Accelerating Sustainability in Healthcare
Healthcare Purchasing News surveys executives on green healthcare strategies.
Every year, the annual sustainability issue in Healthcare Purchasing News reports an in-depth look at the most pressing issues facing purchasing and supply chain when it comes to sustainability initiatives. This year’s article points out that healthcare organizations have the potential to be leaders in sustainable transformation. However, they are receiving mixed messages from corporate executives and other subject matter experts on prioritizing the numerous existing sustainability goals.
To get a better idea of where healthcare initiatives should start, Healthcare Purchasing News asked six sustainability executives, including NewGen Surgical co-founder and CMO, Kimberlee Luedee-Chase, about their take on prioritizing four sustainability strategies:
- Conserving/reducing energy and resource consumption (including air, electricity, and water)
- Reducing material waste (e.g., disposal of unused new products or pre-consumer waste and used products or post-consumer waste, etc.)
- Reducing chemicals/elements/materials of concern in the manufacturing process (e.g., carbon, PVC, DEHP, etc.)
- Contracting for/investing in sustainably designed and manufactured products
The result? The majority of the professionals agreed that contracting and procuring sustainably designed and manufactured products should be the top priority for healthcare sustainability programs.
Kimberlee stated that focusing on sustainable products first makes the most sense, saying that “products can address reducing plastic, chemicals of concern, and carbon using circular design principles.” Use the right sustainable products, and the other goals (reducing resource use, waste, and chemicals of concern) will follow.
Not only can this approach make the most significant impact environmentally, but half of the participating experts also expect sustainable products to have the best return on investment for healthcare providers.
Procuring sustainably designed and manufactured products should be the top priority for healthcare sustainability programs
According to Chase, NewGen Surgical products are a perfect fit for this type of initiative. Using Smart Sustainable Design™, the company’s product lines are created to minimize waste, eliminate plastic, avoid chemicals of concern, and reduce carbon dioxide emissions. To date, NewGen Surgical customers, including sustainability leaders in healthcare: Dignity Health, Sutter Health, Adventist, and Kaiser Permanente, have eliminated over 90,000 pounds of plastic and 88,000 kg of greenhouse gas emissions from their operations with simple like-for-like product changes. The difference is upcycled plant-based input material vs plastic. “Single-use plastic necessities for the OR and patient care can be redesigned with better for people and planet materials. It’s what our customers are looking to achieve and does not change their workflow or operations in any way. It’s the simplest and quickest way to start having measurable environmental impacts towards their ESG goals today.”
Kimberlee puts it best, “the healthcare sector should lead by example.” Climate change is an urgent crisis that affects all patients. The healthcare sector needs to prioritize managing its environmental footprint and start implementing product-related sustainability initiatives that have an immediate and measurable impact.
Read the full article by Healthcare Purchasing News: Competing priorities, multiple perspectives slow sustainability progress