On 8 April 2015, Cork University Hospital celebrated becoming the first hospital in the world to be awarded the prestigious Green Flag by An Taisce’s Green Campus programme on behalf of the international Foundation for Environmental Education. The flag was raised by Minister for State Kathleen Lynch, Department of Health. The Foundation for Environmental Education was represented by Mr José Archer, President of ABAE-FEE Portugal.
Key achievements in 2013 and 2014 for the CUH Green-Campus team include:
- Reductions in waste of 11% despite an overall 10% increase in hospital activity in that period. This includes a 205 tonne reduction in waste going to landfill, a 21 tonne decrease in clinical waste and a 77 tonne increase in recycling.
- 860 MWhr decrease in gas consumption
- 1,185 MWhr decrease in electricity consumption
- 785 tonne decrease in CO2
Patricia Oliver, Director of the An Taisce Education Unit, commended CUH on their efforts towards achieving the flag, citing the commitment of staff and students to the programme as well as crucial long term support from hospital management. Ms Oliver added: “A Sustainable Healthcare Environment Steering Group within CUH leads the direction of the hospital in reducingenergy, water and waste disposal costs. There is a strong feeling of togetherness and team work as everybody is moving towards making sustainable practices the norm and the way things are done across the CUH campus.
CUH’s CEO Mr. Tony McNamara said, “By creating a healthier environment for patients, staff and visitors, we are taking an important step in achieving the best outcomes for our patients and supporting community health.”
In 2010, University College Cork were pioneers in gaining the world’s first Green Flag for a third level education institute, an award that has been renewed on an annual basis ever since. As an acute teaching hospital and an academic partner with a Green Flag university, CUH were eligible to work towards gaining Green Flag certification and shared many environmental based projects with their UCC colleagues. CUH joins An Taisce’s national network of 21 third level Green-Campus colleges, ten of which have been awarded a Green Flag including:
- Trinity College
- Dundalk IT
- GMIT Mayo
- GMIT Letterfrack
- Ballsbridge CFE
- Coláiste Dhúlaigh Coolock
- Pearse College