Guest essay by Eric Worrall
Good news for the 9.6 million clients of Kaiser Permanente Health Consortium; They have just committed to spending an unknown amount of your health premiums, to reduce Kaiser CO2 emissions to zero by 2025.
Kaiser to end its global warming emissions by 2025
Kaiser Permanente on Tuesday unveiled an aggressive environmental plan that, by 2025, will slash the hospital system’s water use, recycle or compost all of its non-hazardous waste and eliminate or offset its greenhouse gas emissions.
Kaiser, based in Oakland, also will buy its food from local sources or farms that follow sustainable practices, most notably avoiding the overuse of antibiotics.
Kaiser has a history of setting environmental targets for its operations. But the new goals represent its most ambitious to date. The health organization will develop annual plans and milestones to reach its targets.
“The degradation of the environment has a powerful effect on health,” said Raymond Baxter, Kaiser’s senior vice president of community benefit, research and health policy. “It is a major health issue that we can not ignore. … We did this because we think the problem is so severe, and we are at a tipping point, that we cannot take incremental approaches.”
Kaiser does not have an estimate for how much the sweeping changes to its operations will cost. But Baxter noted that Kaiser’s past efforts to lighten its environmental impact — by using more sustainable products or buying renewable power — have cost less than the organization would have spent under its previous business practices.
Next time the cost of your Kaiser health plan premiums go up, remember not to be selfish about it, because Kaiser plans to spend some of that extra cash on your behalf, to help save the world from CO2.