Indirect emissions key in NHS journey to Net Zero

Jess Twemlow, associate director (Sustainability and Circular Economy), at global strategic and environmental consultancy, Ricardo, argues that the NHS in England’s Net Zero ambitions will only be achieved ‘with radical and immediate engagement of the clinical community’, including work around sustainable models of care, procurement, food and catering, and medicines.

Setting a goal can be straightforward, but achieving it? That is when the hard work begins, and while going for the low-hanging fruit can result in some easy, early wins, it is key that the wider picture is always kept in mind for sustained, long-term results. In 2020, NHS England became the world’s first national health service to commit to reaching Net Zero, and the organisation has laid out ambitious targets to help achieve its aim (with equally ambitions plans for the NHS in Wales and Scotland).

The pathway to Net Zero is not going to be an easy one, and will need a rounded approach, looking at all three scopes. The NHS Carbon Footprint, for the emissions it can control directly, has the aim of reaching Net Zero by 2040, with an ambition to achieve an 80% reduction by 2028-2032. For emissions over which it has no direct control, but can exert influence – the NHS Carbon Footprint Plus – the goal is to reach Net Zero by 2045, with the aim of making an 80% reduction by 2036-2039. It was reported1 last June, however, that half of NHS Trusts are already behind schedule on these decarbonisation targets. It was revealed that some positive action had been taken: the vast majority of Trusts had installed electric vehicle charging infrastructure on site or were planning to install it within five years, and most Trusts were installing technologies to improve energy efficiency

A task not to be taken lightly

Log in or register FREE to read the rest

This story is Premium Content and is only available to registered users. Please log in at the top of the page to view the full text. If you don't already have an account, please register with us completely free of charge.

Latest Issues