The campaign will launch in July as the NHS marks its 73rd birthday and will coincide with the run-up to Cop26 in Glasgow later this year. It is believed the aim of the campaign is to engage staff in efforts to make the NHS greener and to demonstrate the benefits reducing carbon emissions can have on both their own and their patient’s lives.
The Independent reports that plans include an aim that ‘at least 100,000 staff have committed to support the NHS to achieve net zero’ by November this year. This will include staff pledging to cut their own carbon footprints as well as changes to services which will reduce hospital and NHS carbon emissions going forward.
The NHS is the largest employer in the UK and the health service contributes nearly 5% of the UK’s total carbon footprint. The NHS has managed to reduce its emissions by 26% since 1990 and in October 2020 it became the first national health service in the world to commit to reaching net zero carbon emissions by 2045. This will include its direct emissions and those it can influence among businesses and suppliers it works with.
According to tender documents, NHS England said: “Reaching this goal matters. The core purpose of the NHS is to improve patient and community health outcomes. Climate change threatens this purpose, undermining the foundations of good health and putting the NHS, its staff, and the people it serves at risk. Tackling climate change is lifesaving, with health benefits gained through cleaner air, active lifestyles, and improved diets.
“As the UK’s largest employer, contributing 4.6 per cent of carbon emissions, the NHS is part of the challenge and the solution. It has a collective responsibility to act, with all 1.3 million staff having a role to play.
Inenco has been working alongside an NHS Primary Care/Health Care provider for the past 4 years to improve energy efficiencies and drive cost-savings across a complex estate. In that time Inenco has reduced the provider’s carbon emissions by 6,889 tonnes and saved them £2.68m in financial savings.
Part of the success of this activity was the result of an innovative campaign within the estate to educate over 3,000 cleaning and tenant staff on measures they can all take to improve energy management, for example guidance on how to conduct energy efficiency reviews of buildings and the distribution of energy savings checklists, guidance and posters. This was one of the biggest “switch off” campaigns in the country.
Inenco also engaged with and trained both the facilities management and technical teams within the organisation and bridged the gap between both teams so they were working in unison and therefore applying a new approach and way of thinking within the organisation.