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Dignity Health to Limit Investments in Thermal Coal Energy

Dignity Health will participate in meetings concurrent with the COP21 Paris Climate Conference.

SAN FRANCISCO - December 3, 2015 - Dignity Health, one of the nation's largest health systems, today announced it will restrict investments in thermal coal companies, and expand investments in sustainability-focused asset managers and investment opportunities addressing climate change. The non-profit health system has recently strengthened its advocacy efforts by urging portfolio managers to include environmental sustainability into their investment decisions. This new screen against thermal coal has led Dignity Health to divest its holdings in a number of companies, and to restrict further investment in the industry.

"Our healing mission requires us to recognize the impact of climate change as a prominent public health issue," said Shelly Schlenker, vice president of public policy, advocacy and government affairs at Dignity Health. "Because of this, we've taken a hard look at our environmental policies and taken steps to ensure that we limit our relationships with the worst environmental offenders."

As a recognized environmental sustainability leader for more than 20 years, Dignity Health will be attending meetings concurrent with the 21st Session of the Conference of the Parties of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP21) in Paris, France. Dignity Health will participate in the following panel presentations:

  • Low Carbon Health Care Conference (Dec. 3, 2015)
  • Corporate Climate Leadership in America (Dec. 4, 2015, 1:30pm - 2:30pm CET)
  • Health Care Climate Leadership Roundtable: Governance and Financing of the Energy Transition (Dec. 4, 2015, 3:30pm - 4:30pm CET)

"With roots in the Catholic tradition, we are proud of our comprehensive efforts to address climate change as a moral responsibility to protect the planet and create a safe living environment," said Sister Susan Vickers, RSM, vice president of corporate responsibility, Dignity Health. "So we will continue advocating for aggressive strategies that will directly reduce the risk to public health. We hope our actions will inspire other health care organizations to reevaluate their environmental policies. We believe that by working together, large organizations like ours can have a significant impact on improving sustainability."

"Dignity Health's decision to screen out coal from its portfolio signals a new era in which health care aligns its mission to heal with its financial investments," said Gary Cohen, Founder and President of Health Care Without Harm. "For 20 years, Dignity Health has led the movement for environmentally responsible health care and once again, they have shown us that healing our climate is central to the mission of health care."

Dignity Health has been widely recognized for its efforts to reduce waste and develop and implement pollution prevention programs across its 39 hospitals to improve the health of patients, staff, and communities. It has pledged to increase its use of renewable energy to 35 percent and to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 40 percent by 2020 - a goal that the organization is already on track to surpass.

Dignity Health is also a sponsor of the Healthier Hospitals Initiative, which guides hospitals to reduce energy and waste, choose safer and less toxic products, and purchase and serve healthier foods. In its legislative advocacy efforts, Dignity Health helped influence the passage of SB 350 in California, a landmark bill that will increase both the state's renewable energy use and energy efficiency in buildings by 50 percent.

"Dignity Health has shown a tremendous commitment to responsible and sustainable business practices, especially when it comes to taking concrete action to address climate change," said California State Senate President Kevin de León. "I want to thank Dignity Health for being the first hospital network to endorse Senate Bill 350 this session, for rallying business support for California's climate leadership, and now, for following the state's lead and divesting from coal. We need more businesses to show the same integrity and leadership on this issue."


Dignity Health will participate in meetings concurrent with the COP21 Paris Climate Conference.

Publish date: 

Thursday, December 03, 2015