At HMS, we are inspired by our mission of moving healthcare forward and helping people lead healthier lives. Environmental sustainability is an important part of our mission because we believe there is direct correlation between the health of our planet and the health of its people. That is why we engage in environmentally responsible practices and foster a culture of conservationism throughout our organization. Through environmental stewardship, we can have a positive influence on the health of the environment and the people in our communities.
Pursuant to our Environmental Policy, our goal is to establish and maintain a comprehensive Environmental Management System (EMS) that will raise awareness at all levels of the company and continually improve our environmental performance.
HMS' Environmental Management Committee has responsibility for recommending our policies, practices and goals related to environmental sustainability and reporting on our performance. The committee is made up of a cross-functional team led by our Vice President, Facilities and Real Estate, who has earned a Sustainable Facility Professional certification from the International Facility Management Association. Our EMS is overseen by an executive sponsor and endorsed by HMS’ executive leadership. The Board receives periodic updates on our efforts related to environmental sustainability.
Risks and Opportunities
We have not identified any material climate-related risks to our business, other than inherent physical risks associated with climate-related natural disasters. Our data and operation centers are essential to our business and our operations depend on our ability to maintain and protect our information systems. Our systems and operations are vulnerable to damage or interruption from fires, floods, earthquakes, extreme weather conditions or other natural disasters, which could result in increased costs to the us for repairs and replacement systems, as well as potentially decreased revenue if any such damage or interruptions were to impact our ability to serve our clients. We attempt to mitigate the potential adverse effects of a disruption through disaster recovery and business continuity plans, including systems redundancy, physical security measures and use of third-party cloud-based service providers.
Our Board oversees our disaster recovery program through regular updates from, and discussions with, our Chief Technology Officer and Chief Security Officer. In addition, our Board, through the Audit Committee, oversees our enterprise risk management program that assists management in identifying, assessing and managing risk.
Although our business and the healthcare technology industry generally do not have a significant environmental impact from operations, we are committed to taking concrete steps to assess opportunities to reduce our carbon footprint, promote energy efficiency, minimize pollution and use water efficiently. We believe focusing our efforts on our owned physical facilities (which comprise the majority of our total square footage) gives us the greatest opportunity to lessen our impact on the environment because, unlike our leased physical facilities that are controlled by our landlords, we are able to measure and control our environmental impact. By taking these steps, we can address climate change, cut energy costs, improve employee morale, and foster our mission of improving health outcomes – all while protecting the resources and planet we need to operate and thrive.
Goals, Performance and Reporting
In 2019, we established the framework for our EMS in alignment with ISO 14001, which we began implementing in 2020. As part of our EMS, we have established the long-term goals set forth below related to greenhouse gas emissions, energy and water usage, and waste reduction at our owned physical facilities.
- Reduce our scope I and II greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions (Metric Tons CO2e) by 10% by 2022 (2019 baseline)
- Achieve Energy Star Score of 75 by 2022 (2019 baseline score of 69) at our approximately 242,260 square feet corporate headquarters (Headquarters)
- Reduce our office water usage by 5% by 2022 (2019 baseline)
Additionally, we have also established a goal of reducing our paper waste enterprise-wide by achieving a corporate recycling rate of 75% by 2022.
We intend to disclose our performance against these goals via our website.
Green Business Practices and Efficiency Initiatives
To work towards these environmental sustainability goals, we have implemented a number of green business practices and will continue to assess opportunities to add to these initiatives to enable us to reach our goals.
Greenhouse Gas (“GHG”) Emissions
We intend to reduce our emissions by focusing on the areas that have the highest impact, including real estate, business travel, and information technology.
- Over 30% of our workforce, or nearly 1,000 employees, regularly work from home rather than commuting to an office. And, during the recent COVID-19 outbreak, we have 100% of our employee base working from home.
- We have also installed and regularly use audio/visual conferencing systems to reduce travel associated with meetings.
Energy and Water Usage
We intend to reduce our energy and water usage through efficiency initiatives.
- We are working towards obtaining Energy Star certification in 2022 for our Headquarters.
- We have moved to 100% clean energy at our Headquarters through the purchase of electricity produced solely from renewable sources starting in March 2020.
- At our Headquarters, we installed energy efficient fans, automatic-off lighting controls, and an automated building management system that efficiently controls temperatures throughout the building, and in 2019 we retrofitted the lighting in the building to energy efficient LED lighting.
- We use efficient water systems, including installing automatic faucets and flush valves in restrooms.
Waste & Recycling
To reduce the quantity of waste while improving the building environment, we apply best practices in materials selection, waste disposal, and waste reduction.
- We have removed single use cups from break rooms across our organization.
- We have placed separate recycling and trash bins at each workstation, and we recycle all cardboard at our corporate headquarters.
- We recycle all white paper enterprise-wide.
- We have implemented secure badge printing resulting in a reduction in paper waste.
- We have implemented a paperless “Go Green” initiative with our clients, encouraging electronic record deliveries through secure FTP protocol instead of using paper or other physical media, which we estimate could reduce paper waste by approximately 17 million sheets of paper per year.
We are also actively engaging our employees on behavioral change initiatives and integrating the principles of sustainability in the workforce to further enhance our ability to reach our goals.