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Northland DHB Awarded For Reducing Greenhouse Gases

Northland District Health Board is among five health institutions across New Zealand, and Australia awarded for their leadership in climate action in the global Health Care Climate Challenge.

The Health Care Climate Challenge (HCCC) is run by international NGO Health Care Without Harm and aims to mobilise health care institutions around the world to protect public health from climate change. Institutions taking part in the HCCC have so far made commitments to reduce their carbon emissions by more than 37 million tonnes, the equivalent of a year of carbon emissions from nine coal-fired power plants. Health institutions can nominate to be recognised for their work on climate change across three broad categories each year: leadership, resilience and mitigation.

Northland DHB has received a Gold Emissions Reductions award for reducing greenhouse gas emissions, by 23 percent on its baseline year.

Sustainability development manager Margriet Geesink said the DHB acknowledges its responsibility as kaitiaki of the environment to keep the climate healthy and have set an ambitious target to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions by 50 percent in 2030 compared with 2016.

“We have been able to reduce our emissions by 23 percent while growing over 30 percent since our benchmark year. It is great to have received recognition for all the efforts and success of our institution and staff.

“As a participant in the HCCC, we are committed to reducing health care’s carbon footprint, preparing for the impacts of extreme weather and the shifting burden of disease and educating staff and the public while promoting policies to protect public health from climate change. We are honoured to be a part of a global community of health care institutions on every continent leading the transformation to climate-smart health care.”

Margriet said it is rewarding to progress and lead work on climate change with the support of so many staff dedicated to making a positive change. She acknowledged the work facilities manager Brett Attwood has done to reduce on-site energy emissions and specialist anaesthetist, Dr Jenny Henry and the anaesthetic team for significantly reducing medical gas emissions.

Northland DHB chief executive Dr Nick Chamberlain was proud to hear that HCCC had recognised the DHB for their achievements, which he said had been primarily driven by staff dedicated to reducing the environmental footprint of the DHBs healthcare services.

“We are all at risk to the health threats of climate change. However, our vulnerable population is most at risk and less resilient. Our focus is on improving health equity in the region and this includes preparing for and responding to climate change to make sure we achieve positive, equitable health outcomes in our community. With so much more to be done, we are committed to the work that lays ahead to reach zero emissions as we strive to protect the future health of our community, environment and planet.”

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