The mission of the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (SFPUC) is to provide their customers with high quality, efficient and reliable water, power, and sewer services in a manner that is inclusive of environmental and community interests, and that sustains the resources entrusted to their care. In 2009, the SFPUC was the first utility in the country to pass an Environmental Justice Policy, and in 2011, the SFPUC passed a complimentary Community Benefits Policy. These two Good Neighbor policies directed the agency to lessen or prevent impacts on communities that face disproportionate environmental burdens and to be good neighbors to all the communities that they impact and serve.
For 2017, their GARE team goal is to develop and enhance a network of SFPUC staff who are applying a racial equity lens to key bodies of work that will move the agency towards institutionalized changes in how they do business. They have engaged key functions and staff at the SFPUC that will help SFPUC develop a more comprehensive understanding and strategy towards their four pillars of racial equity for a utility: workforce equity, contract equity, service equity and outreach/engagement equity.
By working with key staff to develop their overarching strategies, they will develop pilot projects to highlight early successes. For example, they are currently tackling the issue of workforce equity, specifically defining workforce equity goals for a city that is rapidly gentrifying and reducing the African American and Latino population. As communities of color get pushed out of the urban core into the edges of the Bay Area region, SFPUC is engaging key internal and external stakeholders to create ambitious racial equity goals for their workforce.
SFPUC is looking forward to sharing their Environmental Justice Analysis tools that have been applied to major infrastructure investments and their Community Benefits in Contracts toolkit with other GARE members.