HonorHealth joins Biden Administration pledge to decarbonize health care sector, make facilities resilient to climate change

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HonorHealth joins Biden Administration pledge to decarbonize health care sector, make facilities resilient to climate change. HonorHealth’s leadership recognized by Administration officials at COP27

“Our commitment to those we serve includes becoming more resilient and proactive to mitigate the health threats associated with climate change, especially in service of communities at disproportionate risk of climate-related harm,” said Todd LaPorte, CEO at HonorHealth.

HonorHealth, a leading Valley healthcare system serving 1.6 million people in the greater Phoenix and Scottsdale area, was celebrated by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) at the 2022 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP27) on November 10, 2022 for pledging ongoing action to decarbonize the health care sector and make health care facilities more resilient to the effects of climate change. HonorHealth has formally committed to pursuing the Biden administration’s climate goal of reducing emissions by 50 percent by 2030 and achieving net zero emissions by 2050.

To date, HonorHealth has invested in several sustainability initiatives, including engagement as an active member of Practice Greenhealth and serving as co-chair for the Southwest Healthcare Sustainability Collaborative comprised of other healthcare systems, universities and local governments. Supply Chain Operations implemented a medical equipment no waste project, centralized management of their 80-vehicle fleet and began a Styrofoam recycling project. Lastly, Food Services now offers meatless Monday entrees, sourcing produce locally and utilizing compostable food container products across all campuses.

A September 2021 consensus statement from more than 200 medical journals named climate change the number one threat to global public health. It exposes millions of people in the United States to harm every year—with disproportionate impacts on communities that are often already the victims of longstanding discrimination—through increases in extreme heat waves, wildfires, flooding, vector-borne diseases and other factors that worsen chronic health conditions. The healthcare sector also contributes to climate change, accounting for approximately 8.5 percent of U.S. domestic emissions.

The HHS Office of Climate Change and Health Equity (OCCHE), part of the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Health, developed the White House/HHS Health Sector Climate Pledge to help focus industry response to climate challenges. In addition to reducing their carbon footprint, signatories also commit to producing detailed plans to prepare their facilities for both chronic and acute catastrophic climate impacts.

One hundred two prominent health companies in the U.S. have signed the White House/HHS Health Sector Climate Pledge, including organizations representing 837 hospitals as well as leading health centers, suppliers, insurance companies, group purchasing organizations, pharmaceutical companies, and more. Federal systems like the Indian Health Service (IHS), Veterans Health Administration (VHA), and Military Health System (MHS) are working together to meet similar goals to those these private sector organizations have embraced. Combined, this means that over 1,080 federal and private sector hospitals have made such commitments, together representing over 15 percent of U.S. hospitals.

“Our commitment to those we serve includes becoming more resilient and proactive to mitigate the health threats associated with climate change, especially in service of communities at disproportionate risk of climate-related harm,” said Todd LaPorte, CEO at HonorHealth.

“HHS returns this year to COP27 to report great progress,” said ADM Rachel Levine, the Assistant Secretary for Health. “Through the efforts of the Office of Climate Change and Health Equity and several other HHS agencies, we have made significant strides in introducing resources and supports to help communities and care providers accelerate their work to reduce harmful emissions and increase climate resilience in the health sector.”

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Lauren Strait
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