The International Hospital Federation (IHF; Geneva, Switzerland) is preparing to launch the Geneva Centre of Healthcare Leadership for Sustainability (the Centre) in 2022 in response to the need for hospitals and healthcare services to address climate change.
As the urgent messages of the UN Climate Change Conference (COP26) are reflected on across the globe, hospital leaders are increasingly aware of their responsibility to advance the sustainability agenda. Research shows that if the world’s healthcare sector were a country, it would be the fifth-largest emitter of carbon emissions on the planet (The Lancet, Commission on Climate Change, 2009).
At the 44th World Hospital Congress held in Barcelona, Spain in November, sustainability was a key theme amongst delegates from around the world. Healthcare leaders and patients share the goal to make reducing climate impact a priority. However, this is a long-term challenge for the healthcare sector that will likely require multi-year commitments and the transformation of almost every aspect of how hospitals operate. There are currently few common standards within the industry, leading to different approaches and measurements which prevent comparisons and benchmarking. The Centre’s global reach and impact will build awareness and promote action among healthcare leaders, and provide capacity building to anchor leadership for sustainability into the healthcare sector for the long-term:
• Establishing the message and communicating the urgency for action, and the call to lead.
• Building the platform for initiatives, communication, programmes, and collective action.
• Constructing long-term support to keep the work ongoing for the decade ahead.
Recruitment is underway for the Centre’s core team, to be headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland. As well as appointing an experienced Executive Director, initial hires will include skilled professionals for communication, education and training, and project management. The Centre will be established with the support of a private donor based in Geneva, channeled through the Geneva University Hospitals (HUG), who are a member of the IHF.
“Hospital leaders are increasingly aware of this need for action on climate change,” explained Ronald Lavater, CEO of the IHF. “However, without adequate support for the development of new leadership competencies in sustainability, progress will come too slowly. With its global network of health authorities and hospital leaders, as well as strong links to institutions and NGOs within the international Geneva landscape, the International Hospital Federation is uniquely positioned to take a leadership role for this work.”
“We are at a pivotal moment to act against a global crisis,” said Bertrand Levrat, Director-General of the HUG and IHF Governing Council Member. “The Geneva Centre of Healthcare Leadership for Sustainability provides a timely opportunity to guide hospitals leaders on the agenda of climate change. Responding to the sustainability agenda is a long-term challenge for the healthcare sector, and hospital leaders cannot fully address this issue without adequate support.”
The International Hospital Federation