issue 013, 2020

Community spotlight 013

Steps to sustainability

CONTRIBUTORS

LORI PELCHAT
Vice President, Real Estate and Administration, Sedgwick

CHRISTOPHER PEREZ
Vice President, Claims, Sedgwick

PETER WASSELL
Technical Director, Repair Solutions, Sedgwick

When you hear the term “sustainability,” what comes to mind? At Sedgwick, we hear “opportunity.” To grow as an organization. To advocate for the planet. And to empower future generations. But in a world where overconsumption of energy resources, single-use consumer products and long commutes to work are the norm, how can we, an organization with nearly 27,000 colleagues across the globe, do our part to improve the outcome? We recognize that while introducing green initiatives has the potential to raise costs initially, these practices should be a long-term and global priority.

light switch

Sedgwick U.K. leading the way
As environmental and climate emergency measures move to the forefront, our U.K. leadership team has grown more ambitious in its sustainability efforts, both inside and outside of the office. Step one began in newer offices with the installation of motion-activated lighting sensors to reduce energy use. An awareness campaign helped colleagues become more aware of how often their computers were left on standby and encouraged turning off unused equipment whenever possible. As a result, Sedgwick’s electricity usage per U.K. colleague decreased by 20% in the last year. But reducing our carbon footprint goes beyond changes to the office environment. As an extension of our in-office efforts, teams in the field are also evolving their practices with sustainability in mind. Our repair and restoration team was able to complete 1,857 restoration jobs on damaged contents, well above the 2018 target; compared to using all-new materials, this practice has made a measurable impact on our carbon footprint.

light bulb

Step by step
Many of our offices around the world are taking small steps to make a bigger overall impact, with broad initiatives to incorporate more efficient work practices, such as virtual meeting technology, and reducing printing and paper use. In new and remodeled offices, such as our headquarters in Memphis, TN, we have installed LED light fixtures, low-flow plumbing fixtures and carpet with post-industrial recycled content. Many of our offices recycle throughout the year. And by allowing many colleagues to work from home, we’re able to cut costs and fuel emissions as well. As our organization continues to grow and as new offices are built, we’ve had the opportunity to expand on these initiatives.

Sedgwick’s sustainability efforts — like a recent campaign dedicated to WaterAid, supporting the organization’s mission of bringing clean water to those in need — have inspired colleagues like Christopher Perez to make their own changes. Disappointed by the amount of polystyrene foam cups (commonly referred to as Styrofoam) being thrown away in Sedgwick’s two Rancho Cordova, CA offices, Christopher stepped into action. An estimated 1,400 tons of Styrofoam is buried in U.S. landfills every day, and Christopher wanted to do his part to make sure the nearly 200 Sedgwick colleagues in Rancho Cordova weren’t contributing to that statistic. In April 2019, he made the business decision to eliminate disposable cups and invest in reusable ones for both offices. Incremental changes like this, when carried out across our global network, can lead to exponential improvements.

Looking ahead
We’re proud of the progress we’ve made so far, but we’re not done yet. Throughout the year, we’ll stay committed to using fewer limited resources, improving energy consumption and continuing to recycle and reuse. Sustainability is a collaborative effort, and it’s up to all of us to take pride in the environment we live in. Our future depends on it.

styrofoam cup

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