Environmental Stewardship

Cleveland Clinic supports healthy environments for healthy communities. We understand that environmental health and human health are linked. We take a precautionary approach to environmental stewardship through our operations and community leadership.

The global environmental meta-trends of climate change, natural resource constraints and increased toxicity present a series of challenges to human health and to the healthcare delivery infrastructure. For instance, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has associated the decline in environmental health with respiratory disease, pulmonary disease, cancer, heatstroke, water-borne diseases, malnutrition, obesity and diabetes. Cleveland Clinic considers climate change a risk to the health of our communities as well as to our organization. Although financial implications of climate change are not quantitatively estimated, we have identified ways in which climate change can impact Cleveland Clinic’s operations:

  1. Possible population shifts could generate high demand, stressing healthcare delivery system capacity.
  2. Further stresses on air quality due to deforestation and ozone density could result in increased negative health impacts.
  3. Instability in climatic conditions may necessitate investment in physical facilities and perhaps influence patterns of vector-borne public health threats.
  4. Reduced quantity or quality of fresh water supplies could impact community health and impact availability of water to meet the needs of our facilities.

As a healthcare provider, we have a responsibility to safeguard the health of our communities by addressing the environmental impact of our operations. As a recognized leader in our industry, we are in a position to lead by example in the adoption of environmental best practices in the delivery of exceptional patient care.

Managing a Structure for Environmental Stewardship

Cleveland Clinic’s Office for a Healthy Environment (OHE) was created in response to a heightened awareness of our environmental impact and in recognition of the link between environmental health and human health. This office sets the strategic direction for environmental stewardship at Cleveland Clinic, provides operational support and directs caregiver engagement in pursuit of improving environmental performance. The OHE is supported by caregiver-led green teams to achieve a consistent approach to sustainability at all locations.

Our program focuses on:

  • Our Buildings: We are committed to designing and building safe, green buildings using evidence-based design and the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED ) system to deliver healthier environments in which to work and heal.
  • Our Operations: In connection with creating a healthier-built environment, we strive to design and implement operational processes that reduce waste and chemical use, and promote improved stewardship of our natural resources.
  • Better Buying: We are committed to selecting non-hazardous alternatives to conventional products, to seeking out ways to stop waste at its source, and to engaging caregivers in using products more efficiently.
  • Our Involvement: We are committed to educating and engaging our workforce and visitors to help our region’s communities become “Green Cities on a Blue Lake.” We seek to pioneer sustainable healthcare on a national scale by leveraging Cleveland Clinic’s standing and expertise.

Among other affiliations, Cleveland Clinic is an ENERGY STAR Partner, a member of Practice Greenhealth and the U.S. Green Building Council, and an active participant in Sustainable Cleveland 2019.