At AEP, we have a long history of engaging our stakeholders in the decisions we make, such as siting new transmission lines, building substations, developing customer programs and services, retiring power plants and planning for customers’ resource needs. Our stakeholders bring experiences, knowledge and perspectives that help inform our decision-making. On January 1, 2022, we adopted a new environmental and social justice (ESJ) policy to formalize and strengthen our commitment to proactive and meaningful stakeholder engagement, and ongoing consideration of the environmental and social impacts of our decisions.
The issue of ESJ has been highlighted in recent regulations, executive orders and legislation requiring a review of possible environmental and social inequities, particularly among historically marginalized communities. In response, we established a cross-functional ESJ Steering Committee representing diverse aspects of our business. The Steering Committee initiated extensive research, seeking input from internal and external stakeholders and conducting comprehensive benchmarking with industry peers to inform the development of our new policy.
Why This Matters
ESJ provides an opportunity for us to demonstrate our cultural focus on doing the right thing every time for our customers by ensuring investment equity as we modernize the power grid. We have an opportunity to lead by example in our industry by keeping ESJ top of mind as we proactively engage with stakeholders. This engagement helps to foster the trust of AEP’s employees, customers, investors, regulators and other key stakeholders. In addition, in today’s tight labor market, we believe AEP’s commitment to ESJ will help us attract and retain top talent. Job seekers increasingly value corporate citizenship and are actively looking for companies that focus on issues such as ESJ.
Defining ESJ at AEP
AEP defines ESJ as a commitment to consider the environmental and social impacts of our recommendations and decisions as we serve our communities, especially low-wealth communities, communities of color and other historically marginalized communities.
As part of our focus on delivering safe, clean, reliable and affordable electricity, we are dedicated to meaningful engagement with customers and communities to ensure fair treatment and equitable decision-making. Meaningful engagement involves listening, learning and seeking opportunities to partner with our stakeholders to incorporate ESJ into the decisions we make about existing and planned facilities, programs and services.