The Carbon Trust has launched a Carbon Trust Waste Standard, awarded to organisations able to demonstrate they are measuring, managing and reducing waste year on year.
Following the successful completion of a pilot stage, five leading businesses have become the first to achieve the award: Whitbread, PwC, AkzoNobel Decorative Paints UK, Renishaw and the Football Association.
This makes Whitbread, PwC and AkzoNobel Decorative Paints UK the first organisations to achieve the triple crown of Carbon Trust certifications, for continually reducing their environmental impacts in terms of greenhouse gas emissions, water and waste.
A recent Carbon Trust survey of executives in large companies in the UK, USA, China, South Korea and Brazil found that only a third (33%) saw waste as a priority environmental area to focus on in order to compete effectively, and only a fifth (21%) had targets in place.
Calling on businesses to take urgent action to become more sustainable, Tom Delay, chief executive of the Carbon Trust, said: “We are living beyond our means, drawing on natural resources at a rate that cannot continue without leading to an ecological and economic crunch. Organisations that fail to bring sustainability inside their operations will face the consequences of increasingly scarce or expensive commodities, water and energy.
“Reducing waste and resource use, along with carbon emissions and water, is a crucial part of the transformation that all businesses will need to make in the next decade. By taking early action and opening themselves up to independent certification showing real reductions, the businesses that hold our Standards are showing themselves to be genuine leaders and are putting themselves in a much stronger competitive position.”
The Carbon Trust Waste Standard requires organisations to measure, manage and reduce their solid and hazardous waste. To achieve the standard organisations need to demonstrate that waste streams are being reduced every year, or used more effectively, for example through increased reuse, recycling or recovery.
The standard also includes a qualitative assessment to show that waste is being managed responsibly. This will include considerations outside of an organisation’s direct control, such as having a diligent procurement policy for goods and waste management services, and looking at downstream impacts through products and packaging.
Richard Swannell, director of sustainable food systems at WRAP, said: “WRAP welcomes the Carbon Trust’s waste standard and recognises the challenge than it represents. We wish the Carbon Trust and participating organisations well in tackling this difficult task.”
Ben Brakes, environmental manager for Whitbread Hotels and Restaurants, said: “We are challenging the preconception that big businesses have a big impact on the environment. Reducing waste is something we take extremely seriously at Whitbread. Over the past two years alone, we have increased the amount of site waste we divert from landfill from 80% to over 93%. We are not stopping there however. Our target is to send no waste from direct operations to landfill by 2017, which we are working hard to deliver.
“Whitbread is a people business and our staff are crucial in ensuring our customers get the service they expect. They also hold the key to cutting waste across the business. By educating our team members of the importance of saving waste, and giving them the tools to do it, we have saved tonnes of waste from landfill. We are rightly proud of our achievements and will continue to push hard to make our business as sustainable as possible. Watch this space.”
Susan Kendall, sustainability director, UK & Ireland at AkzoNobel Decorative Paints UK, said: “We are delighted to be awarded the Carbon Trust Waste Standard for our achievements in operational waste reduction. This is a reward for the excellent effort we have been putting into reducing waste. Our businesses throughout the UK and across the world are all working hard to contribute to our ambitious sustainability targets, and being one of the first companies to achieve the three Carbon Standards for carbon, water and waste reduction demonstrates to our customers our commitment to working towards increasing sustainability standards across the business.”