Healthcare organisations’ Net Zero plans ‘blown off track’ by energy crisis

Eighty-five per cent of business leaders within the UK and Ireland’s healthcare sectors believe the ‘energy crisis’ will impact their organisation’s ability to meet emissions reduction plans, according to research published by Schneider Electric, the specialist in ‘the digital transformation’ of energy management and automation.

Of that figure, around half of organisations say they are delaying planned investment in sustainability and Net Zero plans (48%). Nearly one third 30%) cite having ‘more immediate business challenges to meet’, while 41% claim emission reduction targets are ‘no longer an issue’ for their stakeholders. More than a third (38%) claim taking practical action to meet targets is ‘difficult’.

Schneider Electric points out that given the direct link between lower energy use and decreased emissions, organisations that maintain efforts to meet their emissions targets will also reduce energy use – in turn lowering their overall energy costs, ‘and providing a useful boost to the bottom line in a challenging economic climate’.

The company said: “The survey of over 1,500 large organisations reveals that healthcare leaders still recognise the importance of working to emissions reduction targets, as 42% believe climate change and Net Zero ambitions will become more of a priority over the next three years. Only a small minority (11%) believe national Net Zero commitments will be diluted in that time.”

“Business leaders tell us the energy crisis should be seen alongside the many other challenges they have faced over the last 12 months – including economic pressures, cyber security, and skills shortages, said Kelly Becker, Zone President, Schneider Electric UK and Ireland.

“Yet our research suggests some of those working in the UK and Ireland’s healthcare  sectors are ‘kicking the carbon emissions can down the road’, as a result of the energy crisis. As fears grow about progress against global commitments under the Paris Agreement, and the UK’s Climate Change Committee warns of a lack of progress on emissions cuts, the UK and Ireland need organisations to play their part and stick to their Net Zero and emissions reduction targets”.

The survey also revealed that just 18% of healthcare leaders surveyed believe  energy prices will fall over the next three years, while nearly three quarters (73%) think their organisation will still be addressing the energy crisis in a year’s time.

Presenting the survey findings, Kelly Becker urged those in the healthcare sector to ‘re-engage’ with their emissions reduction ambitions. She said: “The technology required to help businesses decarbonise is already available – and the return on investment for these solutions has never been more attractive, with payback periods measured in months, rather than years.

“What’s more, those that invest in green skills and green jobs will reap the rewards of a diverse workforce for decades to come. At Schneider, we’ve seen this for ourselves through our apprenticeship and graduate programmes.”

The research was carried out online by Research Without Barriers (RWB) between 12 May and 7 June this year.


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