Section 4.3: CERES

The coalition of environmentally responsible economies (CERES) is a non-profit organization that was founded to advocate ethical-environmentally sustainable business practices. It was created with the goal of bringing together the perspectives of environmentalists and corporate businesses to forge new sustainable business models.

Pillars for a sustainable global economy

The CERES vision is to build a global economy that benefits both the well-being of people and the planet, comprises of 4 guidance pillars.

– Honest accounting that abolishes the concept of “free pollution” (i.e. the largely unchecked carbon emissions)
– Higher standards of ethical and sustainable business and investor leadership
– Scalable solutions that promote green innovation globally
– Smart policies that discourage high-polluting technologies, and encourage/reward cleaner- sustainable ones.

CERES recognizes that in order to measure economic health and growth, changing capital market practices have to incorporate and account for long-term environmental and social risks. It addresses this by working with companies, investors, public interest groups, policy makers, and other economic stakeholders as part of the CERES Coalition. The Coalition promotes effective measures to drive business accountability for business sustainability. This is achieved in three ways, and are summarized below:

Advancing corporate sustainability
Being positioned at the epi-center of business, investment and environmental advocacy groups, CERES has access to diverse range of expertise and capabilities. As a result, it can assist in identifying smart strategies and ways to improve environmental and social performance.

For example, CERES is developing a Global Initiative for Sustainability Ratings (GISR) as an independent, non-commercial sustainability ratings standard. In addition, the CERES Roadmap for Sustainability (2010) is another CERES tool for advancing corporate sustainability by setting governance, stakeholder, disclosure, and performance expectations that companies should meet by 2020.
Recommended Video: CERES Member Company –AMD


Stakeholder engagement
Robust stakeholder engagement is invaluable to identify key risks and opportunities facing corporations when it comes to sustainability.

CERES maintains that engaging the various stakeholders across its members’ value chain networks allows for the integration of stakeholder feedback into strategic planning and operational decision making processes. By creating a forum for stakeholder engagement, it helps its members understand the perspectives of its stakeholders and facilities opportunities for them to operationally address these concerns.
Recommended Video:
CERES Member Company – Levi Strauss & Co.
CERES Member Company – Citi 


Mobilizing investor and stakeholder action
Global sustainability risk and challenges have far reaching economic implications that are of urgent concern to investors and shareholders in business. Over time, these risks are expected to challenge businesses and affect investment returns across all asset classes. The CERES blueprint for sustainable investment details these risks and assist its members in addressing them.

Apart from working with investors, CERES supports its members by working with financial market analysts, credit rating agencies, and other financial institutions/firms to integrate environmental, social, and governance (ESG) risks and opportunities into everyday decision-making. Integrating these risks into corporate strategy increases the resilience of its members and, by association, its network.

*You can further explore the concept of ESG, some its measures, and its role in business via the links below
MSCI ESG Sustainable Impact Metrics
KPI for ESG
Translating ESG into sustainable business value


CERES has played a leading role in incorporating sustainability into business practices and corporate governance, and has been a key driver of several major global initiatives such as the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI), and Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP), and is also the coordinator of the United Nations Investor Summit on Climate Risk. We will look at the in more detail in a later seminar.

The CERES Investor Network on Climate Risk (INCR)

The INCR is a network of 100 leading investors collectively managing more than $10 trillion in assets. Ceres helps INCR members leverage their power as shareholders to demand meaningful commitments on sustainability issues. Through shareholder resolutions and face-to-face meetings, these investors (in conjunction with CERES) influence companies to boost their focus and transparency on sustainability-related risks and set tangible performance goals for mitigating those risks. – either by lowering carbon emissions, reducing water and energy use, or developing more sustainable technologies and products.

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