How CNTW is striving to be more sustainable – World Environment Day 2023

Posted: 05/06/23

World Environment Day

On World Environment Day, we want to share how we’re trying to be more sustainable.

In March 2020 CNTW’s Board of Directors joined a growing number of NHS organisations in declaring a ‘climate and ecological emergency’. We launched our Green Plan in April the following year. It details how the Trust aims to reduce its carbon emissions to ‘net zero’ by 2040. It also sets out actions we will take to meet other sustainability goals by 2026. (The Trust’s plans support the national ambition for the whole NHS in England to be carbon neutral by 2040.)

Anna Foster, lead for strategy and sustainability at CNTW, said: “Climate change and pollution pose a serious threat to the health of the people we serve. We have a responsibility to deliver our services in a sustainable way.

“We have taken some big steps in recent years to reduce our waste and lower our emissions. I’m pleased to say this has paid off. Our carbon footprint for 2022-2023 has decreased by 7% compared to 2019-2020.

“The progress we’ve made would not have been possible without the commitment and hard work of our staff. Our volunteers, service users, and their families and carers have also been involved.

“We still have a lot of work to do. But we believe that by working together and focussing on hope and recovery, we can continue to make a positive impact.”

In the first six months after our Green Plan was launched, the actions we took included:

  • Embarking on a tree-planting programme with the support of the NHS Forest scheme
  • Achieving a 70% reduction in single-use plastic in the Trust’s canteens and cafes
  • Increasing recycling facilities.

Two years later, we continue to make good progress.

More recently, we have been focussing on making our buildings more energy efficient. We have installed air source heat pumps in several buildings at Northgate Park. We’ve also upgraded to LED lighting at Hopewood Park, Monkwearmouth Hospital and Rose Lodge.

New ways of working have also meant staff are travelling less. The number of miles driven by our staff are 23% lower than before the COVID-19 pandemic.

A recent travel survey gave us some useful information about how staff get to work, and how we can help them make this more sustainable.

A large proportion of our staff commute alone in a car. Many feel they cannot easily get to work by public transport or cycling. But nearly a quarter of the staff who took they survey said they would consider car-sharing with other staff. So, we are exploring ways to help people find ways to share their commute.

We have also installed 56 new electric vehicle charging points, to help staff who are switching to an electric car.

And a new printing system has so far prevented more than 800,000 pages (around 65 trees’ worth) from being printed unnecessarily. The system stops automatic printing – staff must login at the printer to collect their documents before they print.

The principles of ‘sustainable healthcare’ have also been incorporated into the Trust’s new strategy.

Sam’s Story

‘Sam’s story’ is an animation which accompanies our Green Plan, illustrating our vision of what working at CNTW in a sustainable future could look like. It follows Sam’s life from 2021 to 2050, seeing how things change throughout their career as the Trust works towards its Green Plan goals and adapts to the impacts of climate change.

The inspiration for ‘Sam’s story’ came from a quote by Nelson Henderson which was often discussed during the development of the Trust’s Green Plan: “The true meaning of life is to plant trees under whose shade you do not expect to sit.” We hope that it serves as a prompt for discussions about the impact the changes and efforts we make now may have on future generations.