Counties Manukau Health (CM Health), a GGHH member in New Zealand, is proud to announce that two of their health care facilities, Middlemore Hospital and Manukau SuperClinic, have achieved a 21% reduction of absolute carbon surpassing their target of a 20% reduction of their greenhouse gas emissions.

Five years ago, they set a 20% reduction target in their greenhouse gas emissions. Since then they have been working diligently to achieve this objective with support from CEMARS (Certified Emissions Measurement and Reduction Scheme). CEMARS certification tracks how they measure, manage and reduce their greenhouse gas emissions. An internationally recognized certification, CEMARS assists Counties Manukau with measuring, managing, and reducing their greenhouse gas emissions.

Support from the leadership team at CM Health has been integral in both setting this objective for the organization and supporting its achievement. The project began with extensive research, looking at international best practices, carbon reduction programs at other District Health Boards in New Zealand, and successful systems in other countries. From there, they developed a framework from which they derived the focus areas for the program. They include:

  • Waste- A key focal point throughout this project, waste interventions are affordable to put in place and engage staff in sustainability. They encourage people to think about their behaviours towards energy savings and recycling more efficiently, which can transfer to an individual’s home and community life.
  • Procurement- Another key area of focus throughout this process, CM Health has been honing in on the choice of suppliers, with preference, when possible, for local providers through to selecting suppliers who offer product stewardship schemes.
  • Anaesthetic Gases: CM Health works closely with the anaesthetic team to determine the impact of their day to day operational and clinical choices and to suggest the use of alternatives to current gasses used.
  • Travel- CM Health is exploring ways to be more environmentally friendly in this area. They are asking questions like, “Should we be travelling to this meeting or can we have a conference call instead?” They’re also working closely with Auckland Transport to devise more sustainable options for staff to commute to and from work at their facilities.

“We have a long way to go but believe we need to take a breath, recognize this milestone and be grateful for all of the support that has got us this far,” says Debbie Wilson, Sustainability Officer at CM Health. “We have worked closely across all departments at CM Health with some amazing people, with colleagues within and outside of healthcare, locally, regionally and nationally. We are all connected and share the same level of ambition and hope for a low carbon future. We will be setting a new and ambitious target, one which elevates us to a more regenerative platform.”