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25 Years of Impact

Over our 25-year history, Ceres has introduced numerous tools to weave environmental and social challenges into company and investor decision-making and the capital markets. And we’ve enjoyed many successes. Each month, we'll highlight one of Ceres' major accomplishments toward our vision for building a more sustainable global economy. Click on one of the 'revealed' impacts below to learn more.

Ceres hit a big milestone in 2014our 25th anniversary.

A quarter of a century ago, a small group of investors founded Ceres largely in response to the Exxon Valdez oil spill that occurred on March 24, 1989. The idea was to bring environmentalists and capitalists together to forge a new sustainable business model, one that would protect the health of the planet and the long-term prosperity of its people.

Over our 25-year history, Ceres has introduced numerous tools to weave environmental and social challenges into company and investor decision-making and the capital markets. We've enjoyed many successes from our vision of building a more sustainable global economy.

View highlights of our first 25 years below.

Catalyzing the Insurance Industry on Climate Change (2005)

InsuranceReportImage.jpgIn August 2005, by sheer coincidence, Ceres released a report about the growing financial risks that climate change poses to insurers’ bottom lines just as Hurricane Katrina slammed New Orleans and the Gulf Coast. As the only NGO engaging with the insurance industry on climate risk, we have mobilized leading insurance companies to move more aggressively on climate change.

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Valuing Every Drop (2010)

Faucet dripping waterSolving the problem of a shrinking U.S. water supply requires new thinking. Ceres has been at the center of examining the vitally important role of water-pricing in our drinking water supplies. Working with utilities, Ceres has helped develop new pricing models and other strategies for protecting our water supply.

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Strengthening the Power of Shareholder Engagement (2001)

PatDalyAcceptanceVideo.jpgWhen Ceres began working with leading institutional investors t to engage companies on the financial risks and opportunities from climate change, only a handful of sustainability shareholder resolutions were being filed. Since then, shareholders have secured climate-related commitments from more than 350 companies with nearly 150 resolutions filed in 2014.

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Building a Roadmap for Corporate Sustainability (2010)

Supply ChainWhen Ceres began working with companies to improve sustainability performance it was unclear what sustainability leadership really looked like. That’s why, in 2010, Ceres released The 21st Century Corporation: The Ceres Roadmap for Sustainability outlining 20 expectations in the areas of governance, stakeholder engagement, disclosure and performance that, if met, would transform companies into truly sustainable enterprises.

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Launching a Corporate Call-to-Action on Climate Change

DeclarationSigning.jpgPolicymakers listen to business leaders, and what started as a clarion call from 33 founding signatories quickly mushroomed to several hundred within a month. Today, more than 750 companies have signed the declaration—including leaders like Apple, Sprint and GM—as an indication of their conviction that a bold response is not only urgently needed, but offers enormous economic opportunity.

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Putting Our Economy on a Sustainable Path (1989)

ExxonValdezTanker.jpg25 years ago, 260,000 barrels of crude oil from the Exxon Valdez oil tanker inundated the waters of Alaska's Prince William Sound. This catastrophic event prompted action from investors concerned that companies like Exxon weren't doing enough to account for the environmental and social impacts of their operations. And just six months after the spill, these investors founded Ceres and introduced The Valdez Principles, later named the Ceres Principles, one of the first environmental codes of conduct for corporations.

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Making Sustainability Reporting Common Practice (1997)

GRILogo.jpgAt a time when many thought that measuring a company's sustainability was impossible, Ceres, along with the Tellus Institute, set out to establish sustainability reporting as a common practice worldwide. What emerged was the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI), the most ambitious worldwide effort to boost corporate disclosure on environmental, social and human rights performance

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Establishing Climate Change as a Financial Risk (2003)

CoalTrainCars.jpgCeres and the United Nations Foundation co-hosted the first Investor Summit on Climate Risk at the United Nations. At the Summit, Ceres and a group of investors launched the Investor Network on Climate Risk (INCR), etching the term “climate risk” into the financial lexicon and spurring a decade of climate action.

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Ceres has raised the bar and elevated the discussion about climate risk and the impacts to our financial community. I’ve seen their leadership change minds and spark meaningful dialogue on these issues.

Anne Stausboll, CEO, CalPERS, the largest public pension fund in the U.S.