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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 committed to reducing our single-use plastic waste generated by 250 standard tons in 3 years from our baseline year of 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—that is 95 standard tons of plastic kept out of 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 standard tons of waste going to landfills. During the period 2018 to 2020, we reduced our single-use plastic waste by 302 US tons over the 2017 baseline, surpassing our 3-year goal.

Energy Reduction

We have several initiatives and targets in place to reduce our energy consumption which reduced our overall total non-renewable energy use by approximately 6%, from 706,672 MWh to 661,470 MWh. These initiatives and targets include:

  • The Clifton (East Region) lab is officially open for business and consolidation of testing volume will be completed in 2021. We expect regional lab energy use to decrease approximately 25% while increasing our testing capabilities. We anticipate LEED certification by 2022.
  • We will reduce utility use in our Patient Services division by 3% by 2021. Since 2017, we have downsized or consolidated numerous Patient Service Centers (PSC) to reduce our square footage while increasing the number of patient visits. Through 2020, we reduced utility usage in our Patient Services division by approximately 6% over our baseline year.
  • Our commitment for 2020 was to evaluate our lab testing platforms for improved efficiency / impact, establish a baseline and publish an energy / water reduction goal for the effected instruments, and start to roll out the lower impact solution during the year. In 2020, we concluded the evaluation of lab testing platforms for improved efficiency and impact. The new testing platform was installed at 17 of the intended 18 locations by the end of 2020. With the new instruments, we expect reductions in annual electricity and water usage of at least 5% and 30% respectively.

Renewable Energy

We committed to voluntarily purchase at least 5% (on average) renewable energy certificates (RECs) from our primary energy suppliers from 2018 through 2020. In 2020, 13,046 MWh of electricity (4.4%) was sourced from green power making our average green energy usage for the 2018 to 2020 time approximately 6%.

Paperless Working Environment

We are committed to reduce the amount of paper waste in our Patient Service Centers (PSCs) by 60% in three years, saving greater than 500 tons of paper. 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 over the last few years. During the period 2018 to 2020, we reduced the cumulative amount of paper by 276 US tons. We anticipate continued savings of 100 to 150 tons annually in our PSCs.

Route Optimization

We continually seek fuel reduction opportunities through route optimization and investment in more eco-efficient vehicles. In 2019 our Logistics fleet mileage increased by 2.4% because 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 is $160,000 saved). With CO2 emissions per gallon of gas = 19.6 pounds, the total emissions saved = 1,206,154 lbs. (or 548 metric tons of CO2). In 2020, we experienced a decrease in miles driven by 1.7M miles, which was mostly due to impacts from the COVID-19 pandemic, reducing gasoline consumption by 65, 384 gallons, which at $2.16 per gal avg., lowered cost by approximately $160K. This results in a reduction of 1,281,526 lbs. of CO2 emissions

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

We are committed to having at least one lab ISO 14001 certified by 2022. As part of our initiative to enhance our Environmental Management System, we implemented an enhanced accounting program of our environmental impacts at our laboratories and initiated a comprehensive enterprise auditing program. We also 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 on target 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

DOW Sustainability Index (DJSI) Fund – included in the World Index Fund for 15 years and the North American Index Fund for 14 years.

EPA Green Power Partner since 2015 for the purchase of renewable energy (wind) power RECs from our national energy suppliers

LEED 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
2020 2019 2018
OSHA total incident rate (incidents per 100 FTE) 1.58 1.98 1.81
Square Footage of Facilities 9,596,900 10,194,888 9,958,293
Indirect energy (TJ) per 1M test requisitions 5.7 6.4 6.7
Direct energy (TJ) per 1M test requisitions 7.16 8.27 8.64
Scope 1 CO2 Emissions (Metric tons) per 1M test requisitions 454.6 525.1 547.4
Scope 2 CO2 Emissions (Metric tons) per 1M test requisitions* 528.6 580.1 664.4
Water consumption (thousand cubic meters) per 1M test requisitions 4.53 5.35 5.54
Biohazardous Waste (MT) per 1M test requisitions 50.9 55.8 55.8
Chemical Waste (MT) per 1M test requisitions 13.8 16.1 15.6
Recycling (MT) per 1M test requisitions 35.1 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 are 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 and continuously improve our:

  • safety performance to reduce employee risks.
  • environmental management program to identify environmental objectives and utilize pollution prevention opportunities to reduce the impact of our operations on the environment.

Quest Diagnostics is committed to the protection of the environment and improvement of our GreenQuest Sustainability program to address waste and energy reduction, improved fleet efficiency and include renewable energy from our strategic utility providers. As employees, we are each accountable for taking an active role in our own health and safety and that of our colleagues, while helping safeguard the environment each day.