Natural Gas ESG / Sustainability

In response to growing interest in the role of natural gas in a sustainable energy future, the American Gas Association (AGA) has developed a set of gas utility-focused metrics for environmental, social, governance and sustainability (ESG/sustainability) to assist AGA member natural gas utility companies in their voluntary sustainability reporting.  The AGA natural gas ESG/Sustainability metrics, announced in 4Q 2018, are designed to dovetail with and build on the Version 1 ESG/Sustainability reporting template launched in 3Q 2018 by the Edison Electric Institute (EEI) for use by electric utilities. 

Partnering with EEI, AGA sought input from a broad working group of finance sector specialists focused on energy and natural gas, including asset management, ESG/sustainability, and investment banking, as well as buy-side and sell-side analysts.  We also sought input from a multi-disciplinary team of member natural gas utility executives, directors and managers with expertise in investor relations, sustainability, environmental reporting, and operations of gas distribution, transmission, and underground storage facilities.  The result is a short set of natural gas utility-focused, investor-driven metrics that are clear, transparent, and consistent. 

The financial sector experts on the work group advised that we should focus mainly on efforts to reduce methane emissions and should use data that is already publicly available, while making the data easier to find and use.  Accordingly, the AGA gas metrics for methane draw on data reported to and vetted by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) under the mandatory greenhouse gas (GHG) reporting rules for the natural gas sector, 40 C.F.R. Part 98, Subpart W.  

AGA natural gas utilities participating in this inaugural round of the AGA gas ESG/sustainability metrics are posting their 2017 data on their websites.  Please see below for hyperlinks to member company websites where they have posted their data using the inaugural Oct. 2018 Version of the AGA gas ESG/Sustainability metrics.  In 3Q 2019, EEI and AGA plan to more formally merge the AGA gas metrics into a Version 2 ESG/Sustainability Template, for use in reporting 2018 data. 

We believe this data will illuminate the commitment of individual companies to emissions reduction and sustainability, just as the national data shows gas utilities as a whole have made great strides in enhancing their sustainability.  EPA’s annual inventory of U.S. GHG Emissions shows that methane emissions from natural gas distribution systems in the U.S. declined 75 percent from 1990 to 2015, and that the natural gas emissions rate from distribution systems across the country is now less than 0.1 percent of annual production volumes.  EPA’s inventory also shows that from well to customer, the industry-wide natural gas emissions as a rate of production (the “leakage rate”) is down to 1.2 percent—a level still well below even the most stringent thresholds for immediate climate benefits from coal to gas switching.

AGA Voluntary Gas Utility ESG/Sustainability Reporting Metrics Oct. 2018 Version

                Qualitative Section        View the introduction and qualitative section

                Quantitative Section      View the qualitative metrics and definitions

Additional Resources

News release announcing AGA Gas ESG/sustainability metrics

EEI/Sustainability Website

AGA Member-Only ESG/Sustainability Resources and Documents

AGA Contacts

Jake Rubin
Senior Director, Public Relations and Executive Communications, 202-824-7027

Gary Gardner
Vice President, Corporate Affairs & Corporate Secretary, 202-824-7270

Pamela Lacey
Chief Regulatory Counsel, 202-824-7340

AGA Member Company ESG/Sustainability Links