Keck Medical Center of USC, which includes Keck Hospital of USC and USC Norris Cancer Hospital, has signed the White House Health Care Sector Climate Pledge. The pledge — developed by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) in partnership with the White House — invites organizations to commit to lowering their greenhouse gas emissions and building a more climate-resilient infrastructure.
“This is a great accomplishment for our organization,” said Jon Reuter, chief of operations at Keck Hospital. “Our goal, each and every day, is to ensure the continued well-being of our patients. We see this as an important step in maintaining the health of the communities we serve.”
In late 2021, Keck Medical Center joined Practice Greenhealth, the leading nonprofit leadership and networking organization for sustainable health care, which delivers environmental solutions to more than 1,100 U.S. hospitals and health systems. It was Practice Greenhealth that introduced the medical center to the White House Health Care Sector Climate Pledge.
The call to action for health care stakeholders to commit to the pledge was issued on Earth Day (April 22). On June 30, the Biden-Harris Administration announced that 61 of the largest U.S. hospital and health sector companies responded to White House Healthcare Sector Climate Pledge, committing to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 50% by 2030. Their commitments represent over 650 hospitals and thousands of other providers across the country and include plans to strengthen resilience to climate change, protect public health and lower costs.
“We are incredibly grateful to be a part of this vital initiative,” said Marty Sargeant, chief executive officer of Keck Medical Center. “To serve our communities to the fullest, we must prioritize environmental and sustainability efforts. This will further ensure the health and well-being of our future generations.”
The health care sector accounts for 8.5% of U.S. emissions. By working to reduce nationwide greenhouse gas emissions 50-52% by 2030, the Biden-Harris Administration hopes to reach net-zero emissions by 2050.
By signing the White House Health Care Sector Climate Pledge, Keck Medical Center agrees to the following:
- 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.
- Publicly share its strategies for reducing on-site emissions related to: on-site energy usage; waste anesthetic gases; vehicle fleets; and refrigerants.
- Designate an executive-level lead for work on reducing emissions by 2023 and conduct an inventory of 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 the local community that experience disproportionate risk of climate-related harm.
The medical center’s pledge further aligns with USC President Carol L. Folt’s aim of achieving carbon neutrality for the university by 2025.
“Although we have a journey ahead of us, we know we are on the right path,” Reuter said. “With the support of our leadership teams and talented caregivers, we will contribute to strengthening and maintaining our communities for many years to come.”
— Matthew Vasiliauskas