The health sector is responsible for approximately 8.5% of U.S. carbon emissions, which are the leading cause of global climate change. As an industry leader in sustainable healthcare delivery, Mass General Brigham is committed to taking actions that minimize its impact on the environment. Eighty percent of Mass General Brigham’s electricity comes from renewable sources, and the system strives to achieve carbon neutrality by 2025.
Earlier this year, Mass General Brigham launched the Climate and Sustainability Leadership Council (CSLC). The CSLC is chaired by Niyum Gandhi, chief financial officer of Mass General Brigham, and includes 13 members from across the system. Its purpose is to develop systemwide goals for emission-reduction targets, inform systemwide sustainability practices and initiatives and identify opportunities for synergy with other Mass General Brigham priorities.
The CSLC will monitor progress toward these goals and provide updates and recommendations to leadership systemwide. The group has embarked upon an ambitious effort to quantify all direct and indirect contributions of climate-harming emissions, with an eye toward establishing a timeline and process for reducing—and ultimately eliminating—our contribution to climate change.
As a global leader in medical education, Mass General Brigham is formally integrating climate-health and health care sustainability into resident training, hosting a monthly seminar series on intersections between environment, health and health care delivery, conducting regular conferences for clinical departments and supporting Harvard Medical School’s effort to expand its curriculum on climate change and health.
Organizations throughout the system are also taking steps to support Mass General Brigham's goal of reducing our overall carbon footprint. For instance, by reducing use of certain anesthetic gases that are significant contributors to climate change, minimizing the production of red bag waste, increasing medical device reprocessing, recycling blue wrap in our operating rooms and offering plant forward menu options while minimizing food waste as part of the Cool Food Pledge.
Mass General Brigham is a founding partner of the Climate Resources for Health Education program, a collaborative developing and disseminating freely available resources for medical schools and resident training programs. The other founding partners are the Global Consortium on Climate and Health Education at Columbia University and the University of San Francisco School of Medicine.