Each year, UCLA Health purchases hundreds of thousands of products and devices and spends significant funds in services. More than 70% of health care's greenhouse gas emissions are derived from the supply chain – therefore Procurement represents significant opportunities for reducing our environmental impact and improving sustainability.
As an anchor institution in the community, we understand the importance of using our purchasing power to support local, minority-owned, and environmentally-sustainable businesses. UCLA Health is committed to establishing a measurable and effective diversity and inclusion process into all procurement activities, and maximizing the number of small and diverse suppliers in our supplier base. Please visit our Purchasing website for more information about our efforts and our Small Business First Program.
RFX and Sourcing Processes
As part of our effort to incorporate sustainability into our sourcing processes, 15% of our decision criteria and weighted evaluation is based on a respondent’s or potential supplier’s sustainability programs and performance.
Environmentally Preferred Purchasing
Our Procurement and Strategic Sourcing team collaborates with the Office of Sustainability to identify and pursue areas of opportunity for products with improved environmental performance criteria. These evaluations are completed in partnership with our clinicians and consider full lifecycle analysis, environmental certifications, and other criteria. We are working diligently to identify and track product attributes such as sustainable packaging, carbon emissions, environmental certifications, and chemicals of concern that can better-inform our decisions and highlight areas for improvement. The UC System has also established the Sustainable Procurement Guidelines – the Office of Sustainability works with our responsible departments to target compliance with those Guidelines.
Some of our environmental product category areas and attributes of particular emphasis include:
Environmental Product Categories
Our clinical staff utilizes a variety of devices in patient care and many of these items are able to be collected and reprocessed by an outside vendor. By collecting these devices we are able to divert them from a landfill and buyback the device after reprocessing. Reprocessed medical devices are disinfected, cleaned, sterilized, and packaged by FDA-approved reprocessing vendors, undergoing more stringent testing requirements than the original manufacturing. At UCLA Health, we track our collection rates and repurchasing rates and continually collaborate with our Procurement, Materials Management, Logistics, Infection Prevention, and Clinical teams to identify areas of improvement in the program.
The Electronic Product Environmental Assessment Tool (EPEAT) is a set of environmental performance standards for electronic products that defines certain products environmentally friendly. This includes computers, monitors, imaging equipment, phones, and servers. EPEAT equipment is also energy-saving, manufactured with sustainable materials, and recyclable. At UCLA Health, X% of our electronic equipment is EPEAT certified.
Chemicals in a healthcare setting are found in conventional cleaning products and furniture that release hazards into the air over time. Many commonly used chemicals are linked to a wide range of negative health effects, including cancer, birth defects, and infertility. At UCLA Health, the Environmental Services department strives to increase total percent spend on the 5 Target Cleaning Chemicals including general purpose cleaners, window/glass cleaner, restroom cleaners, carpet cleaners, and floor cleaners with Green Seal or UL Ecologo certifications.
We follow Practice Greenhealth’s guidance for safer chemicals in our interiors including flooring, finishes, and furniture. The chemicals of concern are formaldehyde, flame retardants, per- and poly-fluorinated compounds, PVC or vinyl, and antimicrobials – we strive to omit all of these harmful substances in our facilities. While virtually all humans are exposed to harmful chemicals during their lives, our goal is to reduce potentially harmful exposures for everyone who enters our hospitals, including patients, staff, and visitors.
How Can You Help?
Make sure to purchase office products that strive for the Preferred Level of sustainability based on the UC Sustainable Procurement Guidelines(pg. 9-11). Preferred products are labeled with recognized certification labels.
When purchasing products please consider the following tips to minimize waste and transportation, and support socially responsible purchasing.