Skip to main content

Identifying a sustainable food procurement strategy in healthcare systems: a scoping review

  • Published on April 11, 2022

The healthcare system’s climate footprint is equivalent to 4.4% of global net emission. The food service offered, with subsequent food waste production and energy consumption, falls within the spectrum of environmentally harmful activities. The development of a Sustainable Food Procurement Strategy is an opportunity to counteract these negative effects. This article aims to identify the nature and extent of the evidence found in the literature on the processes related to food procurement within healthcare systems and analyse them from the perspective of sustainability dimensions. A scoping review is carried out using online databases to identify scientific and grey literature published in English during the period 2000–2019. An analytical-synthetic approach is used for charting the data. Twenty-six studies are included; 65% of them published in the last five years. These include research articles (n 11), an opinion article (n 1), policy handbooks and guides (n 2), project reports (n 4) and technical reports (n 3), policy forums (n 1), factsheet documents (n 3), and legislative directives (n 1). The outcomes framework highlights multilevel governance, a sustainable food supply system, and healthy and sustainable food services as the main action areas for a sustainable food procurement strategy, along with six transversal features: long-term commitment, investment, evaluation, communication, gender, and a holistic approach.

The healthcare system’s climate footprint is equivalent to 4.4% of global net emission. The food service offered in hospitals, along with the food waste production and energy consumption, is part of the spectrum of unsustainability and environmentally harmful activities within healthcare systems. Food waste in European hospitals can range from 6% to 65%, with an overall economic cost estimated at 143 billion euros. This disparate range demonstrates a lack of standardization and control of food waste measurement in hospitals. It also shows that healthcare institutions could play a major role in shaping the food system by encouraging sustainable food production in their communities for consumption and by generating sustainable food system environments within the institution.

While several reports have been written on sustainable public procurement, they are mostly set in schools, with negligible emphasis on public food procurement in hospitals. The present scoping review aims to identify the nature and extent of the evidence found in the literature on the processes related to food procurement within healthcare systems and analyse them from the perspective of sustainability dimensions, which include environmental, social, and economical dimensions that impact within the food systems.

Supporting document(s)

50. Identifying a Sustainable Food Procurement Strategy in Healthcare Systems_ A Scoping Review.pdf
English
Download
Download

You might also be Interested in