Monday, November 6, 2017

Ceres Company Network Gains Two High Profile Members

Ceres is a sustainability non-profit that is host to a Company Network of responsible businesses. The members of this Network are committed to achieving sustainability goals and improving resiliency in their operations and supply chains.

These efforts offer a competitive advantage to companies that are serious about sustainability. Network members also benefit from unique access to investors and other stakeholders who are seeking opportunities in the low-carbon economy.

CERES has engaged in a number of efforts in recent years including calling out the fossil fuel industry, tracking investor resolutions and showing support for the Clean Power Plan. They have also produced a number of publications including a report on the cost of financing the low carbon economy and another that offers risk guidance.

CERES works very closely with sustainability leaders in the corporate sector. Starting in 2014 CERES launched its Declaration in which companies promised to combat climate change. In 2015 CERES unveiled a pledge for companies who are prepared to comply with a ten-point code of corporate environmental conduct. CERES is also behind water initiatives including Connect the Drops and the Water Climate Bonds Initiative.  

Ceres also hosts an annual conference that focuses on opportunities in sustainable business. This event is attended by hundreds of corporate sustainability leaders, institutional investors, and leading social and environmental advocates. One of their most successful initiatives is called RE100 and the New RE100. Both campaigns encourage companies to source all of their power from renewable sources.

This Ceres Company Network is their latest initiative and it is reserved for proven sustainability leaders and not for those who see sustainability as a marketing ploy. Members do more than just set lofty goals they are assessed based on the results of their efforts to improve resiliency both in their operations and in their supply chains. These are companies that have integrated robust environmental, social and governance practices into their core business strategies.

More than 50 companies including dozens of Fortune 500 firms are part of Ceres Company Network. On August 31, 2017, Target (NYSE: TGT) and U.S. Bank (NYSE: USB) joined the Network. These two corporations are headquartered in Minneapolis, Minnesota and together they employ more than a third of a million people.

The two companies were vetted and approved by Ceres board of directors in July. To be accepted by the board members must have executive-level, public-facing sustainability commitments. Both corporations have been striving to identify areas where they could improve their sustainability performance.

Target has been an environmental champion for many years. In 2010 the retail giant launched a raft of initiatives and emerged as a sustainability leader.  Target is focusing on responsible sourcing, chemical management, and packaging. The 1,816 store strong retailer also pledged to radically increase it's reliance on renewable energy. This includes commitments to build 500 solar installations by 2020. In 2016 Target surpassed Walmart as the number one corporate producer of solar power in the US.

U.S. Bank is also contributing to the growth of renewables. Last year they invested $1.5 billion in renewable energy projects including financing the largest community solar project in the United States. This project provides clean power to residents in multi-unit buildings and low-income housing.  U.S. Bank has also improved its Environmental Responsibility Policy and committed to reducing its own greenhouse gas emissions 40 percent by 2029 and 60 percent by 2044. U.S. Bank is the parent company of U.S. Bank National Association and is the fifth largest commercial bank in the United States with $464 billion in assets. The company operates 3,088 banking offices.

To learn more about the Ceres Company Network click here.

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