CDC Sustainability Scorecard
CDC has a long history of prioritizing sustainability throughout the Agency. The linkage between sustainability and health is clear. Sustainability is an integral part of our mission because healthier, safer people depend on a healthy environment.
Thomas R. Frieden, M.D., M.P.H.
Director, CDC, and Administrator, ATSDR
CDC is committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions, conserving resources, and promoting health and wellness within the Agency and amongst our partners. CDC works to integrate sustainability as part of Agency operations in a variety of areas.
View CDC’s Annual Sustainability Report to learn more about green initiatives, collaborations, programs and events within CDC. You can also view details about CDC’s sustainability awards, benchmarking data and outreach efforts.
Electronic devices use a significant amount of energy for their operation. Almost half of the energy consumed in the United States is generated by burning coal, which is a non-renewable resource. This process produces emissions that adversely affect the environment and human health. Additionally, electronic equipment contains metal that can have detrimental impacts on the environment if it is not properly disposed at the end of its useful life. CDC has taken the following actions to improve the operation and disposal of its electronic devices:
- Purchases Energy Star–rated equipment for energy savings
- Purchases EPEAT-rated equipment that includes fewer hazardous materials
- Reduced the number of data centers through consolidation and the use of more efficient equipment
- Uses the newest technology to efficiently operate electronic equipment
- Promotes reuse of electronic equipment and recycles all electronics that cannot be reused
CDC promotes, coordinates, and manages different aspects of our food system, including food offerings, packaging options, and preparation and disposal systems. Sustainable food options are available across the Agency: healthy vending options, recycled cups and bowls, and small-portion meals. The CDC also provides employees with programs, information, and classes on nutrition, weight management, and food production. It also supports the growing of USDA organic, local, and regional produce by hosting garden markets on many of its campuses.
To become more sustainable, CDC has
- Developed health and sustainability policies that promote healthy food choices
- Initiated and promoted events, training opportunities, and informational campaigns that help to further green and healthy food-related behavior across the Agency
- Integrated healthy food choices within existing procedures and behaviors
- Maintained grassroots participation from individuals who study or have an interest in the CDC food system and its health, safety, and impact on the environment.
CDC recognizes the impact that facilities have on the environment. The Agency works diligently to implement the government’s Guiding Principles for Federal Leadership in High Performance and Sustainable Buildings and to incorporate the LEED green building rating criteria into the design and construction of new buildings at CDC. In addition, the Building and Facilities Office operates CDC facilities in ways that reduce water and energy consumption and maintains them through the use of green cleaning and pest management methods that protect our resources and indoor environmental quality.
Green buildings at CDC
- Provide onsite showers and lockers for bicycle and pedestrian commuters
- Encourage stair use by making stairwells more attractive and accessible to occupants
- Utilize native and drought-resistant landscaping varieties
- Include water-conserving lavatory faucets, toilets, and urinals
- Are constructed with materials that contain fewer harmful substances
- Reduce energy use through nightly setbacks and occupancy sensors for lighting and HVAC systems
- Divert the majority of construction waste from landfills through salvaging and recycling
- Are designed and constructed in consideration of the Federal Leadership in High Performance and Sustainable Buildings: Memorandum of Understanding
One principal way that CDC conveys health information to its partners is through meetings and conferences. Every programmatic and operational office at the Agency has the opportunity to implement environmental conservation and health promotional practices into their meetings and conferences. The Office of Sustainability helps CDC meeting planners develop action plans to make their meetings greener and healthier, and the CDC Information Technology Services Office offers a wide range of technology options that support green meetings. These options include phone bridge teleconferencing, Envision videoconferencing, healthy and sustainable food, and state-of-the-art conferencing and communications facilities.
The Office of Sustainability offers these suggestions to meeting planners:
- Offer teleconferencing and videoconferencing services to limit travel.
- Choose central meeting locations, next to public transit.
- Distribute meeting materials electronically.
- Include breaks for stretching and walking.
- Turn off electronic equipment when not in use.
- If food is provided, offer healthy and local choices.
- Turn room lights off when you leave.
- Serve water from pitchers or fountains and avoid disposable bottles, dishes, and utensils.
Recycling isn’t just good for the environment; effective waste diversion practices can also improve public health while significantly reducing Agency waste disposal costs-a win for sustainability’s triple bottom line of people, planet, and pocketbook. That’s why HHS and CDC have set a goal of recycling at least 50% of all Agency nonhazardous wastes by 2015.
Highlights of CDC’s waste and recycling efforts include:
- Enhancing Agency systems for tracking waste management data
- Standardizing waste/recycling practices across multiple campuses and buildings
- Emphasizing Reduce and Reuse in the context of Reduce/Reuse/Recycle
- Increasing access to recycling services in CDC’s leased spaces
- Expanding the variety of materials recycled
- Escalating staff participation in recycling programs
- Assistance in finding carpool partners
- Preferred parking for vanpools, carpools, and low-emission vehicles
- Reimbursement for public transportation expenses
- Lockers and showers for bicycle commuters
- Bicycle racks on campuses
- Telework and alternative work schedules
Green Procurement refers to more than just buying the right products; the entire life cycle of the product should be considered, including its design, the materials used in manufacture, the efficiency of its operation, and its recyclability. As a responsible purchaser, CDC
- Requires that purchasers give preference to products that contain recycled material, contain biobased material, are energy efficient, and are less toxic than alternatives
- Established a Green Procurement Policy to govern purchasing requirements
- Requires all purchasers to take green purchasing training every two years
- Has an office (CDC Procurement and Grants Office) devoted to the reuse and/or proper disposal of property and equipment
CDC recognizes that the worksite is directly linked to the health of workers, who are critically important and essential to driving the Agency’s mission of “collaborating to create the expertise, information, and tools that people and communities need to protect their health.” To support the health of CDC workers, the Agency provides a worksite wellness program that offers a number of services dedicated to enhancing the quality of work life.
- The CDC worksite wellness program provides exterior and interior settings such as walking trails and exercise facilities that promote physical and mental well-being, nutritious options at on-site cafeterias and vending, and health and wellness programs that promote physical, mental, and emotional health.
- To help employees manage both their work and personal lives, CDC provides programs such as referral services, eldercare support, child care support, lactation support, employee organizations, and career development and training.
- CDC supports flexible work schedules, compressed work weeks, and telework options to create a positive work–life balance for employees.
- Health and safety committees actively protect personnel by reducing the risk of injury and promoting a safe work environment.
- CDC personnel are encouraged to be environmental stewards by participating in green practices such as using carpools and vanpools, walking and bicycling to work, taking public transportation, and utilizing the CDC deskside recycling program.