, a coalition of academic, environmental, and healthcare organizations working to make the global healthcare sector more ecologically sustainable, has announced the launch of the with commitments from nine health systems in six countries.
An initiative of HCWH's , the challenge calls on healthcare institutions to to reduce their carbon footprint and protect public health from the effects of climate change in the run-up to the in December. The challenge includes what HCWH describes as the first international effort to track emissions from the healthcare sector.
Initial participants in the effort — (New Zealand), (U.S.), and (Brazil), (U.S.), (UK), (U.S.), (South Africa), and (South Korea) — have committed to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions and prepare for the impacts of climate change by building resilience to extreme weather events. They also will work to encourage public policy, economic development, and investment strategies that reduce fossil fuel dependence and promote healthy energy alternatives. Kaiser Permanente, Yonsei University Health, and the UK's NHS already have pledged to cut emissions by at least 30 percent by 2020.
"In every region of the world, health care can lead by example," said Veronica Odriozola, executive director of . "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."