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Why we need a green plan

The NHS, and therefore CUH, has a priority stake in reducing the significant impacts of human-made climate change on both our physical and mental health.

ambulance outside Addenbrooke's with text climate emergency

A human-made climate emergency

Human-made climate change is primarily caused by ‘forcing’ the natural greenhouse effect beyond its current balance through the release of huge quantities of additional greenhouse gases (predominantly carbon dioxide from the burning of fossil fuels).

The urgency with which we must halt the increase in these emissions (referred to in shorthand as ‘carbon reduction’ on route to ‘net-zero carbon’) has led to the UK Government declaring a “climate emergency”.

Domino effect of a changing climate, starting with climate change, leading to heatwaves, drought, air quality, extreme weather and more
The domino-effect of a changing climate will cause disruption and loss far beyond that of COVID-19.

Carbon emissions are deeply embedded in everything we consume – from goods, materials, equipment and medicines to energy, water and business miles. Some of these can be responded to directly (e.g. improving energy and waste management efficiencies and removing unnecessary losses) and others only indirectly (e.g. the supply of lower-carbon grid energy and more readily reusable medical devices).

These all require CUH working closely with suppliers and contractors. The significant number of moving parts within our supply, use, and disposal chains mean that our Green Plan cannot just work on changing some individual choices – it needs to reframe the decisions about what and how we consume as a whole system. CUH cannot do this on its own.

Find out how Our Action 50 Green Plan provides the vehicle for connecting across our local, regional and national partners to reduce both direct and indirect carbon emissions.

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Our progress so far

Go to our progress so far
Outline of the progress made so far, including 25% of staff cycling to work and 2,700 tCO2e reduction from energy projects since 2010