ARCRA Webinar: American Red Cross Responds to the Climate Crisis

09/30/2022 10:49 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

There is clear scientific evidence that climate change is occurring. These changes — caused in part by human behavior — are already resulting in more frequent and intense weather events. If left unabated, this will place an unprecedented burden on families and on the resilience of communities.  Climate change is a humanitarian crisis. Every day, the American Red Cross sees the heartbreak of families and communities trying to cope with more intense storms, heavier rainfall, higher temperatures, stronger hurricanes and more devastating wildfires. And for the vulnerable communities who are disproportionately impacted by the increased and virtually chronic frequency of these events, help cannot come soon enough.

Those retirees who have been responding to recent disasters as Red Cross volunteers or FEMA staff have noticed that the storms are bigger and more destructive. Red Cross has been on the ground responding to the fires out West continuously for the last few years. Communities on the Gulf Coast of Florida were destroyed by Hurricane Ian. These more frequent and intense storms are the result of climate change. Red Crossers are helping vulnerable communities that are disproportionally impacted by these weather events. 

Amanda Ernst, Program Director, Environmental, Societal & Corporate Governance (ESG) & Sustainability  started her career with the Red Cross in 2014 and has served in various roles including Program Director in the Sustainability & ESG office, and a Process Engineer in Biomed. Amanda is focused on workforce engagement and building a culture of ESG and sustainability in the Red Cross and leads key environmental footprint reduction initiatives. Over the years she has implemented various programs to reduce waste including the Red Cross Employee App, which eliminated several paper-based processes and has 700,000+ logins per month.

Amanda  updated attendees on Red Cross is reducing its carbon footprint and increasing investment in sustainability. While ESG is common in business, Red Cross is one of the first nonprofits to seriously implement it and will be issuing its ESG report shortly.  Red Cross is building the organization’s resilience and the resilience of people and communities by adapting mission delivery and growing  operational capacity to address the heightened impacts and quickened pace of disasters. 

Starting with the Red Cross’ carbon footprint for FY19 for fleet and facilities, the footprint estimate is equivalent to over 143 million pounds coal burned or more than 300,000 barrels of oil consumed. To offset the Red Cross carbon footprint for just one year would take more than 2 million new trees grown for 10 years. Amanda talked about the transition to electric or hybrid vehicles, improving the energy efficiency of facilities, and building a culture of ESG and sustainability at Red Cross. Amanda stressed that this is just the start as work continues to evaluate each program of Red Cross and implement environmental footprint reduction initiatives.

Using the links below, you can listen to the audio recording of the program much as you would a podcast from your phone or computer or watch the video recording of the webinar.



Amanda provided these links for additional information:

1.  Red Cross statement on Climate Change

2.  Bright Ideas Survey –share ideas for how the American Red Cross can be more sustainable.

3.. On September 28, the Office of ESG and Sustainability hosted  an informal conversation with Bill Nye, the renowned science educator and host and executive producer of “The End is Nye.”  You can watch the recording of Bill Nye talking about sustainability and climate change with Red Crossers.

4. Click here to read the American Red Cross Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) Report.

Amanda also invited folks to contact her directly with thoughts, feedback and comments at!

431 18th St, NW, Washington, DC 2006  PO Box 1581  .  Vienna, VA 22180
Tel: 202-303-8779. ARCRA & Retiree Connection

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