A new report produced by Ceres and Sustainalytics assesses the progress of 613 of the largest, publicly-traded companies in the U.S. in integrating sustainability into business systems and decision-making. Gaining Ground uses the framework of the Ceres “Roadmap”, reporting on greenhouse gas emissions reduction programs, human rights in supply chains, and the sustainability aspects of product design, transportation and logistics, and supply chains. The Roadmap includes 3 activities related to employees (under the “Performance dimension”): recruitment and retention, training and support, and promotion of sustainable lifestyles. The report states that only 6 percent of companies can be considered “Tier 1”, or exemplary, regarding their efforts to systematically engage employees in sustainability issues. General Electric is highlighted for “using its Human Resource department to integrate sustainability into the company’s culture-from hiring practices to job education and training to employee well-being programs.” Campbell Soup requires that every employee have a “CSR oriented goal” in their annual performance objectives (Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) includes sustainability). Bank of America provided $3,000 reimbursement to employees who purchased hybrid vehicles. Gaining Ground concludes that there is progress in corporate sustainability initiatives, but it is insufficient at the current rate.
Gaining Ground: Corporate Progress on the Ceres Roadmap for Sustainability is at: http://www.ceres.org/roadmap-assessment/progress-report, with interactive links to topics and company information. The Summary of employee related information is at: http://www.ceres.org/roadmap-assessment/roadmap-in-action/explore-by-topic/performance-employees.
See the Ceres Climate Declaration and list of signatories (including some Canadian companies) at: http://www.ceres.org/bicep/climate-declaration/climate-declaration-full-signatory-list.
According to CERES, a non-profit advocacy coalition, “Since 2003, the biennial Investor Summit on Climate Risk at the United Nations has been the pre-eminent forum for leading institutional investors in North America, Europe and the rest of the world to discuss the implications of climate change for capital markets and their portfolios.” At this year’s summit on January 15, Christine Figueres, Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), told the audience of 500 global leaders: “The pensions, life insurances and nest eggs of billions of ordinary people depend on the long-term security and stability of institutional investment funds. Climate change increasingly poses one of the biggest long-term threats to those investments and the wealth of the global economy.” She urged investors to move out of high-carbon assets and into assets built on renewable energy, energy efficiency and more sustainable ways of business that green global supply chains.
A related report by CERES, Investing in the Clean Trillion: Closing the Clean Energy Investment Gap, was released at the Summit. It provides recommendations for investors, companies and policymakers to increase annual global investment in clean energy to at least $1 trillion by 2030- up from a current investment level of approximately $300 billion. A related report by Cleantech Group pegs the level of worldwide global investment in cleantech venture companies at $6.8 billion in 2013.
2014 Investor Summit on Climate Risk website is at http://www.ceres.org/investor-network/investor-summit
UNFCC press release regarding Christine Figueres’ statement is at: http://unfccc.int/files/press/press_releases_advisories/application/pdf/pr20140115_ceres_final1.pdf. Watch a 2-minute video of an interview with Ms. Figueres’ at: http://climatedesk.org/2014/01/un-climate-chief-calls-for-tripling-of-clean-energy-investment/
To download the CERES Report: Investing in the Clean Trillion: Closing the Clean Energy Investment Gap, or the Executive Summary go to: http://www.ceres.org/resources/reports/investing-in-the-clean-trillion-closing-the-clean-energy-investment-gap/view – registration required.
Summary of the Cleantech Groups Investment report is at http://www.cleantech.com/2014/01/08/i3-quarterly-investment-monitor-reports-6-8-billion-cleantech-venture-investment-2013/