SupplyChain Digital, December 26, 2022, Urvashi Bhatnagar & Dan Vukelich
GenPact’s Urvashi Bhatnagar, and Dan Vukelich of the Association of Medical Device Reprocessors, on why the healthcare sector need to cut Co2
When published studies found that smoking clearly caused cancer, many physicians went from being smokers to becoming “leaders by example,” by quitting smoking and acknowledging the health hazards of the addictive habit. They helped launch a “war on smoking” after publication of the AMA’s 1972 War on Cancer report.
Today, healthcare workers should be leading the War on Climate Change by reducing greenhouse gas emissions caused by the health sector, particularly those caused by hospital supply chains (known as “Scope 3 emissions) that drive the majority of emissions that cause climate change.
The pollution our hospitals generate is literally killing patients, as greenhouse gas emissions associated with healthcare are surprisingly massive – 4.6% of total emissions worldwide, and a whopping 8.5% of all greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S. Higher emissions means more deaths from asthma and other respiratory illnesses. The cost associated with a cancer diagnosis or a severe accident can bankrupt an individual. The health delivery system is failing us.
Hospitals must reduce medical waste
Air pollution isn’t the only effect of our wasteful ways. Beginning with the advent of cheap plastic products and exacerbated by the HIV/AIDS epidemic in the early 1980’s, hospitals generate an enormous amount of medical waste. A pervasive “take-make-waste” culture drives unnecessary manufacturing that further impacts the climate crisis.