April is Earth Month, a time when people around the globe commit to building a more sustainable future and raising awareness about the worsening climate crisis. Scientists agree that urgent action is needed, and the American Red Cross is committed to doing its part by making significant improvements.
The Red Cross is on the frontlines of the climate crisis in communities across the country as it supports families who struggle to cope with more frequent and intense disasters. Our core mission is to help families during emergencies. Many of the communities we serve now repeatedly face devastating climate-driven disasters. By minimizing our own environmental footprint, the Red Cross can help combat the impact the climate crisis has on the people we serve.
To that end, the Red Cross is continuing an ambitious project to slash emissions, cut waste and lower water usage. This sustainability work is focused on analyzing and changing how we operate in order to reduce our impact on the planet through the vehicles, facilities, supplies and water resources we use, as well as the overall amount of waste we create.
Where possible, we are reducing electricity usage and transitioning our facilities to renewable energy sources. We’re also lowering our fuel consumption by rightsizing our fleet and converting our passenger vehicles to hybrid or electric models.
The Red Cross has long embraced recycling programs and now we are strengthening these efforts to reduce our waste by more than 30% overall. This includes working with recycling vendors, adding recycling equipment to our facilities and adding water refill stations to cut down the use of disposable plastic bottles. The Red Cross is also investing in more reusable or recyclable supplies rather than single-use items, and transitioning to more sustainable, eco-friendly supplies everywhere possible.
To lower our water use, we are installing water saving fixtures, equipment and landscaping — especially in areas at high risk for water shortages and prolonged droughts.
The first American Red Cross Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) report shows our priorities across many ESG topics, from climate change and sustainability to diversity, equity and inclusion and mission delivery. Full details available here.
Transformational changes of this magnitude don’t happen overnight. It will take time to complete this work and assess the full impact on our environmental footprint. The Red Cross is committed to our ongoing learning throughout this journey and using those lessons to further improve how we help to build a more sustainable planet for future generations.