Sustainability is a pressing topic as of late. Institutions and organizations of every shape and size are embracing eco-conscious practices, which are not only good for the planet but also their bottom lines.

Hospitals and other healthcare facilities have an enormous footprint, and like all businesses, people are calling on them to prioritize environmental friendliness.

How to Approach Sustainability in Healthcare

From an operational standpoint, sustainability means meeting your business’s needs without draining natural resources, polluting the planet, or impeding on the needs of future generations.

With that said, there are lots of ways to accomplish this in the healthcare sector. Find a breakdown of six specific approaches below.

LEED-Certified Facilities

Over the past couple of decades, commercial buildings have been striving to meet LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) standards set by the US Green Building Council (USGBC).

This means new buildings and renovations abide by green construction practices and feature durable, sustainable designs that use minimal energy. Since medical facilities are expected to create more waste than average and utilize a substantial amount of water, the LEED for Healthcare system rates buildings to a different standard.

Affordable Energy Reduction

There are lots of ways healthcare companies can reduce energy—and it doesn’t have to cost an exorbitant amount of money. Budget-friendly methods include replacing lighting sources throughout the facility with LEDs, swapping out AHUs (air handling units) with energy-efficient models, and modernizing elevators with regenerative technology to feed lost energy back into the building’s electrical grid.

Smart Supply Chains

Sustainability in healthcare goes beyond the walls of a medical structure. Hospitals and clinics should be thinking about their supply chains in terms of waste reduction and decreased pollution.

This may involve ensuring there’s an ideal amount of supply on hand—enough to eliminate the need for small rush orders but also not overstocked. Another way to make the supply chain more sustainable is to partner with suppliers that use recycled materials in their packaging and shipping containers.

Do No Harm [to the Environment]

Staffed hospital beds produce nearly six million tons of waste each year. Environmental data shows that this may be contributing to depleted natural resources, delayed plastic degradation, and wildlife harm. 

With the current and future environment in mind, many hospitals are looking to reduce their waste. They’re finding ways to reuse certain products, recycle more materials, and implement other programs to minimize greenhouse gas emissions.

Graphic featuring three ways hospitals can reduce their waste.

[Sustainable] Food as Medicine

With millions of patients and medical workers fed each day at healthcare facilities, there’s been a demand for more sustainable food. What does this entail? For many hospitals, it involves sourcing food from local suppliers and decreasing the amount of animal products offered, as factory farming contributes to a substantial portion of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions.

Eco-Friendly Transit

When you account for ambulances, on-campus shuttles, medical transit, staff commutes, and patient travel, the healthcare industry creates a considerable amount of pollution from transportation alone. Many leaders are adopting eco-friendly transit initiatives, such as green training for ambulance drivers, public transit incentives for employees, ride-sharing programs, and interest-free bike loans.

How Can Healthcare Leaders Market Their Sustainability?

The most sustainable companies across all industries aren’t shy about flaunting their environmentally friendly efforts—and we think this is a good thing. Patients, employees, recruits, and donors care about green initiatives, and promoting them can be an incredibly beneficial marketing tactic.

If you’re interested in partnering with an experienced healthcare marketing agency, Mad Fish Digital would love to hear from you. Our digital marketing firm can help you craft an effective promotional strategy that appeals to your audience. Contact us today!