Sustainable behaviour change

CUH’s continuing upgrade to the physical infrastructure and delivery systems of energy and water efficiency, waste segregation, travel choices and life-cycle-assessed procurement are all essential aspects of the transition to a secure and more sustainable future. This, however, is only one half of the picture. The essential next step to infrastructure upgrade and process change is to ensure they are used effectively by real people in real situations: our staff, patients and visitors across a large, complex and intense hospital campus.

Few people want to see resources wasted or to cause avoidable damage to our natural environment. The pressures of a busy hospital often mean that the impacts of our day-to-day actions on these issues can easily be overlooked. Requests to power-down, recycle more or catch the bus will struggle to make a real difference on the ground unless they are tailored to individual teams and workspaces. When working in a hospital with over 60 buildings, and over 7,500 occupied rooms, corporate messaging can often only raise awareness of an issue.

Focused engagement for more lasting change will be found at the local workspace or departmental level – working with section managers and their delivery teams. Here the daily run of work processes is completely understood. This means that the options for more sustainable energy, waste, water, transport and purchasing can be tailored to fit with real-world routines and thereby become a natural part of day-to-day life. At this level of direct delivery, the door to new and innovative approaches to sustainable working is also far more likely to open.

The Trust’s Think Green Impact (TGI) programme has proved that small teams are keen to ensure that their work areas and colleagues are really staying on top of energy and water consumption whilst minimising waste and promoting more sustainable travel and purchasing. All that is required is some support, and advice if necessary, with some recognition of achievement along the way. TGI provides exactly this through creating individual team action logs with at least three levels of ambition (Bronze, Silver or Gold tabs) together with detailed guidance, support sessions, newsletters, audits and awards over a six-to-eight month period each year. 2018/19 saw two more teams achieve the top Gold Award with a further two team securing silver and three bronze. The TGI Action Logs allow teams to record what has worked for them and what has been more of a struggle. This has been used to inform a full review of each of the required actions under each of the different tabs.

The engagement of staff with the benefits of environmentally sustainable behaviour has also continued to be delivered:

  • through specific contributions in Corporate Induction sessions, New Managers’ Orientation Days, the Estates and Facilities Values Academy and, on invitation to departmental ‘away days’;
  • from the work of our Grounds Team and external sponsorship teams in looking after and enhancing our valuable green spaces to bringing together projects to improve the quality of the outdoor environment – everything from hanging baskets to the new J2 Ward garden and the ‘Calm in Chaos’ garden from the Royal Horticultural Society’s designer of the year;
  • from Capital Projects and Minor Works directing contractors towards more sustainable solutions, to Hotel Services and Environmental Services engaging with suppliers and service providers to cut and redirect waste for more sustainable outcomes, to, our Quality Assessment Officers engaging with contract cleaning teams on waste segregation;
  • from Pharmacy and Clinical Engineering engaging with patients and staff on re-use, to, Addenbrooke’s Abroad channelling redundant equipment into health centres in need in other parts of the world;
  • from the Estates Maintenance Team making people aware that they can repair a whole range of ‘consumable’ equipment - from waste bins to water heaters, to, the Environmental Services Porters carefully collecting segregated waste, to, our overnight Porters, Facilities Managers and Security Teams checking that lights are not left on unnecessarily.

All of these direct and indirect engagement actions show that the Trust is well positioned to establish a wider leadership role in promoting behaviours founded on environmentally sustainable values and all the benefits that they bring.

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