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NHS Supply Chain reduces carbon emissions by 26 per cent

Thursday 9 August 2012

The publication of NHS Supply Chain's fourth annual sustainability report shows a significant reduction in the carbon footprint of the organisation over the past three years.

The report showcases the business' success in reducing electricity consumption by 18 per cent, gas consumption by 35 per cent and water consumption by 30 per cent across its distribution centre network since 2008.

Other achievements include a 71 per cent recycling rate on business waste and a five per cent reduction in fuel consumption across the business' fleet of delivery vehicles compared with the previous year.

The results are borne out of NHS Supply Chain's commitment to helping reduce the impact of NHS procurement activity on the environment in response to the NHS Carbon Reduction Strategy for England published by the NHS Sustainable Development Unit in 2009. The strategy has set a voluntary target for NHS trusts to reduce carbon emissions by 10 per cent by 2015.

"The procurement of goods and services accounts for around 60 per cent of all carbon emissions generated by the NHS" explains Sustainable Operations Manager Colin Stuart, who has been at the forefront of NHS Supply Chain's sustainability agenda. "As a leading supplier to the NHS, NHS Supply Chain is in a unique position to help trusts rise to this challenge of reducing the carbon footprint of the NHS to secure a supply chain fit for the future."

The success at NHS Supply Chain has been achieved through a number of innovative projects that have made a significant impact to the sustainable performance of the business. This has included the replacement of the business' delivery fleet and investment in energy efficient lighting technologies at regional distribution centres.

In line with European Emission Standards, all of NHS Supply Chain's delivery vehicles are Euro 5 compliant, with the addition of air deflectors now being fitted as standard on all new vehicles to reduce drag and increase fuel efficiency. Also, at the end of 2011, the business took delivery of its first teardrop shaped trailers and wagons, designed with an arched roof for improved aerodynamics - the first of their kind in Europe.

"These improvements to our delivery fleet have already achieved a reduction of five per cent in fuel consumption across the business - the equivalent of taking 3.5 million car miles off UK roads" says Colin. "We'll be monitoring this to identify additional areas where we can further reduce our carbon footprint over the next 12 months."

A copy of the report is available to download at www.supplychain.nhs.uk/sustainability

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Tom Stone

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