The Big Picture

SMMP Credit: Comprehensive Public Reporting of Corporate Sustainability

(1-3 Points, Non-Reciprocal)


Credit Summary

This credit incentivizes corporations to commit to reaching sustainability goals. Sustainability reporting reflects both company transparency and accountability for stakeholders, which can lead to improved management of solid waste. Moreover, corporate sustainability reports can decrease environmental degradation, increase efficiency, profits, and stakeholder trust, and strengthen public approval. Both local and national waste management companies have successfully committed to and met environmental and social goals after having implemented corporate sustainability reports.


Benefits Summary

Companies that commit to sustainability reporting are taking the first step toward environmental accountability through enhanced transparency. This type of reporting can also illuminate the various inefficiencies of waste management systems, saving the entity in question money. It is impossible to manage what you don’t measure and sustainability reporting is a great way to track and report on performance against targets. 


Submittal Summary

To meet the standard requirements, corporations must produce annual reports that outline sustainability objectives and the means to achieve them. These reports should include analyses of key performance indicators and the economic impact of sustainable practices and should subsequently be made available to the public.


Case Study Summary

Both Waste Management and Casella Waste Systems publish bi-annual corporate sustainability reports. These reports have increased the companies’ transparency, strengthening trust with customers. Furthermore, these reports reveal upward trends in the number of sustainability initiatives undertaken because the companies have new standards to which they hold themselves accountable.




Intent and Requirements


Provide public transparency regarding corporate policy and activity around economically, environmentally and socially sustainable business practices.

Local Government Requirements

Not applicable.

Industry Requirements

Tier 1: (1 point)

Publish an annual Corporate Sustainability Report that includes the following:

  •  Statement of corporate commitment to environmental, social and economic sustainability
  • A list of specific and quantifiable corporate sustainability goals
  • A stated roadmap to achieve sustainability goals

Tier 2: (+2 points)

Publish an annual Corporate Sustainability Report that meets Tier One requirements

and includes the following:

  • Progress to date on the achievement of goals (KPIs)
    • Provide verified data on achievement
  • Assess and quantify the economic impact of sustainability activities
    • Provide up-to-date and verified data of economic impact
  • Publish data on company website or make the information accessible to the public in another manner


Why We Care

Corporate sustainability reporting occurs at the industry level and provides many benefits to those who implement it. Reporting mitigates environmental harm by actively enhancing an obligation to sustainability initiatives. It increases levels of productivity by making industries more conscious of ways to repurpose byproducts, which ultimately helps industries save money. It furthermore boosts profits and public trust and lessens legal risks by creating a reputation that is based on taking responsibility for corporate actions. Sustainability reporting even inspires innovation that goes above and beyond that which is required by typical compliance standards because companies want competitive advantages over other industries. This improves public perception by showing the industries’ commitment to sustainability objectives.

These reports also specifically showcase industries’ roles in engaging in a more sustainable approach to solid waste management, which can help them stand out from competitors. Furthermore, collating this information and producing quantifiable analyses can help organizations be more cognizant of their waste production and then participate more feasibly in other certification programs.EPA


How to Meet the Requirements

Potential Strategies:

  • Create the role of Chief Sustainability Officer to interface with the public around these topics.
  • Provide compelling and accessible graphics about information found in the report.
  • Make the Sustainability Report available online and through social media.


Required Documentation

Show proof of published of more recent annual Corporate Sustainability Report.


Case Studies


Waste Management: Corporate Sustainability Report

Waste Management (WM) publishes a comprehensive report every two years to illustrate its commitment to social and environmental goals. It also discloses supplementary data every year to increase transparency to its customers. All of this information can be found on Waste Management’s main website and on its new Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) Resource Hub website.

The 2020 report consists of a statement from the CEO outlining WM’s goals to provide a safe working environment to its employees and outstanding services to customers, to protect the environment and strengthen the circular economy, and to commit to combating institutionalized social inequities throughout North America. There is also a section that highlights the strategies that are being implemented to ensure a safer working environment during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The 97-paged report is filled with visually appealing graphics that are straightforward and informative. It also contains a list of key performance indicators regarding the environment and community to show WM’s success in reaching each one of its objectives. All information provided is supported with quantifiable data and in-depth case studies.

Casella Waste Systems: Corporate Sustainability Report

Casella similarly publishes its report biennially on its website, along with other ESG documents. Whereas Waste Management has customers throughout North America, Casella is only focused on managing states on the East Coast, so many of its goals relate to community engagement and regional climate leadership.

Its most recent 2020 report begins with a commitment from Casella’s CEO to address the challenges exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic while also maintaining a responsibility to sustainability goals. The report then outlines how Casella has reached past milestones by showing quantifiable results, and furthermore summarizes its 2030 and 2050 goals and strategies to achieve them.

The document contains clear graphs and tables, employee highlights, and case studies that verify Casella’s attainment of its objectives. At the end of the report, there is a scorecard that comprehensively abridges all information found within the report, including its sustainability targets in comparison to where Casella is currently. 


Local government

The city of Tempe, Arizona publishes an annual sustainability report. In this report, an overview, content areas, a plan for the future, and an overview of grants is described. Content areas include energy, transportation, resilience to extreme heat, water, waste, land use and built environment, and social sustainability. Each content area details what the government is currently doing, how they measure progress (with specific figures included), a program highlight, and a section that looks to the future. Additionally, each section explains how local citizens can get involved. This report is put together by city council members, city management, a local university, as well as various other partners and funders. 



Chief Sustainability Officer

Career Explorer Definition: A sustainability officer (often referred to as a CSO, or chief sustainability officer) is someone who will analyze and predict a company or institution’s future outlook, present stability, and environmental impact. The sustainability officer sets policy, goals and objectives to assure that the corporation maintains and even exceeds productivity and profitability, and meets or exceeds environmental policy.

Corporate sustainability goals

  • Writing Help Definition: Corporate Goals are targets set by an organization as specific, quantifiable outcomes that it commits to attain in order to achieve its corporate mission and objectives.
  • Sample SWEEP Definition based on above definition: Corporate Sustainability goals are targets set by an organization as specific, quantifiable outcomes that it commits to attain in order to achieve a sustainable mission and objectives. 

Corporate Sustainability Report

Global Reporting Definition: A sustainability report is a report published by a company or organization about the economic, environmental and social impacts caused by its everyday activities. A sustainability report also presents the organization’s values and governance model, and demonstrates the link between its strategy and its commitment to a sustainable global economy.

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