Santa Clara Valley Healthcare logoSanta Clara Valley Healthcare (SCVH) is taking a significant step in the battle against climate change by signing the federal health sector Climate Pledge initiative to dramatically reduce its carbon footprint at all its hospitals and clinics and become net-zero by 2050. SCVH includes Santa Clara Valley Medical Center (SCVMC), O’Connor Hospital, St. Louise Regional Hospital (SLRH) and a multitude of clinics across Santa Clara County.

“Santa Clara Valley Healthcare is making this climate commitment to bring better health and wellness to our world and our community for generations to come,” said Paul E. Lorenz, Chief Executive Officer for Santa Clara Valley Healthcare. “Like all businesses, the healthcare community must reduce our greenhouse gas emissions and reduce harm to our planet.”

Strategic goals and actions include:

  1. At a minimum, reduce organizational emissions by 50% by 2030 and achieve net-zero by 2050, publicly accounting for progress on this goal every year.
  2. Designate an executive-level lead for our work on reducing emissions by 2023 and conduct an inventory of supply chain emissions by the end of 2024.
  3. Develop and release a climate resilience plan for continuous operations by the end of 2023, anticipating the needs of groups in our community who experience a disproportionate risk of climate-related harm.

All areas of operations will be explored to reduce environmental harms, including on-site emissions from energy usage and waste from anesthetic gases, vehicles and refrigerants.

In addition to its focus on emissions associated with pharmaceuticals, medical devices and equipment, waste and disposal and food, SCVH recognizes the significance of developing a climate resilience plan. Such a plan is essential to ensure the safe and uninterrupted operations at SCVH facilities, while also taking proactive measures to mitigate climate-related risks that pose harm for the most vulnerable members of our community, including children, the elderly, those experiencing chronic medical conditions and persons who are pregnant.

SCVH also has joined the Universal Meals movement, which adheres to enrollment in the Good Food Purchasing Program through the County of Santa Clara Public Health Department. This value-based procurement program requires purchases based on environmental sustainability, nutrition, animal welfare, local economies and a valued workforce.

According to Universal Meals, SCVH is the first public healthcare system in the country to offer one of their recipes, now in cafeterias at SLRH and O’Connor. SCVMC is expected to soon follow.

The Universal Meals program, designed by the Physician’s Committee for Responsible Medicine, provides formulated guidelines that deliver well-rounded and nutritional recipes devoid of animal products, gluten-containing grains, nuts, and common allergens. These recipes are influenced by an increasing diversity of dietary needs and are comprised of familiar and well-known foods, flexible to be tailored as desired, and adaptable to institutional settings. Sweet and Sour Cauliflower is available on the SLRH cafeteria menu. O’Connor is offering Japanese Pasta Salad with Kabocha Squash and a Chickpea Salad.

“Adding these recipes is part of a larger recognition that both people and the environment must be well cared for,” said Jocelyn Dubin, Lead Public Health Nutritionist at County of Santa Clara Public Health Department. “Providing inclusive options for people with food allergies and dietary restrictions builds toward greater health equity in our communities, as we strive to make the healthy and sustainable choice the easy choice for all.”

Video is available here of a Universal Meals tasting event hosted by Public Health with local registered dietitians.
About Santa Clara Valley Healthcare
Santa Clara Valley Healthcare (SCVH), California’s second-largest County-owned health and hospital system, is comprised of three acute care hospitals, Santa Clara Valley Medical Center, O’Connor Hospital, and St. Louise Regional Hospital, along with a network of primary and specialty clinics. SCVH emphasizes quality care, research, teaching, innovation, and most importantly, a focus on coordinated, compassionate and patient-centered care to every patient. Our mission is to provide high-quality, accessible healthcare and excellent service to everyone in Santa Clara County, regardless of their social-economic status or ability to pay.