University Hospitals Plymouth (UHP) Green Plan

Acting responsibly and reducing the impact we have on our environment is an important consideration for the Trust, from the way we care for our patients, to ensuring we have a strong, financial and sustainable system in place. As a large acute healthcare organisation, we are committed to actively delivering our contribution to reduce carbon emissions and embed sustainability into everything we do. Climate change is globally recognised as the greatest environmental and economic threat faced by the national governments and individuals. It is also an opportunity for us to make those sustainable improvements, ensuring we use resources responsibly.

Based on the findings of the ‘Delivering a ‘Net Zero’ National Health Service’ report, the NHS has formally adopted two targets, set as the earliest possible credible dates for the NHS to achieve net zero emissions:

  • for the NHS Carbon Footprint (emissions under NHS direct control), net zero by 2040, with an ambition for an interim 80% reduction by 2028-2032;
  • for the NHS Carbon Footprint Plus, (which includes our wider supply chain), net zero by 2045, with an ambition for an interim 80% reduction by 2036-2039.

Since the publication of the Trust’s Green Plan ‘For a Greener Future’ in 2020, we have taken steps to embed sustainability into Trust culture and operations. Our initial focus has been on engaging our staff and seeking views as to how we can become a more sustainable organisation. A governance structure has been set up with a dedicated Sustainability Sub-Committee, and specific working groups whose purpose has been to drive the aims and objectives set out in the Green Plan.

This refreshed Green Plan builds on the previous plan ‘For a Greener Future’ with more targeted aims and objectives to ensure that we align with those of the national Greener NHS. It also sets out our plan to meet the NHS Long Term Plan, ‘Delivering a Net Zero National Health Service’ report and subsequent guidance documents focuses on reducing carbon. Some of these areas include, but are not limited to: 

  • Reducing carbon, waste and water
  • Improving air quality and biodiversity
  • Reducing the use of avoidable single-use plastics

This Green Plan will guide and develop future services in line with national and local policies and to ensure we embed sustainability in all services across the Trust. 

Our Trust Green Plan objectives are:

  • Reduce the Trust’s NHS Carbon Footprint by 80% by 2032, and achieve net zero by 2040
  • Reduce the Trust’s NHS Carbon Footprint Plus (including our wider supply chain) by 80% by 2039, and achieve net zero by 2045
  • Achieve 10% net biodiversity gain by 2030, across the UHP estate
  • Adopt the Clean Air Hospital Framework to achieve an ‘Excellent’ score of 70% by 2028
  • Reduce the risk rating of the climate change risk assessment by 20% by 2025
  • Adopt a sustainable model of care for each clinical pathway by 2030

The Green Plan will be reviewed regularly and will align with emerging policy, guidance, and other resources within the Greener NHS Programme.


Green Plan Governance

The Trust recognises the need for sustainable development and the focus for long term improvements. Therefore, it is essential that the Trust is accountable for delivering the Green Plan, and that policies, procedures, business cases and processes reflect this. The governance structure to deliver the Green Plan was established in October 2021 to engage all relevant parts of the organisation to take a coordinated approach to the implementation of the Green Plan.

It aims to ensure that sustainability is embedded within the organisation, including its strategies and processes, and for the Trust to continue to become a safe, caring and efficient hospital within a high-quality hospital environment, built on clinical and financial sustainability.

Sustainability Sub-Committee

Led by the Future Hospital Director and Board Sustainability Senior Responsible Officer (SRO), our Trust Sustainability Sub Committee comprises of a representative from targeted corporate functions and clinical service lines with decision making authority, together with a representative from each of groups that sit underneath.

Infrastructure Delivery Group

This group is responsible for delivering actions within the Green Plan associated with reducing carbon emissions associated with the Trust’s infrastructure such as energy, buildings, travel, and Trust assets and equipment.

Environment Group

The group will focus on improving wildlife, biodiversity and the natural environment across Trust owned or leased facilities. This group will continue to be the ‘social conscience’ of the organisation on environmental matters.

Staff Behaviours Forum

This group will focus on influencing behaviours of our staff (to include developing sustainable habits across the organisation) our partners, (in alignment with the work of the Healthy Lives Partnership) and those visiting the Trust, to maximise the use of technology while protecting our resources. Established Green Champions will drive behavioural change and procurement of more sustainable goods will be achieved in line with supply chain contract renewal.

Departmental led working groups

Departmental led focused groups, such as pharmacy, theatres and procurement, will focus on more specific objectives outlined in the Green Plan.


The Sub-Committee and the working groups will monitor sustainability performance, consolidate and report on achievements, and provide reporting information which will be published in the Trust’s Annual Report.

Sustainability Organisational Chart

Sustainability Organisational Chart

Trust Board at the top, then Future Hospital Committee, then Sustainability Sub-Committee. Underneath are a row of four areas, Infrastructure Delivery Group, Environment Group, Staff Behaviours Forum and Departmental Working Groups.

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