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Company > Clean Harbors Inc: Business Model, SWOT Analysis, and Competitors 2024

Clean Harbors Inc: Business Model, SWOT Analysis, and Competitors 2024

Published: Jan 15, 2024

Inside This Article


    In this comprehensive blog post, we delve into the intricate world of Clean Harbors Inc, a leader in environmental, energy, and industrial services. We kick off our exploration by unraveling the company's robust business model designed to address complex waste management and environmental challenges. Following that, we conduct a thorough SWOT analysis to highlight the company's strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats as it navigates the evolving industry landscape in 2024. Finally, we examine Clean Harbors' competitive stance, comparing it with key players in the sector to provide a clear picture of its market position. Join us as we dissect the elements that contribute to Clean Harbors Inc's enduring success and the hurdles it must overcome in the quest for sustainable growth.

    ### What You Will Learn

    • Ownership and Vision: Discover who owns Clean Harbors Inc and understand the driving force behind their operations through an in-depth look at their mission statement.
    • Revenue Streams and Business Strategy: Learn about how Clean Harbors Inc generates income, coupled with a detailed explanation of their Business Model Canvas to give you insights into their strategic approach.
    • Market Position and Strategic Analysis: Identify Clean Harbors Inc's main competitors and dive into a comprehensive SWOT analysis that highlights their strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats within the industry.

    Who owns Clean Harbors Inc?

    Clean Harbors Inc., a North American leader in environmental, energy, and industrial services, operates with a diverse ownership structure that includes both institutional and individual stakeholders. Understanding who holds the reins can provide insights into the company's strategic direction and its alignment with shareholders' interests.

    Institutional Investors

    The lion's share of Clean Harbors Inc. is owned by institutional investors. These entities, which include pension funds, mutual funds, and endowments, invest large sums of money on behalf of their members or stakeholders. Their significant holdings allow them to exert considerable influence over the company's corporate policies and strategic decisions.

    Among the top institutional investors, we often find names such as Vanguard Group Inc., BlackRock Inc., and State Street Corporation. These financial behemoths manage billions of dollars in assets and have a vested interest in the success of Clean Harbors Inc. Their involvement is generally seen as a vote of confidence in the company's leadership and growth prospects.

    Individual Stakeholders

    While institutional investors hold a major portion of Clean Harbors Inc., individual stakeholders, including company executives and retail investors, also play critical roles. High-ranking company officials often own substantial amounts of stock, aligning their interests with the long-term success of the business. This ownership stake serves as a powerful motivator for executives to work towards increasing shareholder value.

    Retail investors, though individually holding smaller shares compared to institutions, collectively contribute to the company's shareholder diversity. Their participation is indicative of the public's confidence in Clean Harbors Inc. and its market performance.

    Insider Ownership

    Insider ownership is another facet of Clean Harbors Inc.'s ownership structure. This category includes shares held by the company's founders, executives, and other key personnel. Insider ownership can be a double-edged sword; on one hand, it aligns management's interests with those of the shareholders, but on the other, excessive insider control can lead to conflicts of interest and challenges in corporate governance.

    Understanding the balance of power among these different ownership groups is crucial for stakeholders looking to gauge Clean Harbors Inc.'s financial health and strategic direction. As the company navigates the complexities of the environmental services industry, the composition of its ownership will undoubtedly influence its ability to adapt and thrive in an ever-changing market landscape.

    What is the mission statement of Clean Harbors Inc?

    What is the mission statement of Clean Harbors Inc?

    Clean Harbors Inc. has built its reputation on a foundation of safeguarding health, maintaining safety, and protecting the environment. At its core, the company's mission statement embodies a strong commitment to providing comprehensive environmental, energy, and industrial services. Specifically, Clean Harbors aims to lead the industry in the development and delivery of innovative solutions that not only meet but exceed the expectations of its clients.

    The mission revolves around a few key principles:

    • Environmental Stewardship: Clean Harbors places a significant emphasis on environmental protection and sustainability. The company strives to minimize its operational impact on the environment through innovative waste management solutions, recycling, and recovery efforts. This principle ensures that future generations will inherit a cleaner and healthier planet.

    • Safety and Health: The health and safety of employees, clients, and the communities in which Clean Harbors operates are of paramount importance. The company adopts rigorous safety protocols and continuously promotes a culture of safety. This commitment is reflected in their comprehensive training programs, state-of-the-art equipment, and adherence to regulatory standards.

    • Customer Satisfaction: Clean Harbors is deeply committed to exceeding customer expectations through exceptional service and innovation. The company understands the unique needs of its diverse client base and works tirelessly to provide tailored solutions that address specific environmental and industrial challenges.

    • Continuous Improvement: The pursuit of excellence is a continuous journey for Clean Harbors. The company invests in research and development to improve its services and operations continually. By embracing cutting-edge technologies and methodologies, Clean Harbors stays at the forefront of the industry, ensuring they can tackle the evolving challenges of environmental and industrial services.

    In summary, the mission statement of Clean Harbors Inc. reflects the company's dedication to leading the way in environmental, energy, and industrial services. Through a steadfast commitment to environmental stewardship, safety and health, customer satisfaction, and continuous improvement, Clean Harbors aims to make a positive impact on the planet and its people. This mission not only guides the company's strategic direction but also inspires its team members to strive for excellence in all aspects of their work.

    How does Clean Harbors Inc make money?

    Clean Harbors Inc is a North American leader in providing environmental, energy, and industrial services. The company plays a crucial role in ensuring that businesses can operate in an environmentally responsible manner. Understanding how Clean Harbors generates revenue is essential to grasp the breadth and depth of its operations and its importance in the modern economy. Here's a breakdown of the primary ways through which Clean Harbors Inc makes money:

    Environmental Services

    One of the core revenue streams for Clean Harbors is its environmental services segment. This includes a wide range of services aimed at helping companies comply with environmental regulations, manage waste responsibly, and respond to environmental emergencies. Services under this category include hazardous waste disposal, recycling services, and emergency spill response. By offering a comprehensive suite of environmental services, Clean Harbors serves a diverse client base across various industries, including chemical, energy, manufacturing, and more.

    Industrial and Field Services

    Clean Harbors also generates significant revenue from its industrial and field services. This segment focuses on providing specialized services to industries that require maintenance and cleaning of industrial facilities, chemical plants, refineries, and more. Services include high-pressure and chemical cleaning, tank cleaning, decontamination, and industrial lodging services. By ensuring that industrial operations can run smoothly and comply with safety standards, Clean Harbors positions itself as an essential partner for industrial businesses.


    A unique aspect of Clean Harbors' business model is its Safety-Kleen subsidiary, which specializes in providing environmental services to small and medium-sized businesses. Safety-Kleen's services include parts cleaning, used oil collection and re-refining, and containerized waste services. This segment allows Clean Harbors to tap into a broader market by offering scalable solutions that cater to smaller businesses' needs, which might not require the full spectrum of services offered to larger corporations.

    Energy and Industrial Services

    The energy sector is another significant source of revenue for Clean Harbors. The company's energy services include exploration, production, and drilling services, as well as decommissioning and oil re-refining. With the growing focus on sustainable energy practices, Clean Harbors also offers services aimed at reducing environmental impact and enhancing sustainability in energy production. This segment ensures that Clean Harbors has a stake in the evolving energy landscape, catering to traditional and renewable energy sectors.


    Clean Harbors Inc makes money through a diversified business model that addresses the environmental, industrial, and energy needs of a wide range of clients. By offering a comprehensive suite of services—from emergency response and waste disposal to industrial cleaning and energy services—Clean Harbors positions itself as an indispensable partner for businesses aiming to operate responsibly and sustainably. This diversification not only allows Clean Harbors to tap into various revenue streams but also ensures its relevance in a world increasingly focused on environmental sustainability.

    Clean Harbors Inc Business Model Canvas Explained

    Clean Harbors Inc Business Model Canvas Explained

    Clean Harbors Inc, a North American leader in environmental, energy, and industrial services, operates with a robust business model that ensures sustainable growth while addressing the complex environmental challenges of its clients. The Business Model Canvas for Clean Harbors Inc can be broken down into several key components, each playing a critical role in the company's operations and strategy. Here we'll explore these components to understand how Clean Harbors Inc sustains its market leadership and delivers value to its customers, stakeholders, and the environment.

    Key Partners

    Clean Harbors Inc collaborates with various partners to enhance its service offerings and reach. These partners include:

    • Suppliers: Providers of chemicals and equipment necessary for environmental services.
    • Regulatory Bodies: Ensuring compliance with environmental laws and regulations.
    • Technology Partners: For innovations in waste management and environmental services.
    • Strategic Business Allies: Companies that complement Clean Harbors' services in specific markets or regions.

    Key Activities

    The core activities that drive Clean Harbors Inc's value proposition include:

    • Environmental Cleanup Services: Including spill response, soil remediation, and waste disposal.
    • Waste Management Solutions: Ranging from recycling to treatment and disposal of hazardous wastes.
    • Industrial and Field Services: Such as industrial cleaning and maintenance.
    • Emergency Response Services: Ready to act in the event of environmental disasters or spills.

    Key Resources

    Clean Harbors Inc relies on several key resources:

    • Skilled Workforce: Experts in environmental management and services.
    • Advanced Technology: For efficient waste processing, treatment, and recycling.
    • Extensive Network: Facilities and operations spread across North America.
    • Branding: Strong reputation for safety, reliability, and environmental stewardship.

    Value Propositions

    Clean Harbors Inc offers unique value propositions to its clients:

    • Comprehensive Environmental Services: A one-stop solution for a wide range of environmental needs.
    • Commitment to Sustainability: Services designed to minimize environmental impact and promote sustainability.
    • Regulatory Compliance: Ensuring that clients adhere to environmental laws and regulations.
    • Safety and Reliability: A track record of safe operations and dependable service delivery.

    Customer Relationships

    Maintaining robust relationships with customers is key to Clean Harbors Inc:

    • Dedicated Support: Personalized services and account management.
    • Consultative Approach: Working closely with clients to identify and solve environmental challenges.
    • 24/7 Availability: Ensuring readiness for emergency response services around the clock.
    • Educational Resources: Providing clients with knowledge and best practices in environmental management.


    Clean Harbors Inc reaches its customers through various channels:

    • Direct Sales Team: For personalized service and contract negotiations.
    • Online Platforms: Websites and social media for marketing, information, and customer engagement.
    • Partnerships: Collaborating with other companies to expand service reach.
    • Industry Events: Participation in conferences and trade shows to connect with potential clients.

    Customer Segments

    The company serves a diverse range of customer segments:

    • Industrial and Manufacturing Firms: Requiring waste management and environmental services.
    • Government Entities: For environmental cleanup and emergency response.
    • Healthcare Facilities: Disposal and management of medical wastes.
    • Small Businesses to Large Corporations: Tailored services for businesses of all sizes.

    Cost Structure

    Clean Harbors Inc's cost structure includes:

    • Operational Costs: Including labor, equipment, and materials for service delivery.
    • Technology Investments: For developing and maintaining state-of-the-art solutions.
    • Regulatory Compliance: Costs associated with adhering to environmental laws and standards.
    • Marketing and Sales: Expenses related to customer acquisition and retention.

    Revenue Streams

    The company generates revenue through:

    • Service Contracts: Long-term agreements with industrial, governmental, and commercial clients.
    • Emergency Response Services: Fees for rapid response and cleanup operations.
    • Waste Treatment and Disposal: Charges based on the type and volume of waste processed.

    By leveraging these components of the Business Model Canvas, Clean Harbors Inc effectively addresses the growing demand for environmental and waste management services, ensuring sustainability and compliance for its clients across North America.

    Which companies are the competitors of Clean Harbors Inc?

    When it comes to environmental, energy, and industrial services, Clean Harbors Inc. stands out as a leader in North America. The company offers a wide range of services including hazardous waste management, emergency spill response, and industrial cleaning services. However, the industry is competitive, with several key players vying for market share. Below, we explore some of the main competitors of Clean Harbors Inc., shedding light on the landscape in which it operates.

    Veolia Environnement S.A.

    Veolia Environnement S.A., a French multinational company, is one of the major competitors of Clean Harbors. Focused on three main service and utility areas - water management, waste management, and energy services - Veolia presents a comprehensive suite of services that overlap significantly with those offered by Clean Harbors. With a strong global presence, Veolia has been expanding its footprint in various markets, emphasizing sustainability and innovation.

    Waste Management, Inc.

    Waste Management, Inc. is another formidable competitor, primarily known for its waste removal and management services across North America. While its core focus is on managing municipal solid waste and recycling programs, Waste Management also offers select hazardous waste disposal services, putting it in direct competition with Clean Harbors. The company has been investing heavily in technology and sustainability initiatives, aiming to reduce environmental impact and increase efficiency.

    Republic Services, Inc.

    Republic Services, Inc. is a significant player in the waste management industry, providing non-hazardous solid waste collection, transfer, recycling, and disposal services. Though its direct competition with Clean Harbors is more limited compared to Veolia and Waste Management, Republic Services has been expanding its portfolio to include more environmentally focused solutions that could see it encroach on Clean Harbors' territory. Their commitment to sustainability and customer-centric solutions makes them a notable competitor.

    Heritage-Crystal Clean, Inc.

    A smaller, yet impactful competitor is Heritage-Crystal Clean, Inc. Focusing on parts cleaning, used oil re-refining, and hazardous and non-hazardous waste services, they serve a similar customer base to Clean Harbors. Their emphasis on customer service and cost-effective solutions has allowed them to carve out a niche in the market, making them a noteworthy competitor, particularly in the United States.

    Stericycle, Inc.

    Stericycle, Inc. specializes in waste management services, particularly focusing on regulated waste and compliance solutions. While it has a strong emphasis on medical waste services, Stericycle's portfolio does overlap with some of Clean Harbors' offerings, especially in the industrial and hazardous waste sectors. Their global reach and focus on compliance and safety make them a key competitor in the industry.

    In conclusion, Clean Harbors Inc. operates in a highly competitive environment with several key players. These competitors range in size and the scope of services offered, from global giants like Veolia Environnement S.A. to specialized companies like Heritage-Crystal Clean, Inc. Understanding the competitive landscape is crucial for stakeholders to grasp the dynamics of the industry and the challenges and opportunities it presents to Clean Harbors Inc.

    Clean Harbors Inc SWOT Analysis


    Diverse Service Offerings: Clean Harbors Inc. stands out in the environmental, energy, and industrial services market with a broad range of services. These include hazardous waste disposal, emergency response, and industrial cleaning, which cater to a diverse client base across multiple sectors. This diversification not only reduces dependency on any single market but also provides a competitive edge over rivals.

    Strong Regulatory Compliance: The company has a proven track record of excelling in regulatory compliance. In an industry where environmental regulations are stringent and ever-evolving, Clean Harbors' ability to adapt and comply positions it as a reliable service provider. This strength not only safeguards the company against legal and financial penalties but also enhances its reputation among clients prioritizing environmental stewardship.

    Extensive Geographic Footprint: With facilities and operations spread across North America, Clean Harbors benefits from a vast geographic footprint. This extensive network allows the company to serve a wide array of customers, offering prompt and efficient services. Moreover, it facilitates the company in managing logistical challenges more effectively, leading to cost savings and improved service quality.


    High Operational Costs: The nature of Clean Harbors' services involves significant operational costs, including specialized equipment, transportation, and disposal expenses. These high costs can impact the company's profitability, especially in a competitive pricing environment. Managing these costs while maintaining service quality remains a challenge.

    Dependence on Economic Cycles: The demand for many of Clean Harbors' services is closely tied to industrial and economic activity. During economic downturns, industrial projects may decrease, leading to reduced demand for cleaning and disposal services. This cyclicality can lead to fluctuations in revenue, affecting financial stability.


    Growing Environmental Awareness: Increasing awareness and concern for environmental issues present a significant opportunity for Clean Harbors. As businesses and governments seek to reduce their environmental footprint, the demand for waste management and environmental services is expected to grow. Clean Harbors can leverage its expertise and reputation to capture a larger market share.

    Expansion into Emerging Markets: Emerging economies are witnessing industrial growth and are becoming increasingly conscious of environmental management. Clean Harbors can explore expansion into these markets, where demand for waste management and environmental services is growing but competition is less intense compared to mature markets.


    Regulatory Changes: While Clean Harbors has historically navigated regulatory environments successfully, any sudden or drastic changes in environmental regulations can pose a risk. Increased regulations may lead to higher compliance costs, while deregulation could lower barriers to entry for competitors, intensifying competition.

    Technological Disruption: The emergence of new technologies in waste management and environmental services could disrupt existing business models. Companies that innovate faster may gain a competitive advantage, putting pressure on Clean Harbors to continually invest in technology and adapt its services to maintain its market position.

    In conclusion, Clean Harbors Inc. operates in a challenging yet rewarding sector. By leveraging its strengths, addressing its weaknesses, capitalizing on opportunities, and mitigating threats, the company can continue to lead in the environmental services industry.

    Key Takeaways

    • Ownership and Leadership: Clean Harbors Inc is a publicly traded company, meaning its ownership is distributed among its shareholders. The leadership team, headed by CEO Alan S. McKim, plays a crucial role in steering the company's strategies and operations.

    • Mission Statement: Clean Harbors Inc is dedicated to providing environmental, energy, and industrial services designed to ensure sustainability and protect the environment. Their mission revolves around safely and efficiently managing hazardous wastes and providing comprehensive environmental services.

    • Revenue Generation: Clean Harbors Inc makes money through a variety of services including hazardous waste management, emergency response services, industrial and specialty services, and environmental cleanup. Their diverse service offerings across different sectors allow them to tap into multiple revenue streams.

    • Business Model Explained: The Business Model Canvas for Clean Harbors Inc highlights the company's value propositions such as safety, compliance, and sustainability. It also details key partners, activities, resources, customer relationships, channels, customer segments, cost structure, and revenue streams, illustrating how the company operates and delivers value to its clients and stakeholders.

    • Competition and SWOT Analysis: Clean Harbors Inc faces competition from companies like Veolia, Waste Management, and Stericycle among others in the environmental services sector. The SWOT analysis reveals that while Clean Harbors has strengths in its comprehensive service offerings and robust compliance record, it also faces threats from regulatory changes and competitive pressures. Opportunities lie in expanding its services and leveraging technology to improve efficiency, whereas challenges include managing operational costs and adapting to the evolving environmental regulations.


    In conclusion, Clean Harbors Inc. stands as a pivotal player in the environmental, energy, and industrial services sectors, with ownership attributed to a mix of institutional and individual stakeholders, including its founder and CEO, Alan S. McKim. Guided by a compelling mission statement, the company pledges to be the premier provider of environmental, energy, and industrial services, ensuring customer satisfaction through safety, compliance, and efficient execution. This mission is realized through a diverse revenue model that spans from hazardous waste management to emergency response services, underpinned by a robust Business Model Canvas that emphasizes value propositions, customer relationships, and key partnerships.

    The competitive landscape in which Clean Harbors operates is populated with several key players, including Veolia Environmental Services, Waste Management, Inc., and Republic Services, Inc., among others. Each competitor brings its own strengths to the table, yet Clean Harbors has consistently demonstrated resilience and adaptability, leveraging its comprehensive suite of services and geographical reach.

    A SWOT analysis of Clean Harbors Inc. further illuminates its strategic positioning, highlighting its extensive network of disposal facilities and a strong track record in compliance and safety as significant strengths. However, the company must navigate challenges such as fluctuating waste volumes and the complexities of international expansion. Opportunities for Clean Harbors lie in the increasing demand for environmental services and potential strategic acquisitions, while threats include stringent regulatory environments and competitive pressures.

    In essence, Clean Harbors Inc. exemplifies a company that not only understands its market and competitors but also remains steadfast in its mission to deliver unparalleled service in environmental and industrial management. As the company continues to evolve and adapt to the ever-changing landscape of environmental services, its commitment to safety, compliance, and customer satisfaction remains the cornerstone of its success.


    How can I find a SWOT analysis on a company?

    There are several ways to find a SWOT analysis on a company:

    1. Visit the company's official website: Many companies publish their SWOT analysis on their website, usually in their annual reports or investor presentations.

    2. Search business news websites: Websites like Bloomberg, Reuters, and Forbes often publish SWOT analyses on various companies as part of their coverage.

    3. Use online databases: Websites like MarketLine, IBISWorld, and Statista provide access to SWOT analyses on companies as part of their industry reports.

    4. Check academic databases: Platforms like JSTOR and Google Scholar may have academic articles or research papers that include SWOT analyses on specific companies.

    5. Contact industry analysts or consultants: Industry analysts and consulting firms often conduct and publish SWOT analyses on companies. You can reach out to them directly to inquire about accessing their reports.

    What are 5 examples of strength in SWOT analysis?

    1. Strong brand reputation
    2. High-quality products or services
    3. Skilled and experienced workforce
    4. Strong financial position
    5. Established market presence

    What are the 5 elements of SWOT analysis?

    1. Strengths
    2. Weaknesses
    3. Opportunities
    4. Threats
    5. Trends

    What are 3 threats for SWOT analysis?

    1. Competition: Competitors can pose a threat to a company's market share, profitability, and overall success. It is important to analyze the strengths and weaknesses of competitors in order to identify potential threats and opportunities.

    2. Economic factors: Economic factors such as inflation, interest rates, and exchange rates can impact a company's operations and financial performance. A downturn in the economy can lead to decreased consumer spending and lower demand for products or services.

    3. Technological changes: Rapid advancements in technology can disrupt industries and create new challenges for companies. Companies that fail to adapt to new technologies may fall behind their competitors and face obsolescence. It is important for companies to stay updated on technological trends and innovations in order to remain competitive.

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