In preparation for the development of this report, we conducted a materiality analysis to inform the depth and breadth of our disclosure and strategic planning. This is Covanta’s second materiality analysis and replaces the first analysis of 2009–2010, which we subsequently updated in 2011. The materiality analysis process meets the requirements of the Global Reporting Initiative’s (GRI) G4 Principles for Defining Report Content.

A materiality analysis brings to the surface those issues that matter most to stakeholders and to the Company’s long-term business success. As part of the analysis, we:

  • Developed and reviewed an extensive list of environmental, social, governance and economic topics relevant to our business operations, as confirmed by our stakeholder panel.
  • Conducted an internal survey with Covanta managers and employees to gather their perceptions of impacts related to all of the issues that may occur across our company’s value chain.
  • Analyzed a comprehensive array of diverse stakeholder source documents representing input from our key stakeholder groups. Included were investor and customer inquiries, questionnaires from respected ratings and rankings organizations, industry/trade association white papers, peer reports and analyses, policies and regulatory guidance, and employee comments and surveys.
  • Mapped each topic onto a matrix to identify the highest-scoring issues for both our stakeholders and company.
  • Reviewed the mapping with our stakeholder panel and the Covanta executive team.
  • Confirmed our material issues, as presented below.

“It is clear that material issues cannot be addressed in silos—they must be dealt with in concert. For example, financial performance connects to all the issues in the materiality analysis—positive impacts as well as real hurt points.”

Bruce Kahn, Ph.D.,

Portfolio Manager, Sustainable Insight Capital Management

Covanta's Material Issues

Waste resource utilization refers to the responsible management of the many products and materials that become waste streams around the world. The issue encompasses a focus on finding the most sustainable next step for each waste in order to lessen, to the extent possible, impacts on the environment and society. Related GRI G4 Aspects: Procurement Practices, Materials
Air pollutants (non-GHG air emissions) can pose risks to people and may cause other damages to the environment. This issue also covers management and regulation of air emissions, including improved air quality through technological innovation, advanced equipment and robust process management. Related GRI G4 Aspect: Emissions
Community relations refers to our communications and activities with local community organizations and individuals. Included are impacts on the economy, taxes, job creation, noise and odor, air pollutants and community engagement, as well as support of local initiatives through philanthropy and monetary and service donations. Related GRI G4 Aspects: Indirect Economic Impacts, Environmental Grievance Mechanisms, Grievance Mechanisms for Impacts on Society, Local Communities, Customer Health and Safety
Climate change and greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs) includes all issues related to manmade activities that can either increase or avoid GHGs, which consequently can generate related climate risks or opportunities. Related GRI G4 Aspect: Emissions
Financial performance includes the financial health of the company and strategic planning to provide long-term value creation for the company’s stakeholders. Related GRI G4 Aspects: Economic Performance, Market Presence
Customer relations with both municipalities and corporate customers encompasses customer satisfaction, day-to-day customer support, service pricing, and business and operational excellence. Related GRI G4 Aspect: Product and Service Labeling (customer satisfaction)

By examining our material issues from a value chain perspective, we are better able to understand the economic, environmental and social risks and opportunities associated with our business operations and their related impacts on stakeholders. Covanta’s value chain extends from initial external engagement with customers and community stakeholders, through the lifecycle of sustainable waste management, resulting in primarily reusable material outputs.

Covanta’s Value Chain