Healthcare companies in recent years have largely focused on reducing greenhouse gas emissions as they strive to become more environmentally sustainable. While that focus has produced several innovations in conservation and alternative energy use, critics argue those actions have only scratched the surface of reducing healthcare’s climate footprint.
Hospitals have remained one of the world’s largest polluters despite increased calls to address climate change. Healthcare greenhouse emissions rose 6% from 2012 to 2018, according to a December 2020 Health Affairs study. As a whole, the industry now makes up more than 8% of all U.S. emissions.
“The healthcare sector has been a real laggard in terms of climate,” said Jessica Wolff, director of climate and health for Health Care Without Harm, an international advocacy organization that promotes ecological healthcare practices. “In corporate America, many, many companies have done full greenhouse gas inventories and set ambitious goals—that’s not the case with