Sustainable Electricity Program

About this report

This report quantifies and discusses performance by Canadian Electricity Association (CEA) members – on a range of metrics organized under five reporting pillars – for calendar 2018 and at least three preceding years. It describes CEA’s support for its members’ pursuit of sustainability and includes case studies illustrating specific member efforts to advance towards this objective.

The five reporting pillars were adopted in 2016 following a CEA materiality assessment. The objective was to identify those aspects of the Canadian electricity industry’s performance that are both most likely to significantly influence its future success, and of most interest to its stakeholders. This exercise also involved a reconsideration of which specific metrics provide the best basis for assessing member performance in relation to each pillar, and in some cases a refinement of the specific nature and scope of the metrics.

Data in this report therefore typically extends back to 2015, although in some cases further, and the disclosure timeframe will continue to be extended in future reports. Refinement of data collection, verification and analysis is ongoing each year, and in some cases has led to a restatement of results previously reported for years prior to 2018.

Given the breadth and size of the CEA membership, the results reported are broadly reflective of national industry performance.

CEA has attempted to capture and communicate member performance in a balanced fashion, including commentary on performance trends and on the reporting framework from a multi-stakeholder Public Advisory Panel (see page 12). Reader feedback is welcome and can be provided to:

Sustainable Electricity™ is a mandatory sustainability program developed and implemented by CEA Corporate Utility Members and the Canadian Electricity Association.

The program promotes the integration of sustainability in business decision-making and continuous performance improvement of CEA members. Together, CEA and Utility Members are committed to sustainable development, which is defined as:

Pursuing progressive business strategies and activities that meet the needs of the present, while enhancing the environmental, social, and economic resources that will be needed in the future.

Foundational elements

While the Sustainable Electricity™ Program is responsive to the diversity of its Utility Members, the program is founded on the following elements:

  • All Corporate Utility Members agree and adhere to the Sustainable Development – Corporate Responsibility Policy
  • All Corporate Utility Members report on their Sustainable Electricity key performance indicators, which are synthesized in an annual report
  • Individual company sustainability performance is verified
  • A Public Advisory Panel provides feedback on the members’ sustainability performance

Five pillars of Sustainable Development

Sustainable Development is supported by these pillars:

  • Low-Carbon Future
  • Infrastructure Renewal and Modernization
  • Building Relationships
  • Risk Management Systems
  • Business Innovation

Vision statement

Corporate Utility Members are trusted to provide energy services to current and future customers in an environmentally sustainable, safe, reliable, and cost-effective manner.


Integrate sustainability

Integrate and embed sustainability within company operations and business models.

Continuous improvement

Continuously improve environmental, social, and economic performance to meet our collective vision through innovative solutions, management approaches, and best practices.

Public acceptance and support for utility operations

Advance the public acceptance and support for utility operations through meaningful engagement, collaboration, transparency, and accountability.


Environmental stewardship

Manage facilities and operations through a risk-based approach that avoids or minimizes impacts on the environment (air, land, and water) and supports ecosystem protection and conservation of biological diversity.

Climate change mitigation and adaptation

Mitigate greenhouse gas emissions from facilities and operations, and adapt to the adverse effects of climate change on electricity infrastructure.

Employee, contractor, and public health and safety

Provide a safe and healthy workplace for employees and contractors, and promote public safety.

Human resources and workplace

Support fair recruitment, training, and talent retention processes that meet the needs of company operations while ensuring on-going employee satisfaction, well-being, and diversity.

Stakeholder engagement and transparency

Communicate and engage with stakeholders and partners in an open and transparent manner for all proposed and established operations and activities.

Indigenous engagement

Build mutually-beneficial relationships with Indigenous Peoples and communities based on trust and respect.

Economic value and community investments

Provide economic benefits to shareholders, communities, and regions in which companies operate.

Electricity demand, efficiency, and conservation

Produce, deliver, and use electricity in an efficient manner while promoting energy conservation programs, including for low-income customers, as applicable to company operations.

Infrastructure renewal and modernization

Invest in the renewal and modernization of generation, transmission, and distribution systems to meet the current and future energy needs of customers in a safe, reliable, and cost-effective manner.

Business model pressures

Engage and work collaboratively with utility regulators, policy-makers, stakeholders, technology providers, and supply chain partners to meet evolving customer expectations and business requirements.

Supporting elements

Standards implementation

All Corporate Utility Members must have an Environmental Management System consistent with ISO 14001:2004. No external registration is required.


All Corporate Utility Members must undergo verification of their performance once every four years.


Participation in the Sustainable Electricity™ Program is a condition of membership for Corporate Utility Members.