DISINFACTS | Special edition 2023

The National Health Service (NHS) of the UK aims to be the first health service worldwide with net zero emissions. The decarbonisation was even embedded in legislation on 1 July 2022. The emissions directly controlled by the NHS shall be reduced to 80% by 2028-2032 and ultimately to net zero in 2040. The strategy covers several key areas, such as reducing emissions from buildings, creating sustainable transportation, implementing greener clinical practices as well as optimised waste management, raising awareness, and improving education. [1] Global perspectives on sustainability Climate protection in healthcare These few examples demonstrate that many countries recognise the importance of sustainability in healthcare and have taken steps to reduce the carbon footprint towards a more environmentally friendly and socially responsible healthcare system. In 2022 the Adminitração Central Do Sistema De Saúde* published a comprehensive calculation of current greenhouse gas emissions, including a forecast of how emissions will develop if the current measures are maintained. It became clear that more far-reaching action was needed e. g. in the supply chain to meet climate targets. [4] The Māori, the indigenous people of New Zealand, are especially vulnerable to the effects of climate change and thus are an important part of the state’s sustainability framework. For example, part of the savings from energy efficiency initiatives will be used to support Māori communities. In addition, food will be purchased locally from the Māori and food waste will be returned as compost. [5] * Central Health System Administration References 1. National Health Service (2020). Delivering a ‘Net Zero’ National Healthcare. https://www.england.nhs.uk/greenernhs/a-net-zero-nhs/ 2. Health Care Without Harm Climate (2019) Health Care’s Climate Footprint. https://noharm-global.org/sites/default/files/documents-files/5961/HealthCaresClimateFootprint_092319.pdf 3. GreenCare. https://bcgreencare.ca/ and https://bcgreencare.ca/take-action/ 4. Adminitração Central Do Sistema De Saúde (2022) Carbon footprint of the Portugese Health Sector and Ways for Mitigation. https://noharm-europe.org/sites/default/ files/documents-files/7363/2022-12-Portugal-Operation-Zero-Report-Carbon-footprint-of-the-portuguese-health-sector-and-ways-for-mitigation.pdf 5. New Zealand Ministry of Health (2019). Sustainability and the health sector. https://www.health.govt.nz/system/files/documents/publications/sustainability-and-the-health-sector-30jul2019_1.pdf In 2019 the Canadian healthcare sector had CO2e emissions of 1 tonne per capita ranking 4th in the world [2]. On step to tackle these high emissions is the “Green+Leaders” program. It is a community of healthcare workers who are engaged in advancing sustainability practices within the health system. The members of the community regularly exchange information about the measures they have implemented as change agents in their institutions and learn from each other. [3] United Kingdom Canada Portugal New Zealand 18 KNOWLEDGE