Covanta Releases Sustainability Report

The report highlights the company’s substantial progress in sustainability and outlines a set of new initiatives and goals.

Waste360 Staff, Staff

December 19, 2019

3 Min Read
Covanta Releases Sustainability Report

Covanta, a world leader in sustainable waste and energy solutions, released its latest Sustainability Report, which provides a detailed look at the company’s substantial progress in sustainability and outlines a set of new initiatives and goals.

"At Covanta, our business is sustainability," said Covanta President and CEO Stephen J. Jones in a statement. "Every day we work to protect tomorrow through practical solutions that address significant societal challenges and have a positive impact on our environment. However, we believe there is more that we can do. Our sustainability goals drive us to innovate, grow and challenge our team to reach new heights as we seek to ensure no waste is ever wasted."

The latest report is the company’s fourth since 2010 and tracks the progress of Covanta’s key sustainability focus areas, including Materials Management, Environmental, Community Relations, Safety and Health and Workforce Engagement. Highlights from the report include:

  • Reduced safety incidents by 31 percent year-over-year and recognized for excellence with 33 of Covanta facilities designated as U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration Voluntary Protection Program Star sites

  • Diverted 20.6 million tons of waste from landfills—enough to fill a six-lane highway with garbage trucks, bumper to bumper, from Los Angeles to New York City

  • Reduced greenhouse gas emissions by 18.5 million metric tons—equivalent to pulling nearly 4 million cars off the road

  • Recycled 933,000 tons of metal, industrial wastewater and other resources—enough to build six Golden Gate Bridges and fill 129 Olympic swimming pools

  • Expanded development pipeline in the U.K. to four advanced projects, totaling 1.5 million metric tons of annual capacity

  • Commenced construction on the first Total Ash Processing System, which will mine ash for valuable materials, including metals and aggregate, and reduce residual waste sent to landfills by up to 65 percent

  • Destroyed or diverted more than 2 million pounds of hazardous and/or hard-to-dispose materials, including derelict fishing gear and marine debris, products containing mercury and unused pharmaceuticals

  • Committed to CEO Action for Diversity & Inclusion, the largest CEO-driven business commitment to advance diversity and inclusion within the workplace

"In all that we do, we look to address the three pillars of sustainability: people, planet and prosperity,” said Paul Gilman, Ph.D., Covanta’s chief sustainability officer, in a statement. “It is the driving force behind our business, but it is not limited to managing waste and generating renewable energy. Instead, our view of sustainability extends to providing our employees with a diverse and safe workplace, being a good neighbor in the communities where we operate and driving our environmental impacts down to zero. We’ve made tremendous progress, but we recognize there is more that we can do. As we have surpassed several of our targets, we’ve added new commitments in this year’s report to continue our progress. Our new goals are ambitious but achievable, and we are looking forward [to] the work that lies ahead to achieve them.”

New goal performance indicators include:

  • Set a science-based greenhouse gas reduction target: Develop a plan by 2022 to help prevent the most significant impacts of global climate change

  • Reduce environmental impacts: Implement five projects by 2023 to further reduce emissions, focused in Environmental Justice communities

  • Foster a diverse and inclusive workforce: Continue to increase the share of diverse gender and race/ethnicity representation at all levels of the organization, and more specifically in leadership positions

  • Use leading indicators to improve safety: Develop and implement a behavioral safety observation process to capture and report data by 2020

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