NPR from Illinois State University
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
Available On Air Stations
Environment and Sustainability

State Farm Plans To Cut Greenhouse Gas Emissions In Half By 2030

State Farm HQ building
Staff
/
WGLT
State Farm is the largest home and auto insurer in the U.S.

State Farm said Tuesday it will cut its greenhouse gas emissions by 50% by 2030, with plans to lean more on renewable energy, cut down on paper and fleet vehicles, and incentivize good behavior among its customers.

The goal was laid out in the company’s first-ever Environmental, Social and Governance Snapshot report, released on Tuesday. It comes as insurance companies are increasingly concerned with climate change and its impact on costly severe weather events like wildfires and hurricanes.

“We have functioned on the belief that being a good neighbor means not just doing business with you, but we want to work alongside of you, and do good alongside of you. Just because it’s the right thing to do,” said Jenny Greminger, State Farm’s vice president of administrative services, who oversees the Enterprise Environmental Sustainability team. 

Greminger told WGLT several initiatives already are underway to meet the 50% greenhouse gas emissions goal, with more to come. Initially, State Farm will emphasize reductions in direct emission, such as those from company facilities and vehicles, and indirect emissions, such as those from the generation of electricity supplied to the company. 

State Farm recently finalized a renewable power purchase agreement for its largest facilities in the Dallas-Fort Worth hub: CityLine and the Richardson data center. In 2020, the company said it eliminated all single-use plastic bottles in its large offices, potentially avoiding the use of 2.3 million bottles. Paperless billing eliminated 27.8 million paper bills in 2020, saving more than 7,000 trees, according to State Farm.

On the horizon are energy-efficient capital projects, virtual power purchase agreements, and green natural gas. 

“So we’ve got a lot we’re looking into and doing a deep-dive into,” Greminger said. 

Many companies are looking to electrify their fleets—a development that already yielded a 100,000-van order from Amazon for Rivian. State Farm too is exploring “sustainable solutions for fleet vehicles,” said Greminger.

“We’re studying a number of different options. But we’re learning a lot through this environment that COVID has forced us into—in terms of, how do you work differently?” she said. “And so there’s going to be an effort that says, how do we just overall reduce our fleet? And for those fleet vehicles that we do need, what is the best alternative there?” 

State Farm’s hub locations in Atlanta, Dallas and Phoenix are newly built, making energy efficiency easier to achieve. More than 80% of State Farm facilities have an Energy Star score of 75 or higher.

Its Bloomington locations are more difficult, Greminger said, and need to be approached differently. The company owns its Bloomington spaces, while it leases in Dallas, for example. On its Bloomington campus, State Farm says it’s already "increased green space and continues to reintroduce native grasses into the landscape. These efforts reduce mowing and chemical use, provide habitat for wildlife, control storm water runoff and sequester carbon underground."

What else could happen in Bloomington?

“We’re really open. We’re gonna have to look into wind. We’re gonna have to look into solar. We’re already doing some things that are going to reduce emissions, some internal practices,” Greminger said. “We’re going to reduce, if not eliminate, desktop printers and discourage that printing of paper.”

The Environmental, Social and Governance Snapshot released Tuesday also outlines State Farm’s various philanthropic efforts, including nearly $44 million in charitable contributions to 1,659 schools and nonprofits in 2020.

The report also serves as a progress report on the company’s diversity and inclusion initiatives, including the 2020 hiring of its first chief diversity officer, Victor Terry. State Farm says it’s increased the percentage of minority employees from 30% to 40% in the past six years. About 24% of its executive leaders are minorities, and 26% of its managers overall.

About 37% of its executive leaders are women, and 45% of its managers are women.

There's no subscription fee to listen or read our stories. Everyone can access this essential public service thanks to community support. Donate now, and help fund your public media.

Related Content