Our stakeholders often have divergent views on how Duke Energy should meet future customer demand for reliable, affordable and increasingly clean energy. Their views surface locally, nationally and globally in response to a number of factors including new projects we develop, our long-range planning, changing legislative and regulatory policy, or in response to our enhanced products and services.
Our stakeholders expect us to engage with them on important issues. As an industry leader, Duke Energy has a rich history of working with a diverse group of stakeholders. Our past experience demonstrates that we get better outcomes through collaboration and engagement.
During 2017, we continued to improve our stakeholder engagement capabilities and governance. We are focusing on common processes and tools, best practice sharing and improved alignment across our jurisdictions. Our External Relations Council, comprised of company leaders, continues to provide oversight and coordination of stakeholder interactions at the national, state and local levels.
We will soon have Advisory Councils active in all of our states. These councils provide an opportunity for Duke Energy state presidents to meet three to four times a year with representatives of diverse stakeholder groups and engage in two-way dialogue. These councils enable stakeholders to learn about our business and, more importantly, to provide their insight and advice to inform company plans.
Successfully working with stakeholders will continue to be key as we implement our vision of providing the energy solutions that customers value.
Our stakeholders include:
Local, State & Federal Government
Duke Energy’s approach to sustainability focuses on the issues that are most important to our stakeholders and to us. We identify issues from a variety of sources such as stakeholder feedback, surveys, thought leader perspectives, social and traditional media coverage, and shareholder proposals in our sector.
Another important input is research conducted by the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI). EPRI’s latest research, entitled “Priority Sustainability Issues for the North American Electric Power Industry,” was published in October 2017. It was based on extensive stakeholder interviews and helped validate our list of priority issues.
We have also mapped our priority issues to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which aim to “end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all.” Since their development in 2015, the 17 SDGs have gained traction with stakeholders concerned about sustainability issues. While there was alignment between our priorities and several of the SDGs, goals “Seven: Affordable and Clean Energy,” and “Thirteen: Climate Action,” are especially applicable to our company.
The most important issues include:
Affordable Energy – Keeping energy rates affordable for customers. This can be challenging given the need for investments to modernize energy infrastructure.
Air Emissions – Non-greenhouse gas emissions produced by energy companies, primarily sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides and mercury.
Biodiversity & Habitat Protection – Minimizing the impact of energy production on natural habitats and the species that depend on them.
Climate Change – A change in the average weather experienced at a location, including patterns of temperature, precipitation and wind, over an extended period of time. Stakeholders who are concerned that greenhouse gas emissions from human activities are influencing the climate want energy companies and other industries to reduce those emissions, plus make their operations more resilient to potential climate change impacts.
Community Engagement – Working with local governments and community leaders on energy-related issues by providing expertise and information. Partnering on projects and programs where appropriate.
Customer Engagement – Working with customers to improve the products and services we provide to better meet their needs.
Cybersecurity – Protecting the power grid and customer data from unauthorized access via cyberattacks.
Diversity & Inclusion – Diversity describes the many similarities and differences among people. Inclusion builds an environment that empowers employees to speak and be heard, and values their unique contributions.
Economic Development – Spurring growth in our communities by working with state and local partners to attract new and expanding businesses to our service territories.
Employee Development & Engagement – Collaborative effort between employees and their supervisors to provide employees with opportunities for growth and feedback so they can improve performance and succeed. Actively listening and responding to employee ideas and concerns. Ensuring employees have the information they need to understand the big picture.
Ethics & Compliance – Acting with integrity and complying with corporate values and applicable laws and regulations. Providing transparency to our stakeholders.
Innovative Products & Services – Identifying and investing in new technologies that will enhance our customers’ experience by providing them more control and convenience; improving affordability and reliability; and/or reducing our environmental footprint.
Reliability & Resiliency – Providing electricity without interruption. If interruptions occur, ensuring they are typically short. Also includes preparing for and responding to storms and making investments that enable the grid to better withstand severe weather events and other physical risks.
Risk Management – Identifying and mitigating risks inherent in our business in an integrated and informed fashion.
Safety – Operating in a manner that puts safety first in all that we do.
Water Quality & Availability – Minimizing the impact of electricity production on water quality, in terms of chemical, nutrient and thermal pollution. Ensuring the short- and long-term availability of water for electricity generation while supporting all other uses.