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10 key areas of action

Detailed guidance to eye care sector on ways they can reduce their environmental impact and support climate resilience.

The 10 key areas of action are ways you can reduce your environmental impact and support climate resilience, lead the sector to mitigate our own carbon footprint and respond to environmental sustainability and climate change​.

Call to Action: 10 key areas of action to promote and embed environmental sustainability

More details are available in the Guide for Environmentally Sustainable Practices in The Eye Health Sector.


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  • Acknowledge a climate emergency and commit to climate action publicly
  • Prioritise and resource climate change initiatives
  • Identify a sponsor/ champion
  • Develop a policy and strategy
  • Engage all departments to develop an environmental sustainability strategy
  • Establish a framework for regular monitoring
  • Develop or join cross-sector coalitions
  • Consider how vulnerable populations can actively participate
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  • Embed environmental sustainability into your advocacy
  • Declare a climate emergency to raise awareness
  • Make every contact count (advocate at events/meetings/clients/other practitioners)
  • ‘Use’ your voice – eye health practitioners are well respected.
  • Collaborate and include representatives from vulnerable populations in your discussions and plans
  • Show young people and vulnerable populations that the health sector increasingly cares deeply about the future of the planet
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Procure sustainably

  • Engage with suppliers and manufacturers
  • Develop a sustainable procurement policy
  • Assess the impact of products and services
  • Explore the potential for collective bargaining.
  • Consider reusables vs single use
  • Buy locally
  • Encourage a plant-based diet in hospitals and meetings
  • Manage waste and hazardous chemicals
  • Develop training in sustainable procurement
  • Training of local staff for basic maintenance of equipment
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Reduce the use of fossil fuels

  • Minimise electricity consumption through
    • building design
    • energy efficient heating/cooling, lighting, equipment and appliances
    • behaviour change campaigns
  • Procure electricity from a renewable energy provider
  • Where appropriate generate your own electricity through solar
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Conserve water

  • Minimise water use
  • Reuse water – explore the collection and use of rainwater and grey water cycling
  • Monitor pipes and taps to minimise leakages
  • Invest in effective wastewater treatment
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Reduce and safely dispose of waste

  • Where possible adopt a circular approach.
  • Follow the waste hierarchy ‘reduce, reuse, repair, recycle’
  • Make waste disposal at your healthcare facility easy
  • Consider for your local context the most appropriate option for safe disposal of hazardous medical waste
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Reduce and green the travel

  • Question the necessity of journeys e.g. COVID-19 has prompted us to connect with others with reduced travel
  • Consider video conferencing as an alternative
  • Consider tele-medicine where possible
  • Consider opportunities for active travel and public transport
  • Consider options for reducing the number of journeys
  • Advocate for better public transit in urban areas
  • Conduct a commuter survey to ascertain how staff travel to the office
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Follow the 4 principles of sustainable clinical practice

  • Support, promote and/or implement prevention programmes
  • Review opportunities for engaging patients in their own treatment
  • Review your service delivery models and medical technologies
  • Support, promote and/or implement plant-based diets which are important for general health
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Embed environmental sustainability in education

  • Embed environmental sustainability in education training programmes
  • Promote resources of environmental sustainability in eye health
  • Make every event count.
  • Develop training programmes and e-learning
  • Continuing professional development in eye health
  • Set up environmental or sustainability working groups within your organisation
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Focus your research

  • Conduct more research in environmentally sustainable eye care practices
  • Hot topics for further research include
    • Surgical techniques
    • Reusables versus single use
    • New service delivery modules and climate resilient infrastructure
    • Existing research evidence on the extent and nature of environmental impacts of health services