Albin Knauder, Daniel Kreuzer, and Bernhard Zahrl of Hospitaller Order of Saint John of God, one of Austria’s largest private non-profit healthcare providers, analyse how the twin aims of providing high-quality 21st century healthcare, and pursuing a ‘carbon neutral’ policy, can be reconciled.
They explain that protecting the environment and sustainability are ‘fundamental concerns’ for the Order as a sizeable healthcare provider.
The healthcare sector is responsible for 4.4% of global net emissions (two gigatons of carbon dioxide equivalent), and the sector’s climate footprint is equivalent to the annual emissions of 514 coal-fired power plants. If the healthcare sector were its own state, it would be the world’s fifth largest emitter.1 The sector is therefore in an unexpectedly paradoxical situation: on the one hand, it is called upon to promote the health of us all – to heal and alleviate illnesses, and, where healing is no longer possible, to accompany people on their final journey. On the other, it is one of the biggest emitters of harmful greenhouse gases, and its activities thus cause lasting environmental damage.
However, many different, efficient, and sustainable ‘therapeutic measures’ can be taken. The environmental management of the Hospitaller Brothers of Saint John of God, one of the largest private non-profit healthcare providers in Austria, therefore extends to all areas of its hospitals and other care facilities.
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