Sustainability 101

What do Physicians and Corporate Executives Have in Common?

Great Forest attended the recent CleanMed 2013 conference dedicated to sustainability in health care and learned that 87% of hospitals are incorporating sustainability into their decision-making process and operations.

With hospitals and other health care facilities usually open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, the health care industry is increasingly coming to realize what many corporations already know – that sustainability is crucial, especially to their bottom line.

One of the most interesting discussions at the conference revolved around the role of the physician in sustainability. The physician’s role within the hospital is one of a leader that can help implement programs. An example given was lessening the amount of medication prescribed, which can reduce the amount of medication that goes unused and discarded, or creating medication take back programs. This can help cut down on waste disposal and its associated costs, and also lower the risk of medication polluting the environment, which can happen when unused drugs are flushed down toilets.

Like corporate executives, physicians have the power to lead by example and increase support for sustainability where they work. Their decisions can send positive ripples through the entire organization. We have seen that happen many times in our work with various corporations and institutions over the past 20 years.  Sustainability leadership is key. The health care industry can use lessons from the corporate world, and vice versa.

We look forward to being the conduit for sharing knowledge and strategies between industries.

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