In 2019, the two legacy Global Real Estate teams within Express Scripts and Cigna worked diligently to meet our integrated company’s environmental stewardship goals. In particular, we focused on combining the two real estate portfolios and ensuring environmental data integration and reporting.
At the same time, we continued to identify and execute on environmental stewardship projects to support our 2020 environmental targets and reduce our operational energy, emissions, water, and waste footprint across our owned and leased properties.
Identifying Energy and Emissions Reduction Opportunities
To increase energy efficiency and reduce greenhouse gas emissions, we have prioritized the following areas of focus:
- Real Estate: We pursue space optimization; energy-efficiency projects; building control system optimization; the recycling of construction material; the “reduce, reuse, and recycle” model for furniture; environmentally friendly repair and maintenance processes; and the utilization of green products in our buildings.
- Business Travel: We support telecommuting, ride-sharing programs, and offer a pre-tax mass transit benefit program. Additionally, we have established a fuel-efficient, leased-vehicle fleet. Our fleet exceeds the national average for fuel efficiency as the majority of our vehicles are 4-cylinder with alternative fuel capabilities and hybrid engines, and are classified as partial zero emissions vehicles. Similarly, Express Scripts’ security utilizes a fleet of hybrid vehicles, Segways, and rovers.
- Information Technology: We prioritize our largest waste streams, including e-waste. We utilize server virtualization, desktop virtualization, and have a zero e-waste policy.
In 2019, we accelerated our investment in the efficient operation of our critical equipment, leveraging energy engineering best practices. At our data center in Windsor, CT, we anticipate a reduction of approximately 2 million kilowatt hours in energy following the completion of a power distribution unit upgrade project. We also expect a potential reduction of up to 700,000 kilowatt hours associated with right sizing our UPS modules and substation replacement at our data center. We also continue to benefit from our retrofitting of LED lighting at a number of Cigna and legacy Express Scripts locations.
We also continue to explore alternative energy resources for our larger sites. For example, in 2019, we installed rooftop Solar Arrays at Express Scripts’ Franklin Lakes, NJ office, which have the ability to generate enough clean power to replace nearly 1,000 metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions annually over a 25-year period.
Deploying Water Efficient Technologies and Practices
Much of Cigna's water use comes from cooling towers; make-up water for condenser systems; landscaping and irrigation for owned properties; older model heating at a few proprieties; and ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems. We have employed many significant water reduction techniques, including low-water landscape designs, faucet sensors in all large facilities, and the upgrading of HVAC equipment.
To reduce water consumption, save energy, and increase sustainability, we use a variety of strategies and technologies that lessen the burden on the potable water supply and wastewater systems. We are guided by the following model:
- MONITOR water consumption performance.
- MAXIMIZE fixture potable water efficiency within buildings with the use of low-flow plumbing fixtures, sensors, and automatic controls.
- PRACTICE water-efficient landscaping and smart-efficiency irrigation technology.
- PROTECT natural habitat, waterways, and water supply from pollutants carried by building discharge water.
We continue to work toward improving the data integrity of our water usage and have implemented guidelines for improvements with vendors to avoid data discrepancies. This process has allowed us to make informed decisions about where improvements are needed. Increasing the integrity of our data will help us to target properties for improvements, such as projects to lower water use. As we work toward our 2020 environmental targets, we are focused on deploying best practices, including efficient water distribution systems and low-flow fixtures across our properties.
In 2019, we also undertook a water risk assessment in order to better understand which locations within our global real estate portfolio have the highest levels of water stress and other water-related challenges. We will use the results from the assessment to further our water reduction strategy, including supporting context-based water reduction at priority sites.
Implementing Strategic Waste Reduction and Recycling Programs
In order to reduce the quantity of waste we generate, while improving our workplace environment, we apply best practices in materials selection, waste disposal and reduction, and responsible procurement practices. We have also created numerous recycling programs to assist us with our waste management efforts, which include:
|Focus Areas||Company Practices|
|Plastic and Glass||
|Cafeterias and Breakrooms||
|Ink and Toners||
|Furniture and Computer Repurposing and Donation||
|Lamps and Ballasts||
Cigna undertook a renovation of its corporate headquarters in 2015, which is ongoing. To minimize the environmental impact of the project, we leveraged a robust construction debris recycling program from the start. In 2019, we diverted over 306 tons of debris from landfills through recycling, which represents 66% of the debris generated by the project during the year. Since 2015, we have diverted roughly 75% of the debris generated from the project from landfills through recycling. Additionally, by utilizing flooring that is sustainably sourced, produced, and installed during the lifecycle of the project we have ensured a future landfill avoidance of 420 tons of waste.