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Sustainability Talks

Casella’s Sustainability Report Highlights 10 Goals

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Casella Waste Systems, Inc. (NYSE: CWST) has released its 2020 Sustainability Report, which marks its fifth biennial report on the company’s sustainability activities. In an introductory message, chairman & CEO John Casella notes that the report “serves to articulate the foundation underneath our sustainability goals and vision, [discussing] the key issues we believe we’ve made great progress in, and where there is even greater opportunity for growth and excellence.”

He also acknowledges that the company and world are “in the midst of one of the most challenging periods in recent history,” and observes that the changes and disruption are “exposing useful ways of doing things, and less useful ways of doing things.” The pandemic, he notes, has presented “a unique opportunity to think deeply and creatively about the role our business plays not only in adapting to change, but in leading it.”

The report then discusses the company’s sustainability strategy, highlighting its focus on sustainable growth and resource solutions. It defines sustainable growth as “building a bigger and better business by doing more good, by creating value and sharing it with our external stakeholders.” This is enabled, in part, by its Resource Solutions team, which unites its recycling, organics, and customer solutions business units to help customers meet their waste and recycling goals. “Beyond this, the group delivers much more, executing the strategy of sustainable growth as a powerful driver of new business, a builder of talent, and an engine of innovation.”

The bulk of the report is dedicated to the 10 sustainability goals and related metrics that Casella has set for 2030. For each goal, 2019 data is shown, to establish a baseline. The company explains that these goals were selected through a materiality assessment process “aimed at identifying the company’s most significant impacts on and opportunities to improve society, natural resources, and the environment.”

The 10 goals for 2030 are as follows:

1. Improve our safety performance, reducing our Total Recordable Incident Rate (TRIR), a measure of accidents and injuries compared to hours worked

2. Enhance employee engagement, reducing total employee turnover, including voluntary and involuntary turnover as a percentage of total workforce

3. Grow our Resource Solutions business to reduce, reuse, or recycle over 2 Million tons of solid waste materials per year

4. Double the renewable energy from our facilities, including landfill gas, solar, and geothermal energy from Casella- owned and partner facilities, in MMBTU

5. Maintain strong environmental compliance, reducing our number of sanctions including notices of violation, enforcement orders, and notices of non-compliance/deficiencies

6. Improve our fuel efficiency, reducing our Gigajoules (GJ) of fuel consumed per ton of waste and recycling collected by 20%

7. Further reduce our carbon footprint, measured in metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalents (CO2e) from scopes 1 and 2 (with a 2010 baseline)

8. Grow our Net Climate Benefit Factor, which is the sum of the GHG emission benefits of our recycling, renewable energy, and carbon sequestration activities, divided by our Scope 1 and 2 emissions

9. Increase our community giving, including charitable donations, in-kind services, and local community sponsorships

10.Increase volunteering in our communities, as measured by employee volunteer hours

The report further elaborates on the overarching topics encompassed by its 2030 goals: essential workers, materials management, sustainable operations, climate leadership, and community engagement. It highlights data, success stories and upcoming plans for each.

The report also looks further into the future, specifically to 2050, “to anticipate and prepare for change, and to imagine what our employees, our customers, our environment, and our society will need from us.” This, it says, “is the essence of sustainable growth.” It imagines 2050 “as a place where the definition of waste has shifted, and where the lines between resources, waste, and products continue to blur as the supply chains through which they flow become more circular.”

And, as part of its forward-looking vision, the company acknowledges that, in order to thrive, “we will need to continue to distill and nurture the things that make our company great. First, build people. Provide a place where people find deeply meaningful work solving vital human and environmental problems. Second, advance human and environmental health by establishing the vital infrastructure that makes modern life possible and brings society into alignment with natural systems. And lastly, create and share value. Be a company that can confidently say that people, communities, and the planet are better off as a result of the work we do every day.”

View the report here.

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