The Carbon Trust says it will launch the world’s first international standard for companies to certify that they are managing and reducing waste later this year.
The Carbon Trust Waste Standard will require organizations to measure, manage and reduce their solid and hazardous waste. To achieve the standard, firms will need to demonstrate that waste streams are being reduced every year, or disposed of more effectively, for example through increased reuse, recycling or energy recovery.
The new standard will also include a qualitative assessment to show that waste is being managed responsibly or prevented. This will include considerations outside of an organization’s direct control, such as having a diligent procurement policy for goods and waste management services, or looking at downstream impacts through products and packaging.
Every year, landfill from commercial and industrial waste generates 2.3 million metric tons of CO2e, the Carbon Trust says.
About 11.2 billion metric tons of solid waste is collected globally each year and the decay of just the organic parts of this waste contributes around 5 percent of all global greenhouse gas emissions, according to the United Nations Environment Programme.
The Carbon Trust says recycling a metric ton of paper saves about 17 trees and 50 percent of the water needed for production. Despite the positive environmental and economic impact that waste management can have, Carbon Trust research found that only 21 percent of senior executives of large companies in the UK, USA, China, South Korea and Brazil have sustainability targets for waste and 49 percent are not yet confident that there is a business case for investing in managing waste.
The waste management standard coincides with the fifth anniversary of the launch of the Carbon Trust’s Carbon Standard, which has helped hundreds of organizations better manage and reduce their carbon emissions.
Earlier this year, the organization launched the Carbon Trust Water Standard to help businesses and public sector organizations measure, manage and reduce their water use. Coca-Cola Enterprises, Sainsbury’s, Sunlight and Branston are the first four organizations to achieve the Carbon Trust’s water reduction standard.