Ceres Introduces the Ceres Roadmap 2030: A 10-year Action Plan for Sustainable Business Leadership

Outlines critical action steps corporations must take this decade to stabilize the climate, protect water and natural resources, and build a just and inclusive economy
Oct 7, 2020 10:50 AM ET

In a pandemic-battered economy, where the climate, water and human rights crises threaten the prospects of success for corporations, Ceres today unveils a new 10-year action plan for companies to navigate this new business reality and lead the accelerated transition to a more equitable, just and sustainable economy. 

The Ceres Roadmap 2030 offers a bold vision for sustainable business leadership. It outlines the necessary corporate actions needed today and in the decade ahead to help stabilize the climate, protect water and natural resources, and build a just and inclusive economy. Specifically, it calls on companies to embed sustainability into how they do business — from strategic planning to corporate governance to disclosure — and redefine the role of the corporation as advocates for changing the policies, regulations and very institutions that shape corporate decision-making.

“If companies act now to prepare their business and our economy against the greatest global threats, whether a deadly virus or a warming planet, they will better position themselves for the road ahead and help to prevent the next catastrophe from disrupting life and business as we know it,” said Mindy Lubber, Ceres CEO and President. “This is the decade companies must act, and they must do it today.” 

At the start of 2020, the World Economic Forum identified climate change as the most significant risk the world will face during the next 10 years. In the months that followed, the climate crisis worsened. While greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions fell to their lowest rates in a decade during the pandemic, rates quickly rebounded as carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere rose, hitting an all-time record high. Throughout the year, wildfires in the western U.S. and across Australia burned millions of acres, setting records in size and intensity. 

Once considered tangential to decision-making, acting on environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors have now become business imperatives. They are financial risks that disrupt corporate operations and supply chains, impact the stability of capital markets, and cause widespread economic and human suffering - drought, air pollution, property and biodiversity loss, forced migration, and poverty. The worst of these catastrophes disproportionately affect the disadvantaged and most vulnerable populations.Companies with foresight and strong sustainable business strategies will be better prepared to face these business risks and seize the opportunities that come with early action, putting themselves on a path to stable, profitable long-term economic growth and social prosperity. 

“Today’s business environment is constantly shifting. To continue to succeed, The Coca-Cola Company must tackle global systemic risks that threaten the health and prosperity of the broader economy and the planet,” said James Quincey, Chairman and CEO of The Coca-Cola Company. “The Ceres Roadmap 2030 is a bold action plan for companies to grow and strengthen their businesses while taking on critical environmental and social issues.” 

So, what does a just and sustainable company look like in the decade to come? And what must companies do now to get there?

The Ceres Roadmap 2030 lays out the three components of corporate action essential for building an effective sustainable business strategy that meets the urgency of the challenges before us.

  1. Critical Impact Actions call on companies to minimize negative environmental and social externalities and maximize positive impacts across the value chain. 
  2. Business Integration Actions guide companies as they transition core business and internal corporate systems to support long-term success and value creation in a more sustainable economy. 
  3. Systems Change Actions challenge companies to drive the systems-level transformation needed to support and enable sustainable business practice.  

While individual corporate action and leadership is crucial, the Ceres Roadmap 2030 recognizes that no one company alone can create a more equitable, just and sustainable economy. It calls for companies to proactively communicate, advocate and collaborate, within and across industries and sectors, in order to positively influence customers, suppliers, industry groups and policymakers and create the systems change needed to support and enable sustainable business practices.

“This decade represents the most critical moment of our time,” said Kristen Lang, senior program director of Ceres Company Network, and lead author of the Ceres Roadmap 2030. “The sustainability challenges we face are not problems that are 30, 20 or even 10 years out. They are here and they are now — and companies now face a choice between thriving or merely surviving.”

October 7, 2020 /3BL Media/ - The Ceres Roadmap 2030 is accompanied by a corresponding microsite designed to be an ongoing resource for companies and investors. Helping users easily navigate and explore the action plan in greater depth, and providing guidance that allows companies to see how the Ceres Roadmap 2030 can apply to their own business or investment portfolios, the microsite provides:

  • Specific performance milestones for today, 2025 and 2030 across each of the actions.
  • Calls for collective action and examples where companies can have a role in systems change.
  • Practical guidance for companies that are early in their sustainability journey.
  • Helpful tools and resources to support companies as they seek to integrate sustainability into business systems and drive performance improvements across material impact areas.
  • Real-world examples of companies already taking steps that are aligned with the Ceres Roadmap 2030
  • Frequently asked questions on how to best use the Ceres Roadmap 2030 action plan.

Much will change over the next ten years as new scientific findings are released, legislation is changed and the business case for sustainability is further strengthened. For that reason, the Ceres Roadmap 2030 microsite will be updated regularly and supplemented with more targeted milestones, guidance and resources--supporting companies as they accelerate toward a more equitable, just and sustainable future. 

Explore the details of the Ceres Roadmap 2030 at www.ceres.org/roadmap2030.