Skip to main content

Our Journey to Net Zero

At the Royal Berkshire NHS Foundation Trust, our Vision 2025 is ‘Working together to provide outstanding care for our community’. This includes reducing our resource use so that we can operate more sustainably, reducing our climate change impact for our community and future generations.

In October 2020, NHS England announced their ambition to become the world’s first net zero national health service, setting the following two targets:

  • For the emissions we control directly (the NHS Carbon Footprint), we will reach net zero by 2040, with an ambition to reach an 80% reduction by 2028 to 2032;
  • For the emissions we can influence (our NHS Carbon Footprint Plus), we will reach net zero by 2045, with an ambition to reach an 80% reduction by 2036 to 2039.

The NHS is responsible for 5% of the UK’s carbon emissions and 3.5%of all road travel. At the same time, climate change is recognised as having a negative impact on health, particularly in deprived areas, exacerbating health inequalities.

Our Green Plan - more than just reducing emissions

We are in the process of developing our Green Plan, outlining our vision and strategy for how we will achieve our ambition of becoming net carbon zero.

As one of the largest employers in Berkshire, it is our responsibility to lead by example and show others what is possible. The Green Plan is our commitment to reduce our impact on the environment and to deliver sustainable healthcare, helping to secure better health, for life for generations to come. We will work with patients, staff, local communities and partners to put our organisation on a path to a cleaner, greener, healthier and more equitable future.

If you would like to be part of out Net Zero journey and can help us in anyway please email greenberkshire@royalberkshire.nhs.uk

Net zero means achieving a balance between the greenhouse gases put into the atmosphere and those taken out. To achieve this aim requires us to balance the amount of greenhouse gases we emit with the amount we remove. When what we add is no more than what we take away we reach net zero. This state is also referred to as carbon neutral.

Our Aim

In the period 2022 to 2025, we will lay the foundations to achieve the NHS targets by focusing on the following activity.

  • Reducing scope 1 and 2 emissions,
  • Measuring, quantifying, and reducing our scope 3 emissions
  • Reviewing our hospital redevelopment plan options to optimise the Net Zero carbon impact of the redevelopment option we pursue as a Trust.

To do this within our Green Plan, we have set out our focus for the next three years for a range of performance improvement projects including our key priority areas:

Medicines
  • Reducing the use of desflurane in surgery
  • Optimising and reducing waste of medical gases
  • Reducing the carbon impact of inhalers
Travel and Transport
  • Salary sacrifice for Zero Emissions Vehicles
  • Appointing a cycle-to-work lead and ensuring there is a salary sacrifice scheme and cycle facilities in place
  • Discounted staff travel
Digitally enabled hybrid working
  • Expanding digital models of care
  • Developing a flexible approach to virtual and home working 

And we have also set out a longer list of areas and projects to be advanced over the full three-year period  that needs to be addressed to decarbonise our healthcare system which include:

Developing a framework to evaluate carbon reductions associated with new models of care and implementation.

Agree business as usual plans 

Increase use of local suppliers

Working with suppliers to ensure that they are committed to the NHS Net Zero approach before the end of the decade.

Reduce single use plastics

Work with on site retailers

Introduce advanced catering software to analyse data

By supporting the construction of our new ‘Net Zero Hospital’ and incorporating higher standards for construction and refurbishment of current buildings.

Maintain and enhance plants in existing green spaces

Development of a new memorial garden in health and wellbeing centre

Reduce the amount of waste produced by using less material

Staff awareness campaign

Work with local community to reuse and recycle

Back to top