The People
In the realm of sustainability, individuals are the driving force behind transformative change. By spotlighting these dedicated leaders, we celebrate not only their personal commitment but also the diverse roles they play within the sustainability space. These individuals serve as catalysts, influencing their organizations and communities towards greener practices. Their roles extend beyond titles; they are the architects of innovative solutions and ambassadors for environmental stewardship. Recognizing their efforts is essential, as it sheds light on the multifaceted contributions that collectively shape a sustainable future.
The Organizations
Organizations play a pivotal role in the sustainability landscape, serving as the canvas upon which impactful initiatives are painted. By highlighting the collective efforts of these entities, we draw attention to the larger impact achievable through collaborative, organizational action. Understanding the role of organizations in the sustainability narrative is crucial for fostering a culture of environmental consciousness. It underscores the interconnectedness between individuals, their roles, and the overarching influence of organizations on the path towards a more sustainable world.
The Cause
Sustainability and innovation are inseparable forces essential for overcoming contemporary challenges. Sustainability ensures responsible resource use, environmental conservation, and societal well-being, while innovation drives creative solutions. Together, they propel positive change, with sustainable practices inspiring innovation and innovative thinking guiding us towards a more sustainable future. It's a symbiotic relationship, where each element strengthens the other, leading us toward a future where environmental stewardship and cutting-edge innovation go hand in hand.

Highlighting Hamilton's Leaders in Sustainability

We continue our “Sustainability Leaders” series, with Victoria Brzozowski, the 3rd guest and the Environmental Management Lead with Hamilton Health Sciences. 

Victoria Brzozowski, a distinguished professional whose expertise spans the intricate intersections of environmental communications, organizational sustainability, and waste management. Victoria’s academic foundation includes a Master of Arts and a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) from Brock University, complemented by an Environmental Management & Assessment (EMA) graduate certificate from Niagara College.

Beyond academia, Victoria has seamlessly translated her knowledge into impactful roles, notably at St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton, where she served as the Sustainability & Waste Program Coordinator, showcasing her commitment to sustainability practices within the healthcare sector from April 2014 to January 2016. As an EVS Sustainability Intern in the same institution, she played a crucial role in assessing internal waste diversion practices, developing an Environmental Management System (EMS/SMS), strategizing waste collection infrastructure, and creating a comprehensive internal waste diversion plan and training guide.

Notably, Victoria has been an integral part of Hamilton Health Sciences for over seven years, starting as a Waste Management Coordinator from November 2016 to March 2023. In this role, she excelled in overseeing waste management strategies and practices, ensuring compliance, and fostering sustainable initiatives. Her dedication and leadership led to her current position as the Environmental Management Lead, a role she has held since April 2023. In this capacity, Victoria continues to make a significant impact by steering environmental management initiatives and contributing to the organization’s commitment to sustainability.

Today, we have the privilege of delving into Victoria Brzozowski’s wealth of experience, with a focus on her environmental leadership at Hamilton Health Sciences.

Join us as we uncover her insights on the broader implications of sustainable practices in healthcare and beyond.

Can you provide an overview of your Hamilton Health Sciences and its core business activities in Hamilton?

Hamilton Health Sciences is a community of over 14000 staff, physicians, researchers and volunteers that proudly serve southwestern Ontario residents. We also provide specialized, advanced care to people from across the province. We’re the only hospital in Ontario that cares for all ages, from pre-birth to end-of-life. We offer world-leading expertise in many areas, including cardiac and stroke care, cancer care, palliative care and pediatrics. HHS is comprised of 10 primary locations. These primary centers are comprised of hospitals, outpatient service centers and specialized facilities including the Hamilton General Hospital, McMaster University Medical Centre, Juravinski Hospital and Cancer Centre, West Lincoln Memorial Hospital, St. Peter’s Hospital and Ron Joyce Children’s Health Centre.

How would you describe the role of your company within the local community and industry?

We are a world-renowned hospital for healthcare research. We focus daily on improving the quality of care for our patients through innovation and evidence-based practices. HHS is the largest employer in the Greater Hamilton region and plays a vital role in training the next generation of health professionals in collaboration with our academic partners, including McMaster University and Mohawk College.

How do you involve your employees, customers, and other stakeholders in your sustainability efforts?

As a large multi-site organization, engagement varies widely depending upon the project. Some engagement strategies include:

–       Program specific green teams (e.g. Pharmacy Green Team)

–       Staff Surveys

–       Reports, HHS news items and in servicing

–       Participation with sustainability related groups, such as the Bay Area Climate Change Council

Have regulatory changes influenced the direction or intensity of your sustainability efforts?

Yes. In addition to the mandatory requirements for waste and energy management, new regulations such as the Federal Plastics Ban has changed the products we procure and use within the hospital.

Are there specific technologies or strategies that you believe will play a crucial role in the future of sustainable business practices in your industry?

Recognizing the significant impact of healthcare operations on the environment, HHSC has been measuring and managing our environmental impact, focusing on waste and energy for the past two (2) decades. We have maintained compliance with reporting as per regulation as well as participate in voluntary programs such as the Green Hospital Scorecard. Since 2017, efforts have expanded into more areas of environmental stewardship and we began voluntarily reporting our emissions and key environmental KPIs following the GRI framework to community partners Sustainability Leadership. This reporting work was done in addition to existing responsibilities in the Corporate Services and Facilities portfolios such as reporting required by federal and provincial regulations for waste and Scope 1 & 2 emissions. 

In Autumn 2022, HHSC identified Environmental Management Plan as a new corporate project. This project is split into the three (3) streams of work and overseen by a new corporate Environmental Management Steering Committee:

1)      Greenhouse Gas Emissions Reduction Roadmap & Action Plan (GRRAP) Strategy (Scope 1 & 2 Emissions);

2)      Corporate Environmental Stewardship Plan (opportunities excluding GRRAP); and

3)      Annual HHSC Environmental Performance Report.

In order to advance the work of our Environmental Management Plan Strategy to achieve carbon neutrality and it’s work streams and achieve carbon neutrality, new advanced technologies and funding to support their implementation at HHS needs to occur.

How do you see the landscape of sustainable business evolving in Hamilton and beyond in the coming years?

Key to the success of our community is to ensure a thriving and healthy population. As the impacts of climate change on human and environmental health become more acute, Hamilton business leaders must take a leadership role to mitigate climate change. Hamilton businesses must embrace innovative decarbonization strategies in order to continue to be relevant and viable.

Thank you for visiting our website and exploring our insightful interview with a Sustainability Leader. Your engagement means the world to us! For more inspiring stories and exclusive content, be sure to subscribe to our newsletter. Stay tuned for the next captivating interview in our “Sustainability Leaders” series, where we continue to shine a spotlight on those driving positive change in the world of sustainability. Together, let’s build a greener and more sustainable future. Your support makes a difference!