Bloom’s Head of Sustainability Reflects on the Latest Sustainability Report
By: Stephen Lamm, Head of Sustainability, Bloom Energy
On Earth Day each year, I take time to reflect on the state of the sustainability program at Bloom Energy, both how far we have come and what still needs to be accomplished. When I started as the sustainability lead almost four years ago, we had not yet disclosed the impacts of our work and we thought of our sustainability strategy as essentially our product strategy. As a clean energy company, our products are a big part of the impact we make in the world, but we’re also a manufacturer with a global footprint and several thousand employees. Thanks to the strong support from our leadership team, we’ve taken significant steps to establish environmental, social, and governance (ESG) related structures and enhanced programs all across the company. I hope those interested in our journey will take a look at our 2022 Sustainability Report and learn more about what powers us at Bloom.
Our efforts to compile details about the great work our teams are advancing across the company through our annual sustainability report is my favorite part of the year. We get to celebrate the achievements of our team, but also recognize the people driving its success. I am reminded that sustainability starts with each of us and that we’re all sustainability operatives at Bloom.
Our program gets incrementally more sophisticated every year and with it the chance to reduce our footprint and drive meaningful evolution of the energy sector. That’s something we’ve done a lot of historically, but will only continue through the expansion of our solution set to include a variety of decarbonized energy innovations critical to moving the sector into alignment with a net-zero trajectory.
So, this year we’ve updated our stakeholders on the progress we’re making to advance our core business as well as carbon capture, hydrogen, waste to energy, combined heat and power and marine solutions. Now, however, we have the ability to demonstrate our roadmap’s alignment with prevailing federal policy support delivered through the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) and Inflation Reduction Act (IRA). Further, we’ve highlighted the risk reduction immediate carbon reductions provide through analysis of the time value of carbon along with the avoided air quality and water impacts from our projects.
While the strategy is important, we won’t achieve our ambitions without continued evolution as a company. Therefore, we have enhanced our enterprise risk management program and our environmental management system to ensure we have the organizational capacity needed to execute as a dynamic business in a rapidly transforming sector.
Additionally, we’ve revamped our materiality analysis to ensure our programmatic roadmap is directly responsive to the issues our stakeholders care about most. The company is taking a closer look at our supply chain and continuing to improve our supplier engagement.
One programmatic highlight I’m particularly proud of is the realization of our first supply chain carbon reductions from our responsibly sourced gas program. Bloom was one of the first companies to announce a commitment to the establishment of the new certified gas market and through pioneering work with partners at EQT, MiQ and Equitable Origin have performed our first certificate retirements on behalf of our North American customers. The program has allowed us to reduce the lifecycle carbon intensity of the gas used in our systems by 50,000 tonnes. It is a great expression of Bloom Energy’s values to Be Bold, Be Agile and Be Inspired to deliver world-changing solutions.
In order for us to continue to live our values and transform our business, we need help from every employee. That’s why we have invested in enhanced training and safety programs but also why we conducted our first comprehensive employee survey and workshopped results with employees across the company. We are proud of the results, with 86% of employees strongly agreeing with our mission, but also now better understand what work we have yet to do - including deepening our programs focused on retention with an emphasis on inclusion and diversity. Already 68% of our US employee base is ethnically diverse including 42% of Directors and above and we will continue to embrace the benefits of a diverse workforce.
Finally, we are helping to build resilient communities, not just with our microgrid product offerings, but with substantial investments in domestic plant expansion in both California and Delaware that have led to the creation of 570 new clean energy jobs. We are expanding our philanthropic and direct community engagement and have established a formal environmental justice framework that can help guide our community engagement and commercial transition moving forward.
The energy sector is at a crossroads. The challenges abound, but when I recount the work our company is doing to provide transformative solutions and build our capacity as an organization capable of navigating the challenges ahead, I am optimistic, not just for our company, but for the sector, the climate and the world.
Thanks to all the Bloom Energy employees, leadership and partners that have enabled the work we are highlighting this year and I look forward to continued evolution in the year ahead.