Covanta, a world leader in sustainable waste and energy solutions, has released its latest sustainability report, which provides an update on goals set in previous years, highlights major achievements since the last report and establishes new goals to advance progress in sustainability.
"Since its founding, Covanta has been in the business of providing sustainable solutions to some of today's biggest challenges. When we meet our sustainability goals, we move closer to achieving our overall corporate objectives," said Covanta CEO Stephen J. Jones. "By employing a philosophy that integrates sustainability into all parts of the company, we have innovated, continually improved and grown our business. I'm proud to lead a talented team of people that make the world a better place."
The report, prepared in accordance with the latest Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) guidelines, details specific progress in Covanta's sustainability focus areas, which include: Environmental Performance, Resource Management, Community Relations and Workforce Engagement.
Highlights from the report include:
-- Reduced greenhouse gas emissions by 18.2 million metric tons, equal to taking 3.8 million cars off the road for one year
-- Reduced facility stack emissions by up to 53 percent since 2007
-- Produced 9.8 million megawatt hours of clean energy and reduced waste going to landfills by 20.7 million tons
-- Increased metals recovery by nearly 20 percent, exceeding a previous goal of recycling approximately 500,000 tons of metal per year
-- Added expertise and services in industrial recycling and other energy recovery services to help customers with sustainable waste management and zero waste-to-landfill goals
-- Implemented new water conservation projects, including a new water filter plant at the Delaware Valley facility (Chester, PA) that reuses 1.3 million gallons per day of effluent water from a nearby treatment plant
-- Safely destroyed over 2.5 million pounds of unwanted medications free of charge through the Rx4Safety Program, helping to curb abuse and protect water supplies
-- Helped to keep 2,000 pounds of mercury out of the waste stream through community collections - amassing nearly a quarter of a million mercury-containing thermostats.
-- Recovered and safely disposed of over 1,400 tons of derelict fishing gear and marine debris through the Fishing for Energy partnership
-- Supported the transition of military veterans into the workforce with 53 new veteran hires. Veterans represent approximately 15 percent of the Covanta employee base
-- Continued to make workplace safety the top priority. Thirty-nine Covanta facilities and/or groups were awarded the Occupational Excellence Achievement Award by the National Safety Council
The report is Covanta's third, exemplifying its longstanding commitment to sustainability.
In 2007, Covanta launched the Clean World Initiative, which embedded sustainability into every facet of the company's business, including facility operations, research and development, the advancement of solid waste management and community partnerships and programs.
"In all that we do, we strive to ensure that our services, facilities and activities are planned and managed in an environmentally responsible way that is good for our business, for society and for the planet," said Paul Gilman, Covanta's Chief Sustainability Officer. "We are confident that by continuing to make sustainability a priority throughout our business, we will continue to protect and preserve the planet and human health, as well as address other important social and sustainability issues."
Future goals include: continuous improvement of safety and health performance, creating and maintaining a more inclusive and equitable work environment, committing to 100 percent compliance limits at all facilities while also maintaining emissions at levels well below existing regulations, advancing sustainable waste management and further reducing greenhouse gases, and expanding the quality and quantity of community outreach programs.
The complete report is available online.Covanta operates five energy-from-waste facilities in Dauphin, Delaware, Lancaster, Montgomery and York counties, an ECOvanta electronics waste recycling facility in Philadelphia, a metals recycling facility in Bucks County, and owns two speciality waste service companies in Pennsylvania.
[Note: Crisci Associates represents Covanta in Harrisburg.]