Florida Blue, the state’s Blue Cross Blue Shield plan, is reducing its overall carbon footprint by at least 50% by making its headquarters and other Jacksonville facilities 100% powered by solar energy. The company is the first corporate participant to sign onto Jacksonville electric utility JEA‘s SolarMax program, an energy sustainability project that focuses on increasing corporations’ use of solar energy for their primary source of power to help decrease companies’ carbon footprints.
“This partnership with JEA’s SolarMax project is an important piece to helping Florida Blue reach our goals for renewable energy,” says Pat Geraghty, Florida Blue’s CEO. “Whereas we previously measured our energy savings only in dollars, we now have a corporate goal for reducing our carbon footprint, as well. We want to be environmental leaders in our community. Our company’s mission is to help people and communities achieve better health, and improving our environment is one way we can live our mission.”
Already, Florida Blue has reduced its carbon footprint by 22% since 2017 through a combination of initiatives. It has switched to LED lighting in all seven of its headquarters campus office buildings and installed high-efficiency HVAC systems. Other environmentally sustainable initiatives by the company include using reclaimed water and captured rainwater for landscape watering, stocking its retention ponds with carp to reduce the need for chemicals, planting trees to replace paper it consumes, and using a food dehydrator for food waste. The company also seeks to establish and maintain partnerships with suppliers that positively impact social determinants of health including climate change health impacts.
“As a community-owned, not-for-profit utility, JEA strives for environmental excellence and being a responsible steward of our natural resources,” mentions Jay Stowe, JEA’s managing director and CEO. “Using solar power reduces the level of emissions released into the environment and results in cleaner air and water for everyone.”
In 2017, Florida Blue joined the Climate Registry for access to tools to help track its greenhouse gas emissions, and the company’s data is verified by a third party. Analyzing that data helps the company understand how it can reduce its carbon footprint even more.