Hospitals have significant buying power as they are often one of the community’s largest consumers. By purchasing food and beverages that have earned trusted third-party certifications for quality and sustainable practices, hospitals can shift the entire food system toward sustainability, without significant cost increases to total food service spending. In many cases, this can be done through collaborative efforts with the health care supply chain and vendors, via tactics including:
- Using purchase power to move away from detrimental food production practices like the overuse of antibiotics in animal agriculture to transform the food supply chain to better protect human and environmental health.
- Choosing to buy local and regional food, which amplifies a hospital’s healing mission by addressing some root causes of health risks, increases employee and patient health and satisfaction, and creates community resiliency.
In 2017, Health Care Without Harm and Practice Greenhealth found that participating hospitals spent 16 percent of food spending on sustainable items and 15 percent of food pending on locally sourced ones.
Practice Greenhealth offers resources for sourcing and purchasing every category of food and case studies of successful hospital purchasing practices to help our members leverage their purchasing power to increase the availability of local, sustainable foods. Our goal is to provide step-by-step resources that will make it simpler for any hospital to set sustainable procurement goals, then design, implement, and measure the success of these strategies.