HHS and NHS aligning to tackle emissions in healthcare

Nov. 11, 2022

At a COP27 event, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) delegation announced a joint plan with the National Health Service (NHS) of England to align procurement requirements – highlighting the significant contribution of the supply chain to emissions in the health care sector. The sector accounts for 4.4% of global GHG emissions, and more than 70% of those emissions are derived from the supply chain.

HHS and NHS plan to meet between now and Earth Day 2023 to align and refine guidance on procurement requirements by COP28. Other nations have been invited to join the conversation with both entities.

Health Care Without Harm, an international nongovernmental organization, celebrates this significant collaboration between HHS and NHS. Health Care Without Harm is a signatory of the White House/HHS Health Sector Climate Pledge, and NHS providers in England participate in Health Care Without Harm’s Health Care Climate Challenge.

Statement from Gary Cohen, Health Care Without Harm founder:

“As an organization working for decades with health care organizations, suppliers, and other key decision-makers to transform the supply chain, we are thrilled with this announcement and celebrate the work of HHS and NHS to align procurement requirements on an international level. We hope more nations will join these critical conversations.

Hospitals are environments for healing. Every day they’re making choices about the products and services they use. Health Care Without Harm worked with Practice Greenhealth and Global Green and Healthy Hospitals to create a groundbreaking Sustainable Procurement Guide that serves as a roadmap for hospitals to develop sustainable purchasing strategies that prioritize community and environmental health and safety while reducing costs.

This moment serves as an opportunity to leverage the health sector’s collective purchasing power to shape the marketplace, increase demand for sustainable products, and embrace their broader healing mission.”

Statement from Will Clark, Health Care Without Harm Europe executive director:

“At around two-thirds of the sector’s carbon footprint globally, supply chain emissions are key to achieving net-zero health care. It is therefore welcome news that NHS England and HHS, two of the sector’s most influential players internationally, have made a commitment to collaborating on this important issue. We look forward to seeing the plans in detail, as we continue to support the European health care sector on its journey to a net-zero future.”

About Health Care Without Harm

Health Care Without Harm seeks to transform health care worldwide so the sector reduces its environmental footprint and becomes a leader in the global movement for environmental health and justice.

Health Care Without Harm has regional teams in the United States, Europe, Southeast Asia, and Latin America where staff work on community-based projects as well as national and global initiatives. We also have strategic partnerships with organizations in Australia, Brazil, China, India, Nepal, and South Africa as well as joint projects with the United Nations Development Programme and World Bank.

HHS release