Approach to Sustainability Governance
We are committed to creating positive, long-term value and emphasizing sustainable performance, as expected by our stakeholders. Consistent with our commitment, we conduct business in a socially responsible and ethical manner, including managing our impact on the economy, the environment, and the communities in which we operate. Since becoming a standalone midstream company in 2018, we have built a corporate culture that takes into account sustainable operations, encourages improvements where appropriate, and fosters honest and proactive communication with our stakeholders. Our dedication to sustainability starts at the top with our Board of Directors and continues through our everyday processes and practices.
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. The Board reviews key ESG policies and commitments, such as our Climate Policy published in 2021, and regularly receives, directly or through Board committees, updates regarding our sustainability program and pertinent ESG topics, including from our Chief Sustainability Officer (discussed below) and broader management. As part of exercising oversight responsibility, Board members also actively oversee our ESG performance, provide insight on management and process improvements, and review our annual Corporate Sustainability Report. Read more about our Board’s structure and oversight responsibilities on the Corporate Governance page of this report.
Chief Sustainability Officer and Executive Oversight
In 2020, Equitrans appointed a Chief Sustainability Officer (CSO) to reinforce our commitment to sustainability. The responsibilities of the CSO position include the development, oversight, and management of our sustainability program, including the assessment and management of related risks and opportunities and the establishment of related policies, standards, and statements. Additionally, the CSO is responsible for furthering the Company’s ESG reporting efforts. Accordingly, the CSO collaborates with employees across the Company to ensure the continued development and implementation of Equitrans’ sustainability program and the accurate and timely provision of relevant information to stakeholders, reporting regularly to our Board of Directors regarding these matters. To manage our most critical ESG and sustainability topics, our CSO directly oversees our internal, management-level ESG committee and related cross-functional working groups.
ESG Committee and Working Groups
Equitrans has established a management-level ESG committee and seven ESG working groups to help implement and manage the day-to-day efforts and actions related to our most material ESG and sustainability topics. The CSO and ESG committee outline initiatives to maintain and improve our sustainability program and the ESG working groups develop plans to implement the initiatives.
During the implementation process, the ESG committee is responsible for providing oversight and allocating appropriate resources to the ESG working groups. Six of the working groups were developed to align with our primary ESG and sustainability focus areas, as identified in our materiality assessment. The seventh ESG working group is a research and development committee that evaluates new technologies that may enable Equitrans to further incorporate aspects of sustainability into its operations. Our CSO directly oversees these ESG working groups through the ESG committee.
United Nations Sustainable Development Goal Statement
In 2015, all United Nations Member States adopted the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which outlines priorities for people and the planet to prosper. The key framework for this agenda is the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and associated targets, which represent the actions to pursue social, economic, and environmental sustainability.
As an energy infrastructure company, we understand that we play a vital role in meeting energy demand, which supports growth and development, in a sustainable manner. Equitrans’ Core Values set the foundation for our Sustainability Framework, which utilizes five pillars (Safety Leadership, Environmental Stewardship, Corporate Governance, Economic Impact, and Stakeholder Engagement) to define our approach to sustainability for our shareholders, business partners, communities, and employees.
In 2021, we formally announced our intent to align our business and operations with relevant SDGs through our United Nations Sustainability Development Goals Statement, which includes our commitment to environmental integrity, protection of environmental resources, and climate change mitigation. In addition, we incorporate the SDGs into our annual Stakeholder Engagement and Community Investment Plan. Lastly, Equitrans continues to demonstrate a robust governance structure for implementing our sustainability program, which includes incorporating our vision to focus on the SDGs. While each of the UN’s 17 SDGs is worthy of focus, for the short-term we have tiered our objectives to align with the practical aspects of our business, operations, and geographic footprint. Moving forward, we will continue to evaluate the full breadth of all relevant SDGs, with an expectation to enhance and expand our focus as applicable. Each year, we will prepare an annual progress summary that outlines actions taken to align our operations with the select SDGs. In 2021, the first progress summary was published covering both 2019 and 2020 operations.