Sustainability at DaVita
As a healthcare services provider, DaVita faces the challenge of balancing our commitment to sustainability with our mandate to provide safe, effective patient care. While we will not compromise patient care in our quest to be greener, we aggressively pursue innovative solutions in areas where we can reduce our footprint.
In 2010, we formalized our dedication to environmental stewardship in our new Environmental Commitment . It sets forth DaVita’s goal of being an environmental leader in the healthcare industry by implementing programs to promote conservation, stewardship and sustainability at our more than 1,770 dialysis centers, business offices, labs, pharmacies and other facilities around the U.S.
Village Green, DaVita’s sustainability department, spearheads initiatives to reduce our environmental footprint while achieve the Village Environmental Goals.
DaVita’s Sustainability Program Highlights
Programs and Practices
- In 2011, for the third year in a row, DaVita offset 100 percent of the energy used at all of our corporate business offices by purchasing green power credits that generate a net zero increase in carbon dioxide emissions.
- By being a leader in offering dialyzer reuse, we save more than 8 million pounds of medical waste annually and help reduce our dependence on foreign oil. 95% of waste at DaVita corporate headquarters is diverted through composting and recycling programs.
- DaVita teammates around the country have started recycling and composting programs at their facilities by partnering with local entities, including one in the Phoenix area that diverts food waste from a landfill through a partnership with a local hog farm.
- DaVita offers teammates in the Denver and Tacoma offices complimentary annual passes for public transportation to encourage them to be environmentally responsible in the workplace and in their personal lives.
- DaVita executed its first solar thermal application in Scottsburg, Ind., and the DaVita data center in Tacoma, Wash., has undergone extensive retrofits to increaseefficiency in heating and cooling loads while consolidating servers to reduce energy consumption.
- We are investigating technology that would allow us to create power from our water discharge systems in the dialysis facilites that could offset auxiliary power usage, such as lighting in the parking lots.
- On Earth Day 2011, at the request of our teammates, we launched a composting program at our Lakewood, Colo., location.
- Village Green manages a Green Certification program for our clinics, led by a team of more than 800 Green Champions across the country.
- We opened the first LEED-certified dialysis center in the United States in 2010.
- The base model for new dialysis center design incorporates sustainable materials and practices throughout, including energy-efficient lighting, HVAC systems and educational components for our patients.
- We are seeking LEED® Gold certification for our new corporate headquarters in Denver.
Environmentally Conscious Procurement
- Purchasing dialysis machine cleaning supplies in bulk has reduced waste by 252,000 gallon jugs and 120,000 pounds of cardboard.
- Changing our latex glove packaging from 1,000 to 2,000 per case has saved 350,000 pounds of cardboard.
- Our copier paper contains 30 percent post-consumer materials, and our business cards, letterhead and envelopes use 100 percent post-consumer paper.
- Approximately 400 of the office and janitorial products we purchase contain recycled content.
- DaVita purchases sharps containers made of approximately 50 percent recycled plastic, keeping thousands of pounds of plastic out of hazardous waste landfills.
- Our facilities have reduced overall carbon emissions by eliminating 4,000 medical waste pickups annually. This saves more than 60,000 miles and 7,500 gallons of diesel fuel per year.
DaVita is committed to achieving the following environmental goals by 2015 (from 2011 baseline):
- Reducing energy consumption by 15%
- Decreasing business office paper consumption by 20% and operating paperless clinics
- Decreasing water consumption by 10%
- Increasing environmentally preferable procurement by 15%
- Increasing teammate (employee) awareness of sustainability initiatives by implementing one new program per year
Identifying Sustainable Suppliers
When evaluating potential vendors, we ask if they do the following:
- Reduce packaging, energy consumption and waste in manufacturing and distribution processes.
- Promote the use of alternative forms of energy and reduce their overall carbon footprint.
- Audit their suppliers’ social awareness efforts.
- Ensure safe and legal labor conditions in their own and their suppliers’ manufacturing plants.
- Contribute to the local community where the products are manufactured.
- We have a comprehensive recovery program for all end-of-life IT products to ensureelectronic waste disposal complies with all EPA, R2 and e-Stewards standards. We partner with a company that securely removes all data and places the components back into the market without ever sending a piece of electronics overseas for disposal. DaVita offers cellular phone recycling and toner and inkjet cartridge recycling at all locations.
- Participation in these programs generates donations for charitable organizations supporting awareness for kidney disease. In 2010, this raised more than $9,000 for The Kidney TRUST.
Innovating Sustainable Practices
- We are partnering with Waste Management and Becton Dickinson to explore new technology that will turn medical waste into reusable plastic. The pilot program started in 2011 at 106 Southern California facilities. Sharps containers and their contents will be processed through the new technology, and the plastic will be cleaned, separated, recycled and ultimately made into new products. This program has to potential to divert up about 300,000 pounds of waste from the landfill into the recycling process.
- Demonstrating DaVita’s commitment to innovation around sustainable healthcare, in 2011 we began piloting the use of the same technology to recycle dialyzers. For the first time ever, dialyzers will also run through the new technology in an attempt to mine out the plastic for recycling. We have high hopes that dialyzer recycle pilot will be successful.
- DaVita complies with all applicable local, state, and federal environmental regulations.
- DaVita meets and/or exceeds the sustainable healthcare standards set forth by Practice Green Healthcare and the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
- While ISO 14001 is seen as the premier system in regulating environmental management systems, the certification process lacks flexibility and therefore is not easily adaptable to the uniquely disperse operations of the DaVita Village. DaVita’s sustainability manager, who leads Village Green, has extensive experience with the ISO 14001 certification process, having completed multiple annual audits – all with zero non-conformances.
- DaVita ensures the guiding principles of the certification process (program implementation, program documentation, annual goals, annual audit, and continual process improvement) are woven throughout the Village Green programs.
- DaVita is the only kidney care company recognized by the EPA for its sustainability initiatives.
- DaVita is a member of the Business Roundtable’s Sustainable Growth and Climate RESOLVE initiatives to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions within our industry.
- DaVita was one of only three facilities to receive the 2011 Green Leadership Awardfrom BD for implementing innovative programs to reduce the environmental impact of the healthcare industry.
The momentum around DaVita’s Village-wide sustainability efforts has inspired teammates to post on the Eureka! forum (an internal online message board) such ideas as turning off lights for one hour, installing energy efficient lighting on motion sensors, using water-saving faucets and participating in local park-rehabilitation projects. More than 320 dialysis centers participated in a competition to reduce energy consumption.
DaVita will continue to be committed to promoting environmental sustainability through educational outreach, implementation of green policies and procedures, and transparent reporting of environmental metrics while maintaining service excellence and industry-leading clinical outcomes for our patients.
- We are expanding our sustainability initiatives in 2012. In May 2011, more than 2,500 teammates at our annual Nationwide Meeting voted on DaVita’s top five environmental goals, which we will be finalizing in the coming months.
- We are entering into national agreements with large solid waste disposal vendors serving approximately 400 DaVita facilities. Through these relationships, we hope toimplement more recycling across the Village.
- We are replacing 8-ounce bottles of hand sanitizer with 12-ounce bottles, reducing the total number of bottles used by 62,000, or 3,900 pounds of plastic.
Our business decisions must support the best interest of the patient while accepting and acknowledging responsibility for our environmental impact. By balancing the two, we can give life to both.
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