Towards environmentally sustainable health systems in Europe. A review of the evidence (2016)




This review provides evidence to illustrate the environmental impact of health systems in Europe, the potential benefits of fostering environmental sustainability in health systems and the barriers to and incentives for such action.

The evidence is clear that health systems have a considerable impact on the environment, contributing to greenhouse gas emissions and climate change, releasing ecologically toxic substances into the environment, producing large volumes of waste material and contributing to the depletion of natural resources such as drinking-water. Nevertheless, heath systems also have positive environmental effects, particularly as a result of environmental health protection and some health promotion activities.

Overall, the evidence reviewed in this report illustrates the compelling rationale for fostering environmental sustainability in health systems.