FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
A Post-Election Note from Ceres President Mindy Lubber
Achieving a Sustainable Global Economy
As we headed to the polls, the economy, the environment, and our collective common sense told us the old ways are not working. The stumbling financial markets show the consequences of unfettered pursuit of profits in a system that has no debits on the ledger for environmental degradation and no credits for a social conscience. The troubled climate is bringing home the cost of fouling the air and abusing fragile ecosystems. And inequitable use of resources is widening the gap between rich and poor.
The election of Barack Obama and a strengthened Democratic Congress is a pivotal opportunity for the nation to reset its course. We must accept the offer made last night by the president-elect to “join in the work of remaking the nation.” And we must hold our new leaders to their promise to reform the instruments of our society to assure a future that is livable, safe and just for everyone.
At Ceres, we intend to continue to work toward a world where commerce will advance the health of our planet and its people. Our mission is to encourage capital markets to value sustainability, to steer decisions in favor of our collective effort to support and maintain global prosperity and human well being. We are uniquely poised to pursue this work by using the very levers of the economy: an investor network controlling $7 trillion, a group of more than 100 companies that believe as we do, and a diverse coalition of environmental and non-governmental organizations.
The new administration and Congress must shun the excuse that it is “too expensive” to act to curb global warming, to treat our resources as limited, or to end our allegiance to high-carbon fuels. It is too expensive not to act, and the cost of inaction in a future world of 9 billion people is what Barack Obama last night called “a planet in peril.” It is a world in a headlong rush toward climate instability, water scarcity, high food prices, deeper global poverty, and locked in a perilous addiction to oil and coal.
The reward for action is a green and sustainable economy that creates new business opportunities, trains a legion of new workers, helps heal the environment and assures our future. We believe investors, companies and those who work for them are just waiting for the signals from Washington to begin this work.
Those signals should come quickly—in the first 12 months of the new administration. We recommend they include these concrete actions:
- Reform the capital markets to require honest accounting of financial risks that companies and investors face from climate change and other sustainability threats.
- Stimulate the economy through investments in clean energy technology, energy efficiency, green-collar jobs and training.
- Pass legislation to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 25 percent below 1990 by 2020 and 80 percent by 2050.
- End tax incentives and subsidies for high carbon-emitting technologies and projects and enact mandates that 20 percent of the nation’s electricity come from renewable power by 2020 and at least 30 percent by 2030.
- Promote energy efficiency policies, including stronger building codes, appliance standards, tax incentives and energy efficiency resource standards, to achieve at least a doubling in efficiency.
- Instruct the Securities and Exchange Commission to address environmental, social and governance issues, including climate change, as part of corporate disclosure by all publicly-traded companies.
These changes will bring us closer to our goal of achieving long-term prosperity that respects the health of the planet and the aspirations of its people.
Thank you for joining us as we work collectively to seize this exciting new opportunity before us.
Mindy S. Lubber