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Sustainability wheel


Image description

NHS Digital sustainability wheel.

The image shows a circle divided into thirds, each representing an element of organisational sustainability.

  1. Greening digital - includes the sustainability impact of digital and digital collaboration.
  2. Resource efficiency - includes green estate and sustainable procurement.
  3. Cultural change - includes empowering staff for sustainability and embedding sustainability.

Together, these elements help to reduce the environmental impact of our work.

The importance of sustainability gained momentum in the local, national, and international agenda during the year. We have made good progress in implementing local NHS Digital objectives since the first NHS Digital Sustainability Plan in 2017, including efficiency improvements in our estate and through smarter working. In 19/20 this has delivered: 

  • annual reductions of about 15% in gas and electricity consumption in our buildings
  • a 20% annual cut in water use
  • a 20% annual fall in business travel mileage

NHS Digital can also influence the sustainability agenda more widely, and the forced acceleration of digital collaboration because of the pandemic is enabling rapidly increasing sustainability benefits more widely. For example, the deployment of Microsoft Teams across the healthcare system via NHSmail has promoted more flexible and sustainable working practices at scale immediately and the benefits of this should endure. The rapid growth of our digital services at scale such as uptake of the NHS App, greater use of online services such as 111 online, extending some Electronic Prescription Services to a dispenser of the user’s choice; and supporting the deployment of remote collaboration and consultation services across the healthcare system are also creating a significant and positive sustainability impact.

Last edited: 19 October 2020 4:38 pm