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Feeding Ourselves Thirsty Update

September 12, 2017

Updated Ceres report, co-funded by McKnight. How the food sector is managing global water risks, a benchmarking report for investors.

Benchmarking Air Emissions of the 100 Largest Electric Power Producers in the United States: 2016

July 11, 2016

This report analyzed publicly reported data on carbon dioxide (CO2), nitrogen oxides (NOx), sulfur dioxide (SO2), and mercury emissions from the nation's 100 largest electric power producers, which account for 85 percent of the nation's power production.The report concludes that since 2000 emissions of all four major pollutants have dropped while total electricity generation and the American economy have grown.

Benchmarking Utility Clean Energy Deployment: 2016

June 30, 2016

Benchmarking Utility Clean Energy Deployment: 2016 provides a window into how the global transition toward clean energy is playing out in the U.S. electric power sector. Specifically, it reveals the extent to which 30 of the largest U.S. investor-owned electric utility holding companies are increasingly deploying clean energy resources to meet customer needs.Benchmarking these companies provides an opportunity for transparent reporting and analysis of important industry trends. It fills a knowledge gap by offering utilities, regulators, investors, policymakers and other stakeholders consistent and comparable information on which to base their decisions. And it provides perspective on which utilities are best positioned in a shifting policy landscape, including likely implementation of the U.S. EPA's Clean Power Plan aimed at reducing carbon pollution from power plants.

Assets or Liabilities? Fossil Fuel Investments of Leading U.S. Insurers

June 6, 2016

A global clean energy transformation is underway—and it has significant implications for fossil fuel companies and their investors.This new Ceres report, Assets or Liabilities? Fossil Fuel Investments of Leading U.S. Insurers, focuses on the risks to insurance companies—the second-largest type of institutional investor after pension funds based on assets under management.It is already well understood by U.S. insurance regulators that insurers' massive bond and equity holdings expose them to both credit risk and systemic/market risk. As insurers also face uncertainty related to the size and timing of their insured loss payouts, insurance regulators require companies to invest conservatively so they can meet their financial obligations and remain financially stable.In light of these factors, as well as the crucial role of insurers in providing a safety net in the face of climate change, Ceres examined the 40 largest US insurance group's investments (bonds, common stock, and preferred stock) in the oil and gas, coal and electric/gas utilities sectors.Are insurers, and the industry's regulators, taking action to identify and evaluate their potential investment exposure? What are the best strategic options for companies to reduce identified threats, and how should regulators assess insurers' risk management?

Investor Network on Climate Risk Year in Review 2015-2016

May 10, 2016

2015 was a big year for climate change and other key ESG issues. In collaboration with ourinternational partners in the Global Investor Coalition on Climate Change, we brought investor voices, leadership and commitments to the Paris climate negotiations, which culminated in a historic global agreement. Our 2016 Investor Summit on Climate Risk, with record attendance and unprecedented participation by international investment leaders, confirmed that climate change is now a mainstream investment issue and that clean energy investment presents increasing opportunities. 2015 also saw the World Federation of Exchanges issue ESG reporting guidance to its member stock exchanges, huge progress on proxy access, the appointment of the Financial Stability Board's Task Force on Climate Disclosure, important guidance from the U.S. Dept. of Labor on ESG issues and fiduciary duty, and the filing of a record number of shareholder proposals by INCR members on climate-related issues.But we know that there is more work ahead. Climate change continues to accelerate, manyESG risks remain unaddressed, and our efforts in 2016 must confront these and other issues in the context of challenging global markets. With 120 members managing over $14 trillion, INCR is a powerful investor voice for sustainable business and investment practices and government policies. In the coming year we are looking forward to progress on multiple fronts, through our working groups, collaborations, advocacy and implementation of best practices.Solving climate change, bridging the clean energy investment gap and building sustainablecapital markets requires the long-term commitment of leading institutional investors.

View from the Top: How Corporate Boards Can Engage on Sustainability Performance

October 28, 2015

Corporate boards are responsible for overseeing the interests of shareholders in the long term and have a critical role to play in championing sustainability across the enterprise. Over the years, Wall Street research, academic papers, corporate reports and trends from major investors have all underscored the same message: Companies that adopt sustainable practices deliver superior financial results and can face the future with more resilience.Based on interviews conducted with dozens of corporate directors, senior corporate leaders and governance experts, this Ceres report identifies key strategies for effective board engagement that can produce tangible environmental and social impacts. Specifically, the report recommends two inter-related approaches for weaving sustainability more deeply across board functions:Integrating sustainability into board governance systems, andIntegrating sustainability into board actions.By combining robust systems and meaningful actions, boards will have a far better chance of encouraging substantive performance improvements.

Carbon Asset Risk: From Rhetoric To Action

October 23, 2015

This paper, first presented at the 1st Global Stranded Assets Conference, hosted by the Smith School in Oxford September 2015, looks at developments over the past two years around the concepts of carbon asset risk, stranded assets and wasted capital in relation to the fossil fuel industry. We draw on NGO and market research, and corporate and investor activity. The focus is on establishing a framework for analysis and assessing how investors and corporations are responding in terms of risk management, disclosure, corporate capital expenditures and the implications for investors in terms of portfolio management, engagement and divestment. This is done in the context of share and commodity markets. We show that carbon asset risk (CAR) is in the process of moving from discussion and acknowledgement to action and impact.

Accelerating U.S. Clean Energy Deployment: Investor Policy Priorities

August 1, 2015

International investment to mitigate climate change is far below levels needed to reach the two-degree target. The International Energy Agency estimates that an average of an additional $1 trillion in incremental financing for clean energy is needed to meet the temperature target. In September 2014, over 350 investors representing $24 trillion in assets issued the Global Investor Statement on Climate Change, calling on governments to create an ambitious global agreement that includes a meaningful price on carbon -- the "Clean Trillion."This paper connects the Clean Trillion goal to the current United States climate and clean energy policy framework, which is a mixture of federal, state, and local initiatives. The paper outlines the 2015 U.S. policy priorities of the Policy Working Group of the Investor Network on Climate Risk (INCR), a network of more than 110 institutional investors primarily based in the U.S., focused on investment risks and opportunities associated with climate change.

Benchmarking Air Emissions of the 100 Largest Electric Power Producers in the United States

July 13, 2015

The 2015 Benchmarking report is the eleventh collaborative effort highlighting environmental performance and progress in the nation's electric power sector. The Benchmarking series uses publicly reported data to compare the emissions performance of the 100 largest power producers in the United States. The current report is based on 2013 generation and emissions data.The Benchmarking report facilitates the comparison of emissions performance by combining generation and fuel consumption data compiled by EIA with emissions data on sulfur dioxide (SO2), nitrogen oxides (NOx), carbon dioxide (CO2) and mercury compiled by EPA; error checking the data; and presenting emissions information for the nation's 100 largest power producers in a graphic format that aids in understanding and evaluating the data. The report is intended for a wide audience, including electric industry executives, environmental advocates, financial analysts, investors, journalists, power plant managers, and public policymakers.

Feeding Ourselves Thirsty: How the Food Sector is Managing Global Water Risks

May 1, 2015

The global food sector faces extraordinary risks from the twin challenges of water scarcity and water pollution. Growing competition for water, combined with weak regulations, failing infrastructure, pollution and climate change impacts threaten the sector's water security and contribute to a water availability emergency that was recently ranked the world's "top global risk" by the World Economic Forum.This report examines how water risks affect the profitability and competitive positioning of 37 major food sector companies in four industries: packaged food, beverage, meat and agricultural products. It evaluates and ranks these companies -- the majority of which are U.S. domiciled and publicly-traded -- on how well they are positioned to anticipate and mitigate these risks, as well as contribute to improved water resource management.The report provides recommendations for how analysts and investors can effectively evaluate food sector companies on their water risk exposure and management practices. It also provides recommendations for how food companies can improve water efficiency and water quality across their operations and supply chains to reduce risks and protect water resources.

Benchmarking Utility Clean Energy Deployment: 2014

July 25, 2014

This report assembles data from more than 10 sources, including state Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) annual reports, U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission 10-K filings and Public Utility Commission reports, to show how 32 of the largest U.S. investor-owned electric utility holding companies stack up on renewable energy and energy efficiency.

Water and Climate Risks Facing U.S. Corn Production: How Companies and Investors Can Cultivate Sustainability

June 10, 2014

U.S. corn farmers are among the most productive in the world, generating a record harvest of nearly 14 billion bushels in 2013 -- enough corn to fill a freight train long enough to circle the Earth. This production supports a mammoth agricultural sector comprised not just of farmers, but also major food, meat and energy companies that have an enormous stake in the long-term productivity and resilience of American agriculture. However, in the face of this bounty, three major threats to U.S. corn production loom: climate change, unsustainable water use and inefficient and damaging fertilizer practices.Ceres' new report analyzes the risks facing U.S. corn production. The report provides recommendations for how corn-buying companies and their investors can catalyze more sustainable agricultural practices, while helping farmers preserve and enhance yields, and protect precious water resources. The research is accompanied by new data and interactive maps that highlight irrigation risks and fertilizer pollution hotspots.