Associates + environmental sustainability
Humana actively works to engage and empower all of our associates to promote environmental sustainability. At the end of 2015, the Humana Green Team, a group of associates who are environmental advocates, was 4,000 members strong.
The Green Team’s enthusiasm is contagious and effective. Key highlights of the team’s work in the past two years include:
- Bash the Trash contest to promote recycling, encourage reuse of materials and minimize consumption
- Participation in and promotion of our Earth Month texting campaign – those who signed up received daily green tips (approximately 1,000 associates participated)
- Participation in our commuter survey that provided insights on associates’ work commutes – more than 1,200 associates responded
Humana’s Environmental Sustainability Team, part of our Workplace Solutions organization, and other internal and external subject matter experts work to educate, engage and train the Green Team members and other associates to participate in environmentally and socially responsible activities at work and at home. Every year, for example, we use Humana’s internal social media channels to promote Earth Month with educational articles, group discussions, and online activities focused on climate change and sustainability issues.
Environmental sustainability goals
We intend to focus most of our efforts on the three focus areas that were identified through our recent materiality assessment.
The first priority on that list is reducing energy consumption and GHG emissions. We are proud of the strides we’ve made since establishing goals in 2013; our energy and emissions-related goals motivate us to work that much harder. Our efforts to meet those goals will continue to be a point of emphasis.
The second focus area uncovered by our materiality assessment, healthcare waste and plastic management, will support our broader operational efficiencies efforts. Over the next 12-24 months, we aim to improve the waste diversion efforts across our pharmacy distribution operations. As our industry uncovers new opportunities related to healthcare waste and plastics management, we intend to proactively address these issues in the coming years.
Our third priority relates to our associates’ commutes. We are already working hard to promote and implement an agile work approach, which helps to reduce commuting and indirectly contributes to emissions reductions. Based on our Agile Work Standards, we are converting underutilized individual workspaces into more functional, shared spaces for collaboration and innovation. We have converted nearly 50,000 square feet of traditional space into agile work space at eight locations. This strategy has eliminated several thousands of commuter miles each week because more than one-third of our associates work remotely as of the end of 2015. This strategy has also helped us reduce our overall physical footprint and increase associates’ productivity and retention. We aim to continue alleviating the commute burden on our associates and on our planet in a way that makes sense for our business.
To support our evolving sustainability efforts and commitments, we continuously evaluate our systems and processes for tracking and managing progress on our goals. Into the future, we will explore implementation of new overall systems and structures to facilitate and measure progress.
Addressing climate change
Humana recognizes that significant climate change impacts will affect public health. According to the World Economic Forum’s 2015 report, extreme weather events are the second most serious global risk in the coming 10 years (in terms of likelihood), while water crises represent the most serious risks (in terms of impact). Extreme weather events and other natural disasters might lead to multiple challenges, such as the spread of infectious diseases, epidemics, and food and water scarcity.
We have witnessed significant health impacts in the communities we serve due to precipitation changes, extreme weather events and poor air quality. When loved ones are affected by these types of climate-related changes, well-being and a sense of security can also be compromised. As a result, healthcare needs change, and we recognize the implications that may have on our business.
Increases in the need for healthcare services lead to pressure to increase the scope of covered medical expenses, while managing member costs and practitioner reimbursements. The facilities from which we provide those services will also experience challenges, such as rising data center energy consumption to cool the centers as average temperatures rise.
We regularly monitor trends to inform our climate change strategy. For example, we have increasingly focused on integrating operational standards that pertain to facility energy-use costs and emissions into our workplace efforts.
Humana is subject to various federal, state, and local laws and regulations relating to the protection of human health and the environment. However, we have found that the financial risks associated with increased operational costs that would be incurred due to either increased energy regulations or an increase in temperature are understood to represent less than one tenth of a percent of Humana’s operating budget. Nevertheless, our environmental sustainability-focused team keeps a close eye on the short- and long-term regulatory risks and commodity price pressures related to energy and carbon. In order to curb projected increases and fully manage these risks, the team budgets environmental impact mitigation and climate change adaptation efforts, such as energy efficiency projects, and has helped us to set very aggressive reduction targets for energy and carbon. According to CDP and other sustainability experts, companies achieve better financial performance and higher share prices when they actively manage and plan for climate change. We increasingly see financial incentives and other financing models that encourage energy efficiency, conservation and use of renewables. We actively pursue local, state, regional and federal financial incentives related to reducing the environmental footprint of our operations (including our facilities).
Humana has also participated in Business Roundtable’s Climate RESOLVE (Responsible Environmental Steps, Opportunities to Lead by Voluntary Efforts) initiative, which encourages member companies to reduce GHG emissions and address the issues of climate change. While uncertainty about climate change and its impacts remain, we are working with industry experts to understand projected climate changes and assess if and how those changes will affect Humana’s operations and customers.