We know that our actions today shape the world of tomorrow and extend beyond our regular business interactions. In ways small and large, we’re committed to reducing our impact on the environment and helping improve people’s lives.
In every aspect of our business, Lincoln Financial works to meet the long-term needs of our policyholders, shareholders, employees and communities. Even our actions related to the environment focus on ensuring the strength of our organization, so that we can deliver on all our promises.
As a service sector business, our biggest environmental impacts arise from our office operations. Guided by that knowledge, in 2014 we set three measurable, time-bound goals that address our area of greatest impact: our energy use. We have already achieved one goal and are making steady progress toward the other two.
Social: A healthier environment for our employees and communities
Environmental: Reduced use of energy and natural resources, and lower emissions
Economic: Reduced operational costs and enhanced financial strength
In 2015, Lincoln Financial set a goal to reduce electricity in the largest facility we own—our three-building campus in Greensboro. We aim to decrease electricity by 10 percent by 2020, against a 2014 baseline. This effort coincides with an extensive five-year renovation that will completely transform the facility. With the first phase of construction complete at the end of 2017, we had already reduced energy use by 9.04 percent.Learn more about the renovation. >
As a fundamental step in managing our building energy performance, we established a system for tracking our energy usage and understanding how that compares with other commercial buildings. For several years, we have monitored and benchmarked our energy consumption using the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager, an industry-leading energy measurement and tracking tool for commercial buildings. At the beginning of 2016, we set a goal to have all Lincoln Financial-owned and -operated properties ENERGY STAR-rated by the end of 2017.1 We are proud to report that we have achieved this goal and 100 percent of our eligible buildings are now rated on ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager.
Several of these buildings operate at a higher level of energy performance and have also obtained ENERGY STAR certification. ENERGY STAR certified buildings save energy, save money, and help protect the environment by generating fewer greenhouse gas emissions than typical buildings. These facilities include the Greene and Elm buildings in Greensboro, Clinton and Harrison buildings in Fort Wayne, Indiana, and three buildings in our Omaha, Nebraska, location.1 We are proud to report that we have achieved this goal and 100 percent of our eligible buildings are now rated on ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager.
Our company is committed to understanding and managing our greenhouse gas (carbon) emissions. We calculate our greenhouse gas inventory annually and work to reduce our emissions. Lincoln Financial also publicly reports our carbon emissions totals and reduction strategy through CDP, a global disclosure system for self-reporting environmental data. For more information on our response to climate change, see the Managing Risk section on page 51 of this report. We are proud to report that since this effort began in 2011, we already have achieved significant results. We have improved the way we collect data and manage the emissions from the sources we control or own (Scope 1) and from the energy we purchase (Scope 2).
Over the past year, several Lincoln Financial departments worked separately but with a common purpose: to introduce new practices, focus on customer service and conserve natural resources by reducing the use of paper throughout our operations. By capitalizing on technology, responding to regulatory changes and considering customer preferences, Lincoln Financial teams found ways to adapt operations and offer employees and customers the ability to make environmentally responsible choices.
In late 2016, Lincoln Financial challenged employees to “Go Paperless” at tax time and reduce their environmental impact by receiving their annual W-2 and 1095-C tax forms electronically. Within one month, the combined participation rose dramatically, and now more than half of Lincoln’s 9,000+ employees receive these documents electronically. In addition to reducing paper consumption, e-delivery lowers printing and postage costs for the company.
Lincoln Financial is conducting an enterprise-wide initiative to reduce paper consumption by changing both our print devices and our overall print culture. As part of our standard end-of-lease process, we replaced older devices with more efficient models that are configured to use less toner and are being programmed to print on both sides of the paper as a default. In addition, we challenged employees to determine whether certain documents need to be printed at all. Guided by a company policy endorsing these practices, we are working to encourage resource conservation by changing employee printing habits.
Our individual annuity customers experienced a welcome change this past year when we improved the distribution of their quarterly statements. By capitalizing on regulatory changes and fully utilizing vendor capabilities, we now provide personalized mailings so that each annuity client receives only the quarterly statement inserts they need. Among other benefits, the new statement distribution process improves customer service.
Providing copies of individual annuity quarterly statements to more than 35,000 advisors used to consume a lot of postage and paper, but this changed during 2017 when Lincoln Financial’s Individual Annuity Operations transitioned a portion of their advisor population to online delivery. For many advisors, electronic delivery is now the default option for quarterly statements. Individual Annuity Operations remains focused on transitioning more advisors to this delivery method, which offers current and archived statements dating back to the inception date of the contract.
In each instance, Lincoln Financial’s culture of commitment to outstanding customer service and operational excellence remains constant. Meanwhile, we expect that our operations will continue to evolve as we adopt new technologies, embrace a digital future and adapt to the changing communication preferences of our employees and customers.
Each year, thousands of Lincoln Financial employees, agents and other participants gather at company functions across the country to stay current on important corporate initiatives and build in-person relationships. There are business benefits to these meetings, but also environmental impacts. Lincoln Financial’s Events team continues to research and implement sustainable event best practices, often selecting destinations that minimize travel distance for most participants, and encouraging the use of local mass transit services. The Events team works closely with hotel management—maintaining accurate order, attendance and consumption records—to minimize food waste, water consumption, laundry use, plastic water bottles and other impacts.
Through technology adoption, including mobile apps, the team has reduced printed event agendas and materials significantly since 2014. These digital tools have been used nearly 100 times since then, providing an interactive mobile platform from which attendees can access everything they need for the conference. The apps also provide environmentally conscious tips and reward users for opting out of housekeeping services.
When implemented across an entire enterprise, separate initiatives can collectively make a big environmental impact. At Lincoln Financial, we continue our work to further reduce our environmental footprint while enhancing our business performance.
Lincoln Financial encourages our employees to practice environmentally friendly behaviors in the workplace, at home and in their communities. Employee participation is critical to the success of our corporate-wide recycling efforts. Through their conscientious support of our recycling initiatives, employees help Lincoln Financial better manage our waste and conserve natural resources.
Lincoln Financial employees work within our key cities to create a cleaner, healthier world at events on Earth Day and throughout the year. During 2017, employees participated in a variety of activities, including community and park cleanups, recycling drives and environmental education events.
Lincoln Financial expanded our support of the worldwide Earth Day celebration held each April by sponsoring our first company-wide initiative to encourage environmental protection. We invited employees to take personal action through a new “Make a Pledge, Plant a Tree” campaign. For every employee who made a pledge, Lincoln Financial donated one tree to the Arbor Day Foundation’s Trees in Celebration program, which planted evergreen trees in the Tahoe National Forest in California.
To motivate their colleagues, local Employee Activities Committees and Multicultural Awareness Committees planned activities as well. The Fort Wayne office held an Earth Day fair to share information about local trails, biking to work, the office Green Team, composting and rain gardens. In Greensboro, teams of Lincoln employees headed out into the community to remove litter and beautify two sites along the Downtown Greenway walking trail. Omaha office employees connected with their coworkers by sharing useful tips about being green at work, community recycling events and local Earth Day activities and celebrations.
Lincoln employees responded enthusiastically to our “Make a Pledge, Plant a Tree” initiative. Many committed to help improve the environment at home and in the office. Some of their pledges included: taking the stairs, participating in meatless Mondays, unplugging equipment when not in use, and carrying a reusable coffee mug or water bottle.
Downtown Greenway Clean-Up, Greensboro, North Carolina
Downtown Greenway Clean-Up, Greensboro, North Carolina
Composting initiative, Concord, New Hampshire
Composting initiative, Concord, New Hampshire
Our Fort Wayne office promotes employee wellness and cleaner air by making it easy for employees to bike to work—the office provides indoor, secure bike racks and shower facilities in its fitness center. To further encourage employees, in 2017 the Fort Wayne Green Team sponsored its sixth annual Bike to Work Day in conjunction with Bike Fort Wayne.