UCSF Sustainability Stories

Deborah Fleischer & Jennifer Armenta, Green Impact, August 2015

Healthier Hospitals Initiative:  New Report Demonstrates Progress

HHI CoverHealthcare leaders all over the nation are banding together to create a world where hospitals are truly healing environments. Almost every state in the nation and just under 1,000 hospitals provided data for the Healthier Hospitals Intiative‚Äôs (HHI) 2014 Milestone Report:  Leading Communities to a Healthier Future.

The report demonstrates the outstanding progress that hospitals have made in just one year and how leaders in the field are constantly updating and innovating new ways to make their own hospitals more sustainable.

With UCSF winning the Top 25 Environmental Excellence Award from Practice Greenhealth last month, it is inspiring to know that UCSF is helping to lead the way for other hospitals to operate more sustainably. Hundreds of hospitals are making sustainability a priority, which is leading to large-scale changes and pushing the industry to new standards. 

For the third year, HHI tracked the progress in six “challenge” areas. These areas included Engaged Leadership, Healthier Food, Leaner Energy, Less Waste, Safer Chemicals and Smarter Purchasing. A data summary and analysis for each challenge and its assigned goals are featured throughout the report.  UCSF committed to all but one challenge, excluding Leaner Energy due to the complex nature of energy production at Parnassus.

Here are some highlights from each category:

Engaged Leadership:

  • A stunning 47 out of 50 states have hospitals that turned in data for the 2014 report.
  • 73% of hospitals involved have created an environmental mission statement or sustainability charter to guide hospital decision making.

Healthier Food:

  • 48 hospitals have phased out soda and diet soda, in favor of purchasing healthier alternatives, like juice and tap water.
  • 115 hospitals spent $35,805,740 on local and sustainable food, and 64% of hospitals purchased at least 18% of their food from local and sustainable sources.

Leaner Energy:

  • Under HHI’s Leaner Energy Challenge, hospitals reduced their energy use by 73,600 metric tons of CO2e in greenhouse gas emissions, the equivalent of removing 15,600 vehicles from U.S. roads.
  • HHI celebrated a 38.75% increase in the number of hospitals that reported energy data for the Leaner Energy Challenge.

Less Waste:

  • 270 hospitals (68.4%) met or surpassed the goal of recycling 15% of all waste, with an average recycling rate of 26.3%.
  • In total, 395 hospitals recycled 122,000 tons of waste.

Safer Chemicals:

  • 172 hospitals created a less toxic environment and made a least one product line di-(2-ethylhexyl)phthalate-free or polyvinyl chloride-free.
  • In the last year, hospitals increased their spending 11.2%  on certified cleaning products.

Smarter Purchasing:

  • 14 hospitals reached the healthy interiors goal of the Safer Chemicals Challenge by purchasing at least 25 percent (in dollars) of products in furnishings that eliminate the intentional use of halogenated flame retardants, formaldehyde, perfluorinated compounds and PVC.
  • In 18 hospitals, more than 59.8 % of the furnishings purchased were free of targeted chemicals of concern.

Becker’s Hospital Review, a leading source of cutting-edge business and legal information for healthcare industry leaders also posted the report. To review their top ten findings, see their article, “10 Findings on How Hospitals are Going Green”.

Story by Green Impact:  Making Green Happen (Strategy * Communications * Engagement)