Earlier this month, Consolidated (Con) Edison issued its 2010 Sustainability Report, detailing its long-term business strategy, an approach that relies on energy efficiency, renewable energy and recycling.
Con Edison is a New York-based utility that employs 15,000 employees, has $13 billion in revenues and holds $36 billion in assets. The company provides nine million people with electricity while balancing sustainability principles based on six fundamental points:
- Insist on green behavior from employees.
- Encourage green behavior to external stakeholders.
- Meet customers’ demands for a greener lifestyle through innovation.
- Partner with governments to create policies that match Con Edison’s sustainability vision.
- Develop an infrastructure for renewable energy.
- Include environmental and social values within its decision making process.
What are the results so far?
Con Edison has reduced greenhouse gas emissions by 35 percent since 2005. In addition, the utility began construction on the Northeast’s largest solar farm in Pilesgrove, NJ. One of its subsidiaries, Con Edison Solutions, sold 25 percent more renewable energy in 2010. And, Con Edison says it now recycles over 90 percent of the non-hazardous waste generated throughout the organization.
It’s also interesting to point out the recognition Con Edison has received because of its leadership on climate change issues. The Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) now ranks Con Edison #1 among all S&P 500 companies for its work to reduce carbon emissions through strategy, corporate governance, and taking action. What’s more, for the second year in a row, Con Edison is on the Dow Jones Sustainability Index, just one of 12 American utilities to make that list.
Con Edison’s sustainability strategy proves that a utility can be profitable and be green. In fact, the company’s revenues, net income, and earnings per share all increased between 2009 and 2010. So, investors are taking notice.
“As investment markets are paying more attention to corporate sustainability, our position on the Dow Jones Sustainability Index is attracting new investors,” Con Edison’s CEO Kevin Burke and Con Edison’ VP Environment, Health and Safety Randolph Price said in the report. “Our energy-efficiency programs embody our sustainability efforts. The programs offer incentives and rebates to help customers invest in energy-saving upgrades to homes and businesses. Our customers benefit by saving energy and money, and the environment benefits from fewer power-plant emissions. We, in turn, are able to defer expensive infrastructure investments, which keep our expenses down for customers and shareholders.”