The Role of NGOs in IO An in-depth look at Ceres: Investors and Environmentalists for Sustainable Prosperity By J. H.
What is Ceres? • NGO created in 1989 • Ceres is a national network of investment funds, environmental organizations, and other public interest groups working to advance environmental stewardship on the part of businesses. • Ceres' mission is to move businesses, capital, and markets to advance lasting prosperity by valuing the health of the planet and its people.
Core Values • Ceres works closely with a select group of companies that have made public commitments to stakeholder engagement, public disclosure, and performance improvements. The 85-member Ceres coalition and their 70-plus partner companies share these core beliefs: • environmental stewardship and company value are strongly linked; • the bedrock of sound corporate governance is measurement and disclosure; • responsible companies must provide their investors and stakeholders complete and transparent information about their environmental performance.
In My Own Words • Ceres is trying to move the corporate and investor world down a path where environmental and social issues are included as business risks that need to be analyzed measured and figured into accounting statements • By including environmental performance as a financial liability Ceres hopes to create a system of free market forces that moves all business towards sustainable prosperity
How Can this Be Done? • What is measured in managed • Looking at the long-run vs. Short-run • Sustainability issues are financial issues
What Is Measured is Managed • The measurement of Oart
Systems of Measurement • The GRI • 700 Companies World Wide • Report On Economic Environmental and Social Performance Indicators • The FRP • Pilot testing stage • For reporting on the facility level • Currently about eight pilot testers
Benefits of Reporting • Transparency • Credibility • Interaction with stakeholders • Marketing tool • Internal Increased awareness about economic environmental and social performance
Long Run Vs. Short-run • Sustainable Profitability rather than big profits now and no profits later • Ceres is trying to educate investors and shareholders so that sustainable business is not punished for quarterly reports that may not reach immediate goals due to a company vision of trying to create sustainable returns in the long run • Ceres created a Network of Investors called The Investor Network on Climate Risk worth 2.7 Trillion dollars
Example • Timber Industry • Sustainable Forestry vs. Liquidation Logging • The Harwood Products Story • The creation of Sustainable resource based communities
Sustainability means Profitability • Managing the Environment in a sustainable manner and long-term profitable performance are two issues that go hand and hand yet in many corporate board rooms these two subjects are thought of as separate issues and obviously financial profitability comes first. • In 2002 Ceres created a Sustainable Governance Project to raise sustainability issues as significant financial risks that must be addressed by corporate boards and investment fiduciaries.
Example • The Coca-Cola company • Unsustainable use of water in many developing countries. • After weighing the cost of creating sustainable water use processes and the financial effect of continuing business as usual the company decided that it was a sound investment to spend the money now to assure the long-term stability of their company. • Created community stakeholder engagement at the facility level to address local water issues • Funded water awareness programs at school and created clean water programs in northern Kenya
http://www.ceres.org/ceres/ • In 1989 this process of shifting the world accounting, investment, and governance systems to include sustainability issues was thought of as a 100 year evolution of ideas • It is happening now!! • Investors, Corporate leaders, Environmentalists, and NGOs are setting together at the same table and no matter what each groups motivation is, the ultimate goal is the same… to make sustainability pay • Our children's future depends on it!!