Sustainable procurement guide

Executive Summary

The guide provides step-by-step guidance, tools, and resources for health care organizations to develop a sustainable purchasing strategy that prioritizes community and environmental health and safety while reducing costs.


According to a survey of the KPMG International, 93% of the world’s 250 largest companies are embedding sustainability into their operations and procurement strategies. Within the health care sector, more than 43,000 hospitals and health systems are part of a global network committed to sustainable operations through Practice Greenhealth and Global Green and Healthy Hospitals.

As a resource-intensive industry with enormous buying power, health facilities are using sustainable procurement as a key action area for financial sustainability and for the benefit of patients, staff, the community, and the planet. 

Sustainable procurement in health care can lead to: 

  • Significant cost reductions through more efficient resource, streamlined processes, and labor management
  • Supporting uninterrupted operations during times of crisis
  • Attracting top talent and retaining employees for the long-term 
  • Driving cutting-edge innovation with suppliers to maximize procurement for performance
  • Addressing inequities and health hazards within the supply chain

More than 70% of a health system’s greenhouse gas emissions are embedded in products and services they buy. Hospitals can serve as responsible stewards by considering the total cost of ownership of products and cutting down on their own impacts and encouraging suppliers to do the same through sustainable procurement.

The guide is a Practice Greenhealth member benefit. If you are not a member of Practice Greenhealth and are interested in the guide, please let us know.


How this guide will help you accomplish your goalsSustainable procurement cost savings

The guide serves as a roadmap for both new and existing programs and is focused on 10 elements –  from developing an action plan and high-impact procurement opportunities to tracking and reporting results –  that make up a systematic approach to operationalizing sustainable procurement. Highlights from 25 health systems from around the world illustrate the implementation of the elements.

Your organization will learn best practices to improve financial performance and how best to engage internal stakeholders and suppliers. It details the business case for buying sustainable goods and services and how sustainable procurement can strengthen and align with other organizational goals.

The guide uses a “plan-do-check-act” cycle as a framework for developing and implementing a successful sustainable procurement program, which is a quality process improvement method commonly used in health care. It can help you build and assess elements of your program one step at a time while adapting to new experiences and lessons learned.

By using this guide, you are well on your way to integrating industry-leading sustainable procurement practices that will save your facility money, maximize the efficiency of your operations, and distinguish your organization as a leader in the field.

Join Practice Greenhealth

Practice Greenhealth is the health care sector’s go-to source for information, tools, data, resources, and expert technical support on sustainability initiatives that help hospitals and health systems meet their health, financial, and community goals.

Join now