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Sustainability matters

Across NHS Digital, we share a commitment to working sustainably. Find out about the steps we're taking to reduce our impact and how we're performing against our targets.

 

Making a sustainable difference

At NHS Digital we share a commitment to working sustainably and are taking steps to reduce our organisation’s impact on the environment.

We believe that in order to make a difference sustainability should be embedded in every part of our working life now and in the future as we transition to NHS England. 


A dedicated sustainability programme

Our sustainability team measures and reports on our environmental impacts and develops initiatives to improve the sustainability of the organisation and its supply chain.

The team works across the organisation to help and advise colleagues on how they can work more sustainably and provide training and guidance on sustainability topics.


Sustainability in action at NHS Digital

Our aim is to ensure that sustainability benefits are felt by all our colleagues in the organisation. Examples are provided below.

Solar panels

We have solar panels on some of the buildings we occupy to provide clean power.

Electric vehicles

We have charging units on some sites to top up vehicles during the day.

Training

We provide regular training to increase our collective knowledge and colleague engagement about sustainability topics.

Mental health

We're in partnership with mental health experts to run sessions to provide support to deal with climate distress and anxiety.

Pledges

In support of the Greener NHS plan to reach carbon net zero, NHS Digital pledged to:

  • become a net zero organisation
  • provide leadership to the NHS in adopting sustainable digital services – including the establishment of a cloud centre of excellence that will support the shift to more resilient and sustainable cloud hosting arrangements
  • support our colleagues to take action to achieve net zero

Our sustainability journey

We've been working on our sustainability agenda since 2017, when we committed to a company-wide Sustainability Plan. You can see some of our results from this period in our sustainability annual reports.

In 2017, we determined that our baseline year should be 2013/14 for reporting purposes, and so from that year until 2021 we have reduced our:

  • carbon footprint by 65%
  • overall travel by 99%
  • water usage by 52%
  • paper usage by 97%

These fantastic numbers can be attributed in part to our move to remote working during the pandemic from 2020 onwards. Therefore, for the next reporting period of 2021/22 the Sustainability Programme has challenged itself to develop a methodology to calculate the 'real' impact of remote/hybrid working by measuring what is missing from the data above such as home heating and electricity usage. 

We have already started on the path to embedding sustainability into our digital initiatives. Our digital sustainability case studies provide detail on:

  • NHS Digital Call/Recall COVID-19 Vaccinations Programme
  • Provision of MS Teams to the NHS
  • NHSmail for care homes
  • NHS App
  • National Booking Service (NBS) – Book a Coronavirus Vaccination
  • Find my NHS Number

As we continue on our sustainability journey, we will focus on how NHS Digital can further embed sustainability across the organisation, from its digital services to its supply chain, and the important role we can play in enabling the health and care sector to achieve their sustainability goals.



Our Green Digits Network

NHS Digital’s sustainability staff network is called Green Digits. This is a network for sustainability-minded staff to connect through online sessions, meetings, events, and action days. 

The network is driven by its members and supported by the sustainability team to ensure its activities and agendas remain both relevant and useful to its members.


More detail on our sustainability commitments

Last edited: 20 April 2022 2:30 pm