Implementing sustainability projects and initiatives is critical in today’s world of limited resources. This is how Life Healthcare is going green
As the world became more and more aware of the critical state of the environment, and environmental concerns grew about the negative impact human beings were having on earth, sustainability became a buzzword on everyone’s lips. But true commitment to saving our planet means businesses have to do, not just talk.
Putting a plan in place
Life Healthcare’s environmental management plan dates back to 2013, when it implemented its Environmental Management System (ISO 14001), which looks to address the needs of its customers, but also cares for the greater environment within which the organisation functions. The Group’s environment and climate change forum provides the structure to drive environmental sustainability with clear objectives about the reduction of significant indicators, and consistent monitoring, measurement and reporting of the performance of those indicators as part of the ISO 14001 certification process.
Transforming our world
In September 2015, Resolution 70/1: Transforming Our World: 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development was adopted by the United Nations (UN) General Assembly. Countries that subscribe to this resolution seek, in a collaborative manner, to ‘free the human race from the tyranny of poverty’. In this resolution, the UN identifies 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), with 169 associated targets. The SDGs are designed to build on the Millennium Development Goals and were introduced to achieve better results. SDGs that relate specifically to Environmental Management includes:
- SDG 6: Ensuring the availability and sustainable management of clean water
- SDG 7: Renewable energy
- SDG 11: Sustainable cities and communities
- SDG 12: Responsible consumption
- SDG 13: Climate action
- SDG 14: Life below water
- SDG 15: Life on land
Keeping these SDGs in mind, Life Healthcare set a course for the business to address, in particular, those goals that relate to environmental management. These are the key areas of focus:
- Carbon emissions
A variety of teams from across the business engaged with each other to investigate matters of environmental importance within the business and all products and services were evaluated through appropriate tests or site visits. These are some of Life Healthcare’s significant gains in the above areas:
Life Healthcare reduced electricity consumption by 4.5%, to 64kWh/PPD in 2018, driven by energy-efficient projects such as LED lighting and the completion of solar projects. This brings the total number of hospitals with LED lighting installed to 13.
In 2012, the Group committed to reducing Scope 2 emissions at acute hospitals in Southern Africa by 2% annually, with a cumulative reduction in emissions of 10% over five years from 2013–2017. We achieved a 7.9% reduction in Scope 2 emissions for the first four years.
Our reduced water usage was a highlight, given the water scarcity as a result of the ongoing drought in the Western Cape. The Group managed to reduce water usage by 14.3% (2017: 2%) across the board to 0.48kl/PPD (2017: 0.56kl/PPD). This was as a result of two borehole projects being completed in the Western Cape, a group-wide autoclave water-saving project and staff-awareness drives, which focused on water-saving techniques.
This is a huge focus area for Life Healthcare, given that different patient profiles, for example, medical and renal patients, will generate different levels of waste, which can affect waste totals. As a result, the volume of Healthcare Risk Waste (HCRW), which is the only measurable waste stream reported throughout the Group, increased to 1.88kg/PPD (2017: 1.81kg/PPD), primarily due to the increase in renal-dialysis treatments. There are a number of projects underway and being investigated so that 2019 sees a reduction instead of an increase.
For more information about the strides Life Healthcare has made in greening its business, have a look below.
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