To say that 2020 was unprecedented is almost cliché at this point. Yet it’s true. Just like it’s both commonplace and accurate to say that the world needs to act now to avoid the direct consequences of climate change.
In 2020, REG took action to bring about positive change on both fronts, as detailed in our latest environmental, social and governance (ESG) report.
The COVID-19 pandemic affected all facets of our organization, and nothing was a higher priority than keeping our employees and business partners safe. We acted immediately by establishing an Emergency Response Team to ensure we were making informed decisions, mitigating risk and providing clear direction to employees. We developed specific plans at each of our locations for social distancing, personal protective equipment, workspace and personal hygiene, and responses to possible virus exposures. Employees who could work remotely did and, in many cases, continue to do so.
We also sought to help our employees in their personal lives. We established a paid time off policy for employees affected by the virus and a return-to-learn plan for families with school-age children. We continued to build upon our strong company culture with activities like a photo contest to encourage people to get outside, a wellness bingo game, regular “coffee chats” held on Zoom and more.
Providing simple sustainability solutions
We continued to meet the needs of both our customers and society. REG was classified an essential business by the U.S. government for our role in enabling the transportation of food, medicine and other goods. Our cleaner fuels like biodiesel, renewable diesel and REG Ultra Clean® allowed our customers to stay on the road while reducing their carbon footprint.
Just as important, our bio-based fuels are simple solutions that fleets can use to cut their emissions today. In 2020, we continued to advocate for effective ways to reduce carbon levels that also support our customers’ businesses. Fuels like biodiesel allow fleets to use their existing equipment while also running cleaner. Last year, we produced 519 million gallons of biodiesel and renewable diesel, which generated 4.2 million metric tons of carbon reduction. It may be hard to wrap your head around what a metric ton of pollution is, but consider that the 4.2 million figure is equivalent to:
- The carbon dioxide (CO2) emission reduction from 1.7 million electric passenger vehicles on the road in a year
- The CO2 emissions generated by burning 4.6 billion pounds of coal
Governance contributes to strong year
Many of these outcomes were made possible by our strong governance policies. In 2020, one of the actions by our Board of Directors was to rename an existing committee as the Nominating and ESG Committee and update its charter to give it oversight over the company’s incorporation of ESG principles into our strategic thinking. This illustrates the importance we place on ESG at REG.
Also in 2020 we reorganized our Senior Leadership Team to streamline the reporting structure and accelerate our growth. Part of this effort was the creation of a new senior vice president level.
An ongoing commitment
2020 was an eventful year to say the least, and 2021 has started out the same way. COVID-19 is still with us, as are the needs of protecting the environment. REG is committed to working through these and any other challenges, delivering strong business performance, providing effective solutions for our partners, creating a positive environmental impact for the world and doing so while staying true to the values that have made us the recognized leader we are.
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