NHSScotland is committed to playing its part in tackling the climate crisis and became the first national health service in the UK to commit to becoming a net-zero organisation.  

Since then, a further 18 countries have committed to net zero health service targets and 52 countries globally have committed to low carbon, sustainable health care systems. 

The risks that are faced from climate change are the greatest threats to health this century. Health care emissions contribute to the climate crisis, and it is essential there is a focus on ways to make the NHS more environmentally sustainable and reducing environmental impacts while helping to maintain high standards of patient care. 

The ambition is to become a health service that improves the environment, opportunities, life chances, health and wellbeing of every Scottish resident.  

One that fully contributes to a more cohesive, resilient and net-zero society, and contributes to the Scottish Government’s mission to improve population health, and wellbeing; while reducing health inequalities. 

To do this, NHSScotland aims to: 

  • ensure that we, as an integral part of the communities we serve, contribute to the achievement of the UN SDGs and national outcomes for health 
  • become a net-zero greenhouse gas emissions health service by 2040 or earlier  
  •  adapt to the impacts of climate change and increase the resilience of our healthcare assets and services 
  • establish a culture of stewardship, where we safeguard and responsibly use resources to provide environmentally sustainable and high-quality healthcare 
  • Establish a circular economy model for NHSScotland by reducing and designing out waste and pollution where possible, keeping products and materials in use for longer thus contributing to the regeneration of natural systems 
  • Reduce and ensure that waste is appropriately segregated and disposed of across NHSScotland sites. 
  • increase our contribution to tackling the ecological emergency and restoring biodiversity