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Looking Ahead to 2016: Cautious Optimism

2015 was a year of both new as well as expanded commitments ranging from publication of the Papal Encyclical, Laudato Si, promulgation of the Obama Clean Power Plan, adoption of the U.N. Sustainable Development Goals and an agreement on global climate change through the 21st Conference of the Parties of the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change.As 2015 was a year of new policy commitments and frameworks, so 2016 will be a time for implementing them and delivering results. Read Terry Yosie's excellent synopsis in GreenBiz here:

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A Letter from New WEC Chair Francisco Suárez

Dear WEC Colleagues:

I want to thank each of you for your continuing participation in the World Environment Center (WEC). It is a great honor and responsibility to have been elected by the Board of Directors as your new Chairman, and I want to take this opportunity to share my thoughts on WEC’s focus and priorities for this year. Based on the results of our recent membership survey, I too believe in maintaining WEC as a strong, independent voice for business on sustainability issues. Indeed, 2016 provides even greater opportunities for WEC to strengthen the value it generates for member companies by providing vital leadership on important topics. With this in mind, I am convinced that we need to advance four important priorities in 2016:

1. Providing further focus on evaluating the role of sustainability in business transformation. This priority addresses the ongoing internal alignment within our own organizations, the growing role of sustainability in customer relationships, the assessment of new business models and megatrends, and the development of collaboration strategies to reach market scale. Last year, WEC published an innovative report on sustainability and Chief Financial Officers. Over the next several months, it will publish companion evaluations of sustainability and Chief Marketing Officers and Chief Procurement Officers. In addition, Marks & Spencer will host an April 27 roundtable on “Business Planning for the Future,” a business conversation among global thought leaders. This year’s Gold Medal Colloquium on May 20 will feature a set of interconnected discussions on innovation and marketplace transformation, public policy drivers, and changing customer expectations.

2. Continuing to expand our program on “Preparing Business Leaders for a Sustainable Future.” WEC is planning major roundtables on such diverse topics as managing human rights, integrating company reporting with the UN Sustainable Development Goals, and examining the future of the electricity grid and the role of utilities and customers.

3. Expanding membership. Coca-Cola FEMSA and WEC are embarking on a major initiative to recruit leading Latin American companies into our membership. This is a region where WEC has considerable experience and many local partners. We are planning company visits and roundtables in Mexico and other nations this year. In addition, we have initiated membership discussions with companies in Asia, Europe and the U.S.

4. Updating WEC’s strategic plan. Given the rapid changes that impact our companies, governments, and stakeholders, it’s critical that WEC remain focused on the issues on which it can provide unique leadership. Based on your feedback from the recent membership survey, along with a similar evaluation involving major WEC stakeholders, the Board plans to evaluate our best options for the future at its May 19 meeting. As part of this review, we will conduct a benchmarking assessment comparing WEC with five other sustainability organizations. We will also review the future of the Gold Medal dinner, its funding, and worth in the context of strengthening WEC’s brand and value to membership.

Since joining WEC in 2010, I remain struck by its unique ability to continually attract the world’s thought leaders to interact with us on leading business challenges. WEC is able to achieve results far beyond those attained by many other groups, while maintaining a strong on-the-ground capability in many regions. While I believe WEC has made important progress in recent years, including its role as a resource to the broader sustainability community through social media and publications, it’s important that we continue to create new opportunities to expand its voice.

I look forward to serving as your Chairman in 2016. I welcome your thoughts—please let me hear from you.

Francisco Suárez Hernández

Corporate Affairs Officer, Coca-Cola FEMSA Chairman, WEC Board of Directors

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[WEBINAR] The new Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) – how do companies respond?

17th February 2016  |  5:00 – 6:00 p.m. CET / Berlin  |  11:00 -12:00 p.m. EST / Washington, D.C.  |  The new Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs): how do companies respond?  | Registration

We are pleased to invite you to attend this special World Environment Center & DFGE Institute webinar!


Please join Elisa Tonda (Head of Business and Industry Unit, UNEP), Lorraine Francourt (Director, EH&S & Sustainability, EMEA & AP, The Dow Chemical Company), Wolfgang Berger (VP Business Development, DFGE- Institute for Energy, Ecology and Economy) and Terry F. Yosie (President and CEO, World Environment Center) for a webinar exploring current trends on how companies are using the Sustainable Development Goals.

At the United Nations Sustainable Development Summit on 25 September 2015, world leaders adopted the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which includes a set of 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, fight inequality and injustice, and tackle climate change by 2030. The SDGs promise to become the most suitable global framework to unify business goals with stakeholder expectations.

Find out in this webinar
why the SDG’s are becoming important

  • how companies find value in using the SDGs
  • how they are already responding to the SDGs and implementing them in practice
  • how they align the SDGs with their business strategies and GRI/UNGC/CDP-reporting frameworks

Professionals from business, government, NGOs and academia focused on corporate affairs, reputation, communications, corporate responsibility/sustainability and stakeholder engagement will find this webinar of particular interest.

For more information, see

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2015 Annual Review Now Available


2015 was a consequential year for the development of environmental and sustainability policies in our lifetimes. The release of the Papal Encyclical, adoption of the UN Sustainable Development Goals and decisions at COP21 in Paris have re-defined national and global expectations and policy frameworks for global companies and their stakeholders. WEC’s contributions—through convened dialogues, publications, roundtables and on-the-ground implementation of major projects—has mirrored these developments. We are pleased to present the 2015 World Environment Center Annual Review and invite your continuing participation in our initiatives.

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Welcome to the Next Generation of Sustainable Development

Exciting sustainability initiatives in 2015 are restructuring the expectations, policy frameworks and commitments for businesses and governments to implement sustainable development — not in some distant future, but beginning now. Organizations that embrace collaborative innovation linked to solving global scale societal problems are more likely to satisfy shareholder and stakeholder expectations. By doing so, they also increase the probability of their own viability for a future that’s already knocking at their doors. Read the full article here.

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Small and Medium Enterprises Project Closes in Morocco

WEC has announced the successful close of its latest State Department-funded project in Morocco. In partnership with local firm RIO and the Moroccan food-processing and textile associations FENAGRI (Fédération Nationale de l'Agroalimentaire) and AMITH (Association Marocaine des Industries du Textile et de l'Habillement), the technical team provided 15 small and medium-sized local companies with technical assistance in cleaner production and energy efficiency. 

For more info please see the press release:

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Updated 2016 Gold Medal Criteria Now Available

Updated 2016 Gold Medal Criteria Now Available



The World Environment Center has announced updated criteria for its Gold Medal for International Corporate Achievement in Sustainable Development to reflect advances in corporate sustainability. The new criteria raise the bar for companies seeking to demonstrate success in sustainability leadership and address the following issues: 1) corporate sustainability commitment in governance, strategy, operations and products; 2) industry innovation; and 3) international sustainability leadership. More information is available in the press release and updated application process.
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A thoughtful conversation about the Pope's encyclical

WEC CEO Terry Yosie kicked off a flurry of responses to his essay on the Pope's encyclical on climate change; it has proven highly popular on GreenBiz and remains an "editor's choice" piece. Worth a read!


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Climate, SDGs & Engagement: Thoughts from WEC Members

Each year at its annual member meeting, WEC's member companies identify several important topics where peer-to-peer discussion can advance mutual learning and value creation. This year’s topics included the UN Sustainable Development Goals, sustainability rankings, employee sustainability engagement, and preparing for the COP21 climate meetings in Paris. Read the full list of meeting takeaways here.

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SC Johnson Receives 2015 WEC Gold Medal Award

WEC is delighted to announce that its 31st Annual Gold Medal for International Corporate Achievement in Sustainable Development has been awarded to SC Johnson. The company was recognized for its comprehensive focus on sustainability and transparency initiatives, including its rigorous Greenlist™ process. SC Johnson accepted the Gold Medal Award on May 14, 2015, during the Gold Medal Gala in Washington, D.C. For details please see the full press release, and for photos of the event and Gold Medal Colloquium please visit our Facebook page

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Successful Close of University Cleaner Production Project in the Dominican Republic


WEC and its partners are pleased to report on the closing ceremony of its successful Pathways to Cleaner Production in the Americas project in conjunction with INTEC University in the Dominican Republic. Summed up best by a participating engineering student, "thanks to the project I combined my knowledge of industrial engineering with practical cleaner production, leading to performance improvements in materials and workflow management. I also participated in a university exchange at TEC de Costa Rica. I learned something new each week, valued the benefit cleaner production can assert its importance in business today." Further info on the project and ceremony can be found here.

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WEC/ EPA/ Wilson Center Earth Day Event: Responding to Megatrends

Promoting Years of Sustainability: Responding to Mega Trends

April 22, 2015 // 3:00pm5:00pm

This joint WEC- EPA- Wilson Center seminar will look at long-term environmental trends and discuss how government, business and civil society can best prepare and respond to these trends:

  • Preparing for “Years of Sustainable Development.”  Alan Hecht, Director for Sustainable Development, Office of Research and Development,  EPA
  • Global Choke Point: Examining the Water-Energy Nexus. Jennifer Turner, Director China Environmental Forum, Wilson Center 
  • Rapid urbanization, exponential technologies, and extreme events. Banning Garrett, adjunct faculty, Singularity University, and former Senior Fellow for Innovation and Global Trends at the Atlantic Council.
  • Emerging Strategies to Manage System-Level Risks. Terry Yosie, President and CEO of the World Environment Center.

This event is organized by the Wilson Center, EPA, and the World Environment Center (WEC).

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CFOs & Sustainability: New WEC-Corporate Eco Forum Report

The Corporate Eco Forum (CEF) and World Environment Center (WEC) today published new insights from leading Chief Financial Officers on the importance of evaluating and integrating sustainability factors to create business value and strengthen the foundations for long-term growth.  The report, “Sustainability and the CFO: Challenges, Opportunities, and Next Practices,” is based on in-depth interviews with leading CFOs and case studies of evolving financial management practices in major global companies that include Alcoa, Ecolab, Puma, Royal Dutch Shell, Unilever, UPS and The Walt Disney Company. For the full press release and link to the report, please see
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CFO Summit: Corporate Sustainability as a Driver of Financial Performance

"Corporate Sustainability as a Driver of Financial Performance": Corporate sustainability is fast becoming an important issue on the CFO agenda. Not only is it important for companies to reduce their environmental footprint, but sustainability can also be linked to financial performance. For example, a consumer goods company that reduces its plastic consumption will also have lower manufacturing/operating costs. Learn how UPS and Dow Chemical are driving sustainability on this panel, and how the Corporate Eco Forum and the World Environment Center are driving the agenda.

Full information on the March 11-12 2015 CFO Rising Summit in Miami is available here:

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Davos 2015: 10 reflections on sustainable business

WEC's Chair, Mike Barry of Marks & Spencer, ventured this year to the 2015 World Economic Forum in Davos. Here he shares 10 takeaways from the meetings, from carbon to China to the circular economy:

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The Marketplace as Policy Innovator

"In peeling the onion of the EPA’s climate proposal, a much broader concept of regulatory governance emerges — regulation across the entire value chain of businesses that generate electricity. The agency’s power plant proposal borrows from its own history in applying value chain regulatory frameworks, recognizes recent innovative practices from the private sector, and leverages already existing changes in the marketplace in value chain management, and electricity production in particular.

EPA’s proposed rule clearly aims to reduce greenhouse gases from specific power plants. However, it has crafted a regulation that opens the door to further optimize electricity production by creating new opportunities for energy efficiency and has invited competition among alternative technologies or fuel sources (in particular, natural gas, nuclear, and renewables) to determine which of these can best advance a lower carbon future."

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's proposed power plant rule shows how it is using its authority to implement value chain approaches that incorporate flexibility and innovation. Read Terry Yosie's full insightful article in the Environmental Law Institute's ( Environmental Forum.

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WEC releases 2014 annual review

WEC releases 2014 annual review


The World Environment Center (WEC) is pleased to announce the release of its 2014 Annual Review. We invite you to learn more about our exciting initiatives and successes of the past year, notably the award of a $4.05 million State Department grant and our latest thought leadership events. Enjoy!

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Powering Business Value Through Sustainability

The Electric Utility Industry Sustainable Supply Chain Alliance recently held its third successful Signature Event in Orlando, Florida, at which World Environment Center CEO Terry Yosie was invited to serve as the keynote speaker. Terry spoke to the key trends that are linking sustainability and business value, namely the growing demand for traceability and transparency; the changing definitions of what it is a company does; and the dramatic transformation of supply chain sustainability from hidden to front and center. For the full press release, see


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WEC Kicks Off Pathways Training in Mexico City

On October 20--24, 2014, WEC and its project partners hosted its inaugural training workshop in Mexico City as part of the State Department-funded Pathways to Prosperity Innovation Challenge. The Challenge was created to discover existing local, high-impact solutions that empower small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Latin America and the Caribbean to advance economic development and prosperity, awarding up to $500,000 each to the four best projects. Representatives from these four awardees as well as 8 of the Challenge’s semifinalists were in attendance.

Over the intense few days of training, finalists learned how to develop tools that will help them develop implementation plans and budgets, and establish, measure, and report on targets for success. The productive and collegial atmosphere of the workshop received high marks from all participants, and has likewise set the stage for an encouraging next phase of the Pathways Challenge.

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Yahoo profiles WEC's Pathways Challenge

Laura Juanes Micas, Senior Legal Director of International Privacy of Yahoo, recently served on the jury at the WEC- U.S. State Department Innovation Challenge in Washington, D.C. Here she recounts her experience at the Challenge, and what it means for Latin America and for an innovative company like Yahoo:

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