Greening Elderly Care: The show must go on

A qualitative research on the practical impact of the Green Deal Sustainable Healthcare 3.0 in the Netherlands

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The third version of the Green Deal Sustainable Healthcare 3.0 (GD3) in the Dutch elderly care sector represents a dynamic and shared governance model that promotes widespread participation and implementation of sustainability practices. The GD3 provides a blueprint for elderly care organisations to pursue sustainability goals, but its success depends on collaborative efforts supported by various tools and frameworks. This research explores how joining the GD3 facilitates the achievement of sustainability goals in elderly care organisations. Successful implementation of the GD3 can have far-reaching effects, of which inspiring other sectors to adopt similar collaborative approaches. However, its effectiveness depends on the performance of the participating organisations and their use of empowering tools such as the Milieuthermometer Zorg (MTZ). Interaction and cooperation between the diverse group of actors is essential to achieve the desired results, as the GD3 operates through a shared form of governance involving both bottom-up and governmental actors. Active participation, implementation of sustainable actions and maintaining trust and cooperation are crucial for the effectiveness of the GD3. Repeated experience with climate agreements such as the GD3 helps to build trust, reciprocity and reputation among participating actors. All of this is being explored in the context of other challenges specific to care for the elderly, such as staff shortages and an ageing population. Ultimately, the GD3 represents a valuable initiative within the health sector that provides a script for sustainability efforts, while allowing organisations the flexibility to adapt and take artistic license in achieving the intended outcomes. The aim is to present a dazzling sustainability show within three years, signalling a transformed system. Given the urgency of sustainability and the challenges posed by an ageing population, embracing GD3's collaborative and adaptive approach is essential for the future of healthcare, particularly in the context of elderly care in the Netherlands.