Four steps to enhance sustainable procurement in healthcare

Implementing strategic purchasing practices is necessary for healthcare organisations to make a substantial difference in reducing their carbon footprint and promoting eco-friendly initiatives. In recent times, sustainable procurement practices gained significant importance in the healthcare industry as organisations recognise their responsibility to mitigate environmental impact and contribute to a more sustainable future. Below are ways healthcare organisations can adopt sustainable procurement practices:

Purchase energy-efficient equipment

Healthcare facilities can reduce their energy consumption and lower their carbon emissions by choosing products that consume less electricity and water. This not only contributes to a greener future but also presents long-term cost savings through reduced utility bills. Healthcare organisations should prioritise procuring equipment with high Energy Star ratings or other recognised certifications for energy efficiency. Additionally, conducting lifecycle assessments can help evaluate the environmental impact of equipment throughout its entire lifespan, enabling informed decisions during the procurement process.

Related: The interdependent relationship between human, animal, and environmental health

Reduce single-use plastics and waste generation

The healthcare industry is notorious for generating substantial amounts of waste, including single-use plastics. By actively reducing the use of single-use plastics and other materials, healthcare organisations can significantly minimise waste and environmental pollution. Furthermore, adopting alternative solutions such as reusable medical supplies and eco-friendly packaging options can help reduce the reliance on disposable items, while partnering with suppliers that offer sustainable packaging solutions can contribute to waste reduction efforts.

It is also essential for healthcare organisations to educate staff about proper waste segregation and recycling practices to maximise the effectiveness of waste management initiatives. Through concerted efforts, healthcare organisations can play a crucial role in curbing the environmental impact associated with the generation of healthcare waste.

Embrace environmentally friendly transportation options

Transportation is a significant contributor to greenhouse gas emissions. Healthcare organisations can address this issue by exploring environmentally friendly transportation options for the delivery of goods and services. Opting for hybrid or electric vehicles, promoting carpooling or utilising public transportation for staff commuting, and implementing efficient routing systems can significantly reduce carbon emissions.

Collaborating with logistics providers that prioritise sustainable transportation practices can further enhance these efforts. By actively engaging in sustainable transportation strategies, healthcare organisations not only reduce their environmental impact but also set an example for the broader community.

Related: Six steps healthcare industry can take to minimise impact on the environment

Source locally produced goods and services

Another crucial aspect of sustainable procurement is sourcing goods and services locally. By doing so, healthcare organisations can minimise transportation emissions associated with long-distance shipping. Additionally, supporting local businesses and suppliers fosters regional economic growth, which in turn contributes to the well-being of the community.

By building strong partnerships with local farmers, food producers, and other service providers, healthcare organisations can ensure a sustainable supply chain while promoting local sustainability initiatives. Implementing guidelines and criteria for local sourcing can help guide procurement decisions and create a positive impact on the environment and the local economy.

With these steps, healthcare organisations can lead the way toward a more sustainable healthcare industry.

References available on request.

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