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Sourcing Conflict: The Link between Human Rights and Corporate Supply Chains (Part One)

Supply chains are complex networks of resources, activities, technology, information, people, and organizations all involved in moving a product or service from supplier to customer. For many companies, improving supply chain management offers the largest opportunity for achieving increased sustainability performance – particularly in addressing issues of labor and human rights abuse. In the 1990s, the issue of human rights and supply chains became front-page news after child labor...


Let's Get Physical: Identifying Physical Risks of Climate Change for Companies and Investors

As the physical effects of climate change increase, so do the financial risks that impact companies, investors and the communities in which they operate. Last year was marked by record-setting economic losses -- equaling USD$148 billion due to extreme weather events such as hurricanes, tornadoes, droughts and fires. And these events are expected to occur with more frequency as global greenhouse gas levels increase, meaning bigger economic losses in the future. Companies and investors face...


Shifting Ground: Why State Regulators Need to Adapt to America's Changing E

As electric utility companies face new challenges -- outdated energy infrastructure, rising fossil fuel prices, incorporating renewable energy sources -- state utility regulators have a unique and important role to play in the future of energy generation in the U.S. State utility commissions are responsible for overseeing the practices of investor-owned utility companies, which provide the majority of our country's energy services -- everything from setting energy rates to approving...


Next Stop, Sustainability: The Ceres Roadmap for the 21st Century Corporati

Energy prices are rising, water supplies are dwindling and the population keeps growing. It's clear that the global context for business is changing -- and the race to sustainability is more important than ever before. To help companies tackle these sustainability concerns, Ceres has released the 21st Century Corporation: The Ceres Roadmap to Sustainability. The Roadmap analyzes the drivers, risks and opportunities involved in making the shift to sustainability, and details strategies and...


Facts and Fancy: The Economics of Climate Change

While Congressional action on climate and energy legislation may be in a holding pattern, debates about the costs and benefits of climate change legislation haven't stopped. In fact, these disagreements have driven a wedge between political leaders, economists and the general public, adding confusion and doubt when it comes to the merits of passing climate and energy legislation in the U.S. Will climate policy cost thousands of dollars and endanger thousands of jobs? Or will it bolster the...


A Brave Green World: Revitalizing American Labor for a New Energy Economy

Despite billions of public dollars going toward education, health care and infrastructure projects as part of the federal stimulus package passed earlier this year, unemployment in the U.S. is higher than it has been since the early 1980’s. Of the $780 billion stimulus package passed earlier this year, nearly $80 billion has been set aside for ‘green’ projects, such as upgrading regional utility grids, increasing the energy efficiency of buildings and manufacturing solar panels and wind...


Brick by Brick: Reducing Carbon Emissions by Increasing Energy Efficiency

The United States is responsible for 20% of the world’s carbon dioxide emissions -- and nearly half of that pollution comes from heating and maintaining our homes and buildings. As we reach for clean energy solutions to reduce our carbon footprint, we can’t ignore one of the cheapest and most effective ways to reduce our energy usage and our greenhouse gas emissions: energy-efficiency.This month, the Ceres Sustainability Podcast speaks with Lauralee Martin, CFO of Jones Lang LaSalle, a...


Pumping Political Iron: Consumer Companies Flex Their Climate Change Muscle

As Congress gears up to debate some of the furthest reaching environmental legislation it’s faced since the creation of the Clean Air Act and the Endangered Species Act, proponents and opponents are lining up to make their case for why we should or shouldn’t aggressively address climate change. And support for strong action on climate is coming from unlikely places like the boardrooms of major U.S. consumer companies that are part of BICEP, a business coalition advocating for strong...


Do Ask, Do Tell: Mandatory Climate Disclosure and the SEC

Corporate disclosure of risks and liabilities is something that helps investors make informed decisions about where they put their money. A handful of institutional investors, including CalPERS, CalSTRS, the NY State Comptroller and the Florida State Board of Administration, among others, filed a petition with Ceres and the Environmental Defense Fund last September (2007) requesting that the Securities and Exchange Commission require companies to disclose risks to their businesses from...


Green Power: Building a Green Workforce to Support a Green Economy

It seems everyone is going green these days, from green investing to green marketing to green consumerism. There is no doubt that we must transition to a cleaner, greener economy if we want to avoid the worst effects of climate change. But as alternative energies and clean technologies become more popular and prevalent in society, we need a new workforce to build, maintain and support this new economy. Where will this new workforce come from? And how do we ensure that we have the labor and...


Viva la Resolution: Shareholders Role in Corporate Governance and Climate C

A growing movement of investors are pressing companies to provide more information about "off-balance" sheet issues, such as the impacts of climate change to the corporate bottom-line. Instead of just screening portfolios, or divesting stock, more and more investors in the Socially Responsible Investing (SRI) community are exercising their proxy power by filing and voting on shareholder resolutions that seek to improve corporate governance and sustainability practices while ensuring...


Selling Out: Clean Technology Goes Mainstream

In the world of investments, clean technology is seen as a boutique business - but that is starting to change. This year alone, $150 billion of new capital went into new energy sectors like solar, biofuel and wind. Mainstream investment firms, like State Street Corporation with over $2 trillion in assets under management, are bringing cleantech out of the shadows.This week we're joined by Bill Page, VP of Environmental, Social and Governance Investments at State Street Global Advisors...


Less is More: The Argument for Energy Efficiency

To mitigate the worst effects of global climate change, we need to reduce our emissions of greenhouse gases. One of the cheapest ways to reduce emissions is to reduce our demand for energy by promoting better efficiency in our industrial processes, our homes and our appliances. But can businesses and investors make money by reducing demand? Diana Farrell, Director of the McKinsey Global Institute, made the case for investing in energy efficiency at the recent UN/Ceres Investor Summit on...