A year ago this month, we announced our commitment to climate accountability in an insight article. Shortly thereafter, we participated in the creation of Climate Accountability in Development (CAD), a coalition of like-minded organizations coming together to pave the way towards climate accountability in the development sector. We each made the commitment to be transparent about our carbon footprint measurement, reduction, and mitigation efforts, and to pool resources to invest in high-quality carbon mitigation and removal activities. A lot has happened over the past year, and progress has been made.
Finalized commitments for Climate Accountability in Development
The first significant update is that CAD finalized its required membership commitments. To reach those commitments, the founding members faced difficult questions. Should we set the bar low for our commitments in order to encourage more organizations to join, or should we set the bar high to ensure meaningful impact? Eventually, the decision was made to take a leap of faith and set ambitious goals. Together, we will figure out how to get there.
The set of commitments is articulated around three pillars. For measurement, members of the coalition have committed to measuring greenhouse gas emissions annually with increased accuracy. Regarding reduction, organizations committed to a 30% reduction of carbon emissions by 2030. Meanwhile, hard-to-avoid emissions that cannot be reduced will have to be mitigated. Coalition members have committed to full carbon accountability starting no later than 2025, meaning that remaining carbon emissions will be internally priced and texted, and funds will be invested in carbon mitigation initiatives. An expert-mediated fund will be created to perform the due diligence necessary to invest in high-quality carbon removal and mitigation activities.
Integrate Health’s progress
During the past year, Integrate Health participated in the Climate Accountability in Development’s bi-weekly meetings, taking part in building the key tenants of what the coalition will do.
At the organizational level, we completed our carbon emission measurement for 2020. Unsurprisingly, emissions went up compared to our 2019 baseline. This increase can be attributed to our growing team in Togo as well as the growing population we serve, which amounts to an increase of approximately 50,000 people. Keeping up with reduction targets for a scaling organization like Integrate Health is challenging. While we are on the path to pursuing ambitious climate goals, we are still committed to our mission of delivering high-quality primary healthcare to all. As we extend the reach of our Integrated Primary Care Program, the need to plan for a greener and more sustainable future will become even more relevant, pressing, and challenging.
Integrate Health is raising awareness about CAD, first through a presentation at a senior leadership meeting. Knowing firsthand how much health and climate are inextricably connected, our senior leaders in Togo were unanimously supportive of our commitment towards climate accountability, seeing this as an imperative.
Another big step was the hiring of our new business analyst, who is officially tasked with leading our climate action plan. While challenges remain to dedicate time and resources among competing priorities, creating a line in a job description specifically for climate accountability is a first step we are proud of.
Finally, through the FY2023 budgeting process, we assigned an internal carbon tax of $50 per square ton of carbon emitted and committed a buget line accordingly to contribute to carbon mitigation. Climate justice is an issue we take very seriously, and we are deeply committed to achieving the goals we set.
As next steps, we are focusing on finalizing our climate action plan. This will set the course of action to reach our targets, for instance, creating a green team to champion this work and identifying specific reduction goals. We anticipate that reduction goals in the next few years will prioritize a business travel policy and a vehicle purchasing policy, in addition to the construction of Le Centre Vert, our new headquarters and community center in Kara. There is still much to be done, and this is only the beginning. Stay tuned for more upcoming updates!