VHA Inc. Introduces GRI Toolkit to Help Hospitals Report Their Sustainability Efforts

Toolkit helps hospital leaders customize the GRI reporting framework for their organization

Apr 24, 2013, 09:00 ET from VHA Inc.

BOSTON, April 24, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- CleanMed 2013 -- VHA Inc., the national health care network, introduced its new toolkit to help hospitals better report their sustainability efforts,  at CleanMed 2013, the premier conference on environmental sustainability for the health care sector. VHA's Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) toolkit is based on GRI's voluntary sustainability reporting guidelines and is designed to make it easier for hospitals to gather and report data on their environmental and social impact.

According to a November 2012 study by The Commonwealth Fund, health care is one of the country's most energy intensive industries, costing hospitals more than $10 billion each year. Health care organizations facing unrelenting pressure to reduce costs are able to realize significant savings that can be achieved by improving their environmental footprint.

"Physicians take a vow of doing no harm, and more and more, this includes how hospitals treat the environment," said Cristina DeVito, sustainability coordinator, Yale-New Haven Hospital, a VHA member. "Creating a sustainability report provides an opportunity for us to educate people about our commitment to both them and to the communities where our patients live."

With sustainability reporting expanding beyond waste and energy savings to social impact and economic responsibility, GRI guidelines recommend organizations track performance in six categories: economic, environmental, labor, human rights, social and product responsibility.

"Hospitals have a great opportunity to save energy, conserve water and reduce waste through smart purchasing, recycling and other programs," said Terri Scannell, Director of Corporate Citizenship and Sustainability at VHA. "We are excited to be able to help health care organizations plan and implement sustainability programs and also report the work they're doing in a meaningful, transparent way using the GRI framework."

VHA's GRI toolkit is intended to help hospitals:

  • Understand the importance of sustainability reporting and the critical components of an effective sustainability report
  • Develop approaches to identify and gather appropriate information
  • Create a report
  • Build an infrastructure to enable continual reporting to inform future sustainability efforts

"Our sustainability efforts not only help us save money and protect the environment, but also deliver on our promise to care for our community by being a good corporate citizen," said Michael Geller, regional sustainability manager, Providence Health & Services, also a VHA member.

VHA issued its first GRI sustainability report four years ago and is the only Group Purchasing Organization (GPO) that reports using the GRI framework. In addition, its supply contracting company, Novation, has taken a leading role in helping health care organizations reduce waste, eliminate harmful substances and protect the environment as they purchase and use supplies. In recognition of its leadership, Novation has received the Champion for Change Award from Practice GreenHealth every year since 2004.

Both DeVito and Geller will be participating in a VHA led panel of hospital sustainability leaders about the value of GRI Sustainability reporting at the CleanMed Conference on Friday, April 26 from 10:00-11:30 a.m. EDT. For more details about the session, visit www.cleanmed.com.

About VHA
VHA Inc., based in Irving, Texas, is a national network of not-for-profit health care organizations that work together to drive maximum savings in the supply chain arena, set new levels of clinical performance, and identify and implement best practices to improve operational efficiency and clinical outcomes. Since 1977, VHA has leveraged its expertise in analytics, contracting, consulting and networks to help members achieve their operational, clinical and financial objectives. In 2011, VHA delivered record savings and value of $1.9 billion to members. VHA serves more than 1,350 hospitals and more than 72,000 non-acute care providers nationwide, coordinating delivery of its programs and services through its 13 regional offices. For more information, visit www.vha.com and follow us on Twitter (@VHAInc).