Stephanie Valdez Streaty, senior director of corporate social responsibility at Cox Automotive, shares how they plan to achieve an ambitious Zero Waste to Landfill goal by 2024 and speaks about future projects she’d like to tackle with help from other SB Corporate Members, including water replenishment projects.
Read on to see how her love for sustainability and the outdoors has positively impacted her family, her community and her workplace.
What project are you most excited about right now?
I’m most excited about our Zero Waste to Landfill initiatives at Cox. To achieve these goals, changing employee behavior is critical.
One initiative that has been extremely successful is our recently launched Zero Waste Roadshow. Laura Hernandez, our corporate responsibility specialist here at Cox, was truly instrumental in creating the concept and content for the roadshow, which consists of doing a site visit at corporate locations followed by a lunch and learn for local employees.
The purpose is to educate, inspire and empower team members to help Cox Automotive achieve our ambitious goal: Zero Waste to Landfill by 2024!
How is social or environmental innovation driving value for your business?
Cox has a long-standing commitment to the environment and is embracing sustainable technology to make a positive impact. One project to highlight is the New River Energy Facility. The facility is a part of Seven Islands Environmental Solutions, a subsidiary of Cox Enterprises, and it’s transforming byproducts from the waste sector into cleaner energy for the community.
When solid waste in landfills decomposes, landfill gas is created. Fifty percent of this gas is methane. Cox partnered with the Raleigh County Solid Waste Authority (RCSWA) to build the New River Energy Facility at the Raleigh County landfill in Beckley, West Virginia, to capture that landfill gas.
It’s used to generate clean energy, rather than emitting it to the atmosphere. A system of wells captures the landfill gas, which the facility dries, cleans and compresses into a renewable fuel. The fuel is converted into electricity on site and fed into the local energy grid to power homes.
Here is the environmental impact from our partnership with RCSWA:
- 10,000,000 kWh produced annually – enough to power over 990 homes
- 7,000 tons of carbon offset annually
What inspires and drives you to work on sustainability?
The places I have lived and my children have inspired me to work on sustainability. I grew up in Colorado and lived in California for over 20 years. I have always had a love for the outdoors and wanted to do my part to keep our communities healthy.
I’ve enjoyed teaching my children about the environment by having them experience it through outings at the park, hikes or just hanging out outdoors.
I’m excited about the influence I’ve had on my children. My daughter was involved in the sustainability club at college and my son has decided to major in Environmental Studies!
Can you share something about yourself that would surprise us?
I graduated from college with a degree in Sociology with a focus on Organizational Behavior. So, most people would be surprised that my first job out of college was as a programmer. I worked at Andersen Consulting (AKA Accenture) and spent my first-year programming in C.
Any hidden talents?
I love to run! I qualified for Boston Marathon and ran it in 2011.
If you had unlimited time and resources, on what type of work would you want to collaborate with fellow SB Members?
I’m passionate about water. I would love to collaborate with fellow SB Members on water replenishment projects. We’ve partnered with Bonneville Environmental Foundation on a couple replenishment initiatives. I’m excited about the power and impact of collaborating on these types of projects.
Why is your participation in the SB Member Network important?
The first Sustainable Brands conference I attended energized me to another level. I saw firsthand the value of coming together with other sustainability professionals to learn about leading issues, trends and solutions.
By being an SB Member, I can continue to network throughout the year and take advantage of the resources and knowledge base of other members.
Anything else you'd like to share with fellow SB Members?
As I mentioned, our Zero Waste to Landfill goal is around the corner. One of our waste stream issues is car floor mats. So, if anyone has an idea about how to recycle or reuse them, please reach out to me!