The SFPUC strives to be a good neighbor in the communities that are impacted by our water, power and sewer operations, services and infrastructure. Our agency was the first utility in the nation to pass Environmental Justice and Community Benefits policies that ensure we proactively provide diverse communities with opportunities in workforce and economic development, the arts, urban agriculture and education.
Over the years, we’ve worked with government agencies around the nation to replicate our efforts in their local communities. We are proud to share our community benefits approach and resources with the goal of helping other agencies to implement policies and programs that support a healthy environment and vibrant communities.
Our Community Benefits Strategies
The SFPUC defines environmental justice as the fair treatment of people of all races, cultures, and incomes. We believe that no group of people should bear a disproportionate share of negative environmental consequences resulting from our operations, programs, and/or policies.
Our Agency also believes in tangible and effective integration of this policy into all of our business decisions. We aim to educate all SFPUC staff so our employees can articulate what environmental justice is and what it means for their work and the communities we serve.
Equity and Inclusion
The SFPUC recognizes the long history of barriers to opportunity in San Francisco which has caused economic and social disparities based on factors like race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, zip code, and immigration status. We strive to keep neighborhoods within our service areas vibrant and to connect historically underserved communities to our education, employment and contract opportunities.
Our Agency is a dedicated member of the Government Alliance for Racial Equity (GARE), a national network of government jurisdictions working together to achieve racial equity and advance opportunities for all. Through GARE, we have participated in and hosted racial equity trainings and created equity and inclusion policies and practices that support all of our communities.
We are also proud to back San Francisco’s policies and initiatives that support our City’s vulnerable communities. As a government agency in a Sanctuary City, we treat all people seeking our services with equal dignity and respect for human rights, regardless of immigration status. We are also dedicated to supporting efforts such as San Francisco’s My Brothers and Sisters Keeper initiative, aimed at improving school readiness, reading by third grade, high school graduation, post-secondary education or training, employment, and safety for boys and men of color.
Social Impact Partnerships
As a public utility with limited resources, we invite our private sector partners to be a good neighbor to the communities directly affected by the operation of our water, wastewater, and power services. By including community benefits criteria in our Request for Proposals (RFPs) with anticipated contracts of $5 million or more, we provide our contracting community with an opportunity to demonstrate commitment to community benefits and environmental justice during the bidding process. Community benefits commitments are financial contributions, volunteer hours, and in-kind contributions delivered to the community by the contractor at zero cost to the SFPUC and ratepayers. To date, our social impact partners have supported nonprofits and schools throughout our service territory with millions of dollars.
Stakeholder Boards and Committees
The SFPUC works with boards, commissions and committees to design, implement and evaluate our policies and programs to understand the priorities of those impacted by our decisions:
- San Francisco Public Utilities Commission
- Citizens Advisory Committee
- Rate Fairness Board
- Revenue Board Oversight Committee
- Southeast Facility Community Facility Commission
- Water System Improvement Program Small Firm Advisory Committee
- Residential Users Appeals Board
We seek diverse stakeholder input which allows us to be accountable to community concerns and foster a culture of transparency. In the Bayview-Hunters Point neighborhood, we have been partnering with the community to ensure our new facilities reflect the input of local residents. Watch the video below to learn about our community engagement approach.
EnvisionOurBayview Stakeholder Outreach and Engagement Video from BAYCAT on Vimeo.