Mission and Values
Caring for the Environment
As a health and aged care organisation we also remember that clinicians take an oath to ‘first, do no harm’. We believe that responsibility extends to our environmental impact as well.
It’s estimated that the global healthcare sector’s environmental footprint is equivalent to 4.4 per cent of global net emissions or the annual greenhouse gas emissions from 514 coal-fired power plants. Put another way, if the global healthcare sector were a country, it would be the fifth-largest greenhouse gas emitter on the planet.
In Australia, the carbon footprint attributed to healthcare is 7 percent of Australia's total. That’s the equivalent of the carbon emissions of the entire population of South Australia.
Hospitals are responsible for almost half (44 per cent) of these emissions.
Since 2015-16, St Vincent’s Health Australia has been rolling out a National Energy Action Program (NEAP) across its 16 hospitals and 23 aged care facilities to slash its carbon emissions.
It’s been driven in this effort, not just by health’s major role in creating greenhouse emissions and its obligation to act as a responsible steward of the environment, but also because of its origins.
As a purpose-driven organisation, St Vincent’s has a mission to serve the most vulnerable, and low income Australians will be the hardest hit by climate change.
Since 2015, St Vincent’s Health Australia has installed more than 13,000 solar panels on its hospitals and aged care facilities; replaced more than 33,000 incandescent and fluorescent lighting with LED alternatives; introduced a ‘plug smart’ system to improve the energy efficiency of its lighting and electrical equipment; and embarked on a project to reduce the energy needed to drive air conditioning refrigeration units.
Air-conditioning uses vast amounts of electricity and is responsible for significant amounts of carbon emissions. By controlling the flow of chilled water through our facilities we dramatically reduce both.
Overall, our actions have delivered impressive results with both our energy use and emissions slashed, and delivered savings of around $880,000 each year via solar technology alone. In fact, our estimated total savings for making these changes (across solar, lighting, energy-saving devices, and air conditioning) is $34 million over the next 25 years.