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Major investors and companies tackle climate change and sustainability at ceres conference in Boston

Day one yields major announcements from U.S. companies, paving the way for day two keynoter Lisa Jackson, EPA Administrator

Companies and investors are tackling climate change and other global sustainability threats head-on—and are finding it profitable to do so. That’s the clear message emerging at the Ceres Conference 2012: Igniting Innovation, Scaling Sustainability at the Westin Boston Waterfront Hotel.

The conference’s opening day was marked by numerous company announcements and the release of a new Ceres/Sustainalytics report evaluating 600 leading US companies on their progress – or lack of it – on sustainability.

“Don’t let the weak economy and election-year rhetoric fool you, the Ceres conference proves sustainability is gaining traction and is making businesses more profitable,” said Mindy Lubber, president of Ceres.

Among the day-one highlights:

Wells Fargo: Announced substantial commitments to accelerate the transition to a ‘green’ economy, including $30 billion in loans and investments by 2020 to support green technologies such as energy efficiency, renewable energy and other environmental innovations.

SAP: Delivering on commitments made at last year’s Ceres conference, SAP announced the positive impact of new and enhanced energy-saving software solutions for its clients around the world. For manufacturers alone, these solutions led to 5.7 million tons of carbon pollution reductions and $500 million in energy savings in 2011.

Evaluating 600 Companies on Sustainability: Ceres and research firm Sustainalytics announced a new report assessing 600 U.S. companies on their progress on sustainability. The report findings – based on an analysis of how companies are responding to environmental and social challenges such as climate change, water scarcity and supply chain conditions – shows individual examples of strong leadership, but significant need for overall improvement.

Levi Strauss & Co: At last year's Ceres conference, Levi Strauss & Co. announced a bold commitment to improve factory and worker conditions in its global supply chain. The company's efforts to date on the project, done in close collaboration with Ceres, are outlined in a new white paper. The company is piloting the project at five factories in Bangladesh, Cambodia, Egypt, Haiti and Pakistan.

Bavaria Award: Tessa Tennant, president and co-founder of The Ice Organisation, has been awarded the fourth-annual Joan Bavaria Award for Building Sustainability into the Capital Markets. The Bavaria Award is presented annually by Ceres and Trillium Asset Management to an inspiring leader working to move capital markets toward a system that balances economic prosperity with social and environmental concerns. The award’s name honors Joan Bavaria, a pioneer of social investing who founded Ceres and Trillium Asset Management. Bavaria passed away in 2008.

Lisa Jackson, administrator of the US Environmental Protection Agency will close the final day of the conference at 2:00 PM on Thursday, April 26.

A full agenda can be found at: http://www.ceres.org/conferences/program. Reporters interested in attending the event are asked to contact Peyton Fleming, 617-733-6660, fleming@ceres.org

Follow Ceres on twitter @CeresNews and the conference #Ceres12

About Ceres
Ceres is an advocate for sustainability leadership. Ceres mobilizes a powerful coalition 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. Ceres also directs the Investor Network on Climate Risk (INCR), a network of 100 institutional investors with collective assets totaling more than $10 trillion.

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