Go green!

Climate change has been declared as the greatest threat to global health (Lancet, 2017) which will have serious implications for our health, wellbeing, livelihoods, and the structure of organised society. Failure to act quickly will heighten existing national health challenges, place further financial strain on the NHS, and worsen health inequalities within the UK and internationally.

In October 2020, to help combat climate change, NHS England announced its ambition to become the world’s first net zero national health service. This includes two targets:

  • Emissions controlled directly the NHS (the NHS carbon footprint), to reach net zero by 2040, with an ambition to reach an 80% reduction by 2028 to 2032
  • Emissions the NHS can influence, such as commissioned services (the NHS carbon footprint plus), to reach net zero by 2045, with an ambition to reach an 80% reduction by 2036 to 2039

At Spectrum, we are on a journey to help meet this ambition. We are looking at how we can improve our carbon footprint and green initiatives. This will not only benefit our planet and communities but also provides an opportunity to achieve financial savings, which can then be reinvested back into the services we provide.

What does carbon net zero mean?

Net zero means achieving a balance between the greenhouse gases put into the atmosphere and those taken out. To achieve this aim requires us to balance the amount of greenhouse gases we emit with the amount we remove. When what we add is no more than what we take away we reach net zero. This state is also referred to as carbon neutral.

Greenhouse gases are gases in the earth’s atmosphere that trap heat. During the day, the sun shines through the atmosphere, warming the earth’s surface. At night, earth’s surface cools, releasing heat back into the air. But some of the heat is trapped by the greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.

What are we doing at Spectrum?

As an ISO 14001 environmental certified business we have already started our journey to becoming greener. There is some fantastic work going on across all areas of Spectrum.

Our dedicated go green working group is made up of 16 green champions from across all our service areas. All members of the group have successfully completed carbon literacy training and meet bimonthly to discuss ideas, share best practice and work together to make Spectrum a greener, healthier and happier place to work.

All our teams are working hard to ensure we are improving our environmental footprint and our executive team actively champions more sustainable ways of working.

This is only the beginning and there is so much more than we can do to champion and influence environmental change.

Our green plan

Our green plan outlines our vision and strategy of how as an organisation we will help the NHS achieve their ambition of becoming net carbon zero. It was produced through workshop sessions with our green group, our board and our senior leadership group.

Our ambitious green plan sets out our approach to promoting and facilitating sustainable development through positive action and will assist us in driving forward change.

The plan is divided into the following 9 priority areas:

  1. Corporate approach
  2. Asset management and utilities
  3. Travel and logistics
  4. Adaptation
  5. Commissioning and procurement
  6. Green space and biodiversity
  7. Sustainable models of care
  8. Our people
  9. Sustainable use of resources

The plan is underpinned by an action plan which identifies measurable actions within each of these priority areas.

You can see a copy of our green plan on a page here: