We are committed to responsible resource consumption and waste management. Our focus is on reducing our water and waste footprint, coupled with sustainable disposal of our business waste.
2025 Commitments around Resource Conservation
- Achieve 20% reduction in water use for all new construction and major renovation projects
- Reduce water intensity (gal / occupied seat) by 15% from a 2017 baseline for offices under operational control
- Remove 100% of plastic beverage bottles and disposables from on-site cafeterias, micro-markets and vending machines globally
- Reduce the amount of firm-provided office supplies that contain plastic
- Reduce internal paper use per-capita by 30% from a 2017 baseline
We are committed to divert 100% of our business waste from landfill and will continue to measure our recycled and refurbished eWaste, construction waste, and business waste diversion.
Each year, Goldman Sachs mails an estimated 75 million pages to clients. In 2018, we reviewed legal communication requirements and asked clients to update mailing preferences, resulting in the elimination of paper communications from thousands of accounts. Internally, we are reducing paper as part of our #goDigital campaign to support more digital ways of working across our workplace.
Over 73% of our paper was procured from post-consumer recycled or certified new fiber sources in 2020, and we reduced our paper use per-capita by 69% from a 2013 baseline, far surpassing our 2020 goal of a 20% reduction.
In 2019, the Firm made significant steps to reduce our business waste footprint by eliminating paper cups and plastic lids from our pantries, as well as non-recyclable cups and plastic straws from our cafeterias around the world. This has resulted in a projected reduction of more than 200 tons of waste globally, equivalent to 3% of the firm’s total business waste. Prior to this effort, our offices consumed more than 22 million non-recyclable cups, two million lids and one million straws every year.
The firm has also furthered its waste reduction effort by focusing on single use plastics consumed in the workspace and eliminated 34 tons of plastic waste as of year-end 2020. The disrupted global supply chain for compostable materials and an increased focus on health and safety resulted in the reintroduction of individually wrapped plastic cutlery into our operations. This disruption reintroduced 4.6 tons of single-use plastics in 2020 from a category that had previously been eliminated. Without this increase, the total 2020 consumption of remaining plastics in our operations was 88 percent less than our 2018 baseline.
We are constantly reviewing our workspace offerings to ensure we are incorporating reusable items as much as possible. If no alternatives are available, we procure items that can be disposed of in a responsible way to reduce our global waste impacts.
We have made strides toward water conservation efforts through the installation of flow fixtures whenever feasible and the incorporation of water recycling/reuse systems at several of our facilities, including New York and India. For example, the water system at our global headquarters at 200 West Street in New York uses 35% less municipal water for a savings of over 16 million gallons of water per year through the reduction, reclamation and reuse of water in the building. In addition, the water system at our 150 Outer Ring Road campus in Bengaluru, India recycles 100% of grey and black water through a sewage treatment and reverse osmosis plant. Recycled water is used for landscaping, air conditioning and flushing purposes, resulting in a 50% reduction in fresh water use.
Lastly, our water stewardship goes beyond being an efficient user in our operations and includes the support of industry collaborations regarding the intersection of capital, technology, and policy in meeting emerging water challenges. For example, we are one of the founding members of the World Resources Institute Aqueduct Alliance, a partnership which brings together a number of leading companies to better address water risk through a global water risk mapping tool.
We are also working to reduce food waste in our cafeterias and micro-market cafes. In January 2019, we began to partner with Rethink Food in NYC to ensure that excess, unused food is donated and transitioned into ready-to-eat, nutrition-dense meals. Through this partnership, and collaboration with Conrad New York Downtown, we were able to transform more than 32,000 pounds of food into the equivalent of 45,000 meals for New York City families in need.