Sustainable Health in Procurement Project (SHiPP) case study: Sociedade Beneficente de Senhoras Hospital Sírio Libanês, Brazil

Location: São Paulo, Brazil.

Work area: Policy, Process.

Summary: The hospital reduced total energy consumption by 40%. The energy reduction will result in a 15% reduction in total GHG emissions.

Hospital Sírio Libanês, Brasil

Initial situation

A change in the energy matrix for a low carbon economy is important to keep the global average temperature rise well below 2 degrees Celsius. In this context, renewable energy certificates can work as an excellent mechanism to boost the implementation of renewable energy projects, while companies improve their corporate governance standards and commitments to sustainability.

The Sirio-Libanês Hospital (HSL) is one of the largest health systems in Brazil and the world. It has a robust commitment to sustainability and annually discloses its emissions inventory in the Brazilian GHG Protocol Program (since 2011). In 2018, 9.041 tCO2 were issued, of which 3,029 tCO2 were due to energy consumption. The Hospital buys energy on the open market with the aim of optimizing the operation and cost of energy purchases.


Proposed alternatives

In 2019, the Hospital assumed even more aggressive goals, setting an annual target of 15% reduction in GHG emissions per year, and a strategy to purchase a share of renewable energy in 2020 was established.

In 2021, the commitment to the Race to Zero initiative was established and the goal was broadened and included long-term contributions, aimed at a 50% reduction by 2030 and 100% reduction in emissions by 2050, compared to a 2017 baseline.

2021 represented a historic milestone for Hospital Sírio Libanês in the fight against climate change: 100% of the electricity consumed in all its administrative and operational units was generated by wind farms located in Brazil, reaching a level of zero carbon generation in energy. This was possible through the acquisition of an International Renewable Energy Certificate, also known as I-REC (International Renewable Energy Certificate).

The I-REC attests and certifies the origin of electrical energy and its environmental attributes, since it is difficult to track or know exactly the source of the energy the hospital consumes. Energy generated by select sources (for example, a hydroelectric plant or a wind farm) is introduced into the SIN – Nationally Interconnected System – and immediately consumed by the nearest consumption unit (eg, commercial, residential establishment, etc.).

International Renewable Energy Certificates (I-REC) are recognized worldwide (based on the quality principles established by the Greenhouse Gas Emission (GHG) Protocol) as a safe instrument. They avoid double processing, are retirable, and they certify the origin of energy and its sustainability attributes, including zero carbon emissions.


Progress and benefits

Based on its goals, Hospital Sírio Libanês reduced approximately 5,820 tCO2e, equivalent to the purchase of 46,443 MWh in 2021 certificates, using the national emission factor of 0.1264 tCO2/MWh. This represents 58% of total yearly emissions, resulting in a 67% reduction in GHG emissions compared to the base year (2017). This green energy purchase has allowed the system to achieve their 2030 goal.


Implementation process

Environmental sustainability management was created to promote and coordinate continuous reduction of environmental impact in all activities at HSL. At the beginning of 2019, the institution defined its institutional strategic indicators and defined two indicators for Environmental Sustainability: 

1. Reduction of Greenhouse Gas Emissions (GHG) per bed, with the purpose of tracking and monitoring greenhouse gas emissions in HSL (the inventory of GHG emissions has been carried out and reported to the GHG Protocol since 2011).

To reduce part of their emissions, the hospital chose to buy energy from certified renewable sources, which generate International Renewable Energy Certificates, accepted worldwide by the GHG Protocol. 40% of the energy consumed in 2020 by HSL had its impact offset with renewable energy certificates from the Palmares Wind Farm, thus contributing to reducing 15% of total HSL emissions in 2020, a 17% reduction compared to last year.

The target established for 2020 and 2021 was 15%, aiming to keep the total CO2 equivalent emissions from the previous year under control, considering the increase in the institution's activities. However, with the purchase of 100% of the energy that was consumed in 2021 by HSL, the reduction was 58% of total GHG emissions, a reduction of 32% compared to 2020. All this effort resulted in a reduction by 67% compared to the base year (2017). The indicator of tons of CO2 equivalent per operational bed from other institutions with different operational capacity was considered.

2. CO2 neutralization rate, This indicator tracks and monitors reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, aiming at offsetting the neutralization of non-reduced emissions, which were not avoided. The goal is to neutralize 100% of these emissions with the purchase of premium carbon credits.


Next steps

Currently, GHG emissions are calculated by the operation, measurement, and recording of scope 1, 2 and 3 carbon emissions. There are emissions that are not in the organization's control (defined as scope 3). The hospital is working to improve knowledge of their scope 3 emissions from the supply chain. Answers to a questionnaire sent to suppliers was incorporated into the calculation of total emissions; based on the questionnaire sent to suppliers, the system is increasing the knowledge of emissions related to the displacement of suppliers, which will be measured by altering the total emissions and improving the knowledge of the institution's emissions vis-à-vis suppliers.

And as the institution has a great challenge in reducing its emissions, they are looking for solutions in the latest technologies on the market. While these reductions have not been implemented, they are investing in the purchase of premium carbon credits, supporting offset projects to neutralize emissions that could not be avoided together with companies certified by a third party, with projects with socio-environmental benefits. 

HSL is thus creating an incentive for the premium carbon market with control on global platforms, ensuring effective control of this market and the maintenance of projects by companies with a change in their energy matrix, benefiting from renewable energy as an energy generation option.

There are still major challenges to reach the goal of reducing GHG emissions by 100% by 2050, but they believe that current efforts will drive the emergence of technologies so that they can achieve the goals set.


Information about the organization

The Hospital Sirio-Libanês is one of the largest health reference systems in Brazil and the world. Founded in 1921, the Hospital annually serves more than 120,000 patients. There are 7 service units, educational and research centers, and more than 40 specialties. The main hospital complex has 479 beds, occupying a built area of approximately 100,000 m2 in the city of São Paulo, Brazil.