Webinar recording | Driving the circular economy in healthcare through innovation procurement

  • Europe

Health Care Without Harm Europe and EcoQUIP+ organised an online event to present and discuss the opportunities for increasing circularity and sustainability in healthcare by leveraging the sector’s purchasing power to stimulate innovation. A recording of the session and featured presentations are available below.


Procurement can be a powerful strategic tool to help achieve sustainability objectives in your organisation. Healthcare accounts for 4.4% of global carbon emissions, and approximately 75% of healthcare emissions in the EU derive from the supply chain, i.e. the production, transport, use, and disposal of goods and services. Plastic, in particular, has become ever-present in healthcare supplies, due to the dramatic shift towards single-use items in recent decades. Though essential for healthcare delivery, plastic negatively affects both human health and the environment at each stage of its life cycle - resource extraction, manufacturing, use, and disposal.

Healthcare procurers can play a crucial role in stimulating innovation to reduce healthcare’s plastic consumption and environmental burden, whilst ensuring both resilience and maintaining a high standard of patient safety and quality of care. Procurers can transform procurement practices and make choices based on the zero-waste hierarchy - progressively eliminating/substituting harmful or unnecessary plastics and prioritising toxic-free items that can be reused or reprocessed. 

In this webinar, we aimed to:

  • Raise procurement professionals’ awareness of circularity in healthcare and the opportunities to stimulate innovation through sustainability criteria in procurement. 
  • Present Towards Zero Waste Operating Theatres - a statement of demand for solutions to support a transition to zero-waste operating theatres


Gaynor Whyles, Director - JERA Consulting

Introducing innovation procurement

PDF icon Innovation-procurement_Whyles.pdf

Since 2005, Gaynor Whyles has been a pioneering expert in the field of innovation procurement. She is passionate about the potential of procurement to drive innovation to improve public services, address social challenges, and create economic opportunities. She has facilitated numerous innovation procurement projects and related capacity building activities across Europe. She has co-authored several peer-review papers and authored several guidance documents, policy papers, and case studies on innovation procurement.

Arianna Gamba, Circular Healthcare Programme Manager - Health Care Without Harm (HCWH) Europe

Embedding a circular economy model through sustainable procurement

PDF icon Innovation-procurement_Gamba.pdf

Arianna leads the Circular Healthcare Programme at HCWH Europe, with the goal of ensuring European health systems drive markets towards toxic-free products that conserve finite resources, minimise waste, and contribute to an ethical supply chain and circular economy. She manages a portfolio of projects as well as overseeing the implementation of an EU advocacy strategy related to public procurement, circular economy, and sustainable supply chains. She has over seven years of international experience in the non-profit, intergovernmental, and business sectors in the areas of cooperation and development, international affairs, healthcare, and sustainability.

Sam Willitts, Head of Sustainability - University Hospitals Bristol and Weston NHS FT

Towards Zero Waste Operating Theatres: Innovation procurement in action

PDF icon Innovation-procurement_Willitts.pdf

Sam Willitts has worked in environmental roles across the public sector and has been in his current role since 2010. Along with tackling carbon emissions through both engineering and behaviour change approaches, his efforts are focused on embedding sustainability in activities across the Trust. Key sustainability successes at the Trust have been achieved through developing partnerships with organisations across Bristol and beyond. He completed a One Planet MBA at Exeter University in 2014.