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Podcast: Duke Energy CEO explains new climate, environmental justice moves

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Duke Energy Corp. President, CEO and board Chair Lynn Good sat down for an exclusive interview just hours after the electric utility company held its first ESG investor day on Oct. 9.

Good talked to ESG Insider, an S&P Global podcast about environmental, social and governance issues, about Duke’s evolving climate strategy. She also explained how the company is handling social issues ranging from racial tensions to working with customers who are struggling to pay their electric bills during the pandemic.

Listen to this episode of ESG Insider on SoundCloud, Spotify or Apple podcasts.

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Lynn Good, Duke Energy CEO, president and chair.
Source: Duke Energy

At its ESG investor day, Duke announced several new initiatives including a methane emissions target, a climate-focused executive compensation metric and efforts to craft "principles for environmental justice."

In the latest episode of the ESG Insider podcast, Good took a deeper dive into the compensation metric and environmental justice principles. She also defended the company's decision to build more natural gas plants despite having a net-zero emissions target.

Good said that technologies such as battery storage are not where they need to be to make up for performance gaps in solar and wind. Therefore, "we see a need to use natural gas" to meet those needs — "probably in the medium term," she said. But Good added that the company will continue to test that assumption as technologies develop.

Good also said heightened racial tension in the U.S. is prompting Duke to reexamine diversity.

Duke is turning its attention to "more rapid progression of minorities and women into the company, into leadership in a way that this event has really catalyzed our good intentions to encourage us to move as quickly as we can," Good said.

READ MORE: Sign up for our weekly ESG newsletter here, read our latest coverage of environmental, social and governance issues here, and subscribe to our ESG podcast on Spotify and Apple podcasts.