New Jersey Resources announced significant progress in advancing its sustainability agenda, including surpassing its goal of voluntarily reducing the company’s operational emissions in New Jersey to 50% of 2006 levels by 2030 – well ahead of schedule. Building on this accomplishment, NJR set a new emissions reduction target of a 60% reduction of 2006 levels by 2030 from its New Jersey operations.
“New Jersey Resources is helping lead the way to a clean energy future. Achieving a 50% reduction in our New Jersey operational emissions is an important accomplishment that shows our company’s strong support for New Jersey’s clean energy and climate goals,” said New Jersey Resources President and CEO Steve Westhoven. “Reaching this goal ahead of schedule was possible because of our long track record of prioritizing safe, reliable infrastructure investments to modernize our natural gas system in an environmentally responsible way.”
NJR reached its 50% by 2030 goal by making key investments in its natural gas delivery system, facilities and fleet that have substantially reduced emissions. To meet its new goal of a 60% reduction of 2006 levels by 2030, NJR will focus its reduction strategies on transitioning its fleet to low- or no-carbon fuels; continuing to upgrade its natural gas infrastructure; and, introducing decarbonized fuels, such as renewable natural gas and hydrogen into its supply. NJR’s emissions reduction target for its New Jersey operations remains squarely in line with the state’s Global Warming Response Act objective of an 80% reduction in 2006 emission levels by 2050.
The announcements were made at NJR’s annual shareowners meeting in conjunction with the release of its 2020 Corporate Sustainability Report, which highlights the effectiveness of NJR’s business continuity efforts in the time of COVID-19; the extensive support of its communities through volunteerism and corporate citizenship; the strength, independence and diversity of its board of directors; and, how infrastructure investments have made the utility’s delivery system among the most environmentally sound in the country, preparing the company to deliver decarbonized gas to support a clean energy transition.
Building on its commitment to sustainability and transparency on Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) issues, fiscal 2020 marks the first year in which NJR is reporting its progress through the Sustainability Accounting Standards Board framework and the American Gas Association’s ESG Questionnaire, in addition to the Global Reporting Index.
The company also announced a new partnership with the New Jersey chapter of The Nature Conservancy, a leading environmental group, on critical work to restore and preserve saltwater marshes in the Barnegat Bay watershed.
Salt marshes and sea grass are a vital part of New Jersey’s coastal regions and serve a critical function in addressing climate change. Tidal wetlands are effective at removing carbon from the atmosphere and storing it in soil for thousands of years. They also are an important tool in fighting the effects of extreme weather – serving as a natural barrier against wave energy and storm surge, reducing their intensity to protect people and property.
“Our company is not only taking aggressive and innovative actions to reduce emissions from our own operations, in-line with public policy goals, we are also working to help fight climate change and its effects through the restoration of salt water tidal wetlands in the Barnegat Bay,” said Westhoven.
Sea level rise is eroding the integrity and effectiveness of these critical ecosystems, and restoration of New Jersey’s salt marsh has been identified by the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection as a strategy to mitigate the effects of climate change.
“Since 2014, The Nature Conservancy and our partners have been piloting an innovative restoration technique that holds incredible potential for large-scale renewal of struggling marshes in New Jersey,” said Dr. Barbara Brummer, State Director of The Nature Conservancy’s New Jersey Chapter. “NJR’s support and partnership on this essential salt marsh restoration project comes at a critical time as we look to expand our work and identify restoration needs and plans for more than 80 marsh islands throughout the Barnegat Bay. We thank NJR for taking action and supporting this opportunity to make a real, long-term difference combating the effects of climate change. We believe our work together will have real, lasting benefits for the people, property and wildlife of the Barnegat Bay Watershed, and for our planet.”