Health Care

Blog | A Sustainable Health Future in South Africa

The health sector is taking leadership for a sustainable future in Africa, as hospitals reduce the financial and health costs of energy

Source: groundWork - Newsletter June 2015

Over the past few years it has become clearer that human activities are increasing the amount of carbon in the atmosphere. We continue to burn fossil fuels – coal, oil and gas – to satisfy our thirst for energy. This in turn has contributed significantly to the amount of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, particularly carbon dioxide. According to a recent scary statistic reported by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), over 200 years carbon dioxide, the major greenhouse gas responsible for climate change, has increased by 30%.

The UNFCCC have held a series of annual meetings aimed at stabilizing the greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere at levels that would prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system. Carbon dioxide is causing our planet to warm up, and if left unchecked will lead to catastrophic effects on our environment and health. The UNFCCC Conference of parties (CoP) process is working towards securing a legally-binding global climate agreement on curbing carbon emissions, to be made at CoP21 in December 2015 in Paris, with a binding effect from 2020. In April 2015, the GGHH's initiative launched the 2020 Health Care Climate Challenge (HCCC), encouraging the health sector to reduce their carbon footprint and protect public health from climate change. Over twenty leading health care institutions from across the globe have already pledged to take meaningful action on climate change, by reducing their carbon emissions and therefore kicking off a worldwide campaign to mobilize hospitals and health systems to address humanity's most pressing problem.

In Africa, the Western Cape Government Health Department, which is already a member of GGHH, has pledged to the 2020 HCCC, specifically committing to "reducing its carbon footprint from energy consumption at government hospitals in the Western Cape Province… by 10% in 2020 and 30% in 2030 based on the 2005 levels, which amounts to saving about 15000 tonnes of carbon dioxide annually." This demonstrates the department's leadership in promoting a sustainable future, as they are beginning to recognise that they need to look beyond the immediacy of the doctor-patient relationship to incorporate a more global vision of environmental health.

Our hope is that within the next year or so, this will inspire other health systems and hospitals in the region to make similar commitments. As health professionals, the mandate is to prevent and cure disease, so it is necessary to lead by example and encourage others to change their own practices and policies that affect a healthy and sustainable environment.

Sustainability coordinators going global

Africa Health Congress, which is one of the continent's largest healthcare exhibitions and the leading platform for the industry to learn and connect, recently concluded its fourth congress, which took place at the Gallagher Convention Centre in Johannesburg between the 5th and 6th of May 2015. The exhibition attracted more than 7 000 healthcare professionals and hosted 500 of the world's leading healthcare suppliers, manufacturers and service providers. Thousands of new healthcare products, equipment and services were showcased by the main players in the industry. Africa Health provided an opportunity for participants to see the latest technologies on display and test them out, all under one roof.

Africa health Congress had ten parallel conferences, of which the Public Health Conference was one. The objectives of the Public Health Conference were to: explore the link between the quality of healthcare services and universal health coverage; discover South Africa's plan towards eliminating malaria; review regional and international approaches to the Ebola outbreak; evaluate the need for good leadership, implementation and management strategies; and discuss the global burden of NonCommunicable Diseases. Two GGHH Sustainability Coordinators – representing Khayelitsha Hospital and Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Stellenbosch University – presented their case studies. This was hugely signifi cant as it propelled the practice of the GGHH initiative in South Africa onto a global platform.

The green hospital contingent included the Support Service Manager from Khayelitsha Hospital, Mrs. Annelene Du Plessis, and Dr. Eben Mouton, lecturer in the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Stellenbosch University. We presented under the theme of "Leadership and Universal Health Coverage" and our session was moderated by Julia Moorman, President of the Public Health Association of South Africa (PHASA) and Dr. Waasila Jassat, Clinical Advisor of the Aurum Institute in Johannesburg. The topics presented were:

  • "Global Green and Healthy Hospital: Global and African overview and context" – Luqman Yesufu.
  • "Energy efficiency and cost saving at Khayelitsha Hospital" – Annelene Du Plessis.
  • "Reduction in energy usage at the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Stellenbosch University" – Eben Mouton.
August 7, 2015Global

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India | Petition to Clean Up the Mercury Poisoning in Kodaikanal


Malarkodi was exposed to mercury poisoning, along with a thousand others at Unilever's Kodaikanal thermometer assembly plant. The factory operators did not give its workers any protective equipment or information about the disastrous impact that mercury has on health.

The factory owned by Hindustan Unilever also dumped toxic mercury around their plant, and this has not been cleaned up in the 14 years since this plant was shut down. The contamination continues to impact forests and groundwater.

The workers cannot afford private healthcare. They have been fighting for Unilever to clean up the toxic contamination and compensate them for their medical expenses as a result of mercury for many long years. They need us to stand with them now, more than ever.

Paul Polman, Unilever's CEO, prides himself in heading a company that he says is accountable to its workers, and to the environment.

Let's ask him to put his words into practice by asking him to clean up his company's toxic mess and to compensate the workers who have lost their health and in some cases, their children, to Unilever's unethical practices. As the global CEO, he has the power and resources to either take unilateral action or pressure Hindustan Unilever – a Unilever subsidy – to take immediate action itself. 

Sign the petition asking for Unilever to clean up the mercury poisoning in Kodaikanal:

Watch the video that takes an undisguised jab at Unilever for its failure to clean up mercury contamination or compensate workers affected by its thermometer factory in Kodaikanal. 


August 3, 2015Global

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Lancet Releases Major Health and Climate Change Report

The Lancet published a new report, 2015 Lancet Commission on Health and Climate Change: Policy Responses to Protect Public Health. An update to the landmark 2009 Lancet Commission report, this new report argues that tackling climate change could be the greatest global health opportunity of the 21st century.

Examining the latest data, the report finds that the health risks of climate change are unacceptably high, even potentially catastrophic for human survival. However, the report goes on to show that efforts to mitigate or adapt to this threat will have a direct benefit to human health, saving lives and improving the quality of life for individuals worldwide.

How we achieve this global health opportunity, the report continues, is no longer a technological or economic question – it is a political one. The report recommends that a strong international agreement, focused on moving towards a global low-carbon economy, will be critical to protect human health. 

The Role of the Health Sector and the 2020 Health Care Climate Challenge

The Lancet Commission Report on Health and Climate Change  remarks that “by moving toward low carbon health systems, health care can mitigate its own climate impact, become more resilient to the impacts of climate change, save money and lead by example.”  Indeed, working with health care to reduce its own emissions helps set the stage to engage health care’s moral, political and economic clout in addressing climate change.

2020 low res logo no gghh

2020 Health Care Climate Challenge, a global initiative that is bringing together leading hospitals and health systems from every continent to announce their commitment to measurably reducing their own carbon footprint.  The initiative is designed to garner commitments, measure footprint reduction and simultaneously forge long-term health care leadership in advocacy for climate mitigation to protect public health.  

As of June 2015, the 2020 Challenge currently has 26 participants, representing 1190 hospitals and health care facilities in 11 countries. 

June 23, 2015Global

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WHO-HCWH Collaboration Moves to New Phase

From 2008- 2014, WHO and HCWH collaborated in a global initiative aimed at demonstrating the feasibility of phasing out of mercury-based thermometers and sphygmomanometers in health care and their substitution with accurate, economically viable alternatives. 

A component of the UNEP Mercury Products Partnership, the Mercury-Free Health Care Initiative ( achieved significant success in raising awareness among ministries of health, health systems and thousands of hospitals on every continent that it is possible to develop and implement policies and procedures to make the switch away from mercury.

This work provided an instrumental input into the Minamata Convention on Mercury negotiations because it showed that substituting mercury containing measuring devices in health care could be done/was achievable.

Now that the Minamata Convention is in place (including articles that require phase-out of the manufacture, import and export of mercury-thermometers and blood pressure devices by 2020), countries now need to develop and implement national, health-system wide strategies and programmes to phase out the import, manufacture and export of such devices.

Building upon lessons learned from Mercury Free Health, WHO and HCWH will continue with its commitment to work toward full implementation of the Minamata Convention and its target to phase-out mercury-based medical devices by the year 2020.   We will do so by working with governments, health systems, hospitals and health professionals, and providing technical expertise to support the transition. Care Initiative, WHO and HCWH are moving into a new phase of work and collaboration to help support countries in these efforts.

For instance, HCWH is currently working on a UNEP funded project with our partners in Brazil and South Africa to foster mercury-substitution in health care.  In addition, in 2015-17, HCWH will be engaging in a UNDP-led four country Global Environment Facility project in Africa, in which, together with WHO, we will serve as a Principle Cooperating Agency.   This project will foster sustainable health care waste management and mercury substitution in health care in Ghana, Tanzania, Zambia and Madagascar.

A major HCWH vehicle to achieve Mercury Free Healthcare by 2020 will be our Global Green and Healthy Hospitals Network -- a worldwide network of institutions representing the interests of more than 12,000 hospitals and health centers on every continent.   GGHH will continue to provide a series of tools and resources to support mercury substitution--- including an online community of experts to advise hospitals and health systems, a forthcoming chemicals substitution guidance document, and more.   

An archive of the  website can be found here.

June 3, 2015Global

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Governments Recognize Air Pollution’s Threat to Human Health

World Health Assembly's Air Pollution Resolution is a Small First Step

The world's governments took an important step forward in recognizing air pollution as a major threat to human health, by issuing a resolution at the World Health Assembly in Geneva this week. The resolution mandates greater engagement by the World Health Organization to address a problem responsible for one out of eight deaths worldwide.

The passage of this resolution marks a significant milestone in the global consensus among health leaders that air pollution has serious and costly health consequences, and therefore requires urgent action on the part of the health sector worldwide. It follows the WHO's finding that air pollution exposure caused 7 million premature deaths in 2012, more than twice the death toll from HIV/AIDS, malaria, and tuberculosis combined.

At the same time however, governments at the World Health Assembly were unwilling or unable to address the single most significant source of both outdoor air pollution and climate change: society's dependence on fossil fuels, particularly the combustion of coal for energy generation.

"The resolution is an important step forward in that it will raise consciousness in the health sector and empower WHO to more robustly address the problem,” said Josh Karliner, Director of Global Projects at Health Care Without Harm. “But it is only a small step at a time when we urgently need to take a giant leap to protect public health from both air pollution and climate change."

The magnitude and urgency of the problem continues to far outweigh the scale of the action. Earlier this month, an International Monetary Fund (IMF) report found that "subsidies," or societal costs of fossil fuels worldwide surpassed all health spending globally, amounting to U.S. $5.3 trillion, or 6.5% of global GDP. The IMF found that ending these subsidies would slash the number of premature deaths from outdoor air pollution by 55%, or about 1.6 million lives a year. Moving away from coal, they found, would account for a 93% share of this reduction.

Coal also accounts for one-quarter of all greenhouse gas emissions, so a transition away from coal would also protect public health from climate change. Yet the health benefits of transitioning from fossil fuels were not mentioned in the resolution.

"Solar and wind power are increasingly cost-competitive with fossil fuels in today's economy," said Karliner. "When you take the health costs and benefits of different energy choices into account, clean, renewable energy emerges the winner, hands down."

A year from now, WHO plans to propose a roadmap for an enhanced global health sector response to address the adverse health effects of air pollution.

"We hope that the WHO roadmap can help chart a global transition away from fossil fuels and towards clean, healthy renewable energy," said Dr. Renzo Guinto, Healthy Energy Initiative for Health Care Without Harm Asia.

The global health community has created an impressive Global Fund to deal with HIV/AIDS, malaria and TB,” said Dr. Guinto, "it needs to generate similar ambition to address the causes and consequences of air pollution."

About the Healthy Energy Initiative

The Healthy Energy Initiative, a program of Health Care Without Harm, is a global network of health professionals, academics, and organizations calling for a shift from coal and other fossil fuels, to clean, renewable, healthy energy. For more on the Healthy Energy Initiative’s response to the World Health Assembly air pollution resolution, visit


May 28, 2015Global

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Earthquake Relief | HCWH Helps Strategic Partner in Nepal

Ruth Stringer, Health Care Without Harm's Science and Policy Coordinator, has traveled to Nepal to help Health Care Foundation Nepal (HECAF). 

HCWH has collaborated with HECAF for the past eight years to build sustainable health care waste management systems in hospitals across one of the world’s most impoverished countries.

Through this blog posts, Ruth is sharing daily news on her journey related to the situation of the hospitals in the country, their waste treatment systems and her experience traveling around Nepal with Mahesh Nakarmi, director of the Healthcare Waste Management Program of HECAF. HCWH has also established an emergency fund to support HECAF:

  • Provide direct relief for HECAF staff and other colleagues who have lost homes and loved ones.
  • Keep sustainable healthcare waste management systems running in Nepal.
  • Provide disaster relief that builds a green, resilient health care system for the future.

The Skoll Foundation has already pledged $25,000 to this fund as a match. In other words, make a tax-deductible contribution, and your money is immediately doubled! To donate now, click here!


Tuesday, May 12th 2015:

Today another earthquake hit the Himalayas, followed by at least 2 significant aftershocks.

We were out of town, visiting a health post and as the driver felt the shaking and pulled up, some boulders came rolling onto the road about 50 yards behind us. We could see dust rising across the valley from falling buildings or landslides.

Just five minutes earlier we had passed a landslide so big we had to get out and walk so the car was light enough to get over. At the top a bunch of kids were laughing at the passing vehicles and shouting Aayo (literally "coming" as in "the earthquake is coming"). I hope they are still laughing now.

We stopped in the next village and weirdly could see that the tremors were continuing as the steel reinforcing bars in an unfinished building vibrating, even though we could not feel it.

As we drove back to Kathmandu, we could see fresh falls on many of the landslides and collapsed buildings, as well as new falls. Twice more we stopped when there were aftershocks. Back in the city, everyone had left their buildings and congregated in the street, and then traffic picked up as everyone tried to get home, so we waited outside the Waste treatment Center, where there is an outdoor shelter.

Saru (one the HECAF staff persons) and I also visited the Bir Hospital trauma center. They had had about 40 new admissions and one death; another hospital had reported about 65, an hour after the quake. To add to the confusion, some patients had panicked and run from the hospital when they felt the shaking. When we were there, about 3 hours after the first quake, some of them were returning or being brought back in, including one man who the nurses recognized as having "escaped" from intensive care. That is all for now. The latest report I have is of about 45 total deaths. Everyone here is fine, though I have still to check in with some of the guys in the more remote regions.

Now back at the hotel. This part of town, which is usually packed with tourists, is totally shut down and mostly without power. The generator has come on now, but even the kitchen staff are gone so earlier on I raided the kitchen for supper by the light of my mobile phone. At least it is safe. Just about the only other guests are a Japanese earthquake response team and if they are happy here, I don't think there is too much to worry about.

Monday, May 11th 2015:

Today was spent visiting field hospitals and partner hospitals. As before the field hospitals are set up without any waste management. Guidelines for the future are needed.

Some of the hospitals have suffered significant damage, yet manage to keep operational. The main building of the Maternity Hospital has been declared unsafe, and they have had to shift their patients to an old building and one recently constructed for teaching. They have managed to keep 265 beds open, instead of the usual 400. The waste treatment center, which is still under development, is undamaged, and they still plan to go ahead with it and the bio digester as planned. Tomorrow we will go and visit a health post which could be a demonstration for the waste treatment system that WHO is planning.

In general terms, life is starting to return to normal, but the city is still unnaturally quiet. It's not just the tourists that are gone, so have half the population. Many who come from unaffected areas have left for their safety; those whose homes are affected have gone home to help their families.

As well as the demolished buildings, a lot of the damage is barely visible, deep down- the buildings with small cracks that nevertheless need to be rebuilt by people who cannot afford it; the people whose livelihoods are dependent on the absent tourists; those who are traumatized by the event. One person told me they were certain they would die, another that he would rather die than go through another day like that. One of the health posts in one area where the buildings did not collapse said for the first few days, they were mostly treating people for hypertension- including teenagers.

Sunday, May 10th 2015

Saturday is the only non-working day here so Mahesh took me around the city's three Durbar Squares, each badly damaged. We also visited some of the field hospitals. The crisis has mostly passed at these, and there are no great stockpiles of waste, though none had any way to deal with their own waste.

Today started with a meeting at WHO, then the District Public Health Office. As I said before WHO wants to put WASH and waste management into the damaged health posts.

I am arguing for them to address larger facilities too. Interestingly, so is the head of the DPHO- and they are his health posts. Apparently, since a lot of them aren't very good people use private ones instead. So he is also in favor of renovating some of the larger facilities.

While this is worked out (and WHO waits for the word on how much they and get from their application to the OCHA flash appeal), we are going to look at a bunch of the health posts and maybe do demonstrations in 5-10 that are still functional.

Finally, some time at Bir Hospital. The team-especially Poonam and Saraswoti (another one, not Saru), who did not miss a single day- have done a huge job getting things under control. However, the medical staff has completely abandoned the segregation system as they moved over the road to another building. I can understand that for the first week, but they have no excuse now and as the old building has (almost all) been declared safe and they are about to start moving back, it is time to crack the whip and get things back to normal.

Mahesh has been in about three places at once, but he tells me he has been thinking about the fundraising and support for the staff and we can talk more tomorrow. It is very hard to know how to go about it fairly; we're looking at (in the region) of 5k to rebuild a house, and $500 even to get one surveyed, so we can only scratch the surface of the team's problems.

Tomorrow we will go and visit more field hospitals, hospitals, and at least one health post.

May 12, 2015Global

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Nepal Quake Relief | Support HCWH’s Country Partner Health Care Foundation Nepal

HEALTH CARE WITHOUT HARM's PhotoFor the past eight years, HCWH has collaborated the Health Care Foundation Nepal (HECAF) to build sustainable health care waste management systems in hospitals across one of the world’s most impoverished countries.  

In response to last month’s devastating quake, we have established an emergency fund to support HECAF.   The Skoll Foundation has already pledged $25,000 to this fund as a match.  In other words, make a tax-deductible contribution, and your money is immediately doubled!  Your contribution will help:

  • Provide direct relief for HECAF staff who have lost homes and loved ones.
  • Keep sustainable healthcare waste management systems running in Nepal.
  • Provide disaster relief that builds a green, resilient health care system for the future.

HECAF and HCWH are working overtime to protect public health from the aftermath of this unspeakable disaster.

May 7, 2015Global

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Nepal’s Earthquake | Support the Work of the Ambulance Service, Donate Now!

Please help Nepal and its people and donate by clicking here or on the blue Nepal Earthquake Appeal button below!

You will all heave heard of the terrible 7.9-magnitude earthquake that has rocked the south-central Asia on Saturday morning.  

The Himalayan country of Nepal is the worst affected, with at least two thousand dead and the death toll certain to climb as many of the worst affected areas are cut off. 

Many agencies are appealing for aid, but you may not know that amongst them is one of our own.

Damage 4_800Mahesh Nakarmi, diretor of the Healthcare Waste Management Program of Health Care Foundation Nepal, has been working with HCWH since 2008.

HECAF is HCWH's strategic partner in Npeal and a founding member of our Global Green and Healthy Hospitals Network.  Together, HECAF and HCWH have transformed the healthcare waste management at Bir, Kathmandu's largest hospital, now treating hundreds of the injured.

On top of this, Mahesh also co-founded the National Society for Earthquake Technology and the NEPAL AMBULANCE SERVICE.

This ambulance service is the only one in the country with properly equipped vehicles and trained paramedics, working in collaboration with Stanford University.  At this moment, they are hard at work, helping to save those injured in this tragedy.  A field hospital and fresh water supply has been set up and experts from Stanford are on the way to join their efforts.

Any donations to this unique service will make a huge difference.  Please see their appeal page at

Please help Nepal and its people and donate by clicking on the blue Nepal Earthquake Appeal button below!

You can also show your support by liking their Facebook page ‘Friends of Nepal Ambulance Service’ or tweeting us at @FriendsofNAS and #FoNASEarthquakeAppeal

April 27, 2015Global

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HCWH Wins Grant to Drive the Procurement of Sustainable Health Care Products

Source: Skoll Foundation | United Nations Foundation

The Skoll Foundation and the United Nations Foundation announced the winners of a unique set of grants—totaling US$1 Million—that will enable partnerships between social entrepreneurs and United Nations agencies, funds, and programs designed to drive impactful social innovations.

This first-time grants application process encouraged Skoll Awardees to partner with UN agencies. This pairing combines the expertise of the world's most successful social entrepreneurs with the multinational scale of UN agencies' work.

Health Care Without Harm, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), and the secretariat of the UN Interagency Task Team on Sustainable Procurement in the Health Sector, will collaborate to drive the procurement of sustainable health care products across the UN system, representing US$3.4 billion in annual health care purchasing. The grant will be used to develop tools to guide procurement of safer alternatives to hazardous chemical products in order to protect health care workers, patients, communities, and the environment.

Learn more:


April 17, 2015Global

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Health Systems Worldwide Pledge Climate Action

Commit to reducing carbon footprint through 2020 Health Care Climate Challenge

2020 low res logo no gghh(April 16, 2015) – Nine leading health care institutions from across the globe are pledging to take meaningful action on climate change, kicking off a worldwide campaign to mobilize hospitals and health systems to address one of humanity’s most pressing problems.

Their commitment signals the launch of the 2020 Health Care Climate Challenge, an international initiative from Health Care Without Harm’s Global Green and Healthy Hospitals Network. The 2020 Challenge invites health care systems and hospitals to reduce their carbon footprint and protect public health from climate change in the run-up to a worldwide meeting of heads of state at the United Nations Conference on Climate Change this December in Paris.

The 2020 Challenge also marks the first international effort ever to track emissions and take measurable actions to reduce the sector’s carbon footprint.

"At a time when climate change is posing one of the greatest threats to public health, hospitals and health systems are stepping up to help the world kick its addiction to fossil fuels," said Josh Karliner, Global Projects Director for Health Care Without Harm, and coordinator of its Global Green and Healthy Hospitals Network. “This is a leadership moment for health care."

The 2020 Challenge participants, health systems from Asia-Pacific, Africa, Latin America, Europe and the United States, have committed to substantially reduce their own carbon footprint, prepare to withstand extreme weather events, and to promote public policies to reduce greenhouse emissions. Together they represent the interests of more than three hundred hospitals. Hundreds more from around the world are expected to join the Challenge in coming months. 

Initial participants in the 2020 Challenge include Counties Manukau Health (New Zealand), Gundersen Health System (USA), Hospital Albert Einstein and Hospital Sirio Libanes (Brazil), Kaiser Permanente (USA), NHS Sustainable Development Unit (England), Virginia Mason Health System (USA), Western Cape Government Health (South Africa), and Yonsei University Health System (South Korea).

Several of the initial participants, such as Kaiser Permanente, Yonsei University Health and the NHS have already committed to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions by 30 percent or more by the year 2020. All have also pledged to encourage public policy, economic development, and investment strategies that move their societies away from fossil fuel dependency and toward healthy energy alternatives."

In every region of the world, health care can lead by example," said Veronica Odriozola, Executive Director of Health Care Without Harm Latin America. "Whether it is an off the grid clinic deploying solar power to run its operations and help electrify a community, or a large hospital reducing its own emissions to address respiratory disease from air pollution, we can all move toward low carbon health care."

The 2020 Challenge is now open for hospitals and health systems from around the world to join. To participate, health systems endorse a Leadership Pledge (, agree to set carbon reduction targets and share data on their carbon emissions. Participants also agree to promote climate resiliency in their health systems, and work on a series of leadership activities. Global Green and Healthy Hospitals is organizing a series of events around the world to build momentum for the Challenge in the lead-up to the Paris Conference.


Follow the 2020 Health Care Climate Challenge on Twitter: (Hashtag #2020Challenge --

About the launch of the 2020 Health Care Climate Challenge, participating health systems had this to say:

"Kaiser Permanente is making this pledge because climate change isn't a distant threat. The health impacts of a changing climate can be felt today in the form of increasing rates of asthma, spread of infectious diseases, heat stress, and injuries from severe weather events. By addressing climate change for the future, we are improving the health of communities today.”

Kathy Gerwig, Vice President and Environmental Stewardship Officer, Kaiser Permanente, USA

“We recognize that not only does climate change present a huge challenge for the health and care sector in England but also a great opportunity to change the way we work - to improve the health of people and communities, save money and help the environment. In England we have shown our commitment to this challenge by producing a strategy for sustainable development for the future with a clear vision and goals to which organizations across health and care are working."

Sonia Roschnik, Head of the Sustainable Development Unit, Representing the health and care system in England

"This challenge will expand actions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and increase our board of directors’ engagement in climate change. The 2020 Challenge will also contribute to building up our vision of sustainability in health care."

Dr. Gonzalo Vecina Neto, Corporate Superintendent, Sirio Libanes Hospital, Brazil

"Yonsei University Health System has been implementing a greening program since 2010, not only for patient care quality but for protecting public from damages caused by climate change which intensifies natural disasters and diseases on our globe. We will continue our efforts to be a role model in close relationship with other hospitals in Korea as well as the Global Green and Healthy Network."

Dr. DongChun Shin, Yonsei University Health System, South Korea

"Climate change is a clear threat to human health. The 2020 Challenge provides health care with a path forward to act on climate and benefit quality of life everywhere. Virginia Mason, which is committed to achieving new heights in environmental stewardship, is honored to be an inaugural signatory of the Challenge and I encourage our health care colleagues around the world to join us in this important work."

Gary Kaplan, MD, Chairman and CEO, Virginia Mason Health System, USA

"Counties Manukau Health recognises the global imperative to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and that this will benefit the health of people locally and around the world. We’re committed to reducing our carbon footprint as part of our mission to promote a healthier environment for our patients, staff and community. We’re excited to be part of this global effort – and proud to say we’re well on our way to achieving our target of 20% by 2017."

Debbie Wilson, Environmental Sustainability Manager, Counties Manukau District Health Board, New Zealand

"It is our mission to improve the health of the communities we serve, which includes taking action to improve and protect our environment, reduce our waste and lower our costs," says Jeff Thompson, MD, CEO of La Crosse, Wisconsin-based Gundersen Health System. "Not every healthcare organization makes this a priority, but Gundersen – through achievement of energy independence, investment in sustainability programs and support of Health Care Without Harm initiatives – is showing it is possible to provide exceptional patient care and exceptional care for the environment.”

Dr. Jeff Thompson, MD, CEO of La Crosse, Wisconsin-based Gundersen Health System, USA

"Health facilities are a large consumers of energy and generate waste. It is important that we try to contain our environmental footprint as much as possible. To this end we have accommodated principles of Green Design in our recent building projects. Examples of these are: the use of natural light and ventilation where possible, reduction in air conditioning, inclusion of green spaces in design, change in building material to favour environmentally-friendly choices. The Western Cape Government Health will continue to uphold these Green Design principles in our future building projects to ensure that we maintain our Provincial commitment to environment-friendly community development."

Western Cape Government Health, South Africa

More information

April 16, 2015Global

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