Highlights include updates to the White House/HHS Health Sector Climate Pledge and bilateral collaboration on developing procurement guidance
(Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt) – A U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) delegation to the United Nations Climate Conference (COP27) announced that more than 100 health care organizations have signed the White House/HHS Health Sector Climate Pledge to meet bold targets for emissions reduction and climate resilience. The delegation also described plans to collaborate with the National Health Service (NHS) of England on developing proposals for aligned procurement requirements as part of a larger update on progress and future plans.
“After meeting massive demands during the pandemic, health care organizations are again stepping up to the plate to address the threats of climate change,” said Secretary of Health and Human Services Xavier Becerra. “The organizations that signed the Pledge are demonstrating to the health sector that climate smart investments are not only possible, but are becoming standard for the industry.”
Last year, HHS joined the COP26 Health Programme and committed to supporting the development of a climate resilient and low-carbon health sector. In the year that has followed, the Biden-Harris Administration has introduced a series of initiatives and resources to protect the health of people living in the U.S. from climate change.
On Earth Day 2022, the White House and HHS launched the Health Sector Climate Pledge, a voluntary commitment to climate resilience and emissions reduction that includes cutting greenhouse gas emissions by 50 percent by 2030 and achieving net zero emissions by 2050. Since then, 102 organizations representing 837 hospitals have signed the Pledge. In addition to hospitals, these stakeholders include health centers, suppliers, insurance companies, group purchasing organizations, pharmaceutical companies, and more. Federal systems like the Indian Health Service (IHS), Veterans Health Administration (VHA), and Military Health System (MHS) are working together to meet goals similar to those the private sector organizations have embraced. Combined, this means that over 1,080 federal and private sector hospitals have made such commitments, together representing over 15% of U.S. hospitals.
Today, the HHS delegation also announced a joint plan with NHS England to collaborate on a proposal to align procurement requirements as much as possible. This reflects both nations’ understanding of the significant contribution of the supply chain to the high emissions from the health care sector (an estimated 8.5.% of emissions in the United States). Initial meetings between the nations will occur between now and Earth Day 2023 with an intent to align guidance as much as possible by COP28. Other nations will be invited to join these conversations.
“HHS returns this year to COP27 to report great progress,” said ADM Rachel Levine, the Assistant Secretary for Health. “Through the efforts of the Office of Climate Change and Health Equity and several other HHS agencies, we have made significant strides in introducing resources and supports to help communities and care providers accelerate their work to reduce harmful emissions and increase climate resilience in the health sector. We see great promise in the combined force of international and domestic action to combat the global health threat of climate change.”
White House/HHS Health Sector Climate pledge signatories:
Health Systems, Hospitals and Other Providers
AdventHealth, Advocate Aurora Health, Advocate Children’s Hospital, AltaMed Health Services Corporation, Ascension, Aspirus Health, Atlantic Health System, Atrium Health, Baystate Health, Berkshire Health Systems, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Boston Children’s Hospital, Boston Medical Center, Care Alliance Health Center, CentraState Healthcare System, Cherokee Health Systems, Children’s National Hospital, Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, ChristianaCare, CommonSpirit Health, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, DaVita, Englewood Health, Gillette Children’s, Greater Lawrence Family Health Center, Gundersen Health System, Hackensack Meridian Health, HealthPartners, Henry Ford Health, HonorHealth, Kaiser Permanente, Keck Medicine of USC, Kedren Health, Legacy Health, Mass General Brigham, Memorial Health Services (MemorialCare), Montefiore, Mount Sinai Health System, Nebraska Medicine, Northern Arizona Healthcare, Northwell Health, NYC Health + Hospitals, NYU Langone Health, OhioHealth, OLE Health, Oregon Health & Science University, Providence Health, Rush University System for Health, RWJBarnabas Health, Seattle Children’s Hospital, Southcoast Health, SSM Health, Stanford Children’s Health, Stanford Health Care, Stanford Health Care Tri-Valley, Steward Health Care System, Stony Brook University Hospital, Sun River Health, The Valley Health System, Tufts Medicine, University Medical Center of El Paso, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, University of California Health, University of Nebraska Medical Center, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, University of Utah Health, UW Medicine, Valley Children’s Healthcare, WellSpan Health, Western Wisconsin Health
Other Industry Organizations
AmerisourceBergen, Anthem, AstraZeneca, Biogen, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts, Blue Shield of California, Blue Zone Technologies, Cardinal Health, Chiesi Group, Daniels Health, Excellus Health, GE HealthCare, GSK, MindClick, Inc., NewGen Surgical, Owens & Minor, Pfizer, Philips, Premier, Inc., Sanofi, Vizient, WCM Waste and Compliance Management
Associations, Nonprofits and Technical Assistance Organizations
American College of Physicians (NJ), Association of American Medical Colleges, Children’s Hospital Association, ecoAmerica, Health Care Without Harm, Kimball Sustainable Healthcare, Mazzetti, My Green Lab, National Academy of Medicine, The Joint Commission
*Organizations that signed in the second phase of the Pledge (June 30 – October 28) are italicized, while those who signed in the first phase (April 22 – June 10) are in unitalicized text.
Resources and Supports:
Notable HHS actions from the last year to support healthcare sector stakeholders include:
- Publishing resources including a regular Climate and Health Outlook and Primer on Measures and Actions for Healthcare Organizations to Mitigate Climate Change.
- Convening a Climate Change and Health Equity Working Group and Federal Health System Learning Network, a collaboration of the Office of Climate Change and Health Equity and federal health systems providers (e.g., IHS, VHA, MHS).
- Creating a webinar series and associated compendium of federal resources to support emissions reduction and climate resilience.
- Offering supports to individuals, families and communities as they manage the challenge presented by climate change, including $4.5 billion in Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) funds announced in November.
- The introduction of supports to states and cities to protect at-risk populations from climate impacts through initiatives like the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Climate-Ready States and Cities Initiative.