QuestCares: GreenQuest

GreenQuest Sustainability Policy

We believe that protection of the environment is a critical business objective. We are committed to the conservation of resources and the minimization of any negative impact our operations and facilities may have on the environment. Our program includes:

  • An Enterprise EHS Policy
  • An EHS Management System
  • Standard EHS Programs
  • Enterprise EHS Goals

The 4 key elements that drive our sustainability program are:

  • Pollution prevention: We will minimize waste generated in our operations by process improvements and focused recycling effort.
  • Energy efficiency: Sourcing and Use – We will include renewable energy in our sourcing of energy when cost-effective and feasible. We will use energy efficiently and make efforts to improve efficiency through technology and renovation.
  • Fleet conservation: We will utilize technology to improve our ground fleet efficiency thereby reducing carbon fuel use and the associated greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Strategic sourcing: We will take environmental impact into consideration when making decisions about the materials and services we purchase in order to reduce consumption of natural resources, and decrease waste and emissions.

Our Sustainability Program Goals and Actions

Reducing our Waste
Quest works with suppliers to find products and processes that can minimize waste across our operations. We have committed to implementing waste minimization initiatives and reducing our single-use plastic waste generated by 250 standard tons in 3 years from our baseline in 2017. In 2018, we saw the opportunity to utilize a specimen cup that contained 51% less plastic. This project reduced our plastic use by 190,000 pounds annually, preventing 95 tons of plastic from entering our landfills. In 2019, we converted our specimen cup again to a lighter item and our stool collection container to a smaller tube saving an additional 10 tons of waste going to landfills. The two-year total weight saved from entering the landfills by these projects total 200 tons over the 2017 baseline.
 
Energy Reduction
We have several initiatives and targets in place to reduce our energy consumption.
  • We will consolidate the majority of East Region lab operations into a new LEED-certified lab by 2022 which will reduce Regional Lab energy use by ~25% while increasing capabilities. Construction on the new hallmark laboratory began in 2018 and currently we are scheduled to occupy the new lab in 2021.
  • Through site consolidation, we will reduce utility use in our Patient Services division by 3% by 2021. Since 2016 we have downsized or consolidated numerous Patient Service Centers (PSC) to reduce our square footage while increasing the number of patient visits. Through 2019, we have reduced our PSC total footprint by 3.4% over our 2018 baseline.
  • Many of our facilities operate 24 hours a day to process the tests required by patients and doctors. With lights illuminated continuously, any lighting upgrade can have a tremendous impact on the environment and our employees. In 2019, Quest completed 5 LED conversion projects at facilities around the country in which we upgraded or replaced fluorescent lighting with energy-efficient LED lighting, which reduced energy consumption by 3.8M kilowatt-hours.
  • Our commitment for 2020 was to evaluate our lab testing platforms for improved efficiency and impact, establish a baseline, publish an energy/water reduction goal for the affected instruments, and begin to roll out a lower-impact solution. In 2019, we completed the evaluation of a standard system to consolidate our enterprise immunoassay platforms. The Phase 1 facility improvement, instrument installation and validation were also completed. The national enterprise rollout of the standard platform began in 2020. Given the impact of the global pandemic, 2020 goals have been put on hold until the emergency subsides.
Renewable Energy
We have committed to voluntarily purchase at least 5% (on average) renewable energy certificates (RECs) from our primary energy suppliers for the next 3 years. In 2019, we purchased REQs equaling nearly 18 million kWh (or 5.7%) of the company-wide electricity consumed. The CO2 emissions averted by this green power are equivalent to 11,751 metric tons.
 
Paperless Working Environment
We are committed to reducing the amount of paper waste in our Patient Service Centers (PSCs) by 60% in 3 years, saving greater than 500 tons of paper and associated expenses exceeding $0.5M from our baseline in 2016. In 2017 we began our e-technology efforts in the PSCs. We implemented e-registration in 2017, and converted several other documents to electronic forms in 2018. Through 2019 we have reduced paper by 158 tons.
 
Route Optimization
We continually seek fuel reduction opportunities through route optimization and investment in more eco-efficient vehicles. Our Logistics fleet mileage increased by 2.4% in 2019 as a result of internalizing previous contractor-driven routes and through business expansion. During that same time, our route optimization team was able to reduce 1.6M miles through route optimization projects. With our fleet vehicles averaging 26 MPGs, the 1.6M miles equates to a reduction in fuel of 61,538 gallons (at $2.60 per gal avg. that's $160,000 saved). With CO2 emissions per gallon of gas of 19.6 pounds, the total emissions saved is 548 metric tons.
 
ISO Standardization 
ISO 14001 is an internationally agreed environmental management system that leverages leadership involvement and employee engagement in order to:
  • Help organizations ensure compliance with regulatory standards
  • Improve their environmental performance
  • Provide a competitive advantage and gain the trust of stakeholders and
  • Achieve strategic goals by incorporating environmental issues into business management
Starting in 2017, we initiated a comprehensive enterprise auditing program. In 2019, we completed 8 facility audits and continued building the framework for an ISO program. We implemented the Local Environmental Inventory (LEI) assessment in Q1 2019, and 60% of our core laboratories completed the assessment. We added environmental initiatives to the regional strategic plan template, updated our Environmental Policy Statement, and developed an EMS SOP as part of the system documentation. Our San Juan Capistrano laboratory, which is currently 9001 (QMS)-certified, is building the framework to become ISO 14001 (Environmental Management)– and ISO 22301 (Business Continuity Management)– certified by 2022.
 
Data Accuracy 
Much of the utility data included in our carbon footprint is obtained through the third-party vendor, Urjanet. The process they use to audit the data for accuracy can be found here
 
 

Recognition of our Efforts

EPA Green Partner LogoDOW Sustainability Index (DJSI) Fund – included in the World Index Fund for 15 years and the North American Index Fund for 14 years.
 
 
 
EPA Green Partner LogoEPA Green Power Partner since 2015 for the purchase of renewable (wind) energy RECs from our national energy suppliers
 
 
 
LEED LogoLEED Building Certifications for our Marlborough MA Laboratory (2016), our Secaucus NJ National Headquarters (Gold – 2018) and pending for our Clifton NJ laboratory in progress.

 

 

By the Numbers

Measure  2019 2018
OSHA total incident rate (incidents per 100 FTE) 1.98 1.81
Square Footage of Facilities 10,194,888 9,958,293
Indirect energy (TJ) per 1M test requisitions 6.4 6.7
Direct energy (TJ) per 1M test requisitions 8.3 8.6
Scope 1 CO2 Emissions (Metric tons) per 1M test requisitions 526.8 548.5
Scope 2 CO2 Emissions (Metric tons) per 1M test requisitions* 580.1 664.4
Scope 3 CO2 Equivalents (Metric tons) per 1M test requisitions 278.7 281.5
Water consumption (thousand cubic meters) per 1M test requisitions 5.35 5.54
Biohazardous Waste (MT) per 1M test requisitions 55.8 55.8
Chemical Waste (MT) per 1M test requisitions 16.1 15.6
Recycling (MT) per 1M test requisitions 33.5 35.7

US EIA’s Commercial Building Energy Consumption Surveys (CBECS) data and EPA’s Emissions & Generation Resource Integrated Database (eGrid) were used to estimate utility usage and related emissions factors for some small locations when not available from other sources. Coverage of the data is 100% of US operations.

*The Scope 2 CO2 emissions include a reduction of ~5% based on our use of Renewable Energy Credits (RECs)
 
 

Our EHS Policy

At Quest Diagnostics, we're creating an inspiring workplace, and critical to our success are workplace safety, the health of our employees, and protection of the environment. We will
  • Comply with all legal, customer and company requirements
  • Provide a safe work environment for all employees
  • Continuously improve our safety performance to reduce employee risks
  • Continuously improve our environmental management program to identify environmental objectives
  • Utilize pollution-prevention opportunities to reduce the environmental impact of our operations
Quest Diagnostics is committed to the protection of the environment and improvement of our GreenQuest Sustainability program to address waste and energy reduction, improve fleet efficiency, and include renewable energy from our strategic utility providers. As employees, we're each accountable for taking an active role in our own health and safety and that of our colleagues, while helping safeguard the environment each and every day.