Business for good

Behind the B: Environmental Justice

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Behind the B: Leading the Change

As we kick off B Corp Month, our team is reflecting back on our company’s impact as a business with a triple bottom line (people + planet + profit).

When we became a Certified B Corp in 2009, we signed a pledge to conduct all business as if people and place mattered, aspiring to benefit all by recognizing that we are all interdependent and thus responsible for each other and future generations. At the core of this pledge, we also commit to being (and leading) the change we wish to see in the world. 

Grounding ourselves in the B Corp pledge and our company’s mission of improving the way people make and use energy (human energy included), Environmental Justice is naturally an area that aligns closely with what we’ve been working toward since 2001 . 

What is Environmental Justice?

Here is Southern Energy Management’s definition:

Ensuring ALL PEOPLE have fair access to a healthy environment to live, work, and shine by addressing policies and actions that disproportionately affect vulnerable communities.

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Our Commitment

Southern Energy Management is committed to using our business as a force for good and advocating for Environmental Justice through four key initiatives: 

  • Improving Internal Processes
  • Supporting Community Partnerships
  • Leading with Education
  • Advocating for Inclusive Policy Making

Improving Internal Processes

Benchmarking, analyzing, and augmenting areas where we are selecting candidates and posting jobs to make it more diverse and inclusive.
We analyzed where our job postings were listed to diversify where we are selecting candidates from.

  • We analyzed where our job postings were listed to diversify where we are selecting candidates from. We’ve increased the number of places where we promote our job postings to over 65 locations. Some of these spaces include HBCUs, community colleges, trade schools, veteran groups, LGBTQIA+ boards, and more.  
  • We have taken a hard look at how our job posts are formatted and have implemented a new process for writing job descriptions with guidance around inclusivity, implicit bias, and harmful language.
  • We also have new SEM YOUniversity courses to train hiring managers on reviewing applicants and interviewing candidates through a Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion lens.

Supporting Community Partnerships

We  kicked off several community-based partnerships in 2021 with the goal of amplifying the work of local organizations around Environmental Justice: 

Stay tuned with our new community partnership blog series! 

Learn more about our community partnerships

Leading with Education

In 2021, we partnered with Lashauna Austria from Seeds of Change Consulting to provide Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (JEDI) training to all of our team members! We will continue growing with Lashauna in 2022, as she facilitates new opportunities for our team members to learn and converse around JEDI topics. 

  • In 2021, our team completed 279 hours of JEDI training. 
  • Our goal for 2022 is that 100% of team members attend at least 2 out of the 10 JEDI training sessions offered throughout the year.
  • We also contributed to the new student scholarship endowment for underrepresented undergraduate students in the Sustainable Technology and the Built Environment (STBE) program at Appalachian State University. Meet the first recipient!

Advocating for Inclusive Policy Making

Working with industry leaders and advocacy groups to improve the impact of the solar and building performance industries.
  • In 2021, we partnered with Advanced Energy to study the potential impact of widespread battery storage adoption in North Carolina. We look forward to sharing those results and how battery storage could impact our community soon. 
  • As we take a closer look at proposed net metering changes in North Carolina, we are working hard to advocate for homeowners across the state. Right now, we’re digging into the data and modeling the potential impact this will have for new and existing solar customers if changes go into effect in 2023. More details to come!
  • A representative from our Multifamily & Commercial efficiency team will be on the 2024 NGBS Green Building Standard Advisory Council to recommend improvements to the next iteration of the program. 
  • Our HERO Code Project Manager, Jamie Stapleton, found an obscure clause in the Energy Conservation and Residential Building Codes that was unjustly penalizing townhome HERO eligibility.  Working with several industry partners, Jamie identified the correct language changes, filed for an amendment to the code(s), and presented her case to the North Carolina Code Council. The council ruled in favor of Jamie’s proposed amendment and as a result we’ll see many more HERO eligible townhomes going forward! This means more incentives for builders to construct higher-performance townhomes.

Attendees sitting at a NC Code Council Meeting

Want to Learn More?

Do you believe businesses ought to benefit all stakeholders, not just shareholders? If so, the B Corp community is here for you! We’d love to connect and answer any questions you have about becoming a B Corp or the B Corp movement.

Ready to Get Started?

Reach out to our project teams to share your goals and learn more!