2008 Corporate Responsibility Report

How we are creating a smarter foundation for a sustainable future

Volunteerism and Community Support

Many employees at PG&E participate in our Volunteer Program to help improve the lives of the communities we serve—providing food to those in need, cleaning up a neighborhood park or spending a day in a classroom inspiring and teaching young students. There is no end to opportunities to lend a hand to our neighbors.

Our employees volunteered 21,750 hours in 2008 through more than 500 company-organized events. We exceeded our employee volunteer target for 2008 and set a more aggressive target of 24,000 hours for 2009, a 10 percent increase.

Our volunteer activities included a strong response to the economic difficulties impacting our communities, with many employees assisting local food banks. We also volunteered time and skills to help programs address local environmental challenges, prepare community groups to respond to local emergencies and support important educational initiatives.

Employee Volunteer Hours

2008 Volunteer Highlights

Highlights from 2008 include the following:


The former president and first lady join PG&E employees and other volunteers in Biloxi.

  • PG&E employees volunteered to support local food banks as the recession, home foreclosures and rising job losses strain our communities. In 2008, our employees volunteered more than 1,730 hours at 38 events at food banks throughout northern and central California, from San Francisco to Stockton.
  • We marked our seventh consecutive successful Earth Day partnership with the California State Parks Foundation when more than 1,300 employees, retirees and their families volunteered their time at 13 California parks to clean, dig, build, paint and share in the satisfaction that comes from giving back to the communities in which we live and work. Through the partnership, PG&E has granted more than $850,000 to fund needed park maintenance and improvement projects at California's parks.
  • We helped restore the gardens on Alcatraz Island, a site once home to some of the country's most infamous prisoners. Working in partnership with the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy, PG&E employees volunteered more than 400 hours last year clearing invasive weeds and helping to salvage, nurture and map the remaining plants in an effort to restore the gardens to their former glory.
  • We piloted an emergency response program to reach out to community organizations serving vulnerable groups in the Santa Cruz and Monterey areas, such as low-income, disabled and senior populations, to provide them with information on how PG&E responds to emergencies and available resources. By planning ahead with community organizations, we will be better positioned to offer assistance during emergencies.
  • Four employee volunteers traveled to Biloxi, Mississippi, to join Habitat for Humanity's Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter Work Project to construct homes for families displaced by Hurricane Katrina alongside the former president and first lady. We have long partnered with Habitat for Humanity, but this marked the first time PG&E has participated in the group's projects outside of California. The employees, who were selected from a large group of PG&E applicants, joined thousands of volunteers to build and rehabilitate 60 homes and frame up to 48 more. They also created a blog to communicate with fellow employees about their volunteer experience.
Building a Greener Oakland

PG&E funded a major lighting retrofit at the historic Paramount Theatre, one of several energy-saving projects at local theaters.

The City of Oakland and PG&E made major strides last year on a comprehensive program to help the city build a stronger, more sustainable economy and increase job opportunities. We have dedicated a total of $3 million to this initiative over three years.

Our “Greening of Oakland” partnership integrates a package of PG&E programs and services to help the city meet its sustainability goals and serves as a model for other regional collaborations. Highlights last year included the following:

  • Joining with the Hispanic and Chinatown Chambers of Commerce and the Unity Council to help almost 3,000 local businesses become more energy efficient;
  • Replacing steam traps at all dry-cleaning businesses to increase energy efficiency and reduce carbon dioxide emissions;
  • Launching a “green jobs” training program with local job training organizations to recruit, train and place Oakland residents in sustainable jobs;
  • Installing solar panels at local schools and establishing solar education centers for visitors at the Oakland Zoo and Chabot Space and Science Center; and
  • Replacing conventional light bulbs with energy-efficient bulbs in the “Necklace of Lights” ringing Lake Merritt in the center of Oakland.

Serving the Community Through Non-Profit Boards

PG&E also supports our communities through the active participation of the company's leadership on many non-profit boards. PG&E employees of all ranks are sought after as members of non-profit boards, and they serve a range of organizations. PG&E's goal is for 100 percent of the company's officers to serve on non-profit boards, and, at approximately 70 percent, we are well on our way to achieving this goal. Officers sit on the boards of a diverse group of non-profits, such as the Alliance to Save Energy, the Marine Mammal Center and Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco.

2009 Campaign for the Community

PG&E employees and retirees pledged to donate a record $4.18 million to more than 4,000 schools and non-profit organizations, including community centers, environmental groups, children’s charities, hospitals and many others in the annual 2009 Campaign for the Community. The donations increased by 8 percent from the 2008 campaign, with pledges coming from nearly 7,700 employees and retirees; the average annual pledge was $543 per employee. Employees also held creative fundraisers, which included a mini-golf tournament and a used-book sale and silent auction, to raise nearly $60,000.