Forum for the Future teams with business giants to launch Climate and Health Coalition

Non-profit Forum for the Future has teamed with leading businesses in the healthcare space to launch a new coalition aimed at interlinking the climate and health crises through tangible action across the private sector, civil society and governments.

Forum for the Future has announced Bupa, Haleon, Reckitt and Walgreens Boots Alliance as the new corporate members of the Climate and Health Coalition.

The Coalition notes that many governments and corporates currently treat climate and health as separate issues, but that they are often interlinked. Coalition members argue that net-zero strategies and climate action can also help improve global health standards.

The members will seek to develop more guidance that outlines the synergies between the two crises and will create a set of recommendations for governments and investors. The Coalition will also aim to boost collaboration and alignment across the private sector and raise awareness at key forums including COP27.

Forum for the Future’s chief executive Dr Sally Uren said: “Put simply, it’s impossible to have healthy people on a sick planet. There are significant benefits for the private sector to accelerate progress on climate and health by taking a systems lens, and developing strategies that can deliver benefits for both people and planet.

“We need to act now to mitigate the worst impacts of climate change and adapt to the evolving public health challenges that are already being felt across the globe. The Climate and Health Coalition will be an important catalyst for accelerated private sector action.”

Net-zero targets

The Coalition held numerous roundtables across the month of July to help develop guidance for technology, food, healthcare and infrastructure sectors.

The firms involved in the Coalition are already leading on climate action. Bupa is notably one of the 5,200+ businesses signed up to the UN’s Race to Zero Campaign, which launched in the run-up to COP26 to help accelerate the adoption and delivery of credible net-zero targets.

Race to Zero represents businesses and other organisations responsible for some 25% of annual global emissions and 50% of GDP. Bupa’s net-zero target is set for 2040.

Bupa is also a member of Health Care Without Harm – a global, collaborative initiative aimed at reducing the healthcare sector’s environmental footprint, ensuring that the sector brings social benefits, and unifying the sector’s voice in terms of policy engagement on sustainability.

Last year, the healthcare sector developed a global framework for reaching net-zero by 2050 at the latest. The framework has been developed as part of a collaboration between consultancy Arup and Health Care Without harm.

Healthcare is often thought of as a lower-carbon sector than, for example, heavy industry or aviation. But the report reveals that 4.4% of annual global emissions can be attributed to healthcare and that this proportion could grow rapidly as the sector expands in the coming decades.

The vast majority (84%) of the sector’s emissions, the report states, are from fossil fuel use. Key sources include coal, oil and gas used to power facilities like hospitals and surgeries; petrol and diesel used for ambulances and other related travel; transporting products and powering manufacturing.

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