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Ensure Honest Accounting

Current accounting systems fail to value environmental and social factors in business decision-making. Investors and companies too often “externalize,” or ignore, the ecological and human impacts from their activity. As a result, companies are able to exploit finite water resources at minimal cost and emit carbon freely. We must ensure that capital markets integrate the full costs of environmental and social factors in business strategies, risk management and public disclosure. Achieving this will ensure companies are rewarded for strong sustainable performance.

Honest AccountingCurrent accounting systems fail to value environmental and social factors in business decision-making. Investors and companies too often “externalize,” or ignore, the ecological and human impacts from their activity. As a result, companies are able to exploit finite water resources at minimal cost and emit carbon freely.

Ceres is working to ensure that capital markets integrate the full costs of environmental and social factors in business strategies, risk management and public disclosure. Achieving this will ensure companies are rewarded for strong sustainable performance.

How We'll Get There:

  1. Propel all companies to use a carbon ‘shadow’ price in capital investment decision-making and to share that information with investors.
  2. Ensure all analysts, rating agencies and financial firms are factoring environmental, social and governance risks and opportunities in their research and valuations.
  3. Integrate sustainability factors, such as water availability, forest protection and human rights, into company and investment decision-making.
  4. Embed sustainability factors into the disclosure requirements of key capital market drivers such as the Securities and Exchange Commission, New York Stock Exchange and Financial Accounting Standards Board.


Resources

Investors Analyze Climate Risks and Opportunities: A Survey of Asset Managers' Practices
Jan 10, 2010
January 2010 - The report highlights specific best practices that asset managers are using to incorporate climate risks into their due diligence, corporate governance and portfolio valuation. It also outlines questions that institutional investors can be asking asset managers – in requests for proposals (RFPs) and in annual performance reviews – to better ensure that managers are giving climate change risks and opportunities the attention they deserve.
Addressing Climate Risk: Financial Institutions and Emerging Markets
Sep 08, 2009
September 2009 - The results of the survey show that emerging market banks recognize the challenges from climate change and are beginning to position themselves for its wide-ranging risks and opportunities, whether from carbon-reducing regulations, international carbon trading schemes or far-reaching physical impacts.
Climate Risk Disclosure in SEC Filings: An Analysis of 10K Reporting by Oil and Gas, Insurance, Coal, Transportation and Electric Power Companies
Jun 10, 2009
June 2009 - This Ceres/Environmental Defense Fund report evaluates the current state of climate risk disclosure by 100 global companies in five sectors that have a strong stake in preparing for a low carbon future: electric utilities, coal, oil and gas, transportation and insurance. It assesses climate risk disclosure in the SEC filings made by these companies in Q1 2008, and finds very limited disclosure.
Reclaiming Transparency in a Changing Climate
Jun 03, 2009
June 2009 – This report, by Ceres, CEES and Environmental Defense Fund, reviews over 6,000 SEC filings by S&P 500 companies from 1995 to 2008. While the study finds some modest improvement in climate risk disclosure since 1995, in 2008 75% of annual reports filed by S&P 500 corporations failed to even mention climate change and only 5% articulated a strategy for managing climate-related risks.
Mutual Funds and Climate Change: Growing Support for Shareholder Resolutions
May 10, 2009
May 2009 - Mutual fund support for climate change-related shareholder resolutions involving U.S. companies reached new highs in 2008, but there is still much room for improvement. The increased support mirrors rising overall investor support for climate change resolutions in recent years. It comes as the business case for supporting climate-related resolutions is increasingly clear, as regulation of greenhouse gas emissions is now a reality in many regions of the U.S. and federal regulations are a strong possibility.