Climate change is one of the most important issues of our time, and unfortunately, we are already seeing its impacts on the earth.
My passion for sustainability is rooted in my time as a Peace Corps volunteer working in the remote regions of Costa Rica. I saw firsthand how powerful nature can be and the direct correlation between environmental health and human health. And importantly, some populations, including underserved communities, communities of color, older adults and people with disabilities, are disproportionately impacted to the health effects of climate change.
If left ignored, the impact of climate change will continue to be a threat to human health. By acknowledging and addressing the link between the two, Anthem can make a difference in the lives of those we serve now, and into the future—and set an example for the industry.
The healthcare sector actually accounts for about 10 percent of all U.S. greenhouse gas emissions and our total carbon footprint at Anthem is equivalent to that of over 200,000 homes. But we understand the responsibility we have to effect change in a meaningful way.
This Climate Week, we’re celebrating progress toward our goal to source 100% renewable energy by 2025 and providing more detail on how we’ll get there. Specifically, we have two power purchase agreements for large offsite, utility scale solar fields in Virginia and North Carolina. These new developments collectively have over 1,000 acres of solar panels and will generate over 225,000 megawatt hours of electricity—enough to power all of Anthem’s offices and data centers. The solar field in Virginia is nearly complete and we expect the field in North Carolina to be ready in early 2021, ensuring we will meet our 2025 goal.
This ambitious goal builds on our recent efforts. Since our baseline metrics in 2013, we’ve done a lot to reduce our greenhouse gas footprint and ensure our operations are efficient:
- Smart LED lighting and HVAC controls have helped us save millions of dollars in energy costs.
- We leverage third party certification programs, including Energy Star and LEED, to ensure sustainability best practices in self-managed offices and a majority of Anthem locations have achieved certification. In fact, our headquarters in Indianapolis is one of the largest LEED Gold buildings in Indiana.
- Electric-vehicle charging stations have been installed at our largest offices to accommodate a growing number of associates that drive electric vehicles.
- Drought-tolerant landscape projects in California save more than 10 million gallons of water annually.
These initiatives, among many others, allowed us meet our 2020 sustainability goals early.
We know there is more work to be done. Anthem embraces its responsibility to lead today to protect the planet for tomorrow by taking action to be a good steward of natural resources. This is why I’m proud to work for a company that’s committed to understanding and combating the impact of climate change to create a better future for everyone.