The Ceres-led Investor Network on Climate Risk has proposed that companies listed on US and global stock exchanges be required to include a series of environmental, social and governance sustainability disclosures in their annual financial filings.
Sustainability advocacy organization Ceres held its annual conference in San Francisco last week, and it was full of thought-provoking presentations and conversations about sustainability and environmental, social, and governance (ESG) opportunities and challenges.
In drought-plagued New Mexico, water is gold. And this week, Mora County in the northern part of the state took a firm stand to protect its precious liquid: it banned all oil and gas extraction from county lands.
Hydraulic fracturing uses large amounts of pressurized water — mixed with sand and chemicals — to crack subterranean rocks and release oil or natural gas. Up to 10 million gallons of water can go into a single well. And according to a new study, it’s happening in many places where water supplies are already stretched perilously thin.
The rapid expansion of hydraulic fracturing to retrieve once-inaccessible reservoirs of oil and gas could put pressure on already-stressed water resources from the suburbs of Fort Worth to western Colorado.
Insurance premiums are on the rise as extreme weather events take their toll. It's as a result, they say, of climate change. But is insurance, and business generally, doing enough to prepare for the tougher storms yet to come?
It has been six months since Hurricane Sandy redrew the northern Mid-Atlantic coastline with its record storm surge and strong winds, paralyzing New York City for days, all the while offering a disturbing preview of what future storms may do to other coastal locations as sea levels continue to rise.
Currently, more than 100 sustainability ratings, ranking and indices evaluate the performance of more than 10,000 companies, using more than 2,000 different indicators. The idea that this cacophony could be harmonized has long been an unattainable dream for companies.
Some of the world's largest businesses have called on America's political leaders to urgently accelerate efforts to build a greener economy.
US companies are flipping the script: instead of lobbying government to relax (or even gut) environmental regulation, a corporate group is urging Washington to enact strong policy aimed at curbing climate change.
The innovations of the past century have helped drive growth and improve the livelihoods of many millions of people, but the result is a long way from a sustainable society.
Climate change and extreme weather are fundamentally changing the United States, and American taxpayers are paying a huge, and growing, cost.
Mindy Lubber talks with Jason Margolis of PRI's The World about tying executive's compensation to a company's sustainability goals.
Are insurers ready for the risks posed by climate change? New study finds most aren't fully prepared, but the industry says it can handle claims.
Testimony to the drought of 2011 is still all around us. On the heels of the drought, the idea of seeding a fund to meet the next 50 years of Texas’ water supply needs is a hard idea to pass up.
Ceres has been ranked 6th on The Global Journals list of the Top 100 NGOs, a comprehensive ranking of organizations operating within the non-profit world.
While policymakers fiddle, the threat of economic harm posed by rising sea levels, devastating storms, and drought is growing every day.
Companies with no direct ties to renewable power lobbied to save the wind tax credit, signaling a change in the fight for clean energy incentives.
Mary L. Schapiro, who stepped down last month as chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission, had a four-year tenure marked by significant accomplishment.
When the Atlantic Ocean breached the banks of Manhattan Island and the lights went out south of Broadway, turning Lower Manhattan black, it was likely the first time many in the Northeast realized their environment is seriously changing.
The federal government has come up with dozens of ways to enhance the diminishing flow of the Colorado River. Among the proposals, is a more extreme and contentious approach which calls for building a pipeline from the Missouri River to Denver, nearly 600 miles to the west.
Most corporate responsibility reports include information on the company’s carbon footprint and an ambitious reduction goal. However, while leading companies are making progress, some experts argue that business as a whole is falling behind.
The insurance industry looks at historical data, old and new, in order to assess the risk for potential disasters and put a price on premiums. But when Sandy hit the Northeast, some insurance companies reconsidered if they priced insurance high enough for the greater risks brought on by climate change.
Storms like Sandy are a huge liability for homeowners, businesses, and insurers.
Do the results of the 2012 election pave the way for Washington to achieve bipartisan energy and environment policies?
With Wall Street under water, it's time to get serious about climate change.
Hurricane Sandy has shuttered — and shredded — businesses throughout New Jersey. It’s the type of storm that climate change experts have predicted: Bigger. Nastier. Worsened by higher water temperatures and heavier moisture in the air.
With the recent proliferation of extreme weather events — most recently Hurricane Sandy — industry watchers say it’s time for insurers to lobby for big changes, this time to mitigate disasters tied to global climate change.
Weather forecasters certainly have a difficult job right now, trying to predict when an unpredictable “frankenstorm” will make landfall.
While 2012 has been a much better year for property and casualty insurers than 2011, Hurricane Sandy could change that, with its surprising timing, direction, and possibly its duration.
An international group of investment funds with investments in Alberta’s oil sands is concerned the industry’s environmental performance could be creating financial risk.
Growing populations and higher densities in areas of the U.S. prone to severe weather, coupled with a potential shift in the risk landscape due to climate change, have been contributing to a rise in insured loss tabs.
A new report from Ceres urges the insurance industry to act to protect itself and the community against the increasing frequency of extreme weather due to climate change.
Sustainability needs to be embraced by all investors and integrated across capital markets if the world is to address its most pressing problems.
The power utility Entergy (ETR), which serves 2.8 million customers along the Gulf Coast and in Arkansas, announced that it had developed a new framework to compensate landowners for preserving swamps as part of one of the more aggressive climate risk management plans in the country.
As a historic drought drives attention to climate change, Ron Binz, a consultant and 30-year veteran of public power, came to the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Monday afternoon with a daunting and urgent message on energy.
U.S. property-casualty insurers should take a leadership role in preparing for climate-change risks as severe weather becomes more frequent, a lobbying group said.
Businesses that support wind power are turning up the pressure on Congress to extend a tax incentive for the industry before it expires at the end of the year.
The auto industry continues to be a strong supporter of the Obama Obama administration’s recently announced 54.5-mile-per-gallon fuel standard for cars by 2025.
Among public pension funds in the U.S., the large California plans have long been the most public and progressive when it comes to considering the impact of environment, social matters and corporate governance, on their investment portfolio. Increasingly they are not alone.
Saving electricity is the lowest cost, cleanest and least risky resource available to utilities. Increasing energy efficiency provides important co-benefits including local job creation, water savings, and reduced air pollution.
The Obama administration's fuel-economy standards, finalized today, highlight the stark choice voters face this November about the path of U.S. energy policy.
New reports and financial tools are encouraging greater disclosure from companies while, hopefully, also pushing investors to build more responsible portfolios.
The Global Initiative for Sustainability Ratings offers an opportunity for credible corporate performance assessment.
For years, the federal government has supported innovation in the energy sector, funding everything from advanced drilling techniques to more efficient turbine design.
Ceres analyzed safety and environmental risk disclosures in the regulatory filings of 10 big energy companies, including BP, Chevron and Exxon Mobil and found that seven provided no information on the development of safety programs. The other three offered only broad statements about safety but no data or details.
Thanks to cheap natural gas and a boom in renewable energy, the U.S. is accelerating a shift away from coal-fired power plants, resulting in falling emissions of carbon dioxide and other harmful pollutants.
A majority of investors have retained and boosted their climate change investment strategies despite economic and political uncertainties, according to a new report.
One accomplishment reached at Rio+20 was an agreement by five members of the Sustainable Stock Exchanges initiative to promote reporting on environmental, social, and corporate governance risks and opportunities by listed companies.
Shareholder resolutions have spurred companies to made commitments to tackle environmental and social risks in their operations and supply chains in 44 out of 108 cases tracked by Ceres in 2012.
It's hard to pin a single event -- like the heat wave that's gripped the Mid-Atlantic for the past week -- on climate change. But some of the predicted impacts of global warming made by climate scientists over the past decade can no longer be ignored
FOX 25's Mark Ockerbloom talks with Mindy Lubber, the President of Ceres, about the rising sea levels and the possible threats the elevated waters pose to the East Coast.
Companies from beverage maker PepsiCo Inc. to sporting goods maker Puma SE are finding that lowering their impact on the environment can also boost earnings. Their efforts mean lower fuel and water use and savings on waste disposal.
From Rio de Janeiro, Jo Confino provides behind the scenes insight of all that's going on from a business perspective at the Earth Summit.
As thousands of people prepare to convene in Brazil this month for the Rio+20 Earth Summit, scientists and environmentalists alike are sending a sharp message: The planet is in dire straits.
People can't make informed investment decisions unless corporations clearly disclose their financial risks from climate change. Increasingly violent weather worldwide is putting investments at risk, and people can't make informed decisions without knowing the consequences to individual companies. The problem is spelled out in a report, "Physical Risks From Climate Change" by Calvert Investments, Oxfam America and Ceres.
Investors need to get more information on how the companies in which they invest are facing and managing risks posed by climate change, according to a report released Thursday by Calvert Investments, Ceres and Oxfam America.
Business investor coalition Ceres issued a report today siding with the Obama administration's cautious plan for developing oil shale reserves on federal land, outlining five key risks that could undermine commercial-scale oil shale development.
The cult of consumer awareness needs to run deeper than what sounds good or looks good. Supply-chain heroes need to be honored. Holding them out might just change perceptions of what makes a good company and what makes one bad.
Republicans are now seeking to create jobs, strengthen national security and boost economic growth. Improving the gas mileage on our cars and trucks can help us do all of them. So Republicans should embrace a proposal, expected to be finalized this summer, to raise national fuel-efficiency standards to an average 54.5 miles per gallon by 2025.
The proposed federal fuel economy standards have garnered backing from a wide range of supporters, from drivers to small businesses, according to members of a panel who spoke yesterday on Capitol Hill.
Ron Binz, a principal with Public Policy Consulting and a former chairman of the Colorado Public Utilities Commission, discusses a new Ceres report focusing on what state regulators need to know about electric utility risk.
CalPERS, the $235bn (€177bn) US pension fund giant, says institutional investors must extend their sustainability efforts towards improved financial regulation and derivatives reform if they are to avoid the danger of market meltdowns.
Let me ‘fess up. The state of the environment sometimes gets me down. But attending the Ceres annual conference this week gave me a refreshing dose of optimism. Here are three rays of hope from the conference.
Great work from just a few companies isn't enough to combat climate change and build a thriving, sustainable global economy. That was the message from Ceres leader Mindy Lubber when she announced a new report, The Road to 2020, at the nonprofit's annual conference last week.
An advisory group that was axed in the recent federal budget says Ottawa needs to show more leadership in encouraging businesses to prepare for the impacts of climate change. The National Round Table on the Economy and Environment was created by former prime minister Brian Mulroney 25 years ago but, in last month’s budget, was given a year to wind down its operations.
The California Public Employees' Retirement System (CalPERS), the largest public pension fund in the U.S. with a $235 billion investment porfolio, released its first report on its efforts to invest sustainably. The report was released at the Ceres Conference in Boston this week. Ceres is a coalition of investors and environmentalists working together to integrate sustainability into the capital markets. CalPERS helped found Ceres in 1989.
For every one degree Celsius that the air temperature increases, the atmosphere absorbs 7 percent more moisture from the ground. And that results in extreme weather patterns that threaten the livelihood -- and, ultimately, the existence -- of human beings, said Rifkin, president of The Foundation of Economic Trends in Bethesda, Md., who teaches business at Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. But that's not the only reason businesses should start relying on alternative energy sources. Humans have already used up half of the crude oil, which was relatively easy to reach and produce, available on the planet, Rifkin said. "We cannot afford the price of the other half," Rifkin told about 600 business leaders and policymakers gathered yesterday in Boston for the CERES Conference on sustainable economy.
Creating more sustainable businesses will pave the way to a better economic future overall. Although responsible business practices that respect the environment and integrate positive social practices haven't always been first and foremost on many investors' minds, more and more long-term shareholders see the important connection. Sadly, most corporate managements are way behind the curve on this common sense, even survivalist, strategy.
Environmental Protection Agency administrator Lisa Jackson says the Obama administration plans to take further action to combat climate change. She said the administration plans to further exploit natural gas while also investing in renewable energy, has provided the necessary permits to facilitate offshore wind projects, and lauded Massachusetts for taking a leading role in trying to reduce the dangerous greenhouse gases that trap heat in the atmosphere.
EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson on Thursday danced around the agency’s plans for future regulations of greenhouse gas emissions from existing power plants. Speaking at the CERES Conference in Boston, Jackson said the public discourse is focused on what is coming next.
This city's foremost environmental official yesterday said low-lying Beantown has no intention of backing away from waterfront development because of risks associated with sea-level rise and saltwater infiltration. Jim Hunt, chief of environment for Boston, told attendees at a Ceres investor's conference that the city is "quietly" planning for climate change resiliency, but that does not mean rethinking a 1,000-acre project in the so-called Innovation District.
In response to the growing urgency of water risk, there has been a proliferation of tools, frameworks and surveys aiming to help companies, investors and others understand and respond to these water risks. The different tools and approaches provide a valuable diversity of expertise and a better understanding of the nature of water stress, but it is not always clear which tools should be used by whom, for what, and how they overlap or complement one another.
At last year's Ceres conference in Oakland, Levi Strauss & Co. announced a bold commitment to improve conditions in its global supply chain. The company's efforts to date on the project, done in close collaboration with Ceres, are outlined in a white paper announced today.
You don't need to be an expert to plainly see the imperative and the opportunity for Connecticut businesses embedded in energy efficiency. A gathering of experts living on the frontlines -- business leaders and their counterparts in government, academia and advocacy -- recently removed any lingering doubt.
Ebay has installed its largest renewable energy project – a 665 kW solar installation at its Topaz data center in South Jordan, Utah – enabled by a recent legislative victory. Senate Bill 12, signed into law on March 21, allows companies to buy and transmit power directly from renewable energy developers. Ebay lobbied for the law with an association of data center professionals representing 1,000 companies in 66 countries, including Google, Oracle, Twitter and Adobe.
High gasoline prices may be helping the auto industry to its best year in recent memory with sales on pace to top 15 million vehicles on an annual basis. With unleaded regular near or exceeding $4 a gallon in most of the country, some U.S. auto executives have already proclaimed 2012 the year of the car as consumers scrap or trade-in aging, repair-prone vehicles for new more fuel-efficient passenger cars and smaller SUVs.
Across the West, proposed high-stakes projects to tap new water supplies are generating well-deserved controversy. It’s well-deserved because these projects ignore cheaper alternatives that make a lot more sense in the long term. The building proposals also share extremely large price tags that place uncertain but likely onerous levels of financial burden on present and future taxpayers and ratepayers.
Warren Buffett, the billionaire chairman and chief executive officer of Berkshire Hathaway Inc., said companies won’t last if they fail to consider the impact of their businesses on the environment. “Taking shortcuts is not the pathway to achieving sustainable competitive advantage, nor is it an avenue toward satisfying customers,” Buffett, 81, said.
The global director of water stewardship for Coca-Cola Co. says that water risk isn’t imminent; it’s already manifest. Greg Koch, who spoke at the Financial Times sustainability conference in New York City on Thursday, issued dire warnings and a call to arms for investors and corporations around the world along with governments. And he wasn’t alone.
Investors representing $500 billion in assets are pushing energy companies in the shale oil rush in North Dakota and other states to disclose the amount of natural gas they burn - a practice they see as a wasteful financial risk.
A future on Earth of more extreme weather and rising seas will require better planning for natural disasters to save lives and limit deepening economic losses, the United Nations said on Wednesday in a major report on the effects of climate change.
Sharlene Leurig, senior manager of the Insurance Program at Ceres, spoke with Tom Ashbrook of NPR's "On Point" about a new report on rising sea levels and coastal flooding. The new report says rising seas driven by global warming are going to bite deeper, sooner than most people imagine. Hitting millions. Costing billions, trillions. Putting homes at risk, but also roads, bridges, military bases, farmland, schools, hospitals.
NBC Miami: Miami Has More Assets To Lose From Climate Change, Rising Seas Than Any Other City, New Study Says
An analysis by the non-partisan advocacy group, Climate Central says that human-caused climate change and rising sea levels are accelerating – and that Miami has more to lose in terms of assets than any city in the world. The study says that storm surges will reach much farther inland than they do now – not a far-off future risk, but perhaps during the life of the mortgage you hold now in Hollywood, for example, or Miami Shores.
Nearly 4 million people across the United States, from Los Angeles to much of the East Coast, live in homes more prone to flooding from rising seas fueled by global warming, according to a new method of looking at flood risk published in two scientific papers.
California, long America’s environmental trendsetter, is about to push the envelope once again. On May 1, the state will hear from some of the nation’s largest insurance companies about the financial risks climate change poses, not only to the companies but also to their customers and investors.
Congressional Democrats found vocal allies today in their quest to cap carbon dioxide emissions -- the insurance and reinsurance industries.
Kerri Miller of Minnesota Public Radio spoke with Mindy Lubber, president of Ceres about what business are doing to become more sustainable. Ceres helps companies address sustainability. Lubber is an international leader in efforts by investors to pressure companies to adopt sustainable business practices.
Climate change will likely intensify storm surges, wildfires, drought and more, putting the insurance industry in an economic bind. Sharlene Leurig is working to find a more sustainable – and profitable – future.
How do you get corporate sustainability goals to surpass the short-term, profit-focused mentality that's fundamental to publicly held enterprises? One successful tool is to turn that obstacle into a stepping stone.
Insurance commissioners in California, New York and Washington State will require that companies disclose how they intend to respond to the risks their businesses and customers face from increasingly severe storms and wildfires, rising sea levels and other consequences of climate change, California’s commissioner said Wednesday.
Alberta’s embattled oil sands face well known risks from foreign radicals, movie stars, environmentalists and stalled pipelines projects. But there may be an even scarier threat: plain old economics.
The newly released National Climate Assessment from a team of federal agencies reinforces the climate-concerned messages from other reports and from a record year of natural disaster damages. But a question remains: Are the public and their leaders hearing the messages?
On Tuesday, Washington will come to Detroit to talk about how many miles per gallon American drivers will soon be getting. Officials from the National Highway Transportation Administration and the EPA will hold a hearing on a proposal to require a fleet average of 54.5 miles per gallon by 2025.
In the language of the 450 large institutional investors meeting at a conference here Thursday, climate change is a risk to avoid and also an opportunity to make a good return on investments.
Global investors controlling tens of trillions of dollars will gather Thursday at United Nations headquarters to showcase investments in clean energy and energy efficiency solutions. There's a powerful narrative here: Even in the face of paralysis among governments, many in the private sector are moving ahead on energy and climate change innovation.
Most companies act as if the water they have today will be there tomorrow, says Brooke Barton, who runs water programs at Ceres, an environmental group in Boston that worked with Trillium and others to create an online checklist aimed at helping investors and companies assess efforts to manage water risk.
Declining demand for water across the western US has created funding problems for systems that rely on volume sales to repay infrastructure costs.
Dave Jones, California’s insurance commissioner, recently put it this way: “Climate change is an obvious physical threat to us all, but increasingly it also poses a serious financial threat to the insurance industry…” When extreme weather causes damage, insurers pay.
According a September 2011 report from Ceres, the insurance industry has yet to fully recognize the risks posed by climate change...what Ceres describes as the industry's "sluggish and uneven response to the ever-increasing ripples from global climate change" threatens not just the insurance business but the stability of the global economy.
Toledo Blade Editorial Writer and Columnist Tom Henry discusses the late Dr. Paul Epstein's contributions to showing the impacts of climate change, and how organizations like Ceres are continuing his mission.
Environmentalists are not the only ones who worry as projections about climate change keep getting worse and worse. So do insurance companies, which feel the effects financially as the pace of climate-related disasters accelerates. It is telling that, even as some business groups oppose climate-change legislation in Washington, many of the companies with the most to lose from global warming are treating it as a reality - and pricing their products accordingly.
Jennifer V. Orgolini of New Belgium Brewing, a BICEP member, discusses the need for government regulations that promote stability and sustainability.
Climate change will make the drought and flooding events that have battered the United States and other countries in 2011 more frequent in years to come, forcing nations to rethink the way they cope with disasters, according to a new report the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change issued Friday.
BICEP member Aspen Skiing Company's Vice President of Sustainability Auden Schendler discusses his concern about a new study by the Commonwealth of Kentucky reporting that global warming may affect weather patterns crucial to the bourbon aging process.
A study of 50 electric utilities across the United States shows wide disparities between the amount of money invested in energy efficiency and how much energy those programs are saving.
From the cotton field in rural India to the local rag bin, a typical pair of blue jeans consumes 919 gallons of water during its life cycle, Levi Strauss & Company says, or enough to fill about 15 spa-size bathtubs. That includes the water that goes into irrigating the cotton crop, stitching the jeans together and washing them scores of times at home. The company wants to reduce that number any way it can, and not just to project environmental responsibility.
Forbes blogger Erica Gies discusses the importance of the new Ceres Aqua Gauge tool, which helps companies and investors assess and manage water risk.
Geared to institutional investors, the Aqua Gauge released by the Ceres coalition of investors and environmental groups measures how well companies are prepared for water scarcity and water stress, which are forecast to worsen in coming decades.
Most Republican U.S. voters oppose congressional efforts to dismantle the Environmental Protection Agency's air pollution rules, according to a survey conducted by two pollsters released on Wednesday.
Every shred of public polling shows that the American voter is unhappy with Congress. However, an area that has historically been a clear point of partisanship is surprisingly bi-partisan according to a poll we released today. By a wide margin, voters of both political parties disagree with Congress’ anti-Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) agenda and support the EPA’s new rules to limit air pollution from coal-fired power plants.
The vast majority of voters, including many Republicans, support the EPA’s Cross-State Air Pollution Rule and the agency’s utility MACT, according to bipartisan poll results released Wednesday.
Ten separate billion-dollar weather disasters have hit the United States this year. And in one corner of the ring, with an ice pack on its brow, is the reeling insurance industry.
Investors, get ready to examine your stocks through a newly focused lens. A potentially massive new trend could make the difference between stellar returns and spectacular flameouts; how you vote your annual proxies will matter more than ever, too.
MarketWatch's Al Lewis discusses how severe weather is impacting insurance companies and the general public, and cites Ceres' new report on climate risk disclosure by insurers.
Only one in eight insurers has a formal policy in place to manage climate risk, despite rising evidence that environmental changes are exacerbating insurers' disaster losses, according to a coalition of public interest groups.
Nearly lost in the debt-ceiling drama was President Obama’s announcement last Friday of new corporate average fuel economy (CAFE) standard for cars and light-duty trucks: 54.5 miles per gallon by 2025. Thirteen automakers, representing 90 percent of the cars sold in the United States, were on board with the agreement, which follows Obama’s 2009 mandate for a CAFE average of 35.5 by 2016.
Insurance regulators are refocusing their efforts on climate change to examine the financial risk it might hold for the nation's collage of companies that wield trillions of dollars in the energy sector and other investments.
Many, if not most, major companies are doing something to cut their greenhouse gas emissions. But cutting-edge businesses are taking more ambitious and sophisticated steps to address climate change. Cutting-edge companies, including Ceres' partners Jones Lang LaSalle, SAP and Starbucks, are moving past recycling and energy efficiency and embarking on more ambitious efforts to address climate change.
As the world starts to wake up to the reality of looming water shortages, companies, investors and other stakeholders care about the risks posed to business from water scarcity. As a result, companies are measuring their water footprint - direct water use and increasingly indirect water use in their value chain.
President Obama has promised to break the United States’ oil addiction and tackle global warming. With a decision he will make in coming days, he can do both, and help consumers cut gas costs as well.
White House Chooses BICEP Companies Best Buy, Portland Trail Blazers for Clean Energy 'Better Buildings Challenge'
Secretary of Energy Steven Chu announced today at the Clinton Global Initiative America meeting in Chicago the 14 initial partners - including Ceres' Business for Innovative Climate and Energy Policy (BICEP) companies Best Buy and the Portland Trail Blazers - that have committed to participating in the to the Better Buildings Challenge.
Tough new fuel economy limits could help create 700,000 full-time jobs by 2030, including 60,000 in the auto industry, according to early findings from a coalition of green-minded investors and environmental groups.
Natural gas wells are popping up like spring dandelions. But it's time to calm the frenzy. We need a more balanced look at what's to be gained - and lost - if we embrace natural gas too heartily. Despite its many positives, natural gas is no panacea for a country with a long history of over-dependence on fossil fuels that still hasn't come to grips with climate change.
"We need a more balanced look at what's to be gained - and lost - if we embrace natural gas too heartily," said Ceres President Mindy Lubber in an op-ed. "Natural gas is no panacea for a country with a long history of over-dependence on fossil fuels that still hasn't come to grips with climate change."
California Public Employees’ Retirement System, California State Teachers’ Retirement System and other major institutional investors called on the 1,000 largest U.S. companies to “embrace a new reality” and imbed environmental, social and governance concerns into their business models.
Georgia issuers are facing new credit pressures and calls for conservation because of a looming deadline to cut back on withdrawals from certain river basins and a federal reservoir that provide drinking water to the state’s growing population.
Credit rating agency Fitch Ratings issued a report this week warning that it may downgrade the credit scores of metro Atlanta governments if a federal court does not side with Georgia on access to drinking water from Lake Lanier.
Toledo Blade columnist Tom Henry shares his thoughts on the new fuel-economy label rolled out by the Obama Administration, and his interest in Ceres' latest report stating that Michigan and Ohio residents were overwhelmingly supportive of higher fuel efficiency standards by 2025.
There are two basic arguments over whether and how the country should respond to climate change and other environmental challenges. One focuses on government’s right to regulate industry, and the other on the costs and benefits of such regulation. A new, almost biblical twist to one of these arguments was presented at a recent conference organized by Ceres – when it comes to automobile fuel economy, two analysts suggested, the worst shall do best.
In These Times' writer Kari Lydersen discusses how the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers union joined with one of the nation's largest coal-fired power companies to lobby against proposed rules that would force coal plants to control emissions of toxic compounds. A Ceres study concluded that these rules - along with two other air quality rules - could create 1.5 million jobs over five years.
The US government could significantly propel investments in the clean energy and energy efficiency sector by following California’s lead in adopting stronger fuel economy and emissions standards through 2025, investment experts said.
The $152.9 billion California State Teachers Retirement System (CalSTRS) announced that it would be taking what CEO Jack Ehnes calls a “significant step” in its already broad sustainable investing program: From now on, all performance-related discussions that the pension giant has with its external managers will include an analysis of how environmental, social, and governance (ESG) issues factor into their strategies.
Climate Watch Senior Editor Craig Miller talks with Mindy Lubber, president of the Boston based nonprofit Ceres. The organization works to address sustainability challenges such as global climate change and water scarcity. This week, it held a conference in Oakland at which environmentalists, executives and investors from around the world gathered to consider ways for business to adopt environmentally sustainable practices.
The two largest US pension funds have teamed with leading companies such Levi Strauss and Pacific Gas & Electric, and an Al Gore-founded investment firm, in a commitment to promote environmental sustainability and tackle climate change.
A growing number of companies are turning the concept of intellectual capital on its head in the name of sustainability. Count IBM, Nike and the Outdoor Industry Association among the growing list of business interests turning to open source models to lower costs and scale best practices and technologies.
Business as usual, the old economy, single bottom line capitalism -- these are terms, practices and policies Ceres would like to put behind us. But how?
On the opening day of the 2011 Ceres Conference, Levi's president, John Anderson, announced new Terms of Engagement that aim to step up the commitments put in place two decades ago.
The following was adapted from the acceptance speech given by Nike's Hannah Jones at the Ceres-ACCA North American Awards for Sustainability Reporting, where Nike won top honors for Best Sustainability Report.
CalPERS and CalSTRS, the giant California pension funds, today made sweeping commitments towards integrating environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors into their investment processes. It came as the funds helped launch the groundbreaking Investor-Business Roundtable for a Sustainable Economy at the Ceres conference.
Municipal bonds are considered by many investors to be one of the safest investment options available. But a report released by Ceres last fall argued that many such bonds have unaccounted-for risks lurking in the water – literally.
Carmakers, boxed in by regulation and rising prices at the pump, are finally going where they should have gone a long time ago by squeezing serious fuel economy out of the internal-combustion engine. The result is a growing number of cars that reach 40 mpg on the highway. These days, 40 mpg is the new 30
Today’s the annual spring moment when athletics take New England’s center stage — the Boston Marathon and traditional Red Sox matinee game, with yet another Bruins playoff run under way. As athletes privileged to compete at the highest levels in two of these events, we know a lot about competition and challenges. Our careers are anchored in a belief that it’s always possible to do better. We also want a better world for our children. That’s why we have taken a big interest in just the kind of challenge athletes love to take on — a drive for less polluting energy sources that will keep the air we breathe clean.
WASHINGTON - The country's energy infrastructure is not ready to weather the storm of more frequent extreme weather. A new National Wildlife Federation (NWF) report delivers that finding and makes recommendations for improving energy reliability. NWF climate scientist Dr. Amanda Staudt says floods, intense storms, hurricanes, droughts and heat waves have been happening more frequently, and they can disrupt power and fuel supplies.
Dominion, Southern Company and PPL agreed to significantly expand reporting and disclosure on water availability risks and plans for mitigating those risks, according to Ceres, a coalition of investors and public interest groups, which works with companies on sustainability issues. The agreements were made in response to shareholders' resolutions filed several months ago asking them to evaluate and disclose their strategies on water risks, including low flows, thermal impacts and emerging regulations. The resolutions were withdrawn recently after the utilities' agreements.
The greener a company, the more profitable. This is at least, what many investors believe these days. The SEC knows that, and issued a guidance for companies last year that identifies risks related to climate change material such as energy waste, carbon emissions and other polluting activities.
After a year marked by Congressional paralysis on issues like global warming and renewable energy, and after a parade of energy-related disasters — including the huge oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico — social investment groups are signaling their displeasure with a suite of shareholder resolutions.
WASHINGTON -(Dow Jones)- As proxy season approaches, activist investors with stakes in energy companies are pressuring oil firms for proof that the companies are improving safety and reducing the risk of a major spill. The investors include unions, public pension funds, and environmental and religious groups. They are targeting publicly trading companies leading up to the annual shareholder meeting season this spring.
Despite claims that U.S. EPA's regulations are destroying jobs at a time of already high unemployment, two new sets of air pollution rules for power plants would create hundreds of thousands of jobs over the next five years, according to a report (pdf) released today.
As utilities prepare for a series of air pollution regulations coming out of U.S. EPA, what impact will the new rules have on job growth and the economy? During today's OnPoint, Mindy Lubber, president of Ceres, discusses new research that points to job growth under EPA's Clean Air Act regulations. She explains why she believes industry is misguided in thinking that new power plant regulations will negatively affect the bottom line.
In a speech at Pennsylvania State University Thursday, President Obama proposed a suite of incentives intended to cut energy consumption from existing U.S. commercial buildings by 20 percent by 2020. This proposal is exactly what’s needed to jump-start major energy and carbon reduction initiatives and to create jobs and efficiencies that enhance our global competitiveness. The proposal includes tax credits, loan guarantees, worker training initiatives and a competitive grant program, dubbed "Race to Green." The cost is expected to be offset elsewhere when the President’s budget is delivered later this month, but incentives such as loan guarantees do not add to government spending, and the cost of training workers is much lower than the cost of paying them unemployment benefits.
Unchecked carbon emissions, untapped investment opportunities and an unresponsive U.S. government were the recurrent themes of the day at the fifth Investor Summit on Climate Risk & Energy Solutions, held at the United Nations Headquarters in New York City on January 12.
Global investment in clean energy capacity expanded by 5 percent in 2011 to $260 billion. The growth comes despite the considerable drag from economic crisis in Europe and weak growth in the U.S. The new research, compiled by Bloomberg New Energy Finance, was announced yesterday at the Investor Summit on Climate Risk & Energy Solutions.
Investing in municipal bonds for major infrastructure projects bears hidden risks, says a newly issued report “The Ripple Effect: Water Risk in the Municipal Bond Market” by CERES. Many local and state governments are running the risk of defaulting on bonds because of massive financial problems. Worse, many electric and water utilities are experiencing surging water demand, pollution and more frequent drought. Despite these challenges, some municipal bonds still enjoy stable ratings agencies like Fitch, Moody’s and Standard & Poor’s and fail to point out apparent risk factors.
Some U.S. insurers have expanded their focus to look at the warming impacts on things like flooding, ice storms and nor'easters, said Sharlene Leurig, senior manager of the insurance program at Ceres, an organization for institutional investors concerned about climate change.
A coalition of US state pension funds and other institutional investors said Tuesday they want the Securities and Exchange Commission to force companies that explore for oil and gas in deepwater to disclose how they are addressing the risks and weaknesses identified in the wake of April's Deepwater Horizon disaster. Ceres, a network of investor and environmental groups, along with the Investor Network on Climate Risk, has sent a letter to the National Oil Spill Commission, asking members to include an SEC disclosure requirement in their final report, which is due in January.
As the United States tries to wean itself off Middle Eastern oil, dollars are flowing to companies promising to produce alternative fuels. That includes crude extracted from oil shale and coal through the coal-to-liquids process. According to the Department of Energy, a production surge in both fuels could lead to their supplying almost 3 percent of U.S. oil in the next 25 years. But the investor group Ceres warns in a new report that both fuels offer significant risks for investors because of their water needs and associated carbon emissions. Both spew more carbon dioxide during the production process than conventional oil, and financiers need to look more closely at the costs of possible carbon controls at the national and local levels, the group said.
Pension funds and other institutional investors eager to tap into financial opportunities tied to cutting greenhouse gas emissions say they would like nothing more than to put their money where their mouths are. Just ahead of the U.N.-led climate summit in Cancun, Mexico, starting at the end of this month, money managers are banging the drum for progress on adaptation financing, clean energy, reforestation and emissions targets. But they acknowledged yesterday that the smart bet is on incremental progress and not the frenzied expectations that defined the lead-up to the 2009 conference in Copenhagen, Denmark.
Deutsche Bank AG and the California Public Employees' Retirement System are among 259 investors urging policy makers to combat global warming or face mounting economic disruptions in the next 40 years. Losses stemming from climate change may trim as much as 20 percent from global economic output by 2050, according to a statement from Ceres, a coalition that joined investors holding $15 trillion in assets in seeking action.
Some parts of the United States have begun to run low on water and the problem is worse than most people realize - particularly in several large cities that will almost certainly face shortfalls in a few years. Orlando, Fla., Atlanta and Tucson, Ariz. are just three of the cities who made 24/7 Wall St.'s water watch list.
The municipal bonds that help finance a major portion of the nation’s water supply may be riskier than investors realize because their credit ratings do not adequately reflect the growing risks facing the water industry, according to a new Ceres study.
Institutional investor groups concerned about corporate funding of political campaigns are expected to announce shareholder resolutions Wednesday that will challenge three energy firms making big-dollar contributions to halt California's landmark law limiting greenhouse gas emissions.
Four mutual funds at Fidelity Investments recently backed an environmentalist proxy proposal for the first time on record. "This is a tiny symbolic gesture on their part, but one in the right direction," said Rob Berridge, senior manager at Ceres.
The explosion of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico illustrates the unique challenges now facing the energy industry. In fact, stakeholders are now looking for evidence that companies have robust spill contingency plans and clear guidelines for contractor selection and oversight, according to Ceres' Oil Industry Program Director Andrew Logan.
In response to the Gulf Coast oil spill disaster in which 11 people were killed, British Petroleum said it is forming a safety and risk unit that will report directly to the company’s incoming chief executive officer. Ceres Director of Oil & Gas Industry Programs Andrew Logan says that BP’s announcement may say more about BP than it does about the industry
Several lessons have come out of the Deepwater Horizon disaster, not least of which has been how unprepared most investors were for the implications of such an event. Despite several warning signs in BP’s recent environmental record, the scale of the crisis and consequent fall-out for the company has been shocking to most observers.
CalPERS teamed up with Nike and Ceres to urge 1,000 of the largest U.S. companies to incorporate global sustainability factors into business decision-making to deal with social and environmental risks that impact corporate investment returns, according to a joint statement from the group.
Should public companies provide investors with disclosures related to climate change and environmental issues? Mindy Lubber, director of the Investor Network on Climate Risk (INCR) and president of Ceres, tells CFA Magazine that "investors don't want hidden risks."
Workplace safety records for companies with US mining operations, in the spotlight since the Upper Big Branch blast, will be more visible to investors, as federal regulators prepare to enforce a law requiring them to detail violations and fines meted out by the Mine Safety and Health Administration in their financial disclosure forms.
A coalition of mostly institutional investors is demanding oil and gas companies disclose their existing safeguards and plans of action in the event of another offshore rig disaster and possible oil spill like the one experienced by BP PLC and other companies in the Gulf of Mexico.
The investors sent letters to the chief executive officers at 27 oil and gas producers such as Exxon Mobil Corp and insurance companies including American International Group Inc., asking them to detail their capability to prevent or respond to an accident, as well as what they learned from the Gulf spill. U.S. states, through their public pension funds, invest in such companies as ConocoPhillips and Chevron Corp.
Canada has some of the most oil in the world, and about half of it comes from the "oil sands." Oil companies use some of the most expensive, energy intensive technology to extract the oil from the sand -- which leaves an impact on the environment too.
A proposed rule on mercury, a pollutant bad for fish and the people who eat too many of them, could help the administration of President Barack Obama get near its short-term climate goal, even if the U.S. Congress fails this year or next to pass a bill tackling greenhouse gases directly.
Several green-friendly businesses — including many young tech companies not yet household names — are the regional face of a multimillion dollar lobbying effort aimed at key senators across the country. Their effort is backed by some of the world’s most recognizable consumer brands and Fortune 500 companies, lending their corporate names to persuade Congress to support climate and energy legislation on Capitol Hill.
With or without a climate bill, electric utilities are shifting their investments to efficiency measures that cut long-term costs and integrate more natural gas and renewable energy into their power supplies, according to a new report.
Pressure on US firms to develop climate change policies has reached record levels, according to new figures from ethical investor coalition Ceres showing that more than 100 climate and energy-related shareholder resolutions were filed during this year's proxy season.
The Investor Network on Climate Risk (INCR), an investor coalition representing $10trn of assets, is planning to write to oil majors – as well as insurers and re-insurers – in the wake of BP’s Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Rob Berridge, senior manager of investor programs at Ceres, said the INCR is currently drafting the letter.
While our Senate leaders decide whether to begin debate this summer on the nation's first comprehensive climate change and energy legislation, businesses like ours in Montana and throughout the nation are concerned about the impacts of climate change on our $3 billion a year tourism and recreation economy.
Last week, the Senate defeated a resolution by Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, to overturn EPA climate regulations. The result, which fell four votes short of passage, set off a barrage of statements from senators and interest groups saying the vote is – or is not – symbolic of how lawmakers would vote on comprehensive energy and climate legislation.
Although the fate of climate legislation in the Senate is uncertain at best, some companies are snapping to attention because of a mix of federal action and historic weather calamities—the kind scientists say are likelier in a warmer world. Flooding in early May killed 30 people in the Southeast. The East Coast braved two "once-in-a-century" snowstorms in two months. This decade is the hottest in recorded history. Despite intense opposition, the Environmental Protection Agency is moving ahead with carbon regulations. And in February, the Securities & Exchange Commission urged public companies to disclose material risks from climate change.
Some environmental risks of Canada's oil sands are similar to the Gulf of Mexico oil spill "but playing out in slow motion," the co-author of a report, by RiskMetrics Group on commission by Ceres, warning investors of the ecological, financial and social risks of oil sands development said on Monday.
The successful development of Canada's tar sands has triggered a rush by Shell and other oil companies to set up similar operations in Russia, Congo and even Madagascar. The revelations come just 24 hours before Shell's annual general meeting and on the day when Ceres launches its own survey warning that Canadian tar sands extraction could pose an even bigger risk than the U.S. rig disaster which has knocked $30bn (£20.6bn) off the value of BP.
The Gulf of Mexico spill is one of many environmental disasters for BP. So why hasn't the company learned from past mistakes, and what should eco-friendly investors do with BP shares? BNN speaks with Andrew Logan, oil industry program director at Ceres.
Mindy Lubber, president of Ceres, talks with Kai Ryssdal about corporate responsibility and sustainability, and challenges companies might face to go green.
Senate Democrats, business groups and environmentalists are pressuring President Barack Obama to break the climate change logjam — saying only his personal intervention can save splintering efforts to pass a bill this year.
An array of companies including Nike, eBay, Levi Strauss and Starbucks on Wednesday pressed the Senate to get stalled climate and energy legislation “back on track.”
As 40 years of Earth Days pass, it's interesting to note that it is the business community that has taken up the cause of climate change more than any other
Transparency is a cornerstone of our economy. For investors, that means being entitled to hear about the risks of an investment before making a long-term capital commitment. That’s why the Securities and Exchange Commission’s new climate change disclosure guidance is important.
The city is proposing to build a wind turbine on Moon Island in Boston Harbor that could power as many as 800 homes and intends to use $2.8 million in federal grants to boost energy-efficiency programs. The plans are part of a larger effort by the city to cut greenhouse-gas emissions and better manage the effects of climate change.
Is the planet really warming up? Just ask the corporations that stand to make—or lose—billions due to "climate exposure."
Mindy Lubber of Ceres provides a guest view on the weather events around the SouthCoast and New England, touching on how we need a new path after the economic shocks of recent years for our families, our country and our planet.
Massey Energy, owners of the West Virginia mine that exploded Monday, has drawn criticism for an array of safety violations and environmental issues over the years -- so much so that even some big Wall Street banks refuse to finance the Richmond, Virginia-based company.
Sure, it’s early days for the Securities and Exchange Commission’s new guidelines for climate-change risk disclosure, and they aren’t likely to have a big impact on the current reporting season since they were recently released. But that doesn’t mean companies can give the guidelines short shrift. In fact, the move signals that dealing with climate-change issues has officially become serious business for corporations in just about every industry.
One of the unexpected twists of the global climate change debate is that the roles of government and business have in many ways been reversed. To traditional greens, business was the enemy, polluting with impunity, and government was the hero, ready to restrain. That was the mindset of environmentalism's first great boom, when landmark legislation like the Clean Water Act and Endangered Species Act gave Washington the power and the tools to begin cleaning up the country.
Maryland State Treasurer Nancy Kopp explains why she believes information about climate-related risks is so critical for investors. She also gives her take on proposed legislation that seeks to nullify the SEC interpretive guidance.
During this year's proxy season, companies are dealing with the implications of guidance issued in January by the Securities and Exchange Commission that requires disclosure of risk related to climate change. At the same time, shareholders increasingly are filing resolutions seeking such disclosure, as well as a broader range of actions, including sustainability reporting and planning for carbon footprint reduction.
Corporate America needs to track its use of energy and resources as closely as it does its hiring and cash flow if it wants to keep pace with social concern about climate change and other sustainability issues, an activist U.S. investor group argues in a new report.
One way of judging investor sentiment is through the types of investor resolutions filed each year. This year, a record of 95 resolutions involving climate change have been filed.
Just pass it? Nike and other businesses, including Starbucks and Portland's Gerding Edlen development firm, called on Congress to approve comprehensive climate change legislation this year and said a "clean energy economy" is the next great economic boom.
Fresh from a whirlwind tour of non-stop meetings at the World Economic Forum in Davos and a U.N investor summit on climate risk attended by George Soros, Al Gore, and 500 of the world's most powerful institutional and private investors, Mindy Lubber has a full plate.
Both global warming skeptics and climate change believers are using the snowstorms pounding the East Coast of the United States as fodder to further their debate.
Legendary House Speaker Sam Rayburn ushered in the 1933 Truth in Securities Act in the grim depths of the Great Depression. It was based on the principle that the purchase and sale of securities should be an honest bargain, and disclosure its cornerstone.
There were predictable howls after the Securities and Exchange Commission told publicly held companies they should warn investors of any potential effects from climate change on their bottom lines
The Securities and Exchange Commission said on Wednesday for the first time that public companies should warn investors of any serious risks that global warming might pose to their businesses.
With a flurry of submissions to the Copenhagen Accord expected over the next few days, business groups signal their support for ambitious emission targets. Some of the world's most powerful businesses have today called on world leaders gathered at the World Economic Forum in Davos to embrace the Copenhagen Accord and use it to spur a "race to the top" that would see national, state and municipal governments compete to take more ambitious action to tackle climate change.
This was the fourth Investor Summit on Climate Risk, occurring after Copenhagen, before the U.S. Senate begins its real work on climate legislation this year and just as investors begin to climb out of the recession. Investors, especially large-scale institutional funds that need to worry about the long term, are ready to bet on cutting carbon — but impatient.
Over 450 investors controlling $13tn of assets yesterday urged world governments to pre-empt an international climate change treaty and take immediate action on global warming, or risk losing the opportunity to establish a clean and sustainable low-carbon economy
U.S. climate envoy Todd Stern today urged nations that signed the Copenhagen Accord to submit their greenhouse gas emissions-reduction targets and to hammer out details critical to implementing the broad agreement.
Most money managers overseeing trillions of dollars in investments are ignoring many risks that climate change poses to the assets they operate for corporations, governments and other institutions, according to a new analysis.
In a survey of asset managers, almost three quarters said they don't take into account global warming when analyzing a company, Ceres, whose investors have $8.5 trillion under management, said today in a report. Almost half said climate change isn't relevant to their investment decisions.
November 19, 2008 (Seattle P-I) – A group of companies including Starbucks, Nike and Sun Microsystems has banded together to urge Congress to regulate greenhouse gas emissions and promote investment in renewable energy. The companies on Wednesday announced a partnership with Boston-based Ceres, a national network of environmental advocates and investors, which will lobby on energy policy.
November 19, 2008 (Marketplace) – Corporate leaders are banding together to push Congress for more aggressive green mandates, from renewable energy to a stricter cap and trade system. Sarah Gardner reports what else the new coalition, BICEP, is pushing.
Shareholders sent a strong message at Exxon Mobil Corp.'s recent annual meeting that they're unhappy with the company's lackluster response to global warming. Spurred by repeated rejections by the company's board to discuss the issue and unimpressed by its new Corporate Citizenship Report, shareholders owning $121 billion of company stock demanded at the spring meeting that the company take climate change seriously and set greenhouse gas reduction goals.