Health care is critical to a successful society, but the sector’s environmental impact is a problem. Within the U.S. alone, the health care sector contributes more than 8% of all carbon emissions.
In April 2020, Providence took bold action on this issue by pledging to be carbon negative by 2030, meaning that by then, we would do more good than harm to the planet. Watch and share a video to learn more.
“We have a responsibility to address this problem,” says Ali Santore, chief advocacy and social responsibility officer for Providence. ‘We are called to heal, but we are part of the problem.”
“This goal is housed in our core value of justice,” says Beth Schenk, executive director of Environmental Stewardship for Providence. “When you think of air pollution, water pollution, exposure to toxic chemicals and impacts from climate change, those who are lease prepared are the ones most impacted. So this is an enormously bold goal, an we’re all in to do all that we can.”
Providence has developed the WE ACT framework, focusing on five major components of carbon emissions to address: Waste, energy/water, agriculture/food, chemicals and transportation. Using this framework, the Providence family of organizations has reduced carbon emissions by 11.7% since the April 2020 pledge.
“The WE ACT framework is a call to action … an underlying sentiment that we need to act together to address this issue,” says Santore. “My goal is that all 120,000 caregivers at Providence would be climate activists, all working on this goal in their own.”
Read the Environmental Stewardship Report to learn what strides Providence has made using the WE ACT framework.
“We can’t afford not to do this work,” says Santore. “Is it challenging? Is it ambitious? Yes it is, but we’re not going to make a real difference if we don’t tackle the things that are hardest.”
Environmentally friendly hospitals
Providence and its affiliates are building and updating hospitals with environmental stewardship in mind. Swedish Issaquah, for example, is one of the most environmentally friendly hospitals in the U.S., with more than an acre of insulated glass, a ‘green’ roof with landscaping and a heat recovery chiller that can supply 100% of the hospital’s needed hot water depending on outside air temperature.
Other hospitals and ministries are slated for environmentally friendly upgrades over time.