Green Breakthrough in Hospital Services
Five years ago ISS prepared its first Environmental Protection Account (EPA) at a small hospital in Braedstrup, Denmark. The programme exceeded all expectations in terms of creating value for the environment, customers and employees. Today ISS Hospital Service has adopted the Braedstrup approach at more than 10 hospital sites in Denmark, and the concept has been communicated to ISS operations in almost forty countries.
The EPA serves two purposes. It provides an action plan and goals for environmental protection at hospital sites, and it monitors and communicates these achievements to the general public. The EPA incorporates four steps. In step 1 ISS consults with hospital managers to clarify their needs and then involves its own staff to secure buy-in. In step 2 waste production and use of water, energy and chemicals are mapped to decide the effects on the environment adhering to the ISS service delivery. Next ISS drafts an action plan including specific performance targets, detailed work instructions and measurement principles. The hospital management is involved in defining these targets, and the employees once again are brought in at both strategy and implementation levels. Step 4 is the actual implementation and reporting phase. In this phase the EPA progress is discussed at all staff meetings to sustain momentum. The plan is revised every two years.
The EPA is based upon the European EMAS model and it aligns with ISO 14001 principles. The account thus enables both ISS Hospital Service and the hospital to apply for environmental certification at a later stage.There exists no complete account of the outcome of all EPA?s in ISS, but as the Braedstrup case documents, effects are substantial: Over a four-year period waste was reduced by 72%, water consumption by 31%, chemicals by 75% and the use of electricity by 49%. After two to four years of strong improvements - the opportunity for further resource efficiency is typically diminishing, and the focus shifts to consolidating the achievements.
Equally exciting, the EPA has demonstrated a strong potential to boost both customer and employee satisfaction. The EPA offers a value added to environmentally demanding customers. In the case of Braedstrup, cooperation paved the way for a strategic alliance between ISS Hospital Service and the hospital management. The close involvement of the entire staff in all stages of the EPA also has significant effects. Employee turnover and absence drops when the program is adopted, and the process is often used as a vehicle to bring forward new EHS issues.
Although there are no exact accounts of incurred savings, it is beyond doubt, that the EPA delivers financial value to ISS while at the same time addressing key stakeholder expectations.
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