Trustee, a magazine written specifically for directors of hospitals and health care systems reports that one place hospitals are finding answers to some of their most difficult questions is in sustainability. Progressive organizations have discovered that they can be environmentally responsible and fiscally prudent; in fact, to be the latter, they must be the former. Some highlights:

– Sustainability entails more than green health care. Organizations that define success by achieving financial targets, positively impacting the environment and improving the health status of their communities while fully engaging their employees already are integrating balance into culture and operations.

– Achieving balance will not occur without hardwiring sustainability into the cultural and operating fabric of the organization. This means achieving sustainability objectives without adding cost or overhead, all while engaging staff to become environmental stewards as part of their daily work.

– Making people aware of their carbon footprint on the earth is one approach to do this. Once people are aware of the situation, they may decide to educate themselves on how to lessen their carbon impact. For instance, Impacked has a blog on recycling that may give people an idea about where they can reduce and recycle.

– “We do not need to superimpose sustainability on the organization,” Ross says. “It is ingrained in everything we do without additional cost. Sustainability is embedded in all of our decisions. We no longer classify sustainability as something different; it is seamless in the culture.”

– At Spectrum Health, Knopke believes that the right data are key to successful sustainability initiatives. “When managed and tracked appropriately, sustainability pays for itself,’ he says.

– As hospitals work to transform care delivery, some may put sustainability on the back burner. But Ross believes that forward-thinking organizations should not abandon their efforts. “Regardless of these external pressures, we need to continue to focus on sustainability, because it is good for the organization and the community,” she says.

– By balancing people, planet and profit, hardwiring sustainability into the organization’s culture, measuring outcomes and focusing on positive community benefit, sustainable health care organizations will thrive in the future.

Read the full article here