Health buyers assume ‘green’ purchasing is more pricey

23 October 2014

The cost of buying ‘green’ products often prevents hospitals from making sustainable purchasing decisions, a global study of healthcare professionals has found.

The research, commissioned by Johnson & Johnson, surveyed 329 procurement/materials managers, doctors, nurses and hospital executives - 100 in the US and 229 across the UK, France, Germany, Brazil and Japan.

According to the report, financial factors were a ‘top barrier’ to ‘impeding’ the adoption of green products in US hospitals - eight out of 10 US respondents named both the cost of implementation and a lack of affordable environmentally sustainable products as obstacles.

Global survey respondents echoed the concerns of their US counterparts - 80 per cent blamed the cost of implementation as a major barrier to purchasing more sustainable products, while 79 per cent felt hospitals were being held back by a lack of affordable environmentally sustainable goods. In addition, only 22 per cent of global respondents reported that Environmental Purchasing Policies (EPP) were in place at their hospitals.

Although 79 per cent of US respondents agreed it made good financial sense for hospitals to go green, only 38 per cent said their hospitals track return on investment from purchasing sustainable products. “We’re at tipping point with sustainability issues impacting the health care industry,” said Keith Sutter, Johnson & Johnson director, medical device and diagnostics sustainability.

“Professionals today understand that investments in more sustainable operations are critical to the success of hospitals, but as suppliers, we need to help them prove greater return on investment so they can deliver improved options to patients while decreasing the impact on the environment.” Despite the findings, 80 per cent of healthcare professionals expect their hospitals to incorporate sustainability into purchasing decisions within the next two years and more than half (54 per cent) said their hospitals currently do so.

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