2020 Sustainability Report
The dots on this map represent the facilities we own and/or operate. The LFGTE plants shown in NY and VT are owned/operated by partners and they receive gas from our operations. The shaded areas indicate our collection service territory.
To update stakeholders on our progress toward our sustainability vision, we issue a biennial sustainability report. In this report, we follow a widely-respected reporting framework developed by the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI). This year’s report has been prepared in accordance with the GRI Standards: Core option. The GRI standards are built upon the following principles:
In preparing our report, we strive to consider the perspectives of six key stakeholder groups: Employees, Customers, Communities, Investors, Government and Supply Chain.
Throughout our report, we describe the ways that our sustainability initiatives will bring our actions and impacts into alignment with broader societal goals and environmental limits.
We report on the topics that are important to our stakeholders and that reflect our largest economic, environmental, and social impacts. These are described in the chart below.
We strive to provide a full picture of the material sustainability issues within our operational boundaries that best reflect the impacts of our business since our last report.
GRI Materiality Assessment
In early 2020, through stakeholder surveys, management interviews, and a facilitated materiality workshop, we identified the environmental, social, and economic topics that are most important to our stakeholders and to our long-term business success. We reviewed those results alongside those identified through our enterprise risk management process. The adjacent chart summarizes the results of our materiality assessment. Individual topics are represented by the white dots, which we have consolidated into topic areas listed in blue text. This report is organized around the five material topics listed in the upper right quadrant.
his report is current through mid-2020. Data points are current as of 12/31/2019, unless otherwise noted.
Other sustainability documents
In addition to this sustainability report, our stakeholders may be interested in one or more of the following references: our GRI Content Index, which is appended to this report, and our Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (SASB) disclosure and our CDP Climate disclosure, which are available on our website ir.casella.com/esg-practices.
For most of 2020, the world has had to confront not only a pandemic, but accelerated social, economic, and political disruption. This change and disruption is exposing useful ways of doing things, and less useful ways of doing things. Although it brings discomfort and pain, it is creating new expectations, new rules, and new opportunities. It is sweeping away dust and cobwebs, and complacency.
It has become clear to me, and I’m sure to many others as well, that we are looking at a unique opportunity to think deeply and creatively about the role our business plays not only in adapting to change, but in leading it.
What role do we play in people’s lives, as a place for people of diverse backgrounds, experiences, and talents to come to work, commit to shared values, and learn, grow, and reach their potential?
What are we learning from our experience as an essential service during a massive public health crisis that we can translate more deeply into our mission of protecting and advancing environmental sustainability and public health and safety?
What is our responsibility to engage more deeply in the lives of our communities, not only in investing in the infrastructure that contributes to a cleaner, more sustainable environment, but creating and sharing the value from our work that leads to healthier, more prosperous, livable places?
To us, these are important questions. We have spent most of our 45-year history thinking about sustainability more directly through the things we do, the infrastructure we build, and the expertise we bring to challenges like recycling and resource management.
Now, our understanding of sustainability is calling us to reach further, and to set our sights more broadly on creating a sustainable business culture – from our people to our operations – and create more sustainable value, especially for our customers but for all our stakeholders as well.
As a result, we’ve articulated much of this vision in this report as a set of 2030 Goals. To us, these sustainability goals are strategic, in that they reflect our broader company strategic direction, and that they drive much of that direction as well. They reflect the company we are becoming. We consider them as important and as serious as other goals, such as our financial performance.
We’re also thinking beyond 2030, and are beginning to articulate a vision for the next 30 years. It was nearly twenty years ago that we began asking ourselves how the world around us was changing, and what problems would we get paid to solve thirty years into the future. This thinking formed much of the early foundation for our commitment to becoming a more sustainable business. Being continuously thoughtful around this issue is crucial to our business’s ability to adapt and thrive.
This report serves to articulate the foundation underneath our sustainability goals and vision. It discusses the key issues we believe we’ve made great progress in, and where there is even greater opportunity for sustainable growth and excellence.
In the pages that follow, you’ll find a more detailed discussion about how we see ourselves and our business evolving, particularly in the face of change and disruption. From our people to our operations, from the changing needs of our customers and communities to our opportunity to be stewards of our climate, we’re excited to meet the challenges of a broader call to sustainability.
In closing, I’d like to make one more very important point. In the face of this 2020 pandemic, full of uncertainty and disruption, the entire Casella team has done extraordinary work. Their dedication, commitment, adaptability, and growth has given me my most grateful and proudest moments in the history of the company.
Our essential workers have kept our communities safer and healthier. In fact, much of the work they do is a noble thing, crucial to modern life in the best of times, and absolutely essential in difficult times. I am certain that as our customers and communities look back on all of this, they will say that Casella demonstrated the best of what people are capable of – caring, reliability, and looking out for each other. Without a doubt, our people are the core of our sustainable culture.
Thank you for your interest in the work Casella is doing to create a more sustainable world. I hope this report gives you a clear picture of our beliefs and our actions to solve important problems
In recent years, we grew our business by applying our core values while looking inward to execute a powerful financial and operational strategy. We have transitioned to an emphasis on growth via strategic acquisition and development, which has extended our sustainable practices and approach to new operations. For our next wave of growth, we are looking outward to bring renewed focus and discipline to the way we engage with customers, communities, employees, investors, and society. We will sustainably grow our business by increasingly creating and sharing value with external stakeholders.
To craft and deploy this strategy of sustainable growth, we have pulled together our customer care, community engagement, marketing, sales, government affairs, and sustainability units into a unified team focused on each of the areas where our business interfaces with external stakeholders. Through this focus, we are discovering new opportunities to serve customers, grow community trust, ignite passion in our people, build shareholder support, and improve our impact on society.
Our sustainable growth strategy brings to life the principle of the sustainability handprint. By now, most are familiar with the idea of a footprint quantifying one’s negative impacts on society and the environment. Similarly, the handprint is a summation of one’s positive impacts on society and the environment. Combining the two, we ask ourselves not just how do we do less harm, but how do we do more good?
Sustainable growth is about building a bigger and better business by doing more good, by creating value and sharing it with our external stakeholders.
Our Resource Solutions segment unites our recycling, organics, and customer solutions business units. The team delivers an efficient and effective one-stop-shop resource 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.
With our Resource Solutions team, we are able to deliver more services to our current industrial, institutional, commercial, and municipal customers. Beyond traditional waste and recycling services, we provide specialty recycling, organics recovery, and advanced resource management services. Our holistic approach positions current customers to achieve their sustainability goals and is a powerful draw for new customers.
To successfully deliver complex resource management services, Resource Solutions has fully embraced Casella’s strategic commitment to the growth and development of its people. Customers entrust their sustainability programs to Casella because they trust our talented people to bring a depth of knowledge and the leadership skills required to champion sustainability goals and manage complex organizational change.
Sustainability requires strategic innovation and execution. We have found that the most fertile ground for innovation is the space where our expertise overlaps with the expertise of our customers. Immersed in their customers’ operations, our Resource Solutions team is constantly inventing practical solutions to real world problems, and rapidly advancing the technologies and capabilities of sustainable resource management.
With our unique approach to sustainable growth and resource solutions, we continue to weave sustainability into the fabric of our daily decisions and long-term strategy. As we look to the dynamic years and decades ahead, we are confident in our ability to innovate, adapt, and grow while creating and sharing real value with our customers and communities.