Cumbria, Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust (CNTW), the largest provider of mental health and disability services across the North of England, is marking Earth Day today (22 April) by launching the organisation’s ‘Green Plan’.
This Green Plan sets out how the Trust aims to reduce its carbon emissions to ‘net zero’ by 2040, and actions it will take to meet other sustainability goals by 2026.
With climate change labelled the greatest threat to health in the 21st century by medical journal The Lancet, in March 2020 CNTW’s Board joined a growing number of NHS organisations in declaring a ‘climate and ecological emergency’.
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.Anna FosterTrust Lead for Strategy and Sustainability at CNTW
Anna Foster, Trust Lead for Strategy and Sustainability at CNTW, said: “The NHS overall is estimated to be responsible for around 5% of all UK carbon emissions and 5% of all journeys on UK roads are estimated to be healthcare-related. In 2018-19 the carbon footprint of our Trust was 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.
“We will continue to work in partnership with our staff, service users and their carers, other health organisations and our local communities to deliver on the actions we have committed to in this plan.”
The Green Plan sets out 36 specific actions that CNTW will achieve by March 2022. (The plan will be updated next year to reflect a new set of actions for 2022-23, continuing to work towards the key goals to be achieved by 2026.)
These actions cover a wide range of topics and include:
- Reducing energy consumption by 5%
- Promoting further research into how improving access to nature and green spaces can support people’s wellbeing
- Reducing the use of single-use plastic across the Trust in line with the NHS Plastic Reduction Pledge
- Increasing the provision of recycling bins by at least 50%
- Reviewing the environmental and social impact of the Trust’s current supply chains.
Progress against these actions will be measured and reported regularly to the Trust Board.
NTW Solutions, a wholly owned Subsidiary Company of CNTW which provides estates, facilities, finance, workforce and procurement services to the Trust, is also signed up to the Green Plan and will be integral to achieving its goals.
The Trust’s plans support NHS England’s overall ambition for the whole NHS to be carbon neutral by 2040, which was announced in October last year.
CNTW has already begun making changes to become more sustainable. In April last year the Trust switched to purchasing 100% renewable energy. The redevelopment of Northgate Hospital in Northumberland, run by the Trust, will see it become one of forty new “net zero” hospitals being built to a new Net Zero Carbon Hospital Standard as part of the government’s Health Infrastructure Plan.
At the start of this month staff, volunteers and patients planted a total of 1000 trees across four of CNTW’s hospital sites (St George’s Park in Morpeth, Carleton Clinic in Carlisle, Hopewood Park in Sunderland, and St Nicholas Hospital in Newcastle) as part of the NHS Forest. Once mature, the thousand trees have the potential to absorb 21 tonnes of carbon from the atmosphere every year. They will also provide a habitat for wildlife, and offer staff, patients, and local people more space to enjoy nature – something which is proven to boost mental wellbeing.
CNTW has also pledged support for the North East of England Climate Coalition (NEECCo), which launched at the end of March 2021 with a collective ambition for the North East of “becoming England’s greenest region”. NEECCo is England’s first regional cross-sector climate coalition, and is calling for every individual, household, business and organisation to sign up and make a pledge via their website.
Ken Jarrold CBE, Chair of the Council of Governors and Board of Directors at CNTW, said of the plans: “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.”