Message from Don Slager President & CEO
When people think about sustainability, they naturally think about environmental responsibility within the context of their own daily lives. For example, taking the time to separate recyclables from other waste, making the conscious decision to minimize the use of plastic shopping bags at the store or conserving water at home. These are meaningful choices, and their environmental impact is indisputable.
But, is it enough? Will these choices by themselves sustain our planet for future generations? In our hearts and minds, we already know the answer. No. We could each do more to reduce, reuse and recycle in daily life.
The reality is people care about the environment. People want to be environmentally responsible, and do the right thing.
That’s where we come in.
Making it Effortless for Customers
Everything we do is for our customers. There is no more important relationship in our business. That is why we recently asked customers across the country questions about what they value in a recycling and waste provider, and the priority they place on environmental responsibility. We were pleased by what we heard. The vast majority said they want to be more sustainable, but they do not necessarily know what to do or how to do it.
At Republic Services, we believe sustainability is about balance. It is about protecting our Blue Planet. In addition, we believe we can create stronger profits and a more durable business by encompassing a broader view.
For our 14 million customers, this means peace of mind that recyclables are indeed recycled the right way. It is the assurance that by entrusting Republic to own and safeguard the waste we collect, customers are making a positive, sustainable choice. It is the understanding that we relentlessly pursue innovation in our services, products and capabilities, making it effortless for customers to do more of the right thing with confidence.
We are caretakers of this Blue Planet, largely covered with blue waters that flow beneath blue skies. It is worthy of every effort we can make to protect it for our children and our children’s children.
For Republic’s part, we start with a resounding commitment to reduce carbon emissions whenever and wherever possible. As the operator of the 8th largest vocational fleet in the country, we believe we have a responsibility to be leaders in reducing carbon emissions as well as dependency on foreign oil.
Today, we operate a compressed natural gas (CNG) fleet of 2,200 vehicles that has carbon emission reduction benefits equal to removing nearly 11,000 cars from roads each year. In fact, roughly 35 percent of the vehicles we purchased in 2014 are powered by this domestic fuel source.
To sustain our commitment, we have built 36 natural gas fueling stations on our sites. These stations, along with the CNG trucks they support, represent a significant local investment in cleaner and more efficient vehicles in the communities they serve. They also embody our commitment to safety.
Safety is core to the responsibility we assume as caretakers of our Blue Planet. That is why we prioritize safety education and training on a daily basis, and it is why we celebrate strong safety records.
As an industry leader that owns and operates over 300 active and closed landfills nationwide, we set the standard for quality landfill management. We leverage the power of science, advanced technologies and innovation to customize site management plans, and address complexities that range from odor mitigation and groundwater protection to community engagement.
Whether it is state-of-the-art leachate collection and pretreatment systems, landfill gas collection systems that connect with advanced air pollution control equipment or sophisticated groundwater protection protocols, we are uniquely capable of managing the dynamic operating environment at any landfill.
Republic’s business, and the broader economy, exists within planetary boundaries. This means we consider our Blue Planet to be a vital asset. It means we must responsibly account for and value precious natural resources like air, water, land and the ecosystems they create. It means we strive for balance in every aspect of what we do, whether it is our people, operations or resources, to ensure that we help to regenerate the planet.
Simply put, our ability to deliver truly exceptional service to our customers is directly linked to our commitment to extract value from the country’s waste stream — through materials that can be repurposed as commodities to offset virgin material use or through materials that generate energy to offset fossil fuels. When we extract materials and energy, we are regenerating our economic engine while preserving the planet’s natural resources.
Our world-class operations exemplify our commitment to innovation and excellence at 60 recycling centers across the nation. We collected nearly 5 million tons of recyclable materials in 2014, enabling discarded items to be regenerated into newspaper, cardboard, glass and plastic bottles, tissue, paper towels, and metal cans. Recycling this quantity of material saves 15 million tons of carbon dioxide
equivalent (CO2e), which is nearly as much as Republic’s entire carbon footprint.
Republic Services is equally committed to harnessing landfill gas, the natural byproduct of decomposing waste, and converting it into energy. We operate 72 landfill gas-to-energy (LFGTE) projects across the country. Annually, these projects generate enough electricity to power more than 250,000 households, meeting the needs of a community the size of Austin, Texas. In addition, the carbon emission reductions benefit from our current landfill gas-to-energy projects is equal to removing more than 4 million cars, or roughly every automobile in the state of Georgia, from local roads.
We participated in the 2014 CDP S&P 500 Climate Change Report, our inaugural submission. The report represents the progress achieved by companies in reducing emissions, responding to climate-related risks and opportunities, and mobilizing influence to manage climate change. For our first year, which created a baseline for future submissions, we earned a Disclosure Score of 93 out of 100, which reflects our strong commitment to transparency, thoroughness and responsibility, and a C band in Performance – which we see as a strong starting point for a first-year responder.
We believe we are creating a positive impact. What we do each day, and what we empower our customers to do in their homes and businesses, leads to sustained environmental benefits.
By working with our customers and the community, and living up to our brand promise, We’ll handle it from here.TM, we are making a difference in protecting and preserving our Blue Planet. But, at the same time, we are the first to recognize that there is significantly more work to be done, and we are only just beginning.
On behalf of our 31,000 employees, I am pleased to share with you our 2014 Sustainability Report. We are proud of our current achievements and hope that you are as encouraged about the future as we are here at Republic Services.