Celebrating International Women's Day
Today, on International Women's Day, we salute the visionaries and the trailblazers: the women leaders who work tirelessly to champion sustainability in business and investor circles.
Every year since 1909, the world celebrates International Women’s Day to applaud the social, economic, cultural and political achievement of women, and to continue raising awareness and advocating action towards gender parity across the globe.
“Planet 50-50 by 2030: Step It Up for Gender Equality” is this year’s theme in an effort to accelerate the 2030 agenda and build momentum for the effective implementation of the new Sustainable Development Goals. These 17 Sustainable Development Goals and their 169 targets balance the three dimensions of sustainable development: economic, social, and environmental.
This International Women's Day, Ceres salutes the innovative and often painstaking efforts of women working to create systems change in the name of sustainable business, investment, and policy. These women are pioneers and their extraordinary contributions are working to inspire and encourage the talents of countless others in the hope of creating a better – and more sustainable – future for all.
We applaud these women warriors—as well as all the emerging women leaders in the climate and sustainability space. You too are poised for greatness and success.
On this International Women’s Day, here are just a few of the incredible women Ceres works with who are driving action on sustainability and climate:
Geeta Aiyer is a sustainable investing entrepreneur and Founder and President of Boston Common Asset Management. Aiyer has a proven track record of strong investment returns while focusing shareholder engagement on social and environmental issues. She has helped incorporate environmental, social, and governance (ESG) concerns globally, shifting the landscape of sustainable investing. Epitomizing her reach, Aiyer is also on the Advisory Council for the United Nations-backed Principles for Responsible Investment.
Last year, Geeta won the Joan Bavaria Award for Building Sustainability into the Capital Markets. Presented by Ceres and Trillium Asset Management, the Joan Bavaria Award recognizes investors, businesses and NGO leaders who have helped move capital markets from a system focused on short-term profits toward one that balances financial prosperity with social and environmental health. Joan Bavaria was the CoFounder of Ceres and also founded Trillium Asset Management. She is remembered by her colleagues as the ‘mother’ of socially responsible investing. The award is presented at the annual Ceres Conference, which is happening May 4-5 2016 in Boston, MA.
As a global apparel retailer, Gap Inc. is working to conserve and protect the quality of freshwater resources in the environments and communities where it operates. Melissa Fifield has played a pivotal role in driving Gap Inc.’s work on addressing water issues. Through Melissa’s leadership, Gap Inc. has developed a Women + Water strategy to ensure that the process of making clothes is safe for people and communities, and they’re working directly with women to help them gain access to clean, safe water.
As a California-headquartered company, Gap Inc. helped Ceres launch its Connect the Drops campaign to raise awareness about sustainable water supplies and the economic health of the drought-stricken state. The campaign, which was featured in store windows of its California Banana Republic stores, directed customers to “Connect the Drops” and learn ways to conserve water in their own lives by washing clothes less, cashing in on water saving rebates, checking their homes for leaks.
What’s more – Melissa helped steer Gap Inc. to a 38% total reduction in greenhouse gas emissions (from a 2008 baseline) and the company recently committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions by an additional 50% by 2020. They’ve also announced plans to divert 80 percent of waste from landfill in its U.S. operations by 2020.
Christiana Figueres is one of the world’s top climate policymakers, referred to as the “UN’s climate chief”, and has been working towards a more sustainable future at UNFCCC since 2010. Building toward that goal, she directed the successful Conferences of the Parties in Cancun 2010, Durban 2011, Doha 2012, Warsaw 2013, and Lima 2014, before culminating in the historical Paris Agreement of 2015.
Christiana Figueras has been highly recognized in the field of global climate change and has received numerous awards such as the Grand Medal of the City of Paris, first on the list of 2015 Top 10 by the Nature Journal of Science, and the 2015 Global Thinker by Foreign Policy.
Figueres will be stepping down from her post at the UNFCCC in July and we look forward to seeing where she lands next.
Led by President and CEO Deborah Gillis, Catalyst continues to rally its more than 800 global partners to accelerate progress for woman through workplace inclusion. Deborah joined Catalyst in 2006 and has played a critical role in leading the non-profit's global expansion. Named among the top 50 most powerful business people in 2016 by Canadian Business, Deborah has led Catalyst’s initiative to increase women in the boardroom, resulting in the successful launch of the Catalyst Accord, which asks companies to commit to increasing female representation on their boards to 25% by 2017. Catalyst also launched MARC (Men Advocation for Real Change) in 2012, a vibrant community where men and women work together as allies in achieving gender equality in the workplace.Under Deborah’s leadership, the platform has reached 44,000 users and the community has grown by 39% in the last year alone.
Later this month, the Catalyst Annual Award Conference will recognize Gap Inc. for its Women and Opportunity initiative, and provide a special commendation to The Right Honorable Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada, who will be honored for his inclusive, game-changing leadership in advancing diversity and gender equality. Catalyst is a member of the Ceres Coalition and has long been collaborating with us to advance companies' diversity and inclusion practices and performance.
Kim Jordan has spent 25 years growing and leading New Belgium Brewing Company, one of the most respected craft breweries and innovative businesses in America. She has built the company from the bottom-up and employed a humanistic philosophy, guiding and influencing New Belgium’s company culture to include philanthropic giving and environmental stewardship. Under her leadership, New Belgium has become a certified B Corporation and seeks to set an example for good corporate role models who consider people and the planet when making strategic decisions.
Recognizing her passionate commitment to environmental stewardship, Kim is a member of Colorado Governor Hickenlooper’s Renewable Energy Authority Board, and has received the Governor’s Excellence in Renewable Energy Award from Colorado University, Denver. A Colorado University Wirth Chair awardee and EPA Green Power Business Leadership awardee, Kim negotiated New Belgium’s transition to wind powered electricity and has overseen the implementation of Colorado’s largest private solar array at the Fort Collins facility.
Mindy S. Lubber is the president of Ceres and a founding board member of the organization. Among Mindy’s many contributions to Ceres, she spearheaded The 21st Century Corporation: The Ceres Roadmap for Sustainability and The 21st Century Investor: Ceres Blueprint for Sustainable Investing, visionary guides highlighting environmental and social performance improvements companies and investors must achieve to succeed in the resource-constrained 21st century global economy. Mindy regularly speaks about corporate and investor sustainability issues to high-level leaders at the New York Stock Exchange, United Nations, World Economic Forum, Clinton Global Initiative, American Accounting Association, American Bar Association and more than 100 Fortune 500 firms.
In 2010, Mindy was honored by the United Nations and the Foundation for Social Change as one of the “World’s Top Leaders of Change” for her work in mobilizing leading companies to integrate environmental challenges into core business strategies. She is a recipient of the Skoll Award for Social Entrepreneurship and received the 2016 William K. Reilly award. Mindy has also recently been named as an exceptional “climate warrior” by Vogue.
Appointed by President Obama in 2009 as Assistant Administrator for the EPA Office of Air and Radiation, Gina McCarthy has been a true trailblazer in advocating for innovative strategies to protect public health, the environment, and our future. Her 30-year career spans across both state and local levels on critical environmental issues as well as policies on economic growth, energy, transportation, and the environment.
Gina McCarthy spearheaded the implementation of the EPA’s Clean Power Plan, a set of regulations on new and existing power plants and goals for states to cut their carbon pollution. She continues to fight and advocate for the national adoption of the Clean Power Plan as well as other sustainable solutions for future generations.
The new President of the UN climate change process (COP21) and French Minister of the Environment, Energy and the Sea, Ségolène Royal is a climate heavyweight champion whose career has made unimaginable leaps and bounds for climate action. During her tenure as Minister for the Environment (1992-1993), she campaigned actively and successfully for the “Law on the treatment of recycling of refuse”, the “Law to preserve the countryside”, and the “Law against noise pollution”.
As President of the UN climate change process, President Royal’s action agenda includes the new solar alliance led by India and France, the geothermal alliance led by Iceland, a coalition to improve the energy efficiency of buildings; along with coalitions on risk prevention, agriculture, forests, water, oceans and putting a price on carbon.
Anne Stausboll took the helm of Chief Executive Officer (CEO) for the California Public Employees' Retirement System (CalPERS), in 2009. She has also served on Ceres Board of Directors as Co-Chair and Chair. Under her leadership, CalPERS has strengthened ethics, transparency, and internal controls through governance and operational improvements, including implementing a risk mitigation policy and an Asset Liability Management program to ensure long-term sustainability of the pension system and integrating Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) factors within CalPERS investment portfolio. Read more here...
The pension fund also saw its investment assets grow from $170 billion to more than $275 billion during Stausboll's tenure.
Stausboll will leave CalPERS in June 2016, after serving more than seven years as its CEO, and we look forward to seeing where she goes next.
As the leader of VF Corporation’s Sustainability program, Letitia Webster is responsible for creating value and reducing risk for VF Corp in regards to its environmental and social impact. Letitia leverages the importance of sustainability to create brand equity and a competitive advantage for VF Corporation. Letitia joined VF Corp in 2000 and has since been paving the way for more sustainable opportunities for the company and driving a number of initiatives including VF Corp’s sustainability report and an internal sustainability scorecard to track progress and reporting to Carbon Disclosure Project on the company’s energy & carbon footprint and actions to reduce climate change impacts.
In 2013, VF Corporation became a BICEP member company and has since committed to 100% renewable energy. Since 2013, VF’s waste reduction, reuse and recycling efforts across its U.S. distribution center network have led to more than 20,000 metric tons of waste being diverted from landfills under Letitia’s tireless leadership.