In recognition for their achievements and dedication to health-care sustainability, Lions Gate Hospital and Squamish General Hospital have each been awarded the 2020 Partner for Change award from Practice Greenhealth, an international organization dedicated to environmental sustainability in health care.
The Partner for Change award recognizes health-care facilities that continuously improve and expand upon programs to reduce and recycle waste, source products sustainably, reduce energy and carbon emissions, and more.
“I am so proud of our staff and physicians for their efforts to help our hospitals and facilities have less of an impact on the planet,” commented Karin Olson, vice-president for VCH’s Coastal Community of Care. “Our staff care so much for the beautiful places where we live and work, and it is though their ideas, endeavours and desire to make sure our organization is doing its part of be a good environmental steward that we have had so much success in this area.”
Some of Lions Gate Hospital’s achievements highlighted in the award include diverting 40% of waste away from landfill, the installation of Canada’s first plant-based, fresh food vending machine in the cafeteria, and a cafeteria waste campaign that saw fun banners and table stickers promoting proper waste disposal. Also included was the 2014 completion of the HOpe Centre, a certified LEED Gold building, which achieved an 80% waste diversion rate for its construction.
Squamish General Hospital also had impressive achievements, including diverting 58% of waste away from landfill in 2019. Squamish General Hospital has also made great strides towards reducing the environmental impact of its surgical operations by reducing the use of desflurane, an anesthetic gas with 20 times more harmful emissions than an alternative gas, sevoflurane. By starting to cut out desflurane, Squamish General Hospital saw a 68% reduction in anesthetic gas emissions in 2019.
In living our values of We Care For Everyone, We Are Always Learning, and We Strive For Better Results, I know we can do even more to minimize our impact on the planet by reducing our energy, water and waste streams,” said Mary Ackenhusen, VCH CEO. “Not only is this vital to protecting our planet but these practices directly support the quality of air we breathe, the water we drink and the food we consume.”
The award is one of Practice Greenhealth’s Environmental Excellence Awards given annually to honour health-care achievements in sustainability.