The health sector can lead in mitigating global warming by reducing its climate footprint, according to a discussion paper by the World Health Organization (WHO).

The Healthy Hospitals – Healthy Planet – Healthy People paper has been jointly developed by the WHO and the international coalition Health Care Without Harm (HCWH).

It suggests seven elements to a climate-friendly hospital that include energy efficiency and green building design, and cites examples of hospitals across the world that have adopted some of these strategies.

It also recommends alternative fuels for hospital vehicles, reusing and recycling waste, and conserving water.

Adopting these would save money for the hospitals as well as improve the health of the population and the quality of care they deliver, the WHO says.