Collaborating to Help Our Suppliers Go Green

Suppliers such as The Okonite Company have voluntarily engaged in PG&E’s Green Supply Chain Program—implementing a variety of innovative projects to reduce the environmental impact of their operations while achieving bottom-line cost savings. Photo courtesy of The Okonite Company.

Collaborating with suppliers, non-profit organizations and other utilities through our Green Supply Chain Program, PG&E is making significant strides in reducing the overall environmental impact associated with its operations.

We are working closely with more than 45 of our suppliers to implement innovative projects. For example, as part of a reliability upgrade project, The Okonite Company redesigned a 115 kV cable to fit inside the existing six-inch underground pipe, helping PG&E avoid the cost of re-trenching approximately 10 miles of city streets and preventing substantial emissions, water usage and waste. For its leadership, the company earned PG&E’s 2009 Green Supplier of the Year award.

The program has also assisted suppliers within PG&E’s service area, who are also PG&E customers, by providing free energy audits of their facilities. This assistance led All American Logistics and McJunkin Red Man Corporation to retrofit lighting and install reflective window film at their facilities, which will save more than 100,000 kWh per year.

The program is also helping PG&E better understand the environmental life cycle impacts of its products and services. Last year, we worked with a team from the University of California, Berkeley to conduct a life cycle analysis of medium voltage cables. As a result, PG&E has developed ways that suppliers can reduce the carbon footprint of these products.

We also continued to share best practices with other large investor-owned electric utilities through the Electric Utility Industry Sustainable Supply Chain Alliance, which also named PG&E’s senior vice president and chief procurement officer vice chair of the Alliance for 2010. We led a team that developed recommendations to reduce the overall life cycle impact of wood utility poles. As part of an Alliance team, we also conducted a survey of electric utility industry suppliers to better understand how they are working to reduce their overall impact.

PG&E has added environmental criteria to the scorecards we use to evaluate our top tier suppliers. Moving forward in 2010, we have set a goal to include green criteria in 75 percent of our scorecards and requests for proposals. We will also continue to collaborate with suppliers and industry partners to promote environmental leadership throughout our supply chain.