Viridor has launched its first Environmental Social Governance (ESG) strategy since becoming a standalone business in July 2020.
As part of the strategy, Viridor has outlines what it calls “major commitments” to drive performance across environmental, social and governance metrics.
The strategy has three major targets:
- Best in sector health and safety performance by 2025
- A fully circular plastics recycling and reprocessing business by 2025
- A net zero carbon business by 2040 and a climate positive business by 2045 – removing more CO2 a year than the total fossil carbon emissions it generates.
The resources and waste management company says the strategy reinforces Viridor’s net zero commitments, including programmes focused on reducing the fossil content of non-recyclable waste and deploying carbon capture technology at its Runcorn facility – one of the UK’s largest Energy Recovery Facilities.
Viridor has submitted a bid for Runcorn to be one of the first Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) projects selected by the Government in the North West’s HyNet cluster. Installing CCS at Runcorn alone could save over 0.8 million tonnes a year of CO2, while also capturing biogenic CO2 to generate negative emissions.
Viridor says another “critical part” is the Government’s Green Taxonomy which it is set to consult on by the end of the year.
Viridor says the Taxonomy will shape investment across the economy and must therefore play a “critical” role in supporting the transition to net zero and a circular economy.
It says that it is vital that this framework supports decarbonisation of the waste sector – the UK’s seventh biggest emitter and that to do this, the Taxonomy will need to classify key areas of the waste sector as green, including removing polluting plastics from the waste stream and capturing carbon from waste treatment processes.
Viridor is committed to becoming a net zero company. Policy will be a huge factor in how fast and far we can move on this journey
This will ensure that ESG-aligned funds can invest in delivering ESG strategies, Viridor says, stating, “if the sector is not included, there is a risk that investment will fall short of what is needed”.
A recent report by Anthesis outlined the scale of the opportunity to invest in recycling infrastructure alone – £1bn of investment in infrastructure would end the export of plastic waste and create over 2000 direct and supply chain jobs.
Viridor’s CEO Kevin Bradshaw commented: “Leading on health, safety, decarbonisation, and circularity is where we can make a meaningful difference. By classifying waste decarbonisation activities as green investments, the Government could unlock more investment into UK infrastructure and build on the UK’s leading net zero targets.
“Viridor is committed to becoming a net zero company. Policy will be a huge factor in how fast and far we can move on this journey.”
On health and safety specifically, Viridor has refreshed its HomeSafe programme to improve its health and safety score.
Richard Robinson, Viridor’s Director of Health and Safety, added: “We must ensure everyone goes home safe every day, this is the first and most critical step to running our business. Health and safety is central to our ESG strategy to ensure that our people, visitors, contractors and communities where we operate know that we are one of the safest operators in the sector.”
Dr Tim Rotheray, Director of ESG at Viridor said” “This is a significant milestone in Viridor’s journey since becoming a standalone business in 2020. We have had the opportunity to completely reassess our focus on ESG and we are determined to play a leading role in transforming the waste sector.”