Company announces new climate action goals and $770,000 in environmental justice grants
Accelerating the company's environmental stewardship, Blue Cross has committed to be carbon neutral and zero waste by 2030 – two decades ahead of the deadline set by the Paris Agreement on Climate Change.
The company's new environmental justice grant program will also provide more than $700,000 in Blue Cross funding and pro-bono support over the next two years to seven local not-for-profits driving change across the Commonwealth.
The announcement was made by Andrew Dreyfus, Blue Cross' president and CEO, alongside Boston Mayor Michelle Wu at the city's Green Ribbon Commission fall meeting, a convening of Boston's key sectors to accelerate the implementation of the city's Climate Action Plan.
"At Blue Cross, we know that our overall health is intricately linked to the health of our environment," said Andrew Dreyfus. "These are ambitious new goals. We are committed to improving our own operations and working with civic and not-for-profit leaders to accelerate environmental justice throughout the state to improve the health of our members, employees, and the community."
Blue Cross' 2030 climate action goals build on the company's 10-year commitment to reduce its environmental impact. Since 2010, the health plan has drastically reduced the use of electricity, water and paper, and cut the amount of waste going to landfills by almost 80%.
"Like many organizations, our journey towards carbon neutrality will include a financially responsible mix of energy efficiency enhancements, clean energy generation, clean energy procurement and carbon offsets," said Blue Cross' Director of Climate and Health Resilience Dr. Lindsey Butler. "We're dedicated to achieving zero waste and advancing a circular economy by reducing single-use items wherever possible, eliminating waste and pollution and circulating products and materials."
Blue Cross has also signed on in support of the Massachusetts 2022 Climate & Clean Energy Bill and signed the Biden administration's White House Health Sector Climate Pledge, promising to advance climate action throughout the US health care system.
"As indicated in the Inaugural Boston Climate Progress Report, we face several obstacles on the path to a healthier, climate resilient region," said Amy Longsworth, executive director of the Green Ribbon Commission. "We need all hands on deck and we are proud of organizations like Blue Cross who are rising to meet the challenge."
Blue Cross' climate action work is part of the company's commitment to promote health justice and eliminate the physical and social barriers that lead to health inequities. Over the next five years, the company will provide $10.6 million in direct financial contributions and $5.5 million in pro bono and in-kind support to not-for-profits working to address food, environmental and racial justice in Massachusetts communities.
Recipients of the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts Health Justice Partnership and Grant Program focus on Environmental Justice:
Empowering communities of color and low-income communities across Massachusetts to eradicate environmental racism and classism, create healthy, sustainable communities and achieve environmental justice.
Facilitating a just energy transition for Black and Brown people in the Massachusetts clean energy sector and beyond by creating jobs, building wealth, and reducing energy burden in communities of color.
Enhancing the urban environment and public health in Chelsea and East Boston through collective action, unity, education and youth leadership across neighborhoods and communities.
Developing Resilience Zones in Fall River and New Bedford by pairing food access, nature-based solutions, and environmental justice community engagement to reduce heat islands, manage stormwater, and increase fresh food access for a more sustainable and resilient community.
Reducing the environmental impact of the Lynn Community Health Center, enhancing its climate resilience, and improving environmental health disparities to serve as a model for other community health centers.
Developing strategies targeting heat resilience in Chinatown, one of Boston's most densely populated neighborhoods, which suffers from the worst air quality in Massachusetts.
Increasing the size and health of Boston's urban tree cover to mitigate the effects of heat islands, air pollution and public health in underserved and under-canopied neighborhoods.
About Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts:
Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts (bluecrossma.org) is a community-focused, tax-paying, not-for-profit health plan headquartered in Boston. We are committed to the relentless pursuit of quality, affordable and equitable health care with an unparalleled consumer experience. Consistent with our promise to always put our members first, we are rated among the nation's best health plans for member satisfaction and quality. Connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and LinkedIn.
SOURCE Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts