Reducing the environmental footprint

In the healthcare sector we strive to make people healthier and we consider it part of the trust placed in Capio by society that we also operate on an environmentally sustainable basis. Our ambition is to make responsible and efficient use of resources and to continuously reduce the Group’s environmental impacts.

Environmental impacts of healthcare

In most countries in the world, healthcare accounts for extensive activity and a significant share of the overall economy. The general environmental impacts of healthcare provision relate primarily to heating and other energy consumption, waste generation, transport, and the consumption of materials. The more specific areas in which environmental impacts are related particularly to healthcare activities concern, for example, the discharge of pharmaceuticals to the environment, disinfection/sterilization, and the widespread use of materials containing PVC/phthalates.

Capio’s environmental guidelines

Capio’s approach to environmental work is summarized in the Group’s Code of Conduct and supports long-term sustainable development. We strive for high efficiency in the  use of energy and natural resources, promoting systems for the recycling and reuse of materials, and working to prevent and minimize pollution. The Group’s environmental work focuses especially on handling of pharmaceuticals and chemicals, energy consumption, procurement, transport, and waste management issues. Environmental initiatives within each segment and operation are adapted to the type of activity and its environmental impacts.

Over time, Capio’s ambition is to reduce the environmental impacts of its activities, and compliance with existing environmental laws and regulations in the countries of operation is considered to be a minimum requirement. With only a few, minor exceptions, all of the Nordic operations are certified according to ISO14001 environmental management standards. During 2016, the Norwegian business finalized its certification process for the remaining medical centers, and Capio Volvat is now certified according to ISO14001:2015.

Capio Proximity Care renewed its ISO certification in 2016, and the business area was acknowledged for its systematic environmental work. During 2017, Capio S:t Göran’s hospital will renew its ISO certification to ISO14001:2015, and the preparation work commenced during 2016. Also in 2016, the hospital updated its environmental policy to an “ecologically sustainability policy”. In France, Capio is working on a structured basis to reduce its environmental impacts, and for example during 2016 about two thirds of the French hospitals participated in a yearly survey measuring environmental impacts.

Environmental work at Capio

Within Capio Proximity Care, the environmental work is driven by central environmental coordinators, together with environmental representatives in each unit. The business area works in a structured way within five main focus areas: pharmaceuticals, chemicals, transports, procurement and energy consumption, and procedures for this work are compiled in the business area’s environmental handbook, with set targets and guidelines for each area. To achieve the target of reducing the discharge of pharmaceuticals to nature, the project to increase awareness of this problem among patients continued during 2016, and in their waiting rooms all primary care centers in Sweden played a movie about the impacts of pharmaceuticals in nature. In addition, the results of the pilot project to increase the return of pharmaceuticals to pharmacies, which was conducted in cooperation with a large pharmacy group in 2015, showed a measureable increase in the amount of returned pharmaceuticals. The project was expanded during 2016, with about half of the primary care centers participating in the initiative, which includes information leaflets in waiting rooms and the issue of medicine bags to facilitate the handing-in of superfluous and obsolete pharmaceuticals to pharmacies. Other activities to achieve this target include choosing pharmaceuticals that have a lower environmental impact and avoiding large packs for occasional medication. During 2016 and 2015, more than 73% of all doctors in Capio Proximity Care received online training about the prescription of pharmaceuticals, including their environmental impact.

At Capio S:t Göran’s hospital, all managers, environmental coordinators and doctors are educated about the environmental impacts of pharmaceuticals. During 2016, more than 90% of all doctors at the hospital attended a 1.5-hour lecture on this topic. The hospital works systematically to reduce the negative environmental impacts of pharmaceuticals. For example, a method is used to make maximum use of anesthetics, with the least possible waste. This method halves consumption compared to the methods previously used, while still administering the same doses to patients. In the end of 2016, Capio S:t Göran’s hospital, which is Capio’s single largest unit, achieved its target that all food waste generated in the hospital should be recycled as biogas. To reduce food waste, the hospital is running a pilot project whereby patients are served three small courses instead of one large course. Early results show that patients are finishing more of their meals, with positive effects for both patient recovery and waste generation. Another measure taken during the year was that the hospital rearranged the menu given to patients, and moved the meat course to the end of the selection. This has reduced meat consumption in the hospital by a couple of percentage points. In France, all large hospitals recycle food waste.

An initiative was launched in France a few years ago to reduce the French clinics’ environmental impact via greater awareness and improved procedures. The measures include reducing water consumption, improving waste management and increasing the use of ecolabelled products, and this work proceeded during 2016. In 2015 and 2016 energy mappings to meet the Group’s obligation to map its energy consumption and identify areas for improvement in accordance with the EU Energy Efficiency Directive and the respective countries’ legislation were conducted. Lessons learned and the potential for improvements from this work were shared for example among the hospitals in France and are integrated in the environmental work going forward. Almost all German hospitals and specialist clinics ran initiatives to reduce environmental impacts from their operations during 2016. Examples include a new Eco-designed ventilation system at the hospital in Bad Bertrich, replacement of all lighting to LED sources at the hospitals in Hilden and Otterndorf, and the commissioning of two block-type thermal power stations at the hospitals in Dannenberg and Otterndorf.

Environmental issues are also important in relation to the Group’s new construction and conversion projects, such as recent years’ real estate projects in France and Germany. For example, the modern new Capio Clinique Belharra and Capio Clinique de Domont in France were constructed according to requirements of Haute Qualité Environnementale, a French standard for environmentally sustainable construction. In conjunction with the opening of the new accident and emergency department at Capio S:t Göran, Capio donated no-longer used medico-technical equipment and materials, for example equipment for heart monitoring, to hospitals in Syria. Capio Artro Clinic has a continuous collaboration with Human Bridge and since the project started in 2012, the clinic has contributed to the reuse of more than 700 kg of medico-technical equipment.