December 01, 2021
Kermit had it Right
By Renato Discenza
The great amphibian philosopher, Kermit the Frog, said it best, “It ain’t easy being green!”.
Two great performances of this song, one by Kermit and one by Ray Charles make the point that the colour green sometimes is being ignored and blending in the background. Even if we take it for granted, when we think about it, green is a wonderous thing. “Green is the colour of spring” and “Green can be big like a mountain or tall like a tree”, Kermit reminds us.
At HealthPRO we are helping members be green.
The healthcare system in Canada must balance so many elements, trying to be green ain’t easy. In fact, our healthcare sector is among the worst in the world in terms of greenhouse gas pollution. When we say green or sustainable, we think of the environment, but for us it includes the societal and fiscal factors of sustainability, as well.
Doing minimal harm to the environment. Doing minimal harm to human beings that produce the products. Doing minimal harm to the cost of providing healthcare. The three legs of this stool are vital to sustainability in healthcare.
There are specific actions we are taking to forward our progress on sustainability in healthcare.
We are empowering healthcare facilities to make sustainable choices. We are engaging with hospital members and suppliers to include sustainability markers within our contracts to ensure members are empowered to make more sustainable choices. We are working to provide more information to members about reusable medical equipment available in the market that could help reduce overall waste in healthcare operations.
We want to do this at a globally-leading scale, so we are engaging in global partnerships. HealthPRO is actively engaging its domestic and international networks to learn more about best practices in different jurisdictions that can be offered to members.
To put tactical action toward sustainability, we are exploring the activation of PPE divestment in healthcare. It is hard to believe that the very things that were in short supply and high demand now have surpluses that might go to waste. The pandemic led to the urgent procurement of PPE across the country and around the world.
We are working actively to identify sustainable solutions to divest any excess supplies before they expire or become unsafe (e.g., facilitating repurposing across other sectors in need, donations to developing countries, etc.). This impacts the environment and your pocketbook – it also helps those who need these resources.
Because we are a contracting organization, on behalf of our 1,300 facilities, we are engaging our suppliers and members on sustainability in the contracting process so that sustainability is commercially viable for both buyer and seller. HealthPRO is also working with suppliers to identify sustainability factors in the RFP process. This approach empowers members to make more sustainable decisions and offers suppliers the opportunity to promote efforts to make their products more sustainable.
The challenges of ensuring we don’t harm as we heal is important to us. We often use the term, “a clean bill of health” without thinking what this means. Well, if our bill for health is to be “clean”, we need to think about how we minimize the exogenous factors that have hidden costs to people, the environment, and fiscal capacity.
“I am green it’ll do fine … it’s beautiful … and I think it’s what I want to be,” ends Kermit’s ode to the colour green. The Muppets have taught generations of us many things, and this might be the most important. Yeah, Kermit … thanks for reminding us, green is what we want to be.