The climate crisis is the single greatest public health challenge of the 21st century. As a significant contributor to climate change, the healthcare sector faces an urgent call to action to reduce its carbon footprint and protect communities from climate threats. The Biden-Harris Administration has set clear goals for the country to cut greenhouse emissions (GHG) in half in the next 8 years, then move quickly to net zero before 2050, as outlined in the Federal Sustainability Plan.
To support healthcare organizations in advancing toward their decarbonization commitments, AHRQ contracted with the Institute for Healthcare Improvement to develop a primer that offers guidance on high-priority measures and strategies for healthcare organizations to reduce their carbon footprint.
Download the Primer
- Reducing Healthcare Carbon Emissions: A Primer on Measures and Actions for Healthcare Organizations to Mitigate Climate Change (PDF, 1.3 MB)
About the Primer
This primer serves as an action guide to help healthcare organizations reduce their carbon footprint and protect communities from climate threats. The primer describes six domains contributing to GHG emissions in healthcare: building energy, transportation, anesthetic gas, pharmaceuticals and chemicals, medical devices and supplies, and food. Building on this framework, the primer identifies core and elective measures to track progress and critical strategies for reducing GHG in each domain. The primer also features vignettes of what health systems have done to reduce GHG and includes a collection of resources and tools to support implementation.
The project was led by the Institute for Healthcare Improvement under the direction of Bhargavi Sampath, MPH, with guidance and support from Jodi Sherman, MD, and Hardeep Singh, MD, MPH.
This primer was developed collaboratively with a team of subject matter experts who contributed content, case examples, and recommendations. Contributors' names and affiliations are listed in the front of the Primer.
How to cite this document: Sampath B, Jensen M, Lenoci-Edwards J, Little K, Singh H, Sherman JD. Reducing Healthcare Carbon Emissions: A Primer on Measures and Actions for Healthcare Organizations to Mitigate Climate Change. (Prepared by Institute for Healthcare Improvement under Contract No. 75Q80122P00007.) AHRQ Publication No. 22-M011. Rockville, MD: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality; September 2022.