Blue Shield of California announced today that the nonprofit health plan has achieved carbon neutrality. The health plan received the Carbon Neutral company certification from Natural Capital Partners, leading experts on carbon neutrality and climate finance.
According to the World Health Organization, 7 million people worldwide die prematurely every year from air pollution, which has wide ranging impacts on human health. A growing body of research also suggests that air pollution impacts the brain (CARB, 2018). As one of the largest health plans in California, Blue Shield says it is committed to taking preventative measures to curb these impacts.
The Carbon Neutral certification recognizes Blue Shield’s environmental sustainability efforts, which since 2015 have included:
- Reducing annual paper use by over 134 million pages
- Installing on-site solar systems at the health plan’s offices in Lodi and El Dorado Hills
- Installing electric vehicle charging stations at the health plan’s office in Redding
- Relocating its headquarters to a LEED Gold certified building with electric vehicle chargers and bike parking in downtown Oakland
- Supporting emission reduction projects to offset unavoidable emissions and improve the environment, as well as purchasing renewable energy certificates to cover electricity use. This includes support for Arcata’s Community Forest for community and youth recreation in this Northern California city, and truck stop electrification across the country to help long-haul truckers charge their phones without idling their engines.