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Celebrating World Earth Day

World Earth Day 2022: How NCH&C is investing in our planet

We’re marking World Earth Day with the launch of our first sustainability webpage.

Friday 22 April 2022 is World Earth Day: a global opportunity to promote environmentalism and drive action on climate change. This year’s World Earth Day theme is “invest in our planet”, and focuses on engaging citizens, businesses, and organisations to “recognize our collective responsibility and to help accelerate the transition to an equitable, prosperous green economy for all.”

This year, we want to focus on the role larger organisations play in tackling the climate crisis, particularly the NHS. Real, structural change is required if the world is to successfully halt the progress of climate change, and this cannot be achieved by citizen action alone.

The NHS is currently responsible for 4-5% of the UK’s carbon emissions but pledges to reduce this by 51% by 2025. The NHS ultimately aspires to be the world’s first net zero national health service, recognising that climate change constitutes a global healthcare emergency.

NCH&C is committed to supporting the NHS on its journey towards net zero. The trust’s Green Plan is due for publication in the next month and outlines how we will significantly reduce our carbon emissions over the next three years. When finished, this will be available on our new sustainability webpage, launched today. This new page will keep staff, patients, and other stakeholders updated on green activity at the trust and ensure we remain transparent and accountable on our sustainability progress.

Although we still have a long way to go, we’re proud to share that so far in 2022…

  • NCH&C joined NHS Forest: an initiative to plant trees in hospital gardens across the country. Tree-planting helps the NHS reach its carbon reduction goals through carbon capture, improves local air quality, and creates green spaces that can improve patient and staff wellbeing. NCH&C has committed to planting six trees outside Norwich Community Hospital’s Mulberry Unit, with more coming in future months.
  • The trust updated its sustainability criteria for fleet vehicles to reduce carbon emissions. The salary sacrifice scheme now only offers ultra-low emission vehicles (emitting less than 70g of carbon per km, while the company lease scheme only offers low emissions vehicles (less than 130 g per km).
  • We started removing food waste macerators at three of our sites (Dereham Hospital, Mulberry Unit, and North Walsham Hospital). Instead, food waste will be collected by Biffa and processed by anaerobic digestion to create bio-fertiliser and electricity.  Together, this will prevent 0.75 tonnes of C02 from entering the atmosphere for every tonne of food waste disposed of.

The new sustainability webpage also outlines details of green progress made between 2019 and 2021.

While this year’s World Earth Day emphasises the role that organisations like the NHS play in fighting climate change, it is natural that many individuals also want to do their bit. We know that many of our staff and patients are passionate about living and working more sustainably. In fact, citizen action on climate change can drive businesses, organisations, and decision-makers to operate more sustainably.

This World Earth Day, we’d like to encourage our patients and staff to show their support for a Greener NHS in a way that keeps us and other organisations accountable:

  • Find out more about the national Greener NHS programme
  • To learn more, staff can complete the Environmentally Sustainable Healthcare programme on eLearning for Healthcare (available via the Loop)
  • Add the Greener NHS banner to your email signature (available to trust staff on the sustainability page on the Loop)
  • Give us your feedback and ideas on how we can operate more sustainably: email to get in touch

The publication of our final Green Plan in the next month will detail the steps we intend to take as the NHS moves towards net zero. We promise to keep you all updated every step of the way.

Stephen Collman, CEO of NCH&C

John Webster, Deputy CEO & Director of Strategy & Transformation