Why we’re so passionate about Sustainability
Last week (15 to 19 May) was our Trust’s first Sustainability Week and our dedicated ‘Green Team’ met with colleagues across BWC to discuss the many ongoing initiatives, activities and future plans we have.
Sustainability is high on the agenda us. Why? Well, BWC emitted 63,791 tonnes of eCO2 in 2020/2021 and to keep this much CO2 in balance with our planet we would need a mature forest the size of Birmingham.
Clearly this isn’t possible and we’re not alone. As the largest employer in Britain, our NHS is responsible for around four per cent of the nation’s total carbon emissions. Our NHS therefore has to be a major part of the solution to meet our carbon targets.
Challenging targets have been set nationally for all NHS Trusts to meet both in the medium and longer-term with the overall aim of becoming the first zero carbon neutral health system in the world by 2040.
Matt Boazman, BWC Chief Executive, said: “Embracing a challenge of this scale and achieving net-zero means we must make both radical change and also deliver change rapidly if we’re to achieve these ambitions.
“That is why you may have already noticed work happening across our sites as we start to change the way in which we both heat and power our buildings after successfully securing £63m grant funding to support our decarbonisation plans.”
Moving forward there are many short-term plans and longer-term projects already in progress from providing colleagues with platforms to play their part in our sustainable goals to the wider Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme, which will see ground source heat pumps being installed at both the Women’s and Children’s Hospitals, new windows at both sites, a remodelled exterior on the Women’s and a new entrance at the Children’s.
While a large focus is on improving our buildings, this is not just an engineering problem as our buildings, heating, lighting etc make up less than 25 per cent of our carbon output.
The larger, more complex challenge is our supply chain. Everything we buy, from pens to the medicines we use, to larger equipment like MRI scanners make up more than 50 per cent of our Trust’s carbon footprint, however, these are all things that we can all help with.
Our Trust’s Green Plan, which was launched at the beginning of last year, established a number of Environmental Sustainability Working Groups (ESWG) that are now working hard on each part of our Trust’s carbon pie (the breakdown of all the elements that make up our carbon footprint).
In some areas, the answers are easier, we know a lot of what needs to be done to reduce emissions from heating our buildings for example, however, other areas, such as emissions linked to life-saving medicines, we don’t yet have the answers but we are working towards a solution.
Our Green Plan sets out how we can all play a part in our Trust’s sustainable journey. If we do not take bold and decisive action immediately to work towards net-zero, the impact of climate change in the near future will wreak havoc on the planet taking immeasurable toll on the health of people across the globe.
For us to do the best for children, young people and their families, we must care deeply about climate change.
To learn more and to find out what we’ve done, what we’re doing and how you can help, visit the Sustainability pages on our website, which contains our full Green Plan available to download.