Environmental Quality Protection, Beautification

Ceres, Inc.

  • Boston, MA
  • www.ceres.org

Mission Statement

Ceres is transforming the economy to build a sustainable future for people and the planet. Ceres is a sustainability nonprofit organization leading the most influential investors and companies to build leadership and drive solutions throughout the economy. Through our powerful networks and advocacy, we tackle the world's biggest sustainability challenges, including climate change, water scarcity and pollution, and human rights abuses.

Main Programs

  1. Sustainable Business Strategies
  2. Sustainable Capital Markets
  3. Climate & Clean Energy
  4. Water
Service Areas



Economic opportunities abound
for new sustainability-related products
and services — electric cars, waterless
manufacturing and innovative energy-
efficiency financing, just to name a few. Ceres has worked tirelessly to mobilize
capital toward the opportunity side of
the equation because creativity and
innovation — the power of markets — are our best hope for building a sustainable
global economy for generations to come. Focusing on companies and investors as levers means that our work in inherently global.

ruling year


Principal Officer


Ms. Mindy Lubber



climate change, capital markets, ESG, GRI, environment, corporate responsibility, sustainability, shareholder activism, capital market

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Cause Area (NTEE Code)

Alliance/Advocacy Organizations (C01)

Management & Technical Assistance (C02)

Public, Society Benefit - Multipurpose and Other N.E.C. (W99)

IRS Filing Requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

Programs + Results

How does this organization make a difference?


Self-reported by organization

Over our 23-year history we have persuaded major companies and institutional investors that sustainability risks are embedded in every business and portfolio. We introduced the term ‘climate risk’ into the economic lexicon, and we’re now doing the same for ‘water risk.’ We made the case that these are material risks that directors and executives have a fiduciary duty to assess,
disclose and address. A decade ago few companies or investors even conceived of these risks. Now hundreds of the world’s largest companies and investors are integrating climate and water risk management across their operations and overall strategies.


Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Program 1

Sustainable Business Strategies

Goal: Advance large-scale change in sustainability strategy
and performance by building on and expanding the
leadership actions of companies in pivotal industries

 Accelerate uptake of leading practices in The 21st Century
Corporation: The Ceres Roadmap for Sustainability by
companies and their suppliers

Mobilize the 70+ Ceres companies to achieve comprehensive
environmental and social performance improvements in
products, operations and supply chains

Establish sustainability as a permanent strategic governance
priority at the corporate Board and CEO levels and ensure it
is managed throughout the enterprise

Shape global consensus on corporate disclosure frameworks
to drive integrated reporting, comparable key performance
indicators and transparency of sustainability information for
investors and stakeholders


Population(s) Served


Program 2

Sustainable Capital Markets

Goal: Mobilize the most influential financial market actors to promote and integrate sustainability into investment
decision-making, corporate practices and public policy.

• Accelerate the adoption of leading investment practices for
integrating environmental, social and governance issues
across the financial markets, including the $10 trillion Ceres-led
Investor Network on Climate Risk (INCR), through The Ceres
21st Century Investor Roadmap for Sustainable Investing

• Leverage the strength of investors to promote and implement
sustainable business practices among major global companies

• Achieve robust sustainability risk management practices
among key gatekeeper market institutions, including
securities and insurance regulators, credit rating agencies,
investment consultants and global stock exchanges

• Launch a Global Investor Coalition on Climate Change focused
on strong climate and clean energy policies to reduce carbon
emissions and facilitate sustainable investment worldwide

• Catalyze significant increases in investment in energy
efficiency and other low-carbon solutions necessary to
achieve sustainability throughout the world’s economy


Population(s) Served


Program 3

Climate & Clean Energy

Goal: Accelerate the sustainable global economy by
championing low-carbon business, investor and policy
solutions to drive economic growth and mitigate the
impacts of climate change
 • Decarbonize the electric power and transportation sectors by
advancing low and no-carbon electricity generation and
infrastructure, clean fuels, and clean transportation choices that create jobs and stimulate sustainable economic development 

• Reduce the risks and minimize the social and environmental
impacts of higher-polluting fossil fuel production

• Mobilize the insurance industry to encourage broad, aggressive •
action to boost climate resiliency and address the root causes
of climate change

• Expand coalitions of companies and investors advocating for
bold public policies to steeply reduce greenhouse gas
emissions and expand efficiency and renewable energy

• Engage major corporations and their global supply chains in
the implementation of new business strategies that reduce
greenhouse gas emissions, improve energy efficiency and
source renewable energy


Population(s) Served


Program 4


Goal: Advance business, investor and government policies
and practices to ensure abundant clean water supplies
and healthy ecosystems

Accelerate uptake of leading water stewardship practices
outlined in the Ceres Aqua Gauge by prominent global
companies in priority sectors, including food & beverage,
oil & gas, electric power, and apparel

Mobilize the largest companies operating in high-stress
watersheds to set goals and make significant progress to reduce
water use and pollution in their operations and supply chains

Advance the sustainability of U.S. water infrastructure by
enabling the largest water utilities to promote conservation,
reduce water loss and energy use, and invest in green


Population(s) Served


Charting Impact

Self-reported by organization

Five powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

  1. What is the organization aiming to accomplish?
    Too often, big environmental issues are perceived as a choice between protecting the environment or growing the economy. It is not an either/or situation. It is both. Ultimately, the future of our economy depends on protecting the environment. As Ceres celebrates 25 years of progress, we are already looking ahead. The world that scientists and environmentalists predicted years ago is here: a planet experiencing water scarcity and extreme weather events that threaten our global food supply, our cities and coastal areas, and our very way of life. Ceres’ work is more urgent than ever.

    Our overarching goal is to mobilize business and investor leadership to build a thriving, sustainable global economy. Some of the specific goals under this umbrella goal include:

    - Climate and energy policies are adopted that require the U.S. and governments worldwide to achieve GHG emissions reductions consistent with goals set by the scientific community.
    - Carbon emissions from the U.S. electric power sector are reduced by 80-90% by 2050.
    - Capital expenditures in the development of fossil fuel reserves (including tar sands) are slowed and ultimately halted.
    - Carbon emissions associated with the U.S. transportation sector are reduced by 80-90% by 2050.
    - The massive power of the insurance industry is harnessed to move policy, companies and investments toward a low-carbon economy.
    - Investment in clean energy is increased from $254 billion per year in 2013 to at least $500 billion per year by 2020, and to at least $1 trillion per year by 2030.
  2. What are the organization's key strategies for making this happen?
    Ceres transforms the ways corporations integrate environmental and social risks and opportunities into their operations and decision-making. We set standards and expectations for leadership, and provide practical tools that help meet those expectations.

    To accomplish our goal, Ceres implements a three-pronged strategy to a) move major companies to integrate sustainability into their core business models; b) move key players within the capital markets to adopt more sustainable best practices; and c) move public policy to send the right market signals for innovation and investments in clean energy. Here’s what those strategies look like in action:

    Direct engagement pushes companies to take action on sustainability and to incorporate it into business decision-making, from the boardroom to supply chains. Every company should have a sustainable business strategy and the Ceres Roadmap is a key framework we use to help companies get there. We measure progress against the Roadmap expectations and hold companies accountable to their goals.

    Ceres is raising uncertainties around oil demand projections and moving key market actors to take action on carbon asset risk, as a first step toward curtailing capital expenditure in high-cost, high-carbon fossil fuel development.

    While there are many conservation organizations that address freshwater management issues, largely through place-based efforts to protect watersheds, Ceres’ water strategy focuses on the underlying economics of the problem and leverages Ceres’ unique investor and company relationships. The Ceres model consists of three main prongs: 1) conducting high-quality research and developing best practices and tools, 2) educating investors about the economic risks of unsustainable practices and mobilizing them to engage with companies in their portfolios, and 3) directly engaging with major companies to improve their performance.
  3. What are the organization's capabilities for doing this?
    Ceres is uniquely situated at the nexus of the business, investment and advocacy communities. To advance our mission and vision, we leverage the power of our partners—leading investors, Fortune 500 companies, thought leaders and policymakers—to positively influence change. We’ve built several impressive networks that help us have a big impact.

    - Ceres Corporate Network is 60+ major companies that are committed to improving the sustainability of their operations.
    - Ceres Investor Network on Climate Risk is 100+ leading institutional investors managing more than $13 trillion in assets who are focused on the business impacts of climate change.
    - The Ceres Coalition, over 130 institutional and socially responsible investors, environmental and social advocacy groups, and other public interest organizations working to promote sustainability.
    - Ceres Business for Innovative Climate & Energy Policy (BICEP) is a group of 30+ leading consumer brand companies advocating for strong climate and clean energy policies in the U.S.
  4. How will they know if they are making progress?
    The businesses and investors we work with don’t always see eye-to-eye at first. But we know we are succeeding when we bring them together around a shared vision for the future and drive concrete action to get there.

    Three-year strategic planning:
    Every three years, Ceres undergoes a strategic planning process that results in a three-year strategic plan defining the key directions of the organization – involving input from all staff, board, and constituents, and led by Ceres’ executive director.

    Annual planning:
    Within the context of the three-year strategic plan, each year in May and June, Ceres undertakes a review and evaluation of the previous year. Then, in July and August, Ceres feeds the results of this evaluation into its annual goal setting and work plan development process for the following fiscal year that begins November 1. Executive staff oversee the planning effort, and outside experts, board members (during a multi-day board retreat), and other key partners and constituents are included or consulted in the planning process. The annual budget is then built on the annual work plan. Progress toward goals and deliverables is tracked using our in-house database.

    Quarterly reviews:
    During the year, quarterly reviews take place – analyzing progress to date, and making course corrections as needed.

    To get the best easy snapshot on progress, we look at the following 4 areas: the number of investors we’ve engaged; the uptake of tools we’ve launched that are changing the ways companies do business; the number of companies making, and sticking to, commitments on sustainability; and the major policy victories in which we’ve played a key role.

    And we get great results. In 2012, Ceres was named by Guidestar and Philanthropedia as one of the Top 10 most effective nonprofits working on climate change. And in 2013—from nearly 600 entries— Ceres won the Zayed Future Energy Prize, one of the world’s most prestigious awards for innovation, impact and long-term vision in renewable energy and sustainability.
  5. What have and haven't they accomplished so far?
    Ceres first made history by launching what is now the de-facto international standard for corporate sustainability disclosure, the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI). More than 6,000 companies are now using GRI to disclose their sustainability risks and strategies.

    Over the past three decades, we have improved corporate disclosure and the adoption of environmental standards. Key impacts across the Ceres Company Network include:
    • 82% of Ceres companies have a GHG emissions reduction target
    • 86% of Ceres companies have a Supply Chain Code of Conduct
    • 68% of Ceres companies have renewable energy targets or programs in place
    • Nearly 75% of Ceres companies have programs in place to manage their water-related impacts

    In the past few years alone Ceres has:

    Begun to evaluate the sustainability growth in several industries. Our 2014 report Gaining Ground: Corporate Progress on the Ceres Roadmap for Sustainability evaluates how well 613 of the largest, publicly traded U.S. companies are integrating sustainability into their business systems and decision-making. Although there is still a lot to be done, this report hints to Ceres’ progress by showing that a growing number of companies are incorporating sustainability performance into executive compensation packages and more companies are setting clear sustainability standards for suppliers.

    Convinced the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to require all public companies to disclose material financial risks associated with climate change.

    Moved state insurance regulators to require insurers to assess and disclose climate risk impacts - lighting a fire under the worlds largest industry, that with $5 trillion of annual revenues, influences virtually all economic activity.

    Mobilized investors to spur more than 150 major companies to take bold action on climate change and water stewardship in their operations, products and supply chains - such as:
    - moving electric utilities to cancel plans to build more than 100 new coal plants in order to avoid having stranded assets
    - moving the three largest home-building companies in the U.S. to increase energy efficiency in the homes they build by more than 20%
    - securing commitments by Avon, Colgate, General Mills, Hershey, and Smuckers to source certified sustainable palm oil, thus significantly reducing the impact of palm oil plantations, a leading cause of deforestation and carbon emissions in South America and Asia.

    Moved rating agencies to factor carbon and water-associated risks into bond ratings, for the first time in history.
Service Areas



Economic opportunities abound
for new sustainability-related products
and services — electric cars, waterless
manufacturing and innovative energy-
efficiency financing, just to name a few. Ceres has worked tirelessly to mobilize
capital toward the opportunity side of
the equation because creativity and
innovation — the power of markets — are our best hope for building a sustainable
global economy for generations to come. Focusing on companies and investors as levers means that our work in inherently global.

Social Media


Funding Needs

Our innovative approach is why in 2012, Ceres was named by Guidestar and Philanthropedia as one of the top 10 most effective nonprofits working on climate change. And Ceres is currently one of three finalists—from more than 579 entries—for the prestigious Zayed Future Energy Prize, which recognizes global leadership in environment and sustainable development. But our work is far from over. Our climate is changing faster than scientists predicted just 20 years ago. The evidence is everywhere: from Arctic Sea ice melting at unprecedented speed to island nations being slowly submerged by rising seas; from severe droughts to record warmth the world over. Indeed, climate change may well be the greatest challenge that humanity has ever faced.a game-changing approach—one that harnesses the enormous influence of leading companies, pivotal industries, and the capital market systems that guide our global economy.    With help from our supporters, Ceres can lead this change.



External Reviews

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Financial information is an important part of gauging the short- and long-term health of the organization.

Fiscal year: Nov 01-Oct 31
Yes, financials were audited by an independent accountant.

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The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

Ceres, Inc.



Free: Gain immediate access to the following:
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Principal Officer

Ms. Mindy Lubber


Ms. Lubber has held leadership positions in government, in the financial services sector, in the private sector and in the not-for-profit sector.
As Regional Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency's New England office, Ms. Lubber was responsible for the administration and management of the 800 person, $450 million dollar office. In that role, Ms. Lubber was the chief environmental law enforcement official for New England and the senior decision maker on federal law and regulations impacting the New England states.
Prior to the EPA, she was the Founder, CEO and President of Green Century Capital Management, an investment firm dedicated to investing in environmentally responsible companies. Ms. Lubber launched the Green Century Funds' two environmentally screened mutual funds.
Ms. Lubber was Senior Advisor and Communications Director to former Governor Michael Dukakis. For a decade, Ms. Lubber held leadership positions with the Massachusetts Public Interest Research Group (MASSPIRG) including Chairwoman of the Board of Directors. She founded the National Environmental Law Center, directed two successful, statewide ballot campaigns including the Massachusetts Bottle Bill Campaign and the Campaign to Clean Up Hazardous Waste, both of which resulted in the enactment of new environmental protection statutes. Ms. Lubber is an Attorney and holds a Masters Degree in Business Administration.

STATEMENT FROM THE Principal Officer

"Climate change is
dramatically altering ecosystems and
water resources even as a growing global
population places unsustainable demands
on freshwater supplies. Sea-level rise,
coupled with more frequent, intense
storms, will bring storm surges that
threaten major metropolitan areas and
energy and transportation infrastructure.
These changes are happening everywhere; there isn't a single business that
doesn't face climate and water risks, risks
that must be fully integrated into business
and investment decisions.

As our global population soars toward 9 billion by mid-century, the demand for
energy, especially in developing countries
where energy is key to economic develop-
ment, is expected to grow exponentially. If we continue to meet that need with
fossil fuels, we will accelerate and
deepen the climate crisis. The solution is the development of affordable clean
and renewable energy sources — an
investment that will require huge capital
investments with the potential for equally
large investment returns.

Indeed, economic opportunities abound
for new sustainability-related products
and services — electric cars, waterless
manufacturing and innovative energy-
efficiency financing, just to name a few.
Ceres has worked tirelessly to mobilize
capital toward the opportunity side of
the equation because creativity and
innovation — the power of markets — are our best hope for building a sustainable
global economy for generations to come.

Focusing companies and investors on
sustainability is a strategic lever for the
large-scale changes needed to protect
the human and natural resources that
are the foundation of a vibrant,
sustainable economy. Over the long term,
it also makes economic and business
sense: the companies that are best
prepared for sustainability risks and
opportunities will be those that thrive in a 21st century economy."



Anne Stausboll

Former CEO, CalPERS


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Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations?



Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year?



Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year?



Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership?



Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years?