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'Sustainability should become the norm, not the exception' says NHS Supply Chain

Tuesday 18 November 2008

As a leading supplier to the NHS, NHS Supply Chain is well on track in its efforts to ensure its operations and products are as sustainable as possible.

In its first Sustainability Report released today, NHS Supply Chain identifies its achievements in the area of sustainable development over the last year and sets out its targets for 2008/9.

Sarah Ripley, Sustainability Manager at NHS Supply Chain said “Our challenge as an organisation is to incorporate sustainability into our day to day activities so it becomes the norm not the exception. We are committed to ensuring that not only are our operations sustainable but more importantly, as a supplier to the NHS, that the products we supply are too.”

NHS Supply Chain implemented the sustainability plan across its whole business operations and, as a result, has greatly reduced its waste and now uses electricity across its sites from renewable sources.

“We have achieved a reduction of six percent of our fleet’s carbon emissions, outperforming our initial target. We achieved this by consolidating deliveries thus reducing the amount of miles driven,” added Sarah.

Building upon the first year success of carbon reduction, the organisation is testing a hybrid vehicle to join its fleet. The vehicle, which is partly powered by an on-board battery, has so far demonstrated a 10 percent increase in fuel efficiency during its pilot phase.

Looking ahead into the coming year, NHS Supply Chain has set strict environmental targets for its seven distribution centres to meet; “We’ve got some ambitious operational targets to reach but we’re already making great progress,” said Sarah.

“We’re on track to recycle 65 percent of our distribution centres’ waste and decrease water consumption by 20 percent per employee by March 2009. We’re also working to reduce the kilowatt hours of energy used at our distribution centres by 18 percent.”

NHS Supply Chain has also begun assessing the ethical sourcing of its products to guarantee they are manufactured in a fair and right environment. Work is underway to measure the ethical standards of the top 45 first tier suppliers and is a major focus for NHS Supply Chain in 2009.


Notes to editors

NHS Supply Chain is helping to reduce the carbon footprint of the NHS and work toward the Government objective for the UK to become a leader in sustainable procurement by 2009.

NHS Supply Chain’s sustainability programme embraces three key areas:

  • sustainable operations
  • sustainable procurement
  • social responsibility

Full details of NHS Supply Chain’s sustainability agenda can be found in it first Sustainability report.

For more information please contact Andrew Brentnall on 01773 724196 or at

About NHS Supply Chain

NHS Supply Chain, operated by DHL, provides modern and resilient supply chain services to over 600 NHS trusts and private healthcare providers. As agent of the NHS Business Services Authority, and governed by the Department of Health, its teams help trusts make their resources go further, and focus on delivering quality patient care. NHS Supply Chain can manage the entire tender process, including Official Journal of European Union processes, and act as single point of contact between trusts and suppliers. Key services include:

  • procurement
  • supplier
  • logistics
  • Supply Chain consultancy services
  • patient services

All underpinned by world-class IT and ecommerce. The range of 600,000 in-scope products support the patient pathway: diagnosis, intervention and patient care:

  • theatres
  • nursing
  • food and facilities (including office equipment)
  • clinical markets
  • capital equipment

NHS Supply Chain HQ address: Cotes Park Industrial Estate, West Way, Alfreton, Derbyshire, DE55 4QJ
Phone: 01773 724000
Fax: 01773 724229

Based in Alfreton, Derbyshire, UK, the business employs around 1,700 staff in eight locations. For further information, visit

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