Emory Corporate Governance and Accountability Review


Communities and businesses that fail to take proactive measures will be devastated by the impacts of climate change. Across the United States, public and private entities have taken steps to protect companies and communities from climate change. However, financial restrictions and shareholder concerns have slowed such a response from the electric utility sector. This inaction has devastated communities such as Paradise, California and Lahaina, Hawaii. This Comment identifies how electric utility companies should utilize recently passed federal legislation, including the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and Inflation Reduction Act, to finance large-scale projects to update America's power grid. This Comment also argues that more corporate social responsibility is necessary and attainable through embracing the stakeholder theory of corporate governance and tying executive compensation to public safety metrics and investments in infrastructure. Companies that act immediately will better protect their communities and shareholders in the long term. However, companies that fail to act will be subject to the ensuing storm of climate change and its impacts—including damage to utilities' infrastructure and increased legal liability.