Greening the Brussels healthcare sector


HCWH Europe coordinated the project Greening the Brussels healthcare sector – a collaboration with six hospitals in Brussels.

Phase 1 (2022)

The first phase of the project (2022) was divided into two pillars:

  • Build knowledge and capacity amongst healthcare workers on topics such as climate change, circular economy, and sustainable food.
  • Work with six pilot hospitals to support them in developing sustainability action plans.

Pillar 1 - Knowledge and capacity building

An essential step in reducing the environmental and climate impact of the Brussels health sector is the knowledge and capacity of healthcare professionals and hospital staff. HCWH Europe developed a training program centred on our project experience working with health systems and establishments around Europe. This program was targeted to an array of hospital staff members and will be available in French and Dutch. 

The modules aimed at non-medical hospital staff, i.e. sustainability managers, facility managers, and purchasing managers, include in-person training on circular economy that covers reducing single-use plastics, toxic materials in medical devices, GHG emissions and food waste in healthcare facilities.

An online training session focused on the circular economy was offered to hospital medical staff (nurses and doctors). This module aimed to increase medical staff awareness of the environmental and public health problems linked to the use of plastic, the role of healthcare professionals in educating patients on these themes, and the actions they can take within their establishments to bring about change.

Pillar 2 - Pilot actions

The second pillar of the project involved more tailored work with six pilot hospitals in the Brussels region to support them in planning actions that reduce the environmental and climate footprint of their facilities and operations. HCWH Europe supported these hospitals to create sustainability action teams, develop baseline sustainability assessments, and implement a hospital sustainability action plan. This work included two technical workshops to discuss data collection and analysis and a third to co-develop sustainability objectives and targets.

The HCWH Europe team called upon their experience of circular healthcare, carbon management, and waste reduction to support the pilot hospitals participating in the project.

Phase 2 (2023)

In 2023, the second phase of the COCOM project focused on the concrete implementation of sustainable practices. This included:

  • Adoption of best practices in sustainable food.
  • Guidance on sustainable procurement strategies.
  • Strengthening the network through networking opportunities.
  • Continuous promotion of climate-friendly healthcare, with an emphasis on reducing carbon footprint and phasing out harmful chemicals.

In conclusion of the project, the 5 member hospitals, namely Cliniques universitaires Saint-Luc, Hôpitaux Iris Sud, Groupe hospitalier CHIREC, CHU Saint-Pierre, and Cliniques de l'Europe, presented their joint statement, of which here is an excerpt:



"We call on suppliers for increased transparency regarding their products and greater sharing of key information. Through this joint statement, we urge the mobilization of other Belgian and European hospitals to create a widespread movement. We aim to send a strong message to the market: collectively, we will become increasingly demanding regarding the sustainability criteria of our future purchases."

The full statement is available below, also translated into French and Dutch:

[EN] Joint Statement of Demand for sustainable purchases in Belgian hospitals

[FR] Déclaration commune pour des achats plus durables dans les hôpitaux belges

[NL] Gezamenlijke verklaring rond de verduurzaming van aankopen in Belgische ziekenhuizen

Alain Maron, Minister of Climate Transition, Environment, Energy, Social Action, and Health of the Brussels-Capital Region, expressed his support for the initiative:

"Since 2021 and the partnership with HCWH Europe, I have been impressed by the number of projects launched by hospitals to reduce their environmental impact. I consider this issue crucial, and I also want to ensure that it does not come at the expense of healthcare. I affirm my support for the joint statement because without collaboration with the industry, we cannot succeed in this overall transition."

Pilot hospitals



Centre Hospitalier Interrégional Edith Cavell (CHIREC)


Centre Hospitalier Universitaire Saint-Pierre (CHU Saint-Pierre)


Cliniques de l'Europe


Cliniques universitaires Saint-Luc


 Hôpitaux Iris Sud


Centre Hospitalier Universitaire Brugmann (CHU Brugmann)


  Hôpital universitaire de Bruxelles (HUB) 

HCWH Europe gratefully acknowledges the financial support of the Commission Communautaire Commune (COCOM). HCWH Europe is solely responsible for the content of this project and related materials. The views expressed do not reflect the official views of the COCOM.