July 27, 2023

Sempra’s sustainable business practices start with employees

Estela de Llanos with Liane Randolph, chair of the California Air Resources Board

For many Sempra employees, a commitment to sustainability isn’t just a 9-to-5 job — it’s personal. Take, for example, Estela de Llanos who is the vice president of energy procurement and sustainability at Sempra’s operating company, San Diego Gas & Electric. de Llanos is a member of the board of directors for the Coalition for Clean Air, an organization that has worked to improve air quality since 1971.

de Llanos said she discovered the organization in the late 1990s before becoming a volunteer. From there, she became committed to helping advance clean air solutions to create a safer environment for her family, especially her three children, and others.

“The Coalition for Clean Air’s mission is to protect public health, improve air quality and fight climate change,” de Llanos said. “This is something that resonates with me personally. As a child growing up in Los Angeles, I can remember days that we could not play outside because of poor air quality. I can remember being surprised every time the skies cleared after rain to reveal the nearby mountains, which were usually invisible. And, I remember being sad to learn that an aunt of mine was moving out of state because her asthma was too severe to live in Los Angeles.”

Photo: Estela de Llanos (right) with Liane Randolph, chair of the California Air Resources Board

Although air quality has improved dramatically in California with the help of organizations like the Coalition for Clean Air, more work needs to be done, de Llanos said. It’s why de Llanos commits more than her time to the organization, but also her dollars. Thanks to the Sempra Foundation’s charitable gift matching program for U.S.-based employees of the Sempra family of companies, de Llanos can see her donations make the maximum impact.

“I always take advantage of the Sempra Foundation matches to leverage additional dollars for the Coalition for Clean Air,” de Llanos said. “One of the things I love most about working in the Sempra family of companies is the support for working with organizations that make a difference in the regions and markets we serve and that matter personally to employees. It is a powerful way to stay connected to our most important stakeholders: Our customers and our employees.”

Environmental work by the numbers

A group of Sempra employees plants trees as part of a volunteer initiative

When it comes to environmental causes, the Sempra Foundation has donated more than $7.65 million in charitable contributions to support and protect the environment since 2007. Through the Double Match Program, the Sempra Foundation and employees from the Sempra family of companies together have donated more than $400,000 in the past five years to charitable organizations focused on sustainability, including to the San Diego Audubon Society, Surfrider Foundation and the World Wildlife Fund. In addition, the Sempra Foundation offers a year-round Single Match Program to employees.

“Sempra’s mission is to deliver energy with purpose — and that is guided by our shared values to do the right thing, champion people and shape the future,” Lisa Larroque Alexander, senior vice president of corporate affairs and chief sustainability officer for Sempra and director and board chair for the Sempra Foundation, said. “We believe that actions speak louder than words, and we couldn’t be more proud of our employees for donating their personal time and hard-earned money to charities that share our same values.”

The pride is reciprocated for many Sempra employees who donate during Double Match Day.

Gina Orozco, vice president of gas engineering and systems integrity at Sempra’s operating company, SoCalGas, said she’s thankful that the Sempra Foundation supports a cause she cares about. She serves on the board of the California State Parks Foundation, an organization with a mission to protect and preserve California state parks. The work of the California State Parks Foundation, which relies on support from organizations such as the Sempra Foundation, is crucial.

“There is a great need to continue to protect nature and wildlife from environmental dangers, including wildfires, floods, extreme heat, etc.,” Orozco, who serves on the California State Parks Foundation board, said. “I believe that it is a personal responsibility as Californians to help protect these parks for future generations, and to support a balanced natural ecosystem that contributes to clean water and air.”

Christine Macias-Papierniak, an engineer for SDG&E who donated to The Nature Conservancy’s Plant a Billion Trees Initiative, said she appreciates the company’s support of her causes.

“I like that my donation is used toward planting trees that would benefit our planet and my friends and family,” Macias-Papierniak said. “I really like that Sempra offers the double match because it shows support in employees’ chosen causes and charities and helps me have a bigger impact on fighting climate change and helping our planet.”

Double Match Day is a part of the Sempra Foundation’s efforts to help create a better quality of life in the communities it serves. Along with organizations that focus on efforts related to climate action, economic prosperity and diversity and inclusion, the Foundation helps employees unite to raise funding for charities and schools.