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AAA in Early Stages on Road Toward Sustainability

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AAA was founded over 100 years ago for the purpose of lobbying for driver and passenger rights, fair laws, and safer vehicles—all to better promote the love of the open road and the adventure of driving. Since then, AAA has grown to over 60 million members strong, while providing valuable membership services such as roadside assistance. Additionally, AAA has broadened its horizons to include all types of travel-related services, as well as offer a variety of insurance and financial products and services. Today’s AAA is a national federation comprised of 30 clubs throughout the United States and Canada.

As large as AAA is, I was curious to know how “green” the organization is. First, for travelers AAA notes with a green “ECO” icon those properties that are not necessarily certified green but that have green or eco initiatives brought up in the data collection portion of their evaluation. “…a property or inspector may inquire about such programs and award based on processes or awards currently in place,” says Mark Jenkins, Public Relations Manager, Florida, Puerto Rico & U.S. Virgin Islands, AAA—The Auto Club Group.

I did a test to see just how many properties have the ECO icon. I did a search on “New York City,” and it produced just 13 properties. Boston, the home of Boston Green Tourism? No results found. Las Vegas? Twenty-four. Not too bad. Orlando? A total of 104! What is clear here is there are certainly inconsistencies from one market to another regarding how many eyeballs are looking for green practices.

First-Ever Sustainability Report

AAA did produce a 30-page 2021 Sustainability Report. It is AAA’s first such report. AAA established its Office of Sustainability in 2021, has a Senior Vice President, Office of Sustainability, has a Sustainability Team, and partnered with a leading firm to assess its baseline greenhouse gas inventory and establish its sustainability priorities.

Because AAA just started its Scope 1, 2 & 3 emissions measurements in 2021, there is no way to show progress yet but it is good news that it at least began calculating its greenhouse gas emissions footprint.

AAA is doing good things to reduce its energy consumption, conserve water, and reduce waste. Ever had to call AAA to have your battery replaced? I have. Turns out AAA’s battery program completes half a million replacements on an annualized basis. When batteries are beyond their useful lives, they are returned to a company that breaks down the old batteries into their individual components like metal, plastic, and lead acid. These materials are then recycled and used to build new vehicle batteries, making this a closed-loop process.

In Support of EVs

AAA offer electric vehicle (EV) charging stations at multiple locations. “Our AAA Roadside Assistance offers amenities to members driving electric vehicles who may run low on their battery charge,” AAA says.

Other AAA highlights:

  • In 2021, it announced a partnership with New Day Hydrogen to lead the way in bringing hydrogen powered trucks and consumer vehicles to Colorado.
  • As part of its digital transformation, AAA continues to offer more digital self-service options. For example, all 2021 tour books were offered in a digital format to members.
  • AAA partners with several organizations and projects, which offer employees a choice of volunteer opportunities. Ambassador events are designed to help individuals who are less fortunate, to improve communities and the environment, and otherwise promote the public good by supporting nonprofit organizations.
  • The Office of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion’s (DE&I) Strategic Plan reflects the vision of the Board and executive leadership team to promote DE&I across the organization for the benefit of members, insureds, employees, and local communities.
  • ACG requires biennial Code of Conduct training for all employees starting at the time of hire or engagement.
  • From an environmental perspective, moving forward, AAA will create a more sustainable footprint by reducing the emissions that it generates across all of its locations. AAA will buy alternative energy vehicles to minimize its climate impacts from internal combustion vehicles. AAA will actively work to understand climate change impacts on its members and its business.

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