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Spotlight on Sustainable Healthcare

Hackensack Meridian Health: First in Nation to Achieve The Joint Commission’s Sustainable Healthcare Certification

Hackensack Meridian Health is a leading not-for-profit health care system that is the largest, most comprehensive and truly integrated health care network in New Jersey, offering a complete range of medical services, innovative research and life-enhancing care. Hackensack Meridian includes 18 hospitals, more than 36,000 team members, 7,000 physicians and 500+ patient care locations, including ambulatory care centers, surgery centers, home health services, ambulance services, lifesaving air medical transportation, urgent care centers, physician practice locations, and a fitness and wellness center.

Four Hackensack Meridian Health hospitals were the first in the nation to receive The Joint Commission’s Sustainable Healthcare Certification (SHC).

The four Hackensack Meridian Health hospitals include:

  • Hackensack Meridian Hackensack University Medical Center, Hackensack, New Jersey
  • Hackensack Meridian Bayshore Medical Center, Holmdel, New Jersey
  • Hackensack Meridian Jersey Shore University Medical Center, Neptune, New Jersey
  • Hackensack Meridian Ocean University Medical Center, Brick, New Jersey

Hackensack Leadership

Set Priorities and Governance for Sustainability Initiatives

To achieve certification, these hospitals met numerous requirements and demonstrated structure, rigor, and accountability to accelerate their continually expanding sustainability initiatives. The network sets the direction of the sustainability program, but it is up to the hospitals to execute, track, and develop innovative solutions to meet our climate commitment. The four hospitals set priorities and governance for sustainability, including creating baselines to measure three sources of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, developing an action plan to reduce the GHGs, and were accountable for executing their sustainability strategic plans.

Impact/Cost Savings

Hackensack Meridian Health achievements:

  • Implementation of 30 MW on-site solar and battery storage
  • Invested more than $116 million in energy-efficient infrastructure upgrades
  • Achieved PEER Gold certification for Hackensack University Medical Center’s Central Utility Plant, a recognition of excellence in efficiency and resiliency
  • 100% of electronics purchased in 2023 were EPEAT certified
  • Saved $1.71 million by reprocessing medical devices and 40,000 pounds diverted from the landfill
  • 100% of furnishings & flooring purchased were free of harmful chemicals
  • 97% of cleaning products were third-party eco-logo certified (green)

Lessons Learned

  • Sustainability is a continuous journey and iterative process that does not happen overnight.
  • Ensure that incentives are in alignment throughout the organization (i.e., executive compensation).
  • All hands-on deck approach, signing the 30 MW on-site renewable energy deal was an 18-month process.
  • Providing a clear structure and roadmap for the hospitals and empowering their teams to get the work done.