Did you miss Mindy Lubber’s March 1 lecture on corporate sustainability? Do you have friends or colleagues you think would enjoy it and should see it?
Lubber, an international leader in efforts by investors to lead and pressure multinational companies to adopt environmentally sustainable business practices, told an audience in St. Paul that many firms are becoming receptive to setting voluntary policies limiting carbon emissions and water use in their operations.
The key, she said, is persuading CEOs and corporate boards that sustainabiliy is an economic imperitive and that their shareholders demand protection from climate change and water shortages.
The lecture, “Investing in Sustainability: Building Water Stewardship Into the Bottom Line,” was sponsored by the Freshwater Society and the University of Minnesota College of Biological Sciences.
Learn about the lecture series and view video of previous speakers. Listen to an interview with Lubber on Minnesota Public Radio’s Daily Circuit show. Suggest a topic or a speaker for a future lecture.
Lubber is president of Ceres, a 22-year-old Boston-based nonprofit that works with companies like Coca-Cola, Levi Strauss and IBM to encourage the firms to make their products and processes more water- efficient and less vulnerable to climate change.
As part of that work, Lubber directs the Investor Network on Climate Risk, an alliance of 100 institutional investors who manage $10 trillion in assets. In 2011, she was voted one of “the 100 most influential people in corporate governance” by Directorship Magazine.
Lubber’s lecture focused on the risks businesses and their shareholders face as a result of a population-driven demand for increased water use colliding with a fixed global supply, aggravated by more pronounced droughts and flooding resulting from climate change.
Last year, McKinsey & Company, the international consulting firm, estimated that by 2030 the currently predicted worldwide demand for water will exceed the expected supply by 40 percent.
Lubber’s lecture comes close on the heels of a new report, the Ceres Aqua Gauge, a roadmap for corporate water management in the 21st century.
Ceres works with more than 80 companies, including Best Buy, Exelon, Dell, Nike and Ford.
Lubber, who earned a law degree and an MBA, founded the National Environmental Law Center in 1990, and she later launched the Green Century Capital Group, a mutual fund owned by nonprofit public interest organizations. She was one of the founders of Ceres, when it was started by a group of investors in response to the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill that poured nearly 11 million gallons of oil into Alaska’s Prince William Sound. Since its inception, Ceres has worked to hold companies accountable for the environmental and social impacts of their operations
In 1998-2000, Lubber was deputy regional administrator, and later regional administrator, of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in New England. She became Ceres’ president in 2003.
Lubber’s lecture was the seventh in the Moos Family Speaker Series on Water Resources honoring the late Malcolm Moos, president of the university from 1967 to 1974.
Previous speakers in the series have been:
Robert Glennon, a University of Arizona law professor and author of two books on water sustainability; Hedrick Smith, the producer of the award-winning PBS Frontline documentary “Poisoned Waters”; Louis J. Guillette Jr, a reproductive biologist from the Medical University of South Carolina who has researched animal birth defects linked to polluted waters; Craig Cox, a senior vice president of the Environmental Working Group; Gretchen C. Daily, a Stanford University ecologist and leader in the emerging field of ecosystem valuation; Fred Kirschenmann, a farmer, philosopher and distinguished fellow at Iowa State University’s Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture.