The products and services which we buy and consume make up 65% of the healthcare carbon footprint. The goods are excavated, manufactured, and transported outside of our healthcare facilities and we have traditionally not thought of them as our responsibility. However, if we buy the product, we are now considered to own the emissions which go into producing it.
Supply chain improvements remain a topic of concern. As seen in the graph below, the supply chain represents ⅔ of the UK’s health care system’s GHG emissions. These numbers have remained constant since 1990.
Although changes to other parts of the health care system have had significant impacts on GHG emissions, the supply chain is often overlooked because of the focus on initial costs.
To truly build an ideal green community, the entire life cycle of goods and services must be considered. Sustainable procurement means purchasing goods and services whose environmental impacts have been analyzed and determined to be less harmful to human health and the environment when compared to competing products and services.
This involves letting vendors know they must match their product offerings with your expectations and desire to source environmentally and socially sustainable products and services. Whether purchasing a single piece of equipment, medical devices and treatment items, or entering into a lease or maintenance agreement, adding suitable procurement language to your tender documents and contracts is a part of sustainable procurement.
The benefits of sustainable procurement include: reduced harmful impact(s) on the environment, reduced overall costs, reduced or elimination of waste and disposal costs, Improved worker safety, healthier patient care and treatment environment(s), and reduction in exposure to hazardous or toxic substances such as paints, solvents and cleaners.
The smaller companies can be rated using assessment tools found on websites such as. https://sustainabilityadvantage.com/, while Basic Sustainability Assessment Tool (BSAT) maps an organization’s sustainability performance and the Net-Zero Assessment Tool (N-ZAT) can help a company reduce their carbon footprint.
In Ontario, we are part of a sustainable procurement committee for Ontario hospitals looking at ways of impacting the supply chain of the healthcare system, including adding sustainability language into their Request for Proposals (RFPs) and contracts.
Part of sustainable procurement is embracing a circular economy. Canada's health services sector is poised to become a major influencer in helping change our traditional linear extraction and waste-based consumer economy into a new, functional circular economy which supports the maximum extraction of value from every item before being systematically and judiciously reinvented and/or regenerated at end of life. The growing demands on our health care system demand nothing less!
This project explores and identifies reuse and reduction opportunities for hospital-generated personal protective equipment (PPE) and medical single-use plastic (mSUP) materials. Learn more HERE.
In 2016, the Canadian Coalition for Green Health Care partnered with the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario (CHEO) to develop a Green Hospital Procurement Guide to provide a template for other health care institutions and organisations to implement similar policies and procedures.
- Leadership for climate resilient, net-zero health systems: Transforming supply chains to the circular economy
- Sample Green Procurement language
- Circular Economy in Health Care
- Sustainable Procurement in Health Care
- Health Care Without Harm Sustainable Procurement Resources
- Packaging Reduction Guidelines
- Strategy for Waste Free Ontario
- Reusable items and OR pick lists