The Roberts Environmental Center of Claremont McKenna College (CMC) has released a new study that provides an analysis of the social responsibility reporting efforts of the top 48 U.S. energy and utilities corporations on the 2008 Fortune 1000 list.
The reports score companies based on the reporting, intent, and performance of environmental and social sustainability efforts. The research, based on material released on the firms’ websites, found that one of the smallest energy companies, Mirant, did the best job of describing details of its socially beneficial actions and environmental management.
The researchers used the Pacific Sustainability Index, which uses a general systematic questionnaire to analyze the quality of sustainability reporting, to evaluate the company’s materials.
The energy sector study shows that Mirant scored the top grades for environmental reporting and environmental performance. The company earned the top spot in part by recycling 15 percent of coal ash generated during 2005 and planning to cut nitrogen oxide emissions by 65 percent over a seven-year period. The study indicates that Mirant can improve by reporting on waste including water and hazardous materials.
Environmental reporting covers a company’s emissions, energy sources and consumption, environmental incidents and violations, materials use, mitigations and remediation, waste produced, and water used. It also includes the use of life cycle analysis, environmental performance and stewardship of products, and environmental performance of suppliers and contractors.
Environmental performance scores are based on whether or not the firm has improved its environmental reporting performance, and whether the quality of the performance is better than that of the firm’s peers, according to the study.
The study also reveals that New Jersey Resource ranked No. 1 for environmental intent scores in the energy sector, which includes the company’s environmental organization, environmental policy and certifications, environmental aspects and impacts, choice of environmental performance indicators and those used by the industry, environmental initiatives and mitigations, and environmental goals and targets.
The report reveals that New Jersey Resources is committed to using less energy and educating its customers about power-saving practices. The company also has implemented conservation programs in addition to matching customers’ contributions for tree planting, and received the EPA Environmental Quality Award. However, the study notes that the company’s report did not provide specific visions, methods of implementation, or figures tracking its improvements and commitment to social and environmental sustainability.
Here is some more information from the chart.