How 5 health systems are pacing on their climate pledges

Many health systems have pledged to change their strategies in order to meet climate goals, some set individually and others as part of a national agenda. Five of the biggest health systems have also made commitments and are chipping away at their goals.

Here are the climate commitments five health systems have made and some of their progress to date:

  1. Renton, Wash.-based Providence has committed to becoming carbon negative by 2030 and reducing its waste consumption by 50 percent. So far, the system has reduced greenhouse gases from anesthetic gas agents by 69 percent, 96 percent of its computer purchases meet Electronic Product Environmental Assessment Tool standards and 26 heath facilities are being powered by 100 percent renewable energy.

  2. Oakland, Calif.-based Kaiser Permanente has committed to President Joe Biden's climate plan to reduce emissions by 50 percent by 2030 and aims to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050. In 2020, the system became the first in the nation to achieve carbon neutrality through using renewable energy, using electric cars and reducing waste. 

  3. Charlotte, N.C.-based Atrium health has also committed to reducing emissions by 50 percent by 2030 and achieving net zero emissions by 2050. So far it has invested more than $12.5 million in energy efficiency projects, including lighting retrofits and energy efficient temperature regulation control strategies in operating suites, helping it surpass a 30 percent energy reduction from the 2012 baseline.

  4. New York City-based Northwell Health also joined other systems in committing to meet the Biden administration's climate goal. Between 2009 to 2011 the system reduced its carbon footprint by 15.6 percent, uses landfill diverting systems and is building solar energy facilities.

  5. St. Louis, Mo.-based Ascension Health has pledged to achieve net zero carbon emissions and zero waste by 2040, as well as reduce greenhouse gas emissions 5 percent and waste by 6 percent by 2023. The system has achieved a 31.6 percent energy reduction since its 2008 baseline through 2021, with 87 percent of food purchased for Ascension hospitals meeting sustainability criteria.

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