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No planet, no patient: healthcare going green

Sep 22, 2022 - Reading time 4-6 minutes

Healthcare Redefined Series


The connection between the environment and human health is inextricably linked and the urgent demand to address the climate crisis is being echoed by healthcare leaders across the Asia Pacific region who not only recognize the impact on healthcare delivery, but also the sector’s contribution to the crisis. Almost 1 in 4 (25%) of healthcare leaders surveyed in the 2022 Future Health Index say they are currently prioritizing sustainability initiatives in their hospital or healthcare facility. Governments, industry leaders and organisations must collectively work together to drive efforts that reduce the sector’s environmental impact.


The final episode of this series will explore what is driving emissions in the Asia Pacific region’s healthcare sector, to what extent greenhouse gas reporting is taking place, and what mitigation and adaptation efforts need to be taken. Should they be focusing on renewables in heating their building or buying medical goods from sustainable suppliers? And how should digitally-enabled models of care, such as virtual care, be utilised in this new order? What can we learn from efforts and progress so far; what are the gaps, opportunities and challenges?


This episode features:


  • Dr Renzo Guinto, Chief Planetary Health Specialist at the Sunway Centre for Planetary Health, Malaysia & Director of the Planetary and Global Health Program at St. Luke’s Medical Centre in the Philippines.
  • Dr Renard Siew, Climate Reality Leader for the Climate Reality Project, and Climate Change Adviser at the Centre for Governance and Political Studies.
  • Robert Metzke, Global Head of Sustainability at Royal Philips


Healthcare leaders play a vital part in driving change from the top down. Implementing innovative measures, such as circular supply chains, can create meaningful benefits and reduce emissions.


Beyond deploying new, more sustainable health technology solutions, a step towards more sustainable practices requires a transition from the existing linear operational model of ‘take, make, dispose’ to adopting the circular model of ‘build, re-use, return.’


Circular economic models provide a framework for tackling climate change and are supported by the transition to use of renewable energies and materials. By looking to circular models, supporting supply chain partners and collaborating with other stakeholders, leaders can positively contribute to both sides of the healthcare and climate change equation.


New models of care delivery enabled by virtual care offer multiple benefits from extending care beyond hospital walls, supporting healthcare worker’s capacity, as well as reducing emissions resulting from travel and transportation. 

Half of the world’s population, many of whom live in the Asia Pacific region, lacks access to quality health care. Digital solutions may hold the key to extending health care access to communities in need while reducing our carbon footprint and minimizing the impact on the environment” 

Robert Metzke

Global Head of Sustainability, Royal Philips

To ensure that new solutions are answering the industry’s sustainable requirements, hospitals and healthcare providers need to develop long-term, collaborative relationships with health system providers and care delivery partners. If done well, this can support the development of full ecosystems that can grow, adapt and respond to meet changing requirements and demands as they emerge.

Healthcare Redefined is a series commissioned by Philips through the Economist Impact. The program explores the vital issues driving digital change and innovation in the healthcare sector in the Asia-Pacific region.

From leveraging digital health technologies and adopting new models of care, to addressing challenges related to workforce shortages and the impact of the climate crisis; the series will explore the opportunities driven by digital transformation to redefine the future of healthcare delivery in the Asia-Pacific region, while building sustainable and resilient health systems.

Subscribe to the series and learn from the diverse perspectives of regional healthcare leaders, policy makers, and tech players, as they share their insights on the decisive factors redefining the landscape.

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