Netcare wins four gold medals in global Healthcare Climate Challenge Awards
Global trusted infrastructure consulting firm AECOM has carried out a project management role for the Netcare environmental sustainability division since 2015, in conjunction with project management specialist That Interesting Company. The team identifies and shepherds projects through feasibility to implementation. The projects relate to water and energy savings, renewable energy, and waste reduction at healthcare provider Netcare’s local network of facilities. Yearly targets in terms of anticipated savings are compiled and tracked to monitor progress.
“This is a Netcare initiative driven by Netcare. We play a role in being part of a much larger team that delivers the actual projects. It is a highly collaborative effort to get the projects through the various stages, which involves numerous Netcare resources, in addition to our own project management services,” says AECOM Programme Manager Carl Erasmus.
Such has been the success of Netcare’s environmental sustainability drive that it won gold medals in all four categories in the latest (2021) global Healthcare Climate Challenge Awards. The annual awards are organised by Global Green and Healthy Hospitals (GGHH), an initiative of Health Care Without Harm (HCWH). The categories are Greenhouse Gas Reduction (Energy), Renewable Energy, Climate Resilience, and Climate Leadership.
In 2020, Netcare became the first and only participating healthcare institution to be awarded gold medals in each category, a feat repeated in 2021. The GGHH network comprises over 1 450 members in 72 countries, representing the interests of over 43 000 hospitals and health centres.
Last year, Netcare was also the first private healthcare institution in Africa to join the ‘Race to Zero’ global campaign, which strives to rally leadership and support from businesses, cities, regions, and investors for a healthy resilient, zero carbon recovery that prevents future threats, generates employment, and unlocks inclusive sustainable growth.
To further emphasise Netcare’s contribution to sustainability, Netcare was awarded Commercial Corporate Company of the Year for 2021 by the Southern African Energy Efficiency Confederations (SAEE), the South African chapter of the Association of Energy Engineers (AEE). Andre Nortje, Netcare’s National Environmental Sustainability Manager, was awarded Young Energy Professional of the Year for 2021.
Due to AECOM’s involvement with Netcare extending to well before the pandemic, Erasmus says the consultancy was able to adjust quickly to remote working and get onboard to assist hospitals to prepare certain infrastructure, for example additional oxygen supply to be able to meet the additional demands brought about during the Covid-19 pandemic. “We were able to integrate this process successfully with our project management work on the sustainability side,” says Erasmus.
“We have considerable experience and expertise in the healthcare sector,” highlights Healthcare Architectural Planner Janet Traut. Focusing on the Africa and Middle East region, Traut is part of a global network of specialists in key healthcare markets from the Americas to the UK. AECOM’s global reach allows it to pull in any skillset imaginable, from acoustics to vertical transportation.
Working with BIM 360 and Autodesk software allows AECOM to offer a global best practice approach to healthcare that can be tailored to local market requirements, especially in response to challenges posed by the public and private sectors. While Traut herself slots into the architectural team, this has a multidisciplinary function in providing complete project solutions and a single point of contact for clients.
“The challenge with healthcare projects is that work is usually conducted in existing operational facilities. A lot of upfront planning is required, and a wide range of services and functions need to be considered; from patients on life support to smaller details like the type of paint selected for the walls. Healthcare facilities are some of the most complex building types; there is nothing simple about a hospital,” says Traut.
AECOM’s longstanding partnership with Netcare is testament to the value it has been able to add to the healthcare provider through constant collaboration and adoption of global best practice, says Erasmus. “Even as an external consultant, we are part of the entire Netcare environmental sustainability division. We work closely with the rest of the professional team, from project management to engineering and energy monitoring.”
Commenting on the latest trends in project management, Erasmus contends that its contribution to value engineering and cost and risk management is only now being acknowledged. “From the perspective of the South African construction industry, project management is a robust sector showing growth. We believe our expertise and experience is what has allowed our partnership with the Netcare Sustainability Unit to flourish over the years,” he concludes.
“It is a highly collaborative effort to get the projects through the various stages, which involves numerous Netcare resources, in addition to our own project management services.” – AECOM Programme Manager Carl Erasmus