Republic Services sustainability goals backed by science

Republic Services sustainability goals backed by science

The Science Based Targets initiative has approved Republic's goals as consistent with levels required to meet the Paris Agreement.

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September 23, 2019

Republic Services Inc. of Phoenix has become the first U.S. recycling and solid waste services provider to have its emissions reduction target approved by the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi) as consistent with levels required to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement.

SBTi is a collaboration between Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP), the United Nations Global Compact (UNGC), World Resources Institute (WRI) and the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF). SBTi defines and promotes best practices in science-based target setting and independently assesses companies' targets.

"As an industry leader, it's up to us to set the standard by doing what's right for the environment and the communities we serve," says Pete Keller, Republic’s vice president of recycling and sustainability. "Republic Services took the extra step of setting a science-based climate leadership goal, and we're pleased that SBTi recognizes and validates our commitment to reducing emissions throughout our operations."

In July, the company unveiled its long-term sustainability goals, which include a climate change target designed to reduce absolute Scope 1 and 2 greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 35 percent and establish Republic as a climate leader in the industry. The target boundary includes biogenic emissions from biogenic feedstocks.

According to the SBTi, targets, or goals, adopted by companies to reduce GHG emissions are considered "science-based" when in line with the level of decarbonization required to keep global temperature increase well below 2 degrees Celsius compared to pre-industrial temperatures, as described in the Fifth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (AR5 IPCC) and the Paris Agreement, which was created by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in 2015. One of the goals of the agreement is to increase the ability of countries to deal with the impacts of climate change and make finance flows consistent with a low GHG emissions and climate-resilient pathway.

The goal covering GHG emissions from Republic's operations (Scope 1 and 2) are consistent with reductions required to keep warming to well below 2 degrees Celsius, the company says. Republic Services aims to reach this goal by 2030, using 2017 as the baseline year.

"Science-based targets provide companies with a clearly defined pathway to future-proof growth and benefit from greater opportunities for innovation, strengthened investor confidence and improved competitiveness," said Heidi Huusko, senior manager, environment and climate at the United Nations Global Compact. "By having their emissions reduction targets validated by the SBTi, Republic Services is ensuring that its targets are consistent with transformation at the scale and pace that science says is needed to prevent catastrophic global warming."  

Republic's Blue Planet 2030 goals include:

  • Zero employee fatalities and reduce OSHA Total Recordable Incident Rate (TRIR) to 2.0 or less;
  • achieve and maintain employee engagement scores at or above 88 percent;
  • reduce absolute Scope 1 and 2 greenhouse gas emissions by 35 percent;
  • increase recovery of key materials by 40 percent on a combined basis;
  • increase biogas sent to beneficial reuse by 50 percent; and
  • positively impact 20 million people.
To learn more about Republic's Blue Planet sustainability platform and its new set of sustainability goals, visit its website.