Trust saves £10m through carbon reduction efforts

Sussex Community NHS Trust's Care Without Carbon initiative smashes energy-efficiency targets 

Sussex Community NHS Trust has slashed carbon emissions by 39% in the past decade, leading the way in helping the health service to meet its ambitious net-zero target.

New figures show that by the end of March last year, the trust had slashed its total emissions across buildings and travel by 3,287 tonnes, or 39%, compared to 2010/11; easily beating its 34% goal. 

The work of Care Without Carbon (CWC), the trust’s ground-breaking sustainability programme, saved the organisation the equivalent of 252 people’s annual carbon emissions by spending just £1.8m. 

And this has saved £10m, the equivalent of employing another 390 nurses. 

The trust’s successes are detailed in the fifth annual CWC report.

Saving energy

It states that carbon released by the trust’s 70 buildings, which include 11 community hospitals, 52 health centres, and seven offices, was reduced by 42%.

This included buying 100%-renewable energy and using computer software to control essential equipment like ventilation and heating. 

And emissions from the trust’s fleet of vehicles is now at a historic low thanks to the use of low-emission vehicles and electric bikes, while a successful engagement campaign has encouraged staff to walk, cycle or use public transport to travel to work. 

Other initiatives have included trying to eliminate the use of high-volume single-use plastics and selling items no longer required by the Trust on Sussex Police’s eBay account, saving £3,800 in disposal costs and generating £3,600 in income in just four months. 

Looking to the future

Susie Vernon, associate director of sustainability at the trust, said: “The team is now working on the next CWC strategy to take us to 2025. 

“This will include a 51% carbon reduction target as well as an ambition to meet net zero carbon by 2040. 

“These are tough targets but we know that a healthy environment supports healthy people, and in meeting these challenging targets we are further supporting the long-term health of our communities.”

 

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