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At UMC Utrecht we work daily to improve people’s health. To ensure a healthy life for our patients and a healthy society - now and for the generations to come. We want to increase our positive impact on health by reducing our negative impact on the environment and climate. We do this by offering future-proof healthcare, education and research, in an
economical, social and environmental sense.

Sustainability is embedded in our organizational strategy Connecting Worlds as one of our seven amplifiers. Our actions are aimed at creating a healthy work environment, being CO2-neutral by 2050, and being fully circular in 2050 . We are therefore deploying organization-wide initiatives and many employees are cooperating (pro)actively to upscale and accelerate our efforts to become more sustainable via the Network for green healthcare professionals and various Green Teams.

UMC Utrecht applies Socially Responsible Procurement and Circular Procurement, as well as sustainable procurement. This means that UMC Utrecht, besides the price of products, services or works, also looks at the impact of purchases on the environment and social aspects.

In 2022 our overall CO2 footprint was 40,466 tons. CO2 emissions broke down as follows:

During Sustainability Week in October 2022, our spotlight was on sustainable initiatives and developments at UMC Utrecht .

Some other highlights in 2022 were:

The signing of the Green Deal 3.0 for sustainable healthcare

At the beginning of November 2022, on behalf of UMC Utrecht and all other university medical centers in the Netherlands, NFU (Dutch Federation of University Medical Centers) signed the Green Deal 3.0 for sustainable healthcare . We hereby commit, together with the Ministries of VWS, EZK, BZK and I&W, to increase efforts to reduce the environmental footprint of healthcare. This updated version of the agreement includes two new pillars: Education and Awareness . Planetary health becomes part of our six training programs in the Medical faculty.

Useful application of infectious hospital waste in striving towards circularity

In 2022 we managed to become the first hospital in the Netherlands to make infectious specific hospital waste, such as needles, bandages, and laboratory waste, circular. Thanks to the new Sterilwave , specific hospital waste is now disinfected by microwaves and ground into tiny particles. The residual product is used as a replacement for sawdust in the cement industry. Since waste is now ground, our waste volume has been reduced by about 40%, resulting in less waste transport. Each year a lot less plastic containers are incinerated, fewer trees need to be chopped down for sawdust in the cement industry, and CO2 emissions are reduced.

Our waste volume from infectious hospital waste has been reduced by about 40%.

Collective HCS installation at Utrecht Science Park

In January, together with Utrecht University, Hogeschool Utrecht, SSH Student Housing, and Stichting Internationale School, we signed a declaration of intention to jointly create a collective heat/cold storage system . With this installation all buildings at Utrecht Science Park (USP) will in the future be heated and cooled in a sustainable way. A collective HCS installation is a big step towards the goal of a natural gas-free USP in 2040. If everything goes according to plan, the construction of the HCS system will start at the beginning of 2024.

Sustainable coffee

At the beginning of 2022 we reduced the number of coffee vending machines at UMC Utrecht and in the meanwhile all our appliances have been refurbished. All our coffee is now also organic and fair-trade . In addition, we now prevent waste since the vending machine does not automatically give a disposable cup, and it is no longer possible to fill jugs. Finally, we have partnered with a Utrecht-based company that ensures that all of our coffee grounds are used as soil to grow oyster mushrooms.

Less waste at the Urology OR

At the Urology OR, the OR Green Team ensured that new protocols were developed by 2022, reducing the use of materials such as scrubs, gloves and covers. This creates less waste and allows us to work in as sustainable and circular a way as possible, without being to the detriment of care and safety for patients. Based on the new protocols, in a trial as much as 6 kg less material was used in one day.