Providence is committed to reducing the environmental impact of health care services.
- Providence invites all caregivers along on our journey to becoming carbon negative by 2030.
- Beth Schenk, executive director of environmental stewardship, answers our questions about Providence’s efforts to be more eco-friendly.
- Environmental stewardship is part of Providence’s heritage.
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At Providence, we take environmental stewardship seriously: We recently announced our goal of becoming carbon negative by 2030 and we’re working diligently to make that goal a reality.
To learn more about the goal to be better stewards of resources, we turned to Beth Schenk, Ph.D., RN, FAAN, executive director of Environmental Stewardship for Providence. Here’s what she said about the role Providence can play in environmental stewardship in healthcare.
Why is environmental stewardship important for Providence?
Around the world, we are faced with many environmental challenges including excessive waste, exposure to chemicals and climate change. In health care, our intention is to create health for a better world and provide excellent care to people in need. However, the health care sector unintentionally contributes 10% of all greenhouse gases in the United States due to resource intensity including the use of fossil fuels, chemicals and creating excessive waste. We cannot be healthy people without a healthy environment in which to live.
Is environmental stewardship new for Providence?
Our Mission and values compel us to be good stewards of our resources and a model of stewardship. Our core value of Justice states, “We strive to care wisely for our people, our resources and our earth."
This year, Providence leadership announced our goal to become carbon negative by 2030. We intend to meet this end goal by establishing goals such as reducing carbon emissions by 5% by 2021; aiming to consume 30% less energy by 2025; lowering greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs) by more than 40% by 2030; and striving to reduce waste by 50% by 2030, We hope our strategies to reduce our environmental impact may inspire others to find creative solutions to their own environmental challenges.
We organize our work using the WE ACT framework, which describes Providence’s key focus areas: Waste, Energy/water, Agriculture/food, Chemicals and Transportation.
How is Providence working with other organizations to better reach their goals?
Many of our hospitals have been recognized for their stewardship by Practice Greenhealth and the Environmental Excellence Award program. Being among other health care organizations that are working toward a common goal has been invaluable as we share ideas, successes and opportunities for improvement.
We’ve partnered with Health Care Without Harm for many years. We serve on their Healthcare Climate Council, which includes health care leaders throughout the U.S. who are addressing climate change. We’re all swimming upstream together, trying to decrease pollution from our health systems, and to make the world safer for all of us.
We’re founding members of the California and Washington Healthcare Climate Alliances, where we stay on top of regulatory issues and planning.
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This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional’s instructions.
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