Sustainable Healthcare News February 2021

Welcome to our latest Sustainable Healthcare newsletter. We hope the information shared here assists you in your efforts to make our healthcare systems more environmentally sustainable and resilient. 

Quick links


Global Green and Healthy Hospitals (GGHH) membership in the Pacific Region (Australia and New Zealand) has now reached 103 members! Together these 103 members represent over 1,806 hospitals and health services. More and more health institutions are working to improve their environmental footprint, and protect environmental and human health. They're also realising that it makes sense to do this together through the (free) GGHH network.

You can view a list of GGHH members in the Pacific region here.

If you would like to join the GGHH network or find out more, visit the website or email [email protected] 

Welcome to our new GGHH members

We're delighted to welcome Northern Sydney Local Health District and ACT Health to the GGHH network!

Call for Abstracts  - Sustainable Healthcare and Climate Health Aotearoa Conference 
Wellington and online, 22 and 23 June 2021

The call for abstracts for this years conference is now open. The University of Otago, OraTaiao NZ Climate and Health Council, Sustainable Health Sector National Network and GGHH Pacific region are partnering to deliver this annual event. This year's theme is 'Re-thinking Sustainable Health in Aotearoa'. With a broad scope, abstracts detailing sustainability and healthcare, climate change and health, research, innovation, or best practice will be taken into consideration to create the varied two-day programme.

The conference committee would be particularly interested to receive abstracts from indigenous and Pasifika perspectives, and abstracts within a sustainable healthcare and health delivery context. Possible examples include the following topics:

  • Rethinking healthcare practice
  • Sustainable food systems
  • Sustainable infrastructure
  • Sustainable transport
  • Sustainable supply chains and procurement
  • Reducing emissions from transit; energy (efficiency and/or renewables)
  • Offsetting
  • Communication and collaboration

The deadline for abstracts is: 11 April 2021 


Sustainable Healthcare News 

Hunter New England Local Health District commit to being carbon and waste neutral by 2030!

HNELHD, a GGHH member, recently announced these ambitious, industry leading commitments. Their Sustainable Healthcare - Together Towards Zero strategy outlines their ambitious plan to become the first Australian health institution to be both carbon and waste neutral by 2030.  Through investing in solar power, water sustainability, waste reduction and energy efficient practices, HNELHD aim to become industry and community leaders in sustainability. CAHA and GGHH applaud HNELHD's leadership in recognising that 'it’s no longer possible to be committed to the health of our community without addressing the health of our environment' and making these commitments.

Read more and watch a video announce their commitments here

Commitment video


Air pollution from fossil fuels caused one in five deaths globally in 2018

A study published in Environmental Research demonstrates that more than 8 million people died prematurely in 2018 due to air pollution caused by fossil fuel combustion.

These two articles were released in response to the studies findings:

Tackling climate change is the greatest public health challenge”, an op-ed by Gary Cohen, president and co-founder of Health Care Without Harm, and Dr. Arvind Kumar, founder and managing trustee of Lung Care Foundation, published in Thomson Reuters Foundation News.

“New evidence points to the urgency of phasing out fossil fuels for a healthier future”, an article by Health Care Without Harm contextualizing the health impact of these results. It includes the different initiatives by Health Care Without Harm and its partners for communities to advocate for a cleaner planet, and for health care professionals to take action.

The Lancet Planetary Health special issue

The Lancet Planetary Health released in February 2021 focuses on upcoming climate negotiations and links with health. It includes four articles such as:

  • Accelerating towards net zero emissions: the most important global health intervention, by Margaret Chan Fung Fu-Chun
  • Planetary health care: a framework for sustainable health system (MacNeill, McGain and Sherman)

And three research papers:

  • The public health implications of the Paris Agreement: a modelling study (Hamilton, Kennard, McGushin, et al.)
  • Health care's response to climate change: a carbon footprint assessment of the NHS in England (Tennison, Roschnik, Ashby, et al.)
  • Engagement with health in national climate change commitments under the Paris Agreement: a global mixed-methods analysis of the nationally determined contributions (Dasandi, Graham, Lampard et al.)

Access the issue here.

Six steps to both greener and better primary care

In this opion piece in the BMJ, Aarti Bansal and Grant Blashki outline six practical steps that primary care can take towards sustainable healthcare that align with evidence-informed and person-centred practice. 

188 Environmental Groups Call for an end to Single Use Products, as the United Nations Environment Assembly gets set to discuss sustainability

188 environmental groups have come together to form a joint position paper "From Single Use to Systems change" to advocate for the reduction in polluting single-use products.  The position paper highlights the impact single-use plastics are having on the natural environment, wildlife, human health, and vulnerable communities, and provides actionable steps for decision-makers and businesses to reduce their production. 

Click here to read the full article

Bond University Sustainable healthcare awards 

"The Bond University Sustainable Healthcare Awards were designed to promote and raise awareness of best practice in high-value healthcare and recognise the achievements of leaders, advocates and innovators in this field who have overcome barriers to deliver better care."  The award categories include: 

  • Leadership award
  • Policy and Practice award
  • Research award
  • Education and Health literacy award 

Click here for more information

The rise of the green general practice

This article in the BMJ describes how general practices within the UK have taken to using their position to lead the charge to help reduce healthcare's environmental footprint and reduce emissions.  Using practices such as prioritising social prescribing over pharmaceuticals where clinically possible, and reducing medical wastage, can lead to reductions in environmental impacts resulting from increasing pharmaceutical use. GP's are presented with opportunities to educate their patients on the health impacts from the climate and ecological crisis, and in time their collective power could lead to significant change.

Read the abstract and access article here (for a fee)


Education and Events


Sustainable Packaging in Healthcare Workshop
11 March 2021 (online), 11am - 1pm (AEDT)

The Australian Packaging Covenant Organisation (APCO) have been coordinating a health sector working group focused on tackling packaging waste in Australian healthcare since mid 2020.

This workshop will feature speakers focusing on clinical, surgical and consumer dental waste, and will delve into the resource recovery challenges for three specific materials.

Click here for further details and register.

Business Renewable Centre Australia - Buyers bootcamp
9:30am-12:30pm Wednesday 10th, Friday 12th and Tuesday 16th March (online)

Buyers Bootcamps provide Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) procurement training. These interactive and collaborative workshops assist new buyers in navigating the complexities of the energy market and procurement pathways through discussions in:

  • Deal structures and their unique risks and benefits;
  • Internal processes and external engagement;
  • Project selection and the tender processes

Read more and register your interest here.

Health System Sustainability Webinar Series - Improving health system performance through economic planning and post-implementation evaluation of health services
Tuesday 30 March, 2pm - 3pm (AEDT)

"How do we create health systems and services that are built to last? In this webinar, our two expert speakers will discuss the importance of embedding evaluation within health systems to inform decisions to improve, to expand or to contract existing services."  Guest speakers include Prof. John Karnon and Associate Professor Yvonne Zurynski. 

Click here to register

ANMF (Vic) Health & Environmental Sustainability Conference
6 May 2021

The ANMF (Vic Branch) Health & Environmental Sustainability Conference is returning in 2021. Attendees will learn new ways to reduce waste, promote sustainability, improve their community and connect with health professionals working to protect our environment. Keynote presenters will explore the impact of the environment on the health system, our personal wellness and our future resources. Registration details will be released closer to the event date.

More information here

CleanMed Connect 2021 (US based - online)
18 - 20 May 2021

CleanMed Connect is a US based conference led by Practice Greenhealth and Health Care Without Harm. The conference focuses on sustainable healthcare and is moving online for 2021, giving health care professionals from around the world the chance to join. The focus this year will be on developing a collective vision for sustainability in healthcare.

Sustainable Healthcare and Climate Health Aotearoa Conference
22 and 23 June 2021, Wellington and online

The University of Otago, OraTaiao NZ Climate and Health Council, Sustainable Health Sector National Network and GGHH Pacific region are partnering to deliver this annual event. This year's theme is 'Re-thinking sustainable healthcare'. 

The programme will include presentations and interactive discussions focusing on carbon reduction and opportunities for creating a better and more sustainable future for all New Zealanders. Sustainable healthcare can bring wide co-benefits to health, health equity and well-being and the conference will address topics of mitigation, adaptation, risk, opportunity, and innovation. 

Speakers will include national and international experts and a wide range of stakeholders from the New Zealand health sector, DHBs, and research sector. Details of the programme and keynote speakers will be announced shortly. Abstracts are currently open until 11 April.

The Centre for Sustainable Healthcare - 2021 courses
January - May 2021
The Centre for Sustainable Healthcare in the UK run a number of short courses with topics ranging from an Introduction to Sustainable Healthcare, to Carbon Footprinting for Healthcare, to Green Dentistry and more. The courses are delivered online, but N.B. some of the workshop options are in the middle of the night for Australia and New Zealand. Find out more here.


Webinar: Climate Change, Extreme Weather and Health, 3 Feb 2021

This webinar hosted by CAHA features an expert discussion on climate change-fuelled extreme weather events and our health, including this summer's La Niña event, as well as the impacts from extreme weather on health services and disaster preparedness. Hear from Dr Simon Bradshaw (Climate Council), Emeritus Professor Gerard Fitzgerald (Queensland University of Technology) and Fiona Armstrong (Climate and Health Alliance).

Watch the recording here

The Lancet Countdown webinar: Mitigation in the healthcare sector, 14 Jan 2021

This webinar, hosted by the Lancet Countdown and the Yale School of Public Health Center on Climate Change and Health, is aimed at physicians and other health professionals from around the world. It will explore in detail the sources of emissions within the health sector, present the UK's National Health Service as a case study, and provide practical advice and information on the role of the health professional in addressing the healthcare sector’s carbon footprint.

Watch the recording here. 

Antimicrobial resistance: A major global health threat, 14 Nov 2020

In November 2020, Health Care Without Harm Europe organised an online press briefing for journalists and all interested stakeholders to answer the following vital questions surrounding antimicrobial resistance:

  • What exactly is AMR and why does it pose such a major global challenge?
  • What is the impact of AMR within Europe and the rest of the world?
  • How is it a threat to our health and our environment?
  • What are we doing about it? What more needs to be done?

Watch the recording and access an AMR press kit here



Thursday 8 April, 11am - 12.15pm (AEDT)

CAHA is running a 75-minute online media training for health professionals interested in developing their skills in order to speak with the media on climate change and health. 

The training is free to attend and will cover tips on:

  • How to talk about climate change and health -- and how not to talk about climate change and health
  • How to get key messages across in a short interview
  • Speaking and working with journalists

Places are limited, so please only register if you're confident you can attend.

10 Ways to Act on Climate

Climate and Health Alliance has developed this short guide for acting on climate change as a health professional, in your community and as an individual. This resource provides a useful starting place to take meaning action to generate change while also including further resource links. 

Click here to see the guide.


Research, Resources and Reports


Chemicals of Concern For the Health Sector

This report from the United Nations Development Program and Health Care Without Harm provides a list of chemicals of concern used in the health sector, and features case examples that demonstrate how hospitals have successfully substituted chemicals and chemicals in products with more sustainable alternatives.

Download the report here.

The MECAHF project report - Circular Economy Model of Food in French Hospitals

Health Care Without Harm (HCWH) Europe, in collaboration with the Hospital of Niort, have concluded this three-year pilot project to implement a circular economy model of food within the healthcare sector. A project report summarising the actions and outcomes of the project, and further information including videos taken throughout the project, are available here.

Australia in 2030: Possible alternative futures

This report from Climate and Health Alliance (CAHA) presents narrative scenarios for five possible alternative futures for Australia. These scenarios were developed during the Rewrite the Future Roundtable series hosted by CAHA during 2020. The scenarios were developed by over 100 transdisciplinary thought leaders to prompt decision-makers and the public to consider the consequences of different choices involving social, technological, ethical, environmental, legal, ethical, and governance issues. 

Guided by futures experts, and drawing on the expertise of the thought leaders, four narratives seek to answer the questions: "What will Australia look like if over the next decade there is: no change; marginal change; maladaptive change; or radical transformative change?"  A fifth integrated scenario also surfaced during a process of 'backcasting' ie how do we get to our preferred future? This informed the development of the Healthy, Regenerative and Just policy agenda - the roadmap to our preferred future.

Read more and download the report here.


Green Impact for Health Toolkit - for GPs and Health Care Practitioners

A toolkit develop by the National Union of Students (NUS) and the Royal College of General Practitioners (UK) to help every general practice improve their sustainability and environmental impact; reduce their harmful impact on planetary health, the risks of climate change and reduce their practice expenses. It answers the question – What can we do in our practice? More information about the toolkit and how to access it is available here.

The Greener Practice website (UK focus) provides downloadable resources from the toolkit (see example to the left), along with additional information for GPs and health care practitioners.

KISS: A Guide to Green Inhaler Prescribing

This guide outlines four recommendations for reducing the carbon footprint of inhalers, and includes traffic light tables that demonstrate the relative carbon footprint of different inhalers.

Access the guide here.

Plant-Forward Future - resources for healthcare facilities to move to more sustainable, plant based food service

Plant-forward Future provides healthcare facilities with a set of resources to set plant-forward goals, menus and market plant-forward dishes and track their progress.  Practice Greenhealth, Health Care Without Harm and partners provide a forward thinking approach to transitioning toward a more sustainable, plant based food service. These resources provide support to a variety of roles within healthcare facilities, and provide assistance at any point in your sustainability journey. 

Click here for more information and resources

Green Your Lab

Green Your Lab is a 'network of sustainable science and green lab enthusiasts'. Their website includes tips to reduce environmental impacts from waste, energy, water and infrastructure from laboratories.

Click here to go to the Green Your Lab website.

List of Healthcare Sector Environmental Sustainability Plans and Strategies

View a list of environmental sustainability plans, strategies and frameworks from a number of Global Green and Healthy Hospital members in the Pacific region here.


Environmentally sustainable hospital foodservices: drawing on staff perspectives to guide change
Carino, Collins, Malekpour, et al.

The aim of this study was to explore the perspectives of staff working across the hospital food supply chain towards: (1) sustainable practices in hospital food provision; (2) existing barriers and enablers; and (3) recommendations for implementing sustainable foodservice practices in the future. 

View the abstract here.

The Green Print: Advancement of Environmental Sustainability in Healthcare
Sherman, Thiel, MacNeill, et al.

"This narrative review describes the scope of healthcare sustainability research, identifies knowledge gaps, introduces a framework for applications of existing research methods and tools to the healthcare context, and establishes research priorities to improve the environmental performance of healthcare services." Achieving sustainable healthcare systems that advance 'quality, safety and value' are a key priority when addressing the environmental footprints of healthcare facilities. 

Read the abstract and full article here

See also the research articles below in the Lancet Planetary Health issue here:

  • The public health implications of the Paris Agreement: a modelling study (Hamilton, Kennard, McGushin, et al.)
  • Health care's response to climate change: a carbon footprint assessment of the NHS in England (Tennison, Roschnik, Ashby, et al.)
  • Engagement with health in national climate change commitments under the Paris Agreement: a global mixed-methods analysis of the nationally determined contributions (Dasandi, Graham, Lampard et al.)

Share your sustainable healthcare success story

We want to profile stories of environmental initiatives in health (no matter how big or small) to show what is possible and inspire others to improve sustainability in their own workplace. If you have a project you'd like to share with us to include in this newsletter and feature on our social media, let us know about it here, or email [email protected]


If you are interested in signing up your organisation to become a member of the Global Green and Health Hospitals Network, please click here to see more details about the program and how to join, or email [email protected]

This newsletter has been developed with the help of CAHA's Sustainable Healthcare volunteer Julia Read...

Julia is a Master of Environment and Public Health student at the University of Melbourne and has a strong interest in the health impacts of climate change and improving the sustainability of the health sector.  Julia has been providing general support for our sustainable healthcare program.

About CAHA

This newsletter is brought to you by the Climate and Health Alliance (CAHA). CAHA is Australia's national peak body on climate and health, with the mission to build a powerful health sector movement for climate action. To do this, we run a number of campaigns and programs along with our sustainable healthcare program, click the links to find out more:

If you’d like to stay in touch and see other important stories, make sure you follow CAHA on Twitter and Facebook.

Did you know individuals, as well as organisations, can join CAHA? If you like what we do, and would like to support our work, please join and become a member of the Climate and Health Alliance. You will be joining a dynamic effort to ensure people's health and well-being is central to national and global efforts to respond to climate change. To join CAHA, follow this link!