Written by Nathan Terrill
27 Jun 2024

Behind the Scenes of Our First-Ever Emissions Report

Reducing the environmental impact of medical waste has been a core value for Daniels Health since our founding. Our innovative, reusable containers play a critical role in diverting millions of pounds of plastic and cardboard from landfill annually, and their 50-year lifecycle have helped to eliminate the manufacturing of tens of millions of disposable products that would have been used in their place.

While our sustainable values run deep, we are on the same journey as many in the healthcare industry to quantify our annual emissions and develop strategies to reduce them in line with national and global initiatives. To that end, we are proud to publish our first ever annual emissions report, providing a window into our own emissions as a waste management partner and establishing a baseline for future reductions.

Read on to explore what that looks like and why it matters to our partners.


1 / Embarking on the Journey to Net Zero

2 / Establishing a baseline

3 / How we developed our emissions report

4 / Where are we going from here?

5 / How an emissions report supports our partners

6 / Diving deeper into sustainability 

Embarking on the Journey to Net Zero

One of the key drivers behind the development of our emissions report is the concept of achieving “Net Zero” emissions. What that means, in the simplest of terms, is that all emissions created from corporate activities are counterbalanced by removing carbon from the atmosphere. It may not be possible to get to zero total emissions and still be a functional business, but we can achieve net zero through smart carbon reduction strategies.

Net zero is an increasingly popular objective across the globe, and as an international organization, we experienced an early introduction to the concept thanks to our presence in the United Kingdom, where the National Health Service (NHS) has mandated the introduction of strategies to achieve Net Zero by 2040.

Although the NHS is the first health service in the world to make net zero compulsory, voluntary programs and commitments have begun shaping net zero strategy here in the United States.

To that effect, Daniels Health is a proud signatory of the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Health Sector Climate Pledge. As a signer, we are committed to reducing organizational emissions by 50% by 2030, with the goal of achieving net zero emissions by 2050, publicly accounting for progress on this goal every year.

With those lofty objectives in place, we had our work set out for us, and step one was developing a baseline emissions report from which we could measure our progress moving forward.

Establishing a baseline

Establishing a baseline for emissions is a complicated process that involves collating all emissions created by the company broken down by source. Traditionally, emissions are categorized into three distinct “scopes:”

  • Scope 1 emissions: direct emissions emanating from sources owned or controlled by the company (e.g., burning fuel from company-owned vehicles)
  • Scope 2 emissions: emissions created indirectly from the purchase and use of energy (e.g., the consumption of electricity within a facility)
  • Scope 3 emissions: all other emissions not produced by the company itself or resulting from the activity of company assets. These are typically emissions created from vendor or suppliers within the company’s value chain.

In line with the HHS health sector pledge, our first emissions report focused on collating scope 1 and 2 emissions for the previous calendar year, while we continue to gather data on scope 3 emissions to create an inventory by the end of 2024.

How we developed our emissions report

Like many companies, the Daniels Health sustainability working group began as a team of committed individuals volunteering their time on top of their day-to-day responsibilities. Colloquially named the “Carbonistas,” our working group met weekly to work through the challenges of creating an inventory of emissions from scratch.

How was this accomplished? Through the power of spreadsheets! We started by creating a matrix of all our plants, transfer stations, support offices, and other facilities, and then began a lengthy process of pulling all relevant emissions data for each, such as electricity and gas bills.

Once we had all the data we could gather, we utilized the EPA’s GHG emissions calculator to determine our total emissions. This tool was critical for aligning our raw data with emissions factor formulations from the EPA, helping us drill down on topics such as electrical output by location on the US electrical grid. Through this process, we were able to compute our scope 1 and 2 emissions in a way that is not only accurate, but aligned with national standards.

Where are we going from here?

Although we’re proud of our first emissions report, we know the work is far from over. Now that we’ve established our baseline scope 1 and 2 emissions, we’re turning toward creating an inventory for scope 3 emissions by the end of 2024.

In addition, we’ve identified the following next steps:

  • Developing a climate resilience plan: While our business units each have an existing local contingency plan, these will be consolidated into a single record to ensure that risks of climate-related harm are mitigated.
  • Customer level reporting capabilities: We are working to establish the ability to quantify emissions reporting at a customer-by-customer level in order to support our customers as they pursue their own scope 3 emissions reporting and reduction plans.
  • Emissions reduction audit: With a baseline for scope 1 and 2 emissions compiled, our next step is to review and audit our emissions for calendar year 2023. This audit will be the foundation for establishing basic emissions reduction strategies that are measurable, actionable and realistic.
  • Establishing measurable reduction objectives and KPIs: Following completion of the emissions reduction audit, we will establish measurable reduction objectives in line with our 50% emission reduction target by 2030. These objectives will be published in next year’s report along with clear supporting strategies and tactics.

How an emissions report supports our partners

With a clear view of our total emissions, we are not only primed to develop actionable reduction strategies, but as a vendor, we can support our partners as they seek out their scope 3 emissions.

Just as we’re on the journey to net zero, many of our partners are as well, and they are looking for us to provide clear insights into how their waste management program impacts their emissions. Our reduction efforts will have clear knock-on effects for them, and we are thrilled to be able to support them as an extension of our long-established commitment to sustainability.


Achieving Net Zero Together

Tackling carbon emissions reductions is a daunting task, and no single person, team, or company can do it alone. We recognize we are at the beginning of our journey, and that there is a long road ahead, but we know that through collaboration, support, and a clear roadmap, we can achieve our net zero goals, both for ourselves and for the customers we support each and every day.

We invite you to download our emissions report to learn more about where we started and where we’re going.



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Nathan Terrill

Nathan Terrill

VP of Strategy and Execution

VP of Strategy and Execution, Nathan is a commercial strategist and passionate advocate for empowering talent execution across every facet of the business