NEW YORK, United States, September 18, 2023, 8 AM ET –
In an effort to help employers address the impact of a changing climate on worker health, well-being, and productivity, Mercer
, a global consulting leader and business of Marsh McLennan (NYSE: MMC), and the CDC Foundation announced today an initiative to establish the National Commission on Climate and Workforce Health
with the Health Action Alliance
, the nation’s largest private sector network operating at the intersection of business and public health.
“Extreme weather like what we experienced in some regions during the summer of 2023 creates health challenges that businesses must plan for to protect their most important asset—their employees,” said Dr. Judy Monroe, President and CEO of the CDC Foundation.
The World Health Organization
cites the changing climate as the single biggest health threat facing the world. This summer alone, the United States has experienced catastrophic wildfires and smoke, heat domes, intense flooding, and destructive hurricanes. These extreme events, in combination with other factors climate can exacerbate, such as the spread of disease, demonstrate the toll being taken on our physical and mental health.
“In a Mercer survey
of more than 2,000 U.S. workers conducted last year, 43% said they were extremely concerned or very concerned about adverse climate events. Business leaders can take action to better support a climate-resilient workforce,” said Tracy Watts, Senior Partner and National Leader of U.S. Health Policy, Mercer. “We look forward to collaborating with employers through the National Commission on Climate and Workforce Health
to address the impact of extreme weather on employee health and find innovative solutions to this pressing challenge."
Beyond well-being, employers are quickly coming to terms with the financial and productivity burdens created by these events. Exposure to heat, decreased air quality, extreme weather, infectious diseases, and environmental contaminants continue to threaten employee health, limit productivity, and increase illness or injury-related costs, particularly in certain occupations.
“We’re proud to partner with Mercer and the CDC Foundation to deliver valuable insights and resources to the business community and provide the tools employers need to confront the climate challenges they are facing today,” said Mark SooHoo, Executive Director of the Health Action Alliance. “The private sector has an important role in mitigating climate-related health risks, protecting vulnerable communities, and safeguarding our economic future.”
Despite growing consensus throughout the business community around climate action and sustainability for the future, employers are less aware of the health impacts of our changing climate and need the tools to mitigate and address these impacts for their workforce. Recognizing employers' role in creating collaborative solutions to address health challenges, the Commission will begin by recruiting top business leaders nationwide to study the climate-related trends and health risks employees and organizations face. The Commission will leverage data and insights to create actionable tools and strategies for employers to help reduce long-term costs and advance equitable health outcomes for workers and communities.
“By convening health and safety leaders, climate experts, business executives, economists, data experts, and more, the Commission will build greater awareness around the intersection of climate and health,” said SooHoo. “We believe this work will be instrumental in enabling employers to see their company’s risk, project the potential workforce costs related to climate and health, and most importantly, develop actionable tools and best practices to mitigate the health risks posed by a changing climate."
Business leaders and others interested in joining this effort can visit ClimateHealthCommission.org
to learn more.