Chief Sustainability Officer Message
As Chief Sustainability Officer for Equitrans Midstream Corporation, I am often asked how we balance our natural gas business and sustainability strategies. For Equitrans, business excellence and sustainability are intertwined in our Vision, Mission, and Core Values — and put into action by our employees who work every day to ensure that we incorporate environmental, social, and governance (ESG) principles in all we do. In 2022, our sustainability journey demonstrated that we can cohesively pursue sustainable goals as we continuously work to improve performance and achieve business results.
Since our inception as a standalone, publicly traded company, Equitrans’ employees have embraced the importance of elevating our ESG performance — diligently working to set the course for Equitrans to be a more sustainable business enterprise as we transition to a lower-carbon future. With the continued evolution of our sustainability program, our work during the past year focused on the development of several ESG-related projects aimed to build upon and strengthen our foundation. While the collective benefits of these projects may take several years to be fully realized, we believe the advantages will be pivotal for the future success of our Company.
For the past two years, our methane reduction efforts have focused on the conversion of pneumatic controllers at our compressor stations. This program has been successful and, as of year-end 2022, has achieved an annualized reduction of more than 2,000 metric tons of methane. Together with other methane reduction initiatives, we are close to the midpoint of our 2030 target for a 50% reduction in Scope 1 and Scope 2 methane emissions.
To assist in meeting our climate goals, we are also proactively adjusting our business planning and operational processes to include the adoption of practices that enhance our methane emission mitigation efforts. For 2023, we are focused on optimizing compressor station blowdowns to efficiently manage the downtime required for maintenance while also achieving effective mitigation of methane emissions. We expect the overall methane reduction benefits associated with this work will be transformative in the years to come.
We are also undertaking efforts to develop a formal environmental management system (EMS), which is intended to provide a formalized framework to manage our environmental risks and opportunities, in turn, improving our environmental stewardship capabilities. Our EMS is designed to create enterprise-wide ownership for environmental performance, versus relying on our environmental team to be the sole driver of our stewardship efforts. During 2023, Equitrans will continue working to implement the EMS, with the ultimate goal of ISO 14001 certification and third-party verification in the future.
At Equitrans, the safety of our employees, contractors, and communities is paramount in everything we do. And while safety will always be our top priority, our ability to create sustainable value for all stakeholders is driven from the inside out and begins with our employees. Equitrans is committed to maintaining a diverse, equitable, and inclusive workplace — one that engages employees in a manner that supports our business objectives and sustainability goals.
Our vision for sustainability provides an internal focus on workforce collaboration while also seeking to foster proactive engagement with external stakeholders and communities. In 2022, with this objective in mind, Equitrans adopted an Environmental Justice Policy and recently completed training for our Board, executives, and employees as the first step to embed environmental justice into our business operations. As outlined in this Policy, our goal is to provide for the fair treatment and meaningful involvement of all people in any public process involving our operations regardless of race, color, national origin, or income. We believe that by bolstering our efforts to provide greater accessibility to stakeholders, build stronger working relationships, and create positive outreach opportunities — we are better able to build thriving communities.
The commitment to our sustainability program is an element of our day-to-day business and operations – and is incorporated in the overall management of our Company through the full support of our executive leadership team and the active engagement of our Board through our Health, Safety, Sustainability and Environmental Committee.
As we strive to provide transparent, accurate, and meaningful disclosure of our sustainability efforts to our employees, our Board, and to all stakeholders, it is critical that we pursue a higher level of due diligence in our ESG reporting. To that end, we are developing an internal ESG operating model to enhance our data collection, data management, and auditing / assurance framework, as related to the disclosures in our CSR and other ESG reports. We are also implementing further improvements to our control environments for the information used to calculate Scope 1 and 2 GHG emissions.
To enhance our business risk process, we are working to better align our ESG reporting with the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) framework. Building upon the TCFD-readiness assessment completed in 2022, Equitrans is taking the next step by conducting two TCFD risk scenario analyses — physical risk and transition risk. To demonstrate the importance of this project, Equitrans included a ‘Sustainability-TCFD’ metric in the Company’s 2023 Short-Term Incentive Plan.
In Closing . . .
We believe our sustainability journey is an essential component of our license to operate. This requires continued vigilance, commitment, and an unshakeable focus on our long-term vision to ensure that Equitrans thrives in a lower-carbon future, not only as a company but as a member of the community. We also recognize that not all may go as planned, and, when faced with the unfortunate circumstances of events such as our Rager Mountain storage well incident, we will take accountability for our actions and implement lessons learned, with the resolve to safely and responsibly maintain our operations for all generations — today and tomorrow.
Todd L. Normane
Vice President, Chief Sustainability Officer and Deputy General Counsel
Our Sustainability Framework
As our Core Values define who we are as a Company, our corporate sustainability framework incorporates these values into our five sustainability pillars, which define our overall approach to sustainability.
First and foremost, safety leadership is always our top priority — above all else. For Equitrans, the safety and well-being of our employees, contractors, and community members takes precedence and we believe that the execution of our business strategy is not successful unless Zero Is Possible — our staunch belief that workplace injuries are preventable. Everyone at Equitrans has a collective responsibility to exhibit safety leadership to realize success and, most importantly, create a workplace where Zero Is Possible. This mindset extends beyond our workplace as we are committed to supporting the safety of community members and other stakeholders.
Environmental conservation is incredibly important to Equitrans, and, together with our world-class safety culture, our Zero Is Possible mentality includes environmental protection. We strive to meet or exceed both expectations and regulatory requirements. To accomplish this, we work to incorporate sustainable practices, such as utilizing innovative technologies to enhance our emissions reduction program and optimizing our natural resource use. We continuously evaluate opportunities to improve our environmental performance, with a focus on the air, land, and water environments in which we operate.
Our commitment to upholding transparent corporate governance principles bolsters our stakeholders’ confidence and trust in Equitrans. This commitment is shared by our highest governance body, Equitrans’ Board of Directors, which is responsible for overseeing the management of our business activities and affairs. Our Board of Directors, acting through its committees, oversees Equitrans’ policies, programs, and strategies regarding corporate social responsibility and sustainability, including ESG matters and related risks and opportunities.
Our stakeholders provide respected insight into the operation of our business. We believe that maintaining an open, transparent, and honest dialogue with our diverse group of stakeholders enables Equitrans to better identify process gaps and implement strategies to swiftly address matters of concern. Prioritizing the issues most relevant and material to our stakeholders informs our decisions to implement additional ESG practices.
Equitrans delivers clean, affordable domestic energy; supports economic development in local communities; creates direct and indirect job opportunities; and generates tax revenue to support state and local governments, all of which positively contribute to the economy. We engage with community organizations and invest in initiatives to promote safety, health, environmental, economic, and cultural development, and we consider environmental justice principles for the fair and equitable distribution of benefits generated by our operations.