Health systems on road to zero emissions

  • US & Canada

Health Care Without Harm was selected as the health care partner for Race to Zero, a global campaign to rally companies, cities, regions, financial, and educational institutions to take rigorous and immediate action to halve global emissions by 2030 and deliver a healthier, fairer zero-carbon world.

Coming on the heels of the release of our Global Road Map for Health Care Decarbonization, Health Care Without Harm joined Gonzalo Muñoz, United Nations High-Level Climate Champion, to announce the first group of hospitals and health systems joining the Race to Zero campaign.

Watch the launch of the Race to Zero campaign for health care on May 26.

Health care institutions throughout 18 countries, have made public commitments to halving emissions by 2030 and reaching net zero by no later than 2050 to meet Race to Zero’s stringent criteria. U.S. health institutions joining the Race to Zero include Health Care Climate Council members Providence, University of California Davis Health, and University of Vermont Medical Center. 

In committing to Race to Zero, the three U.S. health systems join a cross-sectoral effort to address the full scope of emissions, including those they directly control and emissions that come from their supply chain. Emissions from the supply chain account for 70% of the global health care sector footprint. Such emissions include the production, transport, and disposal of goods and services, such as pharmaceuticals and other chemicals, food and agricultural products, medical devices, hospital equipment, and instruments. Health care represents 18% of the U.S. GDP and health systems can use their significant purchasing power to buy products that are low-carbon, non-toxic, reusable or recyclable, and durable. They can buy local from people of color- and women-owned businesses, which helps build local economies for climate resilience.

“Our Climate Council members commit to implement innovative climate solutions, inspire and support others to act, and use their trusted voice and purchasing power to move policy and markets to drive the transformation to climate-smart health care,” said Jessica Wolff, U.S. director of Climate and Health at Health Care Without Harm. “I applaud Providence, University of California Davis Health, and University of Vermont Medical Center for joining health systems around the world in the Race to Zero inaugural health care cohort. There is great momentum in health care to find shared solutions to the COVID and climate crises, and committing to decarbonize as part of a cross-sectoral movement for a healthy, resilient, zero-carbon recovery is an important step.”