Fine Print: Public Service Enterprise Group Sustainability Report

Tom Johnson | September 9, 2011 | Energy & Environment
PSEG report earns company a spot on the Dow Jones Sustainability World Index

What it is: The Newark-based company’s efforts to document its use of resources to meet society’s needs while limiting impact on the environment. PSEG aims to provide safe, reliable, economic and green energy to achieve the goal.

Why it is worth noting: The owner of the state’s largest gas and electric utilities and one of the biggest power suppliers in the region, its third annual report on sustainability helped it earn a spot on the Dow Jones Sustainability World Index, one of only two utilities (along with Duke Energy) in the United States to earn that distinction.

Why people pay attention to the index: The index, along with another one charting sustainability in North America, serve as benchmarks for investors who integrate sustainability considerations into their portfolios. They are important indicators of success, given that companies that embrace sustainability are consistently among the highest performers in their industry. Recognition by the index attracts investors who seek to support companies committed to adopting sustainable business practices.

What PSEG says about the distinction: “Businesses often define sustainability in terms of the environment, but it is about much more. It means considering our overall impact on the people and communities we serve, while striving to grow a strong, solid business,” said Anne Hoskins, PSEG’s senior vice president of public affairs and sustainability.

What is the impact on the company: Each year, PSEG pays $1 billion in compensation to workers in the state; spends $1 billion with New Jersey businesses; sends out $100 million in dividends to 86,000 shareholders in the state; pays $375 million in local and state taxes; and gives more than $7 million to charities and nonprofits in New Jersey. Its utility, Public Service Electric & Gas, also invested $700 million in accelerated gas and electric infrastructure upgrades.

Why the company ranked well: PSEG has embraced renewable energy and energy efficiency as a way to make money and reduce its carbon footprint. It has invested $277 million in energy efficiency projects and demand response — efforts to reduce energy use during peak demand — and another half billion in its Solar 4 All program, which is expected to produce 80 megawatts of solar power by the end of this year. It also earned marks for cleaning up its two-coal fired plants in New Jersey by installing new pollution controls at the facilities.