Just Transition and Environmental Justice
As highlighted by the NJDEP, all residents, regardless of income, race, ethnicity, color, or national origin, have a right to live, work, and play in a clean and healthy environment1 . The NJDEP notes that historically, New Jersey’s low-income communities and communities of color face a disproportionately high number of environmental and public health stressors and, as a result, suffer from increased adverse health effects. New Jersey seeks to correct these outcomes by furthering the promise of environmental justice.
Our long-term climate strategy includes the following:
What is Just Transition?
The United Nations highlights that shifting to a low-carbon economy can unlock new jobs and opportunities, but that it must be done in a way that is as socially and economically fair as possible for everyone. A Just Transition is one that leaves nobody behind, and social dialogue and stakeholder engagement is at the center of decisions being made.
At their core, together, EJ and Just Transition represent involving all interested and impacted parties in shaping the future for the benefit of all. At PSEG, this is an opportunity for us to meaningfully include the communities we serve, including those often marginalized, in the things we do. This inclusion spans the places we hire from and the ways we train people, to how and from whom we purchase goods and services, to infrastructure planning and investment, to the organizations our corporate giving programs partner with, to the way we design customer-facing programs such as energy efficiency, to the day-to-day operation of our business, and more. By doing this, our goal is to give all of our stakeholders confidence that the power granted to a public utility is used responsibly and in the best interests of the communities we serve. This is how PSEG is helping to make the transition to a cleaner energy future work for everyone.
Our focus on EJ is guided by the following principles, which we are using to establish a formal business practice:
- Engagement: We engage in active listening, which further promotes a two-way dialogue with the communities and stakeholders we impact.
- Understanding: Through ongoing and project-specific engagement, and hiring where we work, we build a better understanding of the needs of our communities, including the needs of communities and customers of color, and those who face disproportionate burdens from the impacts of climate change and yet are least able to afford the transition to a clean energy future.
- Shared Value: With this deeper understanding, we strive to develop shared value and win-win solutions that not only address the needs of overburdened communities and customers, but also achieve environmental goals to preserve our planet and allow PSEG to continue providing safe, reliable, affordable and cleaner energy and infrastructure.
- Long-Term Sustainability: PSEG has served New Jersey customers and communities for more than 120 years. As we work to build a business that will survive well into the next century, we recognize that our own long-term sustainability demands that we include customers and communities in decisions that affect them; that we work to bring all our customers along with us in the journey toward a clean energy future; and that we harness the power of diversity to forge the best path forward.
These principles help strengthen our alignment with stakeholders and customers as we successfully put them into practice in the real world. It is easy to talk the talk, but PSEG is also walking the walk. Some recent successes include:
- As part of our Clean Energy Future initiative, we incorporated a jobs aspect to our energy efficiency program targeted toward disadvantaged communities. The program has hired more than 2,400 people from low to moderate income communities and providing those participants with workforce readiness, coaching, financial literacy education, wrap-around services, placement and other supportive services to help individuals land jobs with PSE&G’s contracted suppliers and employers. We have achieved this goal, but aren’t stopping there.
- Newark Switch is a new 345kV-rated gas-insulated switchgear station that was placed in service on May 2021. It replaced a 64-year-old legacy switching station, which was at the end of its useful life. The exterior design was developed with community input to compliment the surrounding neighborhood and incorporate mixed-use retail and housing. PSEG also prioritized local hiring and community development for the project, with local, minority-owned architectural and construction project management firms handling the project.
- The PSEG Foundation has a longstanding partnership with The Nature Conservancy (TNC) and supports its Greening Our Cities Program. This program integrates nature and nature-based solutions into the ways that cities and towns across New Jersey are responding to climate change. TNC is working with the City of Newark on a spatial mapping tool that provides data on the areas in the city with the greatest greening need, including where there are heat islands. PSEG Foundation funding has helped plant street trees in Newark’s areas of need.
- The PSEG Foundation supports the Arbor Day Foundation’s Energy-Saving Tree Program. In collaboration with the New Jersey Tree Foundation, PSEG employees plant trees in various urban communities throughout New Jersey and on Long Island. In 2022, PSE&G earned the Arbor Day Foundation’s Tree Line USA recognition for its work to protect urban forestry in its communities.
- The PSEG Foundation has contributed $3.1 million in funding to the Sustainable Jersey grants program for municipalities and schools over the past 12 years. The grant awards fund a range of projects, including food waste recycling; green infrastructure and sustainable landscaping; green fairs; composting; green business recognition; environmental resource inventories; outdoor classrooms and pollinator gardens.