Ceres Develops Guide for Better Corporate Climate Change Governance

(Photo Credit: Joshua Sukoff, Unsplash)

by | Jul 17, 2020

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Ceres Develops Guide for Better Corporate Climate Change Governance

(Photo Credit: Joshua Sukoff, Unsplash)

Sustainability nonprofit Ceres published a blueprint for how companies can align their lobbying in the US with science-based climate action. Strong corporate governance on environmental issues puts companies in a better position for growth, the organization says.

The new action plan, “Blueprint for Responsible Policy Engagement on Climate Change,” said that companies have a vital role to play in calling for effective climate policy through their lobbying practices.

“While many companies continue to tackle climate change in their operations and supply chains, they have yet to set up corporate structures that address the issue as a systemic financial risk and ensure all corporate actions — including their direct lobbying or lobbying through their trade associations — are in step with the latest science,” said Veena Ramani, blueprint author and senior program director of the capital market systems at Ceres.

The blueprint calls on companies to:

  • Assess the impact of climate change to the company, including the ways in which its lobbying efforts on climate change serve to exacerbate or mitigate these risks
    • Assess the risk that climate change poses to the company.
    • Conduct an internal audit of direct and indirect lobbying positions on climate change.
  • Govern to systematize decision-making on climate change across the company, including in all direct and indirect lobbying.
    • Systematize decision-making on public policy engagement on climate change.
    • Engage the board on climate policy.
  • Act to align both direct and indirect lobbying with science-based climate policies.
    • Publicly state that the company supports science-based climate policies.
    • Directly lobby for science-based climate policies.
    • Engage with trade associations on aligning their lobbying with climate science.

Citing key policies identified by the We Mean Business coalition, the action plan recommends supporting zero-carbon economies, transport, power, built environment, and industry policies as well as food and land policies that protect, restore, and enhance natural systems. Ceres also urges companies to support efforts that reduce “super-pollutant” GHGs, prevent regulatory rollbacks, and increase appropriations for climate science, research, and development.

The nonprofit pointed out that, last year, 200 investors with $6.5 trillion in assets called for lobbying activities consistent with the goals of the Paris Agreement.

“For companies that want to be true leaders on climate change, they must put in place strong internal governance systems that heed the latest climate science and address the misalignment of their lobbying practices,” said Maria Mendiluce, CEO of We Mean Business. “This is necessary to maintain credibility, minimize risk, and avoid inadvertently supporting policies that are at odds with their corporate climate goals.”

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