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Humana_2010-2011_CSR_ReportHumana recently released its 2010 and 2011 CSR report. What’s news about that?

For one, with this report, the health insurer became the first in its sector to follow GRI guidelines. Second, it lays down the foundation for upcoming efforts in building a sustainable supply chain and consciously partnering with NGOs and nonprofits in furthering well-being for all.

I sat down with Jim Turner, Humana’s Director for Media and Public Relations and Catherine McGlown, Humana’s CSR Lead to discuss the report — and what’s ahead for their teams.

How does Humana define CSR?

Turner: “Humana defines CSR as our dedication to making business decisions that reflect our commitment to improving the health and well-being of our members, our associates, the communities we serve, and our planet. Our CSR platform – Healthy People, Healthy Planet, Healthy Performance – represents that.”

What’s the significance of being the first company to issue a GRI report in the health insurance industry?

McGlown: “We’re excited about it, as you might expect. We won’t be surprised to see other insurers at least seriously consider following suit. As stakeholders demand increasing transparency and accountability, reporting with a recognized framework is one way our industry can continue to build trust with our members, associates, shareholders, regulators and the community at large.

“The publication of Humana’s 2010 & 2011 CSR Report using GRI guidelines (self-declared at a level C) shows that Humana is leading the health insurance industry in the larger trend of reporting out on environmental, social and governance data. CSR reporting is growing, both internationally and nationally. GRI estimates the number of North American reports with a GRI index increased by 35 percent between 2010 and 2011; we are proud to be a part of that growth.”

What metrics are discussed within the report?

  • Humana’s pledge to reduce building energy consumption, greenhouse gas emissions and annual energy expenses by 10 percent each, over the course of 2012, from a 2009 baseline.
  • Formation of Humana’s Network Resource Groups for African-American associates; Hispanic associates; caregivers; and gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender associates. Since the report publication, Humana has launched another group for military veterans.
  • Humana’s report also discusses the company’s plan to hire 1,000 or more veterans and/or their spouses for a variety of roles across the company, as part of the Humana Veterans Initiative. Humana has hired more than 400 military veterans and military spouses since the initiative began in August 2011. Military Times EDGE named Humana Military Healthcare Services as one of its 2012 “Best for Vets” employers. On this year’s list, Humana achieved the highest ranking of any health care company.

What have been some of the challenges of CSR reporting in a highly regulated industry?

Turner: “We’re used to being very careful about how we handle people’s health and well-being information. We have to be. This was no different as we compiled information and data for this year’s CSR Report. We wanted to be extra sensitive to how our associates and external stakeholders would view the report and how we frame sometimes-sensitive issues.”

Does Humana have community engagement initiatives only in the markets you do business?

McGlown: “Through our Medicare operations, Humana does business in all 50 U.S. states, so the answer is yes. That said, we certainly consider markets where we do business and where our associates live and work when evaluating community engagement initiatives, but those are not the only qualifying criteria. Humana’s dream is to help people achieve lifelong well-being – regardless of where they live. As Humana is now a national company, we’re working hard to become good corporate citizens in all of the communities where we do business.”

A few examples:

  • Humana has partnered with the nonprofit KaBOOM! to build multigenerational playgrounds across the country – with the most recent build in Marion, Iowa – they have built a total of 11.
  • The Humana Well-Being Tour is travelling the country for eight months, stopping in different communities and meeting people where they live to give them a fresh perspective on healthy living. This national mobile health initiative includes pedometer distribution, biometrics stations and virtual games focused on health.
  • If enrolled in a Humana health plan, Humana associates and their families can participate in an incentive-based program called HumanaVitalitySM. Rooted in science, this program encourages individuals to create a goals-based health plan and rewards individuals for healthy choices—such as losing weight, staying active and eating better—by awarding points redeemable for purchases. In addition to benefiting Humana associates, this program enables Humana to build the business case for workplace wellbeing and encourage other companies to invest in employee health.
  • Humana’s Signature Program Team Up 4 Health, located in Eastern Kentucky, uses the power of personal relationships to influence people’s behaviors towards better health and lifelong well-being. Its mission is to curb chronic diseases—such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease and obesity—which are among the most common, preventable and costly health problems in the United States. This two-year pilot is a partnership with Microclinic International, Citizen Effect and community partners.

How do you see the company’s commitment to community engagement helping Humana’s long-term sustenance?

McGlown: “Well-being is much like CSR in that it is a journey, not a destination. We prioritize walking alongside people in their journey, and one of the ways through which we can continue to drive wellbeing is through community engagement. Meeting people where they are and encouraging them to make changes in their lives that yield lifelong well-being (purpose, belonging, health and security) is a win-win.”

What CSR initiatives will Humana focus on in the next two to three years?

McGlown: “Humana will spend the next two to three years building upon the foundation we have set. One area of focus for Humana is its supply chain. Humana is identifying ways to deepen its sustainable procurement efforts, as follow-up to a supplier assessment conducted in 2011, as well as ways to increase its spend with diverse suppliers.”

Turner: “In terms of environmental work, in addition to our energy-savings targets, Humana is working on a green real estate project. For our owned facilities, we’re developing a scorecard to determine the highest-impact locations for green retrofits. For potential new properties, we’re integrating consideration of LEED potential into our RFPs and site searches.

“We have also made a multi-year commitment to continue our work with KaBOOM! Over the next three years, we will build more than 40 multi-generational playgrounds in high-need communities to encourage well-being through play.”

What do you hope to get out of your CSR report?

Turner: “The establishment of our formal CSR efforts began with both senior-leader support and organic associate activities – our CSR platform of Healthy People, Healthy Planet, Healthy Performance reflects who we are. Humana’s stakeholders – including our members, employees, and the communities in which we do business – expect a certain level of transparency from us¸ and we aimed to provide them with that through our CSR Report.”

McGlown: “This first GRI report was a tremendous learning experience. Going forward, we’re looking for ways to deepen our reporting, including possibly striving to report at the B- level in our next report.”

Originally written for and published on CSRwire’s Commentary section Talkback on June 28, 2012.