This past quarter the topics of “Waste” and “Recycling” increased as a focus in earnings calls, making up over 8% of environmental topics covered on calls and increased from last quarter by 2%. The topic of “Wind Power'' also saw a marginal increase in focus. Our ESG Safeguard platform highlights some of the interesting disclosures that stood out related to these discussions.

Sam Leavitt
December 2, 2021

ESG Spotlight: Waste and Recycling Topics Littered Q3 Earnings

ESG Spotlight: Waste and Recycling Topics Littered Q3 Earnings

As a proportion of mentions, “Waste” and “Recycling” increased on our ESG Safeguard platform for earnings calls this quarter. “Waste” and “Recycling'' combined made up over 8% of environmental earnings call mentions. Mentions of “Wind Power” also increased marginally as a Topic. Although “Wind Power” has decreased as a proportion of mentions in the past year, it remains a highly relevant topic.

ESG Safeguard Platform: Proportion of Environmental Topics - Wind, Recycling, and Wind Power, Q3 Earnings Calls

Waste and Recycling

With supply chain issues showing no sign of abating, smart companies are learning to make the most of available resources, including the introduction of recycling as a standalone business. Also, with some of the companies we are highlighting, we see recycling is becoming a standalone business.

Atlas Technical Consultants (ATCX) mentioned being able to reuse 60,000 cubic yards of concrete debris while helping the University of Washington renovate their stadium. The company used a geotechnical modeling program reducing waste and helping protect nearby wetlands.

Nevada based Aqua Metals (AQMS), a company focused on recycling lead and lithium ion batteries, mentioned a signed collaboration with LiNiCo for clean recycling technologies with respect to lithium-ion batteries. Furthermore, they completed lab-scale testing of their lithium ion recycling process in September. The company uses a proprietary technology to recycle batteries, which could become a key player in the supply chain for electric vehicles. Electric vehicles use some fairly rare metals in their batteries, and being able to recycle these materials at a good price will be in high demand. Companies that are able to save other companies money through recycling operations and technology will be able to carve out a niche for themselves in emerging markets like electric vehicles.

Wind Power

Wind had a marginal increase from last quarter and remains a major focus in the transition away from fossil fuels. Some highlights we have included show continued investment and development in the area.

Aker Offshore Wind (AOW:NO) has been selected as the preferred bidder to acquire an initial 80% stake in Progression Energy's 800 megawatt floating offshore wind project in Japan. The Norwegian company had the most mentions of wind power in their earnings call this quarter. We’ve mentioned that European energy is shifting focus more rapidly towards renewable energy than the U.S., but there were some promising developments in the U.S. this quarter as well.

Dominion Energy (D) had ample discussion around wind in their most recent earnings call and specifically focused on the Virginia Coastal Offshore Wind project that will be completed in 2026. Although wind technology has been around for a while, this project will be the first offshore wind project fully owned by a utility company. It is also the second offshore wind project in the U.S. and the second wind offshore wind project to be approved by regulators. Once complete, the project will provide enough power for 660,000 homes. The offshore wind boom in the U.S. is only getting started and having these installations directly in the hands of utility companies, who are trying to phase out coal that is comparatively more expensive, will help lower costs for the company and customers alike.

Waste and Recycling Discussion is Just Getting Started

Q3 earnings calls represented an increased focus on “Waste” and “Recycling” as topics. As more companies experience the strain of supply chain shortages, recycling as a business will become increasingly valuable for manufacturers of new technologies like electric vehicles. “Wind” too remained a focus for investment in Europe and in the U.S. where offshore wind is still very much a fledgling industry. As the year comes to a close we may see more focus on environmental factors going forward that are not only directly related to carbon transition, but also more focused on resource utilization.

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This communication does not represent investment advice. Transcript text provided by FACTSET and S&P Global Market Intelligence.

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