Activating Civic Leadership

[From Washington Monthly] In the fall of 2015, the Boston Medical Center announced its plan to become the city’s “greenest” hospital. As the Boston Globe reported, the hospital set aggressive goals for reducing its emissions by investing in energy efficiency, while also improving its bottom line. Today, Boston Medical, which is New England’s largest trauma center focused on caring for the city’s most vulnerable populations, has put itself on a path to reduce emissions at least 50 percent by 2018 and to reduce its average annual energy costs by $8 million to 11 million dollars. “Every dollar spent on energy is a dollar not spent on our mission,” Bob Biggio, the hospital’s vice president of facilities and support services told the Globe. “It is really helping us fulfill our mission.”

Boston Medical’s effort, while ambitious, is not unique. In fact, the hospital is one of 20 Boston-area hospitals and health systems that are working together to reduce their carbon emissions and energy consumption as part of Boston’s “Green Ribbon Commission,” a groundbreaking effort created and supported by the Barr Foundation, the City of Boston, and other philanthropic partners to catalyze the fight against climate change on a broad scale.

Made up of Boston’s leading business, institutional, and civic leaders, the Commission was originally conceived as a watchdog group that would hold the City accountable for making progress on its Climate Action Plan. Yet, it quickly evolved into a center for action as well. Commission members have shown remarkable leadership in their own sectors to reduce emissions, by investing in energy efficiency and clean energy. And they have also become actively engaged in important policy debates related to energy, transportation, and climate resiliency. (Continue reading)