Essential Publishes Latest Progress Toward ESG Commitments

Last week, Essential Utilities published its 2020 Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) report, and interactive microsite showcasing the key initiatives of Essential, Aqua and Peoples during 2020. This year’s report is particularly exciting, as it fully incorporates all of the Peoples operations and initiatives with Aqua’s, a transparent look at our progress made to date:

Water Quality

At Aqua, we opened a brand-new testing lab in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania. This state-of-the-art facility doubles the size of the previous lab, and helps our microbiologists and chemists keep up with advancements in water quality science. This lab continues to be one of only two commercial labs in Pennsylvania accredited to test for poly-fluoro alkyl substances or PFAS contamination in drinking water.

Clean Energy

Early in 2021, Essential announced that by 2035 we will reduce our Scope 1 and 2 greenhouse gas emissions by 60% from our 2019 baseline by using proven efforts and existing technology. This reduction is roughly the equivalent of the emissions from 80,000 cars on the road over the course of a year. So far, as of mid-year 2021, we have achieved a 5% reduction, a strong start towards our 60% target. Over the next 15 years, this rate of reduction will keep us on track with the Paris Agreement, which aims to limit the global temperature increase. As technology continues to rapidly develop, we will continually innovate to transform our operations and processes as we strive to achieve our ultimate aspiration of net zero. Essential remains on schedule to source nearly 100% of our electric power from renewables for our water and wastewater operations in Illinois, New Jersey, Ohio, and Pennsylvania by 2022.

Diversity, Equity & Inclusion

Also in 2021, Essential made a commitment to build on our foundation of diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI). We announced formal diverse employee and diverse supplier target, including a multiyear plan to increase our diverse supplier spending to 15%. As of mid-year 2021, we have achieved 9.6% supplier diversity. We also aim to reach 17% employees of color, which is based on a detailed assessment of the demographic makeup of our service footprint to ensure that our company’s workforce reflects the demographics of the communities where we operate. As of mid-year 2021, 14% of Essential’s employees are people of color.


The safety of Essential employees, customers, and communities serves as the foundation of our business and guides our actions. This past year, Essential established a cohesive safety program across our gas, water, and wastewater business. During the COVID-19 pandemic, that commitment to safety was at the forefront of every decision. Essential followed the guidance of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, along with state and local health departments, to address the constantly evolving situation and to protect our essential employees. We continued vital infrastructure and construction work to keep our communities safe, to keep services reliable, and to keep contracts with our subcontractors to ensure those in our communities could stay in their jobs.

Charitable Giving

In 2020, Essential’s charitable giving to 501(c)(3) organizations totaled $4.2 million. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Essential donated $290,000 to multiple food banks across our 10 states to help address a critical need in local communities. Thanks to employee donations and a match from our charitable trust, the Essential Foundation, our team was able to donate $800,000 to the United Way. As a utility, Essential is committed to making a long-term investment in the well-being of the communities we

serve, and to assisting the passionate community partners and nonprofit organizations that do the same.

Beyond just showcasing our progress and impact in the ESG space, our reports help in guiding our work to accelerate our sustainability efforts in the future – and we look forward to sharing them with you.

View The Report