Sustainability Purchasing Criteria
Sustainable purchasing criteria is a broad topic that ultimately aims to ensure the entities we procure products and services from are committed to the same core values as Rochester Regional, including quality, compassion respect, collaboration, and foresight. In addition, we understand that as the second largest employer in our area, we are a significant economic driver within our community, and aim to use this influence for good. Not only do we work towards improving the physical health of our community members, but we also seek to improve the economic and environmental health of the community as well. With that in mind, we have a dedicated team that is developing sustainable purchasing criteria that will set guidelines around the social, economic, and environmental impacts of the products and services we procure. The primary strategies for these criteria are to buy more locally produced items, purchase products that are made with safer materials, and work more with companies that treat their employees well.
Rochester Regional focuses on procuring products from local venders whenever possible. Buying local comes with a number of benefits including better service, often lower prices, and reduced environmental impacts. Furthermore, it helps stimulate the local economy, supporting jobs and better wages and recirculating money spent locally. Studies show that locally owned businesses return 50-60% of their revenue to the local economy through wages, goods and services purchased locally, profits, and donations. However, chains return less than 30% through the same avenues. In a time where the City of Rochester has some of the worst poverty statistics in the nation, adjusting where we purchase our supplies and services from can make a huge difference on the socioeconomic status of those we serve. We are currently seeking to get a clearer picture of where our expenditures go in order to identify which products can be procured locally. For many of our contracts involving other sustainability initiatives, procuring locally is essential to the success of those programs. Currently, Rochester Regional buys produce from 19 regional farms located within 250 miles of our facilities, 15 of which are local to western New York. In addition, we use local companies for our energy efficiency and green energy programs including LED lamp retrofits and solar installations.
We take great pride in being ready at a moment’s notice to treat any illness that comes through our doors. In doing so, it is essential that we are scrupulous in the way we clean and sterilize rooms. This never-wavering imperative has led the Environmental Services team to identify sustainable cleaning products that are extremely effective at killing harmful bacteria and viruses, but are also safe for our patients, staff, and the environment. We use ultraviolet germicidal irradiation (UVGI) across our system, a method that uses short-wavelength ultraviolet light to kill harmful bacteria, viruses, and other pathogens. The UVGI sterilization process works by inhibiting vital cellular functions of harmful microorganisms, barring them from causing any harm to our patients or staff. We also converted many of our floor cleaning units to machines that use electrically polarized water to attract and remove dirt from floors. These machines eliminate the purchase and use of detergents as they only require water to clean effectively, saving both time and money in the process. These floor cleaners also use less water than traditional cleaners because they do not have to rinse away any detergent. They are ultimately more environmentally friendly, and allow the floors to stay safer due to the absence of any leftover detergent residues.
There are several chemicals commonly used in manufacturing processes that bio-accumulate in the environment and wildlife, ultimately harming their habitats and ecosystems. These chemicals leach out during the upstream manufacturing processes and in many cases during the disposal end of life phase. While they may not pose any acute threats to humans today, their accumulation in our environments may lead to long-term environmental and human health problems down the road. As health care professionals, we take a precautionary approach and where sufficient evidence reveals negative impacts from their use, we are working to find alternative for products that use these chemicals in our supply chains.