A little-known, Boston-based organization focused on sustainability and combating global warming and fueled by millions of dollars in dark money funding has quietly established itself in recent years as a key federal policymaking power player.
Ceres, a nonprofit advocacy organization founded in 1989, in recent years has established elaborate networks of financial institutions, pension funds, labor unions and major multinational corporations, rallying those members to pursue shared left-wing climate policies. The group has simultaneously worked hand-in-hand with other environmental groups and federal and state policymakers to forward its agenda.
“Ceres is trying to drive the climate agenda through subterfuge and milking the power of wealthy investment firms and big corporations,” Jason Isaac, the founder and CEO of the American Energy Institute, told Fox News Digital.
“They’re getting rich while they believe that they’re saving the world. I say they’re destroying the planet to save the Earth in their minds, and that the scourge of the Earth is us humans. At the same time, they just happen to be profiting very handsomely from their advocacy, so they feel good about it. I call it a cult. It has become their religion.”
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Isaac’s American Energy Institute recently assembled a report, shared exclusively with Fox News Digital, that outlines how Ceres has grown into one of the nation’s most influential climate organizations affecting policy. According to the report, Ceres is composed of three main membership networks — the Investor Network, the BICEP Network and the Company Network.
The Ceres Investor Network includes more than 220 institutional investors, which manage a staggering $46 trillion in assets. That network, Ceres says, seeks to “accelerate the transition to a just, sustainable, net-zero emissions economy.”
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The Ceres BICEP and Company Networks include companies like Doordash, General Mills, HP, Ikea, Kaiser Permanente, McDonald’s, Nestle, Netflix, Nike, PayPal, Salesforce, Starbucks and Unilever. They work to adopt uniform strategies to lower emissions. For example, the BICEP Network contains a Corporate Electric Vehicle Alliance focused on “accelerating the transition to electric vehicles.
They’re using their influence and their power and their money to push these policies on Americans at the detriment of American energy producers and to the benefit of Chinese companies that now own or control more than 80% of the cobalt mines in Africa and the Congo to meet our green dream goals, if you will,” Isaac told Fox News Digital, referencing critical mineral production vital to developing green energy technology.
“It’s, again, to our incredible detriment, as we’re seeing higher cost of electricity. We’re seeing greater number of electricity disconnects and greater number of natural gas disconnects in American homes,” he added. “Expensive energy hurts the poor, and I’m working against policies that make energy more expensive.”
The American Energy Institute report also highlighted how Ceres has raised tens of millions of dollars to fund its operations. The majority of Ceres’ funding has originated from left-wing grant-making foundations like the Rockefeller Family Fund, New Venture Fund, Climate Imperative Foundation and the Walton Family Foundation, which aren’t required to disclose individual donors, in addition to individual donors who have remained anonymous.
According to Ceres’ most recent 990 tax filing, between the period from November 2021 through October 2022, it received $26.6 million in contributions and grants. The year prior, it raised nearly $40 million for its operations. Two anonymous grantors contributed 35% of the $26.6 million raised, while one grantor was responsible for 14% of the $40 million raised, further financial filings showed.
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The New Venture Fund, a key cog in the billion-dollar left-wing Arabella Advisors dark money network, has alone wired more than $5 million to Ceres since 2019.
Ceres declined to comment on the American Energy Institute report and its funding structure, instead pointing Fox News Digital to its most recent annual financial report that confirmed the figures.
The group has also actively worked with and engaged Democrats in Congress on various issues, leveraging its networks of stakeholders. For example, the group has helped develop policy with the Senate Climate Change Task Force, which includes Senate Environment and Public Works Committee Chairman Tom Carper, D-Del., and recently participated in an event focused on green investments with Sen. Ed Markey, D-Mass., in Boston.
Overall, Ceres has dumped more than $1 million lobbying on federal environmental issues since 2017, according to federal data compiled by Open Secrets. Lobbyists hired by Ceres worked behind the scenes advocating for the Inflation Reduction Act, Democrats’ $739 billion climate and tax bill that President Biden signed into law in August 2022.
Ceres President and CEO Mindy Lubber and Executive Vice President Dawn Martin attended a Sept. 13, 2022, ceremony at the White House where Biden touted the legislation.
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“We are going to take the most aggressive action ever, ever, ever to confront the climate crisis and increase our energy security — ever in the whole world. And that’s not hyperbole, that’s a fact,” the president remarked during the ceremony.
Lubber, who previously served as a regional administrator for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and founded a green energy mutual fund, has visited the White House for meetings and ceremonies on at least five occasions since 2021. Martin joined Lubber on at least three of those visits.
Lubber also attended a July 2022 event where Biden announced climate-focused executive actions at the site of a shuttered coal plant in Somerset, Massachusetts.
“For more than 30 years, Ceres has shown that sustainability is the only way to build an economy for the long run,” Lubber said on the day of the White House’s Inflation Reduction Act ceremony she attended in September 2022.
“Our years of work organizing businesses as advocates for meaningful climate policy helped to marshal the hundreds of leading companies and investors that tirelessly advocated for the climate, clean energy and environmental justice investments the Inflation Reduction Act has delivered.”
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Ceres’ activities and widespread influence, meanwhile, have attracted congressional scrutiny, particularly through its work gathering stakeholders to pursue climate actions together. House Judiciary Chairman Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, issued a subpoena to Ceres in June, alleging the group may be facilitating collusion through its climate-focused initiatives in violation of U.S. antitrust law.
“Corporations are collectively adopting and imposing progressive environmental, social, and governance (ESG)-related goals, and Ceres appears to facilitate collusion through Climate Action 100+ that may violate U.S. antitrust law,” Jordan wrote to Ceres counsel Matthew Miller.
“To advance our oversight and inform potential legislation related to collusive ESG policies, the Committee must understand how and to what extent Ceres and Climate Action 100+ facilitate collusion to promote ESG-related goals.”
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A month later, Consumers’ Research, a consumer advocacy organization, assembled a report for Jordan that outlined Ceres’ initiatives pushing net-zero emissions goals on American companies.
In an accompanying letter, the group’s executive director, Will Hild, said Ceres has spearheaded a “decade-long coordinated effort led by Ceres to assert regulatory influence and organize shareholder activism, all with the goal of mandating climate disclosure that benefits and feeds the ESG investing industrial complex.”