PureHealth, the largest healthcare platform in the Middle East, has become the first health company in the Middle East, Africa and Asia to commit to net zero emissions by 2040 in alignment with Science Based Targets Initiative (SBTi). This is a decade before the deadline by when the world must reach net zero to achieve the Paris Agreement goal of limiting global warming to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels.

Announced to mark the UAE’s staging of the 28th Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP28), during its Year of Sustainability, the pledge underscores the company’s commitment to the nation’s net zero pathway and to raise sustainability awareness across the healthcare sector.  

The UAE became the first Middle East and North African country to announce a net zero emissions target when it declared the UAE Net Zero by 2050 strategic initiative in October 2021, prior to COP26 in Glasgow.

At COP27 the following year, it outlined its strategy to achieve the target, the National Net Zero by 2050 Pathway, based on sector-specific plans.

Earlier this year, the Department of Health – Abu Dhabi (DoH), the regulator of the healthcare sector in the Emirate, revealed Abu Dhabi’s healthcare sustainability goals in conjunction with Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week 2023.  The goals aim to reduce carbon emissions by 20% in 2030 and Net Zero by 2050. Through these goals, DoH seeks to set a roadmap for the emirate’s healthcare sustainability progress and accelerate alignment across the ecosystem.

PureHealth’s Net Zero by 2040 pledge was announced at the Longevity of the Planet summit in Abu Dhabi, attended by His Excellency Dr. Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber, COP28 President-Designate and UAE Minister of Industry and Advanced Technology; Her Excellency Mariam Bint Mohammed Almheiri, the UAE Minister of Climate Change and Environment; His Excellency Mansour Ibrahim Al Mansouri, Chairman of the Department of Health – Abu Dhabi; and other government dignitaries.

His Excellency Dr. Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber, COP28 President-Designate and UAE Minister of Industry and Advanced Technology, said: “Climate change presents a serious threat to human health with health shocks and stresses already pushing around 100 million people into poverty every year. If the world doesn’t take decisive action, this will only worsen. That’s why I’m pleased to see PureHealth pledging to meet net zero by 2040 today - setting their ambitions on climate actions high. COP28 will create a breakthrough moment for climate and health, by being the first to devote an entire day of the agenda to health, and the first to deliver a health and climate ministerial. To keep 1.5 within reach, the world needs to see every part of society come together and take transformational steps like this forward.”

Her Excellency Mariam Bint Mohammed Almheiri, UAE Minister of Climate Change and Environment, commended PureHealth for their ambition to be Net Zero by 2040 and setting a remarkable example for the healthcare industry in the Middle East, Africa, and Asia. She also said that achieving sustainability goals is vital not only for safeguarding the environment but also for ensuring the well-being and resilience of communities.

Her Excellency Mariam Bint Mohammed Almheiri said: “We are actively engaging more of the private sector in the UAE's journey to Net Zero 2050 and this announcement aligns perfectly with the UAE’s commitment to combatting climate change and achieving our Net Zero by 2050 goal. The healthcare sector plays a crucial role in climate action, as climate change is not only about protecting the environment but also strongly linked to people's health and quality of life. It affects the well-being of individuals and the future of humanity as a whole.

"The Year of Sustainability provides us with an opportunity to showcase our dedication to our planet’s welfare and the importance of collective action. As the host of COP28 later this year, we are dedicating a day for health in its programme to demonstrate that every sector has a vital role to contribute to cutting emissions and the healthcare sector is no exception. Our nation is determined to deliver an inclusive and impactful conference that brings together stakeholders from around the world.”

His Excellency Mansour Ibrahim Al Mansouri said: “Under the directives of our leadership, DoH continues to lead the healthcare sector’s sustainability agenda through ensuring the availability of a roadmap that equips the ecosystem with the means to achieve sustainable operations and practices. With an ultimate goal to reduce carbon emissions by 20% in 2030 and Net Zero by 2050, DoH launched the sector's short and long-term sustainability goals earlier this year. Furthermore, alongside our partners from across the sector, we’ve established a governance model for Green Hospitals with an Abu Dhabi-specific accreditation and labelling. The goals seek to set the stage for strategic targets that help us create a better future for generations to come while plotting a future-proof healthcare ecosystem for years ahead.”

Farhan Malik, Managing Director and CEO of PureHealth, said: “The world is approaching a tipping point; achieving the goal of net zero emissions cannot come soon enough. We hope our bold move will inspire other companies to accelerate their decarbonisation efforts. We are inspired by the leadership of the UAE in accelerating climate action that benefits our climate and the environment, protects communities and unlocks economic value and sustainable growth.

“PureHealth will closely partner government and business in realising the country's Net Zero by 2050 strategic initiative and applauds its role as host of COP28, a milestone climate change summit for all humanity. In line with the UAE Year of Sustainability, our pledge to be Net Zero by 2040 demonstrates that companies in the UAE are taking responsibility for a greener future."

“Our vision is for a future where sustainability and longevity go hand in hand. Our mission to empower people to live longer, healthier, and fuller lives is intrinsically linked with our drive to cut carbon emissions. We will continue engaging with the global healthcare community to raise awareness, rally support and mobilise action for a healthier, greener world.”

With the global healthcare sector accounting for around five per cent of carbon emissions, but around 10% of global GDP, PureHealth has developed a comprehensive decarbonisation roadmap encompassing a range of more responsible business practices such as sustainable procurement, improved waste management and stricter control on fugitive emissions. Carbon emissions will be further reduced through more energy-efficient buildings and infrastructure, and cleaner transport fleets. The adoption of clean and renewable energy is another priority.

PureHealth’s holistic sustainability strategy prioritises advances in patient care. For example, Virtual Care services will be expanded to deliver healthcare outside traditional clinics and hospitals. Value-Based Care practices will be enhanced to further reduce readmission rates. Preventive Care integrating Digital Twins and other technologies will also be strengthened.

PureHealth’s Net Zero by 2040 pledge complements its wider strategy to transform the healthcare industry through technology. As part of its vision for a Healthcare in the Cloud ecosystem and pushing care to the edge, the company is actively incorporating solutions such as AI-based triaging, remote monitoring and wearables. IoT-based solutions are also being deployed to monitor and optimise energy consumption throughout the company’s operations.