This month, Republic Services (NYSE: RSG) released its 2019 Sustainability Report, highlighting progress toward its “Our Blue Planet 2030” sustainability goals, which are aligned with the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals.
In an accompanying message, chief executive officer Don Slager notes that, “As an industry leader, we've always been committed to keeping communities clean in a safe and environmentally responsible way, with a focus on preserving precious natural resources and extracting as much value as we can from the materials we collect. And, the health and safety of our employees and communities remain our number one priority and at the forefront of every decision we make.”
The report includes facts and figures highlighting Republic’s 2019 operations, including:
- 36k employees
- 5M average pickups per day
- 79 recycling centers
- 6M tons of recyclables processed
- 189 active modern-day landfills
- 340 hauling facilities
- 10 compost facilities
- 16k trucks, one of the industry’s largest fleets
- 20% of fleet powered by natural gas
The company’s 2030 sustainability goals were designed to address critical global macro trends and Republic’s “most relevant sustainability risks and opportunities.” These goals were introduced in 2019 and center around five elements of sustainability:
- materials management
The goals are also guided by and reinforce the “Five R’s” that make up Republic’s star-shaped logo: Respectful, Responsible, Reliable, Resourceful and Relentless.
The report details the specific goals within each element, and progress against each. Below are several examples:
Safety goal 2030: OSHA Total Recordable Incident Rate (TRIR) of 2.0 or less
2019 results: TRIR of 3.7, down from 3.9 in 2018
People goal 2030: Achieve and maintain employee engagement scores at or above 88 percent
2019 results: Employee engagement score of 86%, up from 85% in 2018
Operations goal 2030: Reduce absolute Scope 1 and 2 greenhouse gas emissions by 35 percent
2019 results: Initiated three expansion projects to further our commitment to use renewable natural gas as a bridging fuel to lower fleet emissions
Materials management goal 2030: Increase recovery of key materials by 40% on a combined basis by 2030
2019 results: Increased the recovery and resale of targeted commodities (cardboard, metals, plastics, organics, biogas and oil) to over 4.5 million tons; a 2.5 percent increase in recycling since 2017
Communities goal 2030: Positively impact 20 million people
2019 results: Contributed more than $2 million to support 23 neighborhood revitalization projects, impacting 1 million people
The report also includes a section on Republic’s response to COVID-19 and how it responded to unprecedented challenges with swift and comprehensive action to help protect and support their employees and communities.
“We believe our year-one [sustainability] achievements demonstrate a sustained ability to connect financial results with environmental and social performance, including addressing various risks and opportunities posed by climate change,” says Slager.
He also notes that he is “particularly proud of the progress we’re making in supporting the circular economy, generating renewable energy, and supporting our communities through the Republic Services Charitable Foundation. We’ve just started on our journey toward accomplishing our 2030 goals and are excited about the strides we’ll continue to make as we move forward.”