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Healthy planet, healthy population – working with the Norwegian Medical Association towards a sustainable future
- November 09, 2022
Our climate crisis is also a health crisis; as the natural environment degrades, so too does our health and wellbeing.The Norwegian Medical Association – which represents over 38,000 doctors, nurses, specialists, and students – is taking bold actiontoensuresafeguarding the Norwegian population runs in parallel toprotecting the health of the environment.In this article, Carl Halgard, IT Technician at the Norwegian Medical Association, explains how sustainable asset management is an important part of his organisation’s green agenda.
The Norwegian Medical Association has a proud 130-year history, representing the interests of its members and fighting for better health outcomes. Norway's largest professional association is also apowerful campaigning body, acting as a driving force for improved health policy, social equality and cleaner, healthier environments.
The Norwegian Medical Association’s IT Technician, Carl Halgard, joined 3stepIT Chief Commercial Officer, Jason Skidmore, to discuss the link between our health and operating sustainably.
Jason: Carl, why is the environment so important for our health?
Carl: As humans, we are constantly interacting with our environment. So, if we improve the health of the places where we live, then our health improves too. Everybody deserves to live in an area free from noise and other pollution and to have regular access to nature. Providing opportunities to be physically active is also an important measure to create social equality in health.
Jason: So, what role does the health industry play in making sure we look after our environment?
Carl: I think our work is two-fold – we need to influence system change but also educate individuals, so people are empowered to make positive changes themselves.
Ironically, the health sector accounts for a whopping 4.3% of Norway's greenhouse gas emissions - more than twice as much as air traffic. So, it’s really important to have an association that influences our healthcare system in the right direction.
We also want to share information among doctors, and patients about the dangers to our health caused by climate change and the important health benefits that access to clean air, nature and physical activity can have.
Jason: You mentioned the environmental footprint of the health industry. We’ve seen a lot of discussions recently about medical waste, especially in the wake of the pandemic; what action is the Association taking to mitigate some of these issues?
Carl: Very early on, we realised that we were in a fantastic position to lead by example and demonstrate how the whole industry can operate more sustainably. In 2013, we were certified as an Eco-Lighthouse, which is recognised by the European Commission as an international standard for environmental and social practices. We are committed to making ongoing improvements across our operations, including setting sustainable standards for suppliers, creating a healthy working environment for our people, and producing our medical journal using responsible methods and materials. We’re looking for partners that share these values and want to work together to make positive change.
Jason: Do you feel you have a responsibility to your members to be a sustainable leader?
Carl: We’re a membership organisation, and we have a duty of care to operate responsibly, whether it’s how we control our finances or how we choose our partners. Responsible data handling is of course a top priority, especially with the strict GDPR requirements that we must follow. As representatives for our industry, we can’t afford anything but the best standards across all parts of our operations, and we strive for continuous improvement.
In my role, I can point to technology as a good example of this - four years ago, we realised that the traditional model of IT ownership was no longer serving the interests of our organisation or the environment. Purchasing equipment outright was so expensive that our replacement cycles were getting longer, and our people didn’t always have access to the best digital tools. When we did eventually replace obsolete tech assets, they would end up lying in a warehouse before being sent for recycling. We knew we could do better, so we started looking for a new approach.
Jason: How has working with 3stepIT contributed to this?
Carl: Working with 3stepIT, we transitioned away from traditional IT procurement to a circular Technology Lifecycle Management (TLM) model.
Today, we have all the benefits of access to the most modern, scalable digital tools without the burden and risks of owning them. We have complete autonomy to choose the kind of products we want and who we want as a supplier. Then the TLM model kicks in to make the entire asset management process seamless from start to finish.
Through 3stepIT’s asset management system, we can control our tech assets and ensure their compliance, keeping track of all financial and operational information. From the predictability of the quarterly invoicing to oversight of user data and automated device renewal – it’s all so simple and straightforward.
After three years, when the contract period is over, 3steplT securely collects the equipment to be refurbished. It then erases the device data according to ISO-certified guidelines, providing us with a complete digital audit trail for every device.
These devices are then given a new life on the second-hand market. The machines we use are high quality, so while they may be outdated for our employees, the second-hand user is getting affordable access to a better device than they might be able to afford new. It's a great feeling to be collaborating with an organisation like 3stepIT, that understands our social and environmental values and is a proactive partner in helping us to achieve them.