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A sustainable future: our story so far

26 Apr 2024

In the latest issue of College Voice, we spoke to members of our College Sustainability Steering Group to find out how we’re working towards commitments to reduce our carbon footprint.

Here’s a peek at the article – you can find the full version in College Voice issue 16.

Climate change has caused great harm to our planet and warnings of increasingly extreme heatwaves, droughts and flooding will all place a significant burden on our health outcomes. As a College community, we are all too aware of the direct climate impact of health systems; as an anchor institution, the NHS alone produces 4% of the UK’s total emissions.

With the pressing need for all of us to work towards net zero and mitigate against further harm, our College community looks to lead by example in improving the sustainability of health services in the UK and across the world. In doing so, we have also set commitments to reduce our own carbon footprint, with the aim to be net zero by 2040.

Leading the charge is our Sustainability Steering Group, established in 2022. It includes members from different countries and specialties, bringing a global outlook to our work.

“Tackling the climate crisis is not only important for Fellows and Members, but also our colleagues here at the College.”

Richie Homes, Deputy Head of Operations

In response to the climate emergency, the working group created the College Sustainability Action Plan in 2023, which adopts a clear path to embedding sustainability into our internal operations, effectively supporting our Fellows and Members to implement sustainable practice in their daily lives and focuses on how we use our voice impactfully to enact change in the health service.

Chair of the Steering Group, Professor Adrian Stanley, said: “I am delighted to share our College Climate Emergency and Sustainability Action plan with our members. It represents a crucial next step in our work towards our net zero target. We have targeted these three key areas to ensure our Fellows, Members and wider College are best supported to adopt sustainable practices and reduce the climate impact of health care delivery.

Each workstream has specific targets and stated deadlines, with progress reviewed regularly. I am inspired by the passion for change shown by those who have already implemented excellent initiatives to improve sustainability across our College community.”

This important work begins at home and our dedicated operations team is making positive progress towards more sustainable delivery of College activities.

Image shows the front cover of College Voice magazine, which features a large green box-like tool with a dial on the front. This is the Lucy Baldwin apparatus, from our College archives, which was used to help women in childbirth. Text on the cover reads Drawing inspiration from our achives, Exploring sustainability, A personal view of NHS care, Equality, diversity and inclusion at the College, the impact of mentoring, and exams, courses and conference schedules.

Read more of this and other articles in the latest issue of College Voice.

When you’re logged in to your account, you can read the full issue through the link on our College Voice page.

Categories: Climate Change, College

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Key priority areas

Workforce Recovery and Transformation
Health services in many parts of the world are over-stretched due to workforce shortages, rising demand for services and difficulties in retaining staff.
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A healthy healthcare workforce is essential for patient care. When the workforce is exhausted, experiencing burnout, and struggling to balance their work and personal lives, it impacts on everyone.
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Equality, Diversity and Inclusion
We are committed to standing up for equality, diversity and inclusion. We want our College to reflect the diversity in the NHS workforce and in the patients that we care for.
Read more
Climate Change and Sustainability
Climate change has caused great harm to our planet and warnings of increasingly extreme heatwaves, droughts and flooding will all place a significant burden on our health outcomes.
Read more
Health Inequalities
The health inequalities in our society have been both highlighted and exacerbated by the covid pandemic. There is a need to do things differently.
Read more
The COVID-19 pandemic has had a huge impact on the lives of healthcare professionals, and the urgent need to learn whilemfocusing on delivering the best care for our patients has been an enormous challenge.
Read more



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