To create its list, Beckers consulted with a variety of organizations at the forefront of best practices in healthcare sustainability, including:
- Health Care Without Harm
- Practice Greenhealth
- the Healthier Hospitals Initiative
- the US Green Building Council
- the EPA
Inova participated in a variety of early pilot programs around hospital waste and energy in the 1990s, and quickly progressed to achievements such as targeted mercury elimination and battery recycling programs in its hospitals. More recently, it honed its environmental focus through the establishment of an Environmental Oversight Committee in 2007, and the subsequent creation of its Office of Sustainability in 2009.
Under the charge of this department, Inova has expanded its environmental sustainability efforts to encompass programming related to waste, energy, purchasing, food, water, transportation, building, IT, community benefit and employee wellness. Examples of achievements include:
• Recycling: Inova’s single stream recycling program will hit its 10 millionth pound of waste recycled during the last quarter of 2013.
• Single-Use Device Reprocessing: Inova has saved $2.8 million and reduced approximately 60,000 lbs of waste since 2010 through its single-use medical device reprocessing program, which safely extends the life of common disposable medical products.
• Sustainability Reporting: Inova has issued an annual sustainability report since 2010, and in 2012 released its first-ever GRI report written to internationally recognized standards for transparency in reporting.
• Local Food Procurement: Inova tracks its purchase of local foods and more doubled its local food purchases between 2012 and 2013 by working with a local food aggregator.
• Healthier Hospitals Initiative: In 2012, Inova became a founding sponsor of the Healthier Hospitals Initiative (HHI), a national campaign to drive the adoption of health and environmentally sustainable practices in healthcare. Inova committed to achieving goals in all six of the HHI’s challenge areas, and CEO Knox Singleton was invited to highlight these efforts during a White House panel on Greening America’s Hospitals.
Inova has garnered national recognition for its sustainability efforts. The organization has received more than 20 Partner for Change and System for Change awards from Practice Greenhealth, is a designated Best Workplace for Commuters, and in 2013 received the Crystal Award from the Virginia Sustainable Building Network.
Inova will be highlighting its sustainability efforts and bringing together experts from a mix of industries to discuss issues related to health, healthcare, business and sustainability at its upcoming Intersections Sustainability Symposium on Friday, Oct. 11 in Falls Church. Visit www.inova.org/intersections for more information.