California Water Group Reports on ESG Progress

Lara AgnewJune 26, 2023
by Lara Agnew, ESG Program Manager

For us, ESG—Environmental, Social, and Governance—is shorthand for doing the right thing, a value that has been foundational to this Company since our inception nearly a century ago. These three letters represent our commitment to identifying and mitigating risks to the business; taking care of people and the planet; holding ourselves to the highest ethical standards; and enhancing the quality of life for our stakeholders by being the best and most responsible water and wastewater utility we can be.

While there has been political debate about the benefits of ESG, we remain focused on it because we believe that doing so is in the best interests of our business and our stakeholders. Our ESG program is not politically motivated, nor is it an excursion from our proven business strategy. As a water utility, ensuring the integrity of a safe, clean, reliable, and affordable water supply while enhancing the quality of life for our customers, communities, and employees is woven into the fabric of our business.

California Water Service Group (Group), our parent company, recently released its annual ESG Report for its subsidiaries. We are pleased and proud to report on the continued strides and contributions we have made toward creating a more equitable and sustainable future together with our stakeholders and customers.

In previous reports, we tackled the immediate opportunity to formalize our ESG strategy, from memorializing sustainability, citizenship, and corporate responsibility principles throughout our strategic framework, to setting meaningful objectives and establishing a formal ESG governance structure. Last year, we made great progress on carrying this strategy forward and have reported on key outcomes in the report.

Highlights from our 2022 ESG Report include:

  • Investing more than $6.1 million in water conservation rebates and programs for customers, helping them save about 180 million gallons of water per year.
  • Completing a fleet sustainability study to identify optimal replacement cycles and opportunities to downsize vehicles.
  • Completing an updated inventory of our greenhouse gas emissions in accordance with the internationally recognized Greenhouse Gas Protocol and committing to set absolute, science-based Scope 1 and Scope 2 emissions reduction targets in 2024.
  • Clearing fire breaks around key facilities to minimize risk of wildfire damage and installing additional backup generators to enable us to operate during power interruptions.
  • Developing and refining contingency plans for operating our water treatment plants when they are impacted by climate change-driven events, including fires, floods, and droughts.
  • Contributing about $1.58 million to charitable organizations with a shared purpose of working to enhance the quality of life in our communities.
  • Hosting seven events in our communities to help low-income customers take advantage of our rate assistance and other programs.
  • Providing unconscious bias training to 95% of our employees.
  • Conducting surveys and focus groups to measure employee engagement, and developing a more formal and robust employee communication strategy.

While the ethos of ESG manifests itself in all aspects of our business—from our ironclad commitment to high-quality water, to proactive infrastructure investment projects that ensure the resiliency and diversity of our water supply for generations to come—transparency is key to ensuring we hold ourselves accountable to high standards and sharing our performance with stakeholders.

Beyond our own strategic framework, we remain committed to engaging with regulators and community stakeholders to advocate for projects that help advance our ESG priorities and enhance the quality of life for our customers, communities, employees, and stockholders. As we look back on the year’s successes and strides, there is always more work to be done, and we look forward to consistently raising the bar for what it means to deliver safe and reliable water service to millions of people each day.