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Envita Solutions: Leading By Example

Since 2001, Envita Solutions has been a devoted partner to customers, helping them tackle their most complex waste and sustainability challenges. Since its inception, Envita Solutions has continued to evolve with the changing sustainability landscape. From circularity strategies, increased recycling, waste minimization, landfill diversion, equipment optimization, cost savings – and everything in between – Envita Solutions understands the dynamic decision points its customers are weighing.

Envita Solutions exists to protect human health and the environment. As the premier provider of total waste management services in North America, they walk the talk in working towards their own ambitious sustainability goals.

Carbon Neutrality

To further its environmental impact goals and continue leading by example, Envita Solutions has achieved carbon neutrality across its North American operations. In addition to structural changes to minimize GHG release, Envita Solutions also procured carbon credits from N2O abatement projects to offset harder-to-decarbonize business operations. Envita Solutions’ carbon credit strategy was guided by ClimeCo, a trusted carbon credit market leader with the highest standards of environmental commodity products. Over the next decade, Envita Solutions will work to reduce GHG emissions so each subsequent year they rely less and less on the offset market to support climate resilience.

Environmental Impact Reporting

Creating a sustainability plan requires extensive decision-making with a focus on long-term impact. Envita relies on both The Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) and EcoVadis to help identify benefits and risks as well as improve performance and accountability on their sustainability journey. CDP supports Envita Solutions in managing its environmental impact through reporting and risk management with programs focusing on climate change, water, supply chains, forests, and cities. EcoVadis is a globally recognized assessment platform that Envita Solutions utilizes for reporting. It allows Envita Solutions to see the full picture of how their sustainability decisions influence four main categories: environmental impact, labor, procurement practices, and human rights standards/ethics.

Zero-Waste-to-Landfill

Envita Solutions has proudly helped more than 300 of its customers’ facilities achieve zero-waste-to-landfill certification. This means that they send zero discards to landfills or high-temperature destruction, instead diverting it to more sustainable means. Of course, all of Envita Solutions’ facilities in both the United States and Mexico are also proudly zero-waste-to-landfill certified.

Envita Solutions is the industry leader in delivering transformative sustainability across North America and they’re not slowing down any time soon!

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Cirba Solutions Launches “SustainABILITY 10,000”

Battery recycling and management company focuses its community engagement programming on one mission – to create eco-living action in communities across North America

Charlotte, N.C. (April 18, 2024) – Cirba Solutions, the premier battery recycling and management company, today announced a considerable investment in sustainable battery recycling education. A new initiative titled, “SustainABILITY 10,000,” looks to turn communities into educated eco-living experts by Cirba Solutions and its team who will commit to 10,000 hours of community engagement, sustainable practices and education in communities across North America.

The movement to live a more eco-friendly life continues to stagnate due to a lack of education about the practical steps necessary to have a positive impact on the environment and increase our sustainability footprint. A recent study by Nielsen IQ revealed that 78 percent of consumers say a sustainable lifestyle is important to them and 30 percent are more likely to purchase products with sustainable credentials. Cirba Solutions’ new initiative focuses on increasing consumer education and social awareness of battery recycling opportunities in local communities, both proven to change behavior.

“In battery recycling, we experience the gap between desire and education every day. Despite most consumers wanting to recycle batteries, many simply don’t know how or where to do it. The result is that the majority end up in the trash or landfill and are not being properly recovered following battery end-of-life,” said David Klanecky, CEO and President of Cirba Solutions. “But we also know battery recycling doesn’t stand alone. Many eco-friendly choices we as consumers would like to make don’t happen simply because of a lack of education about how to turn that desire into action. By committing 10,000 hours of education into our communities and neighborhoods, our mission is to move that needle and empower people to take action and live a more sustainable life.”

The nationwide effort will first center in the regions where Cirba Solutions operates. These include North Carolina, South Carolina, Arizona, California, Michigan, Ohio and British Columbia, Canada.

Specifically, the effort will focus on three key areas:

  • Community Education: Working in partnership with local communities, Cirba Solutions will both integrate into existing education plans, while creating new ones to help spread the word about how and where individuals can recycle batteries.
  • Community Enhancement: Leveraging the power of neighborhood connection, Cirba Solutions will provide physical and visual opportunities for programs such as battery collection events, local education opportunities and support of STEM activities.
  • Digital Advocacy: Cirba Solutions will build online resources and tools accessible to every community to share resources and activities to develop green and sustainable literacy.

SustainABILITY 10,000 will officially kick-off the weekend leading up to Earth Week 2024, when Cirba Solutions will participate in a collection event with the Detroit Zoo, as part of the GreenFest 2024 E-Recycling Event. On Saturday, April 20th and Sunday, April 21st, Cirba Solutions will help the community divert waste from local landfills by collecting batteries.

“This initiative takes what we do at Cirba Solutions every day and raises the bar, so we’re focused on delivering actionable value into communities,” said Karen Gay, Community Engagement Manager at Cirba Solutions. “Our team is passionate about making a difference and we can’t wait to continue the great work we’ve done alongside community leaders as well as create new partnerships with organizations who share our mission.”

SustainABILITY 10,000 both focuses and builds upon Cirba Solutions’ continuing commitment to its give-back culture. In 2023 alone, the end-to-end battery recycling company worked with regional organizations and various local communities to discuss safety, planning and training. Cirba Solutions also worked with and discussed sustainability practices with U.S. Secretary of Energy, Jennifer Granholm, who attended the groundbreaking ceremony of Cirba Solutions’ battery recycling facility expansion in Lancaster, Ohio, and engaged with more than a half dozen local community groups to support causes ranging from holiday toy donations to reducing hunger in regional communities.

To learn more about Cirba Solutions’ community engagement efforts, visit: www.cirbasolutions.com/our-community

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Progress Over Perfection

Amy Schumacher is CEO of The Heritage Group, a U.S. based sustainability investor. Amy tells Nomura Greentech that she is applying generations of business experience to grow vital new industries such as battery recycling.

This interview first appeared in the Winter 2023 edition of Nomura Greentech, and is reposted here for promotional purposes.

“We have been in the environmental sector for over 50 years.”

 

What first sparked your interest in sustainability?

At The Heritage Group we are a fourth generation, privately held, family-owned business. We think in terms of decades and ultimately generations, that’s how we are still around.

We have been in the environmental sector for over 50 years. My father founded that part of our organization, and I grew up in that world.

My spark is tied to how we define sustainability as people, planet and communities, as well as our common vision, centered on leaving the world better than we found it.

From early teenage summer jobs to my current CEO responsibilities, sustainability has always been a part of me.

How concerned are you about climate change and the pace at which the world is collectively trying to solve this problem?

We are all citizens of the world on this particular issue and I think everyone needs to explore what they can do to address climate change.

Both big initiatives and small steps can create a significant impact. For example, we’ve taken the small, but important step of eliminating single-use plastic bottles at our headquarters, and other Heritage locations are beginning to do the same. On a larger scale, we’re part of an initiative that’s introducing sustainable solutions into the construction of airport runways.

Tackling climate change is fraught with challenges from inconsistencies in language and measurement, to lack of global alignment and keeping up with rapidly evolving regulation.

I am concerned that the challenge may seem too daunting or the solutions so complex that people either get discouraged or spend too much time debating rather than taking meaningful steps forward.

At The Heritage Group, at least on our sustainability journey, we have adopted the mantra of ‘progress over perfection’ – in other words, even if our action is somewhat imperfect, we’ve ultimately made more progress than if we hadn’t begun at all.

As CEO you oversee The Heritage Group’s portfolio of more than 50 businesses and 7,000 employees. What’s your ethos when it comes to sustainability, capital allocation and investment or acquisitions?

The way we consider sustainability in making investment decisions has changed dramatically. It was always in the ether, but it’s now front and center as a factor that we actively discuss as it relates to strategic investments.

Our portfolio is very diverse. We have some companies that operate directly in the environmental services space and others in various adjacencies around it.

In addition to our core business areas, we have grown our investment thesis into new platforms that ultimately service our sustainability mission. In our HG Ventures portfolio, a hard-tech focused venture strategy, I can’t think of an investment we have made that doesn’t support our sustainability goals.

The DNA of The Heritage Group is in materials science. You have a focus on chemicals, construction materials and environmental services. How are you looking to bring sustainability into these businesses and which one is the hardest to decarbonize?

I’m really proud to be in these sectors and I’m committed to supporting their transition.

When I think about some of our legacy core businesses, we have embraced circularity for a very long time. Take reclaimed asphalt pavement, or RAP, one of the most recycled materials in the U.S., or recovering zinc from one of the largest solid hazardous waste streams in the country.

To decarbonize these businesses, we have long leveraged our Heritage Research Group, which uses science and technology to do more with less and do things differently.

This means harnessing our expertise in specialty chemicals and sustainable fuels to drive development or taking a waste stream from one industry to create an environmentally friendly solution in another or even optimizing processes, not only to reduce waste, but also to decrease our environmental footprint.

Quite often the decarbonization challenge is difficult and instead of leaning in, many investors exit and transfer the problem to someone else. We see that all the time and instead, we are using our expertise in science to drive sustainable solutions.

Which areas are you focused on for new investment and which of your past investments have yielded the biggest sustainability impact?

From an investment perspective, we are always looking at aligning our capabilities with the next emerging macro trend or tailwind – that’s when we are at our best.

Our investment in Cirba Solutions, the largest lithium-ion battery recycler in North America, is a good example of a recent success and where we plan on maintaining our focus in the near term.

Battery recycling is set to benefit from the rapid expansion in the global EV market and the U.S. will continue to develop at a fast pace as there’s a shortage of mineral inputs. Batteries are also associated with geopolitical and societal challenges considering where in the world some of these raw materials are located so recycling can help mitigate these issues.

Our strategy for Cirba Solutions was to look at that emerging opportunity and match it with the expertise within our portfolio companies to accelerate its development.

When I think about our past investments and current capabilities, what gave us the courage to commit to building and ultimately growing Cirba, was our understanding of recycling. We have capabilities in collection, and expertise in the science and technology of reusing materials.

With our track record of successfully handling challenging materials, we see an opportunity to be a leader within that industry. It’s a perfect example of where so many of The Heritage Group’s best capabilities really came together to do something impactful.

To what extent do you think the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) is fast tracking decarbonization solutions and is it helping any of your portfolio companies?

I think it’s too early to understand the full impact of the IRA. It is definitely raising awareness, driving capital investment and accelerating the pace of business growth within the green space.

A number of our businesses, including Cirba Solutions, were recipients of federal Department of Energy grants related to their innovative technology. We were fortunate to have Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm at our ribbon cutting to celebrate not only the IRA, but what was possible for one of our emerging core businesses.

Envita Solutions is another example of a key Heritage operating business that is helping our customers achieve their goals through the use of data and science to optimize waste management.

While the IRA is not directly benefiting Envita, it is impacting the customers we serve by accelerating their net zero goals and timelines which in turn creates more opportunities.

The IRA is also having a positive effect on our communities. The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis is one of the best museums in the country, and The Heritage Group helped it apply for a Department of Energy sustainability grant through the IRA. We have a strong passion and commitment towards improving our communities.

Which future technologies are you most excited about?

Every year, around this time, I get really excited about welcoming our hard-tech founders into The Heritage Group Accelerator.

The program brings roughly ten very early stage companies to The Heritage Group for 13 weeks to help launch their sustainability businesses in areas such as green materials, infrastructure, environmental solutions and industrial systems.

It’s inspiring to see so many budding entrepreneurs applying their curiosity, talents and creativity to this space and the number of applicants grows exponentially each year.

Specific technologies capturing my attention include: sustainable aviation fuel, low carbon materials, water technology, and, of course, battery recycling.

There are also brand new technologies that we have never envisioned, which provide a glimpse into the future.

In 2030, The Heritage Group celebrates its centenary. What would you like to achieve by then and what legacy would you like to leave?

As a long term family-owned business, we’re building for generations, leaving people, planet and communities better than when we found them.

I’m fortunate to build upon what came before me at Heritage and to plant the seeds for what will come after, and that’s both a privilege and a responsibility.

Aspirationally, I would like to leave The Heritage Group in a place where it will be successful for the next 100 years, not just the next decade.

That means a focus on top talent. We aim to have a collection of world class businesses where smart, hardworking individuals can make a real difference. We are thinking carefully about the people side of our company because people are our greatest asset and hopefully a part of my legacy.

Who’s your sustainable hero and why?

It would be easy to say my grandfather and father; they had the foresight and courage to introduce sustainability concepts into The Heritage Group at a time when no one was talking about it and really laid the foundations for the businesses that we run today.

But honestly, my sustainable hero is my great-uncle Frank who was the steward of our sustainability journey in the early days, when the environmental industry was so much like the Wild West that we felt uncomfortable operating there.

All leaders have defining moments in their history where they can choose diverging paths and great-uncle Frank’s came soon after we had bought a fledgling environmental business. It was hindered by a series of challenges and leadership at the time was considering getting out and moving on.

But great-uncle Frank said “the world needs people like us in this business so we’re going to lean in, not lean out, and do the right thing, always.”

That really became the fabric and DNA of the business. We never stepped into this because of ESG regulatory pressures, financial returns or to jump on the next big macro trend. My forefathers did it because it was the right thing to do and that has served us at the heart of who we are today.

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Advancing Road Infrastructure Through Innovation

HG Ventures (HGV), the corporate venture arm of The Heritage Group (THG), recently hosted “The Future of Roads” summit that brought together scientists, engineers, policymakers and other visionaries who are working at the leading edges of their respective fields who are developing new technologies that have the potential to transform our world for the better.

Leaders from various sectors participated in the day-long event focused on commitment to innovation and sustainability in road technology. With a focus on decarbonizing construction, extending the life and quality of roads, examining innovative approaches and improving the planet, the event challenged attendees to consider the reimagining of the future road infrastructure.

John Glushik, Managing Director of HG Ventures, emphasized the importance of combining an entrepreneurial spirit with industry expertise to accelerate innovation. John underscored the need for open-mindedness and collaboration to tackle challenges and push the boundaries of what’s possible. Collaboration emerged as a recurring theme, with an emphasis on leveraging expertise across various sectors and industries while forging long-term partnerships.

John Glushik of HG Ventures

Geoff Dillon, CEO of Heritage Construction Materials (HC+M), echoes the sentiment, emphasizing HC+M’s commitment to delivering quality infrastructure while embracing innovation. Geoff stressed the significance of partnerships in driving both current and future advancements in road construction and maintenance.

Dr. Allison Black from the American Road and Transportation Builders Association shed light on the evolving landscape of road funding and the pivotal role of technology in addressing infrastructure challenges. Dr. Black emphasized the importance of public-private partnerships and venture capital in driving modernization and maintaining the nation’s road network.

 

Dr. Allison Black of the American Road and Transportation Builders Association

Throughout the day, participants listened to presentations and engaged in breakout sessions highlighting the vital role of partnerships and venture capital in driving forward-thinking solutions to keep roads safe, efficient and sustainable.

Key takeaways from The Future of Roads event:

  1. Importance of Roads: Roads are essential for transportation, connecting communities, and supporting economic activities. With increasing population and vehicle usage, there’s pressure to maintain and improve road infrastructure.
  2. Technological Innovation: There’s a surge in innovation aimed at addressing road infrastructure challenges such as capacity, congestion, safety and sustainability. These innovations encompass various fields like materials science, chemical engineering, software development and emerging hard tech solutions.
  3. Role of Startups: Innovation isn’t limited to established construction giants but also involves startups with unique visions. These startups play a crucial role in driving positive change with their innovative solutions.
  4. Investor Involvement: HG Ventures, as part of The Heritage Group, supports innovation in road technology through investments in startups. Leveraging the expertise of Heritage Construction + Materials, HG Ventures aims to be part of the solution for improving road infrastructure.

As the world continues to evolve, the conversation about the future of road construction and maintenance remains critical. Through collaboration, innovation and investment, The Heritage Group can pave the way for a brighter, more resilient road infrastructure that serves communities for generations to come.

 

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Honoring National Work Zone Awareness Week

Navigating Construction Zones: The Importance of Safety and Vigilance on the Road

As we enter another construction season, it’s crucial to understand the dangers of distracted driving and the necessity of reducing speeds in work zones. For Heritage companies, the demanding activity of construction requires heightened attention from drivers, yet distractions and the temptation to maintain regular speeds often prevail. The consequences are troubling, as evidenced by the latest data on work zone accidents and fatalities.

According to recent statistics, work zones prove to be hazardous environments for both drivers and construction workers alike. In 2021 alone, a staggering 956 individuals lost their lives in work zones across the United States. Alarmingly, a sizable portion of these fatalities—778 to be exact—were motorists and their passengers. This reality underscores the urgent need for drivers to exercise caution and reduce speeds while traveling through construction zones.

The dangers are not limited to drivers. Construction workers face inherent risks as they take on the important and necessary duties of building, maintaining and repairing our critical infrastructure. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) reports that 108 highway workers fell victim to occupational fatalities in road construction sites in 2021. These individuals were not merely statistics; they were dedicated professionals whose lives were tragically cut short due to preventable accidents.

Considering these sobering statistics, it’s imperative for drivers to recognize their role in ensuring road safety during construction season. The mantra of “slow speeds save lives” summarizes the necessary approach for navigating work zones responsibly. By adhering to posted speed limits, maintaining a safe following distance and minimizing distractions, drivers can reduce the risk of accidents and safeguard the lives of both themselves and others on the road.

As drivers, we hold the power to prevent tragedies and uphold the safety of our roads. Let’s heed the call to action, embrace responsibility behind the wheel and ensure that every journey through a construction zone is a safe one for all involved.