A pathway to net zero emissions for healthcare

The healthcare sector has a profound responsibility and opportunity to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to limit the widespread health harms of climate change. Renee N Salas and colleagues chart a path to net zero emissions for healthcare.

Key messages

  • Greenhouse gas emissions from healthcare are substantial, and the health sector has generally lagged most other industries in reducing its carbon footprint

  • Healthcare leaders and organisations have both a responsibility and an opportunity to chart a path to net zero emissions

  • Doing so can improve health, protect healthcare delivery by minimising disruptions, yield economic benefits, and establish the healthcare sector as a leader in climate action

  • Rising to the challenge of net zero in healthcare will require broad transformative steps, such as reducing demand through preventive care, powering the entire enterprise with clean energy, choosing medical supplies and equipment with lower carbon footprints, and reducing travel through telemedicine