How Ceres Is Helping Businesses Go Green


Founded in 1989, soon after the Exxon-Valdez oil spill, the Coalition for Environmentally Responsible Economies, better known as Ceres, is a nonprofit organization dedicated to building an economy where businesses and the financial industry promote the well-being of society and the environment by incorporating sustainable practices into their day-to-day operations.

In pursuit of this goal, Ceres has successfully implemented a number of major programs for businesses and investors. Several of the most important include the Ceres Roadmap to Sustainability, the Global Reporting Initiative, Business for Innovative Climate and Energy Policy, and Investor Network on Climate Risk.

The Ceres Roadmap to Sustainability is a set of guidelines useful for any green business wishing to integrate sustainability into the day-to-day workings of their company. The Roadmap describes 20 key guidelines in 4 main areas – governance, stakeholder engagement, disclosure, and performance – designed to ensure the long-term sustainability of the company’s activities. The Roadmap also includes best practices examples from more than 20 different sectors, and lists a wide variety of resources and tools to assist businesses with the transition to more sustainable corporate structures, processes, and performance.

The Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) was founded by Ceres in 1997, but is now a separate organization. Its goal is to make sustainability reporting as routine as financial reporting for the business world. The GRI has developed the world standard framework for sustainability reporting that measures the social, environmental, and economic impact of the company. These guidelines are available free. The GRI official website also offers many other resources for companies interested in implementing sustainability reports.

Business for Innovative Climate and Energy Policy (BICEP) was founded in 2008 in partnership with several prominent corporations, including Nike, Starbucks, Levi Strauss & Co. and The Timberland Co. in order to lobby for greener climate and energy policies based on a set of nine principles, including renewable energy investment, aggressive energy efficiency policies, and the elimination of federal subsidies for fossil fuels. Other brands that have joined BICEP include long-time green favorites such as Seventh Generation, Stonyfield Farm, and Ben & Jerry’s. Ceres offers member companies a number of benefits, including climate and energy policy briefings and resources, media contacts and opportunities, and opportunities to meet with members of Congress, non-profit leaders, and other policy makers.

The Investor Network on Climate Risk (INCR) is a coalition of investors that promotes better understanding of the financial risks and opportunities presented by climate change. The Network has grown to involve more than 90 investors from institutional investors and city treasurers to asset managers and foundations. Combined, they are now responsible for nearly $10 trillion in assets.

How You Can Help

You can support Ceres’s work by connecting through Facebook, Twitter, or YouTube, or by donating to support their programs. Ceres is rated a four star charity by Charity Navigator.

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