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Care Without Carbon – creating a greener NHS


We take sustainability, and in particular climate change, very seriously at Sussex Community NHS Foundation Trust. Not only in terms of how we operate as an organisation, but also in relation to the health of our communities. We understand that climate and health are intrinsically linked.

Care without carbon- creating a greener NHS

“We are seeing real improvement in the quality of our clinical services, our staff are more engaged and better supported and our efforts to support a more sustainable health and care system are having a positive impact.” Siobhan Melia, Chief Executive

Care Without Carbon is what we call our approach to delivering healthcare that cares for both people and the planet. It delivers on one of our three strategic goals, to be a strong, sustainable business, grounded in our communities and led by excellent staff.

Through Care Without Carbon we aim to effectively manage our essential resources from people and time to money and materials. This can be summed up in three key goals:

1. Working towards long-term financial sustainability

2. Minimising our impact on the environment

3. Supporting staff wellbeing to enable a happy, healthy and productive workforce

We’re proud of our achievements across these three goals to date:

A global and local challenge

We are already seeing the impact of climate change, both on a global level and locally in the UK and Sussex. In particular the increase in extreme weather events such as heatwaves and flooding has impacted NHS Trusts across the country, affecting both the health of our communities, and our estate.

NHS Trusts must not only adapt to this change in our climate, but we also have a real part to play in mitigating the impact of climate change by cutting our carbon footprint, not least because the NHS is one of the largest public sector contributors to carbon emissions in the UK. We use energy to heat and power our buildings, we travel great distances to deliver our services and we produce waste which needs to be disposed of.

All of these issues result in impacts on both the environment and our people (both our patients and our staff), which we are firmly committed to reducing.

Dare to Care

Our award winning Dare to Care staff engagement programme helps to deliver on the Culture and Wellbeing steps of our Care Without Carbon model.

Delivering long-term sustainability only happens when people make it happen. Our Dare to Care programme of engagement is an easy and fun way for people to become engaged in making Care Without Carbon an everyday reality.

The campaign is centred on our website www.carewithoutcarbon.org and is primarily aimed at NHS staff, although anyone can sign up to take part via the website.

Dare to Care launched at Sussex Community NHS Foundation Trust (SCFT) in February 2015. Since then just over 25% of our staff have signed up to over 6,000 dares, take action individually and collectively in support of CWC’s goals.

Following the success of Dare to Care at SCFT, the campaign is now being adopted by other healthcare organisations across Sussex and we are actively working with Trusts within the Sussex and East Surrey Sustainable Transformation Partnership (STP) region.

Dare is having a positive impact

The more NHS people we have working together, the bigger the impact we can have collectively on improving workplace wellbeing, reducing environmental harm and of course reducing the cost of delivering care.

We have worked with the New Economics Foundation (NEF) to measure the success of our work with Dare, and we are delighted at the results so far.

In 2017 staff engaged that participated in the Dare to Care programme reported an 18% uplift in wellbeing over staff who had not taken part in Dare to Care. This was up on the 12% uplift reported in 2016.

The results of this analysis are very encouraging.

Although this is a staff facing campaign, the website is open to the public, giving the opportunity to link in with our wider community. This is something we will explore in the future – because sustainability isn’t just about how we look after our resources, it is about how we look after ourselves too.

This short video explains why we choose to Dare to Care.

If you’re interested in getting involved please get in touch with the team at hello@carewithoutcarbon.org.



Annual Sustainability Progress Reports

Clear and open communication about our work, why it matters and what we're achieving is at the heart of our Care Without Carbon strategy. We actively encourage a conversation about what is meant by sustainable healthcare, which is why we share our work and progress in an Annual Sustainability Progress Report.

We are proud of our work so far, but recognise that there is still a lot for us to do. Creating a better working life for our staff, and a greener NHS for all is our goal.

We are proud that in 2018 we continued to deliver progress towards our goals. Read how we’ve done here.

Read about our second annual sustainability progress report for 2017.

In 2016 we were the first NHS Trust to produce a stand-alone report on our progress towards delivering sustainable healthcare.

The Care Without Carbon team welcome feedback. Email hello@carewithoutcarbon.org.

Delivering on our commitments

We set ourselves a target to reduce our carbon footprint by 15% by 2015 and we are delighted to have exceeded that, reaching an 18% absolute reduction. By 2017 we have achieved:

  • Net financial savings of £4.8 million
  • 21% reduction in our absolute carbon footprint
  • 19% improvement in energy efficiency and 35% improvement in water efficiency
  • Over 1 million business miles saved and a 27% reduction in fleet vehicle emissions
  • 65% non-healthcare waste recycled and zero general waste to landfill.

Now we’re looking to our 2020 targets, including a key goal of reducing our footprint by 34% in line with national requirements.

It is vital that we maintain the highest possible standards in data management and reporting, which is why we commission third party assurance of our environmental reporting each year. We have done this since 2011 and the last three years annual assurance certificates can be downloaded here:

If you have any questions or want more information about our carbon footprint assurance process, then contact sc-tr.energyservices@nhs.net


Awards and Accolades

We took an exciting new approach when we developed Care Without Carbon, which addresses all aspects of running a busy NHS Trust both clinical and operational. We’re delighted that it has been recognised as an exemplar model for sustainable healthcare, receiving a number of high profile awards:

  • Accounting for Sustainability Finance For the Future Award 2015 - WINNER
  • IHEEM National Sustainable Achievement Award 2014 - WINNER
  • Health Service Journal Awards 2012: Good Corporate Citizenship Award - FINALIST
  • Health Business Awards 2010: Environmental Practice Award - COMMENDED
  • Health Service Journal Awards 2011: Good Corporate Citizenship Award - WINNER
  • Climate Week Awards 2012 - FINALIST
  • STEM Blue Level Award for Environmental Management

Find out more

We have a dedicated team that works within our Estates and Facilities department to develop and deliver Care Without Carbon.

Contact us if you would like to find out more about our award-winning work on sustainability:

Will Clark
Director of Environment and Transformation
Tel: 01273 242064
Email: will.clark@nhs.net

For all media enquiries please contact our Communications team on 01273 242096 or email scftcommunications@nhs.net