Ceres Honors Climate Champions With BICEP Awards

Mar 14, 2024 6:00 AM ET
Campaign: Policy
2024 BICEP Awards

By Anne Kelly, Vice President of Government Relations at Ceres

Last week, while dozens of business leaders gathered in Washington, D.C. to push for ambitious federal climate policy at LEAD on a Clean Economy 2024, we at Ceres also took time to reflect on the last year by honoring the business leaders, policymakers, and organizations that took extraordinary action in 2023 to build an advanced, abundant, and just clean energy economy.

We presented the 2024 BICEP Awards during an amazing week of advocacy focused on maximizing the nationwide surge in clean energy investment. The investment boom — as well as major 2023 policy victories to clean up individual sectors and enact climate disclosure policy long sought by investors — represents massive progress in the effort to build a cleaner economy. And it would not be possible without the tireless advocacy and crucial support of so many members and partners of the Ceres BICEP Network.

We were thrilled to celebrate their efforts with the 2024 BICEP Awards. Our winners are listed in full below, and we look forward to working with them and the entire Ceres BICEP Network in the year ahead to maintain the momentum we’ve all worked so hard to achieve. Congratulations to our 2024 winners!

BICEP Crown: Brianne Miller, senior director of government affairs at Microsoft. Brianne takes home our top award this year for her unparalleled leadership representing Microsoft to advance solutions for a cleaner economy — including by supporting important federal policies, and as an early and highly influential supporter of California’s landmark climate disclosure laws. We can’t thank Brianne enough for her leadership.

State Climate Policy Champions: Mike Mattera, director of corporate sustainability at Akamai Technologies, and Tom Bugert, state and local government relations manager at REI. Mike and Tom each represented the key attributes of this award as highly active and impactful leaders across the state policy landscape. Mike tirelessly led Akamai’s advocacy in Massachusetts and Virginia, two of the company’s major states, while also standing up for responsible business and investment practices as they come under attack in statehouses across the country. Tom led REI’s thoughtful and effective advocacy in states across the country as the co-op emerged as a stalwart supporter for California’s historic climate disclosure legislation and clean vehicle policies across the U.S. Congratulations, Mike and Tom, and thank you.

Federal Climate Policy Champion: Gil Jenkins, vice president of corporate affairs at HASI. Gil has been an outspoken advocate to ensure the private and public sectors maximize the historic investments of the Inflation Reduction Act and the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. His voice has been essential to unlocking the clean energy investment in the U.S., and we are forever grateful for his efforts.

Most Valuable Partner: National Ski Area Association. With a deep, first-hand understanding of the business risks of climate change, the National Ski Area Association has brought unwavering leadership by mobilizing its members to speak out for federal and state policies that will help maintain the treasured natural resources that our outdoor industries depend upon.

Climate-Smart Agriculture Groundbreaker: Meg Villareal, manager of policy and public affairs at Nestlé. Meg and Nestlé further cemented their industry leadership in 2023 as critical advocates for a Farm Bill reauthorization that empowers our nation’s farmers to be climate leaders. We can’t wait to work with Meg again in 2024 to finish this important work to achieve a Farm Bill that delivers a more sustainable, equitable, and resilient food system.

Transportation Policy Advocate: Siemens. As a leader in the charging solutions business, Siemens has brought technical expertise, keen policy insights, and a highly influential and credible voice in pushing for federal and state policies to build a cleaner and more efficient transportation system — including clean vehicle standards and EPA rules.

Building Decarbonization Policy Advocate: Trane Technologies. Seizing its role as an advocate and a leader in its industry, Trane has fought in states across the country for policies to clean up homes, businesses, and other buildings with efficient solutions and technologies, including by supporting multistate collaborations to decarbonize this crucial sector. This inspiring work has already benefited countless businesses, residents, and other ratepayers, as well as local communities and their economies.

Industrial Decarbonization Award: Holcim. An industrial powerhouse that is guided by the idea that “pollution should never be a competitive advantage,” Holcim has emerged as a lodestar for the sector. We are hugely grateful for Holcim’s advocacy throughout 2023 to maximize the generational federal investments of the Inflation Reduction Act and deliver solutions that clean some of the most challenging parts of the economy.

Environmental and Climate Justice Champion: GreenLatinos. The Ceres BICEP Network has been thrilled to work closely with GreenLatinos this past year to ensure our businesses’ advocacy is aligned with the urgent need for environmental justice. We are so pleased to present this award to an organization that is demonstrating groundbreaking leadership by building a national environmental movement centered around the diversity, knowledge, and voices of Latino/a/x communities.

Ryan Martel Capitol Hill Climb Award: Aaron Groce from the office of U.S. Representative Sean Casten and Kyle Bligen from the office of U.S. Representative Juan Vargas. This award, named for our late federal policy director, is among the most cherished at Ceres, and is presented to deserving Capitol Hill staff members who are putting in the grueling and often unheralded work to move policy at the federal level. In 2023, Aaron and Kyle were essential to launching Congress’s new Sustainable Investment Caucus, providing a key platform for policy that will benefit responsible financial and business practices at a time when special interests are seeking to undermine them. Aaron and Kyle’s strategic and bold maneuver matches the spirit of this award named in Ryan’s honor, and we are proud to present it to them this year.

Senate Climate Champion: Sen. Bill Cassidy of Louisiana. We have been excited to work with Sen. Cassidy and his office as he has staked out a leadership position by proposing federal legislation that would drive down global emissions through innovative trade policy — showing that smart climate policy can serve many goals and appeal across the political spectrum. We look forward to working to advance this ambitious idea in the coming months and years.