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.
Mark Bittman, one of the leading voices in the food movement, has been called a visionary for his rallying cry to change the way America eats. His seminal book, Food Matters—a New York Times bestseller—broke new ground in exploring the links among food, health, and the environment while providing tangible guidance for Americans to rethink their diet.
Bittman has been writing and speaking about food for 30 years, mostly through print and the web pages of The New York Times (he created "The Minimalist" for the Dining section in 1997 and is a contributor to both Week in Review and The Magazine). He is the author of several blockbuster cookbooks, appears regularly on both commercial and public television, and is a highly sought-after speaker on food and its role in American culture and health. Prior to tackling food in general, Bittman set out to teach Americans to cook by publishing How to Cook Everything, which won three international cookbook awards, the IACP/Julia Child Award, and the James Beard Award (twice), and which has become the bible of cooking for millions of Americans. His follow-up, How to Cook Everything Vegetarian, was one of the best-selling cookbooks of 2007 and a multiple award winner. His most recent book, Mark Bittman's Kitchen Express, hit The New York Times Bestseller List the week it was released. Known for his candor and no-nonsense style, Mark Bittman is on a mission is to get people to cook simply, comfortably, and well. In highly engaging keynotes, he shows audiences how their food is produced, marketed, and consumed, providing a timely and comprehensive answer to why food matters. He then provides audiences with the tools to help them lose weight, solve health problems, and reduce their personal impact on the environment. Bittman is the host of the TV series Bittman Takes on America's Chefs, which won the James Beard Award for the best cooking series of 2005 and continues to run regularly. He also hosts The Best Recipes in the World and hosted the special Spain: On the Road Again, which he co-hosted with Gwyneth Paltrow and Mario Batali. He appears twice a month on The Today Show. During the late ‘90s, Bittman created a best-selling collaboration with the internationally celebrated chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten. Their classic, Jean-Georges: Cooking at Home with a Four-Star Chef, is widely considered to be among the most accessible chef's cookbooks ever published. Bittman's first book, Fish—The Complete Guide to Buying and Cooking is the best- selling contemporary book on the subject. Among his other works are the blockbuster The Best Recipes in the World and the award-winning “Minimalist” cookbooks, now collected in Mark Bittman's Simple and Easy Recipes from The New York Times.
- Getting Serious About Food: Safety, Hunger & Sustainability
- What’s Wrong with the Way We Eat
- Reducing Consumption to Heal the Planet & Ourselves
- Personal Food Policy: The Importance of Conscious Eating
- What We Can Do About Obesity
- Eating Like Food Matters
- The Zen of Cooking
Ethan Brown is the Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Beyond Meat, a company dedicated to building meat directly from plants. Ethan gained an appreciation for agriculture and the natural world from his father, a professor, conservationist, and hobby farmer. This interest shaped the direction of his career, where he sought to make a contribution to climate change through the clean energy sector. His early work centered on electricity restructuring in support of an open grid, where his analysis at the gubernatorial level directly informed federal and state policies on grid management. Subsequently, Ethan joined the world’s leading Proton Exchange Membrane (PEM) fuel cell developer Ballard Power Systems, rising to report directly to the Company’s Chief Executive Officer. Though passionate about clean energy, Ethan returned often to the role of livestock in our economy and became convinced that a change in the origin of the protein—from animals to plants--that we place at the center of our plates could simultaneously address human health, climate, natural resource, and animal welfare challenges in a unique and powerful way. In 2009, Ethan founded Beyond Meat. Today, the Company sells products in 11,000 stores throughout the United States, including the Beyond Burger, the first plant-based meat to be sold in the meat aisle at a major grocer (Whole Foods Market). Beyond Meat is routinely recognized for its innovation, including most recently by Fast Company in its Most Innovative Companies list for 2017. Ethan holds an MBA from Columbia University and an MPP from the University of Maryland. He is a member of the 2017 Class of Henry Crown Fellows within the Aspen Global Leadership Network at the Aspen Institute.
Jeremy Coller has been described as Personality of the Decade in Europe for his influence and innovation in pioneering and leading the private equity secondaries market. His firm, Coller Capital, has invested in approximately 16,000 private companies worldwide since its inception and has approximately $17bn of assets under management.Prior to founding the business in 1990, Jeremy spent five years at ICI Pension Plan, where he pioneered the acquisition of private equity secondaries, and also worked as a public equities investment analyst at Fidelity International Investment Management in London. Jeremy holds a BSc (Hons) in Management Sciences from the University of Manchester, UMIST and an MA in Philosophy from Sussex University. He attended Carmel College and the Diplôme Cours de Civilisation Française at the Sorbonne. In 2011, Jeremy was awarded an Honorary Fellowship by the London Business School. In 2013, he received an Honorary Doctorate from Tel Aviv University. Jeremy is also recognised for his leadership in charitable services in the field of human health and animal welfare. As well as being Chairman of the Jeremy Coller Foundation, his vehicle for philanthropic activities, he started the Coller Institute for Private Equity at London Business School and the Coller Institute for Venture at Tel Aviv University – and, most recently, endowed the Coller School of Management (the business school) at Tel Aviv University. He recently launched the Farm Animal Investment Risk & Return (FAIRR) Initiative, a collaborative network that shares research, fresh thinking and best practices to help investors understand and manage farm animal risks and opportunities. Since December 2015, the FAIRR Initiative has already signed up investors representing in excess of $1tn of assets under management. He is a member of the Advisory Council of The Elders.
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.
Nancy Green is currently President and General Manager of Athleta, leading the brand through a high-growth phase and brand evolution. Throughout her three decades of retail, leading high growth businesses and teams have been her expertise along with creating and developing brand vision, strategy, and breakthrough product and marketing. She is also known as an impactful mentor of talent who has developed strong leaders across the industry. She has worked for Gap Inc. for 21 years over two phases, including her first 16 years in retail and most recent 5 years since rejoining the company in 2009. Prior to joining Athleta in 2013, she served as EVP and Chief Creative Officer at Old Navy, leading the merchandising, design and visual merchandising teams. Under her leadership, the brand focused on balancing innovation in core categories while launching new and expanding businesses. Nancy served as interim co-leader of Old Navy in 2012. Previously, Green served as CEO of Shabby Chic, where she partnered with the founder to create and implement a vision and growth strategy for a multi-channel lifestyle brand. She facilitated its expansion into new categories and distribution channels while overseeing all areas of the company. In addition, she ran the Pottery Barn division of Williams-Sonoma, Inc as executive vice president from 2003-2007 where she led a multi-channel business (online, catalog, stores) through a significant growth phase expanding into new categories and developing the online business into a major channel. She spent 16 years at Gap Inc from 1986-2002 overseeing merchandising in a variety of divisions, including Gap brand both within the US and globally, as well as the kids and baby division for Old Navy.
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.
Cecily Joseph is the Vice President of corporate responsibility for Symantec Corporation, a global leader in cybersecurity. As leader of Symantec's global corporate responsibility efforts, Cecily drives environmental, social and governance program development, integration and communication. She is responsible for designing and implementing initiatives focused on online safety education and cybersecurity skills development. Cecily is an ongoing champion for diversity and inclusion, pioneering numerous initiatives to increase diversity and equity within Symantec and the corporate sector. With experience building corporate responsibility programs in strategic philanthropy, diversity & inclusion, and environmental sustainability from the ground up, Cecily acts as an internal and external change agent. She worked with the company’s Leadership to create a goal to increase the diversity of Symantec’s workforce by 15 percent, empowering female leaders through the Women on Board initiative, and creating a pathway for underrepresented young adults to enter into the cybersecurity field through the Symantec Cyber Career Connection (SC3). She has also spearheaded efforts to increase employee engagement through her team’s community investment efforts and the launch of the Symantec Service Corps. Cecily is often sought to speak on a variety of topics at industry events – including RSA, the world’s largest data security conference, where Cecily has spoken for three consecutive years. She is an active writer on her blog and contributor of opinion editorials for The Huffington Post. Cecily currently serves on the board of directors for Net Impact, a global non profit focused on addressing social and environmental challenges. Cecily received the CEDAW Award for Human Rights from the City of San Francisco Commission on the Status of Women, recognition as one of the Multicultural Leaders of California by the National Diversity Council, and recognition as one of the Most Influential People in Business Ethics by the Ethisphere Institute.
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.
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.
Ms. Williams was elected President and CEO of PG&E Corporation, effective March 1, 2017. Geisha J. Williams has been President, Electric, at Pacific Gas and Electric Company since 2015 and is a member of the utility’s board of directors. Williams has more than three decades of experience in the utility industry. Williams and her team are responsible for the end-to-end delivery of safe, reliable, affordable and clean gas and electricity to 16 million people in northern and central California. Her focus on renewables integration, grid modernization and smart grid technologies has resulted in PG&E customers benefitting from the best electric reliability in company history while also receiving energy that is nearly 70 percent greenhouse gas free. Williams joined PG&E in 2007 and previously was the Utility’s President, Electric, and prior to that, Executive Vice President, Electric Operations. In her role as President, Williams led all aspects of the Utility’s electric business, including power generation, nuclear operations, transmission, distribution, and substation operations, asset management and strategy, energy procurement and customer care. Before PG&E, she held officer-level positions leading electric distribution, as well as a variety of positions of increasing responsibility in customer service, marketing, external affairs and electric operations at Florida Power and Light Company. Williams is a director at the Edison Electric Institute, the Institute of Nuclear Power Operations, and the Association of Edison Illuminating Companies. She also serves as the board chair for the Center for Energy Workforce Development and is an active participant in Executive Women in Energy. Her involvement with the community includes serving as a trustee of the California Academy of Sciences and a member of the University of Miami President’s Council. She is a five-time recipient of the Bay Area Most Influential Women in Business Award, and in 2014 she was honored with Leadership California’s Trailblazer Award. Williams holds a bachelor's degree in engineering from the University of Miami and a master’s degree in business administration from Nova Southeastern University. She lives in the Bay Area with her family.
Capricorn Investment Group
Ion Yadigaroglu has been Managing Principal at Capricorn Investment Group since 2004. Capricorn was born from a belief that values-based, sustainable investment practices can enhance return rates. Underlying that principled approach has always been a deep desire to demonstrate the huge investment potential that resides in breakthrough commercial solutions to the world’s most pressing problems. Prior to Capricorn, Ion was a Director with Koch Industries, executing a range of acquisitions and investments. Prior to Koch, he was a founder and Chief Executive Officer at Bivio, a software startup in Colorado, and an Analyst for Olsen & Associates, a foreign exchange analytics company. Ion was a research fellow at Columbia University and holds a Masters in Physics from Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule Zürich in Switzerland and a Ph.D. in Astrophysics from Stanford University. Ion serves on a number of boards including those of Agrica, Ceres, Encourage Capital, Falcon WaterFree, Sunpreme and TrueCar.
State Controller Betty T. Yee was elected in November 2014, following two terms of service on the Board of Equalization. As Controller, she continues to serve the Board as its fifth voting member. Ms. Yee was first elected to the Board of Equalization in 2006 where she represented 21 counties in northern and central California. She was elected to her second four-year term in 2010. Now serving as the state’s Chief Fiscal Officer, Ms. Yee also chairs the Franchise Tax Board and serves as a member of the California Public Employees’ Retirement System (CalPERS) and the California State Teachers’ Retirement System (CalSTRS) Boards. These two boards have a combined portfolio of nearly $500 billion. Ms. Yee has over 30 years of experience in public service, specializing in state and local finance and tax policy. Ms. Yee previously served as Chief Deputy Director for Budget with the California Department of Finance where she led the development of the Governor’s Budget, negotiations with the Legislature and key budget stakeholders, and fiscal analyses of legislation on behalf of the Administration. Prior to this, she served in senior staff positions for several fiscal and policy committees in both houses of the California State Legislature. Ms. Yee currently serves on the board of directors for the Equality California Institute. She is a cofounder of the Asian Pacific Youth Leadership Project, which exposes California high school youth to the public service, public policy, and political arenas. A native of San Francisco, Ms. Yee received her bachelor’s degree in Sociology from the University of California, Berkeley, and her master’s degree in Public Administration from Golden Gate University, San Francisco.
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