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Largest private hospital operator amplifies commitment to sustainability

Health Industry Hub | March 27, 2024 |

ESG: Australia’s largest private hospital operator is doubling down on its commitment to environmental sustainability by aiming to eliminate 100 million single-use plastic items from landfills by March 2025. Ramsay Health Care’s bold endeavour comes on the heels of the company’s triumphant achievement of surpassing its initial target of 75 million plastic items.

Carmel Monaghan, CEO of Ramsay Health Care Australia, underscored the significance of transitioning to sustainable alternatives for single-use plastics, emphasising the company’s dedication to a healthier planet.

“We recognise that small changes can go a long way to creating a healthier planet for generations to come. Ramsay is committed to substantially reducing single-use plastics in our hospitals,” stated Ms Monaghan.

Since the launch of the initiative in 2020, Ramsay has made substantial progress. “After surpassing the 50 million mark last February, I’m pleased to confirm we have now surpassed our latest target of 75 million, and we’re not stopping here. We’re now working to remove 100 million plastic items from landfill by March 2025,” declared Ms Monaghan.

Assistant Minister for Health and Aged Care, Ged Kearney MP, launched Australia’s inaugural National Health and Climate Strategy, at the 28th United Nations Climate Conference (COP28) in December 2023.

Around 70% of the health system’s global emissions footprint is derived from the supply chain, including transport and disposal of medical goods. To address this, the government plans to collaborate with states, territories, industry, and suppliers to establish green procurement guidelines and foster sustainable resource use.

The recently launched Green Surgery Report further advocates for sustainable practices in surgical theatres, urging a shift from single-use to reusable medical equipment wherever feasible. Where ‘reduce and reuse’ are not possible, the lifespan of surgical items and devices can be extended through repair and remanufacture, and the recycling of waste.

Ramsay Health Care has already made considerable progress locally, having swapped out 12 million medicine cups, over 8.6 million drinking cups, and 6.3 million pieces of cutlery for sustainable alternatives. Moreover, Ramsay has taken proactive steps to reduce plastic waste by replacing 6 million plastic water bottles annually with water jugs since 2021.

These initiatives are integral components of Ramsay’s overarching sustainability strategy ‘Ramsay Cares.’

Ms Monaghan elaborated, “Reducing carbon emissions is another big part of our Ramsay Cares strategy and since launching our solar campaign in 2021, our sites have generated over 6 million kilowatt hours of energy.”

Acknowledging its role as a trailblazer in promoting sustainable healthcare practices, Ramsay Health Care aspires to set industry benchmarks. Ms Monaghan expressed optimism, stating, “In fostering a culture of environmental consciousness, we hope Ramsay will inspire positive change across the healthcare landscape. We want to prove that conscious choices can make a significant difference in reducing our impact on the planet.”

In 2022, Ramsay Health Care made headlines with its global commitment to achieving Net Zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2040. To fulfil this ambitious pledge, the company has devised strategies, encompassing a myriad of transitions. These include transitioning to renewable energy sources, enhancing energy efficiency, reducing anaesthetic gas emissions, implementing waste reduction measures, bolstering recycling, integrating sustainable design principles into all new facilities and future upgrades, and collaborating with suppliers to mitigate emissions throughout the supply chain.

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