Healthcare Leadership for Sustainability

In Spring 2022, the International Hospital Federation launched the Geneva Sustainability Centre (the Centre) in response to the need for hospitals and healthcare services to address the sustainability challenges of today and tomorrow.


As the urgent messages of the UN Climate Change Conference (COP26) are reflected on across the globe, healthcare leaders are increasingly aware of their responsibility to advance the sustainability agenda. Research shows that healthcare’s climate footprint is 4.4% of the global total, meaning if the world’s healthcare sector were a country, it would be the fifth-largest emitter on the planet. (Health Care’s Climate Footprint. How the health sector contributes to the global climate crisis and opportunities for action, Healthcare Without Harm & Arup, 2019).


The sustainability agenda is a long-term challenge and key theme for the healthcare sector. With a footprint of this size, it becomes clear that hospitals and healthcare services must play an active role in leading the sustainable transformation. The IHF members share a common will to making it a priority, as expressed at the 44th World Hospital Congress (Barcelona, Spain, November 2021).


The Geneva Sustainability Centre was created in response to this challenge and need.

Sustainable healthcare: Our definition  

Sustainability has many meanings, which are all significant. The most recognized version is from a 1987 UN conference, stating sustainable developments are those that “meet present needs without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs”. (Brundtland Report, World Commission on Environment and Development (WCED), 1987).


The World Health Organisation (WHO) defines a Sustainable Healthcare System as a system that improves, maintains or restores health, while minimizing negative impacts on the environment and leveraging opportunities to restore and improve it, to the benefit of the health and well-being of current and future generations.


  • Committing to health


For us, sustainable healthcare is a challenge requiring a holistic approach to the traditional three pillars – environmental protection, economic viability, social equity -, in order to enhance quality of life and improve well-being. However, the greatest threat is climate change and so every hospital needs to reduce emissions whilst maintaining this sustainable balance.


Fundamentally, it means operating a change in the current healthcare model based on illness and reframing our mindset to drive hospitals’ role in enhancing natural environment, supporting the economy and fostering healthy communities. Ultimately improving health for all.


  • Bringing C-suite healthcare leaders commit to climate change and better health for all


The role of healthcare leaders is pivotal in driving this paradigm transformation from traditional management to sustainable leadership and in committing to take responsibility towards climate change through proactive means.

Our purpose 

Powered by the IHF and building on the International Geneva ecosystem, the Geneva Sustainability Centre will work to become an accelerator of change and a catalyst to enable healthcare C-suite leaders’ journey towards sustainability.


Our Vision is to support hospitals become leaders for sustainability in their communities.


Our Mission is to equip healthcare leaders to have the information, tools and skills to deliver a net positive impact for a healthy and resilient future.


Our Values


  • Purposeful: We enable leaders to create long-lasting value through our commitment to support the growth of a sustainable healthcare system.


  • Evidence-based: We believe in facts. We focus on scientific and measurable outcomes in the industry globally.


  • Reliable: We respect people and our community. It is our social responsibility.


  • Quality: Quality is important for us. We review and ensure the correctness of our resources.


  • Inspiring: We give leaders the drive to go full speed on their sustainability journey.


The Centre will work to establish the message and communicate the urgency for action and the call to lead. It will build the platform for initiatives, programmes and collective action, and will create long-term support to keep the work ongoing for the decade ahead.


The Geneva Sustainability Centre will:

  • build awareness
  • promote action among healthcare leaders
  • provide capacity building


to anchor leadership for sustainability into the healthcare sector for the long-term with the main goal to make hospitals become leaders for sustainability in their communities and provide better health for all.

Climate and Sustainability Resource Guide

To this end, the Geneva Sustainability Centre is developing a Climate & Sustainability Resource Guide that will compile high-value resources such as a maturity diagnostic tool, scorecard templates, summary of reporting standards, and case studies that the IHF members can leverage as they advance on their climate resilient health journeys.


The goal of the Resource is to allow healthcare leaders assess their organization’s climate resilience and overall environmental impact to better understand the readiness of their organization for the uncertainty associated with climate change.


In other words, the Climate & Sustainable Resource Guide will support healthcare leaders to identify the most impactful resiliency strategies for their organization as well as to settle the environmental agenda and report priorities.

The Global Steering Committee

The Geneva Sustainability Centre’s Global Steering Committee supports the Executive Director to develop a detailed, multi-year work plan for the Centre, to include measurable objectives and indicators of success.


Members of the Committee are drawn from the IHF’s global community and include:


  • Prof. Andy Garman, Director, Rush University Centre for Health System Leadership
  • Carlo Giardinetti, Sustainability Lead, Deloitte, LLP
  • Dr. Christian Gericke, Professor of Medicine, University of Queensland / Australian Healthcare and Hospitals Association
  • Prof. Dr. Edda Weimann, Medical Director & Honorary Associate Professor, Munich Municipal Hospital Group & University of Cape Town / German Hospital Federation
  • Dr. Elizabeth Baca, Specialist Leader (Healthcare & Climate), Deloitte, LLP
  • Dr. Fawzia Rasheed, Senior Adviser to Director of Health, Aga Khan Development Network
  • Dr. Jaume Duran, Chief Executive Officer / Representative, Fundació Sanitària Mollet / Catalonia Hospital Association
  • Michelle Hood, Executive Vice President & COO, American Hospital Association
  • Dr. Nick Watts, Chief Sustainability Officer, NHS England & Improvement / NHS Confederation
  • Ronald Lavater, Chief Executive Officer, International Hospital Federation
  • Sophie Meisser, Sustainability Lead, Geneva University Hospital / H+ Suisse
  • Walt Vernon, Chief Executive Officer / Founder, Mazzetti /  Sextant Foundation
The operational team

The operational team gathers profiles and cultural backgrounds, competencies and skills that complement and nourish each other.

The team is led by Sonia Roschnik, Executive Director 


Alexandrina Iremciuc, Engagement Manager


Carmen Menendez, Project Officer

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