The Redwoods Group: A Socially Responsible Commercial Specialty Insurance Company

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Redwoods employees clean up the Neuse River in North Carolina

The Redwoods Group, headquartered in Morrisville, NC, is a privately held, socially responsible commercial specialty insurance company. The business and social mission of The Redwoods Group – whose motto is to Serve Others – is to protect and improve the quality of life in the communities it serves.  The Redwoods Group has built into their foundation strong social and environmental standards for their operations, which has allowed them to create positive social change.

Here are some examples of actions taken by The Redwoods Group to make environmental and social change:

  • Employees spend 40 hours of their work time each year in service to the community, building houses for the working poor, tutoring children in homeless shelters, serving meals at soup kitchens or shaving their heads to raise money for childhood cancer research
  • The Redwoods Group matches most employee gifts to charity with an unlimited match for United Way contributions

Redwoods employee Stephen Dauchert frame raising a Habitat house

  • Redwoods commits to contributing a minimum of 10 percent of pre-tax income to charity every year, without exception
  • In 2006-2007, the firm contributed over 50 percent of its pre-tax profits (about $500,000 each year) to nonprofit organizations throughout the world
  • Redwoods educates and engages employees on the human condition to develop committed citizens of the world
  • The Redwoods Group offers employee incentives for using alternative modes of transportation and will pay employees $30 a month toward the cost of public transportation
  • The company has begun sending customers contracts on CDs. Redwoods has almost completely replaced its paper records with electronic records through an e-filing system that will be the primary method used going forward. For the first time, the firm distributed their annual report electronically via a PDF – they did not print hard copies. As a result, they saved 142,500 sheets of paper and reduced their carbon footprint by 28,500 pounds
  • The Redwoods Group and their building’s property management firm work with Green Plus-certified Bland Landscaping for grounds management
  • Redwoods joined Carbonrally which is an online competition to reduce carbon emissions, and has already reduced 37.15 tons of carbonA group of Redwoods employees helped repaint the YMCA in Cedar Rapids, IA after it was damaged by flooding.  From left to right: Judy Guss, Steve Kehoe, Bruce Siebold, and David Hall

Here is what MJ Pearle, Public Relations and Community Outreach Manager, from The Redwoods Group had to say about their experience with Green Plus:

What inspired you to join Green Plus?

Our CEO has long embraced sustainability, so when we heard about the launch of Green Plus we wanted to support it financially and become one of the first Green Plus companies here. The Redwoods Group Foundation provided a grant to help launch Green Plus and recently agreed to give Green Plus a business loan to help move this effort to Chambers of Commerce across the nation.

What were some easy changes you were able to make to improve your sustainability?

Because we rent office space and don’t own our building we felt we couldn’t control many of the energy issues included on the Green Plus application.  So we met with reps of our property management firm and discovered that they

implemented green efforts of which we weren’t aware.  These included carefully examining utility bills, collecting rain water to re-use to water plants and hiring a landscaping company that is Green Plus certified.

Do you plan to make additional modifications to become even more sustainable, even though you are already certified?

Redwoods employee Dan Baum in Zambia helping build Habitat houses

Yes. We committed to develop written goals to reduce energy consumption and draft an environmental policy, among other efforts. We offer free coffee to employees and we currently are testing a new coffee machine that is “green.” We rent office space and the Green Plus effort was one

of several factors that led us to commit to move to a new “green” office building that currently is being built in downtown Durham by Greenfire Development. Greenfire is a member of the U.S. Green Building Council, which oversees the LEED Green

Building Rating system, which is the green standard in building.

Would you recommend this program to other businesses?

Yes!

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