Environmental Leadership
June 20, 2023

What does sustainability mean at Xcel Energy?

From powering places to empowering people, we’re committed to a brighter future

How do you define sustainability? It’s a broad term for a widely used concept from tuna fish to airplane travel, most major industries and businesses are talking about sustainability. But what exactly does it mean, and how does it shape our future? In 2022, Xcel Energy embarked on a project to better understand the economic, environmental and social priorities of our many stakeholders and define sustainability for our company. 


Sustainability for Xcel Energy starts with our mission to provide customers with safe, clean, reliable energy at a competitive price. We’re committed to delivering these essentials while also driving positive change for the environment and the people and places we serve in four key areas.  


Reach net zero responsibly: Achieve climate goals without compromising reliability or affordability. 


Xcel Energy was the first major power company with a vision for delivering 100% carbon-free electricity. We’ve since expanded that vision to become the first in our industry to set aggressive goals across the most significant ways our customers use energy: electricity, transportation and natural gas use in buildings. Together, all three commitments represent a comprehensive vision that positions us to become a net-zero energy provider by 2050. We need innovation to achieve our goals and are engaged in partnerships to develop advanced 24/7 carbon-free technologies and clean fuels.  


Since 2005, we’ve cut carbon emissions from the electricity serving our customers by 53% and are implementing groundbreaking resource plans that are expected to help us achieve our 80% carbon reduction goal by 2030. As the energy we provide becomes cleaner, we’re improving the environment overall. We have reduced water consumption from owned and purchased energy generation by 39% and air emissions from our power plants by approximately 80% compared to 2005 levels.   


Strengthen communities: Deliver exceptional service and partnership to help the places we serve thrive. 


Sustainability isn’t only about the environment. Xcel Energy offers innovative products and services to help customers achieve their goals— from energy conservation to renewable choice programs and electric vehicle charging. We’re helping customers large and small to lower costs and reduce their carbon footprints. Last year, our customers completed about 4.5 million energy efficiency projects, and nearly 290,000 customers participated in our renewable choice programs. 


We collaborate with economic development organizations in our cities and towns to help them attract or retain business. In 2022, we initiated 40 economic development projects with our communities that are expected to create about $1.8billion in investment and 2,900 jobs. Approximately 58% of our spending on goods and services went to local businesses$2.8 billion— and $1.2billion was spent with small and diverse businesses. Through the Xcel Energy Foundation and our employee giving and volunteerism programs, we contributed $15.6million to our communities in 2022, up from $14.9million in 2021. Our Energizing the Future grant program offers funding to nonprofit organizations and programs that support STEM career pathways (science, technology, engineering and math), environmental sustainability and community vitality. 


Value people: Cultivate a diverse, best-in-class workforce, champion safety, inclusion and equity for everyone. 


To attract and retain high-quality talent, our workforce strategy includes pay-for-performance compensation, holistic well-being benefits, recognition programs and ongoing training and development opportunities. Through multiple initiatives, we’re fostering an inclusive workplace and building a workforce that reflects the diversity of our communities. Safety remains a top priority, and under our industry-leading Safety Always approach, we’re building a culture of trust, transparency and critical controls to continually improve    


Operate with integrity: Live our values, govern with discipline and respect human rights. 


We’re each responsible for living our corporate values at Xcel Energy: Committed, Connected, Safe and Trustworthy. All employees annually receive the Code of Conduct and are trained on it. We also expect our sourcing partners to follow a similar Supplier Code of Conduct. Through position statements on human rights, a just transition to clean energy and environmental justice, we reinforce our ethical foundation. 


To find full details on our sustainability strategy, commitments and management approach, read the Sustainability Strategy and Management Brief in Xcel Energy’s Sustainability Report, released in June 2023. At xcelenergy.com/sustainability, you will find our full Sustainability Report, stories and highlights of our progress.