A clean energy future requires putting equity first

by | May 11, 2022 | Stories

At Exelon, concern for our climate is an inherent part of our company purpose – powering a cleaner and brighter future for our customers and communities – and we’ve taken many significant steps to move toward cleaner energy and decarbonization. From our Path to Clean initiative that will achieve net-zero operations driven emissions by 2050 to investments in award-winning technology designed to strengthen the efficiency, reliability and sustainability of the electric grid, we are always looking for a cleaner and brighter future. 

But we can’t talk about that future without making sure it’s cleaner and brighter for everyone. Transportation electrification is an equity issue. The enablement of Distributed Energy Resources is an equity issue. And as an essential public service, our Path to Clean GHG emissions goal has equity at its core. 

As energy providers, we recognize that we are indispensable partners in confronting climate change in the communities we serve. But we must do so in a way that includes under-served and under-resourced communities in technological progress. I always say, “We need to put more energy into our equity efforts and more equity into our energy efforts.”

But how do we do this? Equity means providing each person the resources and opportunities needed to reach an equal outcome–even if those resources or opportunities look different from person to person or group to group. Our efforts at Exelon are a working example of how climate efforts can be designed to ensure that the benefits of our actions are shared equitably—especially in vulnerable communities.

At the same time, we’re also acutely aware that we can’t leave behind the communities we serve when it comes to economic health either. If we want the future to be brighter for everyone, we have a responsibility to help our communities become economically stronger and more resilient. 

This is why at Exelon we are proud to sponsor the Climate Leadership Conference to meet and work with so many others leading the way to find proactive solutions to our climate challenges, and share some of the ways we are also committed to empowering the communities we serve, such as: 

  • Exelon spent $2.9 billion with diversity-certified suppliers in 2021, growing our total spend more than 56 percent from 2016 to 2021. We also recently launched a diverse supplier development program that will invest in a separate set of minority-owned businesses through grants, mentoring and leadership sessions.
  • A $36 million Racial Equity Capital Fund we launched last fall is now open for applications. The fund will invest in minority-owned businesses in the communities we serve. 
  • Our workforce development programs have been recognized by the Center for Energy Workforce Development, but more than that, they are creating family-sustaining jobs through STEM and vocational training for customers in our service areas. 
  • We announced $2.4 million in scholarships to 24 college freshmen selected for our HBCU Corporate Scholars Program, launched in partnership with the United Negro College Fund. Each of these students will receive up to $25,000 of need-based aid each year for four years as well as internships at Exelon and mentoring relationships with our executives.
  • We are collaborating with the Exelon Foundation in our 2c2i program to invest directly in innovative startups with the potential to help address climate change mitigation and build resiliency to health and environmental pressures in the most underserved communities within Exelon’s service areas.

Across Exelon, thousands of our team members are working directly on these important issues and programs and integrating equity considerations into how we do business. We don’t see equity as an issue on the periphery of our business. We take it as seriously as we do the delivery of safe, reliable, affordable—and ever cleaner—energy to our customers. That’s putting energy into equity and equity into energy.