BICEP: Business Muscle Where It's Needed Most
In a blog for Walden Asset Management, Anne Kelly, Director of BICEP, explains the origins and impacts of Ceres’ BICEP coalition:
December 2007: Nike Headquarters, Portland, Ore.
Like most stakeholder meetings led by Ceres, this one was chock-full of subject matter experts, investors, academics, NGOs, and senior Nike managers. All were zeroing in on a climate change action strategy for the iconic brand known for its leadership in improving labor practices, creating environmentally preferable materials in its manufacturing, and expert sustainability reporting. As colorful flip charts filled the walls with recommendations about Nike’s next steps, one person – Brad Figel, then director of government affairs – raised his hand. “It is great for Nike to try to reduce its own carbon footprint and to pursue energy efficiency,” he said. “But unless and until we make systemic change through Capitol Hill, nothing is really going to happen to move the needle on climate change.”
The room went quiet. Brad was right. Although up to this point the focus had been on the singular, voluntary action of one company in a vast sector, collective action among like-minded consumer brands was tantalizing.