Toronto-based GFL Environmental Inc. (GFL) has released its first Environmental Sustainability Report, with data from its 2019 Fiscal Year.
Since its founding in 2007, GFL—“Green For Life”—has grown to become the fourth largest provider of environmental solutions in North America, with operations across Canada and in 23 U.S. states. It provides solid and liquid waste management, as well as infrastructure development, to both private and public customers.
Though this is the first time GFL has issued a formal environmental, social and governance (ESG) report, sustainability has been a focus of the company from the start. “Our name is our brand and we have a lot to live up to,” notes Founder & CEO Patrick Dovigi. “We realized early on that we had to stand out from our competitors by offering not just traditional waste management services but also alternative solutions that meet our customers’ needs and their own sustainability goals.”
GFL’s Environmental Sustainability Policy, formalized in October 2019, includes commitments to:
- Comply with all applicable environmental laws and regulations
- Embed environmental management and sustainability into our culture through visible leadership and fostering engagement and accountability at all levels
- Monitor and report on our performance internally and externally and hold ourselves accountable to meeting our goals and commitments.
The report offers an overview of the company’s operations and quantifies its ESG-related results. For FY 2019, GFL touts the following achievements:
- 3,153,304 tonnes CO2e of avoided emissions
- 244,000,000 liters of used motor oil and antifreeze recycled
- 1,169,370 tonnes of materials diverted from landfills
- 3,700,000 tonnes of soil recycled.
The report also highlights GFL’s Sustainability Value Initiatives, some of the key actions it is pursuing in order to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and help customers achieve their own GHG emissions reduction goals.
These initiatives include:
- A re-refinery currently in the pilot stage of development in Saskatchewan, which uses a process to crack the molecules of used motor oil from passenger and commercial vehicles collected by GFL collections operations and reprocesses it into diesel fuel for use in marine applications or as a crude oil diluent or crude oil blend component.
- Investments in Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) technology; at the end of 2019, 14% of GFL’s solid waste collection fleet was powered by CNG and it had 22 CNG fueling stations across North America.
- Organics processing facilities, which recycle organic waste to produce high-quality compost products, fertilizer and other soil supplements; GFL processed 437,293 tonnes at these facilities in 2019.
GFL has committed to disclosing its GHG emissions in the next year.
The report also details some of the ways in which GFL helps customers achieve their own sustainability goals; its value-added services include waste audits and analysis, training and education, consulting on green building certification and package recycling, and extended producer responsibility (EPR)/recycling program design and management.
Notes Greg Yorston, COO, “At GFL, we have learned from our combined histories that sustainability and operational excellence go hand in hand. Implementing efficient, sustainable practices and processes improves financial performance while increasing employee engagement and creating value for our customers. It’s a win-win.”
The company says its will continue to build out its commitment to delivering sustainable solutions in 2020 with the launch of its Employee Sustainability Committees. “Employee participation in these committees is facility-based and will provide our employees the ability to identify sustainability initiatives that can be implemented locally.”
The report concludes by noting that, “We recognize the environmental and social challenges present in the world today. In the next two years, we will define and announce specific sustainability goals and objectives for our business that we believe will position us and our customers to meet those challenges. [Our] core values of entrepreneurship, innovation and sustainability leadership have been integral to our success to today – and will remain so into our future.”