“Canada’s health care system alone accounts for nearly 5% of the country’s total greenhouse gas emissions, putting it ahead of the aviation industry.

In 2021, Canada joined more than 50 nations in committing to achieving low-carbon, sustainable health systems, but so far, much of the progress towards that goal has come from the voluntary efforts of individual physicians.

Myles Sergeant, a family physician in Hamilton, Ont., launched one such effort to cultivate partnerships on climate action across healthcare facilities, called PEACH.

He was inspired by a paper published in The Lancet Planetary Health which showed that more than 60% of the emissions generated by England’s National Health Service were related to the supply chain, rather than the delivery of care (24%), or travel by staff, patients, and visitors (10%).

Looking further into the issue, PEACH developed a checklist of the 20 most impactful actions hospitals could take to reduce their carbon footprint – in some cases, at low cost or savings. These include divesting foundation funds from fossil fuels, implementing Choosing Wisely programs to reduce waste, using reusable gowns and linens, adopting sustainable prescribing strategies, increasing plant-based food options for patients, and weighing sustainability in procurement contracts.”

How Canadian hospitals are decreasing carbon emissions via CMAJ.