Ultimately, effective corporate responses to the enormous risks and opportunities of climate change must be built on well-functioning environmental management systems and properly focused governance practices. Shareholders and financial analysts will increasingly assign value to companies that prepare for and capitalize on business opportunities posed by climate change, whether from greenhouse gas (GHG) regulations, direct physical impacts or changes in corporate reputation.
This comprehensive report will be the largest ever evaluation of how companies, including those from the retail, manufacturing, energy, insurance, transportation, and banking sectors, are responding to climate change. It is designed to be used as a benchmarking tool by institutional investors and corporations that are ready to seize on these trends. It will employ a 'Climate Change Governance Checklist' to evaluate how the world's biggest and most influential companies are addressing climate change through board oversight, management execution, public disclosure, emissions accounting and strategic planning. Information will be gathered and synthesized from securities filings, company reports, company websites, and third-party questionnaires.
It will be an essential tool for company executives, board members, investors, and Wall Street analysts. Company executives will evaluate their own company's performance relative to their particular set of circumstances and their industry peers. If their governance scores fall short, they should pursue the key steps to manage climate risks and opportunities that will be outlined in the report. Board members at low-scoring companies should address the issue with management and begin educating themselves on the business and financial dimensions of this issue. Investors should evaluate how companies score relative to their industry peers and should engage with poor corporate performers. Wall Street analysts should use the information in this report as a basis for rewarding companies that are responding to these challenges, and assigning risk to those that are not.
Ceres' team of researchers is gathering information from securities filings, company reports, company websites, and third-party questionnaires. The team will write and release four comprehensive assessment reports. The first report will be released November 2008. The second report is scheduled to be released during the second quarter of 2009. The third report will be released that same year during the fourth quarter. The fourth report will be released during the second quarter of 2010.