ESG 2021 Annual Report

The Environment

At SJI, we are passionate about responsible stewardship of the environment.

Environmental Policy Statement and Principles 

SJI strives to be a leader in clean energy, energy efficiency, and carbon reduction. We believe protecting and sustaining the environment for future generations is a shared responsibility. As an energy company, we honor that responsibility by measuring our environmental impacts while making efforts to reduce or mitigate them.

We continue to assess and reevaluate our decarbonization efforts as the market and our company's strategy change. As a result, we have clarified one of our decarbonization goals to better reflect our goal of achieving carbon neutrality by the year 2040.

Environmental Principles

Our Environmental Principles explain the relationship between our daily operational activities and efforts to reduce our environmental impacts while maintaining compliance with all applicable environmental laws, regulations, and corporate policies. At SJI, we are committed to:

  • Sustainable business practices and designing our facilities to ensure we help protect the planet while minimizing the environmental risks to customers, employees, and the communities where we operate.
  • Providing sufficient resources to drive positive outcomes, including energy solutions to achieve our environmental obligations.
  • Utilizing suppliers and contractors with the same high environmental standards.
  • Reduction of climate change-driven risks and greenhouse gas emissions, through prudent, deliberate strategies to prevent pollution, minimize waste and mitigate adverse environmental impacts.
  • Continuous improvement of our environmental performance through employment of an Environmental Management System (EMS) that includes procedures for training and periodic assessments specifically designed to minimize waste and the use of hazardous materials, energy, and other natural resources.
  • Furthering our environmental stewardship through the development of the next generation of environmentally friendly energy technologies while aligning with regulatory agencies to develop scientific, fact-based environmental policies and regulations that reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Environmental Key Focus Areas

The commitment to our environmental principles includes the following key strategies focused on meeting SJI’s sustainability goals:

  • Climate-related Risks and Greenhouse Gas Emissions Reduction: As a distributor of natural gas, policy changes to address climate change and reduce greenhouse gas emissions have the potential for impacting SJI’s operations and financial performance. However, SJI continuously evaluates the potential for decarbonizing our utilities and invests in clean energy technology that reflects our commitment to environmental sustainability. We focus on initiatives that 1) reduce energy consumption and emissions, 2) accelerate deployment of renewable energy, 3) educate customers on maximizing energy efficiency, and 4) modernize operations through technological innovations. We are committed to continually reducing greenhouse gas emissions, fossil fuel consumption and achieving carbon neutrality by the year 2040. SJI plans to reach these benchmarks through infrastructure enhancements, clean energy investments, and increased energy efficiency and conservation programs.
  • Environmental Protection: It is our priority to protect the environment and minimize impacts on the community and landowners. SJI selects pipeline construction routes that avoid environmentally sensitive areas such as wetlands, wildlife habitats and their associated buffer zones. SJI also works with landowners and others in the community to choose routes with the fewest impacts to property.
  • Environmental Investigation, Remediation and Restoration: SJI oversees several long-inactive manufactured gas plants and sites owned by past or present subsidiary companies. SJI is committed to meeting its legal obligations to ensure that these sites are properly investigated and remediated and meet all environmental standards and regulations. When remediation of these sites is complete, we aspire to improve the surrounding community and help enhance public safety by restoring any disturbed infrastructure, curbs, sidewalks, pavement, and landscaped areas. At sites where degraded or impacted wetland areas are part of the scope of remediation, our restoration efforts allow for a “better-than-existing” approach to the restoration. Frequently, upon full restoration, these sites develop a more ecologically enhanced habitat than areas that were once degraded or consisted of a monoculture plant population.
  • Waste Minimization and Recycling: SJI works to minimize its waste production through source reduction, effective purchasing, chemical substitution, good housekeeping, and recycling.
  • Water Disclosure: Our goal at SJI is to maintain compliance with all environmental regulations and minimize any water impacts resulting from office use and utility operations. SJI reduces water use through low flow or waterless restroom facilities and filtered water stations that help reduce waste from discarded plastic water bottles.
  • Environmentally-friendly Workplace: As SJI continues to grow and expand, we constantly look for ways to minimize our environmental footprint with recycling programs, following Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) standards and processes, installing efficient HVAC equipment in newer and renovated offices, utilizing janitorial services that use green chemical products whenever possible, and using a cafeteria vendor that sources food products with an environmental sustainability focus.


SJI is a leader in clean energy, energy efficiency and carbon reduction initiatives, allowing us to expand on the progress we’ve made, while continuing to deliver on our mission to provide safe, reliable and affordable energy.

SJI has evaluated the potential for decarbonizing our utilities and, through it's non-utility subsidiary, SJI Energy Enterprises Group (SJIEE),  invested in clean energy technology that reflects our commitment to sustainability. We are focused on initiatives that 1.) reduce energy consumption and emissions 2.) accelerate deployment of renewable energy 3.) decarbonize the energy delivered to our customers 4.) educate customers on maximizing energy efficiency, and 5.) modernize operations through technological innovations.

With more than 200 compressed natural gas vehicles in SJI's fleet, the company continues its efforts to support the expansion of fueling station infrastructure to make the conversion to compressed natural gas (CNG) possible for more businesses and vehicle fleets. Currently, there are a total of 13 publicly accessible CNG fueling stations located in southern New Jersey, five of which are owned and operated by South Jersey Gas with one additional station under development.  Elizabethtown Gas has one public CNG station open for fleet access and a second station under development.

South Jersey Gas and Elizabethtown Gas are making efforts to displace natural gas in all company-owned and operated CNG stations with renewable natural gas (RNG) – a clean, sustainable fuel made from renewable methane. Additionally, we continue to make investments in certified responsible natural gas, which is certified based on several factors such as emissions, water sourcing, well integrity and community engagement, providing the assurance that producers upheld the highest standards of care throughout production.
In 2021, SJI took additional steps toward a cleaner energy future by moving forward with the development of several clean and renewable fuel projects, including:

  • Marina Energy, a subsidiary of SJIEE, successfully began operating two fuel cells  and is continuing development of a third fuel cell in 2022, via Catamaran Renewables, a joint venture with Captona.
  • SJI RNG Devco began development on eight RNG anaerobic digester projects, supported by development partner REV LNG, LLC.   An additional portfolio of RNG projects will be executed  in 2022.
  • SJI began operating five solar projects at certain SJI office locations.  These projects will help to offset SJI's carbon footprint.  Additional projects are planned for 2022.
  • SJI continued development of our Hydrogen Demonstration Project with Atlantic Shores Offshore Wind, which in 2021 received regulatory approval to proceed with development of a wind farm off the coast of southern New Jersey.
  • SJI began construction on a small scale green hydrogen demonstration project at the South Jersey Gas New Sentury Compression Station property in South Harrison Township, NJ.

SJI is also committed to helping customers reduce their carbon footprint by consuming less energy through the use of energy efficiency programs. In April of 2021, South Jersey Gas and Elizabethtown Gas were approved for their largest Energy Efficiency Programs to date, totaling $216 million. This allows SJG and ETG to make investments in our customers, our environment and actively contribute to the state's climate priorities.
In 2006, South Jersey Gas became one of the first utilities in the country to implement a Conservation Incentive Program (CIP) to encourage customers to use natural gas more efficiently, benefiting both South Jersey Gas and its customers by reducing the link between utility profits and the quantity of natural gas sold. For CIP fiscal year ending September 2021, SJG customers reduced usage by 10.9 billion cubic feet and saved $4.4 million in energy costs and reduced CO2 output by 559,209 metric tons. In April 2021, Elizabethtown Gas was approved for a Conservation Incentive Program, putting ETG in a stronger position to help customers manage their energy bills.

Learn more about SJI’s clean energy and sustainability strategy and goals here.

EPA’s Natural Gas STAR Methane Challenge Program

South Jersey Gas is a founding partner of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Natural Gas STAR Methane Challenge Program. Elizabethtown Gas joined the program in 2019, after joining SJI. The program is designed to provide a transparent platform for utilities to make, track and communicate commitments to reduce methane emissions.
STAR Methane Challenge Program logo

The STAR Methane challenge aligns with our commitment to protect our region’s environmental and natural resources. As part of our participation, South Jersey Gas and Elizabethtown Gas follow the Cast Iron and Unprotected Steel Best Management Practice. We pledge to reduce emissions by replacing a significant portion of our aging and leak-prone bare steel and cast iron distribution mains and services with modern, medium-density plastic and protected steel mains and services to reach our goal replacement rate of at least 5% per year.

Tracking and Reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Our Infrastructure

As part of our efforts to reduce our environmental impact, we evaluate the greenhouse gas emissions from our natural gas delivery system.  This evaluation includes an annual measurement of our comprehensive emissions footprint.

Through the robust infrastructure replacement programs at South Jersey Gas and Elizabethtown Gas, the combined total miles of main in our systems have increased by 17%, while CO2-equivalent emissions from these mains and associated services have been reduced by 65% (as compared to NJ Energy Master Plan baseline year of 2006).

SJI’s infrastructure replacement programs will continue to be instrumental in our corporate emissions reduction efforts by supporting a projected decrease in CO2-equivalent emissions from our mains and services of approximately 80% by 2025 (again compared to 2006) while increasing the total miles of main in our system by a projected 21%1.

1Projections are re-evaluated every year and adjusted based on current infrastructure improvement programs.

SJI Main Replacement and CO2e Reductions

Parameter1 2006 2021 Amount Reduced 2006-2020 Percent Reduced 2025 Projected Project Amount Difference 2006-2025 PROJECTED PERCENT DIFFERENCE
SJI CO2 equivalent Emissions, metric tons 269,249 94,181 175,069 65% 54,774 214,475 80%
SJI Unprotected Steel & Cast Iron Main, Miles 2,237 272 1,965 88% 47 2,190 98%
SJI Unprotected Steel & Cast Iron Services, Number 61,666 21,644 40,022 65% 205 61,461 100%
SJI Total Main, Miles 8,812 10,272 - 17% 10,684 - 21%
SJI Total Services, Number 532,869 590,426 - 11% 621,382 - 17%

Note:  Only emissions from pipeline main and service leaks are included in the above data. Emissions from above grade transmission-distribution transfer stations, above and below metering-regulating stations, combustion units and other sources are not included. In addition, SJI miles of pipeline protected steel include transmission main and ETG miles of pipeline cast iron main includes ductile iron.

Note:  SJI total miles of main and number of service percent values indicated in the "percent of emissions reduced" column is the actual percentage increase in miles of main.

Additional Greenhouse Gas Emissions data is provided in the Sustainability Metrics section of this report.

DISCLAIMER: The measurement and performance, as well as any goals disclosed in this report, are based on various assumptions made in good faith at the time of publication and are not guarantees or promises of actual future performance and should not be construed as a characterization regarding the materiality or financial impact of that information. For a discussion of information that is material to SJI, please see our Annual Report or our Form 10-K.

Emissions Reduced from Excess Flow Valve Installation

To further support SJI’s emission reduction goals, as of the end of 2021, SJI has 319,785 excess flow valves installed across our utilities, representing 54% of the total services in our pipeline system. Based on the EPA’s Natural Gas Star Program Partner Reported Opportunities for Reducing Methane Emissions, the estimated annual methane emission reductions are equal to 160 Mcf per installation of 350 Excess Flow Valves. This equates to a methane emissions reduction of 146,187 Mcf for SJI.  

Emissions Reduced during Natural Gas Blowdown Events

Beginning in 2019, SJG and ETG implemented blowdown gas recovery initiatives by shortening line segments to be blown down using pressure control fittings and/or routing gas to a lower pressure system to reduce system pressure prior to maintenance.  Using this approach, in 2021 SJI realized a 59% reduction in distribution and transmission pipeline blowdown events compared to what would have been released using older, less efficient methods.

In addition, in 2021 SJI performed a pilot study and utilized ZEVAC technology for depressurization of the pipelines to further minimize environmental and social impact during a blowdown event. Instead of releasing the gas into the atmosphere, ZEVAC equipment moves the gas out of the pipeline being depressurized into another section of the system.

2021 Emissions Reduced during Natural Gas Blowdown Events SJI SJG ETG
Natural Gas Volume Released during Blowdown, cf 3,262,044 3,198,772 63,272
Natural Gas Volume Recovered, cf 4,617,795 4,606,868 10,927
CO2e Emissions Reduced, metric tons/yr 2,108 2,103 5
Percent CO2e Emissions Reduced, metric tons/yr 59% 59% 15%