Healthcare sector committed to reducing carbon footprint

  • Hon Julie Anne Genter

Associate Health Minister Julie-Anne Genter visited Middlemore Hospital today to congratulate Counties Manukau District Health Board (CMDHB) in their efforts to reduce their carbon emissions.

“Congratulations to Counties Manukau DHB for reducing their carbon footprint and setting an example to the rest of the health system on how it is done,” Ms Genter said.

CMDHB has reduced its carbon emissions by 21% since 2012, through a number of measures including the use of reusable cups, commuter ride share programmes, reducing anaesthetic gases and better recycling. This has saved $500,000 in direct costs for CMDHB.

“It is estimated New Zealand’s healthcare sector contributes between 3% and 8% of New Zealand’s total greenhouse gas emissions. Hospitals, for example, use about twice as much total energy per square foot as traditional office space.

“Improving sustainability in the healthcare sector benefits the climate and human health.

"The health benefits include reductions in heart disease, obesity and diabetes through, for example, low-carbon transport options that improve physical activity (such as walking, cycling and public transport).

“Health sector benefits include reducing healthcare costs, improving health care efficiency, improving equity and improving the overall health of the population.

“Climate change and its consequences cause a wide range of risks to the health of individuals and society. Extreme weather events, heat waves and air pollutants can all cause harm to people’s health, and increase strain on the health sector.

“Action on climate change means improving our health system as well, and I am pleased that our new Government will be delivering on this,” Ms Genter said.