Since targeting paper reduction as a key sustainability objective in 2009, Allstate has made tremendous progress cutting paper use among our employees and with our customers.
As a financial services company, we purchase and use large amounts of paper.
In 2009, Allstate used approximately 3.7 billion sheets of paper — equal to approximately 450,000 trees. So we made cutting paper use a top environmental priority, launching a companywide paper reduction campaign in April 2009. We committed to reducing overall office paper use by 25 percent by 2010, saving thousands of trees and approximately $1 million in purchasing costs.
To meet this target, we asked employees to make four changes in the way they used paper: 1) eliminate separator sheets on shared printers; 2) print double-sided (duplex) whenever possible; 3) don’t print unless necessary; and 4) recycle used paper. Allstate worked with all departments across the enterprise to turn off the separator-sheet option on all networked printers.
The result: We significantly surpassed our goal to cut paper use by 25 percent. At the end of 2010, Allstate reduced office paper use by 41 percent in Home Office and more than 50 percent in our field offices, resulting in a total savings of $750,000. As a result of our efforts to continue to remind employees about being thoughtful when it comes to printing—or better yet, to not print at all — we were able to maintain our momentum in 2011. By the end of 2011, Allstate reduced paper use by 11.4 percent from 2010 levels, which includes a 40 percent reduction in our corporate headquarters, and a 4 percent reduction in our field offices.
Encouraged by our in-house effort, we then turned to paper used in communicating with Allstate’s customers. Again, we set an ambitious goal of reducing customer paper 20 percent by 2013, using 2009 as a baseline.
At the end of 2011, we surpassed our goal by reducing customer paper use by 22.4 percent of 2009 levels. This reduction saved approximately 24 million pieces of paper.
We achieved this goal by promoting our suite of paperless solutions (eBill, ePayments and ePolicy) to deliver greater convenience, cost savings and compelling environmentally friendly options for Allstate customers. Discounts that encourage paperless options were also introduced. For example, in some states, Allstate auto customers who meet certain criteria, including enrollment in eBill, can lower their premiums. And the new Allstate eSmartSM Discount gives customers in select states an additional discount for enrolling in ePolicy, which allows customers to access, store and manage insurance policy documents from a convenient online location.
From 2010 to 2011, customer enrollments in eBill grew by 34 percent, which avoided nearly 11 million pieces of mail. At the end of 2011, 20.8 percent, or 4.3 million policies, are enrolled for automatic payment plans; 14.6 percent, or 3 million, have enrolled in eBill; and more than 265,000, or 1.2 percent, have enrolled in ePolicy.
We also eliminated unnecessary customer billing documents such as the zero-due bill, which will save approximately 7 million bills per year. We also delivered a ramped-up email awareness campaign in lieu of direct mail.
Convincing customers to go paperless is still a challenge, since many still prefer paper statements and policies. We continue to invest in education and awareness campaigns to inform customers and encourage them to enroll in various paperless options.
Our paper reduction efforts also mean lower GHG emissions. According to the U.S. Postal Service estimate of lifecycle GHG emissions of first-class mail, each piece of mail generates 87 grams of GHG emissions. Using this methodology, this program avoided more than 3,600 metric tons of GHG in 2011. The majority of these avoided emissions are related to the manufacture of pulp and paper.