2021 Virginia Conference on Corporate Sustainability and Energy Diversity Hosts Industry Leaders from Across the Commonwealth to Discuss Developing a Sustainable Plan for Virginia’s Energy Future
May 20th, 2021

Media Contact

Nicole Bunce


RICHMOND, VIRGINIA – Moments ago, the 2021 Virginia Conference on Corporate Sustainability and Energy Diversity concluded, with virtual participation of more than 300 business leaders from all regions of the Commonwealth. The conference brought industry leaders together to discuss innovative strategies to advance corporate sustainability initiatives that promote long term economic success.

“Future economic growth will depend on safe, reliable, sustainable, and competitively priced energy resources,” said Blueprint Virginia 2030 Co-Chair and President of Dominion Energy Virginia, Ed Baine, “including a broad spectrum of clean energy sources.”

“The ongoing pandemic has presented many challenges for the business community, Virginia, and our country as a whole,” said Virginia Chamber of Commerce President & CEO, Barry DuVal. “The pandemic, cyber threats, and recent weather events have demonstrated a need for greater access to affordable and reliable energy sources, security on our energy infrastructure, and resiliency of the electric grid. These challenges highlight the importance of what we are here to speak about today, which is the role business leadership plays in Virginia’s corporate sustainability and energy diversity.”

The Virginia Conference on Corporate Sustainability and Energy Diversity serves a critical role in the development process for Virginia’s next statewide strategic plan, Blueprint Virginia 2030.

To foster statewide engagement in the policy development process, registered attendees were provided the opportunity to participate in the Blueprint Virginia 2030 Corporate Sustainability and Energy Diversity Survey. Below you will find highlights of the initial survey results.

“Virginia is headed in the right direction regarding corporate sustainability and energy diversity.”
• 14% Strongly Agree
• 57% Agree
• 17% Neutral
• 12% Disagree

“What is the most significant corporate sustainability challenge businesses face?”
• 40% Environmental
• 33% Governance
• 19% Social
• 7% Other

“What are businesses’ top priorities as they more broadly implement corporate sustainability best practices?”
• 33% New Growth Opportunity
• 27% Improve Operational Efficiency
• 24% Corporate Reputation
• 10% Lowering Costs

“What is your greatest energy priority?”
• 33% Reliability
• 25% Affordability
• 23% Decarbonization
• 12% Conservation

“Growing an increasingly diverse and sustainable energy portfolio is critical to Virginia’s economy.”
• 90% Agree
• 5% Disagree
• 5% I Don’t know

“Do you consider Virginia’s regulatory and permitting process to be burdensome for businesses?”
• 61% Yes
• 12% No
• 27% I Don’t Know

“What is the most important step for Virginia to improve the regulatory and permitting process as it exists today?”
• 40% Improve efficiency and legal process of review
• 34% Remove political considerations from the process
• 26% Increase predictability

“It is important for Virginia to have environmental regulations that are achievable, clear, reasonable in timeline, and accompanied by compliance assistance that aid businesses to achieve and maintain compliance.”
• 98% Agree
• 0% Disagree
• 2% I Don’t Know

Soon, the Virginia Chamber Foundation will release a statewide survey, across all areas of policy, and encourage all business, economic development, workforce, education, housing, and other community representatives from across the Commonwealth to participate and provide input for Virginia’s next statewide strategic plan.

Additional highlights from today’s conference include:
Listed in order of appearance.

Special Remarks:
Alan Witt, CEO Emeritus, PBMares / Executive in Residence, Luter School of Business,
Christopher Newport University and Chair, Virginia Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors
Edward Baine, President, Dominion Energy Virginia and Co-Chair of Blueprint Virginia 2030
Chris Beam, President & COO, Appalachian Power Company
Jo Vanhoren, President & CEO, Alfa Laval, Inc.

Signature Keynote Panel – Building a Sustainable Energy Future for the Commonwealth:
Moderated By:
Brooks Smith, Managing Partner, Troutman Pepper – Richmond
Marcus Harris, President & CEO, Old Dominion Electric Cooperative
Blue Jenkins, President, Washington Gas
Scott Keogh, CEO and President, Volkswagen Group of America Inc.

Panel Discussion – Growing Virginia’s Energy Workforce of the Future:
Moderated By:
Nat Marshall, Senior HR Specialist, BWX Technologies, and
Chair, Virginia Board of Workforce Development
Brent Archer, President & COO, Columbia Gas of Virginia
John Hewa, President & CEO, Rappahannock Electric Cooperative
Ben Saunders, Director of Solar Development, AES Clean Energy

Panel Discussion – The Impact of Energy on Economic Growth:
Moderated By:
Doug Smith, President & CEO, Hampton Roads Alliance
Robert Duvall, President, Virginia Natural Gas
Andy Fioramonti, Vice President, Energy & Infrastructure Solutions, TMEIC
Will Payne, Managing Partner, Coalfield Strategies, LLC and Director, InvestSWVA
Eric Thumma, Senior Director, New Business Offshore Wind, Avangrid Renewables

The full program for the 2021 Virginia Conference on Corporate Sustainability and Energy Diversity can be found here.


About the Virginia Chamber Foundation:

The Virginia Chamber Foundation tracks Virginia’s economic competitiveness, conducts research and analysis, and hosts programs – connected to the priorities of Blueprint Virginia 2025. In December 2017, the Chamber released an update to its long-term strategic economic development plan, Blueprint Virginia 2025, which engaged over 6,000 business and community leaders to lay out a plan to getting Virginia back to the top of national business climate rankings. In December of 2020, the Virginia Chamber officially began the development process for the next update, Blueprint Virginia 2030. Learn more at https://vachamber.com/blueprint-virginia/