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Company: Community Health Systems
Subject: Sustainability Report
Year: 2010
Sector: Health Care Products
Lead Filer: Methodist Board of Pensions
Outcome: Withdrawn; company will produce report

Sustainability Reporting

2010 - Community Health Systems

 

 

WHEREAS: Community Health Systems is the largest publicly traded hospital company in the United States, owning, operating, or leasing 122 hospitals in 29 states.

Many leading companies within the health care sector publish comprehensive sustainability reports that address environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues such as greenhouse gas emissions, waste disposal, toxic chemicals, employee wellness and diversity programs. These reports, which include comprehensive assessments of corporate responsibility programs and describe goals to improve performance, allow investors to assess how ESG factors might impact the company's long-term financial performance.

We believe Community Health Systems would benefit from the publication of a sustainability report. Through the evaluation and reporting process, Community Health Systems will be able to promote existing corporate sustainability initiatives while identifying gaps and opportunities for improved business practices. As a result, the company could realize meaningful short- and long-term operational savings and could gain significant competitive advantage.

Hospitals generate large amounts of hazardous waste and routinely use chemicals that adversely affect both the environment and human health. The financial impact of sustainability programs can be significant - Beth Israel Medical Center in New York City began saving $1 million per year by educating staff about proper segregation of regulated medical waste. By switching to digital imaging machines, Kaiser Permanente decreased its water usage to 40% less than the average hospital. In addition, the company publicly reports its greenhouse gas emissions through participation in the California Climate Action Registry, which allows it to "manage emissions and improve Kaiser Permanente's overall sustainability efforts," said Vice President Kathy Gerwig.

Hospitals also consume large amounts of energy. According to the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), hospitals have 2.5 times the energy intensity and carbon dioxide emissions of commercial office buildings, and in 2007 spent more than $5 billion on energy costs. Last year, the DOE launched the EnergySmart Hospitals initiative, which seeks to improve energy efficiency by 20% in existing hospital facilities. Several of Community Health Systems' competitors participate in EnergySmart Hospitals.

 We recommend that Community Health Systems' sustainability report be based on the Global Reporting Initiative's (GRI) Sustainability Reporting Guidelines. The GRI is an international organization with representatives from the business, environmental, human rights and labor communities. GRI guidelines provide a standardized format for sustainability reporting that is flexible enough to allow omission of content not relevant to company operations. Currently, more than 1,500 companies use the GRI to prepare their sustainability reports.

RESOLVED: Shareholders request that Community Health Systems prepare a sustainability report describing corporate strategies and policies relating to the environmental, social and governance impacts of the company's operations. This report should include the company's definition of sustainability and provide a company-wide review of policies, practices, and metrics directed to long-term social and environmental sustainability. The report, prepared at reasonable cost and omitting proprietary information, should be published by October 31, 2010.

 

 


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