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The CERES Principles: Model for Public Environmental Accountability


  • J. Andy Smith III

    1. J. Andy Smith III is Director of Social and Ethical Responsibility in Investments for the National Ministries of the American Baptist Churches USA and a member of the board of CERES.
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In September, 1989, the Coalition for Environmentally Responsible Economies (CERES) announced the Valdez Principles (later changed to the CERES Principles), a code of environmental conduct for corporations. The Principles address all major environmental areas, call on corporations of all types and sizes to endorse and submit an annual report on progress, and have been endorsed by major corporate interests in the United States (US). Endorsing the principles means making a commitment to continual environmental performance improvement within the framework of the principles and entering into a partnership with CERES. CERES is a broadly based coalition of environmental groups, labour, public interest groups, public pension funds, social investors, and religious groups based in the United States. The CERES Principles are the only environmental code developed by a group outside of industry that has corporate endorsers. The ongoing relationship of accountability to a group outside of industry provides CERES companies with a unique model of public environmental accountability.

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