1. What is sustainability, and what does this mean to Casella?
Casella embraces the definition of “Sustainable Development” introduced in a 1987 report produced by the World Commission on Environment and Development. The report entitled “Our Common Future” or the “Brundtland Report” defines sustainable development as “development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs;” this includes economic growth, environmental protection, and social equity. The entire report can be found online at the United Nations Department for Economic and Social Affairs Division for Sustainable Development website (http://www.un.org/esa/dsd/index.shtml).
To Casella, sustainability is simply results over time. To us, sustainable development is about ensuring a better quality of life for everyone, now and for generations to come. This definition speaks to a better quality of life for everyone. It also is aspirational and aligns with our mission—to give resources new life by offering resource renewal solutions for waste disposal and recycling, helping customers advance on a pathway to zero waste. Sustainability integrates economic development, environmental leadership, and social responsibility. For Casella, sustainability provides us with a holistic approach to address the values and concerns of our customers and other key stakeholders, along with their simultaneous desire for a higher and more rewarding quality of life. By tying the economic and environmental models together we create incremental value from waste streams. Sustainability provides an opportunity to build our business by bringing Casella technologies and innovation to address the values, concerns and frustrations that customers face in their everyday lives including recycling, waste reduction, resource renewal, resource efficiencies, energy use, time available to spend with family, etc.
2. What is Casella’s position on sustainable development?
Casella believes that improving the lives of our customers and those in the communities we serve encompasses the three pillars of sustainability: economic development, environmental leadership, and social responsibility. We contribute to improving quality of life for people in the communities we serve both through what we do and how we do it. There are two key focus areas that are integral to the success of Casella’s business:
- Responsibility to our stakeholders
- Development and advancement of sustainable processing solutions for attainment of zero waste goals
To support these areas, the company advocates the following basic principles:
- Conducting business with integrity and a core value to “do the right thing”
- Freedom of customer choice
- A climate of innovation
3. What is the long-term vision of Casella’s sustainability?
Our vision is to become a sustainable company by delivering unique solutions to improve lives, protect the environment, and build shareholder value with the support of our customers, employees, communities, shareholders, governments, and thought leaders.
4. How is this concept being used in Casella’s business?
We decided to focus on areas where we can make a positive difference. We chose two key themes that are significant to Casella’s solid waste, organics, and recycling businesses. They are (1) Zero-Sort recycling and (2) low emission landfill. These focus areas support our ongoing work to understand issues concerning emissions, energy, and the life cycle impact of resource renewal activities.
5. Does Casella report on sustainability topics?
In the past, we informally reported on sustainability topics in our press releases, earnings conferences, and investor presentations. In 2010 we issued our first biennial sustainability report, an electronic report based on the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) guidelines. Our long-term goal is to link our annual report and our sustainability report together in a sustainable development report.
6. What is the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI)? Why is Casella following their guidelines?
The GRI provides a common format for sustainability reporting that assists both the organization providing the report and those using the report as a key source of data. The GRI consists of multinational corporations, Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs), international associations, universities and other stakeholders from around the world. More information can be found at their website at: http://www.globalreporting.org.
Casella decided to pilot the GRI guidelines for its first sustainability report because it offered a consistent format for gathering economic, social and environmental performance trend data and reporting this information in an credible and accepted format.