Medicines and Chemicals

Understanding the carbon footprint of our medicines usage is very difficult, but we know that it is a significant amount from national NHS data and that it includes the carbon emitted during manufacture and transport.

At present, we calculate this by using a conversion factor provided by NHS E&I that converts the cost of medicines into a carbon estimate - clearly only useful as an overall estimate.

We need to do more to understand carbon emissions from medicines, and how we can shape our supply chain with other NHS Trusts to have less of an impact on the planet.

A production line for drugs

What we've done

  • Reduced waste from expired and unused medicines.
  • Created a working group to investigate the carbon improvements within medicines and chemicals, and what saving alternatives might already exist.
  • Added a 10% minimum weight to sustainable and ethical practices within the qualitative scoring of new tenders for suppliers.

What we're doing

  • Developing a way of understanding the actual carbon impact of the medicines and chemicals we use.
  • Increasing disposal of suitable medications into recycling pathways.
  • Continuing to improve our procurement approach to place more emphasis on environmental impact.