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Improving Health

What we buy matters. Without responsible procurement, purchased goods and services can lead to large footprints, unnecessary waste, and risks to human and environmental health.

Our Sustainable Procurement Program utilizes a variety of sourcing strategies, business forums, and disclosure mechanisms to identify and leverage opportunities throughout our supply chain to reduce healthcare’s impact on both human health and the environment, while striving to improve the health of our members, our employees, and the communities we serve.

Sustainable procurement looks at the health, social, and economic aspects of purchasing decisions, which allows us to meet the need for goods and services while both generating benefits for the organization, society, and the economy and minimizing damage to health and the environment. Procurement decisions are made by looking at the entire lifecycle cost of a product, from creation to disposal, in order to achieve economic and environmental value.


Environmentally Preferable Purchasing (EPP) Initiative

Introduction to EPP

As part of our mission to improve the health of our members and the communities we serve, Kaiser Permanente developed and implemented a set of Environmentally Preferable Purchasing (EPP) principles, which comprise a holistic set of environmental criteria aligned with our commitment to promote cleaner energy, safer chemicals, resource conservation, and waste reduction. We are committed to applying the EPP principles to all our major, strategic, and critical purchasing decisions and evaluating the full lifecycle impacts of our purchased goods and services.

EPP is the purchase of products and services that have been confirmed to be less damaging to the environment and to human health when compared to competing products and services.  The success of this initiative is dependent on collaboration between Impact Spending, sourcing, our Group Purchasing Organization (GPO) Vizient, our suppliers, external business forums, and other Kaiser Permanente stakeholders.

This initiative has delivered countless positive environmental impacts over the year (e.g., latex-free exam gloves and PVC-free carpeting) and has been honored with a variety of industry awards.  The EPP Initiative within Kaiser Permanente is just one of the many ways that we seek to promote positive environmental, human, and societal health outcomes for the communities in which we live, work, and serve.

EPP Principles

In support of Kaiser Permanente’s mission to improve the health of our members and the communities we serve, Kaiser Permanente is committed to applying EPP guidelines and specifications to all major, strategic, and critical purchasing decisions.

Kaiser Permanente’s EPP Principles, which have been in effect since May 2006, mandate that a variety of specific environmental criteria be considered in purchasing decisions, in addition to product performance and cost effectiveness.  Specific criteria and other guidelines can be found in the EPP Principles document.

EPP Standards

As an extension of the EPP Principles, Kaiser Permanente requires its current and prospective suppliers of products to comply with the Kaiser Permanente EPP Standard, which went into effect in February 2017.  The standard mandates specific environmental criteria to be met in the areas of chemicals of concern and waste, in addition to other purchasing criteria.  These criteria were developed in conjunction with Practice Greenhealth, Healthcare Without Harm, Clean Production Action, and other industry professionals.

Specific details about the criteria can be found in the EPP Standard document. Standards for furniture and fabrics can be found in the Furniture & Fabrics EPP Standard document and additional guidance for carpets can be found on the Health Care Without Harm website.

3rd Party Certifications

In support of our EPP Standards, Kaiser Permanente integrates credible third-party environmental certifications into sourcing efforts. This includes but is not limited to EPEAT Certification for Computers and Electronic Equipment; ACT ® Label for Laboratory Equipment;  GreenScreen TM Certified for Medical Supplies and Devices; GreenScreen TM Certified for Furniture and Fabrics; and GreenSeal or EcoLogo for Cleaning Products.  Specific details can be found in the EPP Criteria and Certifications document.


Decarbonization Initiative

Healthcare Emissions

At Kaiser Permanente, we believe it is our obligation as a health care provider to minimize our environmental impact.  Our work to protect the environment is part of everything we do, from the way we power our facilities and manage our waste to how we purchase medical supplies, food, and equipment.  In 2020, we became the first U.S. health care organization to achieve certified carbon neutral status. Now, 100% of our electricity is coming from renewable sources.

We’re also working to reduce all our greenhouse gas emissions by 50% by 2030 and to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050. Net zero means cutting greenhouse gas emissions to as close to zero as possible. Any remaining emissions would be balanced by the amount we’d remove from the atmosphere. We know that our work to eliminate our greenhouse gases directly benefits the health of our patients and our communities while reducing health disparities.  Our suppliers, distributors, and other partners are key contributors to this work.

As part of our work to reduce our emissions by 50% by 2030, we have included environmental commitments in our prospective supplier selection process and work with existing suppliers on their greenhouse gas reduction goals, innovations, and process improvements to drive action and accountability.

CHARME Collaborative

Officially launched in 2024, the Collective Healthcare Action to Reduce MedTech Emissions (CHARME) collaborative tackles the emissions-intensive health care supply chain with the goal of reducing gas emissions that arise from the multi-billion-dollar U.S. medical device and equipment supply chain.  The MedTech (medical device, equipment, service, and distribution) supply chain accounts for 7% of U.S. health care greenhouse gas emissions. The Sustainable Purchasing Leadership Council is leading this effort in partnership with Kaiser Permanente and Vizient.

The CHARME initiative will implement key findings from the white paper Catalyzing Collective Action to Decarbonize Healthcare Roadmap for Health Systems and MedTech Suppliers, which was published in 2023 by Kaiser Permanente, Health Care Without Harm, and Accenture, with input from over 30 organizations. The participating health systems included hundreds of hospitals from across the country, and the suppliers included MedTech companies representing more than $1 trillion in combined annual revenues.


Strategic Partnerships

Our decades of experience and lessons learned in environmental stewardship give us the ability to build coalitions and lead the health care industry in decarbonizing operations and building health care resilience. Through our partnerships with community-based organizations, we’ve forged crucial relationships that help us listen and respond to community challenges and opportunities. We also work across industries and sectors to broaden collaborations and spark insights and strategies that center health and health equity in the climate narrative and our collective action. Our environmental leadership has allowed us to cultivate strong, long-lasting relationships with diverse groups of partner organizations, including:


Environmental Stewardship

As employees for one of the nation’s leading health care providers and nonprofit health plans, we at Kaiser Permanente recognize our obligation to steward the environment in which we live, work, play, and deliver care. Our foundational approach to stewardship is anchored in protecting and promoting the health of our communities.  For more on our Environmental Stewardship policies and initiatives, please visit Kaiser Permanente’s Environmental stewardship site.