NHS publishes guidance to reduce carbon footprint of medical devices and medicines

17 December 2012

The NHS Sustainable Development Unit (SDU) and an alliance of international pharmaceutical and medical devices companies have published the first ever international guidance on the carbon footprinting of pharmaceuticals and medical devices.

Currently it is estimated that 22% of NHS England’s greenhouse gas emissions are associated with pharmaceuticals and 8% to medical devices.

The guidance, which was commissioned from environmental consultancy ERM, is the first of its kind for the healthcare sector and is an important part of helping the NHS to reduce its carbon footprint in line with the UK’s 2008 Climate Change Act targets. The SDU says the guidance may be used as the basis for the creation of product category rules. The World Resources Institute (WRI) is reviewing the guidance to ensure that it meets their international greenhouse gas protocol standard.

Sonia Roschnik from the NHS Sustainable Development Unit, said, “If the NHS is to meet the Climate Change Act target of an 80% cut in its emissions by 2050, it is important that we gain a better understanding of the greenhouse gas emissions associated with every part of the health system, including pharmaceuticals and medical devices, and identify carbon intensive “hotspots”. I am confident that developing such guidance will help us to achieve this.”

The guidance is downloadable from the NHS Sustainable Development Unit at: www.sdu.nhs.uk/sustainable-health/r-and-d/international-


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