International Conference “The Role of Green Hospitals in Combating Climate Change”
Kalisz June 13-14, 2023.
“Health care is responsible for 4.4 percent of carbon dioxide emissions in the world’s atmosphere. If healthcare were a country, it would be the world’s 5th largest source of greenhouse gas emissions” – Health Care Without Harm
Purpose of the Conference
The purpose of the Conference organized by Wolica Hospital, is once again to address the topic of progressive climate change and possible methods of its prevention within the framework of comprehensive solutions (technological, environmental, economic and social) that can be implemented in health institutions.
After all, environmental protection has become an important element of public health protection and requires the creation of tools to take health into account in various types of decisions, plans, policies and investments.
During the conference, we will present examples to exchange views on economic, social and health challenges in a post-pandemic society and in the context of dangerous climate change. In addition, the assumption of the organizers is to activate and integrate the medical community, local and regional authorities and representatives of European hospitals to promote healthy and responsible management of facilities, so that economics is consistent with ecology. Data from the “Green Hospitals” report shows that more than 71% of GHG emissions come from the health sector supply chain, i.e. production, transportation of drugs, medical devices, food and equipment for hospitals. With current commitments leading the world to warm by 2.4°C, the cost of inaction on climate and health will far outweigh the cost of taking immediate action. Rapid decarbonization could prevent most of the 3.3 million air pollution deaths that occur each year worldwide. We want to urge green lifestyles, green solutions in retrofitting health care buildings, green solutions in running a health care facility, so that together we can make an effective impact on environmental protection and be ambassadors for green energy and a healthy climate. The conference is open to the public – we invite anyone interested in the topic of advancing climate change and taking action to practice a healthy, sustainable future to attend.
A tangible result of the 2nd International Conference “The Role of Green Hospitals in Counteracting Climate Change” in Kalisz is to be the signed partnership of Wielkopolska hospitals for environmental protection.
Why are we holding the conference?
Wolica Hospital in 2021 has established a fruitful cooperation with the World Health Organization. We had the great pleasure of hosting in our hospital Dr. Paloma Cuchi Representative of WHO in Poland representing the Office of the World Health Organization. We talked about the cooperation and plans to strive for Wolica Hospital to become a member of Global Green and Healthy Hospitals. This historic visit changed the future of our hospital. From that year until 2022, we worked on preparing strategies, planning investments and introducing procedures to make Wolica hospital an example of a so-called “green hospital” in Poland.
The implementation of planned projects as well as the change of habits and use of proposed solutions have contributed to the organization of an eco-friendly hospital applying the principles of sustainable development. Of particular importance here is the cooperation with WHO and the invaluable substantive assistance needed in outlining the ecological directions of the hospital. It’s important to underline how WHO, working with partners, actively supports efforts to make the health sector sustainable, including decarbonizing and strengthening climate resilience. In 2021, the Working Group on Health in Climate Change of the European Environment and Health Task Force (EHTF) developed a document to highlight the health arguments in the context of the 26th UN Climate Change Conference (COP26), as well as to formulate commitments that Member States can propose to the 7th Ministerial Conference on Environment and Health, scheduled for 2023.
In June 2022, Wolica Hospital had the honor of presenting at, organized by UN-Habitat, the World Urban Forum in Katowice WUF 11 – a prestigious international conference focused on urban development and human settlements. The forum is held every two years and hosts more than 20,000 participants representing governments, regions, cities, NGOs and financial institutions. In 2020, the tenth edition of the WUF took place in Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates. The previous two meetings were held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, and Quito, Ecuador. In Poland, this most important global event on sustainable development, politics, transformation and urban development was held under the name “Changing our cities for a better future”-with this slogan, the world’s largest and most important event on urban development, including from an environmental perspective, took place in Poland. One panel was devoted to health care. Experts from the scientific, legislative and medical community, including the Director of Wolica Hospital Slawomir Wysocki, discussed the possibilities of implementing pro-environmental solutions and presented recommendations for Polish health care in terms of sustainable and ecological actions not only in terms of products, but also in terms of systems and operations.
The measures taken by the Wolica Hospital to reduce Co2 and the transformation of the facility towards climate neutrality were a good example of the first Polish green hospital traveling the green road towards zero-emissions. We also pointed out a very important issue, namely – environmental protection is nothing more than a preventive health measure, which is included in the statutory activities of many hospitals. The panel also presented the conclusions of the “Green Hospitals” report, which was created in cooperation between the UN Global Compact Network Poland and Philips, and in which the hospital in Wolica presented, among other things, the trends and actions taken by the facility to implement the idea of “Green Hospitals.” The report “highlighted climate change, which is already exacerbating a number of health problems around the world. Healthcare is uniquely positioned to play a leading role in combating climate change, which the scientific journal The Lancet has called the greatest health threat of the 21st century The relatively new idea of Green Hospitals, which is still underestimated in Poland, meets these challenges. This is because the essence of implementing the idea of sustainable hospitals boils down to meeting the requirements of the Paris Agreement and the European Green Deal, which pledge, among other things, to reduce the effects of global warming and thus keep temperature increases below 1.5°C, reduce emissions by at least 55% by 2030 (compared to 1990), and make Europe a net zero continent in terms of carbon emissions by 2050.
How to do it.
The hospital is undertaking an analysis of the trends and steps taken toward putting the idea of Green Hospitals into practice. Some of the biggest challenges in implementing the described idea include:
• Reducing emissions from the healthcare sector
• Improving energy efficiency and energy storage in hospitals
• digitalization of hospitals
• A change in the approach to the construction and development of medical facilities, which should take into account the hospital’s green surroundings
• Sustainable supply chain for hospital foodservice
• Recycling of waste generated from operations.
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