Sustainable Healthcare Newsletter June 2021

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

In this newsletter:

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



Global Green and Healthy Hospitals (GGHH) membership in the Pacific Region (Australia and New Zealand) has now reached 111 members!

Together these members represent over 2,000 hospitals and health services.

GGHH provides resources, recognition and the chance to learn from the collective experience of members.

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

We invite hospitals, health services, health and aged care facilities, and health organisations to join GGHH network. To find out more, visit the website or email [email protected]

Welcome to our new GGHH members

We're delighted to welcome our newest members Optometry Australia, Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, Queensland Eye HospitalGold Coast Hospital and Health Service, Perth Clinic, Tresillian, Dental Health Service WA and Sydney North Health Network to the GGHH network! 

Healthcare sector joins the UN Race to Zero 

The Healthcare component of the Race to Zero has now launched! The Race to Zero is a UN-backed global campaign rallying non-state actors – including companies, cities, regions, financial and educational institutions – to take rigorous and immediate action to halve global emissions by 2030 and deliver a healthier, fairer zero carbon world in time.

All members are committed to the same overarching goal: reducing emissions across all scopes swiftly and fairly in line with the Paris Agreement, with transparent action plans and robust near-term targets.

Congratulations to Ambulance Victoria and Hunter New England Local Health District who are the first health services in our region to join Race to Zero. Read more about Race to Zero, including how health institutions can join here.

Sustainable Healthcare and Climate Health Aotearoa Conference | Wrap up

Thank you to all who attended this year's Sustainable Healthcare and Climate Health Aotearoa conference. 

A special congratulations to the winners of the Climate Health Champion Aotearoa Awards – Dr Rob Burrell, Dr Debbie Wilson and Dr Matthew Jenks.

Conference posters are now available, topics include: 

Recordings of presentations will be added to the conference website in the coming weeks. 

You can catch up or re-cap on some of the conference via this Croakey tweet-report. More reports to come.

New GGHH case study: Minimising plastic straw use, UnitingCare Queensland

Learn how The Wesley Hospital changed practices and products to avoid the use of 422,000 plastic straws a year in this case study. Thanks to staff at The Wesley Hospital and UnitingCare Queensland for making this change and sharing how did it with us!

Member case studies in each of the 10 GGHH goal areas are available here.

Sustainable Healthcare News 

Metro North HHS (QLD) releases their Sustainability Strategy 2021-2026

The Strategy sets out MNHHS's commitment to reducing their environmental footprint, promoting public and environmental health, and ensuring their service is climate-resilient. The development of organisation-wide waste and energy plans is outlined as their next priority. Along with releasing this Strategy, MNHHS have also announced:

  • Over 2400 solar panels to be installed as a first phase, capturing 1.2 megawatts of power
  • their first electric vehicle is on the way, with plans to rollout electric vehicles across their car fleet
  • Green Teams have been established at all Metro North facilities

Read it here

Bay of Plenty District Health Board release their updated Kaitiakitanga Framework for Environmental Sustainability

The updated framework, along with a video of BOPDHB's Sustainability Manager Vicktoria Blake describing the framework, videos of sustainable healthcare in action in BOPDHB, information on their carbon footprint, and more is available here.

Find more GGHH Pacific region member environmental plans and strategies here.  

South Australian Government announce all-electric hospital

The South Australian Government has announced that, among other sustainability features, the new women’s and children’s Hospital will have "100 per cent electrical energy systems to eliminate fossil fuel use on site and maximise the use of the highly renewable South Australian electricity grid, enabling a net zero operational energy hospital as the South Australian electricity grid transitions to 100 percent renewable energy by 2030."

Read more here.

Big battery to help power NSW schools and hospitals

"A 100-megawatt battery will help to power schools, hospitals and government buildings across NSW under the state's new electricity supply contract. As part of the $3.2 billion 10-year contract, awarded to Shell Energy and Edify, a 100-megawatt battery will be built alongside the Darlington Point Solar Farm in the Riverina, providing critical dispatchable electricity prior to the closure of the Liddell Power Station." Read more in this media release from the NSW Government.

PHD Scholarship opportunity: Environmental sustainability in Healthcare – evaluating costs, benefits and performance

This PhD at Deakin University will develop practical measurement and evaluation tools to support healthcare sustainability improvement activities, with a particular focus on valuing the economic costs, benefits and co-benefits of healthcare environmental impacts and interventions.

Focus areas will include: 

  1. Practical methods for incorporating environmental impacts in the economic evaluation of healthcare interventions and programs and; 
  2. Measurement tools for environmental sustainability performance, audit and improvement in healthcare services and policies. 

Based in the Health System Financing and Sustainability stream within Deakin Health Economics, the candidate will work closely with other Institute for Health Transformation members and partners, especially the Health, Nature, Sustainability Research Group and Barwon Health, Victoria’s largest regional healthcare provider. 

Read about it here

Recyclablu Turns Upcycled Medical Waste Into PPE

New initiative Recyclablu started by two Doctors in California have transformed medical waste (discarded sterilsation wrap) into reusable face masks for healthcare workers, combatting PPE shortages and increasing medical waste. So far they have recycled over 1000 kilograms of medical waste into 13,500 reusable face masks. Recyclablu hopes to promote a culture of sustainability within the medical field while simultaneously providing innovative medical technologies from recycled and repurposed materials. 

Read about it here

Infusing climate change and sustainability into the medical school curriculum

James Bevan and Paul Roderick share how the University of Southampton School of Medicine is preparing medical students to practise sustainably

Achieving the NHS’s goal of net zero requires a major change to how medical education incorporates the major threats of climate change.  To ensure the Medical professionals of tomorrow are equipped to deliver healthcare in a changing environment and to do so sustainably, Southampton Medical School has introduced a new curriculum - the “Medicine, Climate Change, and Sustainability Infusion Project”.  Through this 3 phase project spanning the entire medical program, the aim is to ‘infuse’ climate change and environmental health education across all aspects of learning rather than introducing it as an isolated subject to produce sustainable clinicians. 

Read about it here

Promoting Choosing Wisely recommendations in QLD Emergency Departments

The PROV-ED (PROmoting Value-based care in EDs) project disseminates value-based emergency department (ED) initiatives to public hospital clinicians using display monitors in clinical areas of EDs across Queensland.  Value-based care initiatives were displayed on monitors as a way to overcome the barriers for implementing and communicating change within fast-paced and demanding environments.  No data on outcomes are currently available, anecdotal feedback is that this program has been well received. 

Read about it here

Sustainable Healthcare Experts Explain Net Zero Healthcare

Dr. Jodi Sherman and Dr. Todd Cort from The Yale Program on Healthcare Environmental Sustainability discuss the need for collaboration between medical facilities, medical supply chains, insurance companies, government leaders and policy makers, and the public in order to achieve net zero emissions from the health sector.  They outline three scopes of emissions that can be targeted: Scope 1 refers to direct emissions, scope 2 is from purchased emission (energy) and scope 3 is considered all other emissions such as from goods and services and some patient care factors.  The challenge for scope 3, being the biggest contributor, is that it is generally outside the direct control of hospitals as so requires a new level of cooperation. 

Read about it here

Education and Events


Better Futures Forum, 17-19 August 2021

The Better Futures Forum is a three day virtual event at which you can interact with and be inspired by climate champions across all corners of society and the economy. The Forum is an opportunity to join a growing community of climate champions in advocating for a national response that will reach zero emissions by 2050 or sooner.  CAHA is one of the many partner organisations helping to deliver Better Futures Australia. Across the three days of the Forum there will be specific health-focused sessions such as:
  • The path to a healthy and resilient Australia
  • Creating a zero emissions healthcare sector in Australia
  • Healthcare workers as part of the climate solution
  • Prioritising health in the national climate response
Read more and register here. Prices range from $0 - $195

Value Based Health Care Global Insights Seminar Series

This webinar series organised by the Australian Centre for Value-Based Health Care and Boston Consulting Group will bring global insights to Value based healthcare through the following topics: 

  • Delivering health care value through digital patient journeys at intermountain healthcare | 15 July 2021 8:00am – 9:30am
  • Value based procurement in Medtech | 23 September 2021 5:00pm – 6:30pm
  • Implementing outcomes collection and reporting systems at scale - the european experience | 7 October 2021 5:00pm – 6:30pm
  • Building system-wide capability for value-based health care - The NHS england experience | 25 November 2021 8:00am – 9:30am

The series is free for AHHA members. Click here to find out more.

CleanMed Europe | Online 29 November – 3 December

CleanMed Europe will once again return with an online version of the conference. Orgnised by Health Care Without Harm Europe, the conference brings together healthcare leaders from across Europe and beyond to share ideas, innovations, problems, and solutions for sustainability in European healthcare. Register for updates here.

Selected recordings from CleanMed 2020 are available here.


Strategies for inspiring Health Communities to act on Air pollution | 5th May 2021 by Clean Air Fund

Health care professionals are a critical voice in ambitions to improve air quality and climate for health.  The talk features: Saskia Heijnen, Portfolio Manager - Health; Southeast Europe at Clean Air Fund; Jose Siri, Senior Science Lead – Cities at Wellcome Trust; and Abigail Lappo, Lead at Quantum, discussing: 

  • How health care professionals perceive air pollution
  • What's stopping health care professionals from taking greater action now
  • How to engage the health care professionals in different countries, including their motivation, values, and perceived power and influence.

Watch the full recording here.

Strategies to unlock the power of food in healthcare | 18th March 2021 by Health Care Without Harm

"A sustainable food strategy can help achieve sustainability and health goals, and can also contribute to strengthening local communities and economies."  This webinar from Health Care Without Harm Europe discusses the important components of a successful sustainable food strategy in healthcare. 

Watch the full recording here.

Doctors for the Environment Australia: After Hours sessions 

Doctors for the Environment Australia are holding a monthly webinar series focusing on climate change and human health.  The third installment, 'Nutrition in a changing climate' presented by Dr Rosemary Stanton OAM discusses how dietary changes can lead to meaningful climate action.  

Listen back to the full series here

Webinar Recording: Health Leadership on the Road to COP26

As part of the COP26 Health Programme, the COP26 Presidency is working alongside WHO, Health Care Without Harm (HCWH) and the UNFCCC Climate Champions to engage countries and stakeholders on climate and health. This webinar provides an overview of the COP26 Health Initiatives on Climate Resilient Health Systems and Low Carbon Sustainable Health Systems.

Watch the recording here.



Real, Urgent & Now: Communicating the Health Impacts of Climate Change

"Australian health professionals know that effective communication is one of the most powerful tools they can use to protect and promote public health."

This communication guide developed by CAHA is designed to guide Healthcare workers to be able to better communicate and engage with discussion about climate change and health.

Read the full guide here.

Research, Resources and Reports


A Resilient Future: Healthcare leaders look beyond the crisis | Future Health Index 2021 Australian report

Philips’ Future Health Index 2021 report found that there is an increased focus on Sustainable care models. Based on research across 14 countries, with insights from almost 3000 healthcare leaders it found 58% of healthcare leaders expect to prioritize the implementation of sustainability practices in their hospital or healthcare facility three years from now, from just 4% today.  With previous studies reporting patients consider a hospitals sustainability, other priorities of healthcare leaders were: 

  • Long-lasting design of products – portfolio enabling sustainability (53%)
  • Circular economy business models – portfolio enabling sustainability (43%)
  • Health and safety – sustainable operations at corporate level (40%)

Read a summary here or the full report here 

The Costs of Inaction: The Economic Burden of Fossil Fuels and Climate Change on Health in the United States

In a report by the Medical Society Consortium on Climate & Health, Wisconsin Health Professionals for Climate Action and NRDC, it was found that the cost of inaction on climate change will cost more than $820 billion, roughly $2,500 per person, in health costs every year.  The impacts from fossil fuel air pollution and climate change are linked to heavy burdens of premature deaths, hospitalizations, serious injuries, mental health ailments, lost wages, missed days of work and other health problems.  Despite difficulties in estimating the cost of the health burden from climate change, additional findings were:

  • Air pollution accounts for roughly $839 billion per year due to the burning of fossil fuels and temperature rise changing intensity and spread of pollen season 
  • Vector-borne infectious diseases have a total annual health cost of $860 million to $ 2.7 billion from premature deaths and increases incidence of disease
  • Extreme weather and climate events are attributable to over $19.5 billion in healthcare costs annually. 

Read a summary and access the full report here  

The Limits of Livability: The emerging threat of smoke impacts on health from forest fires and climate change

This report by the Global Climate and Health Alliance, looks at the evidence on the health effects of bushfire smoke, focuses on some country specific case studies (including Australia), highlights that Indigenous fire practices can reduce fire risk and intensity, and provides a number of recommendations.

Read the full report here or read the Australian brief here


SEE Sustainability

SEE Sustainability is a UK based environmental sustainability consulting firm that provides open access resources for improving carbon literacy, how to improve the carbon footprint in primary care areas and general practice.  It provides a range of action plans and guides and well as video recording you can listen to. 

Find them here

New guide to reducing carbon emissions in construction

The guide provides greater awareness and focus on reducing emissions during the planning and design stage, where decisions will have the biggest impact on emissions” 

This guide developed by New Zealand Government procurement aims to reduce carbon emissions in building and construction through targeting procurement practices in the early stages of planning and development.  

Find out more and get the guide here

Choosing Wisely Australia - Toolkit for Clinical Educators 

The Choosing Wisely initiative, aimed to prompt clinicians to rethink that ‘more is better’ when providing care, has developed a presentation for clinical educators.  This new Health Resource Stewardship Toolkit for clinical educators – featuring presentation slides and case studies – has been developed for use in universities, hospitals and health professional colleges.

Access the toolkit here and many more resources from the campaign. 


Targeted Ordering of Investigations Reduces Costs of Treatment for Surgical Inpatients.

Ashim Nath Adhikari, MD BDSc, Matthew Dylan Beck, BMed FRACS, James Justin Wykes, MBBS FRACS, Bruce Graham Ashford, PhD FRACS, International Journal for Quality in Health Care, 2021

This study at Wollongong Hospital found that ordering of investigations with personalised education and feedback to junior staff during review of clinical status of each patient as a part of normal workflow, reduced inappropriate ordering of ‘routine blood tests’ and associated costs to the patient and the healthcare system. Abstract available here.

Climate care is health care: A call for collaborative pharmacy action

 Alice Gahbauer Pharm.D., Katherine Gruenberg Pharm.D., MAEd, Catherine Forrester BPharm, Amir Saba BS, Samuel Schauer BA, Michelle Fravel Pharm.D., Ashley Lam BA, Tina Brock MSPharm, Ed.D.,  Journal of the American College of Clinical Pharmacy, 2021

Pharmacists have an increasing role in limiting the industries impact on environmental change.  A team of practicing pharmacists and pharmacy students from the United States and Australia aimed to define pharmacists' roles in environmental stewardship by evaluating pre-existing pharmacy-led efforts in reducing waste, greenhouse gas emissions, and other health care-associated environmental impacts. They provide opportunities for education in pharmacist training as a means to enhance the profession's capacity for environmentally sustainable health care practice and leadership. 

Read a summary here.

Nursing’s pivotal role in global climate action

Butterfield P, Leffers J, VÃsquez M D, BMJ, 2021

Nurses play a vital role in promoting and safeguarding health with strong associations seen between nursing staffing numbers and health. Nurses, who make up 60% of the healthcare workforce should be utilised for promoting climate action as they not only are a trusted voice but are already involved with those most vulnerable to climate change. The recommendations put forward to utilise the unique skills and position of nurses to improve climate action include:

  • Accelerate change by leapfrogging nurses into leadership roles
  • Give nurses and nursing students the skills they need to create the future
  • Rekindle activism, advocacy, and relentless truth telling
  • Ensure a global lens by extinguishing Western biases in the climate action agenda of nursing
  • Put equity, justice, and morality front and centre

Access the full article here.

Planning and assessment approaches towards disaster resilient hospitals: A systematic literature review

Heba Mohtady Ali, Cheryl Deshab, Jamie Ranse and Anne, Roikod, International Journal of Disaster Risk Reduction, 2021

Health system resilience in the face of growing disasters is necessary to ensure facilities can continue to deliver patient care. In this literature review, staff awareness, education, and training about disaster-related plans were found to need improving and so the authors propose a ‘Decision-Support Model for Disaster Resilient Hospitals’ to foster proactive and systemic improvements, from anticipating to managing and monitoring organisational performance during disasters.

Access the article here.


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.  Julia has been providing general support for our sustainable healthcare program.

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]

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 and sustainable healthcare.

CAHA coordinates GGHH in the Pacific region.

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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 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!