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20. A panel on sustainable supply chains: Imagining the impossible

Sustainable supply chains are now more important than ever to decrease the impact on our environment. The latest UN Climate Change Conference, COP26, provided an important platform for all organizations to demonstrate how they're taking action to support the transition to net zero. It is a global challenge and wake-up call for healthcare leaders in Canada to accelerate our transition. This panel will: describe how healthcare organizations can start moving towards sustainable development goals (SDGs), best practices to advocate with suppliers towards a cleaner supply chain, define environmentally preferred attributes for healthcare products to promote sustainable procurement, outline a strategy for domestic suppliers to map out their current supply chain to identify opportunities to improve both at the front end and down the chain, and how to promote the adoption of more environmentally-friendly products into your healthcare organizations.


While in Canada we do have a number of national, provincial and municipal procurement policies that support sustainable practices, they are not specific to health care. Nationally, the Policy on Green Procurement, aims to integrate environmental considerations into procurement activities–including planning and buying, use and maintenance, and disposal - to reduce the environmental impact and ensure best value. It positions how Canadians should strive to buy environmentally preferable goods and services - considering the environmental performance over its entire life cycle when deciding whether or not to buy a particular good or service. This is a call to action for hospitals and healthcare facilities to follow suit.


However, sustainable policy should incorporate all 3 pillars: Social, Economic and Environmental – using the acronym SEE. The concept of sustainability arose from environmental activism. It’s taken to mean making sure that the current generation can meet its needs without making it impossible for future generations to meet theirs. This model incorporates how sustainability should look like in practical terms: each pillar combines to make everyone’s living conditions viable, bearable, and equitable. And to be sustainable, requires the intersection of all three facets.

Throughout the presentation, actual examples of procurement best practices and case examples, including recent contract proposals designed to foster sustainability, will be provided and lessons learned shared with the audience. The goal is to provide learners with some tangible ideas to bring back to their institutions to challenge their status quo, transform their thinking in procurement practices and move forward in their own sustainable journeys.



Christine Donaldson - Vice President, Pharmacy, HealthPRO Procurement Services Inc.

Dr. Fiona Miller - Institute of Health Policy, Management and Evaluation, University of Toronto

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