No matter the political winds, global sustainability challenges are bigger than ever and the urgency for business leadership is paramount.
Good governance, transparency, stakeholder engagement and bottom line performance are all hallmarks of a truly sustainable and profitable 21st century corporation. Across the globe, leading investors and corporations are accelerating innovative sustainable solutions that are building long-term value, while protecting the health of our planet and the economy.
Still, far more needs to be done to meet the colossal threat of climate change and other sustainability challenges that impact all corners of the world, and all layers of society. Ensuring fair and just treatment of workers across global supply chains; investing the trillions of dollars needed to provide clean, affordable energy; adopting meaningful and supportive public policies; increasing efficiencies to deal with water scarcity; and decoupling food production from environmental degradation and human rights abuses. These are all issues of great magnitude, but they are only achievable if they are fully integrated into the bottom line.
Join us at the Ceres Conference 2017 in San Francisco as we hear from leaders who are catalyzing the biggest breakthroughs on these issues and recognize that, regardless of political headwinds, sustainability is the bottom line.
Ceres is a non-profit organization advocating for sustainability leadership. We mobilize a powerful network of investors, companies and public interest groups to accelerate and expand the adoption of sustainable business practices and solutions to build a healthy global economy.
Wespath Investment Management
Wespath Investment Management is the investments division of Wespath Benefits and Investments, a general agency of The United Methodist Church, managing over $21 billion in assets. Kirsty joined Wespath in May 2014 to lead the Sustainable Investment Strategies (SIS) team. SIS ensures that environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues are integrated into Wespath’s investment selection and monitoring process. She also directs Wespath’s corporate engagement and proxy voting activities. Previously, Kirsty was director of the Markets and Enterprise Program at the World Resources Institute, a Washington, D.C.-based global research organization. She also spent eight years as a Director of Governance and Sustainable Investment at F&C Asset Management in London and six years in the Fixed Income division of Goldman Sachs International in London. Kirsty currently sits on the board of the Business and Human Rights Resource Centre. She received an M.A. degree in International History from the University of Edinburgh, Scotland.
New York State Common Retirement Fund
Vicki Fuller is Chief Investment Officer for New York State's Common Retirement Fund. As of March 31, 2016, the estimated value of the Fund was $178.6 billion. Under the direction of State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli, Fuller is responsible for developing and implementing investment strategies to ensure that the Fund remains one of the best-funded and best-managed public pension plans in the country. The Fund holds assets in trust for more than one million employees and retirees from state and local authorities. Previously Fuller was with Alliance Berstein for nearly 30 years, most recently as a Managing Director. Fuller has been named one of the most powerful African Americans on Wall Street by Black Enterprise. She has also received special recognition from the Financial Women's Association - Woman of the Year Award in 2014, National Association of Securities Professionals - New York Chapter - Wall Street Hall of Fame, the SEO Reginald F. Lewis Achievement Award, and Chief Investment Officer Magazine's "Power 100." She earned her MBA from the University of Chicago and her BSBA from Roosevelt University in Chicago. Vicki is a Certified Public Accountant.
Maine Public Employees Retirement System
Andrew Sawyer is the Chief Investment Officer of the Maine Public Employees Retirement System a $12.5 billion state-wide pension fund. Prior to working at MainePERS, Andrew worked for TD Bank, Raytheon Company, Prime Buchholz & Associates, and Fuji Bank. Andrew is a CFA and a CAIA charter holder. Andrew earned a BA from the University of Maine and an MBA from Pace University. He serves as a trustee and investment committee chairman for Holderness School, Mitchell Institute, MaineHealth.
Mindy S. Lubber is the President and a founding board member of Ceres, a non-profit organization that is mobilizing many of the world’s largest investors and companies to take stronger action on climate change, water scarcity and other global sustainability challenges. She directs Ceres’ Investor Network on Climate Risk (INCR), a group of more than 120 institutional investors managing more than $15 trillion in assets focused on the business risks and opportunities of climate change. Mindy also oversees engagements with 100-plus companies, many of them Fortune 500 firms, committed to sustainable business practices and the urgency for strong climate and clean energy policies. In 2016, Mindy received the Climate Visionary Award from the Earth Day Network, and the William K. Reilly Award for Environmental Leadership from the Center for Environmental Policy at American University. The December 2015 online edition of Vogue Magazine featured Mindy as one of their “Climate Warriors”, one of the top 13 women advancing the Paris Climate Agreement at the UN Conference at COP21. In 2010, Mindy was honored by the United Nations and the Foundation for Social Change as one of the “World’s Top Leaders of Change” for her work in mobilizing leading companies to integrate environmental challenges into core business strategies. She is also a recipient of the Skoll Award for Social Entrepreneurship and was named one of “The 100 Most Influential People in Corporate Governance” by Directorship magazine.
As the Program Director of Food and Capital Markets, David leads Ceres' work in a multi-organization collaboration working to enhance the sustainability of key food supply chains, with a particular focus on commodities associated with deforestation and illegal fishing. David began his career working at Microsoft, where he co-founded the Microsoft Green Team, and continued corporate work at REI and at L.L. Bean, where he headed Product Research, Testing and Environmental Affairs. As a former management consultant, he’s helped investors and corporations reduce the risk associated with Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) issues in global supply chains and recently wrote and filmed an 18-part learning series on Linked In’s learning channel, Lynda.com, teaching about his experiences. David has led two international NGOs focused on improving environmental and social conditions in forest-dependent and agricultural communities and helped found the for-profit social enterprise company, Cotton Connect, a 2012 Ethical Corporation Magazine award finalist for world’s most innovative company.
Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
Cheri Chastain is the Sustainability Manager for Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. Cheri has been with the company for 10 years and is responsible for educating employees on environmental issues and programs, maintaining and developing policies and projects related to renewable energy and energy efficiency, zero waste, alternative fuels, and water conservation and reuse. Cheri also works outside Sierra Nevada’s walls on policy and advocacy issues relating to sustainability. Cheri is currently a member of the City of Chico’s Sustainability Task Force, Co-Chair of the Brewer’s Association Sustainability Subcommittee, and a board member of the US Zero Waste Business Council. Cheri has a BA and an MA in Environmental Geography.
Morrison & Foerster
Ms. Mac Cormac’s work focuses on advising innovative, forward-thinking sustainable and renewable energy companies and investors on corporate structure, equity and debt financings, mergers, acquisitions, asset purchases and sales, reorganizations and joint ventures. She advises corporations on the intersection of fiduciary duties and environmental sustainability as well as disclosure around ESG. She has particular expertise on ensuring energy, sustainability and other investments have positive impact – through use of new corporate forms, hybrids, alternative debt and equity instruments and disclosure. In 2015, the Financial Times named Ms. Mac Cormac the Most Innovative North American Lawyer for her work championing impact investing and social enterprise legal innovation. She was named by California Lawyer as an Attorney of the Year in 2016 for her innovative work in sustainability and impact investing, and previously in 2012 for her effective legislative change as co-chair of the California working group for the Flexible Purpose Corporation, now known as the Social Purpose Corporation. The American Bar Association’s Business Law Section awarded her the 2016 National Public Service Award for her innovative pro bono services to nonprofits. Ms. Mac Cormac was a founding board member of the Sustainability Accounting Standards Board, is a member of the Board of Directors for Business for Social Responsibility (BSR), member of the Ceres President’s Council and the Board of Earth Genome Project, and an advising board member of the Committee Encouraging Corporate Philanthropy’s Strategic Investor Initiative.
David Beckman is President of the Pisces Foundation, an environmental philanthropy that supports innovators who are doing what’s necessary to have clean and abundant water, a safe climate, and kids with the environmental know-how to create a sustainable world. David is responsible for the Foundation’s strategic direction, operation, and administration. Previously, David was director of the national water program at the Natural Resources Defense Council, one the nation’s largest environmental advocacy organizations, where he was also a senior attorney. David co-founded and managed the launch of the water program in 2008. Over seventeen years at NRDC David litigated precedent-setting water quality cases; drafted legislation that led to implementation of groundwater monitoring and water quality programs in California; and researched and wrote reports on a variety of environmental policy matters. For five years he served also as a Distinguished Visiting Scholar at California State University, teaching environmental policy and law. David is a 1988 graduate of the University of California, Berkeley, and a 1991 graduate of Harvard Law School.
Ric Abel is a Managing Director for Prudential Capital Group’s Energy Finance Group located in Dallas, Texas, focusing on energy related mezzanine and structured equity investments across the U.S., Canada and internationally. He joined Prudential in 1989, holding various positions with Prudential Power Funding Associates before joining Prudential Capital Group in 1996 in the Corporate and Project Workouts Group. In 1998, Ric moved to the Energy and Corporate Finance Group as a Team Leader and was promoted to Managing Director in 2004 when he formed and began leading the Power Group (fka Electric Finance Group). As Managing Director of the Power Group, Ric oversaw the private placement activity in PCG’s power projects, utilities, and electric cooperatives consisting of a $6.9 billion portfolio (as of December 31, 2014) of senior debt, mezzanine debt, and private equity investments. Ric has served on multiple boards, including Shenandoah, Cleveland Thermal, Hospitality Mints, and Bill’s Dollar Store. Ric received a BA from Hunter College and an MBA from Duke University’s Fuqua School. He previously was a member of the Advisory Board of the Center for Financial Excellence at Duke University’s Fuqua School and is currently a member of Duke University’s Energy, Development and the Global Environment (EDGE) Advisory Board.
Veena Ramani is a Program Director leading Ceres’ Capital Markets Systems program, which consolidates Ceres’ work on critical market levers that will help scale the transition to sustainable capital markets. As a part of this, Veena leads Ceres’ work on governance for sustainability, which focuses on systems and processes that companies should put in place at the corporate board level to allow for “effective” board sustainability oversight. She also oversees Ceres work on sustainability disclosure.
In Oct 2015, Veena authored the report, “View from the top: How corporate boards can engage on sustainability performance." From 2006 to 2015, Veena managed the relationships with a wide portfolio of Ceres network companies as a part of the Ceres Corporate Program, including the financial services sector and the electric power sector. As a part of this, Veena worked with senior company management and boards on opportunities to integrate sustainability into their business structures and decision making, including policy and program development, disclosures and stakeholder engagement processes. Prior to Ceres, Veena worked as a Management Consultant with CDM, an environmental consulting firm and focused on providing a variety of sustainability services to clients in the public and private sectors. Prior to that, she spent three years with Integrative Strategies Forum, a Washington DC based NGO, working on developing national and international policy solutions on sustainable development, building consensus and coalitions among civil society groups on these issues and lobbying government representatives. Veena has also practiced law in India.
Customer Energy Solutions, Pacific Gas and Electric Company
Jana Corey is the Director of PG&E’s Clean Energy Programs Department, part of the company’s Customer Care organization. Ms. Corey’s team is responsible for managing PG&E’s electric vehicle and community solar programs, and administering state solar and self-generation programs with the express objective to support California climate and environmental policy goals. Prior to her current position, Ms. Corey served as Director of Energy Efficiency Strategy and Director for PG&E’s SmartMeter™ Advanced Metering Infrastructure project. Ms. Corey has previous experience in PG&E’s corporate strategic planning, regulatory relations, and field operations groups. Ms. Corey has a BS and MS in Electrical Engineering from UCLA, and an MBA from the Stanford Graduate School of Business.
Loren Blackford is the Sierra Club Treasurer, chairs its finance & risk and investment committees and co-leads strategic planning. Previously, she chaired the board of the Sierra Club Foundation while it went through a year and a half long process to better align its investments with its mission across all asset classes. Loren is committed to leveraging philanthropy, investment dollars, political fundraising and advocacy to speed the transition to a fair and equitable clean-energy economy. She is actively engaged with various organizations and networks dedicated to these objectives, including: Rachel’s Network –women environmental donors and investors; NRDC Environmental Entrepreneurs; Confluence and CREO –foundations and family offices investing in environmental and clean energy solutions. Loren previously worked at the Local Initiatives Support Corporation – a non-profit intermediary that was investing $500 million a year in local community development efforts. She also helped Living Cities – a coalition of major foundations, financial institutions, and HUD – create a green community development strategy. Prior to that, she worked at the UN Non-Governmental Liaison Service during the 1992 Earth Summit and its preparations, and published a chapter on NGOs in a book about International Environmental Negotiations. Loren graduated from the Harvard Kennedy School and Oberlin College.
Tim is the Director of Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) Shareowner Engagement, and leads Walden’s ongoing shareholder engagement program to promote greater corporate leadership on ESG issues. This includes company dialogues, shareholder proposals, proxy voting, and public policy advocacy. He is actively involved in representing Walden at public events and in fostering long-term client relationships. He is Co-Chair of Walden’s ESG Research & Engagement Committee and a member of the Corporate Governance Committee. Prior to joining the firm in 2000, Tim served as Executive Director of the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility (ICCR) for 24 years. ICCR coordinates corporate responsibility programs for over 275 religious, institutional investors committed to using shareholder advocacy to influence corporate conduct and promote social justice. ICCR has been a primary player in the corporate responsibility movement and social investment community since the early 1970s. In 2007, 2012 and 2013, Tim was named as one of the “Top 100 Most Influential People in Business Ethics” by Ethisphere Institute. He is a board member of the General Board of Pension and Health Benefits of the United Methodist Church. In 2010, he received the Bavaria Award for Impact at the third annual Joan Bavaria Awards for Building Sustainability into the Capital Markets. In 2011 and 2012, he was named one of the most influential people in corporate governance by the National Association of Corporate Directors. He serves on a number of sustainability stakeholder dialogue teams with companies as well. Tim previously served as Chair of US SIF, an industry trade group, for five years, and presently serves as Chair of its Public Policy Committee. He serves on the boards of The Thirty Percent Coalition and Shared Interest, and is the Chair of the Kimberly-Clark Sustainability Advisory Board.
University of California, Davis
Amy Myers Jaffe is a leading expert on global energy policy, geopolitical risk, and energy and sustainability. Jaffe serves as executive director for Energy and Sustainability at University of California, Davis, and as senior advisor, energy and sustainability to the Office of the Chief Investment Officer of the Regents, University of California. She is associate editor (North America) for the academic journal Energy Strategy Reviews and serves on the editorial board of the Journal of Economics and Energy and Environmental Policy. Jaffe’s research focuses on sustainable investment, corporate investment strategies in the energy sector, and oil and gas geopolitics. Jaffe is also a global fellow at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington D.C.
Ben Thompson is senior manager of sustainable business at Autodesk and the Autodesk Foundation. In this role, Ben seeks to align Autodesk's people, process, and products to the company's vision to create a better world.Managing Autodesk’s cross organizational sustainable operations teams and strategy, Ben has a track record of expanding sustainability best practices and driving Autodesk to set and reach its commitments to science-based greenhouse gas reductions, 100% renewable energy, integrated reporting, price on carbon, and climate change advocacy and partnerships.A founder of Autodesk's Employee Impact program, Ben equips employees to amplify their impact at work, at home, and in the community. Autodesk’s products are also a key focus, where he uses the company’s own buildings as a “living laboratory” to enhance and simplify sustainable design software.Prior to his work at Autodesk, Ben developed his passion for sustainability while consulting to Washington-based businesses, and drafting campaign plans for green jobs and energy legislation. Ben brings technology and operations expertise from his previous roles at Dolby Laboratories and Iris Distribution. You can often find him hiking and cycling at his home in the Bay Area.Ben is a regular speaker, writer, and contributor to industry standards. He holds a BA in Business from the University of Puget Sound and is a LEED Green Associate.
Michael Garland is Assistant Comptroller for Environmental, Social and Governance for New York City Comptroller Scott M. Stringer. The Comptroller serves as investment advisor, custodian and a trustee to the New York City Pension Funds, which have approximately $135 billion in assets and a long history of active ownership on issues of corporate governance and sustainability. Mr. Garland and his team are responsible for developing and implementing the Funds’ active ownership programs for public equities, including voting proxies, engaging portfolio companies on their environmental, social and governance policies and practices, and advocating for regulatory reforms to protect investors and strengthen shareholder rights. He also co-chairs the Activism Committee of the Council of Institutional Investors.
Mr. Garland has over 25 years of experience in finance and investment. Prior to joining the Comptroller’s Office in September 2010, he led company-specific and regulatory initiatives to enhance corporate governance for the AFL-CIO Office of Investment and the CtW Investment Group, which he helped establish in January 2006 as part of the Change to Win labor federation. He has financed middle market corporations as Assistant Vice President for National Westminster Bank USA and provided financial consulting as Senior Associate at Locker Associates.
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