Message from the Chairman and CEO
To Our Stakeholders:
For PG&E, sustainability starts with providing energy that is safe, reliable, affordable and clean to millions of Californians. As we fulfill our core mission, we also confront daily decisions that affect the environment, the communities we serve and society in general. With that combination comes responsibility—not just to act in sustainable ways, but to orient our business toward creating a sustainable world where all of our customers can prosper and thrive.
PG&E’s role in the energy economy, and the scale at which we work, means that we have a unique ability to take on big challenges—including the problem of climate change. Already, we are seeing the impact on our state from severe weather, wildfires and drought. These consequences affect businesses big and small; urban centers and rural communities; the most fortunate and the most vulnerable in society.
We know that finding the right solutions will require collaboration and partnership with others. It requires innovation. It requires sustained and smart investments. And it requires that we act at the local, state, national and international level.
That was the consensus at the COP21 climate talks in Paris last year, when more than 190 countries came together to commit to significant greenhouse gas reductions in the coming years. PG&E was proud to be a part of California’s delegation to Paris, where we told the story of how companies like ours are joining with policymakers to slow climate change and begin building climate resilience, and do so with unprecedented success.
In the lead up to Paris, PG&E submitted our climate pledge, in which we committed to further deploy and integrate low-carbon, clean energy technologies and invest nearly $3 billion a year through 2020 to modernize the grid. This will both make the grid more resilient and facilitate PG&E’s vision of the Grid of Things—an intelligent grid that will incorporate rising levels of distributed energy resources such as private solar, electric vehicles, battery storage and more.
We also pledged to increase use of our cutting-edge mobile gas leak detection system to find more natural gas leaks and fix them more quickly, both enhancing public safety and reducing the amount of methane released to the atmosphere.
Finally, we committed to continue collaborating with our many stakeholders to ensure all customers benefit from the distributed energy technologies becoming available today.
The point on collaboration is key. At PG&E, we recognize that sustainability involves more than addressing clean air and climate change. PG&E has expanded our definition of sustainability in recent years to include a complex array of interconnected issues ranging from public and employee safety to access to higher education, successful local businesses and thriving, resilient communities.
This report chronicles our progress in these areas and many more, which collectively comprise the sustainability journey that PG&E continues today.
We recognize that no company has all the solutions, that no one holds a patent on good ideas in safety or any other area, and that a diversity of perspectives will only help to broaden and better the discussion. Our approach to everything we do is to continue learning, from each other and the best companies around the world.
That’s why we established our Sustainability Advisory Council, a panel of experts and experienced leaders from across academia, community organizations, policymakers and environmental groups. Convened for the first time earlier this year, the council will help us think and act with the bigger picture in mind.
We partner regularly with the innovators of nearby Silicon Valley and across the country, working to integrate new technologies so that all customers can benefit from these advances in an equitable way.
As distributed energy alternatives gain momentum, bringing these technologies together with other solutions—such as those enabling grid automation, the integration of variable sources of renewable power and the processing of a vast amount of information—will require a central player, one with a big reach and the ability to test, pilot and scale solutions safely and affordably, and in a way that preserves grid reliability and stability.
PG&E stands ready to help drive this transformation toward a low-carbon economy and combat climate change. We do so mindful that the biggest challenges require even bigger solutions, and that those only come when we’re working together, to build a better California, nation and world.
In that spirit, PG&E and our over 23,000 employees welcome your feedback on this report and our performance, and we thank you for your ongoing engagement in making sustainability a mainstay of our business.
Chairman, CEO and President