The modern day organizations are steadily being inclined towards social responsibility besides making profits for their shareholders. This perception comes under the umbrella concept of corporate social responsibility. Especially in the medical profession, the CSR activities become an integral part of the professional activity and it is interesting to see what community good is served by the health care organizations (Dunphy, 2014). One of the reputed hospitals of Australia, Mater Health Services Brisbane is pioneering services of common good in their professional community and facing the challenges with recognizing the mass aspirations for this.
The journey towards ensuring environmental sustainability on the part of Mater Health Services is indeed appreciating. Mater has significantly identified the aspirations of the local community and its patients to embark on the sustainability journey. Mater’s environmental sustainability journey gained its importance with the release of Pope’s Encyclical (mater.org.au, 2017). Beginning the journey in 2007, Mater has come a long way to incorporate sustainability in each of its activities (Capolongo et al., 2015). Mater went on to increase its sustainability activities to make it certain that they optimize their position as corporate citizens with accountability. Their journey stared with the aim of reducing water consumption in everyday operations and thereafter they concentrated on further areas like recycling, energy and effective utilization of products.
However, continuing with this aim has never been easy for a health care organization like Mater. Initially they were faced with several difficulties; the reduction in water consumption created a barrier in day-to-day cleanliness process and that the substitute sanitizing products were increasing the operational expenditures (Campion et al., 2015). The energy saving and waste recycling undertakings were initially challenging to maintain for long. However, the thorough strategic planning of Mater’s administration and the willingness of the employees including the doctors, nurses as well as the patients that made these programs a success. Gradually, the health care organization embarked on a range of notable ventures with the major themes like waste procurement, transport, designing facilities and stakeholder engagement.
With the mission of building a better environment for the future generation, Mater took initiative of supporting the responsible management and controlling the consumption of resources. Till date, over 190 initiatives regarding the aim of building a sustainable environment have been taken on focus areas such as water, waste, energy, transport and the like (mater.org.au, 2017). Mater has, in fact built strategy to ensure sustainable environment in the organization called Exceptional Every Time strategy. These strategies aim to guarantee environmental changes being incorporated in the workplace of Mater across health, education and research (Epstein & Buhovac, 2014).
In 2008, Mater established a multidisciplinary committee of sustainability comprising senior directors and executive directors from within the organization (mater.org.au, 2017). Later they developed a permanent position in order to synchronize the taken initiatives, determine new opportunities and observe the outcomes. However, in order to succeed in any undertaken project, the internal collaboration as well as the feedback from the employees is highly important. Mater Health Services significantly incorporated this reporting in their Annual Review and with collaboration from every level, Mater has successfully implemented sustainability in the very core of the organization.
The organized and efficient strategizing of Mater to maintain sustainability is perhaps the reason why the organization has set an example in the field of health care. Now, it is important to discuss the objectives of Mater following which they have attained this huge success. The primary objective of them was to create and maintain the multidisciplinary committee for implementing all the environmental sustainability principals, programs and policies. Next, while procuring products Mater concentrates on obtaining most eco-efficient goods that serves their commitment towards environment (mater.org.au, 2017). Besides, to encourage the environmental sustainability, Mater emphasizes ES awareness and education among all the members. Recently, to promote an alternative to transport opportunities, Mater promoted the use of bicycle while coming to work and celebrated sustainable transport at Mater Health Services.
Serving community good is an essential part of any profession and that the way Mater has set example of maintaining sustainable development, is not only for local good but also appreciating on global platform. It is also notable how Mater shows environmentally sustainable idea into the usual professional activities of business.
Campion, N., Thiel, C. L., Woods, N. C., Swanzy, L., Landis, A. E., & Bilec, M. M. (2015). Sustainable healthcare and environmental life-cycle impacts of disposable supplies: a focus on disposable custom packs. Journal of Cleaner Production, 94, 46-55.
Capolongo, S., Bottero, M. C., Lettieri, E., Buffoli, M., Bellagarda, A., Birocchi, M., ... & Gola, M. (2015). Healthcare sustainability challenge. In Improving Sustainability During Hospital Design and Operation (pp. 1-9). Springer International Publishing.
Dunphy, J. L. (2014). Healthcare professionals' perspectives on environmental sustainability. Nursing ethics, 21(4), 414-425.
Epstein, M. J., & Buhovac, A. R. (2014). Making sustainability work: Best practices in managing and measuring corporate social, environmental, and economic impacts. Berrett-Koehler Publishers.
mater.org.au (2017). Environmental sustainability at Mater Health Services (mater.org.au). [online] Mater.org.au. Available at: https://www.mater.org.au/Home/About/Environmental-sustainability [Accessed 10 May 2017].
mater.org.au (2017). Mater Hospitals and Health Services (mater.org.au). [online] Mater.org.au. Available at: https://www.mater.org.au/ [Accessed 10 May 2017].
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