January 2012

CHI Steps Up Sustainability Program

CHI’s Sustainability Program is centered on good stewardship of resources. “Being good stewards of our resources, including natural resources, is simply part of CHI’s DNA,” said Skip Smith, vice president of facility management. “It’s part of our faith-based roots.”

CHI’s sustainability effort includes:

  • Reduction of waste streams and proper disposal of waste
  • Efficient procurement and use of energy
  • Incorporating green techniques in building design and renovation
  • Reprocessing of appropriate equipment

“Sustainability is an exciting area because there’s so much that can be done,” said Smith. “CHI’s facilities have already done a lot. For example, all of our hospitals are essentially mercury-free. And, our new facilities are being designed to use recycled products and to be energy efficient.”

To help CHI facilities take advantage of new ways to maximize sustainability, CHI is asking each market-based organization to name a sustainability champion. The champions will be supported by Rozi Arends, CHI’s new sustainability manager. Arends was previously director of value analysis for Franciscan Health System, Tacoma, WA, whose hospitals have received multiple awards for environmental improvement. “A big reason for Franciscan’s success has been Rozi’s enthusiasm for sustainability,” said Smith. “We are very pleased to have her as our sustainability manager.”

While a sustainability champion can come from any area of market-based organization, employees in facility management, dietary management, environmental services and pharmacy are likely to have experience with recycling, composting, waste management or other environmentally sound practices. “The most important thing is to choose someone who has a passion for sustainability and wants to spread that enthusiasm to the entire organization,” said Smith.

Arends notes that CHI facilities can even improve financial performance through sustainability practices. “Trash reduction practices can save costs,” she said. “For example, there are private companies and public programs that will pay for used cooking oil, which can be recycled into biodiesel fuel.”

In addition to working with sustainability champions across CHI, Arends plans to develop partnerships with national providers of sustainability support services.