Sustainable and Circular Care Monitor

Sustainability, CO2 reduction and circularity are becoming increasingly important themes in the healthcare sector. The number of (multi-)disciplinary Green Teams within institutions is growing, sustainability is gradually becoming more and more part of the regular policy and reporting cycle, and more and more initiatives are emerging that focus on sustainability at chain level. However, there are still considerable differences in progress between institutions and the subject is mainly on the agenda in long-term intramural care and hospitals.

Healthcare institutions are tackling circularity more concretely, but it is mostly given substance from the waste perspective. Nutrition, incontinence materials, medical devices and purchasing conditions are areas of focus. Institutions are struggling with the choice between re-usable and disposable medical devices, partly because knowledge (sharing) is still lacking here. Parties have a good picture of their waste streams, but hardly any actual circular use.

Opportunities for monitoring
Ecorys, together with AEF, has investigated the possibilities of integrally monitoring sustainability and circularity. Within the set preconditions, a structural monitor that meets the desired objectives is currently not easily possible. Nationally collected data for the pillars of the Green Deal Sustainable Care provide insufficient insight at both sector and institutional level. In addition, data collected at institutional level lacks unambiguity, resulting in a lack of mutual comparability. Other data sources do not provide sufficient coverage. Because the monitor must not lead to a higher administrative burden, there are no existing possible indicators that meet the requirements.

Starting points
Despite the current limitations especially in availability and usability of data, we also see a number of starting points for the further development of a monitor. Here, at least the Environmental Hermometer should be mentioned, which is already used by a large number of hospitals and healthcare institutions. The Environmental Thermometer contains indicators that fit well with the various themes of the Green Deal Sustainable Care. In addition, the Environmental Barometer is a good basis for a more quantitative picture of the state of affairs in the healthcare sector.

The main recommendations of the study were:

  • Ensure clear definitions, standards and agreements;
  • Monitor progress at the sector level by tracking progress on solving widely felt barriers;
  • Organize knowledge sharing (best practices and existing methods) around specific topics that currently still create barriers for individual institutions;
  • Work with academic institutions to incorporate sustainable best practices into medical guidelines.

For more information, read the full report.

9 November 2022

2 minute read

Key Experts

Rana Orhan Pees

Senior Consultant

Yoeri Dijkhof