Environmental Sustainability: Sustainable Markets, Clean Energy, Living Conditions, Responsible Supply Chains, Water Management
The ways that corporations operate to create value for owners and shareholders are out of balance with the long-term health of people and the planet. Sustainability is often an afterthought, and the global climate is being irreparably harmed by largely unchecked carbon pollution.
The social entrepreneur: When the Exxon Valdez slammed into a reef and spilled a quarter-million barrels of crude oil into Alaska’s Prince William Sound in 1989, the ensuing outrage created an opportunity for a public dialogue about and re-evaluation of the role and responsibility of companies as stewards of the global environment. Mindy Lubber was ready to lead that dialogue; since her teen-age years she had been an environmental advocate and entrepreneur, and was building a career that would cast her as a leading advocate for sustainability in the fields of finance, law, and government. She joined with like-minded colleagues and a network of institutional investors to elaborate an environmental code of conduct, which became the Ceres principles. Ceres went on to launch the Global Reporting Initiative, which became the standard for corporate sustainability disclosure, a network of institutional investors using their power as shareholders to advance sustainability and develop the concept of “climate risk” as a key fiduciary issue, and a network of leading companies adopting and promoting sustainability strategies.
Quote: “We know what the challenges are. The key is, integrating the solutions into our capital markets. Somehow we have got to make it clear that these issues affect all of us – our lives, our future, our bottom lines. We can change the future if we collaborate. We’re going to push each other quite hard, but we know we have no choice.”
Impact since joining the portfolio in 2006:
- Investor Network on Climate Risk (INCR), now includes 110 institutional investors with collective assets totaling $13 trillion
- Organized an investor petition with the US Securities and Exchange Commission, which led to the adoption of the world’s first mandatory climate disclosure standard in 2010, requiring climate risk disclosure by all U.S. public companies
- GRI used for sustainability disclosure by 6,000 companies worldwide
- Mobilized investor and business networks to support mileage targets averaging 54.5 mpg for cars and trucks sold in the U.S. by 2025. The standards, adopted in 2012, are the largest carbon-pollution-reduction measure the U.S. has taken to date.
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