The health of individuals and communities is linked to the quality of the environment we live in. The health sector deals with the negative effects on peoples’ health from a degraded environment, but as a large collection of organisations also contributes to that degradation. The health sector will similarly be burdened by the effects of climate change at the same time as being a major contributor to carbon emissions in New Zealand. Because of this the health sector is well positioned to take a lead role in improving environmental practices and mitigating and adapting to the effects of climate change in New Zealand.
This publication aims to support and encourage the health sector to take an active role in incorporating sustainability practices and reducing carbon emissions. It highlights the wide-ranging benefits of sustainability and provides ideas of how health facilities in New Zealand can reduce their environmental footprints and contribute to the transition to a sustainable, low-emissions world. It also acknowledges that a multi-agency approach is required to effect change, and signals that the Ministry of Health intends to continue to work with District Health Boards and other agencies to create a knowledge base of evidence and expertise to facilitate sustainable thinking throughout the health sector.