Strategic Planning Overview

Integrating sustainability into a health care facility's operations is a journey that proceeds incrementally, ideally developing committed teams, creative solutions, solid strategies, and measurable goals along the way. No matter an organization's sustainability drivers—cost reduction, regulatory compliance, environmental stewardship, community pressures, social responsibility, and so on—planning is essential to achieving sustainability in a project as well as across the organization. This Roadmap section (Strategies) offers models and tools for a successful sustainability initiative.

The Roadmap Approach

Building Teams. Building an effective team is critical to any sustainability effort. The Roadmap approach to strategic team-building starts with leadership but includes representatives from all levels within an organization. For example, a green team may be instituted at the senior leadership level to set the goals and strategy for the organization's overall sustainability program, while at the director level teams may be formed to implement and manage specific sustainability projects.

Getting leadership support. Successful sustainability programs require an institutional commitment, policies to drive change, and dedicated resources to make programs happen. Senior leadership support and involvement, including good communication as well as both symbolic and substantive action, are key to a program's long-term success. The policies and practices of top management will shape the behavior of the entire staff.

Planning the Journey. The plethora of options and opportunities now promoted as ways to integrate sustainability into a facility's operations can make it difficult to know where to begin. The Planning a Journey section offers a guide to getting a sustainable program under way: It begins with foundational actions such as gathering baseline data against which to measure progress; identifying drivers and barriers to success; and developing sustainability goals, targets, and action plans and moves on to broader, more strategic activities like making the business case for a sustainability initiative and managing an effort once it is up and running.

Financing. A number of funding options are available for financing sustainability initiatives, particularly large capital projects. This section describes many of the options and presents a template for evaluating the business case for a project.

Management Plans. This section offers guides to managing your energy, water, waste, or supply chain program.

Target-Setting Tools. This section provides examples of short- and long-range planning and target-setting tools for energy, water, and waste.

Roadmap Green Light Projects. This section responds to the request: "Just give me the Top 10 projects I should be doing!" The projects described all meet the criteria of "low-hanging fruit" in terms of ease of implementation, value, and opportunity for improvement (e.g., cost, environmental, and staff/patient satisfaction). Although the projects on the Green Light list can be implemented without benchmarking or strategic planning, these steps are still recommended as an early step for any project.

Getting It Done. Go to the Implementation section of the Roadmap to view an extensive compilation of specific performance improvement measures (PIMs). The PIMs incorporate the Green Light projects and are organized by broad topic areas. Browse these topic areas according to your organization's needs and interests, and select appropriate measures to include in an action plan. Each PIM page provides a detailed description, applicable calculation tools, and links to case studies and other resources.

Consumer Guide. This section of the Roadmap offers a summary and comparison of various programs that offer sustainability guidance (e.g., LEED, Green Globes, and the Green Guide for Health Care).

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