DTE Dialogue

“It is my hope that, having demonstrated your aptitude for innovation and for improving the lives of many people by your creativeness and professional expertise, you will use those skills in the service of two great needs in today’s world: the care of the poor and the environment.”

– Pope Francis’ Address to Global Energy Executives
June 9, 2018

shutterstock_114791770Top executives of DTE (including CEO Gerry Anderson) and members of the IHM DTE subcommittee of the Responsible Investment Committee reflected on these words of Pope Francis as we gathered for our most recent dialogue.

Over the years, we have complemented shareholder resolutions with face-to-face meetings. We continue to address climate change, increased commitment to renewable energy, decreased emissions, plant closings and the effect on the local community, safety of Fermi and access to energy for low-income people. We have found that by situating our dialogue within a broader context (Laudato Si’ or Pope Francis’ remarks), taking time for quiet reflection and sharing the challenges we all face from our perspectives – shareholders, executives, consumers – deepens our sharing and challenges our thinking.

This past June when we met, we framed two key issues within such a context. The two-hour reflection and dialogue focused on the factors/values we each consider when devaluating and closing a coal plant and decommissioning Fermi and which values we consider in evaluating our reliance on natural gas as the bridge to a 100 percent renewable future. The sharing provided opportunities to express concerns,
gain understanding and bring new perspectives to each other.

Perhaps a new DTE participant’s comment to Anderson expresses the value of this approach.

Anderson wrote that the executive said to him, “That was a very good way to spend two hours – to step back and think about what we are doing from that perspective is very helpful.”

Anderson added, “I agree with him wholeheartedly.”

By Nancy Sylvester, IHM