In the ever-evolving landscape of healthcare in the United States, a critical and often overlooked area is gaining visibility —sustainability. The healthcare industry is quickly recognizing the importance of addressing its environmental footprint. Why? Because the numbers are staggering.
The healthcare industry in the U.S. contributes a substantial 8.5% to the country’s total greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Shockingly, the U.S. leads the world in healthcare-related climate impact, contributing a staggering 546 million metric tons of CO2e in 2019. Hospitals, integral to the healthcare system, are highly energy-intensive, using 2.5 times more energy per square foot than the average office building.
The urgency to act is twofold—it is a strategic move for a healthier future and a response to the intrinsic link between climate change and public health.
Climate Change and Public Health: An Intrinsic Connection
Healthcare institutions face increasing pressure to act in alignment with their core commitment to health and wellness. The repercussions of climate change on public health are large. As the years go by, the world can expect to see more climate-related health concerns, from the spread of infectious diseases to malnutrition from food displacement, trauma, and more.
Within these challenges lies a unique leadership opportunity for the healthcare sector. By adopting sustainable practices, setting emission reduction targets, and sharing their progress, healthcare can become a trusted voice in adopting climate-centric policies and inspire other sectors to do the same.
The Health Care Climate Council (Climate Action Playbook for Hospitals | (noharm.org)) did a study and found that “Based on CBEC’S 2018 data entered in Health Care Without Harm’s Energy and Health Impact Calculator, a 30% cut in healthcare electricity’s carbon pollution by 2030 would reduce GHG emissions- preventing an estimated 4,130 premature deaths, 85,000 asthma attacks, 4 million respiratory symptom events, 3,750 hospital visit incidents, and would save about $1.2 billion in medical costs.”
The Role of Technology in Driving Sustainability
Enter technology as a game-changer. Implementing a sustainability software solution revolutionizes how healthcare professionals track, set targets, identify risks, and achieve their sustainability goals. Here is how:
- Collect, Store, and Manage Sustainability Data: Automate the collection of sustainability and Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) data, at scale.
- Goal Setting and Tracking: Set and track goals and targets (like becoming carbon neutral by 2030) and use software to monitor progress towards achieving them.
- Process Standardization: Standardize processes and workflows and automate manual tasks across all locations and departments.
- Supplier Engagement: Engage with multiple suppliers through one platform – gaining operational efficiency, collecting performance data, and ensuring compliance.
- Frameworks: Leverage internationally recognized metrics and frameworks, including GRI (Global Reporting Initiative), CDP (Carbon Disclosure Project), and the SDGs (the UN Sustainable Development Goals), to evaluate data in the platform.
- Data Visualization: Communicate progress with intuitive, industry-leading data visualizations.
- Compliance Monitoring: Respond to compliance changes, monitor the status of activities and reports, and stay ahead of regulatory shifts.
Choosing the Right Technology Solution Provider
When seeking a technology solution provider:
- Ensure the solution can track direct and indirect GHG emissions from numerous data sources.
- Look for capabilities to track Scope 3 emissions – the emissions that occur outside of your organization. This is often the most difficult category to track so look for a solution that addresses all 15 categories of Scope 3 emissions
- Check if the software can help engage with suppliers along the supply chain in one centralized platform.
- Evaluate its capacity to measure social and governance metrics (e.g., diversity, equity, and inclusive initiatives), either using pre-populated content or allowing customization.
- Choose a solution that helps create emissions targets and goals, measures initiatives, identifies risks, forecasts data, and highlights areas of opportunity.
Introducing Cority’s Cloud solutions
Cority partners with Healthcare institutions on their sustainability and ESG journey. Our award-winning CorityOne solution is the next-generation comprehensive and human-centered SaaS (Software as a Service) platform—designed by Environmental, Health & Safety (EHS) and ESG experts – to empower healthier, safer, and more sustainable organizations that fulfill the imperative of building a better tomorrow.
Our Sustainability Cloud solution, along with our team of ESG and sustainability experts, enables healthcare organizations to advance their sustainability strategies across the entire value chain. Create a sustainable data collection strategy, conduct a baseline GHG emissions assessment, and track your performance against leading industry frameworks. Interested in learning more? Connect with our experts today.
In conclusion, driving sustainability in U.S. healthcare is not just an ethical choice; it is a strategic imperative for a healthier future—one that leverages technology to make a meaningful impact on the environment, public health, and the bottom line.