Our Approach: Mitigation, Resilience and Leadership

Health Care Without Harm’s climate program goal is to transform health care into a climate-smart, innovative sector that protects public health from climate change and accelerates the transition to a low-carbon economy while improving health equity and access.

In order to achieve our climate goal, HCWH is building a strategy to scale climate-smart health care around three interwoven objectives:

1. Mitigation

Decarbonize health care’s energy consumption, operations and supply chain, reducing its climate footprint in alignment with the ambition of the Paris accord.

2. Resilience

Build health systems and facilities to withstand the impacts of climate change while deploying climate-smart health care as an anchor strategy to achieve more equitable access to care, resulting in healthy, resilient communities.

3. Leadership

Accelerate the transition to a low-carbon economy by activating health care as a climate policy advocate, leveraging health care’s purchasing power to hasten societal de-carbonization, and mobilizing health care institutions and their employees as trusted climate communicators.

We have developed four interrelated strategies to significantly scale ourwork to decarbonize health care, build resilience and foster health care leadership. Our approach aims to mobilize health care’s political, economic and ethical clout to accelerate the transition to a low-carbon economy that protects public health from climate change, while improving health equity and access.

  1. Network Expansion: Expand health care climate action via existing HCWH networks, partnerships and organizing vehicles.
  2. Policy Advocacy: Integrate health care into climate policy and climate into health policy at the sub-national, national and global levels.
  3. Economic Transformation: Leverage health care’s supply chain, purchasing and investment power to accelerate the transition to a low-carbon economy.
  4. Strategic Communications: Reframe climate change as a health issue, and mobilize health care as a public advocate for a healthy climate.

Long-term Outcomes

We envision a world where by 2050 climate-smart health care becomes standard throughout the world; carbon neutral, resilient health systems are increasingly the norm.

We envision a world where by 2050 the health care sector is decarbonized and aligns with the Paris Agreement ambition of limiting global climate change to 1.5 degree centigrade. Overall, health care reduces its annual carbon emissions by at least one billion metric tons (40 percent) by 2030 and at least two billion metric tons (80 percent) by 2050.

We envision a world where by 2050 the health care sector exerts leadership—as communicator, advocate and investor—in order to protect public and planetary health from climate change. Leveraging its economic, political, and ethical clout, the health sector, in collaboration with other sectors, helps achieve the transition to clean, renewable energy and a low-carbon, climate-resilient economy, thereby improving health outcomes.