Our sustainability goals and targets support our business strategy and financial performance. Developing sustainable waste and renewable energy solutions is our business, so when we meet our sustainability goals, we move closer to achieving our overall corporate objectives.
We set both quantitative and qualitative goals for the near and long term. We are accountable for our performance, and provide regular updates on progress toward meeting our goals.
Covanta seeks to manage its facilities so as to maximize waste processing and energy generation capacity while continuously improving operating efficiencies. Investment in operation and maintenance programs, including in facility equipment and procedures, directly impacts Covanta’s financial performance. For example, an increase in total quantity of waste managed, power generated and metals recovered contributes additional revenue. Reducing use of potable water and increased use of gray water minimizes operating costs.
||Increase the amount of waste managed throughout all EfW facilities and other integrated waste management operations.
||By 2025, increase the total amount of waste managed by 20 percent from a 2011 baseline. (Increase from 20.6 to 24.7 million tons.)
In 2014, we managed 20.7 million tons. We continue growth through recent acquisitions, the new Durham York Energy Centre facility, the construction of the Dublin plant, and new development opportunities.
Our 2014 waste & service revenues were up $24 million relative to 2011.
||Increase the total amount of net energy exported from Covanta EfW facilities.
||By 2025, increase net power generation by 20 percent from a 2011 baseline. (Baseline = 9.1 million MWh electricity and 9.3 billion pounds of steam.)
In 2014, we delivered 8.9 million MWh of electricity and provided 10.1 billion pounds of steam from our EfW facilities.
Our 2014 energy revenues were up $60 million relative to 2011.
||Increase the amount of ferrous and nonferrous metal recovered at Covanta’s EfW facilities.
||By the end of 2013, increase total rate of recovered ferrous by 50,000 tons and nonferrous metals by 10,000 tons for a total run rate of 490,000 tons.
December 2013 was our first month exceeding our total rate of recovery goal. We are on track in 2015 to exceed our goal on an annual gross basis.
Our 2014 metals revenues were up $19 million relative to 2011.
Our metals recovery efforts have been an important hedge in the recent falloff in commodity prices. Absent growth in recovery, metals revenues would have been down an additional $28 million + $4 million operating cost from disposal of non-recovered metals.
||Implement projects that improve energy efficiency and energy recovery.
||Implement measures at all facilities where local communities support these efforts.
We’ve implemented 35 energy efficiency projects at 22 facilities, with total estimated energy savings of 56,600 MWh / yr.
A positive revenue impact of over $3 million / yr based on average 2014 price of the PJM PSEG zone provided by the PJM ISO of $56.99 / MWh.
||Implement projects that reduce total water demand and allow facilities to use lower-quality water.
||By 2020, expand water-reduction efforts at all facilities. Where supported by local communities, transition to the use of gray water instead of potable water.
We’ve implemented projects at 12 additional facilities since 2011. Our Delaware Valley water reuse project saves over 1.3 million gallons / day of potable water alone.
The new Delaware Valley system alone is expected to save $600 – $700 thousand / yr.
Sustainable Materials Management
Covanta seeks to be an integral part of the zero-landfill solution. We recognize that materials reuse, recovery and recycling are essential components in managing waste. With regard to financial impacts, existing and new clients pay a premium to divert waste from landfills to EfW to help achieve their zero-landfill initiatives, among other objectives. Covanta’s commercial and industrial services generate additional revenue for the company. Developing innovative waste processing technologies can also enhance Covanta’s potential future revenue stream.
|Sustainable materials management
|Commercial / industrial waste disposal
||Increase the amount of non-hazardous commercial and industrial waste processed to meet clients goal of zero landfill.
||By 2015, increase the total tons of commercial and industrial waste processed to 1,000,000 tons from 490,000 tons in 2011.
With 873,000 tons processed in 2014, we’ve already grown the business by more than 75 percent since 2011. With continued organic growth and new acquisitions, we are on track to reaching our goal in 2015.
Projections indicate that displacement of an additional 500,000 tons of spot waste with non-hazardous commercial and industrial wastes enables a market opportunity to create incremental value of at least $25 million in additional revenues.
||Improve recycling options at both Covanta-owned EfW facilities and transfer stations.
||Expand recycling options at more than 50 percent of EfW facilities.
We’ve increased our recycling footprint across our fleet through both new services and acquisitions.
|Liquid Waste Disposal
||Offer an energy- and cost-effective method to dispose of liquid waste.
||By 2015, increase from two to four facilities that can manage liquid waste.
We now offer liquid direct injection at seven facilities and beneficial reuse at four more.
|EfW process innovation
||Evaluate thermal alternatives to conventional mass burn and refuse-derived fuels technology.
||Secure contract for supply of three CLEERGAS units by 2015. Implement MSW gasification with syngas recovery for combined cycle power production by 2020.
We continue to advance CLEERGAS together with our partners.
Smaller scale CLEERGAS gasification units could open smaller markets for EfW facilities.
Covanta’s proactive compliance strategy is designed to prevent noncompliant events; learn from any such events; and to develop technology, operating standards and personnel training to ensure continuous improvement. The financial benefits of this proactive approach include direct savings from the avoidance of fines and penalties, as well as creation of intangible reputational value. As related to emissions reductions, we can also realize proceeds from carbon offset sales, depending on the agreements we have with our clients.
||100 percent compliance with all discharge limits.
||Achieve and maintain 100 percent compliance for all reportable periods by 2015, including those currently exempt during startup and shutdown.
We continue to have 100 percent stack test compliance and have achieved over 99.9 percent compliance with our continuous emissions monitoring system requirements.
||Reduce overall emissions associated with EfW facilities, specifically with regard to dioxin and mercury.
||By 2015, all units will have results below the existing compliance limits set for new EfW units.
Our plants continue to operate more than 90 percent below our permit limits for Hg and dioxin. Since start of our Clean World Initiative, our dioxin emissions are down more than 50 percent.
||Develop carbon offset projects at all eligible facilities.
||Complete the certification of all eligible EfW facilities by 2015 to generate and sell carbon credits.
We’ve successfully validated three out of the four eligible projects.
Sale of carbon offset credits creates additional revenue streams for our clients and Covanta.
||Develop technology for improved environmental performance.
||Continuous verification of compliance options.
We continue to explore technological options for reducing emissions.
Covanta has various initiatives in place to improve the quality of life for its employees, contractors and host communities. In financial terms, our investment in the safety and health of our employees and contractors provides both short- and long-term benefits, including potentially lower insurance premiums as well as avoidance of costs related to accidents and injuries. By focusing on retaining qualified and talented employees, we can further lower costs related to recruiting and training, and realize operational benefits associated with a productive and efficient workforce.
||Achieve an injury-free workplace as measured with regard to injury frequency (Total Case Incident Rate; TCIR); severity (Days Away, Restricted, and Transfer Rate; DART); and via Covanta’s Incident Index (II), which combines frequency and severity into a single metric.
||Continue to reduce injury rates and advance the goal of achieving zero accidents and injuries in the workplace.
In 2014, we experienced an increase in the number of safety incidents at some of our EfW facilities. While 59 percent of our facilities were accident-free, we take very seriously our responsibility to address safety issues, and are implementing additional programs to concentrate attention on accident prevention and reinforce a safety mind-set among all employees.
See our latest safety data here.
|Elimination of unsafe practices
||Use a “near-miss” reporting system to incentivize safe behavior by identifying and eliminating unsafe practices or behaviors that could lead to accidents.
||Through the near-miss program, continue to develop employee confidence in reporting, controlling and eliminating unsafe conditions or behaviors.
Our near-miss reporting system is in place and contributing to correcting root causes of accidents.
||Establish and maintain a contractor injury reporting and safety management system.
||Continue to improve contractor injury tracking and reporting by implementing the new ISN SafetyStat-3 database in 2012. Begin to report indices (TCIR and DART) for contractors that work more than 1,000 hours per quarter.
Through the ISN system, we now track safety performance of our contractors.
See our latest contractor safety data here.
||Improve contractor screening processes to ensure that all contractors comply fully with regulations and possess required expertise.
||By 2012, all contractors hired by Covanta are expected to be integrated into the ISN system. Only contractors with an ISN A grade will be permitted to perform work at Covanta facilities.
We now have 98 percent of our contractors subscribed to the system. ISN has changed its grading system, leaving comparisons difficult and the criteria different than we initially anticipated. We have shifted toward tracking our contractor’s involvement with ISN and their safety performance.
||Design a training program for newly hired First Line Supervisors.
||Deliver inaugural program for newly hired and/or newly promoted First Line Supervisors in 2012, with plans to offer the program multiple times per year in the future.
The program continues to be well received by participants and their managers.
||Develop programs to attract and retain top talent and increase the retention of high-performing employees.
||Maintain retention above 90 percent and continue to monitor, develop and evaluate innovative programs to attract and retain top talent.
Our retention rate dropped below 90 percent in 2014, following a strong performance in 2013, as a result of some short-term initiatives. We are on track to exceed 90 percent retention in 2015.
||Explore health and wellness initiatives in support of employee well-being.
||In partnership with external health organizations, launch a companywide Wellness Strategy in the areas of Smoking Cessation and Weight Management in 2012.
These programs were introduced in 2012 and continue to be offered.
Covanta has been investing in community outreach programs for more than two decades. This comprehensive outreach translates to improved business opportunities, including renewal of existing contracts and favorable permitting terms; strong relationships; and better operational standing.
||Sponsor and participate in local events.
||In 2012 and beyond, all EfW facilities will sponsor an Earth Day or comparable event.
In 2014, we completed an event at 95 percent of our North American EfW facilities where we’ve been operating for at least a year, including at 100 percent of those facilities we own. We continue to work with a small number of our clients to embrace our involvement in local events.
||Help to minimize toxics such as mercury and unused pharmaceuticals in the waste stream through donation of EfW services.
||By 2015, expand toxics-reduction program to all facilities where communities are supportive of these efforts.
All of our North American facilities where we have been operating for at least a year have at least one toxics-reduction program in place.
|EJ & Community Outreach
||Formalize Covanta’s community relations and Environmental Justice programs and policies; conduct locally based stakeholder engagement.
||Implement activities related to each EfW facility’s community outreach program (COP) and hold at least one meeting at all facilities.
We established a new goal to expand the number and quality of our community outreach programs.