Action Alert: Ask Your Institution to Sign the HHS Health Sector Climate Pledge
On Earth Day 2022, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) launched an initiative in partnership with The White House to catalyze the health care sector to take climate action. HHS asked health care institutions to sign a voluntary pledge and commit to reducing greenhouse gas emissions and plan for climate resilience to protect the communities they serve.
On June 30, 2022, at an event at The White House, the Biden-Harris administration announced that 61 of the largest U.S. hospital and health sector companies had signed the pledge and committed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 50% by 2030, achieve net-zero emissions by 2050 and develop a climate resilience plan by end of 2023. At the 2022 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP27) in November, HHS announced that the number of signers had increased to 102 health organizations representing 837 hospitals.
In March HHS announced that the Health Sector Climate Pledge will be accepting new signatories on an ongoing basis. Organizations can sign the Pledge at any time and will be recognized through announcements twice a year. This 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).
To move additional health sector organizations toward signing, we are asking you to write to your health care system CEOs or other executive leaders within your institutions asking them to join the pledge. This is an opportunity to start a dialogue with your health care leaders, even if you have never advocated for this issue with them before. If you already work on health care sustainability, this is an opportunity to urge your leaders to do more.
- A letter from an individual: You can take the language below and cut and paste into an email or create a document to send to your health care leader after filling out the appropriate fields.
- A group sign-on letter using Google document: This will likely be more impactful but requires a few more steps:
- Cut and paste your letter into a Google document (or create as a pdf) and fill out the appropriate fields to personalize the letter.
- Send an email attaching the pdf of the letter or share the link to a Google document (in view mode only) with others at your health care institution, asking them to let you know if they will sign onto it. Add all signers to the bottom of the letter.
- A group sign-on letter as an online petition that collects signatures: This is likely the best and most secure way to collect signatures, but requires prior experience with tools like change.org or Google Survey. Again, you can cut and paste the language below to adapt for your letter.
Please consider encouraging local and state environmental and climate organizations to also reach out to health care CEOs and executive health care leaders and ask them to sign the pledge. To help you with your outreach efforts and communications with health care leaders we have created these talking points.
If your health center, hospital, or health system signs the pledge as a result of your efforts please send an email with the name of the organization and details of your efforts to Dr. Amy Collins.
Thanks for all that you do. We hope you can join us in encouraging your health care leaders to join this unprecedented movement.
Health Care Without Harm and the Medical Society Consortium on Climate and Health