Advocate Health recognized with national awards for advancing sustainability

Distinctions include the Practice Greenhealth 'System for Change Award' for the 16th consecutive year

May 17, 2024

Advocate Health has been recognized as a national leader in environmental sustainability by Practice Greenhealth, a nationally leading organization dedicated to sustainability in health care. 

Advocate Health won the prestigious “System for Change Award,” which was earned by only nine health systems nationwide this year. Advocate Health’s 16-year streak of System for Change awards is the longest in the country, reflecting the enterprise-level commitment to sustainability.

“Earning this kind of sector-level award in sustainability requires a deeply embedded commitment at the highest levels of our organization and is a reflection of our commitment to become a net zero health system,” said Dr. David Callaway, chief of crisis operations and sustainability at Advocate Health. “This prestigious recognition is a testament to our team's relentless work to launch programs that will reduce our environmental footprint, while driving health equity and resilience across our communities.”

In addition, 39 Advocate Health hospitals won awards for implementing programs that reduce environmental impact and measure sustainability performance across various categories, including climate, sustainable procurement, energy and more. Fourteen hospitals won for the first time and 24 placed within the top 20% of performers nationwide. 

“We are driven by recognizing that human and environmental health are intrinsically connected,” said Cecilia DeLoach Lynn, Advocate Health vice president for sustainability. “As the third-largest nonprofit health system in the U.S., we are committed to leading by example, integrating sustainability, health equity and resilience into organizational decision-making at every level of the enterprise.”

Recently, the organization has:

  • Reduced the use of impactful inhaled anesthetics, cutting carbon emissions equivalent to taking 224 cars off the road per year.
  • Purchased over 12,200 MWh of renewable energy in 2023, avoiding carbon emissions equal to 665 homes’ energy use for one year. 
  • Recycled over 12,000 tons of material, the weight of 2,400 adult elephants.  
  • Developed programs that help prevent food waste and address food insecurity, including programs such as the “Smart Farm” at Advocate Good Shepherd and the Atrium Health collaboration with Feeding Charlotte, which resulted in the donation of an estimated 22,000 pounds of food equating to 18,333 meals. Additionally, the Atrium Health Wake Forest Baptist food waste prevention program avoided the equivalent of producing 33,559 meals. 
  • Ensured that 99% of the furniture purchased by Illinois and Wisconsin sites is free of five priority chemicals of concern that exhibit human health risks. 
  • Eliminated 99.8% of plastic water bottles at Atrium Health hospitals in the Charlotte market and at Atrium Health Wake Forest Baptist – transitioning more than 2.3 million bottles to sustainable material. 

Top 25 Award

The “Top 25 Environmental Excellence Award” is Practice Greenhealth’s highest honor for hospitals. These 25 hospitals are leading the industry in overall sustainability performance, demonstrating superior and comprehensive programs, and illustrating how sustainability is embedded in their organizational culture.

  • Advocate Christ Medical Center and Advocate Children’s Hospital, Oak Lawn, Illinois 

Circles of Excellence Award

The “Circle of Excellence Awards” celebrate hospitals that have earned an award for overall sustainability achievement and has also been identified as among the top 10 scoring programs for at least one category of sustainability.

  • Advocate Christ Medical Center and Advocate Children’s Hospital: Leadership and Waste
  • Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center, Chicago, Illinois: Energy
  • Aurora Medical Center – Oshkosh, Wisconsin: Energy

Greenhealth Emerald Award

The Greenhealth “Emerald Award” recognizes outstanding environmental performance in hospitals. This competitive award recognizes the top 20% of hospital applicants and focuses on advanced sustainability programs and exemplary scores in various impact areas. 

  • Advocate Condell Medical Center, Libertyville, Illinois
  • Advocate Good Samaritan Hospital, Downers Grove, Illinois
  • Advocate Good Shepherd Hospital, Barrington, Illinois
  • Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center, Chicago, Illinois
  • Advocate Lutheran General Hospital & Advocate Children's Hospital, Park Ridge, Illinois
  • Advocate Sherman Hospital, Elgin, Illinois
  • Advocate South Suburban Hospital, Hazel Crest, Illinois
  • Advocate Trinity Hospital, Chicago, Illinois
  • Aurora BayCare Medical Center, Green Bay, Wisconsin
  • Aurora Lakeland Medical Center, Elkhorn, Wisconsin 
  • Aurora Medical Center – Bay Area, Marinette, Wisconsin 
  • Aurora Medical Center – Burlington, Wisconsin
  • Aurora Medical Center – Grafton, Wisconsin
  • Aurora Medical Center – Kenosha, Wisconsin
  • Aurora Medical Center – Manitowoc County, Wisconsin 
  • Aurora Medical Center – Oshkosh, Wisconsin
  • Aurora Medical Center – Summit, Wisconsin
  • Aurora Medical Center – Washington County, Wisconsin
  • Aurora Medical Center – Mount Pleasant, Wisconsin
  • Aurora Medical Center Sheboygan County, Wisconsin
  • Aurora Sinai Medical Center, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
  • Aurora St. Luke's Medical Center, Milwaukee, Wisconsin 
  • Aurora St. Luke's South Shore, Cudahy, Wisconsin
  • Aurora West Allis Medical Center, West Allis, Wisconsin

Partner for Change

The Greenhealth “Partner for Change” award recognizes superior performance in environmental sustainability, covering a range of different sustainability programs and activities, including waste reduction, sustainable procurement, energy efficiency and greening the operating room, among others. 

  • Atrium Health Cabarrus, Concord, North Carolina
  • Atrium Health Carolinas Medical Center and Atrium Health Levine Children's Hospital, Charlotte, North Carolina
  • Atrium Health Cleveland, Shelby, North Carolina
  • Atrium Health Floyd Medical Center, Rome, Georgia
  • Atrium Health Floyd Polk Medical Center, Cedartown, Georgia
  • Atrium Health Mercy, Charlotte, North Carolina
  • Atrium Health Navicent Baldwin, Milledgeville, Georgia 
  • Atrium Health Navicent Peach, Byron, Georgia 
  • Atrium Health Navicent, The Medical Center, Macon, Georgia
  • Atrium Health Pineville, Charlotte, North Carolina
  • Atrium Health Union, Monroe, North Carolina
  • Atrium Health Wake Forest Baptist High Point Medical Center, High Point, North Carolina 
  • Atrium Health Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center and Atrium Health Levine Children’s Brenner Children's Hospital, Winston-Salem, North Carolina
  • Atrium Health Wake Forest Baptist Wilkes Medical Center, North Wilkesboro, North Carolina

Learn more about Practice Greenhealth’s Environmental Excellence Awards.

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