A Letter from Dr. Cosgrove, CEO and President

Dear Patients, Caregivers and Community Members,

We are pleased to present our eighth Communication on Progress as part of the United Nations Global Compact. Cleveland Clinic shares the UN Global Compact’s principles of human rights, environmental responsibility and corporate integrity. This report uses the Global Reporting Initiative’s standard disclosures to measure our performance in these areas and is in accordance with G4 core guidelines.

Today’s healthcare providers face an array of unique challenges. They include declining reimbursement, the move to value-based payment, integration of the electronic medical record, and the need to improve quality, safety and access. Cleveland Clinic is addressing these challenges through its ongoing Clinical Transformation initiative. The initiative is developing a system of integrated, coordinated, value-based treatment that includes care paths, seamless electronic medical records, interdisciplinary care teams, and discharge planning to reduce readmissions. We are educating all staff physicians in patient communication, and proactively addressing caregiver burnout through a variety of programs.

We continue to improve sustainability through strategic purchasing, construction and recycling. We have joined with local governments and community groups to promote weight loss and smoking cessation. Cleveland Clinic Stephanie Tubbs Jones Health Center’s Mobile Food Pantry provides free, nutritional meal options, promotes healthy eating and improves health outcomes for community families. We urge leaders at all levels of society to promote nutrition, exercise and greater personal responsibility for health.

In 2016, Cleveland Clinic provided medical services to more patients from more places than ever before. We have been recognized among the World’s Most Ethical Companies by Ethisphere Institute, honored as a top five hospital by DiversityInc and ranked as a Top 25 hospital by Practice Greenhealth.

We are proud to share the information in this year’s Communication on Progress. Thank you for your interest.


Delos M. Cosgrove, MD

Cleveland Clinic CEO and President

About This Report

As a signatory of the United Nations (UN) Global Compact, a voluntary social responsibility body, Cleveland Clinic has pledged to promote sustainability policies and practices to advance our organization in ways that benefit the economies and societies we serve. In this report we summarize Cleveland Clinic’s progress in the areas of human rights, social, environment, labor and anti-corruption as they relate to the UN sustainable development goals. This report marks our eighth consecutive Communication on Progress and reflects our work in the 2016 calendar year.

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In addition to addressing the Ten Principles of the UN Global Compact, this report is in accordance with the Global Reporting Initiative’s (GRI) G4 core guidelines. GRI is considered to be the world’s most widely used standard for sustainability reporting and this is the fourth year we have utilized its framework to guide our reporting process.

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More information on how our report links to the UNGC and GRI can be found in the index of our report.

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The Reporting Process & Oversight

An Executive Steering Committee comprised of leadership across the organization oversees the reporting process. This oversight includes guidance, data availability assessments, content review and the identification of theme of our report. An interdepartmental working group manages the production of the report, conducts stakeholder materiality interviews and ensures compliance with guidelines. This report was compiled with the participation of the following internal departments that support application of the UN Global Compact principles through Cleveland Clinic:

  • Center for Medical Arts & Photography*
  • Arts & Medicine
  • Buildings and Properties
  • Clinical Affairs
  • Corporate Communications
  • Corporate Compliance Office
  • Environmental Health and Safety
  • Executive Administration
  • Finance
  • Human Resources
  • Law Department
  • Nursing Institute
  • Office for a Healthy Environment
  • Office of Diversity and Inclusion
  • Government & Community Relations
  • Office of Patient Experience
  • Protective Services
  • Supply Chain Management
  • Enterprise Quality
  • Transportation and Fleet Services
  • Wellness Institute

*Photographs from the Center for Medical Arts & Photography were contributed by the following photographers: Ken Baehr, Don Gerda, Matt Kohlmann, Willie McAllister, Tom Merce, Reen Nemeth and Stephen Travarca.

Stakeholder Engagement

By virtue of our scope and operations, Cleveland Clinic engages many stakeholder groups. Our stakeholders include our patients, the entire healthcare provider industry, trade associations, federal and state agencies, regional and national philanthropic foundations, media outlets, community groups, citizens and others.

Our stakeholders are directly affected by our operational decisions, including individuals and groups with an interest in our social, economic and environmental performance. As a community anchor and an economic engine, our operational decisions have far reaching impacts, and we interact with these stakeholders to ensure that we address the needs of our local communities, employees and patient base.

We engage our patients and caregivers through internal surveys, we conduct ongoing in-person interviews with our executive team, board members and representatives from key external stakeholder groups, and we invite many of our stakeholders to attend facility openings, addresses by Cleveland Clinic executives and other Clinic-hosted events open to the public and other officials. We also periodically travel to the seats of federal, state and local governments to provide briefings on issues of importance to healthcare providers. The primary purpose of these discussions in 2016 was to prioritize the importance of each of our sustainability topics and find collaboration points for mutual benefit. Some of the external groups we engaged for this report include:

  • American Heart Association
  • American Lung Association
  • Our top suppliers
  • City of Cleveland
  • Cleveland Foundation
  • Department of Energy
  • Environmental Protection Agency
  • Evergreen Cooperatives
  • Health and Human Services
  • National Institute of Health
  • North Union Farmers Market
  • Ohio Hospitals Association
  • Practice Greenhealth
  • The White House


While all sustainability topics discussed in this report are important to our leadership, our stakeholder engagement process has helped us determine what sustainability topics matter most, or how “material” they are to our operations, and where they matter most within our organization and externally beyond our walls. This materiality process has enabled us to prioritize the topics that require the most focus for our long-term success.

All interviewed stakeholders were given a list of sustainability topics based on the Global Reporting Initiative’s aspects list and engaged in open dialogue on all topics. The internal interview team ranked each topic discussed on a low to high scale of 1 to 7, and then the mean of all stakeholder answers was utilized to generate vertical and horizontal points on the graph. The opinions of our patients and caregivers were weighted with additional consideration.

Cleveland Clinic Materiality Assessment

The vertical-axis of the chart corresponds to the ranking or importance of a topic to our external stakeholders and the horizontal-axis corresponds to the importance to our internal stakeholders.

The chart is divided into three distinct groups: topics to manage, topics to set goals and manage, and topics to set goals, manage and provide robust discussion in our reporting.

Several topics emerged that were ranked highly by both our internal and external stakeholders. They are the indirect economic impacts of our operations, our engagement with the communities we serve, population health, research and innovation, access to care, quality of care, and the inherent link between human health and the health of the environment. Other highly ranked topics internally were caregiver engagement, clinical transformation, patient and caregiver safety, and transparency. One important topic that was discussed extensively by our external stakeholders was the health impact climate change poses to our patients and communities and Cleveland Clinic’s mitigation and resilience efforts.

Generally, the most important topics discussed internally concerned our patients and caregivers, and our external stakeholders cared most about our community and environmental impacts. Where available, we have included robust discussion and reporting on the topics our stakeholders consider to be the most material to our operations in this year’s report. Because 2016 was the first year we completed a materiality assessment, no significant changes to our material topics have occurred since the last reporting period. We will continue to use this materiality process to guide our reporting and data collection in the future.


The disclosure aspects included in this report are material to our North American operations that are wholly owned and operated unless noted otherwise. We have designed this report specifically with stakeholder boundaries in mind so that the topics, metrics and stories that matter most to our stakeholder groups are prioritized within their respective sections. Each group showed the most interest in areas of the report with which they had a direct connection:

  • Patients are most interested in patient safety and quality of care indicators. Learn More
  • Caregivers are most interested in caregiver demographics and caregiver engagement stories. Learn More
  • Local community stakeholder groups are most interested in our contributions and impacts on our local communities. Learn More
  • National environmental groups are most interested in our environmental performance and commitment to transparently reporting our progress. Learn More

Organizational Profile

Located in Cleveland, Ohio, Cleveland Clinic is a nonprofit, multispecialty academic medical center that integrates clinical and hospital healthcare services with research and education.

Four renowned physicians founded Cleveland Clinic in 1921 with a mission to provide better care of the sick, investigation into their problems and further education of those who serve. Drawing from military medicine, they believed in diverse specialists working and thinking as a unit. This kind of cooperation, efficiency and shared vision has fostered excellence in patient care, research and education.

Today, we continue to live and operate by the mission established by these visionary leaders, which is supported by six fundamental values: quality, innovation, teamwork, service, integrity and compassion. As of 2017, we operate: 

  • 13 hospitals located in Northeastern Ohio
  • 21 Northeast Ohio outpatient family health centers, including 11 ambulatory surgery centers
  • two specialized cancer centers in Mansfield and Sandusky, Ohio
  • a hospital and a clinic in Weston, Florida
  • a health and wellness center in West Palm Beach, Florida
  • a specialized neurological and urological clinical center in Las Vegas, Nevada
  • a health and wellness center in Toronto, Canada
  • a 364-bed hospital in Abu Dhabi, owned by the Mubadala Development Company
  • 760 staffed beds and provide management services in cooperation with Abu Dhabi Health Services Company to the Sheikh Khalifa Medical City, a network of healthcare facilities in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates

Ohio Locations
Cleveland Clinic National Locations

Who Are Our Patients?

As a world-class health organization nationally ranked in 14 adult specializations and 10 pediatric specialties, Cleveland Clinic attracts patients from around the world. While most of our patients live in Northeast Ohio, we see patients from across the United States, Mexico, Europe, the Middle East, Asia and South America

CCF Patient Distribution
Virtual Visits

Facts and Figures

Today, with more than 1,400 beds on Cleveland Clinic main campus and 4,400 beds system-wide, Cleveland Clinic is one of the largest and most respected hospitals in the country. Learn more about our enterprise facts and figures.

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“Sustainability is a driving force behind our operations. The significant savings we’ve achieved by making these decisions is money we can put back into patient care.”

—William M. Peacock, Chief of Operations

2016 State of the Clinic

Dr. Cosgrove delivered this year’s State of the Clinic to over 500 caregivers, click here for the highlights

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