Committing to America’s clean energy future

Alan Armstrong

The only way forward for energy companies is thinking—and acting—more sustainably.

Today, America faces an energy challenge: We must create affordable and reliable energy for our country, but we also must do this in a safe, sustainable and environmentally responsible way.

At Williams, we’re working to solve this issue every day—and have been for more than 100 years.

It’s not an easy task. We have to balance evolving customer demand and existing technology with sustainability goals and increasing concerns about the climate. But, as the largest midstream natural gas operator in the country, we’re used to complex challenges. We already handle 30% of the clean natural gas that is used every day to heat our homes, cook our food and generate electricity.

We are America’s clean energy partner; we’ve always risen to challenges, and we’re not going to stop now.

It is one thing to talk about creating a cleaner future—it’s another to act on it. That’s why we’ve crafted bold goals, and we’re constantly working to improve our environmental, social and governance (ESG) efforts. We’ve committed to 56% absolute reduction in emissions by 2030, and we’ve set an ambitious net-zero carbon emissions goal by 2050. Using technology that is available right here and now, we are on track to meet that goal. Every day, we reduce our methane emissions through leak detection and repair, we evaluate equipment upgrades across our infrastructure, and we constantly strive to improve.

We’re also exploring alternative energy options, including solar to power our infrastructure and renewable natural gas to reduce landfill and dairy methane emissions. And we are researching future breakthrough technologies in carbon capture, synthetic gas and hydrogen as a fuel source.

If it’s not clear, we take this goal very seriously. Williams was the first North American midstream company to establish a climate commitment, and we are leading the way on transparent reporting to ensure stakeholders can hold us accountable. We recently codirected an initiative through the Energy Infrastructure Council (EIC) to launch the first-ever Midstream Company ESG Reporting Template, which allows midstream energy companies to present their sustainability metrics to investors in a transparent way.

Beyond fueling America’s clean energy future, we’re also empowering the communities where we operate. We support STEM education that prepares students to conquer tomorrow’s challenges, and we’ve invested more than $100 million over the last decade in the neighborhoods we serve. Looking inward, we’ve formed a Diversity and Inclusion Council that guides our actions to ensure we’re recruiting and retaining a diverse workforce.

As a result of these efforts, Williams has been recognized across several key ESG ratings and rankings, which have nearly uniformly improved as we have enhanced our ESG program, disclosures and commitments. In December 2020, Williams was recognized by international nonprofit CDP with a “B” rating for our commitment to transparency and governance around climate change, putting us above our peer average of “C” and exceeding the North American regional average of “D.”

In other ESG rankings, Williams rated in the top 7% of our peer group by the Dow Jones Sustainability Index and, importantly, was added to the Dow Jones North America Sustainable Index for the first time. Similarly, ESG research firm Sustainalytics ranked Williams in the top 3% in our peer group.

We’re proud of this recognition, but we’re not going to stop now. We’re challenging others to join us and establish similar goals for a cleaner and brighter future.

In many ways, this work is difficult and takes an around-the-clock effort. But in the end, sustainability is simple: It is about striving to do the right thing.

That’s how Williams makes clean energy happen.