NHS trust announces ‘Green Plan’ to mark Earth Day

Cumbria, Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust (CNTW) is launching its own ‘Green Plan’ to mark Earth Day – an annual global event to support environmental protection.

The plan sets out how the trust will aim to reduce its carbon emissions, in line with NHS England’s ‘net zero’ carbon neutral target for 2040.

It also involves others actions the northern trust will take to meet other sustainability goals for 2026.

However, as for more immediate benefits, the plan includes a total of 36 specific actions that the CNTW aims to achieve in just a year – by March 2022. Targets will also be updated regularly as they continue to work towards the key goals for 2026.

Actions to be taken include reducing energy consumption by 5%, boosting research into the links between wellbeing and access to nature, reducing single-use plastic, increasing the supply of recycling bins by at least 50% and reviewing the impact of trust supply chains. Progress in these areas will also be regularly monitored and reported.

The trust says it has already begun making sustainability changes – highlighting its switch to purchasing 100% renewable energy last year and the recent planting of 1,000 trees across four of its sites, as well as the redevelopment of Northgate Hospital in Northumberland to become a new ‘net zero’ hospital.

Ken Jarrold CBE, Chair of the Council of Governors and Board of Directors at CNTW, said: “The effects of climate and ecological change are very likely to negatively affect the physical and mental health of the UK population. We recognise our responsibility to deliver our services in a sustainable way which meets the needs of the people who need our services today, while minimising harm to future generations. Our new Green Plan sets out how we are going to do this.

“We believe that by focussing on hope and opportunities for change and recovery, in line with our trust’s core values, together we can make a positive impact.”

According to Anna Foster, Trust Lead for Strategy and Sustainability at CNTW, the NHS is responsible for around 5% of all UK carbon emissions and – as of 2018-19 – the trust itself had a carbon footprint of equivalent to around 26,500 tonnes of carbon dioxide per year.

“Climate change and pollution pose a serious threat to the health of the people we serve. We have already taken some steps in recent years to reduce our waste and lower our emissions, but our Green Plan clearly sets out ambitious goals for providing more sustainable care,” she said.