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Allstate Cuts Internal Paper Use 41% in Two Years

Allstate has cut its paper consumption dramatically and has continued cutting its carbon emissions, but saw its energy use increase slightly last year, according to the company’s 2010 Social Responsibility Report.

By the end of 2010 the insurance company achieved a 41 percent reduction in overall internal use of office paper, from a 2008 baseline, beating a goal of a 25 percent reduction. The cuts included a 41 percent reduction in office paper for corporate headquarters and a more than 50 percent cut at field offices.

Allstate says it had aimed to save about $1 million a year through the reductions in paper use, but says the program actually resulted in savings of under $750,000.

The company says it has made cutting paper consumption a top environmental priority. “It might not be a surprise that paper is one of the things an insurance company uses most,” the report says.

In April 2009 Allstate launched a company-wide paper reduction campaign, asking employees to make four changes in the way they use paper: eliminate separator sheets on shared printers, print double-sided (duplex) whenever possible, don’t print unless necessary and recycle used paper.

Encouraged by the results of the in-house effort, Allstate then turned to paper used in communicating with its customers. The company says it is on schedule to achieve a 2013 target of reducing paper delivery to customers by 20 percent from a 2009 baseline, with a 11.8 percent reduction so far, totalling about 14 million pieces of paper saved with a $7.8 million cut in print and postage costs.

The company said this has been achieved by offering paperless billing options and automatic payment plans, combined with eliminating unnecessary customer bill documents.

In another waste-reduction initiative, as part of a renovation at its headquarters, Allstate is replacing its current bottled water service with water filtration bottle filling stations. Each water fountain is equipped with a ticker, to quantify how many plastic bottles Allstate has saved.

To date, the company says it has saved over 84,000 plastic bottles. When the installation is complete in 2012, Allstate expects to save $130,000 a year.

In 2010, compared to 2009, Allstate recycled far more demolition waste – 1,063 tons compared to 315. It also increased recycling of paper and plastic. But it recycled less aluminum, the report said. In 2010 Allstate recycled 91,868 pounds of metal scrap, the first time it has reported on that metric (see chart, above).

In other environmental metrics, the company cut its enterprise-wide carbon footprint (direct and indirect emissions) by three percent from 2009 levels and 15 percent relative to its 2007 baseline. But it says it is not on target to meet its goal of cutting energy use 20 percent by 2020 for Allstate-owned facilities, with a 0.32 percent increase in consumption in 2010.

The company says it is pursuing LEED certification of its new call-in center in Chubbuck-Pocatello, Idaho, which is scheduled to open this year.

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