Real Leaders

Healthcare heals the planet

James Skogsbergh COO of Advocate Health Care in the U.S. has taken healthcare beyond patients in hospital beds and established green teams that educate hospitals and physicians on environmental awareness and how to minimize waste.

His strategies are nurturing a culture that protects both human and environmental health. The company has an excellent track record for energy management strategies within the hospital industry.

The resulting financial savings and the reduction of emissions are a key part of the company’s commitment to the environmental health of the communities it serves. Every staff member is encouraged to embrace ownership of the company’s sustainability goals during day-to-day operations.

Recognized as one of the top 10 health systems in the United States, Advocate Health Care is the largest fully integrated health care system in the State of Illinois. As a faith-based, not-for-profit organization, Advocate offers over 250 sites of care, including ten acute care hospitals and two integrated children’s hospitals. They are committed to serving the health needs of individuals, families and communities and recognize the inextricable link between a healthy eco system and human health.

They strive to deliver health care that meets today’s needs without compromising the health needs of future generations. Through the commitment of a growing coalition of leaders, physicians and associates, Skogsbergh is leading efforts to mitigate environmental harm and contribute to the wellbeing and health of the communities in which his organization serves. Integrating stewardship, a sense of responsibility for “all that we are, have and do,” is central to their mission and conserving resources and materials that are used on an everyday basis saves dollars that can be reinvested in its healing ministry.

Advocate has adopted industry-leading strategies to reduce harmful environmental impacts on the surrounding communities in which they work. They have developed an Environmental Dashboard which reports quarterly progress on key metrics associated with their annual goals in energy and waste reduction. Skogsbergh has creating a culture of conservation where accountability is hardwired into its 33,000 associates.

They regularly collaborate with health systems nationwide to drive best practices and the organization is one of seven founding health systems, and three environmental non-government organizations, to sponsor the Healthier Hospitals Initiative (HHI), a coordinated sector-wide approach to improve environmental health and safety. The initiative’s straightforward view is that hospitals have a responsibility to minimize the adverse impacts of their operations on patients, staff and the natural environment.

Launched nationally in 2012, its goal is to enroll at least 2,000 hospitals through a no cost commitment to one or more of six challenges: leadership, healthier foods, less waste, leaner energy, safer chemicals and smarter purchasing. Advocate ranks as one of the best performers in medical waste generation across the U.S. and their hospitals recycled 26 percent of its waste last year, reducing the landfill waste by over 30,000 tons.

This translates to saving over 6,243 metric tons of CO2 emissions and equates to removing 1,224 passenger vehicles from the road annually or reducing the equivalent amount of electricity used by 541 homes in one year.


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