A global move is underway to raise awareness of how healthcare plays a role in damaging the environment. Whether it’s through joining together as a recognized association that can share ideas on how to lessen the impact or going it alone, the issue is slowly being acknowledged.

In the US, the Healthy Hospitals Initiative (HHI) is made up of three organizations and 11 health systems all focused on steering the healthcare industry to finding ways to function and operate using sustainable and resourceful processes.

The Global Green and Healthy Hospitals Network (GGHHN) is an international group of member countries who have pledged to decrease the environmental footprint of hospitals in their communities and raise public environmental health understanding.

To this end it was heartening to see a recent press release announcing HHI’s move to join GGHHN as a founding member to represent the US healthcare industry in this international forum.

There are some really great ideas and programs taking place all over the world and here in the US. The benefits of connecting these health systems, organizations, and hospitals as they commit to be the leaders in their countries, is the improved health of their communities and populations on a global scale. The knowledge and information gathered will also grow as more hospitals and associations join the network.

The members involved include the International Health Promoting Hospitals Network, the Indonesia Hospital Association, Thailand’s Department of Health, the Australian Healthcare and Hospitals Association, the Sustainability Unit of the United Kingdom’s National Health Service, as well as more than 3,500 hospitals from six continents.

Members of GGHHN and HHI are tasked with setting up specific goals to reduce their pollutants and will report their developments and findings with other members regularly.

For additional information on green design and sustainable best practices and technologies, check out The Green Column in HEALTHCARE DESIGN.