The Impact of ESG on Waste-to-Energy: Part 1 of 4

January 31st, 2022

Our never-ending quest for sustainability requires the research and development of various forms of renewable energy sources. One of the most promising is the waste-to-energy (WTE) model, also called energy-from-waste.

WTE generates energy by using specific types of waste materials as energy sources. This process is typically done by burning the material to create heat or steam, which can then be converted into electricity.

Waste material can also be used to create combustible gas, such as the methane generated by the anaerobic digestion of decaying organic matter.

The mechanism behind WTE may be simple, but it shows real potential to be able to support consumer electricity needs by using materials that would otherwise go unused or lend to greenhouse gas emissions.

That said, there are a few factors that can best support WTE as a viable source of sustainable energy. One of the most significant factors is the Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) framework.

This series will explain how ESG initiatives and mandates impact WTE and how leaders in this sector are preparing for the future.

First, What is ESG?

The ESG framework evaluates the consciousness of a business as it relates to environmental, social, and corporate governance factors. It is a score assigned to businesses based on a company’s tangible efforts towards being socially responsible. 

This score can then be used in different ways by different entities. 

For instance, investors and stakeholders use the ESG framework to choose companies that align with their values for investing purposes. 

Meanwhile, the businesses themselves use their evaluation to assess their practices, minimize their environmental impacts, and improve their public image.

Lastly, regulating bodies use ESG metrics to protect municipalities and local communities to directly influence corporate behavior. 

Through ESG scoring, they can determine which companies are in the best position to institute zero waste policies, lessen CO2 emissions, and improve their use of renewable energy.

Introducing the ESG Metrics

The ESG evaluation comprises three distinct categories that a company is measured on to determine its impact on the environment and mankind.


Environmental factors primarily deal with companies’ responses to climate change and whether their actions contribute to a net positive or negative regarding emissions production.

It measures metrics related to waste management, waste collection, greenhouse gas emissions, energy generation, and sustainability reports, among others.


The social arm of the ESG evaluation considers a company’s sense of social justice for both historical and emerging issues. Chief among these are diversity and inclusion concerns, consumer protection, and even animal welfare.


The governance domain measures how well companies are managed from the inside, as well as how they compare to their competitors.

It involves employment practices, organizational composition, and even the behaviors of top decision-makers.

Specific issues concerning governance include management structure, employee relations, the equitability of its compensations, and more.

Now that you have a basic understanding of ESG and its calculations, be sure to check out our post next month on how ESG evaluations can help support Waste-to-Energy projects!

How EnMass Energy Can Help You Meet ESG Goals in WtE Projects

The waste-to-energy industry is essential for creating a more sustainable and equitable future. Investing in digital tools to help WTE businesses become more efficient and achieve their ESG goals is the next best step forward for this industry.

Here at EnMass Energy, we’re in the business of helping WTE producers achieve their ESG goals faster by streamlining their WTE projects while incorporating ESG goals and making the waste-to-energy process more efficient.

Experience the benefits for yourself. Schedule a demo today!

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