Environmentally responsible healthcare

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Creating a health care system that not only delivers high-quality treatment but also supports environmentally responsible health care practices and systems is no small feat.

The Lower Mainland Health Organizations (LMHOs), in British Columbia, which includes Vancouver Coastal Health (VCH), Providence Health Care (PHC), Provincial Health Services Authority (PHSA) and Fraser Health (FH), focus on delivering high-quality specialized health care services to approximately three million British Columbians, employing close to 44,000 full-time staff and collectively operating 504 distinct buildings. You can bet that working to embed environmental sustainability into the facilities, communities and culture takes some thoughtful consideration.

Back in 2010, the four LMHOs consolidated their efforts towards environmental sustainability, creating the ‘Energy and Environmental Sustainability’ (EES) team to develop a strategic framework toward further linking our efforts in connecting human and environmental health and wellness under the brand name ‘GreenCare’.

For the past six years, GreenCare’s mission has been to engage BC’s health care community, partners and the people we serve to create environmentally responsible health care practices and systems. It’s an ambitious mission, yet at their core, both health care and environmental stewardship share common qualities, that when combined, have the power to improve patient care, and promote health and wellness in the broadest sense.

With this in mind, the EES team created an online hub to engage health care staff at all levels of the organization with GreenCare themes. The GreenCare Community – BCGreenCare.ca – is designed to help staff find out what is happening in their workplace, read stories about GreenCare initiatives, access tools and resources, and connect with others through discussions and campaigns.

If someone needs more information about what to recycle and where, the GreenCare Community has this information, plus posters and resources to help spread the word. For GreenCare, engagement of staff and leadership are critical to achieving small and large-scale change across the organizations. With this in mind, the Green+Leader program trains staff volunteers to act as sustainability role models and encourage behaviour change among their colleagues. Using the GreenCare Community site in tandem with staff training and support ensures engagement in a broad range of workplaces, including acute care and residential facilities, laboratories and clinics, and administrative offices. As a result, a wide array of staff are resourced with tools that support sustainability concepts, as well as opportunities to actively create a culture of stewardship.

 

GreenCare’s Environmental Accountability Report (EAR)

Engagement, accountability and transparency are guiding principles in GreenCare’s work. As a result, efforts have been made to create GreenCare’s annual, ‘Environmental Accountability Report’ (EAR) in an easy to read and graphically appealing format to help share GreenCare’s initiatives and openly monitor how we are doing.

 

The annual EAR report provides an overview of GreenCare’s goals, targets, status, impact and performance. As well, it is designed to share success stories from the year and celebrate GreenCare champions and team members who go above and beyond to ensure GreenCare’s success.

GreenCare’s EAR: A snapshot of how we are doing

GreenCare Progress Highlights:

  • Engagement: 4,276 staff are registered on the GreenCare Community website and 230  staff are active Green+Leaders
  • Energy Conservation:  VCH has reduced carbon intensity (per sq m) by 23.5% since 2007
  • Zero Waste: PHC implemented recycling at 100% of acute and residential sites
  • Active Transportation: Currently, 48.7% of PHSA staff commute to work in single occupancy vehicles, while other PHSA staff keep active or choose a clean commute: 11.3% walk, 8.4% cycle, 21.4% take public transport, 10.2% ride-share.
  • Green Health Care Facilities: Since 2005, the GreenCare Team has helped facilitate LEED Certification in sites across Fraser Health: six LEED Gold certified building projects, one LEED Silver, and four LEED Certified buildings.

 

To read the full report visit bcgreencare.ca

 

GreenCare: Committed to Collaboration

GreenCare is committed to collaborating with a range of partners to ensure the Lower Mainland Health Organizations take responsibility for their environmental impact; and support them in creating the healthiest facilities and processes for patients, staff, and the communities we serve. The Environmental Accountability Report monitors performance, opportunities and highlight plans for the future, as we define the next steps in GreenCare’s journey.

Collaborative efforts are essential to GreenCare’s success. Help share this work with your colleagues and friends. We would love to hear your thoughts and feedback, please get in touch via: www.BCGreenCare.ca