Mar 14

Helping a Hiro in the fight to END ALS


Weber Shandwick Japan is currently working with IPG sister group McCann Worldgroup Japan, in a pro-bono joint effort to raise awareness and understanding of ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis), also known as Lou Gehrig's disease, or MND.

ALS is a terminal disease that is characterised by the gradual weakening and atrophying of the muscles of the entire body, while bodily sensation and cognitive function remain intact. It is a devastating illness that can strike anyone at any time, but the cause and cure remain unknown. The progression of ALS is extremely rapid, with the average life expectancy being three to five years after diagnosis. 

Planning Director at McCann Erickson Japan, Hiro Fujita, was diagnosed with ALS in 2010 at the age of 31.  Since then, he has established the END ALS Association - with three clear, strong objectives:

1. Help find a cure

2. Build awareness

3. Provide support to ALS patients

To assist in his mission, Hiro has also written a book “99% THANK YOU. Things Even ALS Can't Take Away.” It is a short ‘diary’ that expresses Hiro’s raw thoughts and emotions before and after diagnosis, which he wrote on a computer connected to an eye-tracking system. Describing ALS, he writes:

“I’m writing these words with my eyes…now, the only things I can move are my left index finger and my face… Eventually, I will become a prisoner of my own body and will only be able to move my eyes. But I believe… the eyes can still say a lot”.

Despite the limitations posed by this condition, Hiro continues his work as a Planning Director for McCann Erickson Japan, going to the office once a week and working from home on other days.

Weber Shandwick assists Hiro and the END ALS Association through pro-bono contributions of PR consulting services, media relations and communications support as required. 

An English-language version of Hiro’s book, “99% THANK YOU. Things Even ALS Can't Take Away” is now available in e-book format in select, iTunes and Kobo marketplaces. Proceeds from sales will go toward fulfilling the objectives of the END ALS Association.

More information about the END ALS Association is available via the association’s website, their Facebook page and Hiro’s blog.

Feb 26

One compostable plate at time

Luisa Castellanos

Weber Shandwick is the agency partner for the Walton Sustainability Solutions Initiatives, part of Arizona State University’s Global Institute of Sustainability. Several members of our Social Impact team supported their Sustainability Solutions Festival, which took place from February 17-22, 2014.

Chris Paciora serving a dish on a compostable plateWalton Sustainability Solutions Initiatives assisted with the inaugural Sustainability Solutions Festival, a week-long celebration of sustainability that brought together students, scholars, experts, businesses and families in a series of events around Phoenix and Tempe, Arizona.

In the true spirit of celebrating everyday sustainability solutions, ASU focused in its own backyard. For the Festival’s closing event, the Picnic in the Park, ASU provided local food trucks with compostable plates and utensils. In addition, the Festival boasted recycling and composting stations and featured an on-campus student sustainability group that dedicated their day to sorting the contents of the recycling bins.

While some trucks, like the Spice it Up! truck, have seen the value in sustainability efforts since their inception, other trucks enjoyed the jumpstart that ASU provided them. Spice it Up! truck’s owner, Chris Paciora (pictured with a dish on a compostable plate), discovered a love of Indian food and opened the curbside curry truck, featuring dishes made with local spices and vegetables, most from her own garden. Her Cambodian beef curry alone boasts 33 ingredients, most of which are locally sourced and organic.

Spice it Up! has consistently used compostable serving ware, and Chris explains this decision goes hand in hand with the food she serves. “It’s all part of the mentality,” she says, “People who eat healthier, who care about what they put into their bodies, tend to care about the environment and what they are leaving behind for future generations.”  It seems Chris’s values run in the family, as she proudly shared that her son is currently pursuing a degree in environmental studies.

By taking on the cost of the compostable serving ware, ASU hoped to inspire a positive change among the communities’ food trucks, starting a wave of more sustainable consumption practices that resonate with service providers and customers alike. Roxanne Wilson, of the Emerson Fry Bread truck, mentioned she would like to use compostable materials in lieu of Styrofoam in order to instill a sense of responsibility to the earth in her two-year-old daughter. “In the long run,” she says “the price difference pays off.”

At Walton Sustainability Solutions Initiatives, the hope is that efforts like these inspire celebration of sustainable solutions, and encourage current and future generations to be the brains behind developing ways to make a positive impact in our environment. In working together, children, students, business owners, sustainability experts and leaders can achieve truly life-changing results. Here’s to making a difference, one compostable plate at a time.


WSSI contributed to making the Picnic in the Park a nearly zero-waste event, and like other events that made up the Festival, guests appreciated the efforts to highlight how we can make our communities better through simple, actionable solutions. If you’re ever around the Phoenix area, be sure to follow Spice it Up! and Emerson Fry Bread on twitter, and get your fix of some delicious local food!



Feb 26

Sustainability for all: Breaking down barriers

Catie Caborn

 Weber Shandwick is the agency partner for the Walton Sustainability Solutions Initiatives, part of Arizona State University’s Global Institute of Sustainability. Several members of our Social Impact team supported their Sustainability Solutions Festival, which took place from February 17-22, 2014.

Those of us that work in the sustainability space have our own shared language — we talk about climate resiliency, decoupling growth and environmental footprints. It’s no wonder, then, that we sometimes get confused looks and furrowed eyebrows when we take our work, and our vernacular, beyond our “bubble” to try and influence priorities, encourage action and accelerate impact.

How do we break down this barrier, then? Well, it’s an issue that the sustainability community is grappling with on a regular basis — in companies, communities and academic settings. And we’ve certainly seen it play out at our inaugural Sustainability Solutions Festival, which took place last week.


For more of this blog and to view other insights from the Festival, visit


Feb 1

New book highlights opportunity for corporations to solve global challenges

Victoria Baxter

Corporations are uniquely positioned to drive innovations that solve global challenges while making a profit. This was the key message we heard from Alice Korngold, author of A Better World, Inc. - How Companies Profit by Solving Global Problems…Where Governments Cannot, during the launch party for her new book that was hosted by the Social Impact team in Washington, DC on January 30.  

Korngold highlighted case studies of global companies that are successfully addressing global challenges, including cases from Nike, Hewlett-Packard, GlaxoSmithKline and Vodafone while advancing their business growth.

A common theme she found in her research is that companies that are most successful in this space take a long-term, strategic view and align their mission, goals and resources to address global challenges, such as poverty, climate change, education, or human rights.

She also spoke to the business case for doing so. Beyond having a positive impact on the world, companies can also gain new customers, retain employees and forge strategic partnerships with nonprofits, governments and other important stakeholders – all important bottom line concerns for businesses.

CEOs and company leadership are essential for championing the importance of solving global challenges, Korngold emphasized. She advised on having diverse corporate boards that bring new perspectives, instead of homogenous ones that can prevent innovative thinking.

These kinds of insights have attracted Korngold’s loyal following of C-suite fans. The event gathered more than 45 CSR leaders, public affairs and corporate communications executives in the DC area. The conversation also continued online with live tweets and discussion using the #ABetterWorldInc hashtag. Paul Massey, the global head of Social Impact, interviewed Alice and facilitated the in-person and online conversation.


Jan 14

Ambitious Plans from Living on One











Beginning next week Chris Temple and Zach Ingrasci, the co-founders of our pro bono client Living on One, in partnership with 1001 MEDIA, will spend four weeks living alongside displaced Syrian refugees in the Za’atari camp and surrounding refugee communities in Jordan. Joined by Ibraheem Shaheen, a young Jordanian translator, they will be fully immersed by living in the same conditions as refugees, eating the same food and sharing the same facilities. They will be filming their journey and upon return producing a documentary that will provide a new view into the lives of Syrian refugees and connect a global audience to the urgent humanitarian crisis.

Living on One and 1001 Media have also partnered with the United Nations High Commission on Refugees (UNHCR), Save the Children and the International Rescue Committee (ICR) to develop a social action campaign. This includes engaging with viewers and answering questions through social media, live video feeds and weekly blog posts throughout their stay in the refugee camp.

Chris and Zach just landed in Jordan yesterday, but before they left they created a video to introduce the project Salam Neighbor. The video was just released today and you can view it here or on their website at Additionally, with every share of the video from Living on One’s Facebook page, $1 will be donated to the refugee cause.