“Levels of common organic pollutants can be two-to-five times higher indoors. To reduce exposure to potentially harmful toxins, we continue to build out our EPS designated portfolio to support members' efforts to create a healthier indoor environment for their employees and patients.” — Mellissa Nguyen, Vizient senior program services manager

The shift toward using sustainable, safer products in health care is more than a trend. For many organizations, sustainability goals are built into everyday business practices that advance health care’s mission to do no harm. To support member sustainability initiatives, Vizient has expanded its Environmentally Preferred Sourcing designated portfolio with the launch of the environmentally preferred (EP) flooring coverings agreements within its larger floor coverings portfolio. All of the floor covering products in the EP portfolio meet pre-defined environmentally preferred criteria, making “green” purchasing easier for members.

“Levels of common organic pollutants can be two-to-five times higher indoors,” says Mellissa Nguyen, Vizient senior program services manager. “To reduce exposure to potentially harmful toxins, we continue to build out our EPS designated portfolio to support members efforts to create a healthier indoor environment for their employees and patients.”

The new EP flooring portfolio contains flooring suppliers offering offer carpet, flooring and adhesives that are free of formaldehyde, perfluorinated compounds, polyvinyl chloride, antimicrobials, flame retardants and other chemicals of concern. According to Nguyen, EPS designated portfolio “helps members quickly identify environmentally preferred agreements and products within the overall portfolio that have been fully vetted on behalf of the member.”

Following industry standards for healthy flooring

Vizient developed the environmentally preferred flooring coverings criteria in the EPS designated portfolio using standards from Health Care Without Harm, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and other industry leaders. Additionally, Vizient’s member Environmental Advisory Council helps advise and guide our environmentally preferred sourcing strategy with a focus on identifying, vetting and encouraging the purchase of products that reduce harmful environmental and human health impacts while maintaining quality and affordability.

As part of the EPS designated sourcing program, participating flooring suppliers must provide a list of products that meet pre-defined environmentally preferred standards, as well as specific third-party certifications to indicate independent auditing of manufacturing standards. Suppliers also agree to submit separate sales reporting for EP and non-EP product purchases to facilitate member tracking via normal Vizient financial reporting channels.

“Many hospitals have specific goals for use of EP products and we’re able to show members how much of their supply chain spend is coming from the EP designated portfolio,” says Nguyen. “It helps members track and measure their performance related to environmentally preferred products.”

A commitment to supply chain sustainability and resiliency

Vizient launched its Environmentally Preferred Sourcing program in 2017 to help health care providers easily access a wide array of products that are safe for patients and caregivers while minimizing environmental impact.

Vizient was among the first in the industry to begin collecting environmentally preferred attribute information from suppliers starting in 2011. We strengthened our environmental commitment in 2017 by making environmental attributes part of our criteria for contract awards. Since then, supplier submission of EP attributes has increased from less than 10 percent to nearly 92 percent.

Nguyen also emphasizes that environmentally preferred flooring goes beyond simply identifying products that are recyclable or made from recycled materials. It’s also about ensuring the products don’t contain chemicals of concern and are competitively priced so that cost isn’t a barrier for use. “We want to focus on the reduction of waste while also choosing products without toxins. It’s possible to use the power of our market share to be able to make those products more affordable as well.”

As members seek to establish or augment sustainability initiatives, including choosing healthy flooring, Vizient’s Environmentally Preferred Advisory Services and Facilities, Capital, and Construction Services can help drive additional value. Members are paired with sustainability experts who provide assessment and strategy services to elevate environmental initiatives. Construction services helps members make important decisions on renovation and/or new facilities construction. Vizient’s expertise in facilities, capital and construction can drive savings across design, construction, and overall facility maintenance and operations while also helping meet organizational goals for sustainability.

To learn how Vizient’s Environmentally Preferred Sourcing Program can support your organization’s sustainability goals, email us.

Published: May 18, 2021