Sustainability Community Engagement and Diversity Inclusion Review BA

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Introduction:

Southern Company is an energy holding company that produces and sells electricity through various southern power subsidiaries. It’s headquarters is located in Atlanta, GA and the company has been a part of the Fortune 500 list for 24 years. It’s current rank is 126, up 19 spots from its ranking in 2017. The CEO is Thomas A. Fanning and he is in charge of 31,344 employees. Southern Company operates 11 regulated utilities serving an estimated 9 million people in nine different states. Recently, Southern Company and AGL Resources have merged into one company. This has created a competitive advantage for Southern Company; making them America’s leading U.S. electric and gas utility company. The combination of these two companies created the second largest utility company in the country by customer base. Southern Company has operations of nearly 200,000 miles of electric transmission and distribution lines and more than 80,000 miles of gas pipelines. The company also has a generating compacity of about 44,000 megawatts.

In terms of revenue, Southern Company brought in $23 billion in 2017. This number was good enough for a 15.8% increase in revenue from 2016 to 2017. However, their profit decreased by 65.6% from the previous year to $842 million. Their total assets are about $111 billion in total values. They have a 3.7% profit margin, and have seen their overall stock value drop $11.43 over the year. Overall, Southern Company is certainly not in a bad financial state but could use some improvements to change some of their declining financial metrics.

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Sustainability:

I found that Southern Company gives great consideration to its impact on the environment through its Corporate Responsibility Report. It has given money to five different funds that help to restore trees, protect endangered species, restore water quality, help fight a deadly bat disease, and renew rivers. I admire Southern Company as they are big on reducing GHG emissions. They want to supply reliable, affordable, safe energy to their consumers. I found it fascinating how the company has plans to have low to no-carbon operations by 2050. Southern Company has already made big strides in this category. In 2017, their GHG emissions were about 97 million tons of CO2. This number is 36% lower than the 2007 levels that Southern Company reported. This is a big reduction, and I’m impressed with the advancements the company made. For more than two decades, the company has lead several projects that reduce methane emissions, and has served as an education source for consumers. I also found Southern Company has also participated in federal emissions reduction programs. In order to achieve its long term goal of little to no carbon output, the Southern Company plans to continue to grow its renewable energy portfolio, optimize technology advancements to modernize its transmission and distribution systems, use natural gas for generation, and invest and research energy efficiency (Corporate Responsibility Report). These are all great ways to get better in this category, and I think Southern Company is doing a bunch of great things.

Southern Company is also looking to address emissions like nitrogen oxides, sulfur dioxide, and mercury. Since 1990, the company has reduced NO emissions by 89% and SO emissions by 98 percent. During this same time frame, electricity generation has increased by 30% to serve growing demand within the industry. Southern Company has also reduced mercury emissions by 90% since 2007. Its’ amazing how much they have decreased these numbers and I am amazed at their progress.

One resource that Southern Company relies heavily on is water supply. Between 2013 and 2017, the company’s thermoelectric plants withdrew an average of 3.7 billion gallons of water per day. They returned 93% of that water back to the source. Over that same time period, the company’s surface water withdrawal decreased by nearly 33%. Southern Company’s 33 hydroelectric facilities make up 6% of the company’s generating capacity. They provide more than 200,000 acres of lake and more than 5,000 miles of shoreline for public uses. The company also uses groundwater monitoring systems around CCR units that meet the EPA’s monitoring requirements. These help to remove trash and waste from water sources. I find it admirable how the company is focused on so many different environment impacts they may have, and how they are playing the game responsibly.

Community Engagement:

I have found Southern Company does a lot to give back to its customers and communities. The company has a Total Commitment initiative where they make an effort across Southern Company to contribute to independent funds, non-profit organizations, and foundations that impact arts and culture, health and human services, civic and community projects, safety, education, and the environment. The company gave around $52 million in 2017 to the community, and employees raised close to another $1.75 million. This money raised by employees goes to helping funds that they address as helping local community needs. I find it admirable how much Southern Company gives back to its community, and how they get their employees involved in the process as well.

I also learned about how Southern Company is big on volunteering. In 2017, 260 thousand hours were volunteered by employees across the company. That is a lot of volunteering hours, but the number could be higher as it only equates to about 8 hours per employee. Southern Company also has various programs focused on educational initiatives. One of these programs is For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology Robotics, which has employees volunteer to visit classrooms to teach students on STEM topics. I find this awesome, as education is one of the best things you can give back to the community.

Southern Company is also big on helping its customers. They have programs to help customers track electricity usage, assist low-income households, and give discounts to their customers that are 65 and up. It’s great to see the company is dedicated to going the extra mile for its customers, and I am impressed with their dedication. The company is also focused on creating new jobs and helping the economy. They have created 18,000 new jobs on average each year over the last five years. It’s good to see they are focused on having a positive economic impact, as it’s something a lot of companies overlook.

Diversity/Inclusion:

Reading their Corporate Responsibility Report, I found Southern Company is an equal opportunity employer and does not discriminate based on race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, disability, veteran status, genetic information, sexual orientation, or gender identity or expression (Corporate Responsibility Report). The company believes in having a diverse workforce. They support this statement with their various employee statistics. At Southern Company, 25.6% of their workforce is women, 26.4% of their workforce is minorities, and the average employees spends about 15 years at the company. While numbers are encouraging, I definitely believe they could be better and that Southern Company could play better overall. They are dedicated to being unbiased in their talent acquisition, but still have a way to go.

Southern Company also focuses on the well-being of their employees. They give out medical and dental benefits, life insurance, competitive vacation days, holidays and paid time off, as well as other benefits. The company also doesn’t discriminate how they give out these benefits; all employees are welcomed to them. I believe this shows how Southern Company is truly trying to be an equal employer.

Conclusion/Summary:

Through this report, I have found that Southern Company does a lot to help the environment and give back to the community. I am impressed with their various initiatives to be more eco-friendly and to try to help the environment. I was especially impressed with how the company gave back to the community, although I do believe each individual worker could give back more. I was impressed the least by their diversity and inclusion. While Southern Company prides itself on being an equal opportunity employer, it could get a lot better at having a more diverse workforce. Overall, the company is doing a good job in these categories and is doing the right thing by having a corporate responsibility report. However, they can always do better and I am interested to see where Southern Company goes from here.

Citations:

Corporate Responsibility Report. (n.d.). Retrieved October 11, 2018, from https://www.southerncompany.com/content/dam/southern-company/pdf/corpresponsibility/2017_Corporate_Responsibility_Report.pdf.

Southern. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://fortune.com/fortune500/southern/

Southern Company Homepage. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.southerncompany.com/

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Sustainability Community Engagement and Diversity Inclusion Review BA. (2020, Feb 10). Retrieved from https://papersowl.com/examples/sustainability-community-engagement-and-diversity-inclusion-review-ba/