GSK joins the Race to Resilience with pledge to support health resilience of 15 million people by 2030

By Climate Champions | November 10, 2022

Today at COP27, global biopharma company GSK joins the Race to Resilience campaign and pledges to support at least 15 million people in vulnerable communities to become more resilient to the health impacts of climate change by 2030.

GSK is the first healthcare company to join the campaign designed by the UN Climate Change High Level Champions. The campaign goal is to drive global ambition to create a world where nature and vulnerable communities don’t just survive climate shocks and stresses but thrive despite them.

The science is clear that climate change and climate-related shocks are impacting human health: warm, wet weather is helping diseases spread, the destruction of forests is increasing the risk of pandemic viruses making the leap from animals to humans, and human health is directly impacted by poor air and water quality. This is putting already stretched health systems under pressure and reinforcing health inequalities.

As a company whose purpose is to get ahead of disease together, and with ambitious net zero and nature positive plans, GSK is well placed to further the impact of the campaign.

GSK support will focus on urban, rural, and coastal areas by reducing climate risk vulnerability, reducing climate risk through nature-based solutions, improving preparedness and emergency response and climate-proofing health infrastructure and services.

GSK is joining Race to Resilience through its partnership with the Water Resilience Coalition, an industry-driven, CEO-led initiative whose member companies commit to integrate Net Positive Water Impact to their corporate water strategies by 2050. GSK is collaborating with several partners to deliver the resilience pledge:

  • Working with partners including the Water Resilience Coalition on projects that contribute to Net Positive Water Impact to help people become more resilient to water stress. This is focused on water basins that are under stress in the regions and communities in which GSK operates, including India, Algeria and Pakistan.
  • Investing in nature protection and restoration to tackle climate change, boost biodiversity, drive health co-benefits and increase resilience to flooding and extreme weather events. GSK is a member of LEAF Coalition, the biggest public-private effort to protect tropical forests and is already supporting a community reforestation project in Ghana. GSK will continue to explore and confirm additional projects.
  • Collaborating on a varied set of global health programmes that will build climate resilience by improving preparedness and emergency response, and climate-proofing health infrastructure and services. This includes the recently announced disease surveillance project with Microsoft and GSK’s long-standing partnership with Save the Children.

Thomas Breuer, Chief Global Health Officer, GSK, said “Alongside our sustainability efforts, we’re prioritising supporting vulnerable communities that have contributed least to climate change yet will bear the brunt of the health impacts of climate change. To achieve this we’re uniting science, technology and talent to get ahead of climate-sensitive diseases, and working with partners to support health systems become more resilient, such as using technology to track the spread of diseases which in turn can help local health interventions.”

The UN Climate Change High Level Champions’ Race to Resilience was launched at the Climate Adaptation Summit on January 25 2021 in collaboration with Alok Sharma, COP26 President designate. It now has 36 partners with a total of 1,762 members working across 139 countries, with an emphasis on the Global South.

Bogolo Kenewendo, the Climate Champions’ Special Advisor, Africa Director, says, “GSK’s pledge is crucial. Building resilience takes bold action from state and non-state partners. The world is running out of time to prepare for the unavoidable impacts of climate change, including human health, which are already being felt by the most vulnerable communities. That’s why the Race to Resilience is emphasising the urgency and complexity of the crisis.”

GSK’s pledge to support 15 million people is a major step towards the Race to Resilience’s goal to build the resilience of four billion people globally by 2030. See more information about the Race to Resilience, GSK’s environmental sustainability and global health work and the Water Resilience Coalition online.

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