Helping Our Customers Meet Their Sustainability Goals
Product innovation is a critical part of today’s business landscape. Consumers are increasingly pressuring manufacturers to innovate products in a manner that provides greater value and minimizes environmental impact. Our team of experts collaborate with our customers during the design phase to minimize the impact of their products on the environment and return valuable materials to the production stream through informed design choices.
A key element of that partnership is helping customers Design With Intent, taking a systems-thinking approach that considers the true recyclability of products early in the design phase. This process takes a systems approach to product design that considers three factors: material selection, ease of disassembly and recycling infrastructure capabilities. Additionally, our Sustainable Innovation Workshop is designed to train customers on how to develop the insight necessary to make sustainability-driven, value-minded business decisions.
Sustainable Innovation Workshops
A Sustainable Innovation Workshop is a facilitated session between Waste Management and our customer that focuses on gaining a deeper understanding of business objectives and challenges, culminating in a collaborative roadmap to achieve goals. Waste Management engages multiple stakeholders to facilitate the process of sustainability strategy development. The process includes data gathering, interviews and bringing stakeholders from various parts of the company together for a guided workshop.
We facilitate this by providing an overview of industry trends and shared insights based on our experience in the marketplace to determine where our customer would like to be and how best to get them there. Having conducted a gap analysis of the customer’s data and current programs, Waste Management is able to provide specific recommendations and probe for feedback on future sustainability initiatives from the group. By using an interactive, dialogue-based approach, both parties are able to understand challenges and discuss specific opportunities where collaboration can help drive value in the organization.
The benefits to customers participating in a Sustainable Innovation Workshop include the ability to benchmark against other leaders in their industry and discover new ideas and strategies to transform their business. In addition, participating in a workshop takes advantage of having a cross-functional team in one place to identify solutions to multiple issues in one day, thus helping to achieve goals in an expedited fashion and sustain project momentum while saving time and money.
In addition to meeting with representatives of our customers’ environmental teams in energy and operations, transportation, and waste and recycling, Waste Management includes representatives from other departments, including executive leaders, procurement, loss prevention, donations, vendor management, reverse logistics, human resources, marketing and employee education, to learn how various programs integrate with overall company policies and practices.
Working alongside one of our manufacturing customers, for example, we were able to help them create the first 100 percent fully recyclable product of its kind on the market by helping the customer analyze collection and processing influences, which validated the input materials for the product from the start.
No matter the industry, we consult with customers on a systematic approach to build on existing processes, infuse best practices and cultural improvements, and enhance an organization’s ability to implement healthier, more sustainable practices into its operations.
WMSS consulting teams conduct comprehensive audits of the social, environmental and economic impact of our customers’ businesses. Audit findings generate recommendations for cost-effective ways to improve energy efficiency, resource management, waste diversion and alternate disposal opportunities. Then, we develop detailed roadmaps for eliminating waste and executing this strategy on site, often through reduced demand for source material and increased recycling.
Our on-site team is embedded with customers seeking sole-source suppliers with the infrastructure and expertise to execute national waste reduction programs. With their understanding of each customer’s operations and unique challenges, our on-site employees can deliver low-risk, high-value solutions to complex environmental, business, safety and regulatory needs.
Measuring environmental, social and economic impacts helps customers assess progress and provides valuable data to use as a baseline in understanding the environmental impact of materials management decisions. WMSS offers customers a portfolio of tools to measure, manage and communicate sustainability progress and goals, with the knowledge that accurate and clearly communicated data analysis is imperative to making these strategic decisions.
This effort is led by our Nexus team — skilled developers, analysts and project managers who work to recognize, research, develop and implement technology and reporting solutions. The Nexus team provides solutions to customer challenges via services such as customized web-based business intelligence platforms, streamlined invoicing solutions, automated reporting, app and web development and comprehensive data analysis. For example, ENSPIRE® is an online business intelligence platform created by our Nexus team that aggregates and repackages raw sustainability data into one interactive dashboard. Waste Management customers use ENSPIRE® as a platform to consolidate all their waste data from the U.S., Canada and Europe for full transparency and ease of reporting. It helps them understand how waste management choices impact their GHG emissions and allows them to set goals for GHG reduction, reuse and recycling. Providing ENSPIRE® is consistent with our overall approach of serving customers by reducing their carbon footprint — and doing so with clear tracking and ambitious metrics.
ENSPIRE® has managed more than 15 million tons of materials for customers at more than 60,000 locations. In 2017, material managed through ENSPIRE avoided nearly 7 million metric tons of GHG emissions, thereby meeting the need for an increased focus on corporate transparency.
Other platforms that we deploy are:
- Sustainability Tracker: A leaner version of ENSPIRE®, this tool is designed for smaller customers who want to focus on specific KPIs in a condensed format for quick data evaluation.
- INSIGHTS: Launched in 2018, this technology generates and sends customized scorecards to customers on their schedule. Customers automatically have the information they need to make important operational decisions.
- DART®: Our Construction group’s Diversion and Recycling Tracking (DART) tool helps project planners, contractors, architects and building owners set “green” performance targets and measure their progress during construction, renovation and demolition projects.
Waste Composition Studies
- Completed waste assessments at full- and limited-service properties to benchmark composition and diversion rates across lines of business
Program Implementation and Optimization
- Created customized educational tools, including multilingual pocket guides and training materials
- Developed tailored signage and bin placement strategies
- Recommended programs to reduce newspaper and single-use amenities consumption
- Recommended additional investment in on-site food waste
- digestion technologies
- Recommended optimizations to amenity donation, employee engagement and reporting programs to drive progress toward diversion goal
Life Cycle Analysis
- Used results of waste composition studies and EPA WARM model to determine greatest opportunity for improvement
- Layered life cycle thinking with economics of material management to identify the greatest opportunities for carbon and energy use reduction, as well as managing spend on environmental services
- Collaborated with customer to develop industry-specific goals with measurable, transparent key performance indicators
- Analyzed waste composition, cost of ownership and life cycle data to determine primary drivers for goal achievement
- Aggregated data from the entire portfolio regarding waste generation and supply chain impacts to support the hotels’ existing efforts to minimize waste
- Researched differences in operations and infrastructure for each global region through interviews and other resources
- Based on data and global context, developed strategy to implement recommendations in order to reach goals
Supply Chain Analysis
- Requested data including quantities and types of materials purchased to drive recommendations for supply chain optimization
- Developed alternate metrics and methods for obtaining data where it was not available
Global Playbook Development
- Completed global market analysis to understand regional infrastructure and growth potential, hospitality trends, and cultural and political drivers impacting waste diversion
- Provided region-by-region descriptions of how to implement target diversion programs to achieve waste reduction goal
- Utilized supply chain analysis to determine how programs should be weighted in order to achieve goal
- Applied normalized metrics to the global portfolio to assign percentage diversion reductions per region, per program
- Provided tactical guidance for program implementation
- Formulated vendor questions to reduce primary and secondary packaging on purchased goods
- Included case studies of the newspaper and amenity donation programs
For customers who want a comprehensive view of their product’s environmental impacts, we offer Life Cycle Assessments that evaluate all stages of a product’s life — raw material extraction, manufacture, distribution, use, repair and maintenance, and end-of-life disposal or recycling. WMSS applies carbon reduction factors to material disposition options to maximize the end-of-life solutions for materials a company generates. The analysis provides insights into which stages have the greatest potential to avoid GHG emissions or to conserve natural resources. Using this analysis, WMSS is able to make recommendations for how to manage discarded materials in a way that maximizes the carbon reduction performance of a waste management program.
Our vendor scorecards are a supply chain management tool that helps customers assess whether their vendors meet sustainability goals, including compliance with sustainable purchasing policies and packaging requirements.
Certifications & Standards
Many of our customers seek external verification of their sustainability efforts to underscore the credibility of their efforts and avoid greenwash claims. WMSS serves as a guide through this process, including advising on these third-party rating and certification systems.
- Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED)
- The WELL Building Standard
- TRUE Zero Waste Certification
- UL Zero Waste Validations
- BOMA 360
- Council for Responsible Sport Certifications
- ENERGY STAR Certifications
- Green Globes Certifications