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Gillette Children’s Champions Greener Care


Gillette patients Kate and Ben Harkness watch the sun set at Lowry Nature Center in Victoria, Minn.

The health care sector has an enormous impact on the environment—from producing an astonishing 5.2 billion tons of waste annually to consuming more than eight percent of the nation’s energy. How hospitals and clinics operate today has a real impact on our environment and our future health.

Gillette Children’s understands the links between our environment, communities, and patient health. Advocacy is part of Gillette’s care model, and we continue to seek collaborative solutions to combat climate change.

A Bold Commitment

Gillette Children’s has signed the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) pledge to lower greenhouse gas emissions and build a more climate-resilient infrastructure. The pledge calls for a 50% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 and net zero by 2050.

To reduce the health impacts of climate change, greenhouse gas emissions must be reduced, and hospitals have an essential role to play – both by reducing their own emissions and by serving as models for sustainability within their communities.

“Gillette is committed to Zero Harm, and that includes the harm a health care system creates with greenhouse gases. We recognize that we must do our part to combat climate change, which is why we are proud to sign on to the HHS pledge,” said Micah Niermann, MD, Chief Medical Officer and Executive Vice President, Clinical Affairs, who also serves as a member of the Governor’s Advisory Council on Climate Change. “Climate change affects everyone, but there are many communities who are disproportionately affected, including the patients we serve at Gillette,” continued Niermann.

Partnering to Build a Better World

Gillette Children’s has also become a network partner of Practice Greenhealth, the nation’s leading nonprofit organization for health care institutions that have made a commitment to sustainable, environmentally preferable practices.

Through the partnership, Gillette leverages tools, resources and expert knowledge that allow us to move closer towards our sustainability goals and continue making a meaningful difference for the planet as well as the patients, staff, and visitors who walk through our doors.

Practice Greenhealth represents more than 1,100 hospitals and health care systems across the country that have embraced sustainability as a means to practice the Hippocratic Oath— to heal and do no harm—through safer products, reduced air emissions, elimination of toxins, safer working environments, less waste and efficient use of energy and water. 

Environmental Sustainability Committee Drives Change

With the support of Practice Greenhealth and guided by the goals established through the HHS pledge, Gillette Children’s Environmental Sustainability Committee works drive meaningful, lasting change. The group includes team members from across Gillette – with representatives who work in areas from purchasing to facilities to patient care. In addition to working toward meeting the HHS pledge goals, the group’s main efforts are to improve conservation of energy and water, reduce waste, promote environmentally preferable purchasing and to partner with stakeholders to improve regional health and environmental equity. 

“We’re proud to engage employees across Gillette Children’s to improve our sustainability and protect the health of the patients we serve,” says Brian Smidt, manager of Environment of Care at Gillette and a founding member of the Environmental Sustainability Committee. “It is exciting to know that the effort we put in to promoting greener practices today will have a positive impact for generations to come.”

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