The Environmental Sustainability Network (ESN) advocates, collaborates and promotes initiatives and projects related to environmental sustainability within anaesthesia, perioperative and pain medicine and is available to fellows, trainees, SIMGs and non-ANZCA members.
In January 2020, ANZCA released a statement on climate change.
See the full statement here. More information about ANZCA’s position on environmental sustainability can be found in its professional document PS64: Statement on Environmental Sustainability in Anaesthesia and Pain Medicine Practice.
The Environmental Sustainability Audit Tool has been developed by the ANZCA Environmental Sustainability Working Group and was launched on World Environment Day, 5 June 2020. The tool has been created to assist departments and practitioners to develop and maintain practices that promote environmental sustainability in line with ANZCA’s professional document PS64: Statement on Environmental Sustainability in Anaesthesia and Pain Medicine Practice.
While there are many actions that may be undertaken to improve sustainable practice broadly within the health sector, this audit tool is designed to help identify interventions that could reasonably be considered at an individual or departmental level.
The audit tool groups activities to improve environmental sustainability under the following headings: reduce, reuse, recycle, and leadership.
In this video, ANZCA councillor Dr Scott Ma and Wollongong-based trainee anaesthetist Dr Jess Hegedus explain how the audit tool was developed and how to use it.
Visit our Environmental Sustainability Libguide to explore an extensive range of journal articles, books, links and other resources on environmental sustainability in healthcare.
We're committed to proactive and positive action that reduces our environmental footprint and aligns with the expectations and achievements of its fellows, trainees and specialist international medical graduates.
This environmental sustainability work is ongoing and the college works with building facility companies, contractors, suppliers, venues, travel agents and the healthcare industry across Australia and New Zealand to constantly look for improvements.
Sustainability in our offices
From 2015 – 2020 the college has saved approximately seven hundred and twenty reams of paper by moving subscriptions, council elections, Research Foundation appeals and Christmas cards online. That is roughly equivalent to one acre of forest, something we are very proud of.
Our offices take part in recycling programs for e-waste, printer cartridges, paper and cardboard, comingled recycling, batteries and soft plastic. ANZCA House produces its own compost from kitchen waste to nourish its iconic cottage garden. Over the past five years almost all of the Halogen down lights and fluorescent tube lighting in ANZCA House have been replaced with more energy-efficient LED light fittings.
The college invests $A5000 annually in a government approved carbon emissions offset scheme which offsets approximately 25 per cent of emissions resulting from ANZCA-related airline travel. This supports the Australian Native Reforestation ‘Yarra Yarra Biodiversity Project’ and the New Zealand Afforestation Project.
COVID-19 has led to the advent of Zoom conferencing. Replacing travel with video conferencing has had a positive impact on the environment by reducing carbon emissions as well as substantially reducing costs.
We continue to assess ways to minimise our environmental footprint and are open to new initiatives as they become available.
Sustainability at ANZCA events
As part of the college’s commitment to environmental sustainability we have eliminated printed collateral and single use plastic. We no longer print registration brochures, handbooks or pocket programs for the Annual Scientific Meetings (ASM). The volume of paper to produce the brochures and handbooks for one ASM equates to approximately eight hundred and eighty reams of paper, which is in excess of fifty trees and well in excess of an acre of forest.
The college no longer saw this as tenable and now opts for online brochures and handbooks, provides access to the ASM scientific program virtually and promotes use of the onsite mobile app. The ASM utilises digital signage and where possible single use signage has been eliminated. If printed signage is required we ensure it is printed on material that is or can be recycled.
Since 2016, items we have eliminated from events include satchels, bottled water, and paper based tickets. At the 2019 ASM in Kuala Lumpur, we worked with the venue to change their catering processes and were proud that not one single use plastic water bottle was served as part of delegate catering or speaker refreshments. Together with your support we’re committed to ensuring this is the case for future ASMs. Your support of these environmental changes has helped drive the success and strengthened the positive impact on our meeting footprint. We know working together, we will continue to do better.
Where possible we have eliminated plastic name badges and when these are required we source materials that have been treated with EcoPure®, an organic additive designed to enhance the speed of plastic decomposition in landfills. Delegates are encouraged to bring their own Keep Cups and use the water stations for re-filling water bottles.
The college upholds a commitment to host events at venues, particularly for the ASM, that have a publicly available sustainability statement. We’ve worked with venues who have their organic waste converted to fertiliser and green electricity and have unused food given to people in need and diverting food waste from landfill.
We continue to strive towards fostering a more sustainable future for our members and the community.
ANZCA is recognised by Carbon Neutral, Australia's largest biodiverse reforestation offset developer, for being carbon neutral for 2019 and offsetting 485 tonnes of carbon emissions associated with flights for that year. The offset was split into two categories:
- NZ Forestry and Pacific Islands (Solomon, Fiji, Vanuatu) avoided deforestation
- Australia (WA) Biodiverse Reforestation Carbon Credits (BRCO), Yarra Yarra Biodiversity Corridor
More information on Carbon Neutral can be found here.
Replacing disposable theatre hats with washable cloth hats has been shown as a sustainable and economically viable alternative in many hospitals. Please visit our LibGuide with studies to support this.
Here are some tips that might be useful if you would like to approach your hospital to make the change.
- Find out if a policy exists at your hospital that governs theatre attire during surgery. A first port of call should be your online policy repository (if one exists). The next best alternative is your theatre NUM or in-charge; they’re frequently intimately aware of policies and protocols.
- Gather an interested and diverse team to support you. It’s best to include anaesthetists, surgeons, theatre nurses, infection control to ensure all appropriate aspects of the problem are considered. Consider involving your hospital’s sustainability team, if one exists.
- Write an evidence based proposal, present it to your hospital executive alongside an evidence based guideline. Include some versions that have been successful.