Upholding a diverse and inclusive work environment is an important key to our success. Studies show that diverse groups of employees enable companies to have stronger collaboration and achieve better business performance. In the crucial skill sets of problem-solving, conflict resolution, idea vetting and creativity, diversity always wins.

By embracing diversity, we foster a work community that opens minds and opportunities, helping Covanta grow stronger as a company. We pledge to create a culture of acceptance, tolerance and individuality so we can all learn and grow together.

Building a Diverse and Inclusive Workforce

Covanta’s D&I mission is to create and maintain a diverse, inclusive environment that respects the unique talents, perspectives and experiences of our employees. In pursuing this mission, we are applying our D&I strategy across the organization, while ensuring that it aligns with our key business objectives. Because we know that D&I starts at the top, we are engaging Covanta’s senior executives to lead the D&I strategy. We’re also advocating for a culture of inclusion by establishing an Executive D&I Council.

In building our workforce, we strive to “stay local” so we can reflect the ethnic diversity of the communities where our facilities are located. We also focus our efforts on attracting qualified female applicants since we believe the physical nature of our work should never be a barrier to women entering the field. We were recently named to the Executive Women of New Jersey’s “A Seat at the Table” Honor Roll that recognizes publicly traded companies in the state that have appointed three or more women to their corporate boards.

We also value the diversity in our workforce as reflected by age and experience. Nearly 25 percent of our U.S. workforce is 55 or older. As these employees look toward retirement, we provide them with financial planning services, along with an employee assistance program. We have also developed succession plans to avoid employment gaps and to ensure that new hires are equipped with the tools—and the institutional knowledge—they need to perform their jobs.

Finally, because education is an essential part of D&I, we’re providing training to help Covanta employees enhance their cultural competencies across multiple levels of D&I. We’re tracking our progress using several measures, including recruitment targets and mentoring program participation. For example, at the management level—director and higher—we now require the presentation of a diverse slate of candidates for every opening. This approach is leading to definitive changes in the hiring process and making a difference in the composition of our executive ranks.

Supporting Our Veterans

Covanta has historically employed many veterans as we look for professionals that not only possess exceptional technical skill sets, but also exemplary qualities such as teamwork, dedication and integrity. That’s why we continued our strong veteran recruiting efforts in 2016 by participating in more than 10 veteran-focused events, including on-site career fairs and a Covanta-exclusive virtual fair. In addition to hosting veteran-focused career fairs at our facilities, we have also organized an internal group of employees who are also veterans to help hiring managers translate military titles and responsibilities into the needs of our business. These Talent Ambassadors play a very engaged role in our talent acquisition, onboarding and retention strategy.

As a result of efforts such as these, we added over 150 veterans to the company in 2015 and 2016. Veterans now make up about 15 percent of our workforce.