The health and care organisations that make up the BSW Partnership have said they will do more to create a greener health and care system and work towards ambitious targets to reduce carbon emissions and become a net zero system by 2040, with our wider supply chain aiming to hit the target by 2045.
Net zero refers to the balance between the amount of harmful greenhouse gas produced and the amount removed from the atmosphere. For the BSW health and care system to reach net zero the amount of greenhouse gasses we add will need to be no more than the amount taken away.
To put this ambitious target in context, in 2019 and 2020 the combined carbon footprint of the organisations that make up the BSW Partnership – including all of our suppliers – was almost 366,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide – the same as the combined emissions of around 133,000 average UK households.
Considering the size and complexity of the BSW health and care system, our activities, travel and use of materials and resources, it’s not hard to see why our carbon footprint is so high and why we need a plan to do something about it.
That’s why all of the NHS health trusts in our partnership have produced their own green plans which are now informing our system wide plan to reduce our carbon emissions as much as possible and address the role we play in tackling the climate health emergency. The Green Plan also outlines our approach to sustainability including our approach to managing our buildings, travel and transport, use of resources, workforce and future care models.
Caroline Gregory, Senior Responsible Officer for the BSW Partnership’s Green Plan said achieving the target and the ambitions would involve a joint effort from everyone working for BSW Partner organisations, as well as everyone living across the area.
“We recognise the significant contribution that many other parts of the system and our wider partners are making , from local authority planning and infrastructure colleagues taking decisions about travel, transport, homes and services, to the role that third sector organisations and primary care can have in engaging communities and supporting changes in behaviour.
Everyone across the health and care system will need to play their part to achieve net zero – primary care, pharmacists, patients, public, providers, suppliers, VCSE and Local Authorities.”
She also acknowledged that achieving net zero is going to be challenging, particularly considering the significant pressures that health and care systems have been under for some time now, and which have been further exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic over the last two years.
How can you help?
In order to hit the ambitious carbon emission reduction targets laid out in our forthcoming Green Plan, every one of us has to play our part in reducing our carbon footprints.
How will you help? Think about your own role in the BSW Partnership and tell us what you plan to do to reduce your own carbon footprint – we’ll include some of the best suggestions in the next issue of BSW Together.
Send your suggestions to firstname.lastname@example.org
You can read more about the Greener NHS Programme here https://www.england.nhs.uk/greenernhs/