Kaiser recognized as carbon-neutral health system

Oakland, Calif.-based Kaiser Permanente has achieved carbon-neutral status, the health system said Sept. 14. 

The designation recognizes that Kaiser was certified as carbon neutral by the CarbonNeutral Protocol and has eliminated its 800,000-ton annual carbon footprint. It is the first U.S. health system to achieve this status, according to Health Care Without Harm

"As wildfires rage across the Western U.S., we can all see that the health impacts of climate change are not abstract or far in the future — they are here today, and they disproportionately impact the most vulnerable among us," Greg Adams, chairman and CEO of Kaiser, said in a news release. "We must recognize, for example, that the pollution that leads to respiratory illnesses and is linked to higher mortality rates from COVID-19 disproportionately impacts Black and low-income communities. In order to create a healthier, more sustainable path forward, we must address the inseparable issues of climate and human health as one."

Kaiser's carbon-neutral certification applies to direct carbon emissions from sources the organization owns or controls as well as carbon emissions attributable to the electricity used by Kaiser, the organization said. The certification also applies to select carbon emissions from sources Kaiser does not directly own or control, including corporate travel.

To achieve carbon-neutral status, Kaiser said it improved energy efficiency in its facilities, installed on-site solar power and bought new renewable energy generation. The organization said it subsequently invested in carbon offsets to counter unavoidable emissions from the natural gas power used at Kaiser hospitals. 

Kaiser is targeting an additional emissions reductions goal in 2021.

 

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