With a commitment to helping communities thrive by empowering people to live sustainably, WM is continuously working toward a sustainable tomorrow while being a good neighbor in the diverse places where we live and work. Our ambitious goal to “positively impact 10 million people in our communities through targeted social impact programs by 2030, using the equivalent of 2% of our net income” illustrates our commitment to intentional and impactful initiatives. WM’s evolving Social Impact strategy draws on expertise from stakeholders across the company to strategically understand how WM does, and can, move the needle.
Recent endeavors include the development and implementation of initiatives, including but not limited to:
- Working with local teams to pivot to interactive virtual learning to continuously teach students the value of recycling right.
- Launching the WM Design Challenge, Powered by Slow Factory, an initiative to support the intersection of education, environment and culture within the context of waste-led design.
- Continuing our work with Wildlife Habitat Council to use WM land to create and maintain certified sites that support biodiversity.
- Working with Wildlife Habitat Council to pilot two microforest plantings in underserved communities.
- Educating stakeholders around our environmental justice efforts by participating in a panel discussion at Wildlife Habitat Council’s conference.
- Collaborating with the National Forest Foundation and Tree Canada to plant 50,000 trees via employee pledges to live sustainably.
- Donating $500,000 to the American Red Cross to support disaster relief efforts across our service areas.
- Celebrating an MLK Day of Service with donations to United Way, Habitat for Humanity, YMCA chapters and local food banks.
- Running a holiday employee match campaign to address food insecurity across North America, supporting Feeding America and Food Banks Canada.
WM will continue to collaborate with organizations to gain authentic access to supporters who educate stakeholders on environmental initiatives critical to sustaining strategic focus areas — environmental stewardship, sustainability education, and community vitality. Moving forward, we’ll add efforts around environmental justice, and complementary focus areas of workforce & skills development, and supplier diversity.
In our communities, representatives work with nonprofits to develop and support programs aligned with WM’s commitments and city or county initiatives. To ensure a structured approach in determining when, how and why community engagement occurs, we turn to community giving guidelines and the eligibility criteria listed on the landing page of our giving platform.
Wildlife Habitat Council Programs
WM owns a range of properties—large and small, urban and rural. Across those properties, WM teams work with the Wildlife Habitat Council (WHC), the authoritative conservation program for businesses, to convert land to promote sustainability, wildlife preservation, biodiversity and environmental education.
Through this three-decade-long partnership, we transform land such as closed landfills, smaller buffer zones, recycling and other facilities, into certified wildlife habitat. WHC-certified programs vary in scope from individual species management to large-scale habitat restoration. All projects are included in WHC’s Conservation Registry, an interactive database that maps worldwide conservation projects.
At larger properties, we make a concerted effort to enhance the natural value of the land by providing habitat for wildlife and offering educational opportunities and natural beauty to the surrounding community. However, these sites are more than just habitat. In addition to providing nature-based solutions through biodiversity initiatives, they serve as vital educational spaces that bring science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) to life for the next generation. These sites give team members an opportunity to teach the fundamentals of protecting habitat, natural ecosystems and biodiversity to neighbors who visit and spread the word about the importance of environmental responsibility.
Beyond wildlife habitat, many of WM’s closed landfills have been converted into hiking trails, sports fields, golf courses, renewable energy installations and more. In 2021, WHC recognized our corporate commitment to biodiversity and conservation education by awarding us their 2021 Conservation Leadership Award. In 2023, WHC recognized our employee’s commitment to biodiversity by awarding us the Employee Engagement Award.