Health sector steps up on climate: 2020 Health Care Climate Challenge

The Climate and Health Alliance is excited to announce the launch of the 2020 Health Care Climate Challenge, an initiative of CAHA’s international partner Health Care Without Harm.

Seven leading health systems from around the world have declared a commitment to reducing their greenhouse gas emissions as they kick off a global campaign to mobilise the health sector to act on climate change.

The 2020 Challenge health system participants, from Asia-Pacific, Africa, Latin America, Europe and the United States, have committed to substantially reduce their own carbon footprint, prepare for extreme weather events, and promote policies to cut greenhouse emissions. Together they represent the interests of more than three hundred hospitals, with hundreds more expected to join the Challenge in coming months.

“The health sector recognises the risks posed to health of people and to health services from climate change. This initiative is an example of the health community taking responsibility for their emissions, and showing leadership and courage in taking on this challenge. We can’t wait any longer for our political leaders to take action. This is a moment where the health community is saying they will take action,” CAHA Convenor Fiona Armstrong said.

Initial participants in the 2020 Challenge include Counties Manukau Health (New Zealand), Gundersen Health System (USA), Hospital Albert Einstein and Hospital Sirio Libanes (Brazil), Kaiser Permanente (USA), NHS Sustainable Development Unit (England), Virginia Mason Health System (USA), Western Cape Government Health (South Africa), and Yonsei University Health System (South Korea).

Counties Manukau District Health Board is the first participant in the 2020 Health Care Climate Challenge from the Pacific region of the Global Green and Healthy Hospitals network, coordinated by the Climate and Health Alliance in Australia and New Zealand. This regional network has over 140 hospitals and health services working to reduce their environmental footprint, and are part of global network boasting over 10,000 members.

Debbie Wilson, Environmental Sustainability Manager, Counties Manukau District Health Board, New Zealand, said: “Counties Manukau Health recognises the global imperative to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and that this will benefit the health of people locally and around the world. We’re committed to reducing our carbon footprint as part of our mission to promote a healthier environment for our patients, staff and community. We’re excited to be part of this global effort – and proud to say we’re well on our way to achieving our target of 20% by 2017.”

The 2020 Challenge is now open for hospitals and health systems from around the world to join. Participants endorse a Leadership Pledge (, carbon reduction targets and share data on their carbon emissions. A series of events organised by Global Green and Healthy Hospitals will build momentum for the Challenge in the lead-up to the 2015 Paris Climate Conference.

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