Roberts Environmental Center
2006-2007 Annual Report
Roberts Environmental Center 2006-2007
Contributed to curricular programs:
Sponsored two EEP clinics.
The Roberts Environmental Center Press published Global Climate Change: Summaries of the 2006-2007 Scientific Literature, a work product of Biology 159, and 2003-2006 Sustainability Reporting Analyzed Across Sectors, a new analysis of the 2003-2005 PSI sector data in book form.
Sponsored Government 120, Environmental Law, and partially funded a field trip to Death Valley National Park.
Curricular activities of the Director:
Supervised five senior theses for EEP majors and was principle reader on another four.
Served on the advisory committee for the Mellon grant to JSD for curriculum enhancement of the environmental sciences.
Served on the CMC Academic Computing Committee.
Involved students in research:
Funded and oversaw a student-initiated project to draft an annual sustainability report for CMC, the first such report for any of the Claremont Colleges.
Involved students in the EEP clinic analyzing corporate environmental and sustainability reports using the Center’s Pacific Sustainability Index (PSI); these students are coauthors of the Center’s industrial sector reports.
Employed 20 students as research assistants during the academic year, working on PSI research.
Employed 5 students as research assistants during the summer working on PSI research.
Supported and worked with 5 students during the summer at the Burger Reserve doing forest fire vegetation recovery analysis in the field; these students are coauthors of the annual data reports to the Bureau of Land Management.
Supported and worked with another student during the summer in the eastern Sierra working on the effects of global warming on the altitudinal zonation of chipmunks.
Sponsored five evening programs at the Marian Miner Cook Athenaeum.
Conducted public policy research:
Analyzed corporate environmental and sustainability reports and issued sector reports for all Fortune companies in California, the Forbes 25 Largest Private and Public Companies, the Airline Sector, Computer sector, Consumer Food, Food Production, and Beverages Sectors, Office Equipment and Services Sectors, Entertainment Sector, Food Services Sector, Forest and Paper Products Sector, Homebuilders Sector, Pharmaceuticals sector, Oil and Gas Equipment and Services Sector, Petroleum and Refining Sector Railroads Sector, Scientific, Photo, and Control Equipment Sector, and the Wholesalers: Electronics and Office Equipment Sectors.
Developed a new Center web site, CSRStat.com, now in beta testing, to provide immediate access to PSI scoring information and RSS environmental and social news feeds.
Initiated a project with the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) to analyze corporate human rights reporting.
Conducted the fifth year of a $60,000 five-year grant from the U. S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Land Management to study the efficacy of reseeding following forest fires.
Introduction and General Goals
The principal goal of the Roberts Environmental Center (REC) is to involve students in real-world environmental issues and to train them to analyze the issues from as broad a perspective as possible, taking science, economics and policy into consideration. The Environment, Economics, and Politics (EEP) major which incorporates all three disciplines is sponsored by the REC, and the REC Director is the Chair of the major. Many, but not all, of the students involved with the REC are EEP majors.
We are pursuing this primary goal in two largely orthogonal venues: 1) corporate environmental and social transparency and performance, and 2) management of natural resources on public lands, particularly those in California’s deserts and eastern Sierra where we have academic interests and field facilities.
We are approaching the corporate issues by researching—and through that research attempting to influence—global corporate environmental transparency and performance. Our approach is to analyze the environmental and sustainability reporting of the world’s largest corporations and to publish the results in technical papers, in books, in REC reports, and on our web site.
This has been our most productive year to date. During the 2006–2007 academic year the Center drafted 15 industrial sector reports of Pacific Sustainability Index (PSI) results (details below)., At the time of this writing these sector reports are out for comment from the included firms, and will be formally issued in September and October 2007. They are much more detailed than in previous years, assigning letter grades as well as ranks to corporate reports, and providing detailed analysis of each of the covered reports.
We release all reports in draft six weeks in advance of publication, notifying all companies involved and soliciting corrections. Many companies respond, sometimes in considerable detail in hopes of raising their scores. We monitor hits on all of our web pages and currently have several thousand per month. It is fair to say that we have substantially increased CMC’s visibility in the upper management of many large corporations. All of our feedback to date has been positive.
Natural Resources Management
We are approaching the land management issues by teaching students some of the primary skills used by agency specialists (including geographic information systems (GIS), geographic positioning systems (GPS), vegetation analysis, statistical data analysis, and photographic documentation) and by involving them in summer field research related to agency management. In 2003, the REC was awarded a $60,000 contract by the U.S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Land Management to study the success of reseeding two major forest fire areas about an hour north of the Burger Reserve. Four years ago, the Burger students initiated the five-year study under the direction of Dr. Sia Morhardt, Adjunct Professor of Environmental Studies at Pitzer College. The field work was completed this summer by students at the Burger Reserve, and the final report will be submitted in September.
Financial Status—The Center has been supported almost exclusively by endowment since 1996. By the end of the last decade we had accumulated sufficient surplus to be relatively immune from the decline in CMC endowment revenues over the ensuing years. But in the last few years student involvement has substantially increased and present expenditures exceed endowment income by over $150,000/year. The surplus that allows this level of activity will be exhausted prior to the summer of 2009, necessitating a substantial increase in endowment or in annual gifts if the present programs are to continue to thrive. The Center produced a development plan in May and it is presently under consideration by the CMC Office of Development.
Activities during the 2006-2007 Academic Year
PSI Sector Reports:
As of this writing (July 21, 2007) the following 15 sector reports produced during the 2006-2007 academic year are in draft and have been submitted to the included companies for comment prior to publication at the beginning of the Fall 2007 semester. These reports include hundreds of the largest companies in the world. The first of the two reports, which will receive particular press attention in September as they are released, represent two additional types of corporate groupings not previously tried by the Center: a regional comparison (all California companies in the Fortune 1000, compared head-to-head irrespective of industrial sector), and our first look at very large privately held companies (from the Forbes Magazine list of largest privately held companies). This is the largest group of annul sector reports ever produced by the Center and is attributable to the unprecedented number of students we have been able to employ.
2007 Fortune Companies in California
2007 Forbes 25 Largest Private and Public Companies
2007 Pharmaceuticals Sector
2007 Forest and Paper Products Sector
2007 Railroads Sector
2007 Wholesalers: Electronics and Office Equipment Sector
2007 Scientific, Photo, and Control Equipment Sector
2007 Homebuilders Sector
2007 Airline Sector
2007 Food Services Sector
2007 Entertainment Sector
2007 Computer, Office Equipment, and Services Sector
2007 Oil and Gas Equipment and Services Sector
2007 Consumer Food, Food Production, and Beverages Sectors
2007 Petroleum and Refining Sector
All will be available online at www.roberts.mckenna.edu as they are formally released.
Claremont McKenna College Sustainability Report—This year, the Center produced and published the first sustainability report for any of the Claremont Colleges, presaging some intensive research sponsored by the Colleges this summer to collect a much larger amount of environmental data. The current report is available at
CSRStat.com—During the summer of 2007 the Center developed a simple and elegant new sustainability web site, http://www.csrstat.com, (Corporate Sustainability Reporting Statistics) now in beta testing, based on data in our PSI database and linked to RSS feeds from a wide range of news and financial institutions. Users can type any company name into a search box and receive current information about a company as well as any information developed by the REC. We hope that this will become a major web site for use by the sustainability community. The site will be released with press releases in early fall 2007.
Initiatives with GRI—At the suggestion of Lily Donge ‘94, a securities analyst with the Calvert Group, the Center has begun a project with the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI), the main source of guidance to companies on content for sustainability reports. GRI, headquartered in Amsterdam, provides writing guidelines (developed by industry/NGO consensus) but has no ability to analyze existing reporting. The Center will analyze the full range of human rights reporting from at least 70 large companies that have produced at least two sustainability reports.
Bureau of Land Management Contract¾This summer, the REC concluded its fifth year’s fieldwork on a 5-year $60,000 contract with the U. S. Department of Interior, Bureau of Land Management to evaluate the effects of reseeding on the recovery of four areas in the eastern Sierra burned in two separate major forest fires. This is a major field effort involving over a hundred randomly-placed transects each year of 7 or 8 quadrats each. The quadrats are large squares, 2 meters on a side, within which the amount of area covered by each of every plant species present must be estimated. The students therefore must learn a significant amount of plant taxonomy and be able to identify many plant species at all stages of their life cycles. They also must record the GPS coordinates of all transects, enter them into the Center’s geographic information system (GIS) and produce maps, enter the field data into a custom Microsoft Access database developed by the Center, and produce a summary data report. Dr. Sia Morhardt is managing the project, training the students in plant taxonomy, and overseeing the fieldwork.
Mellon Foundation Research—Ryan Fitzgerald ’07 and Elliott Vander Kolk ‘08, won two of the Mellon Foundation summer research grants jointly funding students and faculty. As described below, they used them to study forest fire vegetation recovery near the Burger Reserve
The Roberts Environmental Center Press—This year The Roberts Environmental Center Press published two books: Global Climate Change: Summaries of the 2006-2007 Scientific Literature, and 2003-2006 Sustainability Reporting Analyzed Across Sectors. The former is a work product of Biology 159, Natural Resources Management and has 19 student authors. The latter is a book-length compilation of all of the sustainability reports done by the REC between 2003 and 2006 plus an extensive analysis of the data across sectors. Both books are available from the REC web site.
Research Fellow—Elgeritte Adidjaja, who joined the REC as a Research Fellow in 2004 continues as the Center’s research fellow. She is working primarily on the Center’s Pacific Sustainability Index research and is involved in all aspects of scoring, report preparation, and web site development and maintenance.
Student Employees and Summer Internships
Twenty students—Jeniffer Aleman-Zometa '07 (PI), Helena Bottemiller '08, Diego Cuenca ’07, Grace DiLaura '08, Scott Eaton '07, Claire Esbenshade '07 (SC), Ryan Fitzgerald '07,Marie-Ana Follett '09, Selene Isaacson '09, Jessica Lewis '07 (PO), Josh Utter Leyton '07 (HMC), Melissa Itsara '08, Sean McGregor '08, Emery Mitchem '07, Elise Novak '08 (PO), Brittany Nunnink '09 (SC), Elizabeth Thomas '07, Elliott Vander Kolk '08, Peter Weisberg '07, Elicia Whittlesey '07 (PO)—worked as research assistants in the REC during the 2005-2006 academic year doing a wide variety of tasks associated with the Center’s research. These included updating our environmental and sustainability reporting email and mailing lists (to greater than 35,000 recipients), scoring corporate reports, extracting and standardizing numerical performance data from corporate reports for correlation with PSI scores and with corporate size and sector, and extracting numerical performance goals from reports.
We have two active programs running simultaneously during the summer, one in Claremont and one in the eastern Sierra.
Summer Students in Claremont at the REC
Five students—William P. Alston (Peter) '09 (PI), Kathleen Harris '09, (SC), Selene Isaacson '09, Elise Novak ’08, (PO), and Andrew Taylor '08 (HMC)—worked in Claremont with Elgeritte Adidjaja, improving the performance of the main database used to store the Center’s Pacific Sustainability Index data and serve it to our web site. They also worked on a series of improvements to the web site itself.
Summer Students at the Burger Reserve and in the Eastern Sierra
The REC, along with some funds from the Mellon Foundation, supported five CMC students— Ryan Fitzgerald ’08, Emery Mitchem ’07, Meredith Stechbart ’08, Peter Weissberg ’07, and Elliott Vander Kolk ‘08—during the summer of 2007 at the CMC Mono Basin Field Station at the Burger Reserve working with Emil and Sia Morhardt on the Center’s BLM contract to assess the effectiveness of reseeding after the Cannon and Slinkard fires near Walker California.
The Center also supported the summer research of Elizabeth Thomas ’07. Working out of the Burger reserve, she is looking for changes in altitudinal ranges of small mammals since the last detailed studies in the vicinity 40 years ago. Changes are expected because of global warming.
During the 2006-2007 academic year the Roberts Environmental Center sponsored the following lectures at the Marian Miner Cook Athenaeum:
Robert F. Kennedy Jr., clinical professor and supervising attorney, Environmental Litigation Clinic, Pace University; chief prosecuting attorney, Hudson Riverkeeper; senior attorney, Natural Resources Defense Council; co-author of The Riverkeepers (1997) and author of "Crimes Against Nature" (2004)
Carl Pope, executive director, Sierra Club; co-author of Strategic Ignorance: Why the Bush Administration is Recklessly Destroying a Century of Environmental Progress (2004) and author of Hazardous Waste in America (1981); "Convenient Opportunities: How We Can Learn to Love Licking Global Warming"
Thomas Friedman, foreign affairs columnist, The New York Times; author of The World is Flat: A Brief History of the Twenty-first Century (2005) and Longitudes and Attitudes: Exploring the World after September 11 (2002); "The Next Phase of Globalization"
J. Michael Fay, explorer in residence, National Geographic Society; conservationist, Wildlife Conservation Society; "Saving Africa's Eden"
Lily Donge '94, senior social research analyst, Calvert Group, Ltd.; "Greening Global Investments"
The Environment, Economics, and Politics Major
In May 2007 five seniors graduated with the EEP major. All of these students took the EEP clinic, one worked as research assistant in the Roberts Environmental Center, and spent two summers at the Burger Reserve. Thesis titles follow the names. All were directed by Emil Morhardt.
William Ellison (CMC)—Invasive species in the Great Lakes: A historical analysis and assessment of future threats and action needed
Clair Fowler Esbenshade (SCR)—Environmental and social reporting in the commercial airline industry
Emery Mitchem (CMC)— The Necessity and application of Geologic Carbon Dioxide sequestration
Kelsey Moore (SCR)—The Cochabamba Water Wars: Why Now? An Analysis of the Collision Between the World Bank, the Bolivian Government and the Cochabambinos
Elizabeth Thomas (CMC)—Comparison of fly population sizes on recreational stock and hiking trails in the Eastern Sierra, California
Emil Morhardt was also reader for the following senior theses:
Pritha Golden (SCR) —Community development programs as corporate social responsibility: Adversity in disguise
Brian Schulkin (CMC)—Brownfields redevelopment in the US: Policy and remediation techniques
Peter Weissberg (CMC)—Invigorating Kyoto’s clean development mechanism: climate friendly development in rapidly industrializing countries
Sara Goodspeed (SCR)—Keeping the promise of genetically modified foods: Opportunities for aid in famine releaf
Activities of EEP Graduates—We know the recent status of many EEP graduates andwould like to know the status of the rest should any of the readers of this report have any special knowledge. Many of their activities deal in some way with environmental matters and reflect a continuation of the interests which led these alumni to choose the EEP major. It is striking, however, to look at the range of top-quality graduate programs and professions into which EEP graduates go.
Holly E. Allen-Young 2006 Desorption specialist and mudlogger, Entrada Geosciences
Dona Anderson 1996 Director, Inst. For Children and Poverty
Dana Armanino 1995 Green Business Coordinator, Marin County
Michael Asakawa 1999 UCSB Bren School of Env. Sci. and Management ‘01
Sarah Baird 2001 Ph.D. Student, Dept. of Resource Econ., UC Berkeley
Sedina Banks 2000 Environmental Lawyer, Greenburg Glusker
Kate Beardsley 1997 The Gas Technology Institute
Molly Blumer 1996 Business Manager, The Press Restaurant, Claremont
Ryan Bogen 1997 CEO, D3 Technologies
Mary Jean Buerer 1996
Thomas Casey 1995
Lui Cevallos 1995 Proj. Eng., Kemp Bros. Construction, Santa Fe Springs
David Cherney 2002 Yale School of Forestry and Env. Mgt. MA ‘06
John Cherry 1995 Captain U. S. Army, Armed Forces
Robert Cole 1995 Systems Dev. Specialist, Mani Global Communications
Eric Craig 1994 Senior Financial Analyst, Vital Processing
Guillermo Cuevas 2005 Scientist, Arcadis
Margo Partch Dawley 2006 Program Coordinator, American Forests, DC
Allison (Davis) O’Keefe 2000 Broadcast Associate, CBS News
Sean Dempsey 1995 Google, Principal, Corp. Development
Anita Dhingee 2000 Engineer, City of Los Angeles Dept of Public Works
Edison-Lahm, Peregrine 2003 Analyst, URS, Portland
Kristen Edwards 1999
Suchada Eickemeyer 1999 United States Army
William Ellison 2007
Claire Esbenshade 2007
Gwendolyn Fanger 1994 Attorney, Davis Wright Tremaine, S.F.
Gary Feramisco 1997 Underwriter, Brockbank Insurance Services
Christopher Frantz 2006 Analyst, The Cadmus Group, Santa Monica
Sarah Frazee 1995 In-Country Leadership, Director of Southern African Hotspots, Conservation International
Kelly Freeman 2002 Regional VP of NE Sales, AOL Media Networks
Kathryn Gaffney 1998 Environmental Planner, Jones and Stokes Associates
Sally Garrison 1995 Attorney, Oklahoma University Legal Counsel
Kira Gaza 2006 Peace Corps Volunteer, Morocco
Jenna Goodward 2006 Analyst, Intgrated Resource Management, New York
Courtney Goren 2000 Air Quality Analyst, Sonoma Technology, Inc.
Patrick Gorgue 1996
Billy Grayson 2000 Grad Student, U. of Maryland School of Public Policy
Brian Gross 1995 The Heart Clinic, Cardiologist
Graham Guess 1994 Greenbook Financial Services
Christopher Hamilton 1997 E-Commerce Product Manager, Zing.com
Robert Florian Heilmayr 2006 World Resources Institute, Washington DC
Brent J. Hoberg 1999 Environmental Engineer, Kip Prahl Associates
Mary Beth Houlihan 2004 Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP
Clive Hsu 2000
Carlos Jallo 1994 Associate Partner, Mooney & Associates
David Jarrat 1993 Senior Analyst, Exigen
David Juiliano 2002
Courtney Jung 1999 Georgetown Law Center JD ‘02
Margaret Kaiser 2000 Associate, Thompson Hine
Caleb Kelly 2000 Associate Engineer, Iwin.com
Daniel Klaus 2002 UCSB Bren School of Env. Sci. and Mgt. MA ‘06
Rachel Kokjer 1996
Cho-Yi Kwan 2000 Yale School of Forestry and Env. Mgt. MA ‘05
Ina Hanna Labermeier 2006 Retail, Patagonia, Inc.
Peregrine Lahm 2003 Graduate Student, Oregon Graduate Research Institute
Yee Kee Lam 2000 Analyst, JP Morgan
Thomas Lambakis 1995 Director of IT Outsourcing, True Data Partners
Greger Larson 1996 PhD in Evolutionary Genomics at Uppsala University
Sara Leverette 2003 Program Coordinator, NWEI
Brett Lim 1998 Director of Marketing, Radio Satellite Integrators
Christopher Lloyd 2001
Christina Wagner Lovato1993 Attorney, O’Melveny & Myers LLP
Scott Marshall 1996 Plum Creek. Timber Co.
Erin Mastagni 2002 Project Manager of Health Care Consulting Firm
Mayumi Matsuno 2001 Google, Product Marketing
Mark McMahon 2000 Senior Consultant, Countrywide Financial
Justin Carter Meek 1999 Management Consultant, Maxtera Enterprises
Andrew Meyer 1992 Environmental Consultant
Emery Mitchem 2007 Environmental Teaching Intern, Honolulu
Moore, Kelsey 2007 Master’s in Public Policy, University of Washington ‘10
Megan Murphy 1997 Law Student, University of Colorado
Kimberlee Myers 2000 Environmental Consultant, EDAW, Beijing
Allyson Nakamoto 1993 National Japanese American Educator, NJAM
Norris, Rachel 1996
Edward Paek 2001 Land Use Advisor, DLA Piper US LLP
Justin Pressfield 2005 Iraq Reconstruction Office, USAID, Washington DC
Brian Pringle 2004
Nicole Puckhaber 1996 Associate Brand Mgr., Del Monte Foods
Greg Rasner 1995 Technical Project Manager, Charles Schwab, SF
Rachel Richards 1999 Consultant, Morgan Stanley, NY
Julie Rodriguez 1994 Senior Associate, Buttler Rubin, Chicago
Joseph Russell 2006 Catholic Charities, USA, Houston
Todd Sax 1993 Air Pollution Specialist, California Air Resources Board
Benjamin Schachter 2004 Law student, University of Arizona, JD ‘08
Elizabeth M. Sears 2006 Staff Planner, Impact Sciences, Inc., Pasadena
Paul Seilo 1999
F. Tom Sheets 1998 Director, Cushman & Wakefield
Jeffrey Stein 1999 Green Invovations, googlepages.com
Gregory Tansey 1993 Principal, SmartForest
Elizabeth Tedsen 2006
Elizabeth Thomas 2007
Deena Tibshraeny 1994 Group Sales Manager, Macy's
Michael Trowbridge 1996 Soseiworld Corporation Group, Japan
Calandra Turner 2001 Associate Consultant, Bain & Company
James Uwins 1998 Env. Comp. Officer, Camp Pendleton USMC Base
James H. Vanden Bos 2006
Rachel Van Dusen 2003 Second year med student
Brian Vlasich 2000 Air Qual. Instrument Specialist II, South Coast AQMD
Tina Wang 1998 Attorney Paul J. Nelson & Associates, ‘05 Graduate of USC Law
Megan Wargo 2000 Conservation Associate, The Pacific Forest Trust
Eric Wilson 1996 Project Manager, EDAW, Inc.
Rachel Wilson 2003 Graduate Student, Yale School of Forestry
Ryan Wingo 2001 Manager/Special Events Dir., Spectrum Restaurant Group
Stewart Winkler 1993 President, Winkler Reality Investments LLC
Maggie Witt 2005 Life Scientist, US EPA
Mary (Wong) Worthman 1995 Financial Advisor., Miceli Financial Partners Maxwell Woods 2001
Trevor Yeats 1996 Business Leadership Assoc., Home Depot Seattle
Noah Zogas 2004
Roberts Environmental Center Goals for 2007-2008
The REC sponsors an EEP clinic each semester based on current corporate environmental reporting, courses in natural resources management and in advanced topics in environmental biology, both based entirely on the current literature, and a course in environmental law taught by practicing attorneys which for the past two years has included a weekend field trip to Death Valley paid for by the Center. The REC will continue these activities in 2007-2008.
Involving students in research
The Center intends to employ at least 15 students during the academic year and at least two during the summer analyzing corporate environmental and sustainability reports, developing new analysis techniques, and conducting associated tasks including extracting and analyzing environmental and social performance data from the corporate reports. The students will collaborate with the Center’s director and research fellow in preparing and publishing at industrial sector Pacific Sustainability Index reports for at least the Banks Sector, Chemicals Sector, Electronics Sector, General Merchandiser Sector, and Mining and Crude Oil Sectors. It will also complete a study with the GRI on human rights reporting.
The Center will also support four students at the Burger reserve during the summer of 2008
The Center intends, as usual, to sponsor “environmental” speakers at the Marian Miner Cook Athenaeum, the number depending on the cost of the individual speakers.
Richard C. Adams, Jr. '62
Terry D. Evans '59
Michael G. Graber '74
Brent F. Howell '62 Chair
Thomas J. P. McHenry
J. Emil Morhardt Director
George R. Roberts ’66 (Honorary)
Gary J. Smith ‘73
Cam Tredennick ‘88