Archive for March, 2010

Amway Partnering with VSA and the Kennedy Center

Wednesday, 31 March, 2010

This June, we get to see some local programs take the national (and international) stage.

Amway has supported VSA, or Very Special Arts, for many years. This is a program that works with children with special needs, providing an outlet for creativity and communication through art. These programs “breakdown psychological and emotional barriers that hold students back by building self-confidence and personal satisfaction.”

VSA is part of a national and international program run as an affiliate of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, DC. The programs help 7 million people in 54 countries around the world, with support from this prestigious organization.

Amway will sponsor the VSA International Festival taking place in DC June 6-12. And the exciting part is that we also get to send 7 students and their caregivers from our local VSA program in Grand Rapids, Michigan. This will be an amazing experience for all of us.

There will be performances and interactive experiences throughout the city, an educational conference for staff and parents, and a fabulous opening ceremony at the Kennedy Center. These include performances by Patti LaBelle, Claire Danes, Diane Schuur, Dale Chihuly and many more from all over the world.

Stay tuned for more details, or check it out if you are in DC this June!

On Being An American

Wednesday, 24 March, 2010

It was an interesting time to be in Washington DC this week. The new healthcare legislation was signed into law. Activists protested Israeli settlement policies. Preparations were being made for an upcoming Nuclear Summit.

A group of high school students saw all of this taking place as they celebrated what it means to be an American.

Twenty-seven of the top winners of the Being An American Essay Contest earned trips to DC – and brought along a teacher and a parent - during an event hosted by the Bill of Rights Institute, and sponsored by Amway Global.

We joined the group on Tuesday as they toured the city and visited the US Congress. Our own representative from Michigan, Congressman Vern Ehlers, visted our luncheon on Capitol Hill, along with other members of congress.

He was there to meet Hannah Diendorfer, a junior from Saranac, Michigan. Her essay explored the civic value of Perseverance, with a focus on American hero Harriet Tubman. Her definition of an American included someone, “Always striving for something better and never giving up.”

We talked to students who were seeing DC for the first time, many from small towns and small schools – even some who were homeschooled. Their visits to the institutions and monuments around town brought them closer to the places and ideas they had been reading about.

On the final night, we were all hosted at a formal gala to celebrate the contest. The top 9 winning students from each region were announced to standing ovations, and recognized from several prominent Washington speakers who talked about what being an American means to them.

It’s hard not to be proud of our country in Washington DC. The democratic process is alive and clearly visible in that town. And seeing it all through the eyes of smart, passionate students from around the country makes history become real again, and reminds me of the freedoms I exercise every day.

Thanks to the Bill of Rights Institute, and congratulations to all 90 winners across the US!

Bringing Youth to the World Expo

Thursday, 18 March, 2010

Before Amway decided on a sponsorship of the 2010 World Expo in Shanghai, it was looking for a way to get youth involved.

In a innovative partnership with the World Expo organizers, Amway China announced that it will provide support for 150 teenagers to attend, with a focus on those from low-income families.

The teenagers will participate in essay competitions and quiz contests in China this summer. The winners will visit the expo in Shanghai, and will have the opportunity to work as volunteers.

The World Expo takes place from May through October. Event organizers expect 70 million people to visit the expo and 200 countries to participate.

It will be an experience not to miss in China. It’s great to hear that we can provide access to some great kids who may not otherwise have the chance to attend.

Life Cycle Assessments Prove Sustainability Claims

Thursday, 11 March, 2010

For years, skeptics have suggested that making products and processes “greener” takes a lot of green.

But the redesign of the newest version of the eSpring water purification system proves you can create more sustainable products and cut costs at the same time.

New software being used by Amway examines the life cycle of a product from cradle to grave and diagnoses the environmental impact of everything from design to disposal. The software helped Amway generate data that led the U.S. Society of Plastics Engineers (SPE) to name Amway’s eSpring a 2010 winner of its Environmental Stewardship Awards. Amway received the award at SPE’s Global Plastics Environmental Conference in March 8-10.

In addition to dramatic reductions in environmental impact, the redesign also resulted in an impressive manufacturing cost reduction.  As part of the redesign of Amway’s eSpring unit, in 2009 R&D conducted a life cycle assessment (LCA) using the company’s newly acquired GaBi product sustainability software.

The life cycle assessment (LCA) is part of the company’s efforts to minimize the environmental impact of products and processes. An assessment was conducted on the redesigned “Calypso” model compared to the prior generation model, the “Arata.”

The assessment showed that the redesign reduced the global warming impact by 46 percent through a reduction in plastic, increased electrical efficiency, and less consumable and post-consumer waste.

The energy consumption of the Calypso unit is dramatically reduced – 19.7 kilowatt hours per year compared to 38.94 kilowatt hours for the Arata unit on average. The energy savings could power a village of 9,000 people for a year.

The new eSpring showed improvement in all LCA analysis categories, with the most dramatic improvement in ozone, petrochemical, energy and gross waste product reductions.

And the Calypso unit does all of this without sacrificing performance or claims. In addition to quantifying the environmental impact of design changes, the LCA also helped create performance claims that could drive sustainable marketing of the unit.

According to Mark Gammage, the senior R&D group leader who conducted the eSpring LCA, other benefits of the analysis include:
•    Effective identification and prioritization of environmental performance improvements during the design phase
•    More informed R&D decision-making
•    Creation of more relevant indicators of product environmental impact and performance
•    Ability to validate environmental performance claims
•    Expanded environmental and sustainability awareness throughout the company

Amway plans to complete life cycle analysis on more products in 2010, and have every product evaluated by the end of 2014.

Life cycle analysis is just one plank in Amway’s plan to instill sustainability into all we do worldwide, and “grow our business while caring for the environment and our people and communities, contributing to an improved quality of life for this generation and the next.”

Amway helping out in Chile

Tuesday, 9 March, 2010

We have been in close contact with our colleagues in Chile following last week’s massive 8.0 earthquake. Amway was quick to contribute to the relief efforts, committing $100,000 toward Red Cross efforts in partnership with the American Red Cross and the Chilean Red Cross.

Mario Boullon,Country Manager of Amway Argentina, Chile and Uruguay, recently sent an update. He said Amway operations in Chile have been restored and all of our employees and ABO leaders are okay. Orders, training sessions, invoicing and deliveries are back online, but there are some locations/regions where the transportation service is unavailable because they suffered major damage.

We are happy to hear that the Amway business is up and running again, but our hearts go out to many who have lost family, friends and homes to the earthquake. We wish them the best, and the best for a restored Chile.

Miss America Reads and Rhymes

Friday, 5 March, 2010

“Can the princess read it to me?”

Kids have a way of cutting through the descriptors and giving meaning to a situation.

Miss America Caressa Cameron visited Amway headquarters on Tuesday to get to know the company that sells Artistry cosmetics – the sponsor and official skin care provider of the 2010 Miss America competition.

But that afternoon, she took a detour to visit the DeVos Children’s Hospital in honor of Dr. Seuss’s birthday. Caressa’s platform is the Children’s Miracle Network, a cause Amway has been supporting for years in its hometown.

Our employees volunteer throughout the year, putting together gift bags. They also answer phones at the hospital during the Children’s Miracle Network telethon each June.

It isn’t unusual for the hospital to provide extra care to children who are being treated. I remember when my son had to stay for several days because of a respiratory illness. There were care packages, games and activities to keep up the spirits of both the children and the parents.

However, someone of Miss America’s celebrity does not stop by every day. After holding a reception where she signed books and took pictures with the children, she left the media behind and went to visit the children who couldn’t leave their rooms.

There was a buzz on each floor as she walked through, with the same charisma that helped win her the crown. The medical staff took her around and introduced her to the children and their families.

One teenage boy left her waiting while he groomed himself in the bathroom, coming out with a polished look – and the thick air of new cologne.

Others traded rhymes in honor of the author they were celebrating. “Don’t frown … adjust your gown … that’s a lovely shade of brown … we’re together downtown … and here, try on my crown!”

And the answer to the little boy’s question for a princess to read him his story? Of course. She sat right down on the floor with him, and jumped into “The Lorax.”

Check out more photos on the Artistry Facebook page.

Sustainable Forestry Initiative Certified!

Thursday, 4 March, 2010

As a part of Amway citizenship and leading sustainability strategies, each week I hear new stories, ideas and initiatives.  And for some reason, after all this time, I am still amazed by what transpires.

For example, within our Paper Products Division, the Corrugated Printing Department recently became certified for fiber sourcing on the Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI).  As a part of a shared focus on corporate responsibility, the department set a goal to become certified, and upon a successful audit, they did just that!

So what does this mean? Amway headquarters can formally state that 100% of its corrugated material is sourced from well-managed forests sustained under the SFI program.  The Sustainable Forestry Initiative is a collective effort of individuals, organizations and companies committed to sustainable forestry, and the Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI) recently became the world's largest single forest certification standard.  The amount of land certified to the SFI program has grown to over 178 million acres in North America!

By joining SFI, Amway has become part of a growing number of companies, forest managers, conservation groups and communities all working towards improving forest management on a global scale…creating a better world, for this and future generations.