Anne Kelly - Senior Director of Policy at Ceres

Anne Kelly - Senior Director of Policy at Ceres

Anne L. Kelly is Senior Director of Policy at Ceres, a non-profit advocacy organization that seeks to mobilize investor and business leadership to build a more sustainable global economy.  Anne also directs Business for Innovative Climate & Energy Policy (BICEP), a coalition of 49 leading consumer-facing companies including Mars, L’Oreal, and VF Corporation seeking to advocate for meaningful climate and energy policy at the federal and state levels.  She is a registered lobbyist and is actively engaged on Capitol Hill on behalf of Ceres and BICEP member companies.

Anne is an environmental lawyer with twenty years of combined experience in the private and public sectors. In the 1990s she directed the Massachusetts-based Environmental Crimes Strike Force consisting of a multi-disciplinary team of legal and engineering professionals charged with bringing high-profile civil and criminal actions against environmental violators through the MA Office of the Attorney General. She later worked as Special Assistant to EPA Region I Administrator John DeVillars. In this role she worked on corporate leadership programs and developed an International Pollution Prevention Program which was piloted in Sao Paulo, Brazil.   

Anne is a member of the adjunct faculty of Boston College Law School where she has taught courses in environmental law and climate change. Anne has also taught environmental law at Tufts University, Suffolk University, New England School of Law, and is a member of the American College of Environmental Lawyers. She also serves on the board of the Environmental League of Massachusetts. In addition to her JD, Anne holds a Masters in Public Administration from Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government.

Anne Joins Sustainable Nation to Discuss:

  • Why companies should get active on climate / energy policy

  • Companies that are stand-out champions in BOTH the leadership/operational side AND policy advocacy

  • Ceres top policy priorities right now

  • Advice and recommendations for sustainability leaders

Anne's Final Five Responses:

What is one piece of advice you would give other sustainability professionals that might help them in their careers?

I would say don't be discouraged. This is a steep hill. You're standing on the shoulders of a movement that is 20 years. It can be difficult when you have to deal with your communications, your marketing office, your CFO, but don't be discouraged. Directionally, things are moving in your favor and there's good things to come.

What are you most excited about right now in the world of sustainability?

I'm actually really excited about professional sports. I just had the pleasure of going to the Green Sports Alliance and I was so excited about meeting all these famous former athletes who've become clean energy specialists and to see the innovation. I was at the Atlanta Falcons stadium, and to see the innovation there and the solar panels and the announcement recently of my own hometown team, the Detroit Lions, which is exciting. To know that Patriots quarterback Tom Brady has taken on plastic straws as a cause. There are so many examples of professional sports getting in the game, all puns intended.

What is one book you would recommend sustainability professionals read?

I thought about this for awhile and I think it's a classic, which is Rachel Carson's Silent Spring, published in 1963. I think it's still really important to read a book that was so pivotal to the origins of this movement and then to understand just how much resistance Rachel had to face when she published the truth. It's a good foundational piece and would give sustainability professionals a lot of inspiration and encouragement when they realize what Rachel Carson went through, what she did for all of us and also how far we've come since the book was published.

What are some of your favorite resources or tools that really help you in the work that you do?

I mentioned a few and I would just reiterate that Winning Businesses is tremendous, filled with tremendous resources. Our colleagues at GreenBiz are also constantly giving us good information, interviews, webinars, podcasts. Our colleagues at CDP, formerly the Carbon Disclosure Project, are just experts. The Science Based Target Initiative. They're part of that. I would say I'm SBTI is another great resource. As a media partner, I would direct people to the Climate Nexus Hot News every day. I'm able to get quickly caught up on the news media and what's going on. For that, I would also say the ENE Reporter is really helpful as a resource to just know what's going on. I'd be remiss if I didn't promote our own Ceres website. We have a number of reports that help people with the basics from disclosure, to the basics of stakeholder engagement, to engage the chain, which is on supply chain management. A lot of reports on water management and water responsibility. We have a report on feeding ourselves thirsty, which really looks at the performance of major food companies in terms of water.

Where can our listeners go to learn more about you in the work that you're leading?

So listeners can go to to learn more about the work that we're doing and specifically to look up our policy network which goes over our public policy initiatives. The website is complete and I'd be very happy to connect with any listener individually if they have an individual question or if they'd like to get engaged in our work.