The Challenge

Climate change poses a real and urgent threat to our society and economy, with potentially devastating acute and chronic impacts on human health. 

Severe floods, heat stress or drought can have immediate and severe impacts on health. Gradual rises in temperature can have longer term impacts, exacerbating both non-communicable and infectious diseases. Climate change also impacts mental health, whether as a result of the trauma of living through severe weather disasters, or more widely, suffering so-called ‘eco-anxiety’. 

Many of the drivers of climate change are also health issues in their own right. Air pollution from fossil-fuel power plants, transport and industry kills and debilitates millions each year, while forest destruction damages water supplies and increases the risk of infectious diseases.

The climate crisis is also a health crisis and requires systemic, interlinked action by the private sector, governments and civil society. Human health relies on fresh water, healthy food, clean air and a stable climate. 

And yet, those two issues are often treated separately, uncovering a lack of guidance for business on how to leverage their net zero strategies in a way that simultaneously accelerates change across these interlinked challenges.

Our solution: the Climate and Health Coalition 

To overcome this barrier, Forum for the Future and leading healthcare businesses Bupa, Haleon, Reckitt and Walgreens Boots Alliance have joined forces in the Climate and Health Coalition to mobilise and equip the private sector to accelerate the integrated transformation of our health and climate systems, towards outcomes that deliver benefits for both people and planet.

Founded in early 2022, the Coalition is:

  • developing more detailed guidance for private sector action to deliver integrated climate and health strategies; 
  • creating recommendations for government, investors and philanthropy to support private sector action; 
  • fostering alignment and connection between existing private sector initiatives; 
  • identifying gaps in research and understanding; and 
  • demonstrating and evidencing the links between climate change and health; and 
  • raising awareness and understanding of this at key forums such as Climate Week and COP27. 

Report: Driving Co-Benefits for Climate and Health - 2022 Update: How the private sector can accelerate progress

In this 2022 report, the Climate and Health Coalition reviews progress, highlights some encouraging examples of integrated action on climate and health which deserve to be widely replicated, and details actions business can take to seize the initiative and make change happen.

This guidance also illustrates opportunities to integrate equity of health outcomes into climate and health strategies and explores the intersection of biodiversity and nature with climate and health, with a focus on four sectors which have particular leverage: food, technology, the built environment and healthcare.

Explore the guidance 

Report: Driving Co-Benefits for Climate and Health (2021)

Published in September 2021 by Forum for the Future, Bupa, Haleon and Walgreens Boots Alliance the report Driving co-benefits for climate and health’ called on business to urgently and simultaneously act on the twin crises of climate change and public health. It aims to address a lack of guidance for businesses on how to leverage their net zero strategies in a way that simultaneously accelerates change across these interlinked challenges. 

Developed with input from businesses, NGOs, scientists, philanthropists and government advisors from across Europe and the US, the report puts forward recommendations for business as a whole, with specific guidance for four high-impact sectors (food, finance, healthcare, building & infrastructure), and public policy advocacy to governments. 

In adopting the recommendations put forward, businesses and governments can ensure that each action they take towards Net Zero drives maximum impact - in all cases for health, and in many cases for health and nature. Only joined-up thinking and catalytic action will enable the deep transformation needed to stay below 1.5°C and deliver a just and regenerative future for all.

Explore the guidance 

Get in touch 

To learn more and explore how your organisation can drive co-benefits for climate and health, please contact Ksenia Benifand [email protected].

Who’s involved 

 

“Put simply, it’s impossible to have healthy people on a sick planet. There are significant benefits for the private sector to accelerate progress on climate and health by taking a systems lense, and developing strategies that can deliver benefits for both people and planet. We need to act now to mitigate the worst impacts of climate change and adapt to the evolving public health challenges that are already being felt across the globe. The Climate and Health Coalition will be an important catalyst for accelerated private sector action” - Dr Sally Uren, Chief Executive, Forum for the Future

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