An equity lens

CalMTA’s work with environmental and social justice (ESJ) communities

CalMTA recognizes the historical inequities of efficiency investment and is using an equity lens in our approach to developing a market transformation portfolio for California that delivers benefits to environmental and social justice communities. The California Public Utilities Commission defines ESJ communities as “predominantly communities of color or low-income communities that are underrepresented in the policy setting or decision-making process, subject to a disproportionate impact from one or more environmental hazards, and are likely to experience disparate implementation of environmental regulations and socioeconomic investments in their communities.”

In addition to California’s energy and climate goals, CalMTA seeks to support statewide priorities on environmental and social justice and ensure market transformation initiative (MTI) outcomes reflect the needs and desires of the communities they benefit. To this end, we are working with experts in the California market on equity program development and implementation to:

  • Align relevant MTIs with existing income-qualified program efforts.
  • Collaborate with community-based organizations to engage ESJ communities through trusted channels.
  • Conduct targeted outreach and listening sessions to better understand the unique barriers that ESJ communities face and inform market transformation intervention strategies to help overcome those barriers.
  • Include equity in scoring criteria for submitted MTI concepts, identifying and prioritizing initiatives that demonstrate positive benefits to ESJ communities.
  • Collaborate with ESJ community representatives to identify and mitigate unintended impacts of MTI implementation in ESJ communities.
  • Emphasize and promote the economic opportunities unlocked by MTIs to decrease the wealth gap and increase wealth-building, high road career paths, and workforce development opportunities.
  • Track and report on equity impacts to enable continuous improvement of ESJ community interventions, providing accountability to communities.

In addition to these initiative-level efforts, the company administering the CalMTA contract, Resource Innovations, has established firm commitments and actionable strategies to achieve “majority-diverse representation in our leadership, hiring, partners, and spend. This includes women, minorities, and additional diverse categories.” See Resource Innovations’ diversity in hiring and supplier inclusion policies to learn more.

To engage diverse communities in the early stages of market transformation (MT) portfolio design, CalMTA conducted a series of listening sessions with community-based organizations (CBOs), workforce education and training (WE&T) entities, and independent consultants focused on energy equity. These five 90-minute listening sessions were held in the fall of 2023 and sought to understand past experiences and attitudes of environmental and social justice (ESJ) stakeholders in relation to energy efficiency program engagement.

Read Listening Sessions with ESJ Communities: Key Findings and Market Transformation Recommendations

Are you a community-based organization or ESJ organization who would like to connect with CalMTA or learn more about our work? Contact us at, or sign up for our email list.

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