After traveling 51,000 miles across Pennsylvania in one year, Pittsburgh-based health insurer Highmark says its mobile marketing trucks prove that an eco-conscious plan works for the environment and for customers. When Highmark launched the two mobile marketing units last January, plans were made to not only offer health information services through the 53- and 28-foot trucks, but respectively do so in an earth-friendly manner.

"We anticipated that the trucks would have a great impact on our customers by providing one-on-one conversations about health insurance at their place of work or in the community," said Mike King, Highmark manager of mobile and retail marketing. "We also wanted to be proactive in our efforts to construct the trucks and their functions in a manner that would have the least impact on the environment."

The trucks are powered by biofuel derived from vegetable oil and animal fat by-products. Working with the Pennsylvania Biodiesel Producers Group to use this technology greatly reduced the trucks' greenhouse emissions during their first year on the road.

Through onboard technology, the trucks offer access to Web-based services and information. Highmark members are able to convert their information to online accounts, and they can sign up to receive electronic deliveries of their Explanation of Benefits (EOB) and newsletters. Every time a member signed up for this service during the first year, Highmark partnered with the Arbor Day Foundation to plant a tree in that member's name, resulting in 1,200 newly planted trees last year alone. In addition, paper waste was reduced, with a cost savings in printing and postage worth $16,000.

"There are so many things we can do as a corporation to help change the effect we have on the environment," said Phyllis Barber, Highmark sustainability coordinator. "We hope to engage our customers in ways that they can help us to reduce our overall impact to the environment through initiatives like the mobile marketing trucks and e-delivery of EOBs and newsletters from Highmark."

Highmark's commitment to environmental leadership includes a variety of sustainable, eco-friendly, green business projects that are aimed at creating a healthier environment and healthier people. These include a 22,000-square-foot green roof with about 25,000 plants on its Fifth Avenue Place building in downtown Pittsburgh, a LEED-certified Data Center in Hershey, Penn. and the use of certified green seal cleaning supplies in Highmark's facilities.

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