Sustainable Healthcare News January 2022

Welcome to our first sustainable healthcare newsletter for 2022. CAHA are incredibly grateful to everyone involved in the COVID response. We hope the information below provides assistance, inspiration and/or distraction as suits your current situation.

In this issue:

  • GGHH News
  • Sustainable healthcare news
  • Education and Events
  • Advocacy
  • Reports, resources and research


Welcome to our new GGHH members 
Welcome to our newest members The Purple House, Australian College of Nursing, Waikato District Health Board, Cairns and Hinterland Hospital and Health Service, Cura Day Hospitals Group and cohealth.

Global Green and Healthy Hospitals membership in the Pacific Region (Australia and New Zealand) has now reached 117 members! Together, we represent over 2,000 hospitals and health services. More and more health institutions are reducing their environmental footprint, and protecting environmental and human health. 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] 

Greening the Healthcare Sector Forum 2021 wrap up
Thank you to all who took part in the Greening the Healthcare Sector forum in November. The presentations, questions and conversations provided much to be hopeful about as we work to transform our health sector. CAHA is incredibly grateful to UnitingCare for partnering with us to organise this inspiring event, and to Metro North Health for providing a venue. Croakey has published this article summarising eight key takeaways from the day.

GGHH Chemicals Guidance Document released
The safer Chemicals Guidance Document includes a brief overview of priority areas along with a set of tools to reduce the use of hazardous chemicals and materials and improve the health and safety of patients, workers, visitors and the community. The guide is available to GGHH members via GGHH Connect.

Climate Impact Checkup Guide part 2: How to create an action plan 
A new guide is out to accompany the Climate Impact Checkup tool (carbon footprint tool for health facilities) released last year. It aims to help members determine mitigation goals, create basic action plans and promote integration with other programs related to environmental sustainability. The guide is available to GGHH members via GGHH Connect.

Healthcare decarbonisation toolkit: Experiences from the Mediterranean region
This toolkit from HCWH Europe aims to facilitate the integration of climate action into healthcare planning. It is aimed at those working in healthcare facilities that want to develop a carbon management plan for their organisation. The toolkit is available to GGHH members via GGHH Connect.

New GGHH Case study: Vegetable Garden at Pholosong Hospital (South Africa)
This case study outlines how hospital staff and community members worked together to establish an on-site garden. Vegetables grown in the garden are provided to patient families and used in the hospital kitchen. The garden also provides opportunities for education and training for the local community, and a place to undertake physical activity and rehabilitation. The case study is available to GGHH members via GGHH Connect here. A summary of the case study is publicly accessible here.


EPIC for Health Pilot Project: Reducing single-use plastics in healthcare 
CAHA are thrilled to be working with Plastic Oceans Australasia (POA) and GGHH Pacific region member King Edward Memorial Hospital, to deliver POA’s EPIC Business Program in a health setting for the first time. The aim of the project is to demonstrate that the EPIC Program can reduce single-use plastic in health settings, and showcase measures that other Australian health institutions can take to make meaningful change in a challenging workplace. Read more in this media release and on our project webpage here.


Sustainable Healthcare News 

Northern Sydney Local Health District is aiming to reach net zero carbon emissions by 2035
Northern Sydney Local Health District has committed to reaching net zero carbon emissions by 2035, with 70-80% reduction by 2030. Read more here.

Australian Government funding research into impacts of climate change on health and health systems
The Australian Government is providing $10 million to establish a multidisciplinary national research network (the Healthy Environments and Lives Network) that will contribute to Australia’s preparedness and responsiveness to health threats from climate change. Read more in this media release from Minister Hunt and this article from the Sydney Morning Herald.

Recent sustainable healthcare award winners in Australia and New Zealand:

  1. Victorian Premiers Sustainability Awards |  Community Champion Winner: Jo Algie of Ambulance Victoria. Jo Algie was awarded the Community Champion award following the establishment of a uniform recycling program. Find out more here.
  2. Banksia Foundation/NSW Sustainability Awards (read more here)
    • Hunter New England Local Health District won the NSW Net Zero Action Award for their ‘Sustainable Healthcare – Together Towards Zero’ initiative which outline’s their commitment to achieve carbon and waste neutrality by 2030.
    • Planet Protector Packaging won the NSW Circular Transition Award for manufacturing WOOLPACK, an alternative thermal packaging to polystyrene made from waste wool
    • Auburn Hospital Recycling Team were finalists in the NSW Circular Transition Award category for their entry “Hospital workers working for their global community and the planet”.
  3. Health and Arts Property Award category, Property Industry Awards 2021: Counties Manukau District Health Board won a health and arts property award for their new mental health unit, Tiaho Mai - the Warren and Mahoney Civic. Read more here.
  4. Taranaki Regional Council Environmental Awards 2021: Taranaki District Health Board won an award for the commitment to sustainability. Read more here.
  5. ABC Radio Brisbane Community Spirit Award | Claire Lane, Brisbane theatre nurse/Save our Supplies. Read more here 

Recent Sustainable Healthcare Articles:

ANZCA Environmental Sustainability Research Grant
The aim of the research grant is to encourage and support research towards any or all of the following three objectives:

  • To evaluate the environmental impact of current anaesthesia, pain medicine and perioperative practice.
  • To evaluate the impact of implementing environmentally sustainable anaesthesia, pain medicine and perioperative care on patient outcomes and cost.
  • To establish effective implementation models to promote environmentally sustainable anaesthesia, pain medicine and perioperative management.

The maximum amount available is $15,000. The closing date is 1 April 2022 at 5pm AEDT. Read more here.

COP26: 50 countries commit to develop climate-smart healthcare at COP26
At last year’s UN Climate Conference, a group of 50 countries committed to develop climate-resilient and low-carbon health systems. Of these countries,

  • 14 have set a target date for net zero carbon emissions on or before 2050
  • 45 have committed to transform their health systems to be more sustainable and low-carbon

In addition, 54 institutions from 21 countries representing more than 14,000 hospitals and health centres have joined the UNFCCC Race to Zero and committed to achieving net zero emissions. 

Read the article here. Find out more about the World Health Organisation’s COP26 Health programme here.

Education and Events

Coming up

Virtual Grand Round Series: The path to climate-smart, net-zero emissions health care
Health Care Without Harm US and the Global Consortium on Climate and Health Education at Columbia University are hosting a virtual grand round series in 2022. Recordings will be sent to all who register. Registration is open for the January and March sessions:

  • Climate, health care and the Race to Zero: A call to action,
    January 27, 11am ET (3am AEDT)
    Gary Cohen from HCWH, Dr Beth Schenk (Providence, US) and Dr Rengaraj Venkatesh (Aravind Eye Care System, India) will discuss how their institutions are taking action to achieve net-zero emissions. Sign up here.
  • Clinical leaders as drivers of sustainability: a physician-researcher perspective, March 16, 11am ET (2am AEDT)
    In a session presented with the Massachusetts General Hospital Center for the Environment and Health, Dr. Jonathan Slutzman will explore the climate impact of clinical care, and why clinician leadership and research are critical in reducing health care emissions. Sign up here.


Online event: Delivering a Net Zero NHS – Reducing the environmental impact of asthma inhalers, Tue, 8 February 21:30 – 23:00 AEDT
The Academic Health Science Networks (AHSN) are hosting “a series of sharing and learning events that aim to share best practice innovations and initiatives to support the delivery of a net zero NHS”. This event focuses on “reducing the environmental impact of asthma inhalers, concentrating on policies and pathways for adults”.  A recording will be shared with all who register. Read more and register here.

In case you missed it...

TRA2SH hosted their inaugural conference on 13 November, TRA2SHCON21. It featured a series of sustainability-themed trainee presentations including audits, critical appraisals of topics and papers, and stories of local sustainability implementation. A recording is available here.



Would you like a ‘Climate Action Now’ poster?
Would your workplace be open to having a ‘Climate Action Now’ sign? CAHA is looking for health organisations who would be happy to put up the poster in any public health setting to be seen by patients, students, clients and others, for instance, in a consultation office, in a waiting room, etc. If you are interested, email [email protected] and she will provide more details and send you a poster pack if appropriate.

Front cover

Healthy, Regenerative and Just: Framework for a national strategy on climate, health and wellbeing for Australia 
This framework provides a comprehensive roadmap to support governments, businesses and health services to protect the health and wellbeing of Australian communities from climate change, and in fulfilling its international obligations.

The framework offers strategies for comprehensive climate risk management, emphasising policies which protect health and wellbeing and tackle historical injustices. A sustainable and climate resilient healthcare sector is one of eight key areas of policy action. 

All health organisations are invited to endorse the framework. If your organisation would like to sign on to endorse the framework, please fill in this form. Your organisation’s name and logo will appear on publications of the framework.


Research, Resources and Reports


Climate Change and Australia’s Healthcare Systems: A Review of Literature, Policy and Practice
RACP have launched the report Climate Change and Australia’s Healthcare Systems: A Review of Literature, Policy and Practice. The report outlines the risks of climate change to the Australian healthcare systems and how best to manage them. CAHA is proud to have contributed to the report, alongside Monash Sustainable Development Institute, the Monash School of Public Health and Preventive Medicine and the University of Melbourne School of Population and Global Health. Read the report here. 

Climate Change and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Discussion Paper released
This Discussion Paper by the Lowitja Institute includes illustrations and key recommendations from a Roundtable they hosted in October, focused on critical themes around climate change and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health. “The paper highlights wide-ranging impacts of climate change and that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities and knowledge must be at the forefront of national responses to the climate crisis”.

The report was launched at an official COP26 side event, Transforming Australia from laggard to leader. Watch a recording here.

Read the discussion paper here.

Innovation in Manufacturing Personal Protective Equipment: Toward Sustainability and Circularity
This report, funded by UK Aid, describes how a growing number of manufacturers are adopting innovative approaches towards circularity & sustainability in PPE manufacturing. The report provides a call to action to decision-makers in the public and private sector to come together to design, procure, manufacture and use PPE that protects healthcare workers, the general public and our planet. Read the report here.

The role of chemistry in sustainable medical textiles 
This report from HCWH Europe provides a concise overview of current materials and chemicals used in the manufacturing process of medical textiles (with a focus on healthcare and hygiene products). Read the report here.



Reducing single-use plastics in healthcare | Campaign, Fact sheet and Webpage

CAHA recently released:

  • This short fact sheet providing preliminary guidance on how to reduce single-use plastics in healthcare;
  • This corresponding website with links to further detail and resources, and an invitation to join CAHA's campaign to reduce single use plastics in healthcare.

We encourage you to join our campaign to reduce single use plastics in healthcare and invite others in your network to sign up!

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Video | How doctors can help reduce pharmaceutical pollution
Health Care Without Harm Europe has released an animated video on how doctors can reduce unnecessary pharmaceutical emissions and waste. Watch the video here.



Video and report | Plastics in Healthcare: A Circular Economy Transition Plan
NSW Circular have shared the results from a demonstration project on recycling needle caps and ampoules at St Vincent’s Hospital Sydney, and published developed a range of reports on recycling plastics in healthcare:

  • The Case for Circularity
  • A Circular Economy Transition Plan
  • A Playbook for Your Hospital

Read more, download these documents and watch the briefing webinar here.

Podcast | New series by Cochrane Sustainable Healthcare and the BMJ, “The Recovery – Voices of action towards sustainable healthcare” 
Cochrane Sustainable Healthcare and the BMJ have launched a podcast series discussing ways healthcare professionals can tackle sustainability. “In this podcast series, we will explore the many challenges facing the sustainability of healthcare and talk to extraordinary healthcare researchers, doctors, and activists from around the world, who are pushing for a shift towards a new paradigm to improve our health, well-being, and climate.”  Find the podcast here. 


Carbon emissions and hospital pathology stewardship: a retrospective cohort analysis
McAlister et al., Intern Medicine Journal, 15 November 2021, doi: 10.1111/imj.15622
“As healthcare is responsible for 7% of Australia's carbon emissions, it was recognised that a policy implemented at St George Hospital, Sydney to reduce non-urgent pathology testing to two days per week and on other days only if essential, would also result in a reduction in carbon emissions. The aim of the study was to measure the impact of this intervention on pathology collections and associated carbon emissions and pathology costs”. View the abstract here.


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 Environmental Health Science student at the University of Queensland and has a strong interest in the health impacts of climate change, and improving the sustainability of the health sector.


About CAHA

This newsletter is brought to you by the Climate and Health Alliance. As Australia’s peak body on climate and health, CAHA’s  mission is to build a powerful health sector movement for climate action. To do this, we run a number of campaigns and programs alongside our sustainable healthcare program, like:

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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. 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, follow this link!