This week, Kaiser Permanente became the first health care system in the United States to achieve carbon-neutral status
. With its longstanding commitment to improving community conditions that lead to poor health, Kaiser Permanente has prioritized sustainability to contribute to and catalyze a green future free of the extreme climate conditions currently harming so many Americans.
This move to carbon neutrality eliminates Kaiser Permanente’s 800,000-ton annual carbon footprint, the equivalent of taking 175,000 cars off the road. The U.S. health care sector is responsible for roughly 10% of the country’s greenhouse gas emissions.
Climate change causes many conditions that drive poor health, including damaging extreme weather events such as wildfires and droughts, increased rates of asthma and respiratory diseases, and the spread of infectious diseases such as malaria.
Certified by the CarbonNeutral Protocol
, the milestone comes as Kaiser Permanente has for decades
embraced renewable energy and embedded sustainable practices throughout its business operations. Kaiser Permanente first improved energy efficiency in its buildings, installed on-site solar power, and made long-term purchases of new renewable energy generation. The organization then invested in carbon offsets to counter the currently unavoidable emissions from the natural gas power that heats and cools its hospitals.