Kaiser Permanente: “60 Sustainable Seconds”


As part of a new initiative, every month Kaiser Permanente (KP) will feature an online video of an employee or physician who is doing something worthwhile in regards to healthcare and sustainability. The program is called 60 Sustainable Seconds with Kathy Gerwig, KP’s environmental stewardship officer and vice president of workplace safety. Watch the first video below:

Kaiser Permanente’s actions to help the environment

Last April, KP was named Climate Action Leader for being part of the California Climate Action Registry. Through the California Climate Action Registry, participants calculate, verify, and report greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. This year marked the third year KP won the award.

Gerwig said, “Climate change will cause health effects that directly impact Kaiser Permanente’s ability to fulfill our mission of quality, affordable health care. At Kaiser Permanente, we believe a preventative approach to community health, and reducing greenhouse gas emissions is part of preventing the spread of infectious diseases and other health effects of climate change.”

In February, Gerwig testified before Congress at the hearing on revisiting the Toxic Substances Control Act of 1976. She spoke about the five guidelines for chemicals KP adopted:

  1. Understand product chemistry.
  2. Access and avoid hazards.
  3. Commit to continuous improvement.
  4. Support industry standards that, in Kaiser Permanente’s opinion, eliminate or reduce known hazards and promote a greener economy, including support for green chemistry research and education.
  5. Inform public policies and be part of the public dialogue that advances the implementation of the above principles.

Gerwig also spoke about the chemicals disclosure document KP developed, which is required for “all large purchasing contracts.” The disclosure asks for information on persistent bioaccumulative toxic compounds and carcinogens, mutagens, and reproductive toxins.

Gina-Marie Cheeseman

Gina-Marie is a freelance writer and journalist armed with a degree in journalism, and a passion for social justice, including the environment and sustainability. She writes for various websites, and has made the 75+ Environmentalists to Follow list by Mashable.com.