Client Case Study

Specialist Research

Understanding the Role of Investors for Ceres and the Environmental Defense Fund


Client profile

Ceres is a leading non-profit focused on enhancing sustainability in the private sector. They promote economic transitions that prioritize environmental issues such as climate change and pollution.

The Environmental Defense Fund is a US-based nonprofit that has led the charge on sustainability for over 50 years. They work in a bipartisan fashion to move the needle on the most pressing environmental challenges.

The challenge

Over the past two decades, investors have played an active role in influencing corporations to address material ESG risks. However, many investors still have questions about what outcomes can be expected from various investor influence strategies—such as dialogues with company management, shareholder proposals and proxy voting, divestment and public policy engagement. Do these investor interactions have a tangible impact on corporate financial and sustainability performance?

Our solution

Ceres, EDF and KKS Advisors undertook a comprehensive review of the literature and a series of in-depth interviews with investors. This report identifies best practice in investor-corporate engagement strategies and proposes a framework for understanding the drivers of successful investor engagement efforts.

Key outcomes

The report findings were featured recently in a Barron’s article written by Mindy Lubber (CEO, Ceres) and George Serafeim (Senior Partner, KKS Advisors) called ‘3 Ways Investors Can Pressure Companies to Take Sustainability Seriously’.