Get Us There—The Ceres Strategic Plan

The Harvard Law School Forum on Corporate Governance and Financial Regulation 2019-06-15

Posted by Mindy Lubber, Ceres, on Saturday, June 15, 2019
Editor's Note: Mindy Lubber is CEO and President at Ceres. This post is based on her Ceres memorandum. Related research from the Program on Corporate Governance includes Socially Responsible Firms by Alan Ferrell, Hao Liang, and Luc Renneboog (discussed on the Forum here).

In 1989, in response to the Exxon Valdez oil spill, a group of forward-thinking investors and environmentalists, led by pioneer Joan Bavaria, came together to form Ceres. At the time, they were at the forefront of a transformative movement in business. They understood that the most successful companies in the long term will be those that consider their impacts on the environment, employees and communities. They knew then what we say now at Ceres: sustainability is the bottom line.

Today, our research shows that nearly 400 of the 600 largest publicly traded companies in the U.S. have commitments to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, 300 actively manage water resources and nearly 300 actively protect employees’ human rights. Companies have begun to embrace sustainability and incorporate environmental, social and governance (ESG) risks and opportunities into their decision making in ways we couldn’t have dreamed of thirty years ago.