Environmental Stewardship: WE ACT for Transportation

February 4, 2021 Beth Schenk










Our WE ACT framework outlines five focus areas that will make a big impact on our overall environmental footprint and help us become carbon negative by 2030. In this article, we’ll look at reducing harmful transportation-related emissions in our operations and practices.

Finding ways to reduce greenhouse gases  

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, burning fossil fuels like gasoline and diesel releases carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas, into the atmosphere. In fact, greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from transportation account for about 28 percent of total U.S. GHG emissions, making it the largest contributor.

Whether it’s jet fuel used to travel across state lines for an event, gasoline used to commute to work every day, or diesel burned transporting supplies across the country, Providence is carefully assessing our transportation-related practices to identify a more strategic and environmentally responsible approach.

System-wide efforts

Reducing GHG emissions from transportation is critical to achieving carbon negativity by 2030. Here are some of the ways we’re helping reduce transportation-related emissions:


Our goal is to reduce emissions associated with employee transportation by 2 percent in 2021. The onset of COVID-19 last spring accelerated plans to increase telework for caregivers. Now, just a few short months later, many of our caregivers have become incredibly savvy at collaborating virtually via Microsoft Teams. Looking into the future, Providence is evaluating hybrid work options and office space utilization for when it’s safe for caregivers to return to an office setting. While the pandemic fast-tracked an increase in telework options, the reduction in employee commuting we’ve seen over the past year is a positive step toward reducing transportation-related emissions.

Business travel

While COVID-19 has temporarily brought business travel to a halt, Providence is evaluating opportunities for “greener travel” in 2021. This includes a new partnership with American Express, which will enable better emissions data tracking— including actual gallons of fuel consumed—associated with flights and car rentals.

Supply chain

The distance products and supplies must travel to reach our care facilities is another way transportation impacts our carbon footprint. To be more strategic about transportation within our supply chain, we are working with a key distributor on truck travel and distribution to gauge an emissions baseline, so we can identify immediate opportunities for improvement.

Local accomplishments

From bike subsidies to leveraging commute management platforms, our caregivers are finding practical ways to reduce transportation-related emissions at the local and regional level.


Related resources

About the Author

Beth Schenk is the executive director of environmental stewardship for Providence, leading a cross-functional commitment to reduce operational pollution while addressing environmental justice and climate resilience in the communities we serve. Beth has been a Providence caregiver for over 30 years. From serving as an ICU nurse at St. Patrick in Missoula to leading nursing research across the Providence organization, Beth has nurtured her passion for environmental care. Her first successful recycling project was over 25 years ago. Since then she has led Montana’s award-winning Green 4 Good program. She co-founded Providence’s first regional environmental stewardship council. She has co-led a system-wide monthly meeting on environmental stewardship since 2008.

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