Ceres on Corporate Sustainability: "Turning Point" Research Effort Results

Ceres on Corporate Sustainability: 
"Turning Point" Research Effort Results

We can view this as very encouraging news:  Ceres released a report – "Turning Point" -- that shows almost two-thirds of 600 companies examined intend to reduce GHG emission; half have water management policies; and just under half of the companies are formally committed to "workers' rights". The current research effort is the third assessment of corporate progress against key expectations of the framework, "The Ceres Roadmap for Sustainability," and is a follow up to Ceres' "Gaining Ground: Corporate Progress" report in 2014.

The report used data from the ESG research organization Vigeo Eiris that examined 600-plus of the largest publicly-traded companies in the USA.
Says the Ceres researchers:  In looking at the 600+ companies for the best examples on sustainability leadership, a key finding is that "sustainability" is now overseen by senior executives in more companies (65% today, vs. 42% in 2014), and high-level corporate officers manage GHG reductions in 98% of the companies surveyed.

That's the good news.  The "bad news," as provided with examples by Brian Collett in our Top Story (commentary from TriplePundit), is that while corporate responders said they were committed to reducing GHG emissions (64% said "yes"), only 36% set clear goals. 

The Ceres survey results at times sound like the familiar "I have good news for you/and bad news" jokes.  While 69% of companies say they are concerned about their supply chain environmental and societal impacts, only 34% have "the means to take action".

While about one-third of companies conduct materiality assessments, only 6% can describe the results guiding their planning and decision-making. On "water control," more than half of companies are "committed," but only 15% have priority targets focused on high risk.

Author Collett tells readers that using data from Vigeo Eiris the good news is that a select number of leading brand marketers in the USA are indeed meeting Ceres' research recommendations to the corporate sector ("intensify your sustainability actions"). 

These companies include Citi, Coca-Cola, CVS Health, Gap, General Mills, Intel, Kellogg, Nike, and PepsiCo.  The CSOs at General Mills and Citi Group add their perspectives to the TriplePundit piece.

Commenting on the research effort, Betty T. Yee (Controller of the State of California) noted:  Turning Point is a critical tool for smart business decisions, providing investors and shareholders with helpful insights to better understand key sustainability trends and leading industry practices."

Watch next week for G&A Institute's update on in our annual Flash Report on the CSR/Sustainability reporting trends of the S&P 500® Index companies. 

To read the Ceres' "Turning Point" report:  https://www.ceres.org/resources/roadmap-for-sustainability

To learn more about the framework -- Ceres Roadmap for Sustainability:  https://www.ceres.org/ceres-roadmap


This Week's Top Story

600 Companies, More Senior Executives Commit to Sustainability Policies  
(Monday - March 05, 2018) Source: Triple Pundit - Record numbers of the largest and most influential companies in the US have been found in new research to be committing themselves to ambitious sustainability policies.


Sustainability: Progress Is Being Made
-- We See Forward Momentum!

An Important Commentary by our G&A Institute Fellow Pam Styles:

Sustainability in Aftermarket Research: A Possible Differentiator for Sell-Side Analysts’ Survival in the New MiFid II Era? 
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Whence Corporate Social Responsibility'  
(Monday - March 05, 2018) Associated Profiles: Asset4Source: allaboutalpha.com - As to the first of these, the paper draws on the Thomson Reuters ASSET4 ESG database. ASSET4 gets information from annual reports, corporate sustainability reports, non-governmental organizations and news sources, as they apply... 

Sustainability professionals boast better pay and higher job satisfaction than UK average
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Top universities sign up to Global Research Alliance for Sustainable Finance and Investment
(Monday - March 05, 2018) Source: Business Green - The Alliance is set to host its inaugural conference at the European Centre for Corporate Engagement (ECCE) at Maastricht University from 5th-7th September 2018, and has today issued a call for papers to be submitted ahead of the... 

Improving the Sustainability of Development Finance
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Focus on specific ESG factors for most material benefit: report
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Sustainable finance: Commission's Action Plan for a greener and cleaner economy
(Friday - March 09, 2018) Source: European Commission - Brussels: The European Commission is today unveiling its strategy for a financial system that supports the EU's climate and sustainable development agenda. 

Our Focus This Week on A Range of ESG Topics & Issues – More Things to Think About…

The SEC just made it clearer that securities laws apply to most cryptocurrencies and exchanges trading them
(Thursday - March 08, 2018) Source: CNBC - Bitcoin drops after SEC demands platforms should be registered. The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission is looking to apply securities laws to everything from cryptocurrency exchanges to digital asset... 

Democrats fail to mend split over rolling back Dodd-Frank financial regulations
(Friday - March 09, 2018) Source: LA Times - In the span of two hours on Capitol Hill Tuesday, the sharp split between liberal and moderate Senate Democrats on a major bank deregulation bill became crystal clear…


News for You From the Corporate Sector -Both Positive & Negative - Headlines 

Outdoor Industry Association launches online sustainability platform
(Wednesday - March 07, 2018) Source: EcoTextile - Outdoor Industry Association (OIA) has launched a new online platform on its website in order to support member companies in their sustainability efforts. OIA says the platform aims to provide easy access to tools and...

Does your HR department hold the key to corporate sustainability?
(Wednesday - March 07, 2018) Source: GreenBiz - The business world is changing. As the threat of climate change looms larger and the political world seems increasingly paralyzed by convulsions of nationalism and isolationism, the mantle of taking aggressive action to deal with...  

Almond industry forerunner of future farm practices, sustainability program internationally recognized
(Wednesday - March 07, 2018) Source: Western Farm Press - During the Almond Conference 2017, Almond Board of California (ABC) released its first annual Almond Sustainability Publication, Growing Good, which highlights the California Almond community’s commitment to sustainability...

Food firms address sustainability, but need to pick up the pace, report says
(Thursday - March 08, 2018) Source: Food Dive - A new report measuring corporate progress toward sustainability found that almost two-thirds of more than 600 of the largest U.S. public companies have committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions, more than half have formal... 

Opinion: The time is now for companies to emphasize sustainability
(Tuesday - March 06, 2018) Source: Montreal Gazette - BlackRock, the world’s largest investment firm, recently issued a wakeup call to CEOs. The firm, whose investment decisions have a major impact on the economic health of major companies, advised them that their success depends on...  

And these headlines…
Fresh beef is coming to a McDonald's near you
(Wednesday - March 07, 2018) Source: CNBC

Directors departing Wynn Resorts' board as lawsuits pile up
(Thursday - March 08, 2018) Source: CNBC

Disney shareholders vote against CEO Iger's pay package
(Friday - March 09, 2018) Source: CNBC

News & Opinion: Asset Managers, Sovereign Wealth Funds, Pension Funds

Why It’s So Hard to Invest With a Social Conscience
(Tuesday - March 06, 2018) Source: NY Times - here are more opportunities than ever to invest with a conscience. One firm, Wealthfront, will even let you strip individual American companies that rub you the wrong way from one of the index-fund-like portfolios it creates for...

Why are banks getting away with misbehaving'  
(Tuesday - March 06, 2018) Associated Profiles : Pension Protection Fund - United Kingdom 
Source: The Independent - Then in March 2017 Tata closed the British Steel pension scheme to future accruals. Members could either go with a replacement scheme set up by the Pension Protection Fund or take their benefits as a cash lump sum and transfer... 

Pension crisis coming to a head
(Sunday - February 25, 2018) Associated Profiles : California Public Employees’ Retirement System (CalPERS) Source: Oroville Mercury-Register - The CalPERS board voted to change the period for recouping future investment losses from 30 years to 20 years. The bottom line is that it will require the state government and thousands of local government agencies and school... 

Trump Administration Impact on Sustainability / Corporate and Investor Affairs

11 Countries Sign Pacific Trade Deal as President Trump Announces Tariffs
(Friday - March 09, 2018) Source: Time - Trade ministers from 11 Pacific Rim countries signed a sweeping free trade agreement Thursday to streamline trade and slash tariffs just hours before President Donald Trump announced his plans to impose new...

Which U.S. companies would suffer in a trade war?
(Wednesday - March 07, 2018) Source: CBS NEWS - Which U.S. companies and industries will suffer if President Donald Trump's plan to impose stiff tariffs on aluminum and steel imports comes to fruition? It may depend on how other countries react, and whether a trade war ensues. 

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