At Amsterdam UMC we are working hard to bring about more sustainable and green processes in healthcare. The healthcare sector is responsible for 7% of the CO2 emissions in the Netherlands. As of January 1, 2022, the Center for Sustainable Healthcare (Centrum voor Duurzame Zorg) has been established to address this issue more broadly within Amsterdam UMC. Through the Groene Zorg (Green Care) community, more attention is drawn to the need to take action and to work more sustainably. Florien Ellenbroek, Community Manager, explains what is possible and how you as a researcher can contribute.

As Community Manager of the Center for Sustainable Healthcare, Florien's mission is to enthuse employees about sustainability and encourage them to do something with it. One of the ways she does this is by setting up a 'sustainability community' via Yammer, and she aspires to organize events that inspire colleagues towards more sustainable care.

The Groene Zorg Community is a platform on Yammer that all employees of Amsterdam UMC can join. "It is a tool to be able to enthuse each other and where direct communication easily takes place. The purpose of the Groene Zorg Community is on the one hand helping each other, question and answer, and on the other hand for inspiration," says Florien. Every employee of Amsterdam UMC with an interest in sustainability can become a member of the platform. Best practices, beautiful initiatives and interesting events are shared and knowledge is exchanged.

Green teams

In addition to the Groene Zorg Community, at Amsterdam UMC Green Teams are being formed. Colleagues who are excited about making a particular part or process in the department more sustainable join forces to form a Green Team. The Green Teams are supported by the Center for Sustainable Healthcare. "People can come to us with questions, and we connect them to the right people for their project(s)." Florien explains the formation of a Green Team: "The idea is that there is bottom-up energy in the department. People have to be enthusiastic about sustainability and they have to be willing to do something. Employees in the department see best what could be better, more efficient or more sustainable. Think about single-use materials or unnecessary packaging." Florien's tip for starting a Green Team: "Start with a group of enthusiastic colleagues and tackle small projects first; as the team grows, larger projects can always be started. Celebrating those small successes is a great motivation to keep going!"

Within the Center for Sustainable Healthcare, there is a focus on five themes of sustainability: (1) waste & materials, (2) energy, (3) medicine, (4) nutrition and (5) transportation. At the Groene Zorg Community, Green Teams exchange different ideas around these themes. Most Green Teams at the hospital are currently working on the themes of waste & materials and energy. For example, many Green Teams are requesting a resource-analysis to analyze whether and how waste can be separated even better, or a department is participating in the Freezer Challenge.

A great example of a successful project comes from the Green Team OK (operating room): they made sure that the disposable OK hat was replaced by a washable hat. "That has been a huge project. It involved everything from infection prevention and quality to the entire logistics behind getting the hats cleaned. They succeeded and they should be very proud of that!" says Florien.

“Get started yourself. Be aware of the need to become more sustainable. Do you have an idea or see something that could be better or more sustainable? Do it!”
Florien Ellenbroek
Community Manager

Future vision

The Groene Zorg Community was established only a few months ago. Nevertheless, Florien already sees a bright future for the platform: "I hope that in the future a very lively community will arise, where employees of Amsterdam UMC can easily find and inspire each other. The ultimate goal is that everyone is aware of the need to become more sustainable. It is perhaps unrealistic to think that everyone will also take action, but I would very much like to achieve a bit of awareness. Not everyone has to be part of a Green Team, you can also contribute individually, but it would be great if more and more people take up sustainability projects!"

What can you do?

If you are an (APH) researcher interested in sustainability you can join the Groene Zorg Community via Yammer to get inspired. In addition, you can join a Green Team within your own department or start a Green Team yourself. And do you work as a researcher at a lab? Think about making materials and energy more sustainable and join the Freezer Challenge! If you have a sustainable idea or have a question, please share it on the Groene Zorg Community or send an email to

Within the Center for Sustainable Healthcare, Florien fulfills the role of Community Manager for the Groene Zorg Community. For more information, please visit the Groene Zorg Community here. For more information about Green Teams (contact person: Else de Ridder) or questions about sustainability, please contact: In the future Florien and Else also want to organize more events like workshops and lectures. Keep an eye on the Groene Zorg community for updates and events.