International Hospital Federation set to launch Geneva Centre of Healthcare Leadership for Sustainability

As the world reflects on the urgent messages of the UN Climate Change Conference (COP26), hospital leaders are increasingly aware of their responsibility to advance the sustainability agenda. Research shows that if the world’s healthcare sector were a country, it would be the fifth-largest emitter of carbon emissions on the planet, according to the The Lancet.

At the 44th World Hospital Congress in Barcelona (Spain) in November, sustainability was a key theme amongst delegates from around the world. Healthcare leaders are aware of the importance of reducing the impact of climate change and are making this goal a priority in their administration. However, this is a long-term challenge for the healthcare sector that will likely require multi-year commitments and the transformation of almost every aspect of how hospitals operate. 

Lack of common standards
In addition, there are currently few common standards within the industry. This is leading to different approaches and measurements, which in turn prevent comparisons and benchmarking. 

Ronald Lavater, CEO of the IHF explained the role that the Centre will play: “Hospital leaders are increasingly aware of this need for action on climate change. However, without adequate support for the development of new leadership competencies in sustainability, progress will come too slowly. With its global network of health authorities and hospital leaders, as well as strong links to institutions and NGOs within the international Geneva landscape, the International Hospital Federation is uniquely positioned to take a leadership role for this work.”

The Centre’s global reach and impact will build awareness and promote action among healthcare leaders, and provide capacity building to ensure sustainability is anchored in the healthcare sector for the long-term. 

The Centre will:

  • Establish the message and communicate the urgency for action, and the call to lead.
  • Build the platform for initiatives, communication, programmes, and collective action.
  • Construct long-term support to keep the work ongoing for the decade ahead.

Recruitment is underway for the Centre’s core team, to be headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland. As well as appointing an experienced Executive Director, initial hires will include skilled professionals for communication, education and training, and project management. The Centre will be established with the support of a private donor based in Geneva, channelled through the Geneva University Hospitals (HUG), who are a member of the IHF. 

Bertrand Levrat, Director-General of the HUG and IHF Governing Council Member, noted the timely and important role that the Centre will play in supporting healthcare leaders: “We are at a pivotal moment to act against a global crisis. The Geneva Centre of Healthcare Leadership for Sustainability provides a timely opportunity to guide hospital leaders on the agenda of climate change. Responding to the sustainability agenda is a long-term challenge for the healthcare sector, and hospital leaders cannot fully address this issue without adequate support.” 

About the International Hospital Federation
Established in 1929, the IHF is a global not-for-profit, non-governmental membership organization. Headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland, the IHF is the global voice of hospitals and health systems. The IHF provides its members with a platform for knowledge exchange and networking with different actors in the health sector, to improve the standard, quality, and level of service delivery. 

Ronald Lavater, CEO of the IHF.