Our climate is changing for the worse due to our actions, and is threatening our quality of life by impacting on our health, environment, economy and society.
The UK Government has committed to take action and has introduced the Climate Change Act with a target to cut carbon emissions. The Government have placed an emphasis on the public sector setting a leading example on Climate Change.
The NHS has a carbon footprint of 18 million tonnes CO2 per year and despite an increase in efficiency, the NHS has increased its carbon footprint by 40% since 1990. Public sector leadership will be critical to the achievement of the Government’s climate change objectives. Within the Climate Change Act, the two main targets are:
• A minimum reduction of 34% in carbon emissions by 2020 across the UK.
• An 80% reduction in carbon emissions by 2050.
Environmental issues have been a priority for the Trust and we are fully committed to reducing our CO2 emissions in line with the NHS Carbon Reduction Strategy for England which was released in January 2009. We will work to ensure that this objective is realised and that high standards of environmental management are adopted throughout the organisation. This has been reflected in the Trust objectives for 2010/11.
To achieve these goals we have been working closely with the Carbon Trust and in February 2010 we successfully completed Phase 4 of the NHS Carbon Management Programme. This has enabled us to produce a comprehensive ongoing Carbon Management Plan to reduce our emissions in all areas. By completing the key actions detailed in the plan the Trust aims to minimise the adverse environmental impact made by all activities carried out within all Trust sites, whilst improving its environmental performance, thus reducing its emissions, To meet these aims the Trust has committed to reduce CO2 emissions by 20% by 2015.
John Applegate, Environmental and Logistics Manager said “We believe by embarking on this journey with the support from the Carbon Trust we can learn and make a valid contribution to climate change in the local area. We also realise that through the implementation of the plan there will be financial savings that could then be diverted into direct healthcare services which will benefit the local community. As well as pushing simple energy saving measures to staff, such as switching off unwanted lights, computers, faxes and other electrical equipment, the Trust will review current practices and invest in low carbon technologies.”
The Trust has recently produced a Carbon Management and Environmental Strategy document which is currently being followed, and we have signed up to the Good Corporate Citizenship Assessment Model which will further enable us to identify areas where improvements can be made.
We will be looking at all areas in order to reduce the environmental impact of our activities and to reduce our CO2 emissions. Some that we will be focusing on are:
- Energy & carbon management
- Waste minimisation and recycling
- Low carbon travel, transport and access
- Ensuring Sustainable Development is adopted throughout the Trust
- Green procurement and Food
- Water efficiency
- Workforce development
During 2009 the Trust was successful in obtaining over £400,000 in interest free loans from the Government's Salix Funding scheme. This will allow us to implement a number of the energy and CO2 saving initiatives identified in the carbon management plan and keep us on track to meet our target of a 20% reduction in CO2 emissions by 2015.
The current CO2 emissions that make up the trust’s carbon footprint are detailed below:
As previously stated in February 2010 the Trust approved its Carbon Management Plan. We fully support the commitment of the NHS to meet the Government's targets of an 80% reduction of carbon emissions by 2050 by adopting the good practice and recommendations detailed in the publication ‘Saving Carbon Improving Health’ January 2009. A lot of work has already been started and progress has been made. However, as an organisation, we want to lead by example and become more environmentally aware.
Green News is the Trust’s new Green Newsletter which will be published quarterly.
Environmental Strategy for the NHS
Carbon Trust - Introducing NHS Carbon Management
NHS England Carbon Emisisons carbon footprint report, September 2008
Sustainable Development Unit case studies for NHS carbon reduction strategy
NHS Purchasing and Supply Agency sustainable procurement action plans
The UK Climate Impacts Programme
Civil Contingencies Act
Climate Change Act 2008
James Paget NHS Carbon Management project plan, July 2009