A third of English NHS Trusts may not be measuring their carbon footprint

Almost a third (29%) of NHS Trusts in England are still not measuring their carbon footprint, according to Freedom of Information (FOI) data released by Schneider Electric – the specialist in the digital transformation of energy management and automation.

This is despite NHS England’s goal to achieve Net Zero for direct emissions by 2040, and a further pledge to reach an 80% reduction by 2028-2032.  Schneider Electric said: “In the light of this lack of measurement, it’s unsurprising that the FOI request also discovered that one in three (31%) do not yet have a clear roadmap in place to reach Net Zero targets.” 

The data reveals that, ‘years on from when NHS England set its Net Zeto targets in 2020’, there have been some interesting developments, including:

  • 60% of Trusts have upgraded their building systems in an effort be more sustainable. 
  • Half (48%) have adopted technologies to help them monitor and optimise energy usage. 
  • One in five (19%) have started implementing circular business practices – such as the refurbishment and redistribution of certain medical equipment, such mobility aids.

Schneider Electric said: “Despite these efforts, there is still a long way to go. In fact, our FOI data highlights that one in five NHS Trusts still get over 90% of their energy from fossil fuels. This is in line with previous NHS data which revealed that it is responsible for around 4% of England’s total carbon footprint and 40% of public sector emissions.” 

The FOI request also revealed that 67% of NHS Trusts have received some level of funding to spend on decarbonisation, suggesting that further improvements are underway. So far this spending has been invested as follows:

  • 40% have used it to install energy efficient technologies and equipment such as LED lighting and HVAC systems. 
  • One in three (34%) are spending it on upgrading heating, lighting, and ventilation systems. 
  • A sixth (16%) are going down the renewable route, investing in solar panels and other sources of renewable energy. 
  • Only one in 10 (12%) are investing in training and awareness programmes.

Kas Mohammed, Schneider Electric UK & Ireland’s VP, Digital Energy (pictured), said: “The NHS is a symbol of national pride for many in the UK. However, it currently faces a significant challenge when it comes to energy consumption and costs. Significant changes need to happen to create the sustainable hospital buildings that will drive down energy costs and enable to NHS to meet its Net Zero targets, without compromising on patient care. Investment in modern technologies and digital services could enable Trusts to retrofit their buildings and make the NHS more sustainable and resilient for the generations to come.”


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