TAIPEI, TAIWAN – Media OutReach – 27 October 2020 – Taiwan not only invented bubble tea that has created a global phenomenon, one of the country’s vibrant startup firms has also come up with eco versions of straws that allow you sip through and enjoy chewy tapioca balls, or oversized ‘bubbles’, in beverages. Among many green solutions providers, Taiwan Plants Fiber Tech Alliance(PFTA) makes plastic-free, bio-degradable straws and cutlery out of sugarcanes and other agricultural waste. It now aims to expand the green product to the US.
PFTA focuses on circular application of agricultural materials and natural plant fiber, such as sugarcane fiber straw, fulfilling the concept of zero waste.
According to the World Bank, the world produced 242 million tons of plastic waste in 2016, 57 million tons originated from Asia Pacific, 45 million tons from Europe and Central Asia, and 35 million tons from North America, and that there will be more plastic in the oceans than fish in 2050 if no action is taken.
In addition, recycling systems around the world are breaking down due to Covid-19 budget strains. Recycling is not enough; a more creative solution is replacing plastic. As Taiwan’s bubble tea has taken the world by storm in recent years, its indispensable partner, the straw, is becoming eco-friendly and cool.
PFTA chose sugarcane and plant fibers as raw materials to make one-time or reusable cutlery. Its sugarcane straw is nicknamed ‘savior for bubble tea lovers’ since Taiwan, home of bubble tea, banned the use of plastic straws at the end of 2019. But long before that, PFTA’s sugarcane straw was already welcomed by the Canadian market.
” In 2016, I posted our sugarcane straw on social media to celebrate the success of its commercialization after years of R&D efforts. An interested party from Canada immediately contacted me. He ordered two containers right away,” said James Chen, founder and CEO of PFTA. Even if sugarcane straws are twice as expensive as plastic ones, orders from Canada continued to increase. Now this very first customer of PFTA has become its business partner in Canada and has established production lines in Edmonton.
“Sugarcane is grown in abundance in Taiwan. In the Japanese colonial age, sugarcane was a pillar of local economy. Until today, many elderly in Taiwan still share the childhood memories of chewing sugarcanes for fun. Therefore, we manufacture sugarcane straws when there are straws made from cornstarch, paper, bamboo or stainless steel.” Chen said.
He said that another reason he chose to use sugarcane is to help reduce agricultural waste. Taiwan is “the kingdom of fruits and vegetables”. Abundant agricultural produce means abundant waste. Peels of pineapples, bananas, papayas, or even coffee grounds can be a burden to the environment since they produce methane in the compost or landfills and increase CO2 emission when incinerated.
ASEAN governments also welcome sugarcane straws as bubble tea is getting more popular in their countries. Thailand is the first to adopt PFTA’s sugarcane straws. Malaysia banned the use of plastic straws in 2019, Bali and Jakarta of Indonesia banned them in 2020. Striving for a greener future and enforcing its marketing efforts, PFTA approached Green Trade Project Office (GTPO) under Taiwan’s Ministry of Economic Affairs for overseas promotional support.
Sugarcane straw is just one of PFTA’s many plastic-free products. The company core technology is in its green materials: PFP (Plant Fiber Polymer) No.1 for making reusable products such as plates, bowls, toys, and building materials; and PFP No.2 for single use straws, spoons, and forks.
Chen said that compared with many other countries, the US is a late-comer in adopting green, biodegradable sugarcane straws. This means great market potentials for PFTA. “we are dedicated to establishing a zero-plastic future and circular economy. It’s a long, hard journey but we have confidence because we’ve seen more and more people answering our call.”
Dovly, the Credit Repair Engine, Welcomes Todd Davis, Co-Founder and Former CEO of LifeLock, to Advisory Board
PHOENIX, Dec. 3, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — Dovly, the credit repair engine that tracks, manages, and fixes your credit, today announced the appointment of Todd Davis, co-founder and former chief executive officer (CEO) of identity protection leader LifeLock, to its board of advisors.
“Todd is one of the most innovative marketers and business leaders in the personal finance industry,” said Nirit Rubenstein, CEO and co-founder of Dovly. “His unique understanding of consumer mindsets and financial technology enabled him to create and scale a transformational business. His insights will help us take Dovly to the next level.”
“Millions of Americans have at least one serious mistake on their credit reports,” Todd Davis, co-founder and former CEO of LifeLock, explained, “yet far too many of those people aren't even aware of it, nor do they understand the impact these mistakes have on credit scores. Dovly is a game changer.”
After launching his career with Dell in the early 1990s, Davis co-founded LifeLock in 2005. Five years later, the company ranked eighth on Inc. Magazine's list of the 500 fastest growing companies in America, and in 2012, the company went public. By 2014, LifeLock had over three million subscribers and 700 employees. Symantec acquired the company in February 2017 for $2.3 billion. Davis now serves as chairman of the board of Kadenwood and Aesthetics Biomedical.
Dovly also welcomed Jacky Chiu, the former vice president of product of LifeLock, to its advisory board. Chiu is the co-founder and chief technology officer of Brightside, a financial technology company that recently secured a $35 million series A funding round led by Andreessen Horowitz.
Dovly is an advanced credit repair engine that tracks, manages, and fixes your credit. Dovly's fully automated technology enables customers to get ahead financially by leveraging credit intelligence to repair credit scores. The company is headquartered in Phoenix, Arizona, and has increased its customer base by 160% this year alone. In June of 2020, Dovly raised a $2.25 million round of seed funding led by NFX, with participation from 1984 Ventures.
Learn more at www.dovly.com.
Junior Achievement and Janus Henderson Launch New JA Titan®, an Online Simulation that Lets Teens Start and Run a Virtual Business
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo., Dec. 3, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — Today, Junior Achievement USA and global asset manager Janus Henderson Investors are announcing the launch of the new JA Titan®, an online simulation that allows teens to start and run a virtual business.
“JA Titan has been a popular JA educational offering for many years, but this is a newly reimagined version,” said Jack E. Kosakowski, President and CEO of Junior Achievement USA. “We anticipate the new design-based approach made possible with the support of Janus Henderson will make JA Titan especially compelling to today's 'digital natives' who we had in mind when we redeveloped it.”
Tiphani Krueger, Janus Henderson Foundation President and Co-Head of Human Resources at Janus Henderson Investors, said: “At Janus Henderson we believe in elevating the knowledge of our youth. We have a great partnership with Junior Achievement and we are excited to be rolling out such an interactive and innovate program, JA Titan will help students learn critical decision-making and problem-solving skills in a virtual environment.”
JA Titan is a simulation-based program in which high school students compete as business CEOs in the phone industry, experiencing firsthand how an organization evaluates alternatives, makes decisions, analyzes the outcomes of those decisions, and then strategizes what to do next. With a focus on financial literacy and insights into the workforce, JA Titan brings business economics to life. As students work in teams, or on their own, to make financial decisions about production, marketing, research and development (R&D), and corporate social responsibility (CSR), they begin to see how every choice made in an organization relates to its future success.
JA Titan is offered in a variety of delivery models to accommodate different learning formats being used by educators this school year. For more information about Junior Achievement and learning experiences like the JA Titan, visit www.JA.org.
About Junior Achievement USA® (JA)
Junior Achievement is the world's largest organization dedicated to giving young people the knowledge and skills they need to own their economic success, plan for their future, and make smart academic and economic choices. JA programs are delivered by corporate and community volunteers, and provide relevant, hands-on experiences that give students from kindergarten through high school knowledge and skills in financial literacy, work readiness, and entrepreneurship. Today, JA reaches nearly 4.8 million students per year in 105 markets across the United States, with an additional 5.2 million students served by operations in 100 other countries worldwide. Junior Achievement USA is a member of JA Worldwide. Visit www.ja.org for more information.
About Janus Henderson
Janus Henderson Group (JHG) is a leading global active asset manager dedicated to helping investors achieve long-term financial goals through a broad range of investment solutions, including equities, fixed income, quantitative equities, multi-asset and alternative asset class strategies.
As of June 30, 2020, Janus Henderson had approximately US$337 billion in assets under management, more than 2,000 employees, and offices in 27 cities worldwide. Headquartered in London, the company is listed on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) and the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX).
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SOURCE Junior Achievement USA
California Association of Realtors Partners with Bend to Offer HSAs to Members
BOSTON, Dec. 3, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — Bend Financial (Bend), an industry-leading health savings account (HSA) provider, today announced that they have been chosen by the California Association of Realtors (C.A.R.) to provide health savings accounts to all C.A.R. members who select HSA-eligible high-deductible health plans (HDHPs). Through this exclusive endorsement, C.A.R. members will have access to Bend's next-generation HSA platform as part of their member benefits package.
“What we offer goes beyond a standard health savings account and provides a vehicle for improved financial wellness, and that's exactly what C.A.R. wanted for their members and why this partnership is such a great match,” explained Tom Torre, CEO of Bend. “At Bend, we're all about proactively helping our accountholders maximize their HSAs, while providing our partners with a unique, industry-leading benefit offering that sets them apart. We know how important HSAs can be to those working in the real estate industry, and we're excited to help C.A.R. members take advantage of our user-friendly platform that simplifies HSAs.”
The Bend HSA leverages advanced technologies like artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning to help accountholders optimize tax benefits and healthcare spending through their HSA and also comes equipped with a unique tool that recognizes patterns and suggests optimizations customized to each accountholder in real time. For busy real estate professionals, Bend's resources will help them maximize their HSA benefits without losing focus on their business or their bottom line.
“We selected Bend because they're innovative and committed to helping our members learn about HSAs and guiding them in maximizing the product's benefits, while also helping them build financial wellness,” said 2021 C.A.R. President Dave Walsh, vice president and manager of the Compass San Jose office. “As independent contractors who typically don't have access to healthcare and financial offerings through an employer plan, our members can now better manage their healthcare expenses through Bend's unique offering.”
Pairing an HSA with an HDHP is widely recognized as being an extremely effective, affordable and tax-advantaged way for individuals and families to save and pay for expenses while taking a more active role in their healthcare. HSA participants enjoy a triple tax advantage, flexibility of use, account portability, rollovers, investment opportunities and more. HSA-eligible plan enrollment is on track to grow more than 25% in the next year, and individual HSAs are on pace to exceed 30 million accounts by 2022.
About Bend Financial
Bend Financial helps accountholders and partners improve their financial wellness through a next-generation health savings account (HSA) platform and complementary financial solutions, while providing employers, brokers and financial institutions of all types and sizes unique, leading-edge benefit offerings. Headquartered in Boston, Bend's forward-thinking, user-friendly approach simplifies healthcare saving and offers real-time, personalized guidance that makes it easy for anyone to maximize their HSA. For more information, visit bendhsa.com, read Bend's blog and follow Bend on Twitter and LinkedIn.
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SOURCE Bend Financial, Inc.
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