Guest Post: Healthcare Makes Green Purchasing a Higher Priority

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Keywords: Business & Trade | Ethical Production and Consumption | Green healthcare | Healthcare | hale advisors | johnson & johnson

Guest Post: Healthcare Makes Green Purchasing a Higher Priority

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Thursday, May 10, 2012 - 3:15pm

The healthcare industry plays a vital role in both human health and the health of the planet. This message was the focus of this month’s CleanMed conference in Denver, Colorado presented by Health Care Without Harm and Practice Greenhealth, the nation’s leading membership organization dedicated to sustainable healthcare. At the conference, leaders in healthcare sustainability came together to discuss the future of green healthcare and look for ways to reduce waste and curb carbon emissions throughout the supply chain.

To move toward a more sustainable supply chain, one session focused on developing expertise in product lifecycle analysis. The Greener Product Innovation & Solutions for Healthcare Facilities Session featured Johnson & Johnson Senior Director, World Wide Health and Safety, Al Iannuzzi and Kimberly Clark’s David Spitzley. The Johnson & Johnson Earthwards® proprietary process for developing and marketing greener products, and Kimberly Clark’s EcoLogical, were featured as case studies to highlight the ways lifecycle analysis can be used to create greener products by taking a more holistic view of the environmental impact of a product.

Suppliers’ green product programs go hand in hand with increased demand for sustainable purchasing.

“A lot of hospitals want to purchase green products—ones with lower environmental impact—and suppliers are really listening,” says Lara Sutherland, an expert in sustainable product purchasing who serves as Director of Business Membership for Practice Greenhealth.

In fact, new research confirms that environmental sustainability and green attributes rank high in the purchasing decisions of Institutional Delivery Networks (IDNs) and hospitals in the United States, Brazil, Germany, and Italy. A full 54% of respondents rated the impact of “green” on purchasing decisions for health care products and supplies—specifically, pharmaceuticals and medical devices and diagnostics—an 8 or higher on a 10-point scale, in research conducted by SK&A from January to March, 2012.

“Such a high rating means they are emotionally attached, that they feel strongly about it,” explains Dave Bauer, Senior Market Research Consultant of SK&A, an independent research firm based in Irvine, Calif., that conducted the research on behalf of Medical Devices & Diagnostics Global Services LLC, a Johnson & Johnson Company.

The survey further found that nearly one-third of current requests for proposals for medical products include green attributes, while key decision makers expect nearly 40% of future requests for proposals to include green attributes.

The green healthcare movement continues to grow, as evidenced in the sheer attendance at CleanMed and the membership in Practice Greenhealth. One of every 5 hospitals in the U.S. –almost 1,200 healthcare facilities, belong to Practice Greenhealth, up from zero in 2008, Sutherland points out.

Disclaimer: Johnson & Johnson is a client of Hale Advisors

This blog was originally published by Beth Bengtson on the Hale Advisors company blog. Click here to view it on that site and to read more of Beth's work. Distributed with permission of the author.