U.S. health care facilities produce more than 5.9 million tons of waste every year, according to one estimate; another suggests hospitals account for about 8 percent of greenhouse gas emissions caused by human activity.
Fortunately, the healthcare industry in four countries is paying increasing attention to sustainable products and best practices, a new study commissioned by Johnson & Johnson shows. The non-blind research study conducted by SK&A surveyed "key decision-makers" within institutional delivery networks and hospitals in Brazil, Germany, Italy and the United States, where health care spending is expected to make up 18 percent of the GDP by 2020.
“Our research already shows that green attributes are a top driver in health care purchasing decisions, but now we have experts shedding more light on the business case for sustainable products and practices,” said Al Iannuzzi, senior director, worldwide environment, health and safety at Johnson & Johnson. “While the global health care sector has made advancements in addressing sustainability issues, there’s ample opportunity to create more sustainable health care practices around the world.”
Almost half the hospitals surveyed in Brazil and Germany reported switching suppliers for more sustainable options, compared with a quarter of hospitals in Italy and the United States. Suppliers like Johnson & Johnson and Zimmer are responding by, for example, including sustainability considerations earlier in the R&D and product development processes, or by choosing surgical solutions that involve reprocessing (a way of sterilizing and recycling used instruments).
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