PG&E: A Case Study in Transparent Sustainability Reporting and Accountability
Sustainability is quickly becoming the new watchword for any organization that wants to attract business partners, investors, and customers. Business partners want to protect their supply chain by working with companies who minimize disruptions through sustainable practices. Responsible investing is also growing in popularity as investors add sustainability to their requirements. And customers don’t want to support an organization that doesn’t prioritize the environment or its employees. One organization taking sustainability seriously is PG&E.
A Philosophy of Sustainability
PG&E provides energy for millions of California residents, so sustainability must be a priority, given the company’s reach and impact. To their credit, PG&E makes sustainability their mission, vision, and culture. They have a goal; they have guiding principles; and they ensure that the company culture is aligned from top to bottom. Furthermore, they have left no room for equivocation, so partners, investors, and customers can feel at ease in doing business with them. PG&E’s mission, vision and culture statement is available to View Here.
Sustainability Governance, Strategy, Reporting, and Accountability
A common question for many organizations is, “Who owns sustainability?” The answer is: everyone. PG&E exemplifies this in its sustainability governance, which is managed on three levels. The Board of Directors has primary oversight of corporate sustainability issues, such as environmental compliance and leadership, climate change, community investments, and workforce development. However, there’s also a Chief Sustainability Officer who is responsible for leading PG&E’s corporate sustainability initiatives, reporting, and engagement. Finally, there are employee-led initiatives throughout the business to help integrate corporate sustainability priorities into their work.
For PG&E, sustainability strategy is a multi-year planning process. They take into account compliance obligations, key risks, business goals, resources, and more. Part of the strategy is collaborating with external stakeholders, which PG&E considers “crucial to this process.” These stakeholders include customers, communities, suppliers, investors, employees, and outside experts, so PG&E can be assured that they are not planning inside a vacuum.
The company goes one step further by providing incentives for employees to practice sustainability in everything they do. This Short-Term Incentive Plan (STIP) reinforces PG&E’s sustainability commitment by rewarding eligible employees for achieving specific goals which are extremely important to the company’s success. Tying sustainability goals to compensation is an ingenious way to ensure those goals are actively worked towards on a consistent basis.
Finally, PG&E continually measures their sustainability performance and is transparent about their communication on their progress. In their Key Sustainability Indicators report that is freely available on their corporate site, PG&E shares a bevy of data on their performance across a wide range of environmental, social, and economic measures. Not only does this build trust for potential partners, investors, and customers, but having this data also helps the organization identify its weaknesses and other gaps. A problem has to be recognized before it can be fixed.
Finding Sustainable Partners for Supply Chains
Companies like PG&E have been focusing on sustainable goals since the 1990s. Finding an organization with that kind of pedigree is rare. More often than not, potential supply chain partners won’t have the same reputation, and vetting them for compliance, insurance, sustainability, and other factors can take more time than you’re willing to invest. Avetta can help to reduce this burden by effectively evaluating suppliers and contractors. Our supply chain management software and team of industry experts ensures you have all the necessary information to make the right decisions about to do business with.