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Year in Review

Goals &
Progress

WM has set ambitious goals to better care for the planet and our people.

Environmental Goals

Our overarching sustainability goal is to reduce GHG emissions.

Currently, the services we provide avoid three times (3X) more GHG emissions than we generate in our operations. Our 2038 goal calls for avoiding even more—four times (4X) our operating emissions. To achieve this goal, we aim to reduce emissions from our landfills, fleet and electricity use, while increasing the emissions-avoidance services that we provide to our customers. The chart below illustrates our progress to date and our projection for 2038. The bar above the zero line will decrease as we reduce operational emissions. At the same time, the bar below the zero line will increase.

Generated Emissions (million MT CO2e)

Our current and targeted emissions generated are shown above the zero line below.

Bar chart showing our Generated Emissions from 2017 through 2020 with the 2038 goal

Avoided Emissions

The emissions avoided by the services we provide are shown below the zero line.

Progress to Achieving Our 4X Goal

We calculate progress by dividing the emissions we avoid by the emissions we generate—with the goal of keeping 4x more out of the atmosphere than we put in.

Bar chart showing our progress to achieving th our 4X goal from 2017 through 2020 with the 2038 goal

In 2020, WM avoided 3.23 times more CO2e emissions through the services that we provide than we generate in our operations, a 3.3% reduction from 2019. There are several reasons for this:

  • WM collected fewer tons of waste in 2020, yet we collected more landfill gas at our sites than in 2019. However, the methodology used in the U.S. to model landfill emissions, combined with the additional emissions from the ADS acquisition, resulted in WM reporting more emissions. Emissions from ADS landfills make up 30% of the increase, with the remaining increase attributed to the landfill modeling methodology used by the industry for reporting. This increased the denominator used to calculate our 4X goal. We continue to focus our efforts on measurement and operational management practices to reduce overall emissions, investing in these areas while also working to develop accurate measurement systems for landfill emissions.
  • In 2020, COVID-19 also impacted our recycling volumes with the closure of commercial businesses. This particularly impacted the amount of paper and wood we recycled and lowered our avoided emissions used in the numerator of our 4X goal. We are committed to investing to grow our recycling presence.

In 2019, WM committed to a new set of shorter-term goals for 2025.

By 2025, we aim to have a fleet made up of 70% alternative fuel vehicles, of which 50% are fueled with renewable natural gas. Using renewable natural gas collected from our landfills has helped us achieve this goal ahead of schedule.

We have also set a goal to use 100% renewable energy at facilities we control. WM is working with our vendors to put new contracts in place to ensure we are purchasing 100% renewable electricity by 2025. We are on track to achieve or exceed these goals.

Another important short-term goal is reducing inbound recycling contamination at our MRFs. Reducing contamination will make our MRFs more efficient, allowing us to recycle more. This, in turn, will allow more materials to be recycled into new products, avoiding the emissions associated with mining virgin materials.

Finally, WM has a goal to develop measurement processes for fugitive emissions landfills by 2025.

Percent of Alternative Fuel Vehicles in
Collection Fleet

Bar chart showing our percent of alternative fuel vehicles in collection fleet from 2017 through 2020 with our 2025 goal

Percent of Alternative Fuel Vehicles Using
Renewable Natural Gas

Bar chart showing our percent of alternative fuel vehicles using renewable natural gas from 2017 through 2020 with our 2025 goal

Renewable Electricity at
WM-Controlled Sites

Recycling Contamination
 

Bar chart showing our recycling contamination from 2017 through 2020 with our 2025 goal

People
Goals

As a People First company, WM is always setting a higher standard for the positive impact we can make on our people and their communities.

Providing a Living Wage

In 2019, we set a goal to pay a living wage to all employees, which we have achieved ahead of our 2025 commitment. For details on how WM calculates a living wage, see our GRI Index, Disclosure 202-1.

Increasing Diversity

At the 2021 Sustainability Forum, CEO Jim Fish announced two new goals for diverse representation in our workforce. By 2025, we aspire to achieve ethnic and racial diversity in each segment of our workforce, with an emphasis on leadership, that is greater than or equal to the estimated availability of minority talent in the marketplace. Also by 2025, we aspire to lead the industry in female representation at all levels.

Engaging with Communities

WM also aims to enhance the safety, resiliency and sustainability of the communities where we live and work. We do this by providing them with our essential services in a way that safeguards human health and the environment, and through education focused on the importance of living sustainably and taking care of the natural places in our neighborhoods. We organize environmental education programs and activities, including facility tours, community events and social media engagement campaigns, with a goal of reaching 1 million participants by 2038. In 2020, due to the pandemic, we reached fewer people than we would have otherwise, but shifted to offer many activities virtually.

Inclusion & Diversity

Ethnic Diversity

Bar chart showing our ethnic diversity from 2017 through 2020 for our entire workforce, our executives, our managers, our professionals, and our operatives and craft workers

Female Representation

Bar chart showing our female representation in our entire workforce, our executives, our managers, our professionals, and our operatives and craft workers from 2017 through 2020

Participants in WM-Supported/Hosted Education Events and Programs (cumulative)

Bar chart showing participants in WM-supported/hosted education events and programs (cumulative) from 2018 through 2020 with our 2025 goal

How We Measure Our 4X Goal

Million MTCO2e

Current and Targeted Emissions Generated:

Emissions Avoided By the Services We Provide:

Progress to Achieving Our 4X Goal

Percent of Alternative Fuel Vehicles in Collection Fleet

Percent of Alternative Fuel Vehicles Using Renewable Natural Gas

Renewable Electricity at WM-Controlled Sites

Recycling Contamination

Ethnic Diversity

All Workforce

Executive

Managers

Professionals

Operatives & Craft Workers

Female Representation

All Workforce

Executive

Managers

Professionals

Operatives & Craft Workers

Participants in WM-Supported/Hosted Education Events and Programs (cumulative)