After spending several nights in the local children’s hospital with my daughter this week, I’ve seen first-hand how important it is for the health care industry to focus on environmental issues. Thankfully, there is already a industry-specific sustainability program in place, the Healthier Hospitals Initiative (HHI). More than 500 hospitals will commit to a three-year sustainability program as part of the HHI.
During this three-year program, participating hospitals will address six environmental areas. These six topics are called HHI Challenges and include:
- Engaged Leadership - supporting an organization-wide sustainability initiative
- Healthier Foods – healthier food choices for not just the patients but also staff and visitors
- Leaner Energy – reducing energy use and the institution’s carbon footprint
- Less Waste – reduce waste and also boost recycling rates
- Safer Chemicals – using more earth- and people-friendly chemicals
- Smarter Purchasing – sourcing environmentally preferable products
The Healthier Hospitals Initiative website has a directory of hospital systems participating in the challenge and unfortunately I didn’t see the children’s hospital my daughter stayed at on the list.
Although the hospital isn’t participating, I did notice that the cafeteria food looked a lot different than I remember. My daughter could choose her own food items from a room service menu that included a wide variety of fresh fruit, vegetables, salads and vegetarian options.
Perhaps our local hospital system and the two children’s hospitals will see the impact of the first three-year sustainability challenge period and sign on for a future challenge.