June 10, 2021
At Providence, we believe a healthier planet fosters healthier individuals. That’s why we remain vigilant in pursuit of our promise to become carbon negative by 2030.
We do this by ensuring a top-down commitment to environmental stewardship, focusing on our WE ACT framework and mobilizing our 120,000-caregiver-strong workforce to do its part in protecting our planet.
Just as effective, without causing pollution
Change happens from the top, which is why we are proud to have the Providence Environmental Stewardship Team helmed by experienced nurse and now Executive Director of Environmental Stewardship, Beth Schenk. Schenk has long been committed to environmental stewardship – her doctorate studied the environmental aspects of healthcare – and to identifying local, regional and systemwide ways to reduce pollution and build healthier communities.
“The pandemic was an interesting time to see the Earth take a breath,” says Beth. “We saw what happened when we lived a little more lightly on the planet. There are things we can and need to do to keep that momentum going.”
Schenk gives the example of anesthesia gasses. After use, anesthesia gasses are vented out into the atmosphere, and they’re not changed chemically, so they remain potent after use. “That turns out to be a significant amount of greenhouse gasses that we’re contributing – but we don’t have to. We’re encouraging caregivers to make different choices for anesthesia that are just as good, just as effective, but that don’t cause this pollution.”
WE ACT for our planet
Dr. Rod Hochman announced last April that Providence is committed to becoming carbon negative by 2030, reaffirming our belief that a healthy planet is critical for the continued health of our communities. Our WE ACT initiative is the way we will reach this goal through:
- W: Waste reduction
- E: Energy and water conservation
- A: Agriculture and food initiatives
- C: Chemical reduction
- T: Transportation approach
Read more about our WE ACT initiative progress in 2020.
Values in action
Two years ago, Process Improvement Coach Dave Wilson recognized an opportunity to reduce waste by developing the Surgical Supply Optimization Program at Providence St. Vincent Medical Center in Portland, Oregon. Since then, Providence St. Vincent Medical Center has saved 850 metric tons of carbon, 500 thousand kilowatts of electricity and 1 million gallons of water. Watch below to learn more.
Read more about progress at individual ministries.
Activating every caregiver to serve
While systemwide efforts are critical, so is instilling in each of our caregivers (employees) a sense of Earth-mindedness by encouraging them, as individuals, to take steps to protect the planet, both at work and in their daily lives.
Whether this is by holding meetings virtually to reduce transportation impacts or donating their free time to get involved on a local or global level, everyone has the power to incite change. We encourage our caregivers to build deeper connections to our communities and help lessen their environmental impact through service.
Learn more about Providence Environmental Stewardship.
Interested in exploring opportunities with a team delivering world-class health with less environmental impact? See all jobs.