We are dedicated to treating and supporting our patients and staff within the constraints of our natural resources, increasing our readiness for changing times and climate, and strengthening our links with the local community.

In line with the NHS Standard Contract, we have a Board-approved sustainable development management plan, the UCLH Green Plan, which outlines our strategy towards a “Green UCLH” and takes into consideration the NHS Long Term Plan commitments.

We will achieve this by taking specific actions and making appropriate adaptations with the aim of reducing air pollution, mitigating the impact of climate change and severe weather, reducing use of single use plastics and reducing waste and water usage.

It is increasingly clear that the changes in our climate and the depletion of finite resources are real and growing threats to the continued health and wellbeing of the global population. It is therefore vital that we commit to a strategic view of sustainable development and endeavour to take all reasonable steps to ensure we carry out our activities in a sustainable manner, minimising the impact from our actions and implementing policy so as to meet our environmental, social and economic targets.

We will do this by making sure that sustainable development principles become embedded into every facet of our activities, focusing on:

  • Our corporate approach
  • Our patients and staff
  • Sustainable use of resources
  • Our progress towards net zero carbon

We are already working with local businesses, public sector organisations, and local Business Improvement Districts to minimise adverse effects on biodiversity from our necessary operations and to ensure that all members of staff are aware of their responsibilities towards protecting biodiversity. We will continue with this collaboration to achieve common goals.

We have aligned our strategy with the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) which serve as a blueprint to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all and provide a powerful aspiration for improving our world – laying out where we collectively need to go and how to get there.

Together, we can make a positive impact on the environment!

Our direction is clearly defined by policies for sustainable development, carbon, and waste management which integrate the latest requirements and guidance from the NHS Sustainable Development Unit. We are working hard to cut emissions by more than 28 per cent against our 2007/08 baseline by 2020. This represents a target of 0.16 tCO2e (carbon dioxide equivalent) per patient contact. In 2016/17 our carbon emissions per patient contact was 0.20 tCO2e.

Our reported carbon footprint includes those sources where we have a good understanding of emissions. This year UCLH has attempted to include emissions from procurement, our supply chain, waste plus transport and travel which will be integrated into the 2020 reduction target. We are working to quantify and reduce emissions from these sources more

Feedback from the Carbon Trust has provided a good framework for us to use our resources efficiently, as well as for cutting costs. We have revised our Waste Policy to measure our success against waste targets more accurately.

We now have a secure area to store surplus furniture and equipment for re-use across UCLH. We aim to challenge a ‘disposable culture’ by encouraging staff to donate unwanted furniture. Staff are also encouraged to enquire what items are in the store before buying new ones to reduce waste, save money and keep our carbon footprint to a minimum. During the financial year 2016/17, 198 items have been re-used.

We have identified an aid agency that needs medical equipment and currently have more than a 100 crutches in our re-use store ready for donation. This means we send less waste to landfill, reduce waste costs and make a small contribution of medical aid to those in need.

To help us reduce our waste, we:

  • diverted 100 per cent of our recycled waste from landfill
  • increased recycling facilities at our hospitals
  • introduced monthly waste audits to highlight areas for improvement
  • increased battery recycling facilities on all sites
  • adopted a kg waste/patient metric for measuring waste targets 

We have some challenging carbon reduction targets ahead. By 2050 we aim to reduce our carbon emissions by 78 per cent, with interim targets of 28 per cent by 2020 and 45 per cent by 2025.
The work of the UCLH Sustainability Steering Group is constantly evolving and remains responsive to new challenges. The group consists of senior managers and clinicians from pharmacy, radiography, procurement, information systems, and estates and facilities management.
We continue to work with colleagues across the NHS to reduce the impact and cost of energy, waste, water and transport. We are an advisory board member of the Camden Climate Change Alliance. As a member of the Shelford Group, we are collectively working towards sustainable procurement. 
We are working to improve energy performance by:

  • adapting our existing electricity sub-meters so we can monitor the amount of electricity we are using at any given time throughout University College Hospital. This will help us proactively reduce electricity consumption if required
  • exploring setting up a software package that would allow us to view how much energy we are consuming on a daily basis
  • introducing an energy efficient LED lighting programme across UCLH
  • undertaking a feasibility study on how we can generate heat and power more efficiently on site.