On the first day of CleanMed Europe 2016, we welcomed our 250 participants, coming from 26 countries and 5 continents we came together to discuss and plan strategies around sustainable healthcare during Europe’s leading conference on the issue.
The conference kicked off with a range of preconference events at four hospitals in Copenhagen and also a tour of the UN City building.
Global Green and Healthy Hospitals (GGHH) also hosted its first community meeting in Europe this morning, with representatives from hospitals and health systems from Taiwan, Australia, Norway, Sweden, Iceland, and Germany. Both member and non-member participants learned about GGHH and the resources and tools it provides to support the health sector in implementing sustainability and took part in discussions to share their experiences and approaches to reducing their environmental footprint. It was a great opportunity to deepen relationships with current members and invite prospective members to join the network.
GGHH launched its brand new Hippocrates Data Centre at the meeting, an innovative tool for members to track, benchmark, and analyse data on their sustainability programs.
There were also 9 exhibitors from a wide range of companies exhibiting products and services aimed at the healthcare sector.
The conference was officially launched at 1.30pm, with the European premier of Heath Care Without Harm (HCWH)’s ‘Do No Harm’ video (www.donoharmstory.org), highlighting the organisation’s history and work over the last 20 years in the field of sustainable healthcare.
After this, HCWH Europe Executive Director Anja Leetz opened the conference by welcoming participants from all over the world and speaking about the moral imperative for the healthcare sector to truly fulfil its Hippocratic oath and ‘do no harm’ to the environment as well as the community it serves.
Dr Srđan Matić, Coordinator of the Environment and Health at the WHO echoed these sentiments when he spoke about the healthcare sector realising that it was “part of something larger” in terms of recognising it’s envionmental footprint.
Next, Eric Dupont, Cief of the Procurement Services Branch at UNFPA spoke of how they were the largest procurer of contraceptives in the world and how they could use this significant purchasing power to demand higher standards in terms of environmental protection. Dupont also spoke about how proud he was to work in a green building such as the UN City.
Jens Madrup from The Capital Region of Denmark then spoke about the region’s green initiatives and the importance of cross-border co-operation and how climate change does not obey national borders. He also pointed out that the region produce 40% of their energy from wind energy but that this can be as much as 100% on particularly windy days.
Finally, Betina Bergman, Chief Procurement Officer with the Copenhagen Municipality outlined the challenges facing the city in terms of procurement and how they have managed to increase their procurement of organic food from 45-90% at no extra cost. She stated that the road to 90% organic food started by investing in education and diversity.
In the afternoon, there were a number of parallel sessions dealing with a wide range of topics such as chemicals, pharmaceuticals, procurement, and the carbon footprint of healthcare.
In parallel session A2, Sustainable food in healthcare, which was hosted by Paola Hernandez of HCWH Europe, the speakers - Joyce Chen, Nina J. Spaabaek, and Shane Colgan – demonstrated how climate, health, and the global economy can be improved by simple steps such as promoting vegetarian nutrition (in Taiwan), providing organic food with the same budget in Gentofte Hospital (Denmark), or measuring and reducing food waste in the healthcare sector (in Ireland). The clear message coming from the session was simple - one meal can make a great impact!
Day one of CleanMed Europe 2016 finished with the afternoon plenary – ‘What does leadership for sustainable healthcare mean?’, where Nanna Skovgaard, Director of the Centre of Health Economics in Denmark, Sonia Roschnik, the International Lead with the Sustainable Development Unit in the UK, and Niels Lund from Novo Nordisk spoke about their experiences working towards sustainable healthcare.
Sonia Roschnik spoke about how increased efficiency has to be combined with innovation if we are to achieve true sustainability in healthcare. She also pointed out that collaboration is key and that we need everybody to work together.
Finally, Neil Lund from Novo Nordisk highlighted that almost 27 million patients rely on their products and that good management can increase life expectancy and at the same time reduce the carbon footprint of healthcare.
As the first day of CleanMed Europe 2016 drew to a close, participants left the UN City invigorated and excited by the day’s fascinating and enlightening discussions.
We look forward to welcoming everybody back for days two and three of CleanMed Europe and inspiring and encouraging the exchange of ideas as we all work towards sustainable healthcare in Europe.
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