Climate change and healthcare on DNV agenda
Green mechanisms to limit greenhouse gas emissions and global healthcare issues, were addressed at a meeting with Norway’s diplomatic corps abroad
If there is to be any hope of limiting greenhouse gas emissions, efficient mechanisms for financing the introduction of new low-carbon technologies must be put in place quickly. The Clean Development Mechanisim (CDM) initiative, the UN-backed program to offer carbon offsets, should play an important part in future emission trading schemes because it has demonstrated that it leads to both emission reductions and technology transfer.
Head of DNV’s climate change unit, Stein B. Jensen made these remarks at a meeting earlier this week at DNV’s headquarters in Hovik, which attracted over 80 representatives from the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Addressing the audience, made up of almost all Norwegian ambassadors abroad and leading policy experts, Mr Jensen said that “The CDM (and Joint Implementation) schemes are not without their defects and problems but they have also proven to be implementable in practice – and not least that they can be practical instruments on the road to better financing schemes. However, the public debate mainly focuses on the negative aspects of the schemes, and society risks throwing the baby out with the bath water if it does not also understand the past significance of these schemes and see the potential for their further use while also making improvements to them.”
No time to lose
During his presentation Mr Jensen warned the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has increased and is continuing to increase. “This will very probably lead to the earth’s climate changing and to the world’s oceans becoming more acidic. Both these long-lasting changes may dramatically affect our descendants for many generations to come.
“So we have no time to lose when it comes to reversing this trend,” stressed Mr Jensen. “We currently have mechanisms that can bring in private capital to cooperate with public authorities in combating increased greenhouse gas emissions. It is clear that these mechanisms can be improved and made more transparent and efficient. It will take 5-10 years before new schemes are efficient and functional, and no one knows what weaknesses such new mechanisms will have until they have been tried, in the way that the flexible Kyoto mechanisms have now been tested during the past decade.”
He continued, “In our eagerness to find other solutions and not look at the positive results that the green mechanisms, like CDM, have led to, we are in danger of undermining one of the few measures that have been allowed to function over time and that developing countries have proven willing to start using to build new low-emission facilities. This is a scheme that should be expanded – not restricted. CO2 knows no boundaries and one tonne less in China means just as much to the climate as a one-tonne reduction in emissions in Norway.
Speaking on the theme ‘global impact for safe and sustainable healthcare’ Espen Cramer, head of DNV’s healthcare unit addressed the key challenges of patient safety, healthcare in developing economies and patient mobility.
“The world’s population is continuing to grow, and the average life span continues to increase. Urbanisation is also increasing and with these three key factors the need for improved, sustainable and safe healthcare services is also rising,” said Mr Cramer.
Statistics tell the story
Referring to the European Commission’s patient safety and quality of healthcare report he said, “The report reveals that patient safety is a real concern, and is representative for other OECD countries. The statistics tell the story: 5% of all patients in EU hospitals are contracting healthcare-associated infections. In terms of numbers, this means more than 4 million patients every year – of which 37,000 patients die. This is the about the same number of people who are killed in traffic accidents every year.
“In addition, 5% of patients are exposed to medication, surgical or diagnosis errors or the failure to act on the results of tests. The impact of this is that liability claims are ever-increasing,” added Mr Cramer.
“We are experiencing concerns of a higher order in developing economies. Lack of basic competence, resources and organisation, and little or no relevant legislation in place, have resulted in a rapid increase of new diseases, combined with incapability to control known diseases such as tuberculosis. Patient mobility and tourism could easily escalate these shortcomings into a global health concern,” warned Mr Cramer.
While acknowledging the hospital environment is inherently risky, Mr Cramer said the healthcare sector is becoming increasingly engaged globally in the pursuit of improved quality, patient safety and care, with a heightened understanding of risk management concepts.
“While the pursuit is global, its execution is with very few exceptions local, affected by the local healthcare governance model,” he said. “It is within the framework of risk management that DNV will contribute to improved healthcare, drawing on its experience from other industries and sharing best practise, its global network of offices, unique independence as a foundation and its ability to develop internationally recognised standards,”
Cooperation with public authorities
Further close cooperation with public authorities is necessary to “address this global issue” according to Mr Cramer, who made reference to several successful cooperations, including the WHO safety campaign (polio programme), the China healthcare reform with the China National Health Research & Development Centre and the collaboration with the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs concerning biosafety in high-risk laboratories in Indonesia.
The meeting, which was officiated by Ketil Djønne, head of DNV’s corporate external relations, provided a useful platform for interaction and discussion. “We’re delighted that over 80 high level representatives from the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs came to hear about our climate change and healthcare services. Offering a forum where our government relations can meet and listen to our experts has proven a great success, and we will work closely with them on these important issues in their respective countries.”
In connection with the meeting, DNV officially announced that it has set up a Sustainability & Innovation division to “steer DNV towards green service growth and sustainability services.” COO for the division, Bjørn K. Haugland, expects the division, which includes DNV’s climate change and healthcare services, to expand “significantly” in response to changing markets and customer needs. See link for more information.
Source: Det Norske Veritas