It was good to see the growing emphasis on biodiversity during Climate Week, not only with the anticipated launch of the Taskforce on Nature-related Financial Disclosures’ (TNFD) recommendations, but to see the enthusiasm from investors and companies alike to discuss and understand the interconnection between natural resources and climate.
Biological diversity — or biodiversity — is the variety of life on Earth, in all its forms, from genes and bacteria to entire ecosystems such as forests or coral reefs. It is essential for the processes that support all life on Earth, including humans. And, the biodiversity we see today is the result of4.5 billion years of evolution, increasingly influenced by humans. In fact, according to the United Nations, over half of global GDP is dependent on nature. More than 1 billion people rely on forests for their livelihoods, and land and the ocean absorb more than half of all carbon emissions.
That’s also true, of course, in the Garden State. New Jersey is a biologically diverse region, home to abundant wildlife that require special habitats in limited supply. That biodiversity also creates our strongest natural defense against climate change, so it’s critical to protect it.
Our guiding principle for biodiversity is “no net loss,” and, where possible, have a net positive benefit.
As a result, our efforts to protect the environment are integrated into what we do. This includes strategic planning and longstanding initiatives such as our Estuary Enhancement Program, which has restored thousands of acres of marshlands in southern New Jersey and neighboring areas along the Delaware Bay. We also partner with wildlife agencies and conservationists on research studies, best practices, support programs and regulatory efforts designed to protect wildlife and their habitats.
We are focused on promoting and enhancing biodiversity through natural resource conservation, while continuing to operate in a safe and reliable manner. Not only do we commit to conserving biodiversity in our operations, we also continually work with external partners through corporate investment and philanthropy to support and enhance important biodiversity areas and habitats and to make sure we mitigate our exposure to nature-related risks as well.
Doing our part to protect New Jersey’s diverse wildlife is just one reason we work to foster a harmonious balance so that plants and wildlife can thrive while we safely maintain nearly 1,200 miles of the electric transmission right-of-way needed to deliver reliable energy. From building safe “critter crossings” near construction sites to using special helicopters instead of trucks to transport crews and equipment to environmentally sensitive areas, we work to be good stewards of the environment while upgrading and maintaining our electric system.
Through our commitment to biodiversity, we strive to:
- Address present and future considerations and competing objectives to avoid and minimize negative impacts on biodiversity. If the impacts cannot be avoided, we seek to reduce the damage and mitigate their effects.
- Assess impacts on biodiversity and habitats such as bird interactions with power lines, pollinator habitat loss, vegetation management and construction and then adapt strategies and plans to address these issues.
- Engage with local communities, academics, conservationists and regulatory agencies with expertise in biodiversity when planning, building and operating energy infrastructure. This helps ensure we are doing all we can to protect and enhance biodiversity.
- Implement mitigation strategies when we have residual impacts that respect the “no net loss” principle of biodiversity and, where possible, have a net positive benefit.
- Conduct environmental impact studies, as needed, to assess the effects on biodiversity.
- Report regularly on performance and aim for continuous improvement in our biodiversity programs, sharing best practices.
We all have a crucial role to play in the fight against climate change. Now is the time for companies to step up and align their strategic priorities to focus on the future of the planet.