate social responsibility (CSR). When both groups were asked whether CSR efforts are driven by “responsibility to do what’s right” or “publicity possibilities,” consumer skepticism was evident. According to Chris McAllister, vice president for reputation management and public affairs at Nielsen, companies engaged in “sincerely-driven” CSR must work harder to convince consumers of this fact. “There’s nothing wrong with serving your own interests as well as those of the broader community, but…consumers want to see…a long-term investment in doing the right thing, and doing it successfully,” he says. Even though Ben & Jerry’s had a long established track record for social responsibility, and had embedded social purpose into its business model for decades, it saw the B Corp movement as way to achieve a higher level of social and environmental purpose and to demonstrate its commitment to improving its ongoing efforts. “Our research shows that brand affinity scores for Ben & Jerry’s are twice as high for people who are aware of our social efforts,” says Rob Michalak, global director of social mission at Ben & Jerry’s. “B Corp certification lends more credence to our programs. And because we re-certify every two years it helps us make improvements that are good for the environment, society and our reputation.” Benchmarking and Operational Cost Savings Another benefit of certification is access to best practices across different industries, which enables companies to compare and constantly improve their social and environmental programs based on data from the B Corp community. Pennsylvania-based footwear company Dansko became a B Corp as a cost-effective way to measure its total environmental footprint. “B Corp certification was an affordable way to review everything from our energy and water usage, impact on the community, to the cleaning products we use,” says co-founder and one of the original companies to seek B corp certification Mandy Cabot. “It helped us do things we couldn’t do ourselves, like creating benchmarking models and a template for our employee manual.” Many B Corps also report that the certification process helps them root out waste and operational inefficiencies in areas such as energy and water usage. At Cabot, B Corp certification inspires Cabot to constantly innovate to create even more social and environmental benefits while simultaneously boosting our B Corp score and was integral to projects like Real Farm Power, a closed-loop system that leverages partnerships to deliver renewable energy, nutrient management and improved air quality. Now, after three years of operation, Real Farm Power generates enough electricity so that cows in our cooperative provide the electricity needed to churn our butter. This multi-faceted project also helped Cabot win the 2016 U.S. Dairy Sustainability Award for Outstanding Dairy Processing & Manufacturing Sustainability, which is a strong testament to Cabot’s commitment to the triple bottom line. Attracting and Engaging Employees B Corps can attract top talent, especially among younger employees who seek meaning in their careers. Patagonia reports that certification helps promote and validate its employee-centric culture, which attracts great candidates because of the company’s reputation as a great place to work. Since becoming a B Corp, Patagonia expanded medical, military, and paid maternity and paternity leave for regular full- and part-time U.S. employees. Certification helps connect employees with Patagonia’s mission, leading to a more engaged workforce. Certification revealed that the company could benefit from HR/governance improvements, such as a global code of employee conduct and new corporate governance guidelines that provided a framework to advance a shared company culture, and get all departments focused on advancing the company mission. As Patagonia founder Yvon Chouinard has written:“Benefit Corporation legislation creates the legal framework to enable companies like Patagonia to stay mission-driven through succession, capital raises, and even changes in ownership, by institutionalizing the values, culture, processes, and high standards put in place by founding entrepreneurs.” The arrival and growth of B Corps is a watershed moment for business. We’ve clearly arrived at a time when companies that exclude social and environmental considerations from their operating missions risk losing market share and destroying shareholder value. B Corps are a needed reboot for capitalism for the modern age, ensuring that the social responsibility of business is not only about profits, but also contributing solutions to the world’s most pressing problems.
THE year of 2016 witnesses great development of corporate social responsibility in Shanghai and in China, participants said at the 15th Sino-European Corporate Social Responsibility Roundtable Forum yesterday. “Investing
Делегация в составе эксперта Центра стратегических исследований (CSR, Тегеран), профессора Университета Алламе Табтаба’и Г.Чегнизаде, старшего эксперта и советника руководителя Центра международных исследований и образования (CIRE) и Института политических и международных исследований (IPIS) Ирана М.Абуталеби и представителей посольства Исламской Республики в Москве посетила 24 ноября 2016 года РИСИ. В ходе встречи обсуждался широкий спектр вопросов, составляющих […]
'It will ‘moderate’ his controversial intentions' Donald Trump’s victory in the U.S. presidential elections is the continuation of Britain’s vote to withdraw from the European Union (Brexit), Head of Russia's Center for Strategic Research (CSR) and ex-finance minister Alexei Kudrin wrote on his Twitter account on Nov. 9. "The U.S. elections demonstrate that many are not satisfied with the current dynamics of global processes," he said, adding that the elections means "the continuation of Brexit." Американские выборы показывают, что нынешняя динамика глобальных процессов многих не устраивает. Продолжение Brexit — Алексей Кудрин (@Aleksei_Kudrin) 9 November 2016 According to Kudrin, despite certain Trump’s statements on economic issues, he depends on the country’s existing system. "It will ‘moderate’ his controversial intentions," he wrote. Несмотря на некоторые заявления Трампа по эконом вопросам, он зависит от сложившейся системы. Она "сгладит" его неоднозначные намерения — Алексей Кудрин (@Aleksei_Kudrin) 9 November 2016 On Election Day, Nov. 8, United States citizens cast their ballots and elected their 45th US President, Donald J. Trump. By securing more than the needed 270 electoral votes, Trump, the Republican candidate clinched his presidential victory. The election outcome was a spectacular culmination to a heated Presidential race between the Democratic nominee, Hillary Clinton and Republican candidate, Donald Trump. Source: TASS Lavrov says Moscow will judge new U.S. administration by its deeds>>>
Human analysts never agree completely, including on sustainability In Indonesia, Latin America, and Africa, farmers set forests ablaze every day, releasing CO², displacing endangered species, and contaminating the air. Once the
Human analysts never agree completely, including on sustainability In Indonesia, Latin America, and Africa, farmers set forests ablaze every day, releasing CO², displacing endangered species, and contaminating the air. Once the
This is the time of year when everyone is faced with choices about healthcare coverage for the coming year. People who are not covered by Medicare or employer health plans have to make choices about plans offered under the Affordable Care Act, known as ACA or Obamacare. They face much higher monthly premiums this year, far fewer plans available in many states, and much more restricted choices of physicians and hospitals. Here are some key features of the landscape: --Price increases: The politicians can debate the issues, but the simple fact is that insurers decided they were losing money covering all people without regard to pre-existing conditions. So they either dropped out, restricted providers, or raised prices. The average increase of the benchmark is 22 percent -- but, depending on your location, you may face a higher cost. --Subsidies and penalties: Theoretically, federal subsidies for lower-income people are supposed to offset the rising premiums. However, the relatively low income limits make policies expensive for most. Premium subsidies are available for single people making up to $47,520 or $64,080 for a couple. Even so, the high deductibles for most of these plans make them potentially very expensive for low-income earners. You can't escape. If you fail to sign up for a plan and opt to go without coverage, the penalties have risen this year to $695 for an individual (or half that amount, $347.50 per child) or 2.5 percent of total household adjusted gross income, whichever is higher. There is a maximum penalty of $2,085. --Deadlines: Open enrollment (or required re-enrollment in your current plan) for 2017 Obamacare coverage started Nov. 1 and continues until Jan. 31. But to make sure your coverage starts on the first day of the new year, the deadline to enroll is Dec. 15. (There are exceptions to these deadlines for life-changing events, including marriage, divorce, job loss, etc.) If you wait to sign up until the last two weeks of January, your coverage won't start until March 1. --How to compare plans: Start at the government website, www.Healthcare.gov. Enter your zip code, the number of people in your household and your 2017 estimated income; the site will estimate your monthly subsidy. After inputting your current physicians, hospitals and medications, you will be given a choice of plans. It's tempting to look for the lowest-cost plan, typically at the bronze level. But if you choose a silver plan, with a higher monthly premium, you might become eligible for a cost sharing reduction, or CSR, which lower your deductible substantially. CSRs are only available with silver plans. --Getting help: Confused? You can get personalized help and advice at no extra cost at websites like www.Ehealth.com (844-229-4337) and www.gohealth.com (888-322-7557). Each site has a calculator to help you compare costs and features. And you can actually buy an Obamacare plan through them at no additional cost. Expect them to be busy just before the deadline. --An alternative: Short-term plans. A less expensive choice, particularly if you expect to become covered by an employer in the coming year, might be a short-term health insurance plan, one that lasts just a year . The government has just issued restrictions limiting them to three months duration because so many healthy people have been using them instead of Obamacare plans. That restriction won't go into effect until April 15, 2017 -- so you can still sign up for a private, one-year plan that could save you money, if you qualify. Note: Short-terms plans do not qualify as coverage under ACA, so you will be liable for the penalty. Nor are the plans as comprehensive as ACA coverage, so scrutinize the details. Even so, a short-term plan may be less expensive, if you are healthy enough to qualify. Find them at www.AgileHealthInsurance.com (800-314-5594). The site will compare short-term plans with the available Obamacare plans in your area, taking into account any subsidy you might receive. Whatever you do, don't procrastinate. This choice isn't going to get any easier, as you approach the deadline. And that's the Savage Truth. -- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.
Zynga Inc. (ZNGA) is set to report third-quarter 2016 results on Nov 2.
A friend of mine who happens to be black posted some kind of rah rah women can do it all female empowerment article on Facebook. Under the post he tagged me with the sarcastic quote "remember, black women are the most educated group in America!" I didn't think much of it until I realized that that phrase couldn't have been random. It must have been uttered before and was making the rounds.So I asked him, "You got to be kidding me?"He said, "Nope. They're officially the most educated group in America. And they won't shut up about it either!"Naturally this of course raised an eyebrow because obviously there was a study done and, assuming the methodology wasn't hack, I almost knew where the flaw in it would be. Alas, my work for this post wasn't going to be trying to find the flaw in the study (I wouldn't doubt there are more black women in college as a percent of their population). It was going to confirm there was a flaw in the reasoning as to why such a high percentage of a particular group in college is a good thing.And yes, for my regular readers you can easily predict where this one is going.This first question I had was "was the statement true?" Are black women TRULY the most educated group in America?And it is, more or less.Based on some statistics by the NCES, black women have the highest enrollment percentage out of all the binary race-sex groups, 9.7%. This means of all adult aged women in that group, 9.7% of them have either graduated or are currently in college. This makes them technically the most educated group in America.While this is certainly good news, I simply ask the $64,000 question..."educated in what?"Here statistics are a bit tricky for both black AND female college students. You can get data on females. You can get data on blacks. But you can't easily find out what black women are studying.So I looked at females first.It is of course no surprise to anyone here that the majority of women major in worthless and easy subjects. Based on my research for "Worthless," about 2/3rds of worthless degrees are earned by women. But using some more recent research, it again shows women prefer easier subjects, with less math and rigor, and therefore are in less demand in the labor market. So already it's no shocker why "women earn the majority degrees" across all racial groups.When you consider race, it only magnifies the percentage of worthless degrees. Using enrollment data from the U of MN as a proxy, blacks (male and female) major in worthless subjects 74% of the time, contrasted to their white peers who "only" major in worthless degrees 57% of the time. Once again, reiterating the importance of my question "educated in what?"But if there is proof positive that black women are simply majoring in easier (not higher paying) subjects, it was the (admittedly) anecdotal bit of evidence I saw with the hashtag "#womenwithdegrees."If you're not familiar with it, it was a hashtag trending on Twitter this past summer. In it was pictures of women graduating from college, noting their degree and what their plans were. And two major things stood out:1. The vast majority of women in this hashtag were black and2. The VAST VAST majority of them were all majoring with worthless, easy subjects.Child psychology, criminology, women's studies, African American studies, communications, sociology, you name it. I counted only one accounting major and one engineer. So hopeful were these women (and in for such a rude awakening) I felt bad enough to together one of my more kind and polite videos trying to warn them about the path they were going down. But neither here nor there, it's painfully obvious why black women are truly (and unenviably, I might add) the most educated group in America:Because they're the largest investors (and therefore victims) in the worthless degree education bubble.It is here, as an economist, an empiricist, and one who genuinely wishes to help out his fellow man (black females in this particular case), I want to make a plea for reason, common sense, logic, and reality with black women. And you have the choice here ladies. You can continue reading below in which case it can only help, or you can dismiss me as a "racist" or a "sexist" in which case I can guarantee your life will be much worse.1. Understand that like the Dotcom Bubble, the Tulip Bulb Bubble, and the housing bubble women and minorities are investing into an education bubble at rates and amounts higher than their white male counterparts. You THINK you're doing better. You THINK you're making progress. But all you're doing is precisely what suckers did in the housing bubble:Borrowing money you can't afford to pay back, for an asset that isn't worth it.This doesn't mean college isn't worth it. Nor am I an "evil white male" trying to dissuade you from going to college. It is however meant to deal a dose of reality into your educational plans that it's not WHETHER you go to college that will determine success, but WHAT YOU STUDY that will determine success.That's too bad you don't like math. You think Asians and males enjoy doing calculus either? And that's too bad you find programming boring. That's where the money is. But since so few people major in programming or engineering, while there's (literally) MILLIONS of "early child hood education" majors, don't be surprised when you're making $30,000 a year and Yang or Chip is bringing down $80,000. If you REALLY want to close that gap and not just bitch about it, major in a real degree like engineering instead.2. You WILL ruin your financial future investing more and more into this bubble. In the #womenwithdegrees hashtag, the majority of women were going on to get equally worthless, but twice as expensive advanced degrees in those same crappy fields that are so bad you can't land a decent job with a bachelors. I know your teachers, guidance counselors, politicians, and media moguls are telling you that "you can do anything."They're lying. They don't want to hurt your feelings, and most of them either want your tuition money or your vote.You may find me insulting and enraging, but that only means I'm the first and only person to tell you the truth.The truth is you are going $100,000 in debt ($200,000 if you are foolish enough to enter law school) all for a degree that will maybe generate $30,000-$40,000. This will cripple you for at least a decade, probably more as you struggle to "finally" pay off your student loans in your 40's. This will also postpone things such as buying a house, starting a family, YOUR STUDENT LOANS WILL CERTAINLY DETER QUALITY MEN FROM YOU, and many other "fun" in things in life will be put on hold. This worthless degree posing as an ego trip WILL ruin your life.3. Your degree doesn't matter.Right now the single greatest accomplishment you have likely achieved in life was earning your degree.Too bad the simple act of "earning a degree" does not matter. It's your career and what genuine contributions to society you make in your life that matter. And thus far, you've made no contributions in life. You merely walked down an aisle and picked up a piece of paper.The real test as to your value in life comes now. Do you work? Do you contribute? Or do you beg for grant money or more taxes that nobody really wants to pay just so you can have a job? Do you go back to school where society has to support you another 2-4 years because you're just not ready to be a self-supporting adult yet?Even though since the age of 5 school is all you've ever known, in the end schooling with no production or contribution to society is merely masturbation and killing time. Get your asses out of academia and into the real world.4. Your careers are largely make-work government charities that no one wants.If you look at where the majority of black female graduates are supposed to work (based on their degrees) its in the arts, the government, or the non-profit. And the key thing to note here is that people are FORCED to pay for your services and employment.This differs from computer programmers, petroleum engineers, waitresses, pilots, and auto workers whose skills are willingly demanded by free people. But the "Vice Reserve Assistant Deputy Diversity Director" at the college? The "professor of Hispanic Lesbian, Unicorn Theater Studies?" The "Save the Humans Fund Outreach Director?" Please, don't even joke with me. They are all completely unecessary and only exist either by forced taxation, politics, CSR, or the reluctant charity of donors.You may find this pill of reality hard to swallow, but entire sectors of the economy were created not to solve some kind of social ill or "educate the children." They're make-work government programs which means your entire "discipline" isn't a legitimate career, but Truman Show-level bunk. Anybody without your degree can do your job. And if you don't believe that, just wait till you're 4 years into your make-work career and realize "I could have done this without a degree, without the debt, and at the age of 13." Then also realize just how charitable the rest of the country is for working the extra hours to pay the taxes so you can have these make-work faux careers, let alone the hubris and ego to think you're "a successful independent woman."5. And finally, do you want to BE equal or do you want to PRETEND to be equal? Do you want genuine progress in life or do you want the rest of society to lie to you?Trust me, I understand women like to be lied to. They reward men with sex, politicians with votes, liberal arts colleges with tuition money, and Oprah with billions when they're lied to. But like all lies, they're not based in truth and when you believe in them (let alone drop $200,000 and 6 years of your youth pursuing them), your ruin your life and waste what precious time you have on this planet. The question is what kind of life do you want?One of ignorant bliss where your feelings are spared but your life is a nightmare? Or one where you're truly treated as an equal, held to real-world standards, are guaranteed to have some tough challenges, but in the end have a great life because it's based in reality?Because if black women were TRULY the most educated group in America, they'd wake up, they'd realize they're being duped, and they'd ALL be switching their degrees to STEM starting tomorrow. Unfortunately, as it stands right now, they're the biggest and latest victims of the education bubble because the lies are just too sweet, and their degrees too easy to quit cold turkey.________________________________________If you are GENUINELY interested in getting a REAL education and are serious about improving your life, I strongly recommend (all college students) buy and read the book "Worthless." Also, for those of you who deep down inside know your degree is worthless, but have no alternative "Plan B" and that fear is what's keeping you in a college you can't afford, may I recommend the book "Reconnaissance Man." Both books are vital for those of you with worthless degrees and are the vaccines that will immunize you against a life of debt, poverty, and regret.If you have an individual problem or question that you think my blunt, force, trauma reality might help, consider hiring me at my consultancy, Asshole Consulting. It is a REAL company, and unlike Oprah, we deliver REAL advice. HHR4HM7ZPMV3
Today’s executives are dealing with a complex and unprecedented brew of social, environmental, market, and technological trends. These require sophisticated, sustainability-based management. Yet executives are often reluctant to place sustainability core to their company’s business strategy in the mistaken belief that the costs outweigh the benefits. On the contrary, academic research and business experience point to quite the opposite. Embedded sustainability efforts clearly result in a positive impact on business performance. Drawing from our own research and our colleagues’ research in this area, we have created a sustainability business case for the 21st century corporate executive. Hoping to alleviate their concerns, this article also provides concrete examples of how sustainability benefits the bottom line. For the purpose of this article, we define sustainable practices as those that: 1) at minimum do not harm people or the planet and at best create value for stakeholders and 2) focus on improving environmental, social, and governance (ESG) performance in the areas in which the company or brand has a material environmental or social impact (such as in their operations, value chain, or customers). We exclude companies with a traditional CSR program that supports employee volunteering in the community – this does not by itself qualify as sustainability. Driving competitive advantage through stakeholder engagement Traditional business models aim to create value for shareholders, often at the expense of other stakeholders. Sustainable businesses are redefining the corporate ecosystem by designing models that create value for all stakeholders, including employees, shareholders, supply chains, civil society, and the planet. Michel Porter and Mark Kramer pioneered the idea of “creating shared value,” arguing that businesses can generate economic value by identifying and addressing social problems that intersect with their business. Much of the strategic value of sustainability comes from the need to continually talk with and learn from key stakeholders. Through regular dialogue with stakeholders and continual iteration, a company with a sustainability agenda is better positioned to anticipate and react to economic, social, environmental, and regulatory changes as they arise. When firms fail to establish good relationships with their stakeholders, it can lead to increased conflict and reduced stakeholder cooperation. This can disrupt a firm’s ability to operate on schedule and budget. A study of the gold mining industry, for example, found that stakeholder relations can heavily influence land permitting, taxation, and the regulatory environment, thus playing a substantial role in determining whether a firm has the right to transform gold into shareholder capital – therefore, as the study authors wrote, stakeholder engagement “is not just corporate social responsibility but enlightened self-interest.” Improving risk management Supply chains today extend around the world, and are vulnerable to natural disasters and civil conflict. Climate change, water scarcity, and poor labor conditions in much of the world increase the risk. McKinsey reports that the value at stake from sustainability concerns can be as a high as 70% of earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization. In the largest study on climate change data and corporations, 8,000 supplier companies (that sell to 75 multinationals) reported on their level of climate risk. Of the respondents, 72% said that climate change presents risks that could significantly impact their operations, revenue, or expenditures. Unlike traditional forms of business risk, social and environmental risks manifest themselves over a longer term, often affect the business on many dimensions, and are largely outside the organization’s control. Managing risks therefore requires making investment decisions today for longer-term capacity building and developing adaptive strategies. In the agriculture, food, and beverage sector, the impacts of climate change have the potential to alter growing conditions and seasons, increase pests and disease, and decrease crop yields. Disruptions in the supply chain may affect production processes that depend on unpriced natural capital assets such as biodiversity, groundwater, clean air, and climate. These unpriced natural capital costs are generally internalized until events like floods or droughts cause disruption to production processes or commodity price fluctuation. For example, Bunge, an agribusiness firm, reported a $56 million quarterly loss in its sugar and bioenergy segments due to drought in 2010. Flooding in 2011 in Thailand, harmed 160 companies in the textile industry and halted nearly a quarter of the country’s garment production, increasing global prices by 28%. To address these threats along their supply chain, companies like Mars, Unilever, and Nespresso have invested in Rainforest Alliance certification to help farmers deal with climate volatility, reduce land degradation, and increase resilience to drought and humidity—all of which ensure the long-term supply of their agricultural products. Certification also improves productivity and net income: According to an independent study by COSA, Rainforest Alliance reported that certified cocoa farmers in Cote d’Ivoire, for example, produced 1,270 pounds of cocoa per hectare, compared with 736 pounds per hectare on non-certified farms. Net income was also significantly higher on certified cocoa farms than noncertified: $403 versus $113 USD per hectare. Companies are also experiencing risks in their manufacturing due to resource depletion – particularly water. Water has largely been considered a free raw material and therefore used inefficiently, but many companies are now experiencing the higher costs of using the resource. Coca-Cola, for example, faced a water shortage in India that forced it to shut down one of its plants in 2004. As the 24th biggest industrial consumer of water, Coca Cola has now invested $2 billion to reduce water use and improve water quality in the communities in which it operates. SabMiller has also invested heavily in water conservation, including $6 million to improve equipment at a facility in Tanzania affected by deteriorating water quality. Water-related risks threaten to strand billions of dollars for mining, oil, and gas companies. “Stranded assets” are investments that become obsolete due to regulatory, environmental, or market constraints. For example, social conflict related to disruptions to water supplies in Peru has resulted in the indefinite suspension of $21.5 billion in mining projects since 2010. Fostering innovation Investing in sustainability is not only a risk management tool; it can also drive innovation. Redesigning products to meet environmental standards or social needs offers new business opportunities. 3M, for example, integrates sustainability into its innovation pipeline through its “Pollution Prevention Pays” program, which aims to proactively minimize waste and avoid pollution through product reformulation, equipment redesign, process modification, and waste recycling. 3M’s Novec fire suppression fluids are the first viable, sustainable alternative to hydrofluorocarbons. Nike embedded sustainability into its innovation process and created the $1 billion-plus Flyknit line, which uses a specialized yarn system, requiring minimal labor and generating large profit margins. Flyknit reduces waste by 80% compared with regular cut and sew footwear. Since its launch in 2012, Flyknit has reduced 3.5 million pounds of waste and fully transitioned from yarn to recycled polyester, diverting 182 million bottles from landfills. Recognizing the growing consumer interest in sustainable products and looking to solve consumer challenges such as high energy costs, CPG companies have developed new products to gain access to this market. Proctor & Gamble, for example, conducted a life cycle assessment of its products and found that U.S. households spend 3% of annual electricity budgets on heating water to wash clothes. In 2005, they launched a U.S. and European line of cold-water detergents that require 50% less energy than warm water washing. Facing strict regulation on chemical release and competition from flowers from Africa, the Dutch flower industry developed a closed-loop system that grows flowers hydroponically in greenhouses, lowering risk of infestation and reducing the use of fertilizers and pesticides. The system also improves product quality by creating regulated growing conditions. Their innovative system has increased productivity and quality, reduced environmental impact and costs, and increased global competitiveness. Improving Financial Performance Many business leaders have the erroneous perception that one can have profits or sustainability, but not both. This probably has its roots in Milton Friedman’s 50-year old, but still influential, thesis that the only business of a business is profit as well as a hangover from the 1970s and 80s, when low quality, high priced environmental products failed in the market and early socially responsible investing delivered low returns. That conventional wisdom has now reversed. In addition to the financial benefits that accrue from increased competitive advantage and innovation as discussed earlier, companies are realizing significant cost savings through environmental sustainability-related operational efficiencies. Moreover, investors are now able to track the high performers on ESG (environmental, social and governance factors) and are correlating better financial performance with better ESG performance. Significant cost reductions can result from improving operational efficiency through better management of natural resources like water and energy, as well as minimizing waste. One study estimated that companies experience an average internal rate of return of 27% to 80% on their low carbon investments. Since 1994, Dow has invested nearly $2 billion in improving resource efficiency and has saved $9.8 billion from reduced energy and wastewater consumption in manufacturing. In 2013, GE had reduced greenhouse gas emissions by 32% and water use by 45% compared to 2004 and 2006 baselines, respectively, resulting in $300 million in savings. A focus on sustainability can also unlock opportunities for process and logistics savings. Wal-Mart, for example, aimed to double fleet efficiency between 2005 and 2015 through better routing, truck loading, driver training, and advanced technologies. By the end of 2014, they had improved fuel efficiency approximately 87% compared to the 2005 baseline. In that year, these improvements resulted in 15,000 metric tons of CO2 emissions avoided and savings of nearly $11 million. Mounting evidence shows that sustainable companies deliver significant positive financial performance, and investors are beginning to value them more highly. Arabesque and University of Oxford reviewed the academic literature on sustainability and corporate performance and found that 90% of 200 studies analyzed conclude that good ESG standards lower the cost of capital; 88% show that good ESG practices result in better operational performance; and 80% show that stock price performance is positively correlated with good sustainability practices. Here are some other datapoints to consider: Between 2006 and 2010, the top 100 sustainable global companies experienced significantly higher mean sales growth, return on assets, profit before taxation, and cash flows from operations in some sectors compared to control companies. During the 2008 recession, companies committed to sustainability practices achieved “above average” performance in the financial markets during the 2008 recession, translating into an average of $650 million in incremental market capitalization per company. Additionally, companies with superior environmental performance experienced lower cost of debt by 40-45 basis points. Studies also suggest that companies with strong corporate responsibility reputations “experience no meaningful declines in share price compared to their industry peers during crises” versus firms with poor CSR reputations whose reputations declined by “2.4-3%; a market capitalization loss of $378M per firm.” Investors are paying attention. According to the 2015 EY Global Institutional Investor Survey, investors are increasingly using companies’ nonfinancial disclosures to inform their investment decisions. In its survey of over 200 institutional investors, 59.1% of respondents view nonfinancial disclosures as “essential” or “important” to investment decisions, up from 34.8% in 2014. Some 62.4% of investors are concerned about the risk of stranded assets (i.e. assets that lose value prematurely due to environmental, social, or other external factors) and over one-third of respondents reported cutting their holdings of a company in the past year because of this risk. Building Customer Loyalty Companies are skeptical about consumer interest in sustainable products – especially where willingness-to-pay is concerned. Some of that is self-inflicted, as early on companies tended to increase “sustainable” product prices substantially and in some cases sold inferior products (e.g. pricy natural cleaning products that did not work). However, a shift is occurring in the minds of consumers. Today’s consumers expect more transparency, honesty, and tangible global impact from companies and can choose from a raft of sustainable, competitively priced, high quality products. In fact, one study found that among numerous factors surveyed, the news coverage regarding environmental and social responsibility was the only significant factor that affected respondents’ evaluation of a firm and intent to buy. Nearly two-thirds of consumers across six international markets believe they “have a responsibility to purchase products that are good for the environment and society” — 82% in emerging markets and 42% in developed markets. In the food and beverage industry, a growing number of consumers are considering values beyond price and taste in their purchasing decisions, such as safety, social impact, and transparency. Far from feeling skittish about buying sustainable products, today’s consumers perceive a higher level of product performance in products from sustainable companies and sustainability information has a significantly positive impact on consumers’ evaluation of a company, which translates into purchase intent. The results of these studies support that consumers in a post-Recession era are shifting purchasing decisions to brands with integrity, social responsibility, and sustainability at their core. In fact, Unilever claims its “brands with purpose” are growing at twice the rate as others in their portfolio. Companies can also charge higher price premiums based on positive corporate responsibility performance. These premiums can reach 20% according to some estimates. Moreover, some studies show that overall sales revenue can increase up to 20% due to corporate responsibility practices. Another study found that revenues from sustainable products and services grew at six times the rate of overall company revenues between 2010 and 2013, among the 12 members of the S&P Global 100 sampled (Singer, 2015). GE’s Ecomagination division, for example, has generated $200 billion in sales since 2005. IKEA’s line of sustainable products like LED bulbs and solar panels from its Products for a More Sustainable Life at Home now generate a billion dollars. Attracting and Engaging Employees Corporate sustainability initiatives aimed at improving ESG performance and proving value to society can increase employee loyalty, efficiency, and productivity and improve HR statistics related to recruitment, retention, and morale. Research is finding that 21st century employees are focusing more on mission, purpose, and work-life balance. Companies that invest in sustainability initiatives tend to create sought-after culture and engagement due to company strategy focusing more on purpose and providing value to society. In addition, companies who embed sustainability in their core business strategy treat employees as critical stakeholders, just as important as shareholders. Employees are proud to work there and feel part of a broader effort. One study found that morale was 55% better in companies with strong sustainability programs, compared to those with poor ones, and employee loyalty was 38% better. Better morale and motivation translate into reduced absenteeism and improved productivity. Firms that adopted environmental standards have seen a 16% increase in productivity over firms that did not adopt sustainability practices. Corporate responsibility performance also positively impacts turnover and recruitment. Studies show that firms with greater corporate responsibility performance can reduce average turnover over time by 25-50%. It can also reduce annual quit rates by 3-3.5%, saving replacement costs up to 90%-200% of an employee’s annual salary for each retained position. *** The preponderance of evidence shows that sustainability is going mainstream. Executives can no longer afford to approach sustainability as a “nice to have” or as solid function separated from the “real” business. Those companies that proactively make sustainability core to business strategy will drive innovation and engender enthusiasm and loyalty from employees, customers, suppliers, communities and investors.
Moneygram International Inc. (MGI) has partnered with Farm Fresh Food and Pharmacy, the grocery retail chain of SUPERVALU to grant $40,000 to Virginia-based non-profit organization, "An Achievable Dream".
Are you or your organisation interested in involving young volunteers from other countries in your projects? The European Voluntary Service (EVS) gives young people a chance to travel abroad and participate in volunteering projects and is open to a wide variety of organisations, public bodies and CSR initiatives. In this video, active EVS organisations explain the benefits of EVS to their organisation and tell you how to get involved. https://ec.europa.eu/programmes/erasmus-plus/organisations_en