Going Green – The Update

Every year we receive Health Select Committee questions that we have to complete. And every year there’s been one answer we can’t provide – what is the size of our carbon footprint?

We haven’t been able to answer because we simply don’t know. Personally, I don’t think that position is one we can sustain. Finding out the size of our carbon footprint is the first of many important steps in achieving environmental sustainability and in working towards one of our two strategic objectives: to develop a truly ‘sustainable’ healthcare system.

So on Wednesday this week, the Board passed a recommendation that Middlemore and the Manukau Health Park work towards achieving CEMARS certification. Dr David Galler, as one of the leads for this initiative, is joining me today to share more about CEMARS and what it will mean for CMDHB.

When we reach this internationally recognised standard we will be the first health system in Australasia, and one of the first globally, to achieve the certification. 

The CEMARS (certified emissions measurement and reduction scheme) certification programme is operated by CarboNZero , an offshoot of Landcare Research NZ. It’s been designed to meet, if not exceed, the requirements of a range of international and domestic programmes and standards, and is being used worldwide.

Through CEMARS, we’ll be identifying, measuring and reducing our Greenhouse Gas emissions. This is important as we are an extremely energy-intensive organisation, generating significant amounts of waste and using large quantities of toxic chemicals, incinerators, refrigerators, air conditioners and so on. Our environmental footprint is vast.

At the same time, it’s our responsibility to carefully consider the effects of our actions on the surrounding community and environment. Indeed, going green speaks to the responsibility we have as good citizens, and as the biggest employer in South Auckland, to protect our natural resources.

The Board’s approval means that we’ll now be having a project planning meeting with CarboNZero to kick off the process. Essentially, we need to identify our Greenhouse Gas emission sources, then measure our emissions, before developing a management plan and initiatives to reduce the emissions where possible. Once we have a management plan, we receive certification – a process which usually takes about six months. Audits of the initiatives we have put in place then follow every year, and the certification expires after a three year period.

I want to point out that CEMARS will take into account the many energy-saving initiatives already underway, such as paper and cardboard recycling. I know that there’s a lot of good work already happening within the organisation and enormous enthusiasm amongst staff around environmental sustainability. This process will make it easier for you all to be involved and engaged in improvements. Without that we certainly will fail in meeting the targets we set ourselves.

Again it is worth underlining that no other healthcare organisation in Australasia has CEMARS certification. This is a fantastic opportunity for CMDHB to show what can be done and become a leader in creating a sustainable healthcare system in New Zealand.

Another interesting thing to point out is that the financial savings that result from CEMARS accreditation significantly exceed the cost. So if this doesn’t enable us to make more money available for the clinical frontline, then I’ll eat my carbon credit!

So all in all, this is an announcement I’m very excited about and one which I think will bring huge benefit to what we do and the environment in which we do it. Thanks for this goes first and foremost to you, particularly to the many people who responded to my original blog post about Going Green. It became clear to me then that this is an issue many of you feel strongly passionate about, and that passion prompted us to take this action. So thanks again – I’m thrilled my blog is helping us identify things we all care about and work together on the things we find inspiring.

Geraint and David

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Author: Geraint Martin

Geraint Martin was appointed Chief Executive Officer of Counties Manukau DHB in December 2006. It is one of the largest District Health Boards in New Zealand and services a population of half a million. He has significant experience over 30 years in national policy & in managing both primary and secondary care . Previously, he was Director of Health and Social Care Strategy at the Welsh Government .He authored a radical 10 year strategy of reform, including the successful “Saving 1000 lives” Campaign.Until 2004, he was CEO at Kettering General Hospital & had held senior positions in London & Birmingham.He has worked closely with clinicians in improving clinical standards,patient safety,chronic disease management & managing acute care to reduce hospital demand.In NZ, He has promoted clinical quality and leadership as central to improving patientcare. This has led to a significant increases in productivity and access, whilst maintaining financial balance. CMH has completed in 2014 a $500 m capital redevelopment programme, the largest in New Zealand. A central part of this is the establishment of Ko Awatea,the Centre for Innovation and Research which will underpin CMH as one of the the leading health systems in Australasia.In 2008, he chaired the Ministerial Review of Emergency Care in New Zealand, and in 2013 was an member of the Expert Advisory Panel on Health Sector Performance. Geraint has an MSc in Health Policy from Birmingham University .His post-graduate work has focused on health economics and Corporate Strategy . He is adjunct Professor of Healthcare Management at AUT and Victoria University, Wellington Elected in 2006 as a Companion of the Institute of Healthcare Management, previously he was an Associate Fellow at Birmingham University.He is is Chair of the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra, a member of the Institute of Directors, on the Board of the NZ Institute of Health Management & previously the Board of The NZ Health Quality and Safety Commission.

9 thoughts on “Going Green – The Update”

  1. Another suggestion – to explore the option of having a shuttle run between the Botany Super Clinic & Middlemore. It could do a circular route through MSC. It would be very convenient for employees living in East who have no access to bus / train services.

    1. Thanks for your suggestion Vasu – it’s a great idea. With our Localities Planning, there are opportunities to incorporate ideas like this. I will make sure it is included for consideration.

      Geraint

  2. It is important that we take a strategic approach. The interventions that we take need to be organized, measurable and realistic. The ideas mentioned above are a great start and can be categorized into main headings such as – waste disposal, energy efficiency, and transport options. Staff involvement is a crucial component and success depends on a high level of staff engagement. It is a very exciting opportunity for Counties to lead the way and build on it’s current growing reputation. Sustainable healthcare practice fits within the Triple Aims and will undoubtedly help reduce the massive costs of running the Organization. In doing so Counties is also meeting the requirements relating to the Corporate Social Responsibility that large Organizations must address in this current economic and political climate. Looking forward to the future with our innovative DHB!

  3. Along with the rideshare scheme which gives priority parking bays as an incentive, could we be encouraging staff who dont have a ride share option to drive smaller vehicles and reduce our carbon emissions whilst travelling to and from work?

  4. A good start would be asking each area of the hospital to come up with one idea that they are able to implement to contribute to this idea as part of the annual plan.

  5. It would be great to have some areas with light sensors. E.g. staff toilets/bathrooms/offices where the lights turn on when they sense a person in the area and turn off after a period of time. Corridors/stairwells after visiting hours where there are limited foot traffic but might need lighting for staff to get from A to B.

  6. One of the easiest things that we can start with (I think) is some basic recycling. I already take my teams’ plastic/glass bottles, contianers etc home to be placed in my local recycling bin. It’s a start!

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