Climate & Environment

Climate & Environment

Whether during daily operations or throughout special projects, we’re committed to respecting and protecting the environment. 

Across our operating companies, we’re also focused on continuing to reduce our CO2 emissions, transitioning to cleaner energy and adapting to the physical risks of climate change. At the same time, we’re responding to rapidly increasing energy demand from electrification, a critical enabler of decarbonization for other sectors. And all of this must be done in a way that’s balanced with the impact on costs for our utility customers. 

Climate & Environmental Governance

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At the Emera Corporate level, environmental oversight is provided by Emera’s Executive leadership team and by the Emera Board of Directors through its Health, Safety and Environment Committee (HSEC) and the Risk and Sustainability Committee (RSC).

The HSEC assists the Board in carrying out its responsibility for oversight and coordination of Emera’s health, safety and environment programs. The RSC assists the Board in overseeing the management of enterprise risk, including risks related to climate change and sustainability. 

In each of our operating companies, a team manages environmental performance and risk. Each team includes a senior leader who works closely with the local executive team and Emera’s Environmental team, which reports to Emera’s VP, Safety and Environment. 

Annual corporate scorecards, at both the operating company and Emera level, include targets for achieving strategic goals and continual improvement in environmental performance. Processes are in place to manage environmental risk during regular operations and for projects. 

Diagram explaining environmental governance

Environmental Policy

Emera’s Environmental Policy establishes the framework for objectives within our Environmental Management System (EMS) and outlines our environmental commitments. It’s reviewed annually and revised as required. 

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Climate Commitment

Many of our sustainability priorities stem from the risks and opportunities associated with climate change. Our Climate Commitment sets out our goals for reducing CO2 emissions as we work toward our vision to achieve net-zero by 2050

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Additional Information

Environmental Management System   
We’re committed to respecting and protecting the environment and to complying with all legal requirements and company policy. Each Emera operating company adheres to a clearly defined environmental policy and an established environmental management system (EMS) that aligns with the ISO 14001 standard.

 Emera’s Corporate EMS enables oversight and drives alignment across our operating companies. It does this by setting environmental policy, outlining expectations, providing resource support where required, and providing reviews and feedback on the continuing suitability, adequacy and effectiveness of the EMS. Our Corporate EMS also helps to coordinate the flow of information to Emera leadership to enhance environmental performance, fulfill compliance obligations and achieve environmental objectives.

 Our EMS is based on a common Plan-Do-Check-Act framework, outlined in a graphic below, to manage risk and drive continual improvement.

Diagram explaining EMS framework


The planning phase involves the identification of environmental aspects associated with Emera’s activities and the development of plans and actions designed to achieve specific objectives related to those aspects.  

Emera operating companies identify the significant environmental aspects of their activities, products, and services that they can control or influence while considering a life-cycle perspective (i.e., a broader view of risk).  Operating companies manage the day-to-day risks and opportunities associated with their environmental aspects. The aspects identified as being relevant for Emera are as follows:  

  • Air Quality/Emissions (including GHG)
  • Cultural, Historical and Archeological Resources
  • Fish and Aquatic Habitat
  • Fuel
  • Materials Management - Oil (non-Fuel), Chemicals, and Dangerous Goods/Hazardous Material
  • Noise
  • Process Water and Wastewater
  • Surface Water and Groundwater
  • Waste Management
  • Wildlife/Terrestrial Habitat/Vegetation

Operating companies plan actions to address their identified significant environmental aspects, compliance obligations, risks, and opportunities, which are a priority to achieving the intended outcomes of the EMS. Operating companies determine how actions are addressed. This can be done through other management systems, business processes, or by establishing objectives and targets that represent the measures of success in managing environmental risk and compliance requirements.  In addition, Emera sets continual improvement targets as part of Balanced Scorecard measures and Strategic Environmental Initiatives.  

Support and Operation 

Involves the execution of processes to address environmental aspects and risks and achieve the objectives of plans developed in the planning phase. 

  • Identification of roles and responsibilities throughout all levels of the EMS. 
  • Identification of resources, competencies, awareness, communication requirements and other support necessary to discharge those roles and responsibilities and achieve the objectives of the EMS. This includes both employees and contractors and includes awareness and understanding of the EMS itself.
  • Establish processes for operation, maintenance, and other related aspects of operation such that environmental risks are managed.
  • Establish processes for development and construction of projects such that environmental risks are managed. 
  • Plans and procedures are in place to prepare for and respond to environmental emergencies in all our operating companies. 

Performance Evaluation  

Various methods are used to assess environmental performance, support continual improvement, and gauge the success of the EMS in achieving its objectives. These activities reduce the likelihood of non-conformance by proactively identifying issues and triggering corrective actions.  
  • Environmental performance monitoring is carried out on an ongoing basis across our business to assess legal compliance, initiate corrective actions, where warranted, and initiate environmental performance improvement.   
  • Operating companies complete regular inspections and reviews to ensure EMS compliance. 
  • Internal environmental audits are conducted by the corporate environment team at established frequencies, typically at minimum every three years. 
  • External EMS audits are conducted periodically, typically every five years, to provide an additional level of review of our management system processes.
  • Emera senior leadership assesses the suitability, adequacy, and effectiveness of the management system through an annual management review process facilitated by the corporate environment team.  



Emera is committed to continually improving environmental management systems through strong management leadership and employee commitment. Emera Senior Leadership considers the results from analysis and evaluation of environmental performance; compliance, internal audits and management review when taking action to improve. 

  • Operating companies are required to maintain processes to address non-conformity with compliance or EMS requirements and to implement appropriate corrective and preventive actions as part of their EMS. 
  • Emera’s Corporate environment team monitors the status of operating companies’ environmental programs and performance through quarterly environmental performance reporting, which includes a review of environmental performance, non-conformities and actions on audit findings.
  • Emera ranks its environmental incidents by level of significance. Two specific categories of incidents, Significant and Moderate environmental incidents are summarized and reported to the Emera Executive and the Health, Safety and Environment (HSE) Committee of the Emera Board of Directors, when required.  Timely completion of a root cause analysis for all Significant Environmental Incidents and Moderate Environmental Incidents are required. Corrective actions to address nonconformities are tracked to completion. 
Biodiversity Programs  
Emera operates a wide variety of facilities and assets across multiple regions and ecosystems. Operations include electrical generating facilities, electricity and gas rights of way and associated infrastructure, hydro watersheds, and site office buildings. To support our transition to lower carbon generation, we are building new infrastructure or upgrading existing facilities. 

We have a well-established approach to managing biodiversity impacts as part of our Environmental Management System (EMS), which covers both regular operations and projects. We are compliant with regulations in this area and work with regulators to gather data and take steps that can be of shared value to other groups and organizations carrying out biodiversity-related work. 

When we are building new or maintaining existing energy infrastructure, we follow a process that is respectful of the environment and based on three principles: avoid, mitigate, or offset. Our first priority is always to avoid having impacts on biodiversity in the areas we operate. We screen for biological resources, sensitive and protected areas as part of work planning processes so that negative impacts are avoided. If that is not possible, we either take steps to mitigate our impacts or to offset for them by investing in new habitats. This would involve timing activities to minimize the extent and/or likelihood of impacts, using site-specific environmental protection procedures including water management, sedimentation control, wetland protection, and protection measures for wildlife and species of concern and conducting additional mitigation or offset measures after our project work is complete. 

While we control and operate our existing assets to minimize interactions with species, we recognize that our operations could contribute to negative impacts including habitat fragmentation, loss of wetlands and forested areas through clearing activities, the creation of access corridors and the past conversion of riverine habitat for hydro development. In addition, we still operate some facilities that were built many years ago when environmental concerns were not as prominent, or the biodiversity risk has changed over time due to species loss or climate change impacts.  We mitigate these potential impacts through the long-standing processes within our EMS including the review of new and emerging changes to the environment, operations, and stakeholder considerations. 
Water and Effluents Management
At Emera, water is an integral part of our thermal and hydro energy generation operations. Our approach to managing water use and discharge is fully incorporated into our environmental management system and compliant with all regulations. Most of the jurisdictions that our companies operate in are not water stressed and our operations have not been impacted by any material water shortages. While the majority of our water withdrawals are in areas where water stress is a potential concern (Florida, New Mexico, and Barbados), our operations are not impacted, and we are not impacting other stakeholders use of water. We take care to ensure that our water use discharges do not impact other local water stakeholders or sensitive environments. None of our operations occur in areas that are considered to be high or extremely from a water stress perspective as defined by the World Resources Institute (WRI). 

In our Florida operations we prioritize reclaimed and recycled water and rainwater to minimize requirements for potable water and groundwater. Our approach to transition away from coal in our generating facilities is also leading to reductions in water use overall, given that coal-fired generation is more water intensive than other sources of generation. With the need for these processes now reduced, there can be a surplus of water on our sites, particularly during the rainy season. This can require that we change how we manage water on site to address the higher potential for excess stormwater. In addition, the integration of more renewables, particularly solar, has led to additional opportunities for the reduction of groundwater use on lands that previously had intensive water use.   

Additionally, we also regularly assess risks arising from climate change and the growing frequency of extreme weather, taking steps to ensure our facilities are prepared to deal with increased rainfall and flooding. 

Emera’s thermal generating facilities discharge water effluent as part of their operations. We take care to make certain that our use of water and discharges do not impact other local water stakeholders or sensitive environments. All discharges are monitored and reported in accordance with operating approvals or permits and/or federal, provincial, or state legislation requirements.