Environmental Quality Protection, Beautification


Reston, VA


Health Care Without Harm is a non-profit international advocacy organization whose mission is to transform health care worldwide so that it reduces its environmental footprint and becomes a community anchor for sustainability and a leader in the global movement for environmental health and justice.

Ruling Year


Principal Officer

Gary Cohen

Main Address

12355 Sunrise Valley Dr Suite 680

Reston, VA 20191 USA


green health care, sustainable health care, green hospitals, climate change, asthma, Clean Air Act, air pollution, greenhouse gas, coal-fired power plants, chemical reform, safe chemicals act, hospital supply chain, healthy hospitals, green ribbon commission, green building, energy efficiency, energy efficient hospitals, energy reduction, hospital energy, sustainable building, Hippocratic Oath, no harm





Cause Area (NTEE Code)

Alliance/Advocacy Organizations (C01)

IRS Filing Requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

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Programs + Results

What we aim to solve

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Our programs

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization











Where we work

Our Results

How does this organization measure their results? It's a hard question but an important one. These quantitative program results are self-reported by the organization, illustrating their committment to transparency, learning, and interest in helping the whole sector learn and grow.

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Number of members in our global network representing more than 25,000 hospitals and health centers

Population(s) served

No target populations selected

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success


Context notes

By the end of 2017, our global network boasted more than 1,000 members in 51 countries on 6 continents who represent the interests of over 32,000 hospitals and health centers.

Charting Impact

Five powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What is the organization aiming to accomplish?

What are the organization's key strategies for making this happen?

What are the organization's capabilities for doing this?

How will they know if they are making progress?

What have they accomplished so far and what's next?

1. Protect Public Health from Climate Change: Reduce health care's carbon footprint, foster climate resilient health systems, mobilize the health sector to address climate change as a public health issue, and advocate for solutions that accelerate a transition to clean, renewable energy.

2. Transform the Supply Chain: Establish and globalize procurement criteria and leverage health care's purchasing power to drive policies and markets for ethically produced, healthy, sustainable products and services.

3. Build Leadership for Environmental Health: Inspire, mobilize and support health care's leadership to promote environmental sustainability, human rights, and the right to health in order to achieve large-scale transformational change.

Research and Innovation: We identify and pilot opportunities for health care to implement innovative, economical, science-based solutions to environmental health problems.

Implementation and Capacity Building: We educate, build implementation tools, train health care professionals and scale-up solutions across our networks, the health sector and in the communities it serves.

Policy and Market Changes: We aggregate the influence and purchasing power of hospitals, health systems, health professionals and organizations to drive the marketplace toward sustainability and advocate for policies that will create worldwide change.

Achieving our mission requires a keen focus on how change is made, within a single healthcare institution, across a health care system, and among the disparate healthcare systems that comprise the global sector. HCWH has a vast network of health care partners, representing more than 25,000 hospitals and health centers worldwide.

The hospitals and health systems we work with use our research, connections, and solutions to make changes at an institutional level, deploying innovations such as transitioning to renewable energy, using safer chemicals, and sourcing healthier food for their patients and employees.

Using the network we have built, we scale adoption of good environmental practices and leverage the community of hospitals and health systems to share strategies and learn from each other. We also work through and with international venues and organizations such at the United Nations Development Programme, the World Health Organization, and the World Bank to leverage large scale change across a number of sustainability initiatives.

Additionally, we aggregate the various incremental changes into more collective impacts, such as using the purchasing power of our network of hospitals to alter supply chains and supplier behavior or using their collective political clout to influence policy decisions.

Energy -
• Our U.S. network members will implement programs to reduce their energy usage, adopt renewable energy sources, and advocate for clean energy incentives and policies.
• Our global membership network will implement energy efficiency and renewable energy strategies with the goal of building and measuring collective impact among at least 5,000 hospitals around the world.
• We will work with our partners in key countries to internalize the health cost of energy projects into policy formulation, thereby helping foster a rapid transition in each country to renewable energy.

Chemicals -
• We will win regulations in the European Union that restrict chemicals linked to cancer, birth defects and endocrine disruption from medical products sold.
• We will also develop model national programs in key developing countries to implement the phase out of PVC medical products for safer alternatives.

Climate and Health -
• By 2022, HCWH will be measuring a reduction of annual emissions in health care of at least 200 million metric tons CO2e, with the sector investing billions of dollars in low-carbon, climate-resilient infrastructure, contributing to a broader societal energy transition.
• HCWH's green, low-carbon, resilient health care framework will be integrated into policy decisions at the global, regional, national and local levels.
• Major healthcare systems in key countries such as China, India, Brazil and South Africa will significantly mitigate their own emissions and implement low-carbon strategies.

Food -
• We will leverage health care's purchasing power and mission to help transform meat production in the U.S. away from industrialized production to diversified and ecologically responsible production.
• We will empower over 25% of U.S. hospitals to address population health goals by creating access to, and lowering the costs of, healthy local food through their investments, purchasing and operations.

Green Purchasing -
• By 2022, we will transform the health care supply chain by leveraging $20 billion annually toward purchasing non-toxic, low-carbon, sustainable goods and services.
• In five years, Greenhealth Exchange will leverage $1 billion annually toward climate-friendly and toxic-free technologies and products and influence the larger $250 billion U.S. medical marketplace.
• Collaborating with UNDP, we will scale the sustainable purchasing work across the UN system while developing green procurement programs in key countries.

Waste -
• We will achieve 50% recycling rates among 30% of U.S. hospitals by 2025.
• Our global network members will reduce and sustainably manage their medical waste with the goal of building and measuring collective impact among at least 5,000 hospitals around the world.
• We will work in Europe to mobilize our hospital members to engage in the EU's “circular economy," initiatives which are promoting waste reduction and sustainable waste management.

Buildings - HCWH developed LEED certified standards for U.S. hospitals, which have enlisted 300 hospital architectural projects, impacted 40 million square feet of health care construction, and been adopted as national guidelines in both Australia and China.

Chemicals - HCWH's work began more than 20 years ago through the fight to eliminate the market for mercury thermometers in the U.S., ultimately winning a global treaty phasing them out by 2020. Since then, we continue to work to transform the market toward safer alternatives to products with harmful chemicals including formaldehyde, PVC, antimicrobials, flame retardants, and perfluorinated compounds.

Climate and Health - Established in 2014, the Health Care Climate Council is an advocacy network of 18 leading U.S. health systems committed to driving health care policy leadership on climate and energy issues and rebranding climate change as a public health issue. In addition, HCWH developed the Climate Resilience Framework and Toolkit for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services in collaboration with the Obama White House. The Toolkit charts a path for U.S. hospitals to redesign their buildings and supply chains to address the realities of climate change. And, HCWH partnered with the Word Bank to publish the Climate-Smart Healthcare report, establishing a framework for health systems in every country to become leaders in addressing climate change.

Food - In the past three years, HCWH redirected more than $60 million in food purchasing to local and sustainable foods across hundreds of U.S. hospitals, setting the stage to move a significant percentage of the $12 billion health care spends annually on food.

Green Procurement - HCWH also partnered with the World Bank to developa framework for driving the World Bank's $12 billion in annual health spending in low- and middle-income countries towards climate-resilient healthcare infrastructure. Moreover, HCWH has developed a strong partnership with the United Nations Development Programme to establish criteria for sustainable procurement in health that can be scaled up across the UN system, national health ministries, and our global network representing more than 25,000 hospitals and health systems worldwide. And, in May 2016, HCWH and key health system partners in the U.S. launched Greenhealth Exchange, a for-profit mission-aligned purchasing cooperative designed to aggregate demand in the health care sector for low-carbon, toxic-free products, services and technologies.

Waste - Since 1994 more than 4,500 medical waste incinerators have been closed in the United States as a result of HCWH's efforts to convince hospitals to switch to safer, cost-effective, non-burn waste treatment technologies. HCWH was also instrumental in building the market for medical reprocessing to $500 million annually.

External Reviews



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The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

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Board Leadership Practices

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SOURCE: Self-reported by organization


Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations?

Not Applicable


Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year?

Not Applicable


Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year?

Not Applicable


Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership?

Not Applicable


Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years?

Not Applicable