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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. In 2021, we reduced our plastic waste by an additional 104.9 tons, for a total of 407 tons saved since the project was initiated in 2018.  

Energy Reduction

We have several initiatives and targets in place to reduce our energy consumption. These initiatives and targets include:

  • Integration of our Northeast regional lab operations into our new Clifton, NJ lab.
  • LED lighting retrofits reduced our overall electricity consumption by 59% in our Marlborough Cytology lab .
  • Reduction of 1.2M miles driven through route optimization projects for our fleet, resulting in the reduction of 424 metric tons of CO2 emissions.
  • Continued qualification in the EPA’s Green Power Partnership by exceeding 7% renewable energy use in 2021. 

Renewable Energy

We committed to the voluntary purchase of at least 5% (on average) renewable energy certificates (RECs) from our primary energy suppliers from 2018 through 2020. During this time, we sourced 57,542 MWh of electricity from green power. In 2021, we sourced 22,020 MWh of electricity from green power.  Our total electricity sourced from green power usage from 2018 through 2021 was 79, 562 MWh, which equates to an average green energy use of approximately 6.5%.

Paperless Working Environment

In 2017, we committed to reducing the amount of paper waste in our Patient Service Centers (PSCs) by 60% in three years, saving greater than 500 tons of paper.  That same year, we began our e-technology efforts which included e-registration and the conversion of several paper documents to electronic.  During the period of 2018 – 2021, we reduced our paper waste by a total of 546 tons.  We anticipate continued savings of 100 – 150 tons annually in our PSCs.

Route Optimization, Fleet Conservation & Electric Vehicles

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, further reducing our gasoline consumption by 65,384 gallons, which at $2.16 per gal avg., lowered cost by approximately $160K, which equated to 1,281,526 lbs. or (581 metric tons) of CO2. In 2021, our route optimization projects continued to reduce our fleet miles driven by 1.2M miles, which is a reduction of 46,154 gallons of gasoline (at $3.09 per gal avg. that is $142,616 saved). This reduced our CO2 emissions by 934,760 lbs. or 424 metric tons.

Fleet conservation is another key aspect of our efforts to reduce GHG emissions.  In the last 15 years, we saw a reduction of 1.8 billion pounds of CO2 emissions, and the elimination of more than 1,100 surplus vehicles.  

We are also considering the use of electric vehicles for our fleet. In 2021, we began the development of an electric vehicle pilot project. At our lab in Clifton, New Jersey, we installed charging stations in the public area of the garage. We are also building out charging infrastructure at out Marlboro, Massachusetts lab and plan to begin infrastructure design and construction at remaining pilot locations.

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 in 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. We continue to pursue ISO 14001 and ISO 22301 certifications in 2022 for our San Juan Capistrano laboratory, and we are also pursuing LEED-equivalent certification for our new Clifton, NJ laboratory.

Data Accuracy

ERM Certification and Verification Services (ERM CVS) conducted independent third-party assurance of year 2021 Scope 1 and 2 greenhouse gas emissions data. See the Independent Assurance Statement by ERM CVS here 

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

2021 2020 2019 2018
Square Footage of Facilities 9,996,500 9,596,900 10,194,888 9,958,293
Indirect energy (TJ) per 1M test requisitions 5.0 5.7 6.4 6.7
Direct energy (TJ) per 1M test requisitions 6.39 7.16 8.27 8.65
Scope 1 CO2 Emissions (Metric tons) per 1M test requisitions 1095.9* 454.6 525.1 548.1
Scope 2 CO2 Emissions (Metric tons) per 1M test requisitions** 426.7 505.7 580.1 669.7
Water consumption (100m3) per 1M test requisitions 3.28 4.53 5.35 5.75
Biohazardous Waste (MT) per 1M test requisitions 49.8 50.9 55.8 55.8
Chemical Waste (MT) per 1M test requisitions 5.2 13.8 16.1 15.6
Recycling (MT) per 1M test requisitions 45.8 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 U.S. our operations in North American and Latin America.

* In 2021, we included refrigerants and process emissions for the first time, which accounts for the significant increase in our Scope 1 emissions. Refrigerants were calculated for the largest facilities, primarily labs, using the GHG Protocol’s basic and advanced screening method. The screen covered 22% of Quest’s total footprint by square footage, and 38% of Quest’s lab square footage. Remaining refrigerant data were estimated based on the results of this screen. Emissions were based on IPCC, 2019 Refinement to the 2006 IPCC Guidelines for National Greenhouse Gas Inventories (2019), Volume 3: Industrial Processes and Product Use, Table 7.9 

**The Scope 2 CO2 emissions include a reduction 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.