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Sustainable development management plan: summary report

We’re committed to reducing our impact on the environment. This is our first sustainable development management plan, covering the period 2017-2022 and setting out a clear route map to develop a more sustainable organisation.

The UK Government has set ambitious targets for carbon reduction through the Greening Government Commitment (GGC), the Climate Change Act 2008 and Carbon Budgets.

This plan brings together, for the first time, all our sustainability activities into one document, and provides a framework for managing and monitoring our activities to fully support the GGC on carbon reduction by 2020. 

Sustainability Plan 2017-2022

To deliver this reduction, we have developed plans and targets for four core business areas.

Estates emissions

  • reduce energy consumption by 30%
  • reduce gas consumption by 30%
  • reduce water consumption by 30%
  • improve waste management - reduce waste to landfill to less than 10%; reduce waste generated; increase recycling
  • reduce paper use by at least 50%

Transport emissions

  • reduce the number of domestic flights by at least 30%
  • reduce train travel and replace with video conferencing
  • conduct a grey fleet assessment

Procurement emissions

  • embed compliance with the Government Buying Standards in departmental and centralised procurement contracts
  • buying 'greener' products and services

ICT emissions

  • reduce the impact of ICT on energy consumption
  • work to reduce the impact of Data Centres
  • take on the challenge to reduce the digital impact of the rest of the NHS

Further information about these plans is available in Appendix A of the NHS Digital sustainable development management plan summary.

Staff engagement and behaviour change

We will work with staff to support us in delivering our estate and travel target and to support new ways of working. This engagement has ready started through establishing the 'Green Digits' - an engaged network of staff who have an active interest in supporting a more sustainable NHS Digital.

Supplier health and care system partnering

As the national lead on information and technology for better health and care, NHS Digital has an opportunity to take on a more substantial and significant role in supporting these national government targets. 

We will work with system partners, including suppliers and the NHS Sustainable Development Unit (SDU) to explore and encourage wider sustainability in technology across the NHS.

Our carbon footprint

To support this work, we carried our a detailed carbon footprint assessment to look at the NHS Digital estate and our business travel.

The plan includes two graphs showing the total carbon emissions of NHS Digital and proportion of total emissions relating to our estate. By 2021 we will be moving from our four separate offices in Leeds, to one new building with a good environmental rating, and this should help deliver a lower carbon footprint.

The health and care system carbon footprint

We also have an important role to play in supporting the reduction of the carbon footprint of the NHS and health care sectors. The sustainable development healthy returns report has already identified opportunities for digital technologies to have significant impact on reducing CO2 alongside.

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Last edited: 27 October 2022 11:46 am