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  • Writer's pictureTom Petersen

Penn Medicine Signs Climate Pledge

EES client Penn Medicine announced last month that it has signed a national pledge promising to “significantly cut and, eventually, eliminate its carbon emissions”.

Created in 2022 by the White House and the Department of Health and Human Services, the Health Sector Climate Pledge is a voluntary commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by at least 50% by the year 2030 and achieve net-zero by 2050. So far, more than 130 organizations have signed the pledge, representing nearly 1,000 hospitals and other healthcare establishments. The signatories also agree to publicly account for their progress each year. 

It is estimated that the healthcare sector is responsible for 8.5% of all greenhouse gas emissions in the United States, making this pledge a highly ambitious effort to combat climate change. Penn Medicine has an even more ambitious goal of becoming “the most environmentally friendly health care organization in the nation” including achieving net zero emissions by 2042, 8 years ahead of the pledge.

Here are some of the initiatives Penn Medicine has undertaken to realize their goal.

  • An agreement was recently made with Great Cove Solar Energy Facilities for them to supply 70% of Penn Medicine’s electricity needs in downtown Philadelphia. Penn Medicine estimates that switching to solar power will cut 50,000 metric tons from their carbon footprint each year.

  • Vehicular emissions are also being addressed. Penn Medicine is offering employees deep discounts on monthly Septa passes to encourage them to switch to public transportation. This can reduce annual carbon emissions by more than two tons for each employee.

  • All new building projects are to use recycled materials and earn a LEED certification from the U.S. Green Building Council. In fact, in 2021, Penn Medicine’s Pavilion became the largest LEED Healthcare certified project in the world.

  • There are also ongoing efforts to reduce paper and plastic waste, phase out environmentally harmful chemicals and reprocess single-use devices.

"Advancing sustainability is an investment in the future. As an industry, health care has played a role in the changing climate. We’re taking a step back now to consider how to best deliver care while also balancing the ecological impact for the long-term health of our patients, the communities we serve and the generations that will follow.”

-Kevin B. Mahoney, CEO of the University of Pennsylvania Health System

The Penn Medicine health system includes six hospitals and more than 150 properties.

Content for this post was developed from this Penn Medicine News article by Kelsey Geesler.


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