Being a leader in environmental and sustainable services to forward our mission of protecting human health and the environment has always been the Heritage way. We have remained committed to building a better business and making the world a better place because we are firm in our belief that both are essential to sustainable long-term growth that will benefit our employees, the communities where we live and work, and our customers. Sustainability and ESG aren’t initiatives for us, it’s a part of who we are and has been our purpose for over 50 years. That foundation has allowed us to continue expansion of our environmental services along with seeking new ways to bring sustainable solutions to our customers and our world.
While different aspects of sustainability and ESG continue to be debated, one thing is clear. The focus on sustainability is here to stay. It is now estimated that over a third of assets under professional management are tied to sustainable investing or related to ESG practices. Sustainability is also now being called the key driver of innovation. In the past, companies looked at making operations sustainable as a disadvantage in the global market due to competitors in developing nations that faced less environmental pressures. That has changed. With the challenges and changes the world has experienced over the past two years, companies that have treated sustainability as a priority now have a competitive advantage. Heritage has helped our customers gain that competitive advantage while also protecting the environment and we have also done the same as a company. Our own sustainability investments further solidify our status as a leader in the industry that is perfectly suited to provide sustainable solutions.
I am extremely proud of how we have successfully improved our waste management capabilities while at the same time expanding our offerings in the sustainability space in a major way. With Heritage Battery Recycling combining with Retriev Technologies, we are now the largest and most diverse lithium-ion battery processor in North America. We have also expanded Heritage’s service offerings in the refrigerants business and are now able to offer our global customers a complete solution for the highest and best use of used refrigerant gases along with preventing ozone depleting greenhouse gases from escaping into the atmosphere. Heritage has also partnered with ClimeCo, an environmental sustainability firm that offers expert consulting, project development, and carbon trading services to help customers meet regulatory obligations as well as voluntary sustainability goals. These investments and other platform expansions continue our tradition of solving big problems for our customers and building a sustainable business for generations to come.
We will continue to look at the environment as something to be protected. We will look at compliance as opportunity and continue the work of improving the lives of our employees and the communities that we all share. Our companies will continue to provide best-in-class total byproduct management services across North America, the most innovative hazardous waste management in the world, and carry on our tradition of sustainability leadership.
Jeff Laborsky, CEO
Heritage Environmental Services, LLC
As President of Heritage Environmental Services, this is an exciting time for our company. The world’s heightened focus on sustainability and ESG has put many companies in a tight spot. That is not the case for Heritage. It only reaffirms out purpose of protecting human health and the environment, and aligns with our values:
- Safe and Compliant or Not at All
- Problem Solving Through Innovation
- Integrity Matters
- Freedom to Learn and Grow
Heritage has proudly been in the sustainability business for over 50 years and sustainability continues to drive our values-focused strategy. While some companies struggle to find a balance between the needs of the business and the needs of the environment, Heritage remains firmly committed to protecting human health and the environment. This commitment is a part of our DNA and continually pushes us to be among the best and most innovative hazardous waste management company in the world.
The global pandemic, social unrest, and supply chain issues have underlined the requirement to prioritize sustainability in all businesses, including ours. We have not only weathered these storms, but Heritage has used these challenges to improve, grow, and become a better company for our employees and a sustainable solution provider for our customers. I am proud of the way we increased our employee engagement and doubled down on commitments to the community.
Our process improvement initiatives, along with our continued innovation, have positioned us as the industry leader in developing sustainable solutions for waste. As our customers’ waste challenges evolve and their ESG efforts increase, we will continue to utilize our Heritage Research Group to develop sustainable solutions and expand our reach. These solutions along with feeding our core hazardous waste facilities will make us a better partner for our customers.
As we go forward, I am fully confident that we will not only be a leader on the sustainability front but continue to help our customers successfully navigate their sustainability journeys.
Ernie Walker, President
Heritage Environmental Services, LLC
A Materiality Assessment is an exercise where a company like Heritage engages its stakeholders (internal: employees and leadership as well as external: customers and vendors) to determine the most significant influences to success for its sustainability journey. The results of a Materiality Assessment are used to define future sustainability strategies, goals, and reporting.
Heritage completed its first Materiality Assessment over ten years ago in 2011. The result of that process was the creation of our current sustainability initiatives and the development of our four sustainability pillars (People, Planet, Profit, and Patrons). Heritage was on the leading edge of sustainability implementation not only for our industry, but for the nation, and well-prepared to answer customer sustainability needs.
In April 2021, Heritage engaged ClimeCo1 to provide an experienced structure and new perspective in light of more focus nationally on sustainability and specifically on the term ESG (environmental, social, and governance). ClimeCo provided project structure, lead the process, and tabulated the end results of a new Materiality Assessment for Heritage. Assessment inputs included an all-employee survey that was widely distributed and encouraged. Individual, hour-long interviews were held with a number of company leaders, customers, and vendors. Additionally, a lengthier workshop discussion was held with a cross section of employees (short and long tenure, representatives of every generation, representatives of multiple races and representatives of various job functions and business units across our organization, representatives from across our geographical locations).
The Heritage Materiality Assessment results are represented in the following chart which is a visual representation of the relative
importance of eighteen potential sustainability topics to both Heritage stakeholders and Heritage business operations.
In applying the results of our Materiality Assessment, we mirrored the terminology used in our company values for those matching goals and developed additional positive action forward phrasing for the remaining goals. These positive phrases are not new values, and should not be confused with them, but we emphasize these phrases when discussing our sustainability program. Our company culture and future sustainable actions will be influenced by these intentions.