Southern Company Gas announced three new sustainability-focused senior appointments, and the creation of two new departments – Sustainability & Innovation and Renewable Natural Gas (RNG) –  aimed at bolstering the company’s renewable natural gas strategy, and its efforts to address climate change.

The Sustainability and Innovation Group will coordinate the company’s sustainability and innovation efforts, as well as strengthening partnerships with external industry groups and stakeholders. The company has committed to playing a leadership role in reducing the carbon emissions associated with natural gas usage, promoting broader sustainability efforts, and promoting the role of natural gas in a clean energy future.

Joanne Mello will lead the Sustainability and Innovation Group, in her new role of Director of Sustainability and Energy Policy. Mello was most recently Chief of Staff to Southern Company Gas President and CEO Kim Greene. In that role she supported the company’s strategic goals and industrywide sustainability initiatives, as well as the creation of an enterprise wide Innovation Council, which she currently chairs. Prior to her role as Chief of Staff, Mello served the company in various Legal Department roles, including Associate General Counsel for SouthStar Energy Services.

The RNG Group will focus on growing Southern Company Gas’ RNG capabilities. The company views RNG as a critical component of its sustainability strategy. RNG is a carbon-neutral, interchangeable substitute for geologic natural gas. It is a sustainable energy source that can be derived from existing waste streams that can be commonly found at sources such as farms and landfills.

The RNG business will be led by Robin Lanier, who was been appointed to Director, RNG. Lanier joins Southern Company Gas from Georgia Power, where she served as Manager of Environmental Regulatory Strategy, responsible for managing the development of the company’s environmental compliance strategy, providing leadership in environmental regulatory activities, and leading the development of strategy and planning related to environmental capital budgets.

The company has also appointed Greg Jones as Director, Climate & Environmental Policy. In his new role, Jones will lead the company’s greenhouse gas emission initiatives and direct the company’s participation in environmental rulemaking, legislation and policy initiatives. Jones was most recently Southern Company Gas’ Manager of Environmental Affairs, with responsibilities including monitoring state and federal rules and legislation and evaluating impact on the company’s operations, engaging industry organizations across the natural gas value chain to develop collaborative efforts on rulemaking and legislation, as well as developing policies and procedures to manage the company’s operational and reputational risk. Jones currently serves as serves as chair of the American Gas Association’s (AGA) Environmental Regulatory Action Committee, vice chair of the Georgia Industrial Environmental Coalition (GIEC).

Commenting on the new appointments and departments, John Hudson, Executive Vice President of External Affairs said:

“While Southern Company Gas has long been an industry leader in methane reductions, infrastructure modernization and strategic partnerships, we recognize that there is still more to be done to guarantee clean, safe, reliable, affordable energy for generations to come. We are positioned now to focus our efforts more closely on how we operate, invest and innovate to address the climate crisis while maintaining value for our customers and our shareholders.”

On the company’s increasing focus on RNG, Hudson added, “Expanding our portfolio further into the RNG sector can reduce Southern Company Gas ‘environmental impact while also creating new revenue streams. We are adding dedicated staff to explore RNG’s potential not only because it is a societal imperative, but because it is a business imperative, as well.”