Net zero will be made possible through innovation and collaboration

The NHS is a cornerstone of our society, with millions of employees, and tens of millions that rely on it. But due to this vast size and reach, it’s not surprising that it has such an impact on the country’s carbon emissions.

Together we can change this. Our network acts as a pillar in the development and uptake of technologies and best practices designed to reduce emissions in healthcare.

The climate crisis is a health problem

The NHS is responsible for 4% of England’s total carbon footprint. Contributing to:

  • Increased air and water pollution
  • Increased allergens
  • Extreme heat

All of which can cause illness, exacerbate long term health conditions and lead to poor mental health (Jones, 2022).

Net zero guide for innovators

Health Innovation Kent Surrey Sussex and Health Innovation Oxford and Thames Valley have produced a guide to help innovators working with the NHS towards its net zero ambitions.

It’s a comprehensive one-stop-shop, as well as providing links to further resources supporting carbon reduction and sustainable development. It includes a step-by-step guide and self-assessment checklist for innovators on achieving net zero.

Professor Gary Ford, Chief Executive of Health Innovation Oxford and Thames Valley, said: “Climate change is one of the most significant global challenges we face. It is a critical issue impacting patients, staff, suppliers and wider society. Identifying a pathway to net zero emissions for a complex system as large as the NHS is challenging. But sustainable innovation is part of the engine of change with a central role to play in the shift to a lower carbon economy.”

A net zero NHS

The NHS has the power to use innovative solutions to address the climate crisis and make a more sustainable health system.

In 2020, the NHS released its report, Delivering a ‘Net Zero’ National Health Service, outlining its ambition to do just that.

The role of the 15 health innovation networks

Our unique role working with industry, academia and the health and care system in regional and national settings puts us in the perfect position to support the drive for sustainability at every level.

In the same year the 2020 NHS report was published, we launched the Health Innovation Network Environmental Sustainability Community of Interest. This functions as a hub for sharing best practice and finding innovative ways to collectively solve common issues.

Critically, alongside finding solutions for the NHS to be more environmentally sustainable, we’re holding ourselves accountable for our own impact on the environment.

Find information about environmental sustainability at your local network:

Innovation projects

We host regular webinars on Net Zero topics where we hear from innovators at the cutting edge of sustainable practice. You can watch all of our webinars on our YouTube playlist.

Support for NHS organisations

If you are an NHS organisation looking to access support on improving sustainability, contact your local Health Innovation organisation.

Support for innovators

If you already have an innovation that works towards a net zero goal, or you want information about how to make your innovation as sustainable as possible, find out how we can support you.