Kaiser Permanente links climate change to health care
This health care leader is showing how an authentic, mission-driven connection to global issues can drive change.
Kaiser Permanente (KP), one of the largest health care providers in America, has a clear mission: improve health. In a surprising and welcome twist, KP is publicly recognizing that climate change threatens that mission. This health care leader is showing how an authentic, mission-driven connection to global issues can drive change.
The topic of climate change has become so politicized, it's rare to hear company representatives and CEOs admit that they're taking a course of action specifically in response to a climate-related threat. But that's starting to change, even in sectors you might not think have a direct stake in climate change.
KP is not a minor player in a health care industry that accounts for 16% of U.S. GDP and 8% of greenhouse gas emissions. With $44 billion in revenues, KP runs hospitals, clinics and health plans, serving more than 9 million members in nine states (and Washington, DC). The "company" is technically a not-for-profit, but in my experience that matters little to medical device and pharma companies that experience KP as a very, very large customer with large demands.
The company has made increasing commitments to renewable energy as part of its aggressive greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction goals (30% by 2020). KP is buying both carbon offsets and significant onsite energy — 11 megawatts of solar and 4 megawatts of fuel cell generation, for example.