At a time when humanity is confronting global inequality and a climate emergency, Mercy Health’s Caring for People and Planet Strategy (2020-25) is, like its inspiration Laudato Si‘, a strategy of hope. It carries forth the longstanding commitment of the Sisters of Mercy and Mercy Health to serving the poor and vulnerable, while looking to new evidence-based approaches for climate change mitigation and climate resilience.
The CPP strategy references many aspects of Laudato Si’s call for urgent and immediate action. Through a lens of Catholic social teaching, it champions transformational change to tackle the climate emergency, reduce Mercy Health’s ecological footprint, and to help make the world a fairer, more sustainable place. This is not just about environmental change but a deep and profound shift in how we think and how we act to care for our planet and all of its people, particularly addressing the vulnerable.
The CPP strategy recognises that Mercy Health provides care for people at every age and stage of life. Our mission is to bring God’s mercy to those in need and we aspire to demonstrate compassion, hospitality, respect, innovation, stewardship and teamwork in all that we do.
The CPP Goals
The CPP strategy has three clear goals which are designed to deliver better environmental performance, improved health outcomes, substantial savings in expenditure and an effective, responsive and affordable healthcare system.
Based on rigorous research, each goal aligns with Pope Francis’ appeal for us to worktogether to save our ‘common home’. Goals Two and Three depend on thesuccess of the heart of the strategy:
Goal One – Sustainable models of care
- To address climate change, first and foremost, we must focus on building sustainable models of care that deliver improved outcomes in both individual health and sustainability.
- We need to think about what healthcare we will deliver, and where, and how we will deliver it.
- Current models of care in Australia have reached ‘peak health’. This means we are spending more money and using more resources with little impact on health outcomes. About 10 per cent of Australia’s GDP is spent on health and care services and this is expected to rise to 25 per cent by 2025.
- We will not significantly reduce Mercy Health’s carbon footprint unless we focus on sustainable models of care that deliver better health outcomes, reduced healthcare costs and less use of resources.
Our objectives of sustainable models of care are to:
- ensure care is provided wherever possible in the least resource-intensive setting
- identify and make changes to areas of care where we can use fewer resources for the same or improved health outcomes
- increase our focus and involvement in chronic disease prevention and management
- reduce waste
- use water sustainably in all our care
- create green spaces as a central part of care.
Goal Two – Addressing climate change
Mercy Health aims to become a climate resilient organisation, working towards zero carbon emissions and 100 percent renewable energy by 2030. We are committed to making significant steps towards achieving these aims by establishing a range of climate mitigation programs across the organisation.
This includes establishing a baseline carbon footprint for Health Services, Home Care, Residential Aged Care and Support Services. We are developing a framework that proportionally focuses on reducing our carbon footprint in procurement, energy, transport and waste. A whole-of-organisation approach will be embedded to monitor reductions in our carbon and ecological footprints at all sites.
Our objectives are to:
- proportionally reduce our carbon footprint in procurement, energy, transport, anaesthetic gases (Health Services), food and capital works (new builds and refurbishment)
- build climate resilience by establishing systems to manage climate disaster, ensuring buildings and infrastructure are climate resilient, and supporting staff to be climate resilient.
Goal Three: Ethical and social considerations
Mercy Health is committed to ethical and socially responsible procurement that focuses on employment and training, social inclusion, diversity and equality, local suppliers, social and service innovation and fair trade.
We have a zero-tolerance approach to slavery and forced labour and support working conditions that appropriately and sensitively manage issues of freedom of association, health and safety, child labour, wages, working hours and discrimination. Immediate action to investigate environmental breaches is paramount.
Our objectives are:
- continued commitment to Catholic social teaching
- empowerment of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples
- ethical and socially responsible procurement
- equity and inclusion (listening to those who experience injustice)
- strong social cohesion among our staff
- addressing loss of biodiversity
- reducing global inequality with a specific focus on Pacific and Torres Strait Islands.
- strong governance oversight.
Last reviewed September 2, 2022.