November 28, 2022
At Providence, we’re committed to our vision of “health for a better world,” and that includes taking care of our planet.
Says Providence Executive Director of Environmental Stewardship Beth Schenk, “We recognize three indisputable truths—our mission calls us to care, climate change is causing harm, and health care is contributing to that harm—and they compel us to act urgently. The Providence family of organizations is committed to the ambitious climate goal we set on Earth Day 2020 to become carbon negative by 2030. It will not be easy, nor is it guaranteed. We are clear-eyed about the challenges ahead, and that we will not get there alone. This effort takes everyone and requires a global response.”
Following is a look at how we encourage environmental stewardship at Providence to ensure that we’re not only a great place to work, but we’re also doing our part to protect Earth.
We’re all in: Systemwide efforts
While Providence has focused on environmentally sustainable practices for several decades, we accelerated our efforts and created a guiding framework, WE ACT, that focuses on five key areas: Waste, Energy and Water, Agriculture and Food, Chemicals, and Transportation. We are reshaping our operations in each of these categories to reduce our carbon footprint and care for the planet in new ways.
In 2021 we reduced our hospitals’ carbon emissions by 11.7 percent from 2019 levels in seven key categories including:
- Natural gas
- Volatile anesthetics
- Nitrous oxide
- Purchased electricity and steam
- Business travel
- Employee commuting
Read our full Environmental Stewardship Report highlighting the work we have accelerated since our pledge to become carbon negative, and watch the below video to see how we’re transforming our processes and operations, from facility management to patient care.
Activating and empowering caregivers
We recognize the tremendous impact that health care systems have on the environment, and we are working to engage all 120,000 caregivers across the seven states Providence serves to identify and implement meaningful solutions.
Providence’s Global and Domestic Engagement team launched the Action Hub in June 2021 to help make it easier for caregivers to get involved in issues that they care about. This “one stop shop” dashboard is a convenient and expansive resource for educating caregivers about volunteer and philanthropic opportunities, advocacy and community partnerships.
Love the Earth
Among the many opportunities available to caregivers, Providence’s Love the Earth immersion program provides unique service events for caregivers who are looking to learn about Earth-friendly volunteerism and engage in physical service right in their own communities. By effectively pairing a learning module with personal reflection and physical outdoor service, caregivers have new ways to serve their communities and care for our planet.
Providence Green Teams
Green Teams are groups of passionate caregivers who make a direct impact on Providence’s environmental commitments locally to achieve the system-wide goal of being carbon negative by 2030. The first Green Team started in 1993 in Missoula, Montana, and as of 2021, there were 25 Green Teams across our seven regions. A few initiatives started by Providence Green Teams include:
- Excess food donation program
- Outdoor service events
- Recycling and composting
- Paper conservation
- Commuter and ride-share programs
- Identifying opportunities to upgrade facilities and utilities to more efficient systems
Making progress toward our goals
For the second year in a row, Providence was honored with the Practice Greenhealth’s System for Change Award, which is given to health systems that are working cohesively to set systemwide goals, track data and benchmark and share successes in environmental performance. In addition, 29 Providence and affiliated ministries were recognized for their environmental stewardship. Spotlight awards were given to Providence St. Patrick Hospital in Missoula, Montana, which was named to the Top 25 Environmental Excellence Award list, and Providence Portland Medical Center, which was the single hospital in the nation selected to receive the Greening the OR Leadership Award.
On November 10, Providence was also recognized at the 2022 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP27) for pledging ongoing action to decarbonize the health care sector and make health care facilities more resilient to the effects of climate change.
We’re incredibly proud of our caregivers’ hard work and commitment to helping us achieve our goal of becoming carbon negative by 2030.
Would you like to work where the environment is a priority? View all roles.