JCI and the IHF’s Geneva Sustainability Centre collaborate on international environmental sustainability standards for hospitals

The International Hospital Federation (IHF)’s Geneva Sustainability Centre and Joint Commission International (JCI) announced today a collaboration to develop environmental sustainability standards for international hospitals outside of the USA.

International standards in healthcare provide a roadmap on the best way to implement care strategies to help improve quality and safety. Standards help address shared challenges and create consistency at national and international levels.

Climate change is the biggest threat to human health, affecting patients, the healthcare workforce, service delivery, and the wider community. Wherever healthcare professionals deliver care, in hospitals, clinics, and communities around the world, they are already responding to the health harms caused by climate change[1].

Jonathan B. Perlin, MD, PhD, MSHA, MACP, FACMI, president and CEO, The Joint Commission Enterprise shared:

“Joint Commission International partners with hospitals, health systems, academic medical centers, and government ministries around the globe to promote rigorous standards of care and to provide solutions for improving quality and safety. By collaborating with the IHF and Geneva Sustainability Centre, we will develop standards for resilient, sustainable, and low-carbon hospitals. We’re proud to support hospital leaders who prioritize environmental sustainability and reduce their carbon footprint.”

The Geneva Sustainability Centre was established in 2022 to support healthcare leaders to become climate leaders. JCI’s range of standards currently includes topics such as clinical care, patient safety, leadership, and facility management and safety. The addition of environmental sustainability standards in the new Global Health Impact Chapter of JCI’s Accreditation Standards for Hospitals, 8th Edition, available by mid-2024, will support the healthcare sector worldwide to address carbon reduction[2] and ensure environmentally sustainable healthcare delivery in the future.

Ronald Lavater, MPA, FACHE, CEO of the IHF, celebrated the agreement:

“The International Hospital Federation and Geneva Sustainability Centre are thrilled to be collaborating with our long-term premier member and supporter. Through our respective expertise, we have an opportunity to help hospital leaders meet the new demands of leading in a sustainable way.”

The goal is to develop evidence-based standards that will adhere to core principles of sustainability that are applicable in most settings. They represent an essential step in reducing the carbon footprint of hospitals while also addressing quality and safety. The JCI sustainability standards will focus on five areas including governance, employee engagement, procurement practices, infrastructure, and use of environmental resources. A thorough review process will take place in the coming months and culminate in the publication of a new chapter in JCI’s hospital standards in mid-2024.

Sonia Roschnik, DipCOT, SROT, MSc, Executive Director of the Geneva Sustainability Centre added:

“The healthcare sector is responsible for more than 5% of global carbon emissions[3]. The Geneva Sustainability Centre was established in response to a collective will to transform hospitals. Adding standards to our range of products and services will support healthcare leaders to accelerate action.”

1 The World Health Organization. An urgent call for climate action from the health community, COP26. 2021. https://healthyclimateletter.net/

2  UNFCC. Paris Agreement, 2015: “To limit global warming to 1.5°C, greenhouse gas emissions must peak before 2025 at the latest and decline 43% by 2030.” https://unfccc.int/process-and-meetings/the-paris-agreement

3 The Lancet. A commission on climate change, 2009. https://www.thelancet.com/action/showPdf?pii=S0140-6736%2809%2960922-3

Written by:

IHF Secretariat

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