Channa S. Perera
Vice-President, Policy Development
Canadian Electricity Association
February 19th, 2019 marks the 10-year anniversary of CEA’s Sustainable Electricity Program. The Canadian electricity sector is known to have a long-standing commitment to environmental sustainability and compliance. In 1997, CEA launched the Environmental Commitment & Responsibility (ECR) Program, which mandated each member utility to conform to the internationally recognized ISO 14001 Environmental Management System – the first energy sector association to make compliance a mandatory requirement of membership.
In 2009, the sector led the way once again by launching the Sustainable Electricity Program™. Now in its tenth year, the program aims to: integrate sustainability into company decision-making; foster continuous performance improvement; and advance the public acceptance and support for utility operations through meaningful engagement, collaboration, transparency and accountability.
The Sustainable Electricity Program promotes sustainability integration under the following five pillars:
- Low Carbon Future
- Infrastructure Renewal and Modernization
- Building Relationships
- Risk Management
- Business Excellence
Sustainability is achieved through strong leadership, commitment, innovation and long-term planning and vision. Leadership and investment in sustainability has paid dividends: air emissions are at an all-time low; engagement levels with employees, local communities, stakeholders, and Indigenous Peoples have significantly improved; and investments to and investments to renew and modernize infrastructure are also on the rise. Today, over 80 percent of the electricity generation mix in Canada is also Greenhouse Gas (GHG)-free, making it one of the cleanest electricity sectors in the world.
Our members have achieved these improvements by innovating, challenging the status quo, and leveraging their unique strengths. The success stories (initiatives) presented in this ‘Powering Sustainability’ series illustrate the diverse ways in which the sector is integrating sustainability into its activities. I hope you read this report, dive into these stories with interest and share your thoughts with us so that we can continue to improve our performance. We are happy to say that six of CEA’s utility members have received their recognition as a Sustainable Electricity Company. You can read more about Saint John Energy, Yukon Energy, AltaLink, Horizon Utilities, Hydro One, and Toronto Hydro’s accomplishment by visiting our website.
As a sector, we recognize that there is value in both the journey and the goal of sustainability. We also recognize that despite our successes, our journey is far from done. We are committed to working with you to make this journey a success. Let’s partner for a sustainable future.