Providence joins Biden Administration pledge to decarbonize health care sector, make facilities resilient to climate change
Providence to participate in White House pledge on June 30, 2022
(RENTON, Wash. June 30, 2022) – Providence, a not-for-profit health system serving the Western U.S., joined the Biden Administration for a White House event on June 30 with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). Ali Santore, Providence’s chief advocacy and social responsibility officer, and industry colleagues joined to pledge meaningful action to decarbonize the health care sector and make health care facilities more resilient to the effects of climate change.
Providence has committed to meet the Biden administration’s climate goal of reducing emissions by 50 percent by 2030 and achieving net zero emissions by 2050. The health system is already taking steps to reduce its climate impacts. The White House event will offer a sector-wide display of cooperation between Providence, its private sector peers and federal health systems.
The Providence family of organizations’ goal is to become carbon negative by 2030 and reduce its waste consumption by 50 percent. Additionally the organization developed the WE ACT framework to organize, mobilize, track, and report its greenhouse gas reduction efforts.
“As part of our vision of health for a better world, Providence is making meaningful changes that are resulting in significant progress toward our goals,” said Santore. “Already, two of our hospitals have met our 50 percent waste reduction goal and 26 of our healthcare facilities are powered by 100 percent renewable electricity. Across our seven states we’ve seen a reduction in greenhouse gases from anesthetic agents by 69 percent. More than 80 percent of our electronic purchases meet EPEAT standards, we have seen a 67 percent reduction in business travel, and we are committed to moving our fleet to electric vehicles over the next five years. The current crisis calls for us to act boldly and with compassion. We are doing so by helping to care for our common home, ensuring equity today, and passing a healthy planet to the generations of tomorrow.”
In September 2021, 200 medical journals named climate change the number one threat to global public health. Millions of people living in the United States already experience associated harm —with disproportionate impacts on disadvantaged and underserved communities—through more frequent and intense periods of extreme heat, wildfires, flooding, vector-borne diseases and other factors that worsen chronic health conditions.
The Office of Climate Change and Health Equity (OCCHE), part of HHS under the Assistant Secretary for Health, developed the health sector climate pledge in conjunction with the White House to help focus industry response to climate change. In addition to reducing their carbon footprint, signatories also commit to producing detailed plans to build climate resilience for their facilities and the communities they serve.
The June 30th White House event will include leaders from companies and organizations representing hundreds of hospitals and numerous health centers, as well as pharmaceutical companies, medical device-makers, suppliers and group purchasing organizations. The health care sector accounts for approximately 8.5 percent of U.S. domestic climate-warming emissions.
“Public health decisions have to be based on the realities of climate change, and we all need to do more to make that happen at the national level,” said ADM Rachel Levine, the Assistant Secretary for Health. “We’re seeing right now what extreme temperatures and more severe storms can do to human health, environmental quality and our physical infrastructure. It’s great to see so many different companies and organizations come together to decarbonize and become partners in protecting human health from climate change. Today’s announcement is just the beginning of a longer ongoing effort with partners from across the medical sector, which is exactly the kind of big response we need as a country.”
For more information about how Providence is responding to our nation’s climate challenges, visit Providence.org.
Providence is a national, not-for-profit Catholic health system comprising a diverse family of organizations and driven by a belief that health is a human right. With 52 hospitals, over 1,000 physician clinics, senior services, supportive housing, and many other health and educational services, the health system and its partners employ nearly 120,000 caregivers serving communities across seven states – Alaska, California, Montana, New Mexico, Oregon, Texas, and Washington, with system offices in Renton, Wash., and Irvine, Calif. Learn about our vision of health for a better world at Providence.org.
About the Office of Climate Change and Health Equity
The Office of Climate Change and Health Equity (OCCHE) plays a vital role in protecting the nation’s health from climate change-related risks, including extreme heat, natural disasters, vector-borne diseases and more. OCCHE is looking forward to providing technical supports to companies that wish to reduce their environmental impact and become more resilient to the impacts of climate change, setting national health goals and objectives and supporting programs, services, and education activities that improve the health of all Americans. OCCHE is part of the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Health (OASH) within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. To learn more about OCCHE visit https://www.hhs.gov/ash/ocche/index.html.