The Regional Sustainability Initiative is excited to announce the addition of a new sustainability target option for Pledging Partners in Milestone 4. 

Previously, the Regional Sustainability Initiative offered 3 sustainability target options a member could choose to set when they reach Milestone 4:

  1. Greenhouse Gas Emission Reduction Targets
  2. Waste Diversion Targets 
  3. Water Impact Reduction Targets 

Effective June 1, members can now set Waste Reduction Targets as well. As with all of our targets, our team will provide hands-on support in collecting the necessary data and help determine realistic yet ambitious targets in this area. Current members, or new members, may set a Waste Reduction Target as part of an initial pilot. 

For members participating in the pilot, we will consider which, if any, waste streams will be mandatory for inclusion in the targets going forward by tracking all waste streams. We will also evaluate the effectiveness of the chosen pledge levels and make adjustments as needed. Members can choose to set an absolute target or an intensity-based target, similar to our GHG and Water Impact target-setting methodology. Absolute targets account for the overall waste impacts of an organization, while intensity-based targets measure total waste against another performance metric of the organization. 

As a program, we are always working to increase transparency around the reporting within our program framework and as a result, we will also be making a small change to the values displayed in our year-end report for members who currently have Waste Diversion Targets set. For these members we will now also report on their total waste produced. These changes are designed to encourage members to take action towards reducing their total waste produced in all waste streams they report on, in addition to increasing their diversion rate from landfills. With recent regulatory announcements such as the ban on single-use plastics, the timing is perfect for businesses to start making plans to reduce waste from all streams, and our new Waste Reduction Target will help members achieve this goal. 

To ensure we were creating a usable and impactful target methodology, we held a focus group for a group of members and industry experts to provide input. One of these members and experts, AET, is a strong supporter of the program’s focus to increase transparency while driving transformative action. 

“AET’s waste team has been helping organizations monitor, measure and reduce their waste streams for over 20 years. We support SWR’s initiative to look beyond Diversion Rates as the primary or sole waste performance indicator for organizations. In the traditional waste management  ‘3R Hierarchy’, reduction is the first and most important opportunity that should be explored, followed by reuse, then recycling.”

– Ben Dunbar, BES, EP(Waste), Manager of Waste Services

If you are a current member or interested in joining the Regional Sustainability Initiative and would like to join the Waste Reduction Target pilot, it’s not too late! Contact us to find out more.

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