Healthcare / Net zero
European Healthcare Design 2022
Delivering a net-zero health system
By SALUS User Experience Team | 17 Feb 2023 | 0
In this keynote, Dr Nick Watts, the NHS’s first chief sustainability officer, describes the organisation’s net-zero strategy vision, the transformation process, and some of the innovative actions taking place across the system.
The NHS was founded to provide high-quality care for all, now, and for future generations. Understanding that climate change and human health are inextricably linked, in October 2020, it became the first in the world to commit to delivering a net-zero national health system. This means improving healthcare while reducing harmful carbon emissions, and investing in efforts that remove greenhouse gases from the atmosphere.
To understand how and when the NHS can reach net zero, it established an NHS Net Zero Expert Panel, which reviewed nearly 600 pieces of evidence and conducted extensive analysis and modelling.
There are two targets:
- for the emissions the NHS controls directly (the NHS Carbon Footprint), it will reach net zero by 2040, with an ambition to reach an 80-per-cent reduction by 2028 to 2032; and
- for the emissions it can influence (the NHS Carbon Footprint Plus), it will reach net zero by 2045, with an ambition to reach an 80-per-cent reduction by 2036 to 2039.
Actions to help meet these targets include everything from energy efficiency, recycling and plastic reduction, to reducing emissions from travel, supplementing green spaces, or improving logistics.
Dr Nick Watts, the NHS’s first chief sustainability officer, describes the net-zero strategy vision, the transformation process, and some of the innovative actions taking place across the system.
Nick completed his medical degree at UWA and is licensed in Australia and the UK, and a fellow of the Royal College of Physicians’ Faculty of Public Health. Prior to the NHS, Nick worked internationally with a range of health organisations including the World Health Organization, and as executive director of the Lancet Countdown.