CommonSpirit Health CEO Lloyd Dean outlines the steps the system will take to achieve its goal of net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2040.
MH: What are the steps you’re taking to achieve this net-zero goal?
We are making sure that we set ambitious goals since healthcare is one of the major contributors to climate change. We are leveraging new energy- efficient technologies, engaging with our supply chain and partners to support them in reducing their emissions and evaluating our investment portfolios for climate impacts.
As part of this we are upgrading our fluorescent lighting with LED technology. We will save over 41,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide every year, and that’s the equivalent of the electricity used to power 7,500 homes.
Secondly, we are participating in a solar power initiative in Arizona and we’ve acquired and made significant investments in a solar farm that will help remove up to 8,000 metric tons of CO2 annually. We’ve installed solar panels throughout our hospitals in a number of our states. But most importantly, we are taking this very seriously because we know that we can make a difference. And there’s no question that there’s an unbreakable connection between the health of our planet and the health of our people. And finally, we think that caring for our planet is part of caring for the people who rely on us.
MH: What will this cost CommonSpirit?
We’ve committed to achieving a 50% reduction in terms of our operational emissions by 2030, and have set aside additional capital to invest in these initiatives. There is a cost for us to make the infrastructure investments, to be able to monitor and to calculate what we’re doing and how we’re doing. And we are planning to invest multimillions in terms of ensuring that we achieve the goals that we set.
MH: Who’s in charge of these efforts?
We take this very seriously, so we have identified a specific individual within our organization to focus on this with an integrated team of leaders across our system. And we’ve set some specific metrics for that individual to monitor. They will ensure that the metrics we set and the programs we have identified and are putting in place—that we not only achieve those, but exceed those. And ensure that the CommonSpirit family is not only aware of the goals but understands what we want to achieve and how we want to achieve it. They will be working with all of our individual markets and our facilities to ensure that we are successful.
MH: How will you ensure that this is part of your legacy and that it gets done by 2040?
I just want to say that I plan to have this as a key focus of mine until I retire later this year. But more importantly, it’s much bigger than Lloyd Dean. This is a commitment that we have made as a system and as one of the largest healthcare providers in this nation. This is an integral part of our organization’s strategic path forward. This is at the board level, this is at our operation level, and as you mentioned, achieving a 50% reduction in our operational emissions by 2030 and achieving net-zero by 2040, this is an organizational goal. I’ve certainly embraced it and given my role as the chief executive have set forth metrics and accountabilities to ensure its achievement. But this is a CommonSpirit initiative, not a Lloyd Dean initiative. And we are working with other partner organizations and are happy and excited and reaching out to others in the community to ensure that we address this important matter for our nation.