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The Next Chapter: Sustainability in Healthcare

The Next Chapter: Sustainability in Healthcare

Healthy patients and a healthy planet start with healthcare. As an industry, healthcare organizations have an opportunity to make a sizeable impact on the environment, but it will take a concerted effort to bring about sustainable change. A number of hospitals around the country are well situated on this journey.

It’s a journey that is about building community resilience and addressing emerging health threats. It’s a journey that’s about more than just environmental impact. If done well, it can make a considerable impact on a company’s finances. It’s a journey many hospitals have already invested in.

Every year Practice Greenhealth, a national organization promoting sustainable healthcare, takes a look at which healthcare providers are delivering sustainable solutions that provide a positive impact on the environment. Of the Top 25 Environmentally Excellent Hospitals recognized in 2020, Morrison Healthcare supports three of the most distinguished honorees: Boston Medical Center, Cleveland Clinic, and Hackensack Meridian Health Jersey Shore.

Morrison also provides food and nutrition services to 2020 Greenhealth Partner for Change Award winners, Baystate Medical Center and Bon Secours Health System (six locations), for superior performance in a variety of sustainability programs/mercury elimination. Additionally, Morrison supports Greenhealth Emerald Award winners Mayo Clinic Health System (four locations) and Hackensack Meridian Health System (four locations), for being recognized in the top 20% of applicants in the Partner for Change category.

Sustainable food in healthcare

The healthcare industry is in a powerful position to influence and transform the health of both people and the planet. Collectively, there is power in wellness. Power to move the needle and power to change communities.

“We are making a difference in the health of patients, communities, and the planet,” said Lisa Roberson, Morrison’s National Director of Sustainability and Wellness. “Procuring sustainable food in healthcare is continuing to grow and we are proud to bring our commitment and purchasing power to help our partners achieve their sustainability goals. Together, we are delivering food that is safer and healthier for our patients and guests every day.”

Morrison Healthcare works with hospitals around the country to create sustainable practices that benefit the organization and the environment. Of the 421 organizations that participated in the Practice Greenhealth program, Morrison Healthcare supported 124 individual hospitals. That speaks to Morrison’s longstanding commitment to sustainability, including:

  • Locally sourcing at least 10 percent of produce
  • Serving only certified humane cage-free shell eggs
  • Sourcing foods with minimal use or free of chemicals and antibiotics, such as No Antibiotic Ever (NAE) chicken and pork
  • Sourcing 100% sustainable seafood, including wild-caught and environmentally certified farm-raised fish
  • Supporting Fair Food Standards and farmworker’s welfare
  • Acting to reduce the eco-print of our foodservice operations

3 tips for sustainability in healthcare

Making an impact on the environment takes a conscious decision and a continued commitment. In line with the famous Benjamin Franklin quote, you can “do well by doing good,” here are 3 Tips to Creating Sustainable Operations in Healthcare.

Start Small

It would be easy to pay lip service to sustainability efforts, but that does a disservice to the communities we serve. There are a number of ways to get started on a sustainability journey, but it may be easiest to look for small opportunities that speak to your organization and teams. Does reducing food waste open a window to sustainability? Would purchasing local make an impact? Can you work with local or national partners on food rescue programs? Through small incremental changes, you can make a big impact. This is key to an authentic and successful sustainability program.

Think Past Today

Sustainability is a long-term investment. There are quick wins to be had, but you should look down the road for increased efficiency, savings, and environmental impact. If you start small, you can grow into a program that is nationally recognized.

Dig into the Data

Data is at the forefront of sustainability. Measure everything. According to Practice Greenhealth, “the environmental performance data coming out of health care continues to substantiate the claim that sustainability initiatives can add value, reduce negative health and environmental impacts, and save critical health care dollars.” By measuring our impact, we can make the case for expanded sustainability measures and show their merit to the community as well as the organization.

Healthcare is vital for each patient, person, and community. Environmental sustainability measures can have a massive impact on the planet and a healthcare organization. It extends beyond financial benefits and can become a cultural cornerstone. After all, healthy patients and a healthy planet start with healthcare.


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