Leadership Means a System Wide Commitment to Sustainability at Advocate

by Albert L. Manshum III, AIA Vice President Facilities & Construction Advocate Health Care

Providing Leadership is important to Advocate Health Care and that’s one reason we joined the Healthier Hospitals Initiative.  We believe that reducing our environmental footprint is important to the health of our patients, staff, and communities, and that’s why we want to see it done sector- wide in the health care industry. 

Advocate is committed to environmental sustainability from the top-down and the bottom-up.  We have shown our commitment by working toward a culture of conservation throughout our hospitals, clinics, physician offices and support centers.  To enable hardwiring of best practices across the system we have a system level council comprised of senior leaders from each hospital and key divisions who are accountable for achieving annual environmental stewardship goals. Advocate has hired a full-time system leader for sustainability.  In an effort to drive best practices in excellent energy performance and building systems management, we centralized facilities management for all of Advocate’s hospitals, clinics, and physician office and support center buildings. As a result, we are experiencing rapid progress across Advocate Health Care toward our multi-year goal of reducing energy consumption by 20 percent by 2015 (over the 2008 baseline), with a 10.6 percent reduction at the end of 2011.

Advocate has also invested resources into online training for 32,000 associates on green work place habits and why adopting sustainable practices will help Advocate reduce its impact on the natural environment.  To engage associates, we have 14 green teams and a system level committee who meet regularly to share staff engagement successes and ideas for replicating those successes across the system. In 2011, we measured associate perception of whether they felt Advocate Health Care was an environmentally responsible organization via an annual associate satisfaction survey. The survey results were significantly higher than the national benchmark, indicating a strong perception of environmental responsibility, according to Morehead, the third party surveyor. To track waste and energy reduction and other related savings, Advocate developed a dashboard of environmental stewardship metrics. We also publish an annual environmental stewardship report, available online at the Advocate Green Initiatives site.

At Advocate, we aren’t just committed to sustainability in concept—we are actually putting it into practice.  We are very proud of our efforts, proud to be part of HHI, and proud to be making our community a healthier place to live and raise our families.