The year 2020 was the final year in the five-year environmental program period at HUS. During the past period, we again advanced environmental efforts at HUS on several fronts and took the significant first steps towards carbon neutrality.
Since 2016, the number of environmentally trained employees has grown, we have developed and increased material recycling and energy efficiency and launched efforts to support our personnel’s sustainable commuting. We have made efforts to examine our environmental impacts in several other areas as well.
Our environmental work continues in the next environmental program period where we will be focusing particularly on defining and launching the measures for achieving our carbon neutrality goals.
1. Training and competence
It is increasingly common for HUS units to have an environmental manager, whether a newly trained one or a more experienced one with refresher training. We also introduced environmental perspectives into the induction package for supervisors. In addition to training investments, we introduced environmental communications and began to share environmental expertise and tips in in-house channels at HUS.
2. Environmental management
We revised our environmental management system and documentation so as to better help improve environmental matters at HUS.
We were involved in the EPIC research project, which studied harmful discharges of chemicals and pharmaceuticals from hospitals into sewers. The research findings help us improve our operations so as to reduce our load on the environment in wastewater discharges.
We reduced waste generation and improved material recycling with a number of actions. We added waste sorting points and collection equipment to help recycle plastic, backing this up with information about sorting plastic. We organized collection of plastic food packaging in nearly all hospital areas. We also introduced collection of hospital plastics and are working to expand this function.
In addition to recycling, we focused on reducing waste. We were particularly successful in reducing the volume of mixed waste, paper and biowaste. Over the program period, our overall annual volume of waste decreased by more than 3%.
We made a major improvement in the digitalization of waste management within hospitals with the introduction of the HUSKEY waste monitoring system in 2016.
4. Energy conservation
In the period 2017–2020, we attained our energy efficiency goal due for instance to the energy efficiency of new hospital buildings and facility renovations to improve the energy efficiency of old ones. We revised our guidelines for ensuring energy efficiency in HUS construction projects. We introduced solar power plants and geothermal energy fields at the Logistics Center and at Lohja Hospital.
We improved the consideration of environmental aspects in procurement during the environmental program period. For instance, we abandoned several PVC plastic products containing harmful chlorine and focused on ecological sustainability in procurements. In 2018, we revised the environmental supplement to the HUS procurement guidelines, and towards the end of the program period we worked with other hospital districts to develop this into a guide to sustainable procurement.
6. Life cycle impacts of properties
We updated our key guidelines to ensure that environmental and energy matters will be considered more systematically in construction projects. We will continue to update our guidelines in the near future, as constructions techniques and operating procedures continue to evolve.
New environment program 2021–2024 completed
At the end of 2020, we devised a new environment program for the period 2021–2024 and also updated the HUS environmental policy. The new four-year program period is now synchronized with the HUS strategy cycle and is in line with its policies.
The goals in the new environment program are substantially influenced by our ambitious strategic objective of being carbon-neutral by 2030. Improving the efficient use of materials is another important focus area. Many of the goals in our new environment program represent a continuation of our previous environmental efforts.