Corporate Accountability Initiative Gains Momentum with Ceres Announcement in New York
Two important announcements today by the world's largest stakeholder coalition promoting corporate environmental performance and accountability will generate unprecedented momentum to make environmental reporting a worldwide standard for corporations.
The Coalition for Environmentally Responsible Economies (Ceres) announced today the endorsement of environmental reporting standards by Northeast Utilities, the New England power company that has played a leading role in promoting clean fuels and environmental responsibility in its generation of energy.
In addition, New York City Comptroller Alan G. Hevesi with more than 20 key institutional investment groups announced a year-long drive to call on companies worldwide to endorse the Ceres Principles, a ten-point code of conduct on corporate accountability and environmental responsibility, and to encourage other institutional investors to join in their demand for environmental reporting from the world's largest corporations.
"The movement to improve corporate environmental performance and sustainability through corporate environmental reporting is becoming increasingly more significant for fiduciaries," Hevesi said. "More and more studies are finding consistent evidence of a correlation between a company's environmental and financial performance."
Dreyfus Third Century Fund, Trillium Asset Management, The Calvert Group and US Trust Company are among the institutional investors. Collectively these groups represent approximately $220 billion of invested capital. (See attached letter)
Hevesi and the institutional investors look to Earth Day 2000 as a milestone in the unified commitment to better environmental reporting.
"This initiative, led by some of the largest institutional investors in the world, represents a significant step in the investment community's efforts to promote and demand corporate responsibility through environmental reporting," said Joan Bavaria, CEO of Trillium Asset Management and Chairman of the Board for Ceres. "Fiduciaries have moved beyond a philosophical commitment to corporate environmental responsibility and have become active leaders in a movement to make environmental reporting standard procedure worldwide."
These announcements cap a month of intense activity for Ceres. Just four weeks ago at a historic conference in London, Ceres released the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI), a set of global sustainability guidelines. The GRI is the first-ever internationally recognized sustainability reporting standard to win the support of corporate and NGO partners, including the United Nations Environment Programme.
"More and more, leading companies, such as Northeast Utilities (NU), have begun to respond to their investors, shareholders, and the public in a way that both greens and grows their bottom line," said Dr. Robert Kinloch Massie, Executive Director of Ceres.
"For 10 years, Ceres has provided a space for business, investors, environmental and public advocates to advance their joint commitment to corporate environmental responsibility through standardized reporting. We applaud NU's decisions to endorse the Ceres Principles, and we call on other firms to recognize the massive public and investor call for corporate transparency and disclosure."
Ceres was formed in 1989 as an alliance of investors and environmentalists in the aftermath of the Exxon Valdez accident. In a decade of organizing and activity, Ceres has grown to be the largest stakeholder coalition of its kind in the world, with 54 member organizations, including the National Wildlife Federation, the Natural Resources Defense Council, the Sierra Club, the New York City Comptrollers Office (represented by Hevesi), and many others.