What are the first steps in quantifying the scale of work needed to address those emissions not directly controlled by the NHS in order to successfully meet the 2045 net zero target? A recent HSJ webinar hosted discussions on collaborating across the system to address indirect carbon footprint contributors

There are a vast number of areas to address in the NHS’ journey to net zero, and perhaps most challenging of all are those not directly controlled by NHS organisations themselves. Under the umbrella of “Scope 3” sits the entire NHS supply chain and travel emissions as some key areas to tackle.

Factoring sustainability into procurement decisions is therefore highly important, as well as understanding the scale of work required to achieve the 2045 net zero target and where to start.

Speaking at a recent HSJ webinar titled “Tackling Scope 3: Collaborating across the system to address indirect carbon footprint contributors”, Alexandra Hammond, head of sustainable procurement and supply chain at NHS England and Improvement, highlighted the mandatory “social value” weighting of 10 per cent for all NHS procurement coming into effect from April 2022.

Commenting on central efforts, Ms Hammond also outlined the Evergreen framework currently in development to engage with suppliers and catch them up to support the NHS in its net zero journey. After 2030, any supplier not meeting minimum expectations will not be contracted, she said.

Questions from audience members centred around the practicalities of engaging with the NHS’ “up to 100,000” suppliers and how to capture data from them to make more informed procurement decisions.

Also speaking on the webinar, Kent Community Health FT’s sustainability lead, Dan Wright, shared insights into the team’s use of data to tackle greyfleet emissions. The FT’s solution combines data sources to quantify emissions and is processed to understand trends in vehicle usage.

Wright also highlighted the Open Science approach to the tool, and a hope to work in collaboration with other organisations across the country.

HSJ senior correspondent and session chair Nick Carding also brought the conversation into the context of Integrated Care Systems, with Ms Hammond and Mr Wright both highlighting the benefits of scale in areas such as walking aid reuse and regional challenges, stressing parity of methodology.

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The next webinar in the HSJ Sustainability Virtual Series will focus on the role of digital solutions, with insights from Ben Tongue, sustainability lead at NHS Digital.