JACKSON, Mich., Nov. 11, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Consumers Energy performed well against industry peers in sustainable business practices during 2012, ranking in the first quartile when compared to 24 utility companies from around the U.S.
"Consumers Energy has been a part of the fabric of Michigan communities for 125 years. Our goal with our sustainability practices is to be here for another 125 by ensuring that we treat all of our stakeholders -- customers, communities, and employees -- as long-term partners for our mutual future success," said Dennis Dobbs, Consumers Energy's vice president of generation engineering and services and executive sponsor of the company's sustainability initiative.
"We are seeking to make decisions and adopt sustainable practices today which consider and safeguard the social, economic and environmental interests of tomorrow's generation of Michigan citizens," Dobbs said. "Ensuring that future generations have affordable, reliable and increasingly clean energy is part of our Promise to Michigan."
As part of a corporate sustainability initiative, Consumers Energy contracted with Sustainalytics (www.sustainalytics.com), a Boston-based company, to help measure how its efforts rank compared to similar utilities.
A Sustainalytics analysis released this month shows Consumers Energy ranks in the first quartile among industry peers and is making significant progress toward its goal of industry-best performance by 2017.
Sustainalytics scored the companies by measuring 68 environmental, social and governance indicators. Consumers Energy benchmarked itself against combination electric and natural gas utilities of similar size and generation portfolios.
Sustainable companies generally strive to achieve economic prosperity, social responsibility, and environmental quality. Consumers Energy this year, for example, has begun to establish targets for air emissions and water usage, develop a more sustainable supply chain, and empower employees to make a tangible difference in their communities.
Consumers Energy approaches sustainability as creating business value in a way that also creates value for society by addressing its needs and challenges through innovation and partnerships. Pursuing sustainability requires viewing corporate and individual decisions through a broad lens to consider how they impact not only financial performance, but people and the environment as well.
Consumers Energy's sustainability progress for 2013 includes:
- Establishing targets for further reductions of air emissions. The company is voluntarily striving to reduce sulfur dioxide (SO2) emissions by 90 percent nitrogen oxides (NOx) by 80 percent from 1980 levels by 2020. Consumers Energy also is setting goals for reductions in water usage, and plans to report results in both categories.
- Developing a more sustainable supply chain to help improve the environmental and social performance of suppliers.
- Empowering employees to contribute even more to their communities and causes they care about. The company incorporated community service into employees' performance goals, and continued to offer financial support for communities and employees with grants.
- Implementing an overarching environmental management system to improve the company's overall environmental footprint.
Research shows companies operating in a manner that's environmentally sound and socially responsible out-perform their peers in the long haul. That's because those companies tend to weigh more factors, gather more diverse viewpoints and promote transparency when making decisions, Dobbs said. As part of the company's Promise to Michigan, he also noted its commitment this year to increase to $1 billion its purchase of goods and services as part of Pure Michigan Business Connect.
Consumers Energy, Michigan's largest utility, is the principal subsidiary of CMS Energy (NYSE: CMS), providing natural gas and electricity to 6.6 million of the state's 10 million residents in all 68 Lower Peninsula counties.
SOURCE Consumers Energy