Our People

Safety, Leadership, Commitment, and Partnerships
The growth and development of people - often a cliché in other companies - has been at the core of our forty-year evolution as a sustainable organization. Our success has been, and is, the direct and indirect result of selecting the most talented, committed people possible, investing in teaching and coaching, and liberating them as leaders to solve problems for our customers and communities at a high level of excellence. Perhaps even more meaningful, this commitment and investment sustained and carried us through tough times as well.

Because we believe we treat this foundation of our business differently than other companies, we measure it through the lens of a journey, and not as a destination to reach, and rest. Our world and our business environment change rapidly. Customer needs and community expectations evolve constantly. New technologies and new opportunities for partnerships and collaborative solutions emerge quickly. We will successfully navigate and thrive in this landscape only through the intentional, consistent investment of company resources in the skills, commitment and problem solving creativity of high-achieving people.

Growing an economically and environmentally sustainable business demands this constant focus, energy and investment in people no less - and perhaps even more - than the investments we are making and have detailed in other areas of this report.

The safety, skill, engagement, and creativity of our people is a challenging journey, which cannot be built with just spreadsheets and three-ring binders. As an organization dedicated to service, reaching over 170,000 customers on a regular basis, the talent of our people is an asset we must build with faith, sweat, and courage as well.

Casella's Core Values
Casella employees make decisions and solve customer problems every day. We make good decisions for our business, customers, and communities when we adhere to our core values, which provide a shared framework within which to apply our individual skills and strengths to solve problems. Our Casella Core Values are as follows:
Service
We win when we help others.
We are willing servants. We are sensitive to needs and are eager to be a resource to everyone around us, being generous with our time, talent and energy.
Trust
We excel when we assume the best in each other.
Mutual respect and an open, honest environment mark our interactions with others. We acknowledge each other's contributions, we practice active listening, and we deliver on our promises.
Responsibility
We succeed when we balance our freedom to act with a sense of accountability.
We invest deeply in creativity, autonomy and the willingness to take risks. We recognize these investments bear the greatest fruit when exercised within a framework of disciplined boundaries.
Integrity
We thrive when we do the right thing.
We believe there are enduring principles for everything we do and we strive, in our words and deeds, to meet or exceed those standards.
Continuous Improvement
We prosper when we learn, understand, and improve.
We create opportunities for human talent to thrive. We share what we've learned. We apply the lessons we learn every day to the goal of getting better and better at everything we do.
Teamwork
We're more effective when we work together.
Our impact is consistently stronger when we respect, support and view each other as partners.
Developing High Impact Leaders

One of our key strategic initiatives is the development of our people. Leadership at Casella is not a word, but a quality we practice with everything we do. In truth, at some level, we are all leaders in our company.

Although some may associate leadership only with managers, everyone at Casella - from the driver and mechanic to the accountant and administrator - leads through the power of example and the ability to solve problems.

We recognize that serving the needs of our customers requires a local focus. Therefore, we have empowered our local personnel with the flexibility to operate independently in their unique markets. To complement this flexibility, we must provide a unified framework for selecting, training, and supporting talented people.

Selection:

Leadership begins with selecting and hiring the best people to run our business and serve our customers. Our Selecting the One principles focus on finding people whose abilities and experience, temperament, and character are well matched to our company culture.

We regularly invite our employees to build their leadership skills through retreats and roundtables. With a nuanced and holistic understanding of leadership, regular reflection, and a commitment to personal growth, we work together to become better leaders for our company, as well as for our families and our communities.

A Commitment to Our People
Our commitment to our people begins with our dedication to health and safety. Casella drivers spent hundreds of thousands of hours on the road last year and our recycling and disposal equipment includes millions of moving parts. Protecting worker safety in this industry therefore requires the highest levels of commitment and professionalism, and we are proud of our programs and overall performance. In fact, three of our divisions achieved the impressive accomplishment of being 100% accident and injury free during calendar year 2013.
Health
In addition to our safety programs, we are pleased to provide for the health of our workers and their families through our health benefits package, which offers a mix of comprehensive high quality plan options. The program emphasizes preventive care and rewards employees for getting annual physical examinations. Several of our divisions further promote wellness by offering healthy snack options and participation in active community events such as 5k walks/runs and bicycle races.
Safety
The best evidence of our successful safety efforts can be seen in the Workers' Compensation Modifier Rate. This rate is used by the insurance industry to calculate the cost of workers' compensation coverage. It provides for the adjustment of a policyholder's annual premiums based on previous loss experience relative to others in the same industry. A rating of 1.0 is given to a company that is an average performer. Better than average performers will be assigned a rating of less than 1.0. Below average performers are greater than 1.0. Our goal is to continue to be an above average performer and improve our performance each year. The chart to the left shows our success in achieving this goal.
Safety Performance
(As measured by the Workers' Compensation Modifier Rate)
Community Engagement

Our resource solutions are motivated and shaped by the communities we serve. We build better solutions when we're embedded in the local community. All of our local teams volunteer their time, donate their services, and make monetary contributions to their local communities. Last year we made $217,000 in charitable contributions and donated countless hours to support local community groups and initiatives.

We also directly contribute to the communities that host our facilities. For example, in New York and Massachusetts, we operate four municipal landfills under long-term operating contracts, each of which is structured as mutually-beneficial public private partnership. In exchange for the opportunity to operate their disposal facilities, the communities receive a secure long-term plan for their waste as well as robust host community fees that alleviate local property taxes for homeowners and businesses.

Our employees are leaders in the communities where they live, serving on boards, participating in community events, and volunteering with local organizations. We also host open houses at our facilities, inviting our neighbors and other stakeholders to see the high standards at which we operate our facilities, and to raise awareness about solid waste generation and management.

Goodwill of Northern New England Partnership
Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

Much of the municipal solid waste stream consists of reusable items such as furniture, household goods, electronics, and textiles. To help our customers and communities capture more of these materials for reuse, we are proud to partner with the leaders at Goodwill Industries of Northern New England.

Goodwill NNE has been at the forefront of building a sustainable model for creating value out of society's discarded materials. In their expert hands, unwanted clothes and furniture are transformed into valuable resources: quality jobs, affordable goods, and environmental benefits.

Their GoodTech program is a great example. Under this program, Goodwill NNE refurbishes unwanted electronics, keeping these materials out of the disposal stream, providing valuable job training to their people, and making affordable electronics available to their customers.

At Casella, we appreciate Goodwill NNE's unique skill set and business model, and believe they play an essential role in building our region's resource renewal economy. To support their important work, we draw upon our own expertise and resources: providing solid waste and recycling services to their facilities, helping to market the recyclable materials they produce, and – most recently – helping them to collect more material by placing textile collection containers at our public drop-off locations.

More than just stuff Goodwill NNE's vision goes beyond just capturing more stuff. It is our shared belief that recovered resources (an old shirt, a recycled bottle, an apple core) can be leveraged to create jobs and empower people.

In late 2014, Casella and Goodwill NNE began exploring ways to leverage Goodwill expertise in employment training and social services in Maine. We hope to advance similar community goals throughout Vermont. To this end, Casella has recently introduced Goodwill to Rutland's Project Vision initiative focused on strengthening neighborhoods in the region through more holistic policing, drug treatment, employment training, and development programs.

We look forward to deepening this relationship, and uncovering more opportunities to partner around successful resource renewal in the northeast.

"Our strategic partnership with Casella aids us tremendously in achieving our goals for resource renewal."
- Michael Howe
Goodwill Industries of Northern New England, Director, After-Market Businesses
Building Partnerships
Our partners inspire and challenge us to become a better, more sustainable company.
Customers:
Our customers motivate us to create stronger solutions and strategies for their homes and businesses. We work to build relationships with these customers, so we can better understand their needs and co-invent the solutions that will help them achieve their goals. These proactive collaborations produce the types of new innovations that will become standard service offerings in the future.
Peer Groups:
Through our membership in organizations such as Vermont Businesses for Social Responsibility (VBSR) and New Hampshire Businesses for Social Responsibility (NHBSR), we connect with other New England businesses who share our commitment to creating value for our environment and our communities. These groups give us an opportunity to be inspired by each other's successes, learn from each other's challenges, and motivate each other to keep building the positive impacts of our businesses.
Research Partners:
We have the pleasure of servicing many of the leading colleges and universities in the northeast. These relationships often grow into exciting research collaborations, which bring together business and academia to solve pressing real-world issues. For example, this fall, researchers from the University of Maine Orono began an important pollinator habitat study at our Pine Tree Landfill in Hampden, Maine. Last year, students from the Dartmouth College Tuck School of Business conducted market research for our closed-loop recycling services. This summer, students from the University of Vermont Sustainable Entrepreneurship MBA program will analyze our rapidly-growing industrial solutions and food waste businesses. We are thrilled to engage in this way with our partners in academia, and to connect the next generation of talented problem solvers with mentorship opportunities in the resource renewal industry.
Learn more about our Sustainability Initiatives
Capturing value from waste through innovative resource solutions.
Our comprehensive Resource Solutions enable us to apply our knowledge and experience in recycling, collection, organics, energy and landfills to create economic and environmental value for our customers and our communities. Click here to download the PDF version of our 2014 Sustainability Report
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Casella Resource Solutions
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