Sustainability has become a major buzzword in the corporate world. In 2015-2016, eighty percent of Fortune 500 companies produced sustainability reports, and seventy percent reported their carbon footprints last year.
But not all sectors are equal in this regard. Health care companies are some of the largest companies in the U.S., but a new analysis finds they are lagging when it comes to sustainability efforts.
Emily Senay is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Environmental Medicine and Public Health at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai and lead author of the new analysis.
According to Senay, the healthcare industry represents about 10 percent of greenhouse gas emissions, and creates about 7,000 tons of hard and toxic waste daily. “The energy needs of a hospital are about twice that of a normal building,” Senay said.
It’s easy to understand where the waste comes from: the constant turnover of hospital beds, medications going in and out of the system, and the need for machines and lights to be constantly on certainly add to it.
That amount of waste is one issue, but the bigger issue, according to Senay, is that most large hospitals do not report how much greenhouse gas they’re producing, and because we don’t know that, we don’t know whether the rate is increasing or decreasing.
“You can’t manage what you don’t measure. If you’re not measuring it, even if your intentions are good, it’s an inadequate response to it. And that’s what we wanted to point out,” Senay said.
Read more at WCAI