Health and environmental sustainability

How is environmental sustainability important to health?

Nurses and midwives see daily the ways in which everyone’s health is inextricably linked to the health of the environment in which we live. It could be an older person who is admitted with environmental exacerbation of respiratory diseases, or a pregnant woman affected by the heat because her social housing doesn’t have adequate insulation or cooling.

Increasing incidences of heatwaves, bushfires, extreme weather events, drought and high levels of pollution are raising rates of human injury and directly and negatively affecting the key social determinants of health and damaging social and community structures. These negative health impacts in turn increase pressure on already overloaded health services.

Health services are energy and resource intensive as well as producing large amounts of waste. Emissions from our activity adversely affect the environment, contributing to global warming and climate change which can add to poor health outcomes and exacerbate disease processes. The health implications of climate change and environmental degradation are a central issue for nurses and midwives and many are making a significant contribution to environmentally sustainable healthcare.

Heath workers are trusted and respected within the community and have an opportunity to become leaders in reducing the adverse health and environmental impact of climate change and, at the same time, improve healthcare delivery and generating cost savings.

For more information on the campaign, or to share your stories on the impacts of climate change in health, or environmental sustainability initiatives in health, email Ros Morgan ANMF (Vic Branch) Environmental Health Officer via


What’s ANMF (Vic Branch) doing?

ANMF (Vic Branch) has developed a range of resources and tools to support members climate change mitigation and environmentally sustainable practice. We are members of Global Green and Healthy Hospitals and many of our strategies link to their platform.

Scroll down to find out more information and access the area that interests you or to get new ideas.

In response to a delegates' resolution, passed at the 2012 Delegates Conference, which requested that ANMF (Vic Branch) become more involved in policy debate on climate change and environmental issues, ANMF launched the Health and Environmental Sustainability Conference in 2013. This is now an annual conference which covers a range of issues related to the links between health and the environment. 

By promoting action on climate change and environmental sustainability, ANMF (Vic Branch) is supporting members to expand their knowledge, achieve their environmental goals and take positive and practical ideas back to their workplaces.


The ANMF (Vic Branch) organisation

ANMF (Vic Branch) supports the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and is contributing to climate action, education and health and wellbeing. We are members of Global Green and Healthy Hospitals, and federal ANMF is a member of the Climate and Health Alliance.

The ANMF (Vic Branch) monitors and targets our organisational footprint. Our whole of organisation Environmental Management Plan [PDF] includes endorsement of ambitious net zero carbon emissions by 2035. This target includes Branch properties, activities and emissions across Scopes 1,2,3, in alignment with the Climate Active Standard.

Our headquarters at 535 Elizabeth Street is multi award winning for its construction and staff strategies. This 5 green star building, has retained a market leading NABERS 6 star tenancy energy rating. Powered by 100% green energy, we have solar panels on the roof and water tanks for flushing toilets. We are CitySwitch signatories and in 2021 were winners of the Victorian State award for a business >2000m2 and National Signatory highly commended.


Nursing for the environment: INTENSIVE

Nursing for the environment – INTENSIVE is a practical and informational course run by the ANMF (Vic Branch) Environmental Health Officer. This course is designed to strengthen your advocacy and leadership around climate mitigation and environmentally sustainable workplace practice. 

You will learn from fellow colleagues who have run projects in their workplaces and from experts in the field. A range of mitigation strategies will be covered including healthcare waste diversion and recycling.  You will leave with a governance platform for change and your own personal action plan. Bring your questions. Leave inspired!

This course is suitable for registered nurses, enrolled nurses, midwives and personal care workers. Courses are run twice a year with a limited number of registrants to ensure maximum personal engagement. To find out when the next course will email or call 03 9275 9363.


Green Nurses and Midwives Facebook page

This page is like a rolling newsletter keeping up to date with issues, events and opportunities. Use it to share and learn ideas and connect with like minded colleagues.

Join with a networking group dedicated to connecting health professionals who are passionate about making real improvements to sustainability in healthcare. Please share your resources, tips, tricks and encouragement in green health initiatives.

If you’d like to join you must answer all three membership questions or your request will be declined. If you invite people, please send them the link so they can answer them when/if they decide to join.


Online CPD

‘I’d love to be a part of sustainability in my workplace, but I don’t know where to start.’

Want to know how to get started in sustainability or start a green team?
This is one of the most common requests for assistance the ANMF (Vic Branch) Health and Environmental Officer receives. 


Introducing sustainability: How to start a green team is a teaching module developed in response.

On completion of this module, you will have learned how to:

  • Start a green team in your workplace.
  • Justify sustainable healthcare practice for colleagues and management.
  • Recruit green team members.
  • Develop an agenda for your first meeting.
  • Identify potential workplace projects and opportunities.

Register now



These resources have been created to align with relevant Victorian guidance and regulation. Clinicians must consult and implement local protocol and prompt documents. Where you identify issues for address, please raise these with management.

Single-use plastic

Single use plastics

HES resources

Projects and resources

Clinical waste

Clinical and related waste in healthcare

HES resources

ANMF (Vic Branch) has been part of a DHHS based working group to develop clear and consistent guidance to Victorian public health services regarding the application of EPA Clinical and Related Waste Guidelines (IWRG612.1).

Waste segregation

Waste segregation in healthcare

HES resources

ANMF (Vic Branch) advocated to government to include healthcare in the Victorian waste education strategy.

Pharmaceutical waste

Pharmaceutical waste in healthcare

HES resources

Evidence suggests that pharmaceutical waste is incorrectly disposed in clinical sharps bins, general waste or down the sink.

PVC waste

PVC recycling in healthcare

HES resources

Resources to help you set up your PVC recycling program.

Organic waste

Organics diversion

HES resources

Working towards more environmentally sustainable hospitals

Metal waste

Single use metal instrument recycling in healthcare

HES resources

Resources to inform the setting up a single use metal instrument recycling program

Climate change

Climate change impact on health and wellbeing

HES resources

The Victorian public health and wellbeing plan 2019-2023 recognises that climate change is a leading threat to health and wellbeing and tackling climate change and its impact on health is included as one of four key focus areas in the plan.


Governance in healthcare and other resources

HES resources

Mandatory environmental reporting for public health and other resources

Green nurses and midwives Facebook group

Sustainability networking and education

HES resources

Green nurses and midwives Facebook group, conferences and CPD.

CoPower logo


HES resources

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