Challenge of the Week: Go Carbon Neutral

The husband and I are in Ashtabula, Ohio this weekend for his baby sister's wedding (Congrats Nicole and Allen!).

The weather is beautiful and crisp, the people warm and friendly, the wedding party is excited, the bride relaxed and the groom only slightly jittery, and the rest of the day should go smoothly.

In the past 4 days, however, just my husband and I (in our relatively fuel-efficient late model Accord) have driven over 9 hours (approx. 1000+ miles).

On Monday I'll purchase a TerraPass to offset our trip (I've written about them before, but also check out this month's issue of INC. Magazine)...

I'll also be purchasing one to offset the flight to Amsterdam in January (and yep Carolyn, I will indeed continue blogging from the Netherlands).

Enviro-consciousness is increasingly a factor in business operations in other sectors (and some healthcare facilities are being LEED certified by the US Green Building Council) - but how far is the hospital industry going? And are we going there fast enough?

So here's the question of the week (and a nifty project for your Decision Support team): What would it take for your hospital (or place of work) to go carbon-neutral?

(Note: It will probably take longer to get a good estimate of your facility's carbon footprint than to purchase the credits to offset it, but firms like Terrapass can also help you calculate this figure).

And how would you communicate your carbon-neutral goal to staff, community members, and other stakeholders? How would you 'sell' the competitive advantage to your exec. staff and Board?

Consider also the tsunami effect; even when your facility achieves carbon neutrality, what time/effort/money would it take to push the initiative out through your web of suppliers?

How much would the hospital have to pay if it offered 'carbon neutrality' as a benefit to every employee as part of the standard HR package (along with PTO, retirement benefits, etc).

What sort of incentives could the hospital offer suppliers (medical equipment, food services, environmental/custodial, etc.) who agree to go carbon-neutral, or at least cover the carbon footprint of sales trips/delivery to your hospital?

An annual eco-awards program would be an interesting next-step as you develop enviro-conscious best practices for your facility.

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