Humana Inc., headquartered in Louisville, Kentucky, is a leading health care company that offers a wide range of insurance products and health and wellness services that incorporate an integrated approach to lifelong wellbeing.
Humana recently began an ambitious sustainability project. The architect of the initiative, Chuck Lambert, Humana Vice President, Associate and Business Services, decided to tackle the challenge through a collaborative approach involving Humana Workplace Solutions’ strategic vendor partners, HOK, Williams Lea, UGL, Edelman and Johnson Controls. In a series of collaborative meetings, expertise was pooled, possibilities explored, and sustainability targets established for facilities, supply chain, and engaging employees’ hearts and minds.
Focusing on facilities and energy, Johnson Controls helped identify seven buildings where energy consumption, energy costs and greenhouse gas emissions could all be reduced by more than 10 percent. The program will be rolled out further across the Humana portfolio in 2013. Chuck Lambert took time to discuss his innovative approach to the project, how it fits with the company’s wider corporate social responsibility agenda and its future direction.
What were the main drivers for Humana investing in this project?
Humana is keenly interested in taking actions that promote the health and wellbeing of our employees, members and the communities in which they work and live. As a large employer with more than 40,000 people in more than 800 locations across 50 U.S. states and Puerto Rico, we wanted to make sure that we were taking visible, reasonable and meaningful steps on a continuing journey to improve our environmental sustainability. At Humana, we believe that responsibility starts with us. Specifically, we seek to show how our actions reflect our commitment to improve the health and wellbeing of our members, our employees, the communities we serve and our planet. Although the project will reduce the amount we spend on resources such as energy in the long-term, its main aim is to support our CSR platform: Healthy People, Healthy Planet and Healthy Performance.
How did you establish objectives and targets?
John Seely Brown, in his book The Power of Pull writes about the emergence of collaboration forums where people who are passionate about a topic gather to share knowledge which allows all participants to benefit, grow and be even more successful. Humana kicked off a series of such forums in the spring of 2011, including leaders from our Workplace Solutions and Procurement teams along with leaders from our strategic vendor partners, Johnson Controls, HOK, Williams Lea, UGL and Edelman - all of which are passionately interested in environmental sustainability. From these forums emerged our focus on three major areas for environmental sustainability – facilities, supply chain, and engaging our people’s hearts and minds. Specific goals were then developed for each major area. In facilities, we chose an initial primary focus on investments which would reduce energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions. While today there is an ongoing operational focus, future years we will see additional investment directed toward reducing waste and water consumption, while increasing recycling and the number of certified sustainable facilities in our portfolio.
How does your approach differ from the traditional payback model and what are the benefits of doing so?
In the first phase of the project we chose to focus on the largest energy-consuming properties in our owned property portfolio. A second phase in 2013 will look at the rest of the owned portfolio. We are also reviewing all opportunities to influence our landlords to improve the sustainability of our leased properties. We intentionally chose to look at the ROI of the first phase as a whole, knowing that individual properties would have greater or lesser returns on investment. By choosing to accept an attractive aggregate ROI, we were able to impact a larger number of properties where our employees work each day, visibly demonstrating our commitment to actions creating a healthy planet.
In addition, Humana’s 2010-2011 Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Report is the first among major U.S. health insurers to use Global Reporting Initiative guidelines, the world’s most recognized standards for environmental, social and governance reporting.
What advice would you give to a company that was considering investing in an energy / sustainability project?
Invite as much input and collaboration as possible. There are many organizations across the country and the globe doing really great environmental sustainability work. Research, read, and leverage your strategic vendor partners. Your strategic vendor partners will have networks of contacts that can provide you with excellent perspectives.
What results do you expect?
We have a great team in place with our Johnson Controls partners to execute and deliver on our 2012 facility-related goals. Our procurement team continues their learning journey with key suppliers to identify opportunities to collaborate and improve ourselves and the environmental sustainability of our supply chain. We are leveraging this good work to engage our employees in smart, simple sustainability practices that they can do at work and at home. We are all learning and growing and getting smarter about environmental sustainability, helping Humana achieve our Healthy People, Healthy Planet, Healthy Performance strategy.
What are the next steps beyond this project?
We also will focus energy on collecting metrics, report on our progress, and continue to engage senior management. These tactics will ensure that our CSR philosophy evolves and flourishes alongside Humana’s core business priorities. We are looking at best approaches to impacting our leased properties, scoping out the second phase of the project for the owned properties, greening our supply chain, and engaging the best contributions of our people even as we march forward to deliver our first phase goals. We are planning across a 12-quarter horizon. We recognize that we are on a journey and, we expect each year to demonstrate increasing sustainability.
Chuck joined Humana in March, 1998, and leads the Associate Experience Center (AEC) team that delivers business solutions and guidance across a wide variety of shared service areas including Workplace Solutions, Procurement, Global Mobility, Travel & Meeting Planning, Global Security, Environmental Health and Safety, HR Shared Solutions Guidance Center, Payroll & Benefits Operations, HR Communications and Aviation. As part of Humana's HR organization, AEC works in close partnership with Humana leaders to enable the creation of an engaging, superb associate experience.
Before joining Humana, Chuck owned and operated an architectural design and construction management business based in Louisville, Kentucky for three years. Prior to that, Chuck held a number of leadership positions in Capital Holding/Providian Corporation (now part of Aegon) over eleven years including Managing Director, CFO of the Accumulation & Investment Group, and Managing Director, Homearnings reverse mortgage business.
Chuck earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Pre-engineering Physics from Miami University and an MBA from Harvard University.
- Learn more about Humana’s corporate social responsibility initiatives.