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‘If you care about people, you invariably care about the environment’

Wendy Cheeseman

The biggest determinant of people's health is the environment in which they live.

This is what Wendy Cheeseman, Head of Sustainability and Carbon Management at Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, told the Net Hero Podcast.

Wendy, who also spoke at the Big Zero Show (pictured), an annual sustainability event focused on helping businesses achieve net-zero carbon emissions, outlined her role and the sustainability challenges that NHS Trusts face.

She said: "In the NHS, we say lower emissions equal lower admissions. If you're a healthcare professional and if you care about people, you invariably care about the environment as well and the impact that has on people.

"We absolutely understand that any decision we make today and any carbon we pump into the environment will impact the health of the populations we serve locally, nationally and globally.

"To this extent, all of our staff are absolutely committed in some way or another to try and make a difference in their area. They are driven by different drivers, so sometimes the environmental benefit is perhaps a co-benefit from trying to reduce waste."

Speaking ahead of the Sustainability Day of Action (Monday 8 July), Wendy outlined the ambitious net zero targets of the NHS.

She said: "The NHS has stringent net zero targets. We’re looking to be net zero in our activities that we control by 2040 and in our supply chain by 2045.

"These are really difficult targets to achieve and we must work together. And that’s one thing the NHS is extremely good at, collaborating. We are all doing the same thing and there are a lot of opportunities for us to standardise, share learning and resources."

Wendy said that decarbonising the supply chain is essential. She said: "We have a massive spend and we have to spend it wisely but also in a way that doesn’t contribute to climate change. So, we request and require our suppliers to have carbon reduction plans that mirror ours."

The full episode of the Net Hero Podcast can be watched on YouTube.

With thanks to Net Hero Podcast, future net zero.