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Big Businesses – Bigger Global Actions

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The beginning of 2020 also marks the commencement of the Climate Decade, which aims to limit global heating to 1.5°C by 2030. Making bigger, bolder steps in effectuating the Paris Agreement are over 200 multinationals with ambitious initiatives on renewable energy, electric vehicles, and smart efficient energy. In steering their wheels towards becoming environmentally responsive profiles that globally collaborate, innovate, and sustainably lead, 10 of these big businesses share below the critical role they’re playing in this urgent global cause that brings awareness into action.

1. Unilever

CEO Alan Jope declares that Unilever’s collective response comes in the form of a set commitment to 100% renewable sources for grid electricity; a science-based target at 1.5 degrees; and an envisioned carbon-neutral business by 2030.

In light of this, Jope  says, “But governments need to join forces with businesses to increase climate ambition, particularly in the run-up to COP26 in Glasgow and limit warming to below 1.5 degrees.”

2. Dell Technologies

Vice President of Corporate Sustainability David Lear claims that Dell Technologies turns to its #ProgressMadeReal 2030 goals in committing to their deliverance of a “comprehensive science-based climate program, setting emissions goals across facilities, supply chain, and operations and extending to customer’s use of [their] products.” Moreover, Dell is a part of The Climate Group’s RE100 that accelerates commitment to go 100% renewable.

3. ReNew Power

Chair of the India Advisory Group and Chairman and Managing Director Sumant Sinha’s company holds the title as India’s largest clean energy company with over 5 GW of power generated from renewables. Sinha shares ReNew Power’s role as a catalyst in the country’s transition to green energy by means of “targeting a capacity of 20 GW by 2024 to reduce dependence on polluting fossil fuels and make a healthy contribution to the Government’s target of 450 GW from renewables by 2030.”

He added, “We will focus on adopting best practices in energy efficiency, greening our supply chain and supporting the development of cutting edge storage and e-mobility solutions to add more teeth to the fight against climate change. We also look forward to working closely with the Government and civil society to advocate necessary policy reforms for decarbonizing the economy.”

4. Givaudan

CEO Gilles Andrier holds that Givaudan is headed to climate-positive operations before 2050, with an interim measure that rolls a decade earlier; is aligning their science-based targets with the 1.5° Celsius ambition; and has signed the UN pledge. Also, Givaudan’s entire electricity supply is moving towards fully renewable source by 2025 as an active member of RE100.

5. Ingersoll Rand

Chairman and CEO Michael Lamach shares the company’s Gigaton Challenge that, as part of their 2030 sustainability commitments, aims to reduce carbon emissions by one gigaton, solely gobbling 2% of the world’s annual emissions. Operating by this initiative means dramatically rethinking and changing the way the brand heats and cools homes, buildings, and transportation.

6. BT

Head of Environmental Sustainability Gabrielle Giner prides BT in internally harnessing technology that abides by environmentally conscious targets that, too, encourages suppliers and consumers to act accordingly.

“We were among the first companies in the world to set a science-based 1.5-degree target on global warming and [to have] achieved our 2020 goal on carbon emissions reduction four years ahead of schedule. We now aim to reach net zero by 2045 – and to get almost 90% of the way there by 2030.”

7. Landsec

Group Corporate Affairs and Sustainability Director Caroline Hill boasts Landsec’s path towards becoming a net zero business that aligns with the company’s updated science-based 1.5° Celsius target that sees a 70% reduction in its absolute carbon emissions by 2030, future developments included.

8. Mahindra Group

Chairman of Mahindra Group Anand Mahindra describes the detailed directions guiding the organization towards the implementation of The Paris Agreement: Science Based Targets for 2030 and Carbon Neutral by 2040. Mahindra says, “Nations will do a stocktake in 2023. We hope there will be good news. It’s all for one and one for all. Let it be a decade of outperformance on climate action.”

9. UltraTech Cement

Managing Director KK Maheshwari details, “UltraTech is accelerating investments in low carbon products and technologies to develop customized solutions for the Built Environment.” In collaboration with The Climate Group and other like-minded actors in targeting the world’s challenging target of Net Zero by 2050, the company is eyeing technological breakthroughs that would boldly address and reduce emissions.

10. VMware

CEO of VMware Pat Gelsinger prides the company in its recent carbon-neutral distinction after its efficient and intelligent use of infrastructure that has barred the emission of 664 million metric tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere since 2003, such amounting to the combined annual power consumption of Germany, Spain, and France.

Gelsinger added, “That’s why we’re proud members of REBA, RE100 and EV100—powering 100 percent of our operations with renewable energy and have committed to support the uptake of EVs by our employees. We’re also working on exponential innovation such as our solar-powered community microgrid and a carbon avoidance meter for our customers.”

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Postal Service Released Its Long-awaited Five Year-Business Plan

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The Postal Service recently released its anticipated five year-business plan to alleviate their financial losses. 

According to a statement by Robert Duncan, chairman of the USPS Boards of Governors and Postmaster General Megan Brennan said that the Postal Service is encountering a unique challenge as it is operating both as a federal agency and a large business with a duty to provide the best delivery service to every address in the US. 

 “Our mission and our role in America’s economy and society remain indispensable — but we can only continue to compete effectively and meet the high expectations of the public with an improved business model,” Duncan and Brennan said. 

The most significant impact will be on the strategy in which would require legislation from Congress. This means a regulatory relief from the Postal Regulatory Commission or PRC and new labor agreements from the postal unions are needed. 

 “Ultimately, Congress determines the contours of the Postal Service’s statutory business model and therefore has the unique authority to enable this vision or direct the Postal Service toward a different vision,” the five-year plan states.

The Plan Focuses On Five Primary Goals:

  1. Provide world-class delivery services and customer experiences 
  2. Equip, empower, and engage employees to serve our consumers 
  3. Innovate fasters ways to deliver quality
  4. Invest in future platforms 
  5. Achieve regulatory and legislative changes need to acquire financial stability

The five-year plan came eight months after Postmaster General Megan Brennan expressed that she and the USPS Board of Governors would release a 10-year business plan to address a $125 billion loss to the members of the House Oversight and Reform Committee. 

Even so, the 10-year business plan remains to be on the pipeline. On the other hand, a USPS spokesman said that the agency is still working on a final draft for the Congress. The draft version of the 10-year business plan was submitted by Brennan last summer. 

Nonetheless, the five-year plan, which was released by Postal Services’ Office of Strategic Planning involves a statutory requirement to offer the president and the Congress with a new strategic plan every three years. 

Governor John McLeod Barger stated in a meeting of the USPS Board of Governors that the board’s Strategy and Innovation Committee made recommendations on the five-year strategic plan and accepted an in-depth briefing on its overall strategy. 

Vice president of research partnerships at the R Street Institute, Kevin Kosar, said that the plan reenters some ideas like incorporating digital features into mail products. He also added that it would focus on a new concept and aim to “pivot its parcel system to focus more heavily on the wants and needs of consumers and small shippers, as opposed to big retailers.”

 “I wouldn’t exactly say these strategies are transformational — at most, they are evolutionary, and I’m skeptical they will generate sufficient revenues to get the USPS out of its structural deficits,” Kosar added.

The five-year strategic plan, although, does not mention the White House postal task force’s recommendations, which entails rolling up the unions’ collective bargaining rights for reparation. 

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Small Businesses Aren’t Going To Have It Easy With The Nearing Expiration Of Windows 7

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After January 14, 2020, support for Windows 7 will have ended and Microsoft will be halting the operating system’s free security updates and bug fixes. The updates, however, will be available to those willing to spend for the privilege after expiration. This Windows 7 Extended Security Update (ESU) program will be running through January 2023 after its official launch on December 2 this year.

Back in September 2018, Microsoft announced the availability of the Windows 7 ESU program to its most valuable customers, that being mammoth corporations, government agencies with volume licensing subscriptions, medium-sized businesses, and educational institutions with Windows 10 Enterprise or Education subscriptions. In October 2019, Microsoft then extended this program to all business sizes.

Thing is, small businesses and large organizations with active volume licensing contracts can keep using Windows 7. For the latter, a Multiple Activation Key (MAK) from the Volume Licensing Service Center can be downloaded and registered by installing a few servicing stack updates and using a command-line tool. This should deploy ESU to Windows 7 devices. For the former, however, Windows 7 ESUs have to be purchased via one of Microsoft’s partners in the Cloud Solution Provider (CSP) program, and this is far more difficult than it appears to be.

If you’re like the majority to click on the official Microsoft website’s FAQs about Extended Security Updates for Windows 7, you will be presented with the Q&A below:

Who should I contact for more information about pricing and ordering for Windows 7 ESU?

VL customers: Please contact your Account Team CE for pricing and ordering information that is tailored to specific customer scenarios.

Customers who are interested in purchasing Windows 7 ESU in CSP should reach out to a CSP partner. You can find a qualified partner at this site.

Using the official link from the site, you will be taken to the Microsoft Solution Providers database where you will be asked to fill in your U.S. business location, the size of your workforce (one to nine employees), and, well, your “products, services, skills, industries, or organizations”. Indicating “Cloud Solution Provider” will bring you eight recommended consultancies with broad-based skill sets demanding high payouts for medium- and large-scale deployment and development tasks – a sure indication that they largely serve big guys with big bucks.

In Ed Bott’s experience, he chose the maximum of three providers, entered a description of what he needed, and provided his contact information before hitting ‘send’. Within 15 minutes, the response he received wasn’t what he hoped for because the “best match” for his request was apparently “unavailable”, followed by the same status for his “second-best match” 12 hours later.

After asking for help from two companies whom Bott already had an established reseller relationship with, a reply saying, “Unfortunately, you would need to reach out to a reseller to purchase this license. We’re not able to sell to an end user directly,” made it to his inbox hours later.

Bott has worked with Microsoft’s cloud partners in the past to know the process doesn’t follow a simple point-click-pay-activate procedure. First, an Azure Active Directory tenant has to be set up in creating a reseller relationship with a partner to allow their access to your Azure AD portal and have them fill your order.

This scenario can be confirmed by another reseller whom Bott contacted as they replied to his request saying,

“Hello,

We received your message regarding Windows 7.

We are Cloud Solution Provider and only provide licenses for customers who have a commercial account.

If you are interested in becoming a commercial customer of Microsoft please let us know.”

To buy a single, good-for-a-year product key that doesn’t require any deployment or support, this is an overview for small businesses that don’t enjoy a volume licensing contract (even if Microsoft has long ago allowed the purchase of Office 365, Microsoft 365, and other cloud-based services directly from the Office 365 portal).

After the Windows 7 support from Microsoft expires on January 14 next year, a full-screen warning will be delivered to all PCs still running Windows 7. Until then, Microsoft can make it informative for users to access the paid updates by adding an option to pay for the extended security updates to the pop-up notifications it has been sending out for several months now. At least this way, people can have it easy by knowing that the program is a dead-end and Windows 10 is a more secure option.

Ed Bott puts it, “It’s almost like Microsoft wants people to become discouraged and give up.”

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Priority Passes: How To Make The Most Of Them This Winter

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This season, many are going to be traveling. While travels can be stressful, there are ways to minimize it so you can be more comfortable. Here, we’ll share with you some very useful techniques on how you can take advantage of your credit card to be a smart traveler. 

One of the many benefits of having a premium credit card is that you can stay in great airport lounges anywhere in the world. You can simply show your card and you can take some time to rest in the lounge, far away from the crowd of travelers. 

So, how do you get the most out of your premium credit card Priority Pass? This season’s forecast states that it’s going to be a very busy travel season. If you want to get away from the crowd and escape into a more comfortable space, then you have to know how to use your Priority Pass. 

Priority Passes are a common benefit that comes with having premium credit cards. You can enjoy membership if you have the Platinum Card from American Express or the Chase Sapphire Reserve. Other cards that have this kind of membership are the Hilton Honors American Express Aspire and the Starwood Preferred Guest American Express Luxury cards. 

What you have to remember though is that having the credit cards mentioned can set you back $500 on average for the annual fee. But they also feature other advantages such as travel insurance and rewards points. 

When you have confirmed your membership with Priority Pass, you will be able to receive your card. You may even download it through an app. Two of the easiest ways that you can use the Priority Pass to escape the holiday travel madness is to access lounges in airports or enjoy a fantastic meal at a restaurant for a discount. 

All of these benefits sound great. However, remember that the Priority Pass may have some limitations. There may be situations where you won’t be able to gain lounge entry. This can happen if you’re at airport lounges that do not participate with the Priority Pass program. For example, the American Express Centurion Lounges are exclusive for those who have the Platinum Card. 

You may also be refused entry if the airport lounge is already full. You can still visit other lounges and try there. Always have a backup plan and check the website so you’ll know what to expect. Lastly, carry your Priority Pass card whenever you travel. 

Even if you’re an active Priority Pass member, it is sometimes not enough to show your credit card so you can get in the airport lounge. You should carry the physical Priority Pass card. Also, download the virtual card so you’ll always have it on your smartphone. 

Now that you know some techniques to make traveling more comfortable this holiday season, make sure to take full advantage of your premium credit cards and the Priority Passes. You will surely be less stressed while on your way to your destination. 

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