The White House/HHS Health Sector Climate Pledge has reopened. Health sector organizations can commit to emissions reduction and climate resilience goals by filling out this form and sending it to OCCHE@hhs.gov.
We also encourage you to check out OCCHE’s Compendium of Federal Resources for information on programs and supports for health stakeholders investing in emissions reduction and resilience.
On March 9, 2023, HHS announced that the Health Sector Climate Pledge will be accepting new signatories on an ongoing basis. The announcement comes after multiple health sector stakeholders requested to join the initiative following its October 2022 deadline.
Going forward, organizations can sign the Pledge at any time and will be recognized through announcements on two occasions each year. Organizations that submit their Pledge form by April 12 will be recognized in an Earth Day announcement. Organizations that submit their Pledge form by November 1 will be recognized in an announcement around the time of the 2023 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP28).
Over 100 organizations have joined the White House/HHS Health Sector Climate Pledge, demonstrating their commitment to lowering greenhouse gas emissions and building more climate resilient infrastructure. You can learn more about this Pledge milestone and other announcements made at the 2022 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP27) in this HHS press release.
On Earth Day 2022, the White House and HHS launched the Health Sector Climate Pledge, a voluntary commitment to climate resilience and emissions reduction that includes cutting greenhouse gas emissions by 50 percent by 2030 and achieving net zero emissions by 2050. A group of 102 organizations representing 837 hospitals have signed the Pledge as of October 28, 2022. In addition to hospitals, these stakeholders include 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 goals similar to those the 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% of U.S. hospitals.
Specifically, pledge signers committed to:
- At minimum, reduce organizational emissions by 50% by 2030 (from a baseline no earlier than 2008) and achieve net-zero by 2050, publicly accounting for progress on this goal every year.
- Designate an executive-level lead for their work on reducing emissions by 2023 and conduct an inventory of Scope 3 (supply chain) emissions by the end of 2024.
- Develop and release a climate resilience plan for continuous operations by the end of 2023, anticipating the needs of groups in their community that experience disproportionate risk of climate-related harm.
Importantly, the pledge is just a starting point in the sector’s efforts to address the harmful impacts of climate change, especially in high-risk communities across the country. The Office of Climate Change and Health Equity (OCCHE) is committed to working with organizations that have signed the pledge - and all other interested groups - on climate resilience and emissions reduction. Relevant resources are noted below.
White House/HHS Health Sector Climate Pledge Signatories as of October 28, 2022
Health Systems, Hospitals and Other Providers
AdventHealth, Advocate Aurora Health, Advocate Children's Hospital, AltaMed Health Services Corporation, Ascension, Aspirus Health, Atlantic Health System, Atrium Health, Baystate Health, Berkshire Health Systems, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Boston Children’s Hospital, Boston Medical Center, Care Alliance Health Center, CentraState Healthcare System, Cherokee Health Systems, Children’s National Hospital, Children's Hospital Los Angeles, ChristianaCare, CommonSpirit Health, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, DaVita, Englewood Health, Gillette Children’s, Greater Lawrence Family Health Center, Gundersen Health System, Hackensack Meridian Health, HealthPartners, Henry Ford Health, HonorHealth, Kaiser Permanente, Keck Medicine of USC, Kedren Health, Legacy Health, Mass General Brigham, Memorial Health Services (MemorialCare), Montefiore, Mount Sinai Health System, Nebraska Medicine, Northern Arizona Healthcare, Northwell Health, NYC Health + Hospitals, NYU Langone Health, OhioHealth, OLE Health, Oregon Health & Science University, Providence Health, Rush University System for Health, RWJBarnabas Health, Seattle Children’s Hospital, Southcoast Health, SSM Health, Stanford Children’s Health, Stanford Health Care, Stanford Health Care Tri-Valley, Steward Health Care System, Stony Brook University Hospital, Sun River Health, The Valley Health System, Tufts Medicine, University Medical Center of El Paso, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, University of California Health, University of Nebraska Medical Center, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, University of Utah Health, UW Medicine, Valley Children’s Healthcare, WellSpan Health, Western Wisconsin Health
Other Industry Organizations
AmerisourceBergen, AstraZeneca, Biogen, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts, Blue Shield of California, Blue Zone Technologies, Cardinal Health, Chiesi Group, Daniels Health, Elevance Health, Excellus Health, GE HealthCare, GSK, MindClick, Inc., NewGen Surgical, Owens & Minor, Pfizer, Philips, Premier, Inc., Sanofi, Vizient, WCM Waste and Compliance Management
Associations, Nonprofits and Technical Assistance Organizations
American College of Physicians (NJ), Association of American Medical Colleges, Children's Hospital Association, ecoAmerica, Health Care Without Harm, Kimball Sustainable Healthcare, Mazzetti, My Green Lab, National Academy of Medicine, The Joint Commission
*Organizations that signed in the second phase of the Pledge (June 30 – October 28) are italicized, while those who signed in the first phase (April 22 – June 10) are in unitalicized text.
Relevant Resources and Supports
HHS and its partners from other federal departments are offering a new phase of technical assistance and support intended to accelerate work to advance emissions reduction and climate resilience:
- A webinar series on available government supports to assist healthcare stakeholders in their work on emissions reduction and climate resilience. Entitled “Accelerating Healthcare Sector Action on Climate Change and Health Equity,” this series features webinars on topics including financing resources available to support facility investments in sustainable infrastructure development and tools to support emergency preparedness and response. In 2023, the series will focus on the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), which provides billions of dollars in grants, loan programs, and other investments for clean energy and resilience that we believe can accelerate the work of the health care sector. New sessions will be announced soon.
- A compendium of federal resources to support emissions reduction and climate resilience for healthcare stakeholders, including those resources discussed in the webinar series. This is a living document that is continually updated. The compendium includes published opportunities made possible by the IRA.
- A primer from the Agency for Healthcare Research Quality that offers guidance on high-priority measures and strategies for healthcare organizations to reduce their carbon footprint.
- The Million Hearts Climate Change & Cardiovascular Disease Collaborative (CCC), a collaboration of OCCHE, the CDC National Center for Environmental Health, and the Environmental Protection Agency, is a national forum for health professionals and organizations looking to deepen their knowledge about the cardiovascular health threats that climate change (e.g., air pollution and extreme heat events) presents, offer evidence-based interventions to address those threats (especially for high-risk populations), and provide opportunities to test and refine relevant solutions and tools. The collaborative was introduced in a November 3, 2022 webinar that can be viewed here. Register for upcoming Million Hearts CCC interactive webinars here.
- A Federal Health Systems Learning Network made up of the Veteran’s Health Administration, Military Health System and Indian Health Service that will share its learning on emissions reduction and resilience through regular exchange sessions with private sector organizations. You can learn more about the Federal Health Systems Learning Network in a recent webinar.
If you have any questions, please contact OCCHE@hhs.gov.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Can I still submit a Pledge?
Yes, the Pledge has reopened. Health sector organizations can commit to emissions reduction and climate resilience goals by filling out this form and sending it to OCCHE@HHS.GOV.
What is the deadline to sign the Pledge?
There is no deadline. Going forward organizations will be able to sign the Pledge at any time and will be recognized announcements on two occasions each year. Organizations that submit their Pledge form by April 12 will be recognized in an Earth Day announcement. Organizations that submit their Pledge form by November 1 will be recognized in an announcement around the time of the 2023 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP28).
How can the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) support my work on emissions reduction and resilience?
The IRA is landmark legislation providing billions of dollars in grants, loan programs and other investments. OCCHE will share major IRA announcements through OCCHE’s existing Compendium of Federal Resources for emissions reduction and resilience as well as through OCCHE alerts . This spring, the Office will launch reference materials and webinars aimed at helping the sector understand key opportunities to address climate change presented by the IRA. We also recommend you review the White House Guidebook to the IRA’s Investments in Clean Energy and Climate Action .
How should we develop a climate resilience plan for continuous operations?
There is no required method for developing a climate resilience plan. We note that the Sustainable and Climate-Resilient Health Care Facilities Toolkit provides an overview guide highlighting emerging best practices for developing sustainable and climate-resilient health care facilities, and this will be updated as new resources become available. OCCHE’s Compendium of Federal Resources includes additional resources and guidance related to resilience planning.
Do I need to sign the Pledge to access the supports and resources noted above?
No, anyone can access the resources listed on this page.
Why is the Biden Administration and Department of Health and Human Services pursuing this Pledge?
The Biden Administration and the Department of Health and Human Services seek to highlight the leadership of health care sector stakeholders in proactively addressing their greenhouse gas emissions and becoming more resilient to the health threats associated with climate change in service of communities at disproportionate risk of climate-related harm. We are well aware of the notable goals that many of them have set and seek to galvanize others to make similar commitments.
If health sector organizations make the voluntary Pledge noted here, will they be held accountable through reporting to the federal government?
The pledges are voluntary; the organizations that sign this pledge are not obligated to report data on their progress to the federal government in association with this pledge. However, our expectation is that these organizations will proactively share their progress with the public (as noted in the pledge form), just as federal agencies and federal health care providers will do in the coming years. Notably, several health systems are already reporting data on their emissions for state and federal requirements. HHS is already exploring a number of policy levers related to reporting and collecting input on possible courses of action in this regard. Federal tools for tracking emissions, like the EPA’s EnergyStar Portfolio Manager platform, are available to help organizations assess their progress. More than 3500 hospitals, for example, use this tool already.
What is the baseline year for the first commitment (reduce emissions by 50% by 2030 and achieve net zero by 2050)?
Federal health systems are obligated by Executive Order 14057 to use 2008 as the baseline year for their emissions reductions. We would hope that private-sector stakeholders would use the same baseline year, but if that is not possible, we would ask them to use a baseline year no earlier than 2008. They can communicate the baseline that they plan to use in the open comments section at the end of the pledge form if they choose.
How can I learn more about this initiative and what it entails?
A May 2022 webinar with additional information about the details of the pledge is available here: https://www.youtube.com/embed/lWZdf3jEqUE?rel=0