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What do NHS net zero targets mean for healthcare suppliers?

November 2021

What do NHS net zero targets mean for healthcare suppliers?

The meeting of envoys for the COP26 conference has pushed green targets and the climate change agenda to the forefront of everyone’s mind, including NHS suppliers.

Government agencies, private companies and individuals have all been moved to look after our planet and join the journey to net zero.

The NHS and health services will play a vital role in helping government achieve these ambitions, protecting the environment, and delivering a sustainable health service for the future.

Decarbonisation commitments – what’s been said

Numerous announcements were made during the global climate conference, including the NHS aspiring to achieve net zero.

All four of the UK health services made the pledge, aiming to develop climate resilient, sustainable low-carbon health systems.

Health and Social Care Secretary Sajid Javid said: “As a health community, we cannot simply sit on the sidelines – we must respond to climate change through urgent action, with global collaboration at its core.

“(…) it is brilliant news that dozens of countries have joined the UK in committing to reduce carbon emissions from their health systems – significantly cutting greenhouse gas output around the world.”

More than £280m is being invested in de-carbonising the NHS estate in England through the Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme, with a further £1.425bn in funding confirmed for the whole public sector across this Spending Review period.

Following the conference, the world’s first ever net zero health building standard will be launched and will be applied as part of this government’s commitment to build 48 new hospitals before 2030.

So how do I win more NHS tenders?

With such a huge estate, the NHS is a substantial source of greenhouse gas, however, it’s not just the buildings that contribute to emissions, medicines and the NHS supply chain (link to other blog) account for some 62% of total carbon emissions.

Lowering this is a key priority for the NHS, in fact Health Secretary Sajid Javid also stated that: “From 2030, the NHS will no longer purchase from suppliers that are not aligned with its net zero ambitions.”

NHS England has stated that all NHS suppliers will need to publish a carbon reduction plan. In Scotland, the NHS will review supply chains and take action to reduce their negative impacts while promoting positive effects.

Reducing emissions will be part of all new procurement contracts for major suppliers to NHS Wales.

While health and social care in Northern Ireland will help to influence supply chains to reduce their carbon emissions in supplying health and social care.


What does this mean for suppliers?

Anyone looking to supply into the health sector must be looking at their green strategy as part of their bid.

With such innovation and new solutions becoming more attractive to the sector, its also a great time for those who haven’t traditionally been suppliers to look at this new, and lucrative, market.

And a great way of staying one step ahead of the competition is using business intelligence platform Health Contracts International (HCI).

Find out more here

Top tips for healthcare suppliers to go green

  • Give your tender credibility – put a plan in place now and have a track record of green credentials
  • Consider your company’s culture – a green policy can include small changes such as reducing printing, turning off computers, losing the plastic cups, or a cycle to work scheme. Using eco-technologies will not only improve your bid, but also help your bottom line
  • Consider using electric vehicles or consolidating deliveries to lessen carbon emissions
  • Reduce, reuse and recycle your waste
  • Innovate – green technologies and solutions will be more in-demand than ever
  • Consider your supply chain – can you change a product to something more eco-friendly?
  • Get advice – there are many advice services that can help you understand your carbon footprint and where improvements can be made