At Covanta, we engage with our communities to maximize our impact and to build lasting relationships with our neighbors. Partnering with and contributing to our communities enables us to not only give back, but to also listen carefully, learn new things, share information and respond to concerns. Through our engagement efforts, we improve our internal tools and operational processes which, in turn, enhance our ability to be more responsive and to create better environmental, social and economic outcomes for all.
Our community outreach is focused on four thematic areas:
- Community Stewardship: supporting economic opportunities and giving back to our communities through programs and sponsorships
- Sustainable Communities: contributing to community infrastructure in terms of energy production and green development
- Green Education: supporting youth education around environmental stewardship, sustainability and responsible waste management
- Environmental Responsibility: responding to community needs for responsible waste management through our environmental solutions
In 2019, we met our goal of eight community interactions per facility at 92 percent of our EfW locations. The three facilities that did not meet the goal completed at least five out of eight of the required elements.
Supporting Environmental Justice
The foundation of our community engagement strategy rests on our commitment to environmental justice. As outlined in our Community Outreach and Environmental Justice Policy, Covanta is committed to engaging with and supporting the communities in which we have or will have facilities. Covanta believes in the meaningful opportunity for all people, regardless of race, ethnicity, color, income, national origin or education level, to be knowledgeable and have the right to participate in public decisions and actions which have an impact on their environment and neighborhoods
Covanta in the Communities
We are proud of our facilities and welcome stakeholders to see the great strides we are making in sustainable waste management. We make a point to participate in collaborative opportunities for community dialogue and routinely engage with our municipal clients and customers in a face-to-face setting at least once a year.
Through membership on local boards, regularly attending and speaking at town hall meetings and welcoming more than 20,000 visitors to our facilities every year for tours, we aim to cultivate a mutual respect, understanding and collaborative spirit with the people in the communities where we operate. Every opportunity we get to be more involved with the community is an opportunity for us to become a better neighbor.
“Covanta has been a champion of sustainability in Tulsa and very active in the local nonprofit, Sustainable Tulsa, serving on the board and often moderating meetings. They are a good leader for Tulsa and want to do their part to ensure clean air and water in the community.”
Don Pugh, American Airlines Wheel & Brake Center, Tulsa, Oklahoma
Establishing Community Relationships
Our operations are governed by stringent environmental, safety and health regulations that extend beyond our contractual requirements. Because we care deeply about the safety and health of surrounding communities, it’s important for us to communicate the safety and security of our technologies and processes.
We establish community relationships as soon as we begin contracting with municipal clients, and we continue to develop and monitor them on an ongoing basis. Neighborhood representatives are integral to the contracting process. We work with them to set minimum performance standards for waste processing, energy efficiency, energy production, environmental management, delivery hours, odor mitigation, and other aspects of our operations.
Additionally, we have community outreach plans (COPs) in place at every facility to tailor our interaction based on the community and its needs. We have also developed an Emergency Action Plan (EAP) for each community in which we operate. All facility personnel complete an exam regarding EAP provisions when they begin working for Covanta, and they participate in annual certification.
Please see our Total Health & Safety Policy for more information.