We are also doing more to respond to and prepare for the impacts of the climate crisis and environmental degradation affecting people’s health and very survival. At MSF-USA, we have been measuring our carbon footprint since 2019 as part of a movement-wide effort to “First, do no harm,” which we see as a medical-ethical obligation. This means making more environmentally friendly choices when it comes to travel, equipment, procurement, waste management, and energy sources in our humanitarian projects and at headquarters. Unsurprisingly in a pandemic year, we saw a significant reduction in our carbon emissions with reduced travel and a shift to virtual meetings and trainings instead of in-person ones. On the upside, doubling down on digital helped open up access to learning and development opportunities for our global workforce.
Year one of the COVID-19 pandemic also offered some glimmers of hope, including the extraordinary solidarity demonstrated by our teams working under extreme circumstances and the unprecedented outpouring of support we received from people across the United States. Despite their own fears and hardships in 2020, they saw the unique value of an independent organization working globally to save lives, alleviate suffering, and uphold people’s dignity in times of cascading crises. Our generous supporters made it all possible, and for this we are forever thankful.
Africa Stewart, MD, President, MSF-USA Board of Directors
Avril Benoît, Executive Director, MSF-USA