Additional Company Donation Supports STEM Education in Brazil
RACINE, Wis- Building on the company’s longstanding commitment to education and continuing its more than 80-year legacy in Brazil, SC Johnson today proudly joined the State of Ceará and the Federation of Industry of Ceará (FIEC) to celebrate the construction of the new Escola Johnson in Fortaleza, Brazil.
Through an SC Johnson commitment of $250,000, Escola Johnson will install solar panels that cover 100% of the electrical design of the facility – making it a first-of-its kind sustainable school in the area.
“SC Johnson and my family have long had a strong connection with the wonderful people of Brazil. We are proud to support the new Escola Johnson by helping to increase the number of students from this community who attend college,” said Fisk Johnson, Chairman and CEO of SC Johnson. “Escola Johnson’s solar panels are unique, reinforcing SC Johnson’s ongoing commitment to the environment and serving as a model for other schools in the State of Ceará.”
Escola Johnson is a state-of-the-art public school for ninth through 12th graders, funded and run by the State of Ceará with support from SC Johnson and FIEC. It has long been a high-performing school, with approximately 47 percent of graduates attending college – more than double the national average in Brazil. The school includes a full-service, on-site dental office, which has been fully funded by SC Johnson since 2010.
SC Johnson is also supporting the construction of an on-site greenhouse and educational program that will converge environmental sciences with business education. The greenhouse is designed to produce carnaúba palm tree seedlings native to the Caatinga Biome through a rainwater harvesting system. Students will cultivate, grow and sell the seedlings back to the community, in partnership with Junior Achievement, as part of their science education and to reinforce the concepts of sustainability and entrepreneurship.
An additional $200,000 commitment made by SC Johnson to STEM Brasil will bolster education for students by supporting STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) education and teacher training at Escola Johnson and other area schools. This donation will help encourage young students to pursue scientific careers – an ever-growing need as the skills developed from a STEM-based education are in demand in Brazil and around the world.
“For decades, SC Johnson has made a difference in the lives of many people in the State of Ceará and across Brazil through the company’s legacy of philanthropy, and commitment to education and sustainability,” said Camilo Santana, Governor of Ceará. “We thank SC Johnson for its support of the new Escola Johnson campus and the educational programs that will help prepare our students for college for years to come.”
A Legacy of Commitment to Brazil
For more than 80 years, Brazil has played an important role in the success of SC Johnson. The connection began in 1935 when third-generation company leader H.F. Johnson, Jr. pioneered a 15,000-mile roundtrip expedition to South America to study the carnaúba palm – the source for carnaúba wax, which was a key ingredient in SC Johnson products at the time. The journey brought H.F. Johnson, Jr. to Fortaleza, and marked the beginning of the family’s and the company’s relationship with Brazil – a strong bond that continues to this day.
SC Johnson opened the original Escola Johnson in Fortaleza in 1963, converting a portion of the company’s warehouse into a school complete with classrooms, a kitchen and dining area, and even a clinic to provide much-needed care to the children. Escola Johnson was the first public elementary school in Fortaleza, teaching 300 children who previously had no access to education. SC Johnson later donated the school to the Brazilian government, and has continued to provide support through a number of grants and gifts including the dental office, new science laboratories, an illuminated and covered sports playground, and general remodeling.
In 1998, fourth-generation leader Sam Johnson and his sons, including fifth-generation leader Fisk Johnson, retraced the historic 1935 Carnaúba Expedition, reaffirming the company’s commitment to sustainability and celebrating the “spirit of adventure” that started SC Johnson’s affiliation with Brazil. Recognizing the vital role that the Caatinga region in Brazil plays in the ecosphere, SC Johnson established The Fund for Conservation of Caatinga following the 1998 trip. This fund was instrumental in subsidizing The Caatinga Association, an organization committed to the study and protection of the region.
As part of SC Johnson’s continuing work with and contributions to Conservation International, more than 100,000 acres of land have been conserved – much of that in the Amazon region. In 2017, SC Johnson partnered with Conservation International to support the virtual reality film “Under the Canopy” and encourage the public to join in protecting 10,000 acres of rainforest. The funds raised are now being used to kick off the world’s largest tropical reforestation project in the Brazilian Amazon.
Also in 2017, SC Johnson announced it had delivered on a commitment made in 2016 to donate at least $15 million in pest control products and financial support to help at-risk families around the world combat mosquitoes that may carry Zika virus and other mosquito-borne diseases. Much of the donation aided families in Brazil and Latin America, as part of SC Johnson’s commitment to making lives better for families in the communities in which it operates.
Developing Skills in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math
SC Johnson’s $200,000 commitment to STEM Brazil is another way the company is prioritizing education. STEM Brasil’s comprehensive teacher training program uses innovation, technology, creativity and locally contextualized, practical projects to enhance the official curriculum for science and math. Since 2009, STEM Brasil has impacted more than 4,000 teachers and 458,000 students. According to the 2014 São Paulo state examination, 84 percent of schools participating in STEM Brasil showed an increase of 20 percent in their students’ math scores.
STEM Brasil is part of Worldfund, which works to transform the education of Latin American youth. Through world-class training and ongoing support to teachers and principals from public schools, Worldfund is creating systemic change in education while equipping young people for improved professional career opportunities, leading to a brighter, more prosperous future.
ECB launches small climate-change unit to lead Lagarde’s green push
FRANKFURT (Reuters) – The European Central Bank is setting up a small team dedicated to climate change to spearhead its efforts to help the transition to a greener economy in the euro zone, ECB President Christine Lagarde said on Monday.
Lagarde has made the environment a priority since taking the helm at the ECB, taking a number of steps to include climate considerations in the central bank’s work as the euro zone’s banking watchdog and main financial institution.
She is now creating a team of around 10 ECB employees, reporting directly to her, to set the central bank’s agenda on climate-related topics.
“The climate change centre provides the structure we need to tackle the issue with the urgency and determination that it deserves,” Lagarde said in a speech.
She said that climate change belonged in the ECB’s remit as it could affect inflation and obstruct the flow of credit to the economy.
The ECB said earlier on Monday it would invest some of its own funds, which total 20.8 billion euros ($25.3 billion) and include capital paid in by euro zone countries, reserves and provisions, in a green bond fund run by the Bank for International Settlement.
More significantly, ECB policymakers are also debating what role climate considerations should play in the institution’s multi-trillion euro bond-buying programme.
So far the ECB has bought corporate bonds based on their outstanding amounts but Lagarde has said the bank might have to consider a more active approach to correct the market’s failure to price in climate risk.
“Our strategy review enables us to consider more deeply how we can continue to protect our mandate in the face of (climate) risks and, at the same time, strengthen the resilience of monetary policy and our balance sheet,” Lagarde said.
(Reporting by Balazs Koranyi; Editing by Francesco Canepa and Emelia Sithole-Matarise)
What to expect in 2021: Top trends shaping the future of transportation
By Lee Jones, Director of Sales – Grocery, QSR and Selected Accounts for Northern Europe at Ingenico, a Worldline brand
The pandemic has reinforced the need for businesses to undergo digital transformation, which is pivotal in the digital economy. In 2020, we saw the shift to online and cashless payments accelerated as a result of increased social distancing and nationwide restrictions.
The biggest challenge on all businesses into 2021 will be how they continue to adapt and react to the ever changing new normal we are all experiencing. In this context, what should we expect this year and beyond, in terms of developments across key sectors, including transport, parking and electric vehicle (EV) charging?
Mobility as a service (MaaS) and the future of transportation
Social distancing and lockdown measures have brought about a real change in public habits when it comes to transportation. In the last three months alone, we have seen commuter journeys across the globe reduce by at least 70%, while longer-distance travel has fallen by up to 90%. With it, cash withdrawals for payment has drastically reduced by 60%.
Technological advancements, alongside open payments, have unlocked new possibilities across multiple industries and will continue to have a strong impact. Furthermore, travellers are expecting more as part of their basic service. Tap and pay is one of the biggest evolutions in consumer payments. Bringing ease and simplicity to everyday tasks, consumers have welcomed this development to the transport journey. In-app payments are also on the rise, offering customers the ability to plan ahead and remain assured that they have everything they need, in one place, for every leg of their journey. Many local transport networks now have their own apps with integrated timetables, payments, and ticket download capabilities. These capabilities are being enabled by smaller more portable terminals for transport staff, and self-scanning ticketing devices are streamlining the process even further.
Ultimately, the end goal for many transport providers is MaaS – providing an easy and frictionless all-encompassing transport system that guides consumers through the whole journey, no matter what mode of travel they choose. Additionally, payment will remain the key orchestrator that will drive further developments in the transportation and MaaS ecosystems in 2021. What remains critical is balancing the need for a fast and convenient payment with safety and data privacy in order to deliver superior customer experiences.
The EV charging market and the accelerating pace of change
The EV charging market is moving quickly and represents a large opportunity for payments in the future. EVs are gradually becoming more popular, with registrations for EVs overtaking those of their diesel counterparts for the first time in European history this year. What’s more, forecasts indicate that by 2030, there will be almost 42 million public charging points deployed worldwide, as compared with 520,000 registered in 2019.
Our experience and expertise in this industry have enabled us to better understand but also address the challenges and complexities of fuel and EV payments. The current alternating current (AC) based chargers are set to be replaced by their direct charging (DC) counterparts, but merchants must still be able to guarantee payment for the charging provider. Power always needs to be converted from AC to DC when charging an electric vehicle, the technical difference between AC charging and DC charging is whether the power gets converted outside or inside the vehicle.
By offering innovative payment solutions to this market segment, we enable service operators to incorporate payments smoothly into their omnichannel customer experience that also allows businesses to easily develop acceptance and provide a unique omnichannel strategy for EV charging payments. From proximity to online payments, it will support businesses by offering a unique hardware solution optimized for PSD2 and SCA. It will manage both near field communication (NFC) cards and payments from cards/smartphones, as well as a single interface to manage all payments, after sales support and receipt with both ePortal and eReceipts.
Cashless options for parking payments
The ‘new normal’ is now partly defined by a shift in consumer preference for cashless, contactless and mobile or embedded payments. These are now the preferred payment choices when it comes to completing the check-in and check-out process. They are a time-saver and a more seamless way to pay.
Drivers are more self-reliant and empowered than ever before, having adopted technologies that work to make their life increasingly efficient. COVID-19 has given rise to both ePayment and omnichannel solutions gaining in popularity. This has been due to ticketless access control based on license plate recognition or the tap-in/tap-out experience, as well as embedded payments or mobile solutions for street parking.
These smart solutions help consider parking services more broadly as a part of overall mobility or shopping experience. Therefore, operators must rapidly adapt and scale new operational practices; accept electronic payment, update new contactless limits, introduce additional payments means, refund the user or even to reflect changing customer expectations to keep pace.
2021: the journey ahead
This year, we expect to see an even greater shift towards a cashless society across these key sectors, making the buying experience quicker and more convenient overall.
As a result, merchants and operators must make the consumer experience their top priority as trends shift towards simplicity and convenience, ensuring online and mobile payments processes are as secure as possible.
Opportunities and challenges facing financial services firms in 2021
By Paul McCreadie, Partner at ECI Partners, the leading growth-focused mid-market private equity firm
Despite 2020 being an enormously disruptive year for businesses, our latest Growth Index research reveals that almost three quarters (74%) of mid-market financial services companies remained resilient throughout the pandemic.
This is positive news, especially when taking into account the economic disruption that financial services firms have had to go through since the crisis began. No doubt 2021 will also hold its own challenges – as well as opportunities – for firms in this sector.
Unsurprisingly, the biggest short-term concern for financial firms for the year ahead involved changing pandemic guidance, with 42% citing this as a top concern. With the UK currently experiencing a third lockdown many financial services businesses will have already had to adapt to rapidly changing guidance, even since being surveyed.
Businesses will also be considering the need to invest in working from home operations, and there may be uncertainty over re-opening offices on a permanent basis. According to the research 30% of financial services firms are planning to adopt remote working on a permanent basis, so decisions need to be made now about whether they invest more in enabling staff to do this, or in their current office premises.
Due to Brexit, UK financial services firms are no longer able to passport their services into Europe, which may cause problems, particularly in the next 12 months as the Brexit deal is ironed out and the agreement is put into practice. Despite this, Brexit was only cited by 24% of financial firms as a short-term concern. While it’s comforting to see that UK financial firms aren’t hugely concerned about Brexit at this juncture, it is going to be vital for the ongoing success of the industry that the UK is able to get straightforward access to Europe and operate there without issue, otherwise we may see these concern levels rise.
Looking ahead to longer-term concerns for financial services businesses, the top concern was global economic downturn, of which 40% of firms cited this as a worry when looking beyond 2021.
Investing and adopting tech
Traditionally, the financial services sector has been slow to adopt digital transformation. Issues with legacy systems, coupled with often large amounts of data and a reluctance to undertake potentially risky change processes, have meant many firms are behind the curve when it comes to technology adoption. It’s therefore promising to see that so much has changed over the last year, with 45% of financial services firms having invested in AI and machine learning technology – making it the top sector to have invested in this space over the last 12 months.
One business that exemplifies the benefits of investing in machine learning is Avantia, the technology-enabled insurance provider behind HomeProtect. The business has undergone a large tech transformation in the last few years, investing in an underlying machine learning platform and an in-house data science team, which provides them with capabilities to return a quote to over 98% of applicants in under one second. This tech investment has allowed them to become more scalable, provide a more stable platform, improve customer service and consequently, grow significantly.
This demonstrates how this kind of tech can help businesses to leverage tech in order to offer a better customer experience, and retain and grow market share through winning new customers. This resilience should combat some of the concerns that firms will face in the next year.
Additionally, half (51%) of financial services firms have invested in cybersecurity tech over the last year, which allows them to protect the platforms on which they operate and ensure ongoing provision of solutions to their customers.
Clearly, there is a benefit of international revenues and profits on business resilience. In practice, this meant that businesses that weren’t internationally diversified in 2020 struggled more during the pandemic. In fact, the businesses considered to be the least resilient through the 2020 crisis were three times more likely to only operate domestically.
Perhaps an attribute towards financial services firms’ resilience in 2020, therefore, was the fact that 53% already had a presence in Europe throughout 2020 and 38% had a presence in North America. This internationalisation gave them an advantage that allowed them to weather the many storms of 2020.
Looking at how to capitalise on this throughout the rest of 2021, half (51%) of are planning overseas growth in Europe over the next 12 months, and 43% in North America. Further plans to expand internationally is not only a good sign for growth, but should further increase resilience within the sector.
While there are many concerns, the fact that financial services businesses are investing in technology like AI and machine learning, as well as still planning to grow internationally, means that they are providing themselves with the best chances of dealing with any upcoming challenges effectively.
In order to maintain their growth and resilience throughout the next 12 months, it’s imperative that they continue to put their customers first, invest in technology and remain on the front foot of digital change.
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