By reducing Allstate’s energy consumption and associated emissions, increasing the use of renewable sources of energy, reducing and properly disposing of waste (including composting and recycling), we avoid contributing to the problem we’re trying to address through our responsible investment and public policy efforts.
In 2010, Allstate set a goal to achieve a 20% absolute energy-use reduction within our owned portfolio (approximately 1% of all locations at the time) against our 2007 baseline by 2020. After achieving this goal six years early, Allstate is evaluating a next-generation target, to be set in 2018.
In the meantime, we continue to reduce consumption by consolidating office space, recapturing heat energy as a byproduct of Allstate’s data center operations and optimizing the use of energy efficient equipment and systems. Examples of this include HVAC equipment and controls, reduced-lighting power density designs and daylight harvesting in Allstate’s offices.
The trend toward consolidating our office space into fewer, larger locations continued in 2017, creating more efficient utilization of space across our owned and leased building portfolios.
Allstate operates a fleet of about 3,000 sedans and SUVs to most efficiently manage the business mileage travel requirements of employees within the Claims, Distribution and Service Businesses teams. In 2017, we began offering and incentivizing a hybrid sedan option for employees. In the first year, 33% of our eligible employees selected the hybrid model, and now about 12% of the fleet is hybrid. In the next two to three years, we expect this number to grow, so that hybrid vehicles comprise about 35-50% of the total fleet.
We have a Print Optimization and Paperless Task Force made up of business unit leaders from across the company. It monitors and tracks employee and customer printing and paper use and works with the Enterprise Communications team to make employees aware of the operational and ecological costs of printing.
We make every effort to keep documents electronic. However, when dealing with confidential documents, this is not always possible, so Allstate maintains a secure program where papers are shredded and recycled.
We also encourage transitioning to electronic forms of customer communications to help cut costs and reduce our footprint and our customers’ footprint. Allstate has three paperless initiatives for customers: eSignature, ePolicy and eBill. They can sign up for these free services through MyAccount, our online customer self-service hub. Over five years, between 2015 and 2020, Allstate is investing $3.5 million to provide additional paperless options in MyAccount and redesign our documents so they require fewer pages.
In 2017, our reduction in printing saved enough paper to span the height of the John Hancock building twice. This reduction has positive impacts on our waste footprint, as well as deforestation and the carbon savings associated with the sequestration effect of trees, which absorb and store carbon dioxide, preventing it from entering the atmosphere.
In the United States, up to 40% of our food goes to waste. Because food requires substantial resources to produce, discarding it wastes not only the food itself, but the resources that contributed to its production. Additionally, once food reaches the landfill, it begins to decompose and produce methane, a greenhouse gas that has an impact on the climate 25 times greater than CO2.
In early 2018, we began working with a new third-party vendor, Parkhurst Dining, for our employee cafes in Northbrook, Illinois, and Hudson, Ohio. Parkhurst offers composting services, in addition to increasing the amount of locally sourced ingredients and healthy food options. Our first full year of data from this new partnership will be available in the 2018 report. We look forward to exploring other environmental solutions they offer, including rooftop and community gardens and zero waste-to-landfill programs.
In Irving, Texas, our second-largest location, our cafe partner, American Dining Creations, also offers composting, inventory management systems and low-carbon menu options, such as “Meatless Mondays,” to help employees become more aware of the environmental footprint of their food choices.
Allstate replaces approximately 3,000 small electronic items each month. Of these, approximately 1,000 items can be salvaged or recycled. In 2017, to address this source of electronic waste, Allstate partnered with Clover Wireless to begin salvaging small electronics. Under the new partnership, Allstate will send small electronic items to Clover Wireless using their prepaid shipping label, at no cost to Allstate. If there is no salvage value to the item or the data cannot be removed, the item will be recycled. More than 800 types of small electronic items qualify to be salvaged. Clover recycles all items or parts that cannot be salvaged, reducing the number of small electronics we dispose of in landfills.
More than 2 million tons of disposable water bottles sit in U.S. landfills. To reduce their use, we launched an enterprise-wide bottling station program several years ago. Employees fill their bottles with filtered tap water at bottling stations rather than buying disposable bottles. Allstate maintains 230 bottling stations across our facilities. In 2017, use of those stations saved the equivalent of more than 1.5 million plastic water bottles.