Climate change advocacy across the organization

corporate culture environment

As the material risks of climate change become more evident—from extreme temperatures to weather events that cost billions of dollars in damage to lives and property—corporate commitments to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions are growing.

According to this year’s State of Corporate Citizenship survey, the proportion of executives reporting that their companies have set quantitative goals to reduce GHG emissions has increased by 44% since 2020 (from 39% to 56%). A large majority (76%) of executives say their companies have carbon offsets in place or in progress, and 67% set or are in the progress of setting internal carbon pricing.

This is an excerpt from the State of Corporate Citizenship 2022. Want full access to this research and thousands of other resources for CSR professionals? Click here learn more about membership.

One company that has committed to reducing emissions is PSEG, which openly recognizes that climate change is one of the pre-eminent challenges of our time. PSEG’s approach to sustainability is reflected in the company’s Powering Progress vision of working toward a future in which people use less energy, and that energy is cleaner and delivered more reliably than ever before. To get there, PSEG is taking steps to evolve into a clean energy and infrastructure-focused company, powered by a diverse and dedicated workforce.

PSEG understands that climate change and reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions are among the highest priorities among both internal and external stakeholders. To address both the causes and impacts of climate change, the company has established an aggressive net-zero vision to be achieved by 2030.

PSEG Chairman, President, and CEO Ralph Izzo speaks regularly about the company’s efforts and strategies for achieving its aggressive climate goals.

“What’s groundbreaking about PSEG’s 2030 net-zero goal is its focus not only on power generation, but on operations across the company, such as reduced emissions from equipment, buildings and vehicles, and curtailed methane leaks throughout our utility infrastructure,” Izzo says.

PSEG recently signed on to the U.N.-backed Race to Zero cam­paign, and has committed to the development of science-based targets for achieving even greater emissions reductions. PSEG’s ambitious climate vision includes a commitment to carbon-free electricity generation, the companywide transition to net-zero operations, and support for economy-wide decarbonization. Already, the company has reduced its GHG emissions by 50%, from 2005 levels. Moving forward, PSEG will direct half of its 2021 to 2025 capital spending program of $14 billion to $16 billion toward decarbonization, emissions reduction, methane reduction, clean energy transition, and climate and storm adaptation.

Among the company’s most significant steps toward its climate and sustainability goals:

  • The launch of a $1 billion expansion of its energy efficiency programs to help customers save energy and save money, help improve air quality and public health by reducing New Jersey’s carbon footprint, and create more than 4,000 clean energy jobs
  • Reduction of methane emissions through a Gas System Modern­ization Program that will replace more than 875 miles of cast-iron and bare steel infrastructure and reduce emissions by up to 40,000 metric tons per year
  • Elimination of coal from its fuel mix by retiring the company’s last remaining coal power plant, while divesting natural gas power assets and making new investments in carbon-free nuclear and offshore wind generation

Through its strong commitment to the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), PSEG also is taking steps to minimize its water footprint (Goal No. 6, clean water and sanitation) and reduce waste production (Goal No. 12, responsible consumption and production). In 2020, PSEG generated 379,152 tons of material, recycled 361,937 tons, and landfilled only 4.54% of all waste.

The company also has incorporated sustainability into its corporate social responsibility strategy. In 2019, the PSEG Foundation made a commitment to increase giving in the Environmental Sustainability pillar to 25% of its overall giving by 2022. As a result, the foundation has taken incremental steps toward this goal by redefining the pillar’s focus on supporting organizations that promote environmental stewardship, facilitate clean energy innovation, preserve ecosystems and encourage conservation and foster environmental justice.

At the 26th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP26), Izzo addressed government and industry leaders to stress the urgency of setting aggressive goals to reduce carbon emissions.

“COP26 provides an extraordinary opportunity—at a pivotal moment in the climate change crisis—for government and business to work together to solve our greatest climate challenges while also strengthening economies and communities,” Izzo said. “The transition to cleaner and more resilient energy resources needs to continue, and faster than it is today. Working together, utilities and other businesses can make progress to decarbonize the economy, while governments can set policies that accelerate the scale and pace of change. This transition presents enormous opportunities for business, and creates lasting benefits for people, economies, and the climate.”

This is an excerpt from the State of Corporate Citizenship 2022. Want full access to this research and thousands of other resources for CSR professionals? Click here learn more about membership.