September 28, 2023
The London Chamber of Commerce has awarded London Health Sciences Centre (LHSC) the 2023 Business Achievement Award in the Environmental Leadership category. This honour underscores LHSC's remarkable and profound commitment to forging a sustainable future through groundbreaking and influential environmental practices.
Since the early 2000s, LHSC has been on a mission to create a healthier future, placing planetary health at the forefront of all its endeavours. From waste diversion and energy conservation initiatives to projects with system-wide implications, LHSC has consistently championed sustainability.
“When it comes to sustainability, the public sector is not often considered but there is so much we can do,” said Dipesh Patel, Capital Redevelopment and Environmental Operations Executive. “The fact is that our critical operations have an environmental impact – one that we must always be thinking of and working to improve. Together, we can – and are – making a big impact.”
Sustainability in motion
LHSC's environmental leadership takes a holistic approach to understanding and mitigating the hospital's environmental impact. This recognition serves not only as a platform to showcase and share our best practices but also as an inspiration for others to join the movement towards a more sustainable future.
Handling and disposing of various waste streams are paramount to LHSC's work, as the organization is responsible for protecting public health and the environment.
"As champions of sustainability, we manage a range of waste streams, including general waste, recycling, organics, confidential, chemical, and biomedical," explains John Vecchio, Environmental Specialist. "Last year, our waste diversion programs diverted 34 per cent of waste from going to landfills, avoiding the emissions of greenhouse gases like methane and carbon dioxide."
One of LHSC's pivotal initiatives is the Organics Recycling Program.
"The Patient Food Services Team has sustained the success of our De-Pack Program. They work to sort all returned patient food trays to ensure that we recycle and divert as much food waste as possible from landfill," said Emily Hahn-Trnka, Patient Food Services Manager, LHSC. "My team is very passionate about their commitment to environmental sustainability and works to ensure that we minimize our environmental footprint while providing exceptional patient care."
What started as a modest initiative has now expanded to encompass various retail spaces, including cafeterias at VH and UH, and to 54 Riverview Ave., one of LHSC's off-campus locations, leading to the diversion of over 358 tons of organic waste from landfills in 2022. This diversion generated nearly 160 megawatt-hours of electricity, enough to power 15 homes for one year.
The future of sustainability
Looking to the future, Team LHSC is committed to further advancing our sustainability efforts.
“We are so proud of our teams and their hard work that has led to this recognition from the London Chamber of Commerce,” said Jackie Schleifer Taylor, President and CEO, LHSC. “And we know there is more to do. As we reimagine the future of health care and redesign how our facilities may look over the next 30 years, planetary health is a pinnacle of our planning. All decisions are being made with sustainability at the forefront.”