We’ve Come a Long Way

Here’s to our continued partnership and success.

By The Practice Greenhealth Team on May 8, 2017


Practice Greenhealth offers guidance, resources, and support across a range of sustainability topics, including: Engaged Leadership, Less Waste, Safer Chemicals, Environmentally Preferable Purchasing, Healthier Food, Leaner Energy, Less Water, Greening the Operating Room, Climate and Health, and Green Design and Construction.


Nine years ago, Practice Greenhealth opened its doors with a vision to support hospitals in creating a healthier, more sustainable future. It was a different world then: An Inconvenient Truth, the Al Gore-produced documentary on climate change, had just come out the year before; the iPhone had just been introduced; and the mortgage bubble was about to burst. In those early years, we started small, but had a big idea: seven employees and 13 member hospitals, ready to embed sustainability into health care’s commitment to healing.

Since then, we’ve been honored to partner with thousands of leading hospitals and health care organizations to make a substantial environmental impact, from reducing energy use to sourcing antibiotic-free meats to removing harmful chemicals from supply chains. Our work has led to mercury-free hospitals, furniture without harmful chemicals, meat and poultry raised without routine non-therapeutic antibiotics in our cafeterias, and thousands of hospitals focused on reducing carbon emissions.

Today, we’ve reached a pivotal moment on our path toward a sustainable future. Major shifts in the national political landscape have created uncertainty around foundational health and environmental policies, and raised questions for many of our members about how sustainability fits in. Can health care afford sustainability when the very business model is in flux? Is sustainability a “nice to have” initiative for good times, but cut when the insurance market changes? We’ve heard these and many more concerns in recent months, reflecting larger societal concerns about what the future holds.

For us, the answer is clear: Sustainability is not a “fringe” program. Sustainability means improving our communities. It’s part and parcel of the strategic direction of health care; it’s integrated into the important business initiatives of hospitals. Because of this, we are confident that our path ahead is the right one, and we’re doubling down on our commitment to work with our members to initiate policies and practices that are cost-effective and healthy for people and communities, even in a time of flux.

To meet those challenges, we’re changing our membership model, which will strengthen our collective impact going forward and ensure our members receive the exact level of support they need. Here’s what Practice Greenhealth membership offers:

  • Right-sized membership options: Every hospital is different, and our membership model customizes services to respond to individual member needs. Hospitals and health systems can choose from different offering levels or work with us to design a custom membership offering.
  • Tools that map directly to impact: As health care continues to evolve, we’re responding by providing members with innovative technology solutions and responsive reporting. We’re strengthening these tools, expanding our website and streamlining reporting to make it easier for members to access information that’s critical to making sustainable business decisions.
  • Creating transparent pricing and a sustainable business model: Practice Greenhealth hasn’t once raised the cost of membership since we first started nearly a decade ago. To sustain our strategic, impactful support to our members into the future, we’re adjusting our prices to reflect the value of our membership today and to customize those services to better meet your needs.

Sustainability is hard work, but in nine years, we’ve proven that significant change is achievable. These changes manifest in healthier populations—and lower costs. Healthy food is a money-saver compared with the costs of repeat hospitalization and treating sicker patients. Recycling, composting and food donation help reduce harmful emissions from manufacturing and landfills. Clean energy reduces direct health care costs associated with asthma attacks, chronic bronchitis and other health problems. We’re confident that the health care sector, which makes up 18 percent of the U.S. economy, will use its great power and great responsibility to continue the transformation of the entire market toward ever-greater sustainability.

Thank you for all you’ve done. We look forward to decades more of shared partnership and success.