The environment has a huge impact on people’s health and well-being. Many studies have shown direct links between the quality of the environment and people’s physical and mental health. For these reasons, Health Care Service Corporation values and prioritizes environmental sustainability. Our efforts span from building design to employee engagement.
We are committed to reducing our energy consumption and lowering our carbon footprint. Several of our buildings have achieved ENERGY STAR® certification. All of our facilities use state-of-the-art building automation technology to minimize the cost and environmental impact of energy used by heating, cooling and lighting. Several of our buildings, including our Chicago corporate headquarters, have green roofs to reduce stormwater runoff and urban heat island effect.
Using Renewable Energy
Generating electricity from renewable energy sources has been shown to reduce air pollutants and greenhouse gas emissions. Since 2015, 50% of our electricity supply at our Illinois facilities and 25% at our Texas facilities have come from renewable sources such as wind or solar panels.
To help increase transparency in our sustainability initiatives, we participate in two external reporting initiatives:
- CDP, formerly the Carbon Disclosure Project, that runs the global disclosure system and collects environmental impact data from companies, cities, states and regions and provides analysis and insights to businesses and policymakers;
- EcoVadis, an assessment of environmental and social performance that helps organizations mitigate risks and better manage supply chain.
Our employees recycled nearly 1.4 million pounds of paper in 2018. And our Print Smart program has streamlined member claims communications to reduce paper usage by 21% since 2012.
Our paper recycling efforts in 2018 translated to:
- 11,645 trees saved
- 4,794,958 gallons of water saved
- 41,099 pounds of pollutants avoided
- 2,055 cubic yards of landfill space spared
- 260,297 gallons of oil saved
- 2,739,976 kilowatts of electricity saved
- 171,248 pounds of carbon dioxide absorbed
Used computers, phones and other electronic equipment that aren’t disposed of properly can leach harmful toxins into landfills and groundwater. To conserve natural resources and protect the communities where we live and work, a significant number of electronic devices were recycled or resold.
Employees are engaged during green ‘festivities’ such as Earth Day, Earth Hour, and America Recycles Day to educate and inform them of how to be sustainable. Our goal is to continuously educate our employees and keep the dialogue going on how to make use of our resources mindfully.
Food Service Sustainable Practices
In our cafes, we uphold sustainable practices which include:
- Sourcing fresh yogurt and milk that is free of artificial growth hormones
- Purchasing poultry produced without the routine use of human antibiotics
- Buying local products to support American family farms
- Promoting Certified Humane cage-free eggs
- Featuring social and ecological certified coffee
- Serving seafood that comes from sustainable sources
- Offering packaging made from renewable sources
- Implementing waste reduction practices to minimize environmental impact
- Providing a large variety of healthful options and educational tools
Greening the Commute
To help reduce the number of employees that drive to work, we have encouraged telecommuting and work-from-home opportunities. Nearly 28% of our employees telecommute. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, transportation is one of the biggest sources of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in the U.S.
We have funded over 6,300 bikes in Chicago’s Divvy bike-share program. In 2018, Divvy bikes offset the equivalent of:
- 2,215 cars
- 1,174,019 gallons of gas
- 10,434 metric tons of GHG emissions
Animals play an integral role in our ecosystems. To help protect migratory birds from flying into our buildings, we participate in the Audubon Society’s “Lights Out” program and turn off our exterior lights at 10:00 p.m. in our Chicago office. Since 2013, the number of bird collisions has decreased by more than 80%.