Te Whatu Ora Health New Zealand has joined the Global Green and Healthy Hospitals (GGHH) network as part of its commitment to environmental sustainability and climate resilience.
The GGHH network has more than 1600 members in 81 countries, giving Te Whatu Ora access to global experts in environmental work and resources, says Vicktoria Blake, its Interim Head of Sustainability.
That access will support Te Whatu Ora’s sustainability goals and have a tangible effect on the health of New Zealanders, she says.
The country’s health sector, with its size and scale and large infrastructure assets, has the ability to make a positive contribution to reducing Aotearoa’s carbon emissions, creating a healthy environment, and improving health outcomes.
“The recent IPCC Sixth Assessment Report clearly outlines the connection between climate change and population health.”
Te Whatu Ora, which leads the day-to-day running of the health system across Aotearoa New Zealand, aims to operate health services in a more environmentally sustainable way, highlighting opportunities for improvement as a key component of delivering pae ora – healthy futures for all New Zealanders.
It is also responsible for improving services and outcomes across the health system. It does this in partnership with Te Aka Whai Ora | Māori Health Authority.
Te Whatu Ora acknowledges that the environment plays a big role in people’s health and wellbeing – a healthy environment supports healthy people.
Climate change is widely regarded as the single biggest threat to human health. Polluted air and steadily rising temperatures are linked to a wide range of health effects, from increased heart attacks and strokes to the spread of infectious diseases and psychological trauma.
In Aotearoa New Zealand, a healthy environment is also integral to tāngata whenua. Linked to whakapapa, te taiao – the natural environment – is considered a taonga under article two of Te Tiriti o Waitangi, requiring protection as part of Te Tiriti obligations.
GGHH represents the interests of 68,000 hospitals and health centres. The network is facilitating the health sector globally to use innovation, ingenuity, and investment to transform its practices and create a healthy future for people and the planet.
- For more information on Te Whatu Ora approach to environmental sustainability and climate resilience visit https://www.tewhatuora.govt.nz/about-us/environmental-sustainability-and-climate-resilience/