Sustainability begins with board oversight and commitment at the top, supported by strong management systems that integrate sustainability across the rest of the company. This chain of accountability—stretching from the boardroom to the factory floor to global supply chains—is the only way to achieve meaningful sustainable business performance.
Ceres works with members of its Company Network to integrate sustainability across governance structures and management systems.
We work with member companies to:
- Establish board committees on sustainability issues
- Integrate sustainability oversight into board committee charters
- Link sustainability goals and performance with compensation
- Create more robust corporate policies that reflect the company’s sustainability priorities
- Align public policy positions with its sustainability goals.
At Ceres, we consistently find that companies with strong governance systems are better positioned to foresee and adapt to changing economic, social, environmental and political conditions. This usually means stronger long-term value for the company, shareholders and society.
Ceres Companies in Action
“Sustainability is part of our every day discussions at National Grid. Linking executive pay and climate change deliverables has increased accountability and positively impacted our culture. Employees across the company are increasingly incentivized to put sustainability at the heart of the way we do business.”
–Thomas King, President of National Grid, USA
Virgin America's Sustainability policy
Virgin America’s current environmental initiatives include a fleet and flight path analysis program to collect and analyze fuel burn data; operational programs that reduce carbon emissions; employee-focused green incentive efforts; and use of green guidelines in various procurement and operations decisions. Read more...
Raising our Business Voice on Climate & Energy Policy
In 2008 Ceres, together with founding companies – Levi Strauss & Co., Nike, Starbucks, Sun Microsystems (now part of Oracle Corporation), and Timberland – launched Business for Innovative Climate & Energy Policy (BICEP) to bring large consumer company voices to the climate and energy policy debate in Washington DC. Read more...
Board Charters for Sustainability
A board committee should have clear accountability for sustainability strategy and performance, whether by a standalone committee or by expanding the responsibilities of an existing committee. The committee charter should explicitly identify the committee’s oversight duties. Learn more about the guidelines and best practices that Ceres companies and others are implementing.
For more information
Download The 21st Century Corporation: The Ceres Roadmap for Sustainability, which lays out five key expectations for corporate governance.