When we hear about the mounting threat of Climate Change caused by Greenhouse Gas Emissions (GHG) and Carbon Footprints many of us righteously point the finger at manufacturing and demand reform in the name of Sustainability.
While finger pointing is always counterproductive, some vindication of the pointers may be in order. Let's pause a quick moment and consider how manufacturing may in fact affect the GHG attributed to other sectors and how taking the Climate Pledge can help improve climate resilience.
Take the healthcare sector for example, only 8.5%1 of all GHG in the United States originates in this sector.
But, of that 8.5%, 80% of healthcare attributed GHG are "indirect emissions from the production and transportation of goods and services procured by the health sector, such as those related to pharmaceuticals and other medical products and devices."1
Why is that?
It's complex. In a world where “green” or sustainable products may carry a higher price, purchasing departments often shy away from earth friendly equipment purchases. Equipment purchases simply aren’t always on the sustainability radar, especially when there are so many other “green” initiatives already in place by the healthcare facility itself. But after a cost analysis that includes not only the purchase price but factors such as the cost of disposal, sustainability of the products' materials and even the GHG mitigation practices of the manufacturer, buying with an eye to sustainability is, in the long run, cost effective.
To encourage healthcare systems to take steps to align business goals to mitigate the level of carbon emissions produced, the U.S Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) launched the White House-HHS Health Sector Climate Pledge last spring and recently announced that new signatories will be accepted on an ongoing basis.
What is the Climate Pledge?
The White House-HHS Health Sector Climate Pledge “is a voluntary commitment to reduce emissions and improve climate resilience. Signing organizations agree to cut their greenhouse gas emissions by 50% by 2030 and achieve net zero emissions by 2050.
Specifically, pledge signers commit 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.” 2.
In response to the 2022 HHS launch,1,080 federal and private sector hospitals have taken the pledge to reduce emissions. That’s over 15% of U.S. Hospitals.2. Other stakeholders who have committed to working together to fulfill the broader decarbonization vision include health centers, suppliers, insurance companies, group purchasing organizations, pharmaceutical companies as well as Federal systems like the Indian Health Service, Veterans Health Administration within the Department of Veterans Affairs, and Military Health System within the Department of Defense.
Pledges received by November 1 will be recognized at the 2023 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP28).
CME continues to work with our manufacturers to refine our ongoing sustainability initiatives in medical equipment distribution. These initiatives include active recycling, sustainable packaging, as well as using data analytics and inventory management to consolidate shipments.
With two corporate offices and 35+ service centers, our mission is to help healthcare facilities nationwide reduce the cost of the equipment they purchase, make their equipment specification, delivery, installation, and maintenance processes more efficient, and help them seamlessly launch, renovate and expand on schedule.
For more information about purchasing sustainable products, please contact your local CME account manager or call us at 800-338-2372.