Expanding access to clean energy starts with engagement
We want to help communities become safer and ready for the future. But for too long, the energy industry has underserved some customers, including people of color, people experiencing low to moderate incomes, customers living in rural areas and diverse businesses and contractors. We’re working to change this.
To that end, Energy Trust’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Plan, published in early 2022, is helping the organization do a better job of meeting these customers’ needs. At the core of the plan is a recognition that we must build trust with communities through listening, partnership and co-creating solutions that meet their needs and the needs of their community members.
The plan has five goals:
- Increase representation and readiness
- Shift and sharing leadership and power
- Increase community capacity and investments in BIPOC, low-income and rural communities
- Increase transparency and accountability
- Deepen engagement with people of color, low-income and rural communities
For each goal, staff proposed metrics to track Energy Trust’s progress, such as dollars invested in community-based organizations serving communities of color, low-income and rural communities, and the number and quality of co-created program offers with specific communities or community organizations.
In 2022, staff held a series of listening sessions with members of the communities to get feedback on these metrics and consider changes.
Stakeholders — who included representatives from nonprofits serving rural and Portland-area communities, workforce development groups and tribal members — emphasized the need for meaningful collaboration and relationship building. They also called for greater accessibility and outreach to help customers and businesses overcome barriers to participating in Energy Trust offers.
This feedback is helping Energy Trust determine which data points to track on in 2023.