Sustainability: It’s our business.
Clean Harbors recognizes that sustainability stewardship is a core aspect of our brand and an important part of our responsibility in protecting generations to come through balancing economic success with environmental, social and governance considerations. This responsibility is commonly termed ESG. We use various ESG measures to evaluate our activities and demonstrate our commitment to sustainable practices. Sustainability is not only about doing less to harm the earth or consuming less resources, it is also about doing more good and minimizing the cumulative impact of other companies. Our core business is to provide industry, government and the public a wide range of sustainable solutions that protect and restore North America's natural environment. We are committed to working with Stakeholders to enhance business value while minimizing negative impacts and seeking opportunities to increase our participation in the circular economy. Our sustainability program expands our commitment beyond our services and products to include our operations, employees and community.
Our program is focused on the following strategies:
Health and Safety
Health and Safety is our #1 core value and as such is at the forefront of our sustainability program. Safety is not just the hallmark of our Company but is also at the heart of what we provide to customers. Our programs and procedures focus on delivering services with unparalleled safety to our employees, our customers, local communities and other key stakeholders. Several of our U.S. sites have been recognized by the U.S. Occupational Safety & Health Administration’s Voluntary Protection Program ("VPP") for their effective safety management systems and low injury and illness rates. To put that in context, only approximately 2,100 workplaces in the U.S. have earned VPP recognition.
Technologies and operational improvements have allowed Clean Harbors to develop initiatives that focus on minimizing the Company’s and our customers’ impact on the environment. As a leading provider of environmental and industrial services throughout North America, we help our customers prevent the release of chemicals and hazardous waste streams into the environment. We also are the leading service provider in the recovery and decontamination of pollutants that have been released. This includes the safe destruction or disposal of hazardous materials in a manner that ensures these materials are no longer a danger to the environment. As an example, to provide an efficient and safe alternative for hazardous waste disposal, Clean Harbors developed and built an incinerator at our El Dorado facility which uses world-class air emissions control technology that meets the most stringent emissions standards under the U.S. Clean Air Act.
When providing these services, we are committed to the recycling, reuse and reclamation of these waste streams whenever possible using a variety of methods more fully explained below in the sections describing our general operations. Many of our branded services exemplify our commitment to sustainability and providing environmental solutions to the marketplace. Where possible, liquids such as solvents, chemicals and used oil are continuously recycled to industry standards and made into useful products. Tolling programs provide a closed-loop process in which the customer’s spent solvents are recycled to their precise specifications and returned directly to them.
Our Safety-Kleen OilPlus® Program, unique to the oil industry, is designed to help companies manage their oil needs in a more sustainable way. By collecting used motor oil from customers and delivering new re-refined oil products, customers are implementing a closed-loop process for sustainability in the oil industry. We deploy our fleet of trucks, tankers, rail-cars and barges to collect used oil. In 2020, we gathered nearly 200 million gallons of used oil in North America and our state-of-the-art processes enable us to fully realize oils' remarkable capacity to be recycled, re-refined and reused. Our plants have re-refined more than 3.9 billion gallons of used oil since their opening, allowing such oils to have a second life as high quality recycled lubricants and avoiding more than 30.3 million metric tons of greenhouse gases.
Clean Harbors instills sustainability within its operations through continuous improvements and well-defined strategic initiatives that show the highest positive impact on the environment, the communities and the economy in which we work and live. Our fleet of transportation vehicles represents one of our largest opportunities to apply environmentally sustainable business practices. Our Asset Refurbishment Program is a comprehensive effort to rebuild key assets to "like-new" quality while reusing or recycling as much of the material as possible. On average our refurbished trucks have 20% better fuel economy and replace vehicles that are 15 years old. Our goal is to refurbish more than 100 highly technical vehicles used in our operations, like vacuum trucks, industrial air movers and waste oil trucks, every year.
One of the Company’s sustainability goals is to contribute to a cleaner environment by maximizing energy and water conservation across the organization. Energy usage at our facilities is the focus of our Facility Energy Conservation program, which provides ongoing oversight and recommendations to our facilities to help support their electricity management efforts. We continue to evaluate solar energy as a viable option for our facilities and have built solar arrays at select sites for their ongoing energy needs.
Clean Harbors makes fleet energy management a key focus, beginning with ongoing reviews by our logistics team to reduce total miles driven. We also evaluate options for reducing fuel costs including routine use of rail and barge transportation, implementation of alternative fuel vehicles and using our Performance Plus® re-refined engine oils throughout our fleet. Clean Harbors is constantly upgrading our truck fleet with the most fuel-efficient systems and parts and has also designed custom, multi-compartment trucks that can be used to collect and deliver oil at the same time, decreasing fuel consumption.
As part of our commitment to protecting the environment, we have made the conscious decision to reduce our water usage. In 2021, we plan to implement a process to obtain a baseline of water usage so that we may make quantifiable reductions in the future.
Clean Harbors believes that by staying engaged with our customers, communities and other stakeholders, we can contribute to the long-term health of the environment, society and the economy. We are dedicated to being a good neighbor in the communities in which we work. When warranted, we utilize formal reporting platforms to inform customers and other stakeholders of our sustainability efforts, including CDP, EcoVadis and SP Global, among others.
We develop partnerships with key environmental programs to build awareness, while fostering more sustainable business practices. One of our most highly visible public programs for various government and community entities is known as our Household Hazardous Waste service line. Communities trust us to collect paints, solvents, batteries, fluorescent lamps, pesticides, cleaners and other hazardous materials during one-day, multi-day and mobile programs that otherwise might be improperly disposed of or become dangerous to the communities where they are stored.
Our commitment and our business go hand in hand as we work to provide services and products that complement our customers' sustainability plans and hold ourselves and others accountable to environmental, social and corporate governance standards and best practices.
We believe in holding ourselves to high standards for sustainability and human rights practices and have taken efforts to drive sustainable practices through rigorous supply chain oversight. We monitor for practices that are not in line with our corporate vision and work to drive change. Clean Harbors recognizes its responsibility to assist in the development and use of small business suppliers of goods and services. Consistent with legal and ethical obligations to all suppliers, the Company will strive to seek out small businesses capable of supplying the materials and services that the Company requires. Details on our program to engage small business can be found at Small Business Supplier Program Our Vendor Code of Business Conduct and Ethics establishes the minimum standards that must be met by all vendors regarding treatment of workers, safety, environmental impact and ethical business practices.
We are committed to fundamental human rights principles. Respect for human rights is essential to our interactions with employees, customers, shareholders and the public at large. In 2020, we published a comprehensive Human Rights Policy to formalize the standards to which we hold ourselves and others accountable. We have incorporated human rights into our Vendor Code of Business Conduct and Ethics.
Our comprehensive Sustainability program demonstrates several of the Company’s objectives:
- To identify key impact areas within the three elements of sustainability (environmental, social and governance);
- To measure those key impacts, set targets and manage performance;
- To continuously improve our ESG performance, based on ongoing evaluation of our impact areas;
- To prevent pollution and comply with all applicable legal and regulatory requirements; and
- To leverage our operations, our supply chain, and our products and services to improve sustainability performance.
In support of these commitments, Clean Harbors will continue to assess the environmental, social and economic impact of our operations and our products. We will use information gathered through our ongoing sustainability efforts to identify enhancements to our business model, as well as specific activities that could mitigate the Company’s impacts on the environment, society and the economy while reducing any negative impacts from operations.
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