Pioneering Science-Based Targets in Healthcare

Carbon Footprint Assessment of Erasmus MC

Erasmus Medical Center (Erasmus MC), a major European university medical center, aims to significantly reduce its ecological footprint by 2050, in line with Green Deal Healthcare 3.0.

Supporting these sustainability ambitions, Metabolic performed a comprehensive carbon footprint assessment for Erasmus MC’s direct and indirect operations. We completed a comprehensive greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions inventory for Erasmus Medical Center, including scope 1, 2, and 3 emissions for 2021.

The study highlights the significant indirect emissions from purchased goods and services, making up the largest share of the organization’s footprint. Through this assessment, Erasmus MC aligns its sustainability goals with global climate commitments, setting a precedent in the healthcare sector by adopting Science-Based Targets (SBTs).

  • Client: Erasmus Medical Center
  • Date: 2023

Tackling Healthcare’s Environmental Impact

The healthcare sector significantly contributes to climate change, responsible for approximately 7% of the Netherlands’ GHG emissions. Erasmus MC faced the dual challenge of identifying major carbon hotspots within its operations and setting science-based targets (SBTs) to guide its sustainability journey.


Mapping Erasmus MC’s carbon footprint

We conducted a comprehensive carbon footprint analysis focusing on Scopes 1, 2, and 3 emissions. The study leveraged a hybrid method combining spend-based and mass-based approaches to provide a comprehensive overview of emissions across various departments and operational activities. This approach enabled Erasmus MC to pinpoint critical areas for intervention, particularly from purchased goods and services, setting the stage for targeted sustainability initiatives.


A baseline to pioneer a sustainable healthcare sector

Erasmus MC is one of the first hospitals that uses this method to map CO2e emissions from across all their operations. Our research provides the hospital (and the entire sector) with insights into the CO2e hotspots and highlights potential areas for impactful sustainability interventions. Going beyond ‘scope 1’ and ‘scope 2′ emissions, our analysis includes scope 3 emissions – these are the emissions for which the organization is indirectly responsible. Our insights show that 60% of Erasmus’ CO2e footprint comprises purchased goods and services. Slightly less than half of these (about 42%) are due to medication. This research lays the foundation for setting Science Based Targets, marking Erasmus MC as the first Dutch hospital to adopt such measures.

"This was a challenging project. Calculating our footprint and providing the right information to our patients, healthcare professionals and students was our goal. We are proud that we achieved this together with our team and with Metabolic."

Lead of Sustainable Organizations


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