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Walking the walk: How Williams puts climate-friendly words into actions

Alan Armstrong

As we continue to experience the devastating effects of climate change across the globe, an increasing number of companies have loudly touted their environmental efforts.

At Williams, we’re letting our work do the talking.

We are one of the nation’s leading energy infrastructure companies, and we have long realized that this critical role brings great responsibilities. That’s why Williams was the first North American midstream company to commit to actionable climate targets, and we’ve spent tens of millions of dollars to ensure that we’re leading our industry in providing low-cost, low-carbon energy. We incorporate environmental stewardship into every step of our decision making, and we’re committed to leveraging our large-scale natural gas network to support a clean energy future.

Our efforts include reducing our company-wide Scope 1 and Scope 2 emissions by 47% since 2005, which will help us meet our 2030 goal of reducing our emissions to 56% below that year’s levels. Our overarching goal is to be carbon net-zero by 2050, and we’re well on the way to achieving this milestone.

Our environmental initiatives incorporate every member of the Williams team into the effort. For instance, our company-wide 2022 incentive program includes reducing our total methane emissions by 5% from our three-year average, which connects every employee to our long-term commitment to safe, reliable, and environmentally friendly operations.

While much of our work involves natural gas, we also realize the important role that renewable energy will play in our future. That’s why we advanced 10 solar projects to the permitting phase in 2021 alone, and we will create many more of these projects in the future. These developments, which include battery storage to help power our facilities, could soon offset our company’s total energy usage by up to 5%.

Other forward-thinking Williams work includes developing clean hydrogen and carbon capture and storage projects, as well as renewable natural gas (RNG) developments that derive energy from dairy farms and landfills. In 2021, we signed an interconnect agreement that will allow us to add up to 10 million cubic feet per day of RNG, which will bring our overall portfolio to nearly 25 million cubic feet per day. This is equivalent to removing 108,299 gas-powered cars from the road.

We realize the importance of developing innovative new technologies, so we established a corporate venture capital program that has committed some $40 million toward incubator funds and emerging technology platforms. One key initiative will overlay satellite monitors and blockchain technology on our core infrastructure to provide verifiable emissions data for real-time decision-making capabilities for Williams and our customers.

Our work isn’t limited to the world of energy infrastructure — we also help improve the actual physical environment. In northeastern Pennsylvania, we helped improve thousands of acres of beautiful forests and wildlands. We also provided funding to New York Harbor School, which enabled students to gain exposure to maritime field and environmental stewardship work. And with a grant from Williams, the Arbor Day Foundation planted more than 35,000 trees in forests in Alabama, North Carolina, and Virginia.

While we try to keep a low profile, it’s fair to say our efforts are getting noticed: The Dow Jones Sustainability Index ranked Williams number one in its peer group for 2021, and we were the only U.S. energy company to be included in the company’s world and North American indices. Demand for clean energy is only growing, and natural gas is an essential part of a low-carbon future. Williams will be there as we move forward into this new era, continuing to provide the best natural gas and energy resources for people across the United States.

Paid for by Williams Companies.