Systems Change

Multi-stakeholder Collaboration

Build, engage and invest in multi-stakeholder collaborations that challenge traditional business practices to solve shared environmental and social challenges and enable systems-level change.


Through multi-stakeholder collaboration, companies will help solve shared environmental and social challenges and positively influence broader market, regulatory, environmental and social systems to enable the achievement of sustainable business commitments and objectives.  In doing so, companies will:

  • Build and bring to scale collaborations with industry peers, civil society organizations, governments, local communities, consumers and other stakeholders
  • Take a leadership position by organizing stakeholders with a shared interest in solving environmental and social challenges, recognizing that local business partners, NGOs, etc. bring specialized expertise, understanding and geographical context of the needs of the community
  • Prioritize the involvement of company representatives with the authority to speak candidly and make decisions to enable quick action and solutions development
  • Encourage and support pre-competitive engagement as a way to include a diversity of stakeholders and drive innovation at industry and cross-industry scale 
  • Identify the role that regulators play in creating mechanisms to enable collaboration and supporting investment 
  • Act on opportunities for shared investment across multi-stakeholder groups where common challenges remain and solutions require additional resources

Getting Started

Unlike the Critical Impact Actions, the actions within Systems Change do not have milestones leading to 2030.  Each company already has the ability to address systemic issues today. By engaging in systems-level change, companies make it easier for themselves and the entire economy to transition to a more just and sustainable economy.

This section of the Ceres Roadmap 2030 identifies a list of resources to help companies engage in systems-level change.

Blueprint for Responsible Policy Engagement on Climate Change - The Blueprint offers concrete recommendations on how companies can establish systems that address climate change as a systemic risk and integrate this understanding into their direct and indirect lobbying on climate policies.

Addressing Climate as a Systemic Risk: A call to action for U.S. financial regulators - This Ceres report outlines how and why U.S. financial regulators, who are responsible for protecting the stability and competitiveness of the U.S. economy, need to recognize and act on climate change as a systemic risk. It provides more than 50 recommendations for key financial regulators to adopt.

2020 Ceres Policy Outlook - This report offers a glimpse into the political landscape and the types of policy measures Ceres will address in the coming year, highlighting corporate engagement opportunities as we look to strengthen policies that help advance a carbon-free economy.

Change the Conversation: Redefining How Companies Engage Investors on Sustainability - Drawing from interviews with Ceres investor partners, this report highlights key trends in investors’ evolving expectations for corporate sustainability. It presents nine recommendations to guide companies toward more meaningful and effective investor engagement on ESG issues, helping them to not only meet investor expectations, but also capture competitive advantage.

Investor Guide to Deforestation and Climate Change - This guide gives investors a framework to help them understand and engage on deforestation-driven climate risks across their portfolios. The guide will help investors  understand the drivers of deforestation risk and prioritize company engagements based on industries, geographies and sourcing patterns. The guide also outlines key expectations that investors should be looking for in corporate climate and deforestation commitments and example questions for company and sector engagements. The guide also provides concrete next steps investors can take to address deforestation risk.

The Investor Agenda - The Investor Agenda was developed for the global investor community to accelerate and scale up the actions that are critical to tackling climate change and achieving the goals of the Paris Agreement with the aim of keeping average global temperature rise to no more than 1.5 degrees Celsius. The Investor Agenda is a collaborative initiative that seeks to speed the transition to a net-zero emissions economy by 2050 or sooner. This includes elevating the profile of existing investor actions and initiatives on climate change and amplifying investor voices calling for government implementation of the Paris Agreement.


Companies in Action

The Responsible Labor Initiative works across sectors to ensure “the rights of workers vulnerable to forced labor in global supply chains are consistently respected and promoted.” Guiding principles to address forced labor in supply chains are well-established, but they lacked coordination across industries, creating weak spots for solution efforts. To overcome this challenge, The Responsible Labor Initiative advances the forced labor mitigation work of the Responsible Business Alliance by working with representatives from the electronics, construction, food and beverage and retail sectors. Strategies employed by the initiative include providing trainings on workers’ rights and ethical recruitment, conducting forced labor audits and maintaining a labor migration corridor database.

The Renewable Energy Buyers Alliance (REBA) works to create cost-effective pathways to renewable energy adoption for large-scale buyers. Recognizing the market barriers to large-scale renewable energy purchases, REBA was formed by a group of NGOs in 2017. Today the alliance is made up of 200 stakeholders from across sectors, including representatives from commercial companies, NGOs and energy and service providers. The alliance uses a number of strategies to achieve its goal of creating 60 gigawatts of new renewable energy by 2025, including educating members on the clean energy market, educating policymakers on regulatory changes needed for large renewable energy buyers and helping member companies educate their suppliers on the U.S. clean energy market to streamline production. 

Roadmap to Zero works to reduce the chemical footprint of the textile, apparel and footwear industries. To lead on sustainability, companies not only need to adopt carbon reduction strategies to mitigate the effects of climate change, they also need to adopt strategies to eliminate any harmful impacts their operations have on natural resources and water. The clothing industry is especially hard pressed to address this issue, given its reliance on cotton and dyes. Recognizing the harm chemicals used in clothing production were having on the natural environment, Roadmap to Zero was formed by six industry brands in 2011. The collaboration is made up of 160 stakeholders from across the industry, including consumer facing brands, chemical suppliers and manufacturers. To achieve its goals of phasing out the use of hazardous chemicals and making progress in achieving cleaner water and air, Roadmap to Zero collaborates with peer organizations, sets standards and provides the industry with guidance on implementation.