In common with all NHS trusts, CNWL has been reducing our carbon footprint and impact on the environment.

We have published our Green Plan to match the ambitions of the national NHS strategy, Delivering a net zero National Health Service, but know we need to go further.

You can read our Green Plan by clicking here.

We have pledged to achieve the two targets for the NHS Net Zero commitment. These are as follows:

  • For the emissions CNWL can control directly (the NHS Carbon Footprint), our pledge is to be net zero by 2040, with an ambition to reach an 80% reduction by 2028 to 2032.
  • For the emissions CNWL can influence (our NHS Carbon Footprint Plus), our pledge is to be net zero by 2045, with an ambition to reach an 80% reduction by 2036 to 2039.

We project that carbon emissions will decrease over the next five years to 2300 tCO2e by 2025. This is a reduction of 62% from the 2013 baseline. (tCO2e stands for tonnes (t) of carbon dioxide (CO2) equivalent (e).)

Last year (2020) we reported that under the Climate Change 2008 Act we had to achieve a target of a 28 per cent reduction by 2020 on a 2013 baseline; in fact, we achieved 40 per cent over the last five years.

Over the last six years we have:

  • Converted some of our sites lighting to LED, saving 58 tonnes of Co2e per year.
  • Generated electricity from 260kWp of solar PV across the Trust, reducing carbon from grid electricity by 61 tonnes a year.
  • Improved data collection and monitoring of utilities through the implementation of smart meter
  • Introduced an estate rationalisation programme, bringing in more efficient uses of our sites and enabling new ways of working.
  • Developed processes and methods for adding recycling systems to our sites, by assessing the site for opportunities to increase waste segregation, improve signage and help create a mindset to recycle first. This approach has led us to have zero waste to landfill in our mental health facilities since 2016, with waste being recycled or used to generate energy off site
  • Our use of IT, electronic records systems, and SystmOne, means we have greatly reduced paper usage, no longer needing to print records, minutes or reports. This significantly decreased waste and improved our team awareness of the resources we use.
  • Implemented waste minimisation and management in project procurement and engaged supply chains.
  • Engaged staff during sustainability awareness programme and encourage initiatives to achieve targeted materials.

Further measures that we have already actioned and will continue to apply to minimise our negative environmental impact include:

  • Working from home strategies where appropriate
  • Staff access to lease car schemes including electric/hybrid vehicles
  • Staff access to cycle to work scheme or public transport ticket purchases via salary sacrifice
  • Electric charging stations at Trust sites
  • Virtual Meetings
  • Volunteer programmes to engage with local community and economies
  • Sharing and promoting environmentally friendly initiatives across the Trust
  • Using handheld devices to obtain patient feedback
  • Providing healthcare communications to patients electronically is consent is granted
  • Where appropriate, delivering services to patients via use of technology to increase accessibility of services and supporting patients to consider their environmental impact.

QTS, on behalf of CNWL, have also signed up to the NHS Single-Use Plastics Reduction Campaign Pledge.

The focus of this pledge initially being on removing single use plastic from catering i.e single use plastic cups, plates, cutlery, stirrers etc

​​​​​We will also continue to review opportunities for improving energy efficiency within the estate, improve knowledge and promote sustainable best practice across the Trust as well as work with our partners to help reduce carbon emissions from our supply chain.

CNWL Chief Executive, Claire Murdoch, launches the CNWL Green Plan

The CNWL Green Plan - summary

The NHS wants to be the world’s first net zero national health service in response to the climate and health emergency we are facing.

For CNWL to reach this we have developed a Green Plan that outlines how we will decarbonise and bring in all our staff to work towards net zero. This will include fast and significant changes in our operations, our buildings, how we travel and manage our waste.

Our CNWL Green Plan 2022 to 2025 puts sustainability at the heart of what we do to drive long-term success and real change. Everyone has a part to play in delivering this plan no matter how small or large.

Our plan acts to:

• Set out our green ambitions and the enablers to achieve these

• Publicly set our commitment to sustainable development

• Show how we will meet our legislative requirements

• Demonstrate how we will evaluate our impact

• Set out how we will monitor and assure against delivery of this strategy

Our vision is Caring Today and Tomorrow; Carbon-free.

To read the full plan go to:

To help us meet our target we’ve developed 10 key sustainability pledges that everyone can understand and help us stick to.



Our NHS Carbon Footprint to be Net Carbon Zero. 

2040 – with an 80% reduction by 2028 to 2032

Our NHS Carbon Footprint Plus to be Net Zero

2045 - with an 80% reduction by 2036 to 2039.

CNWL properties on the CCS framework to be supplied by renewable electricity only

July 2022

Decarbonisation of at least one site (excl critical backup systems)

Dec 2023

65% of lease and pool cars to be electric or hybrid

July 2026

Eliminate all unnecessary single use plastic from catering and hospitality services across the Trust


Dec 2023

All suppliers with new contracts worth £5m or more to publish a carbon reduction plan for their direct emissions.

April 2023

To implement procurement recommended programmes such as walking aids reuse within six months of being published.

May 2022

To set up a Green Staff Community Interest Group

March 2022

To review recruitment materials and the CNWL induction programme so these explicitly outline the importance of sustainability and the environment within CNWL

May 2022


In October 2020, the Greener NHS National Programme published its strategy, Delivering a net zero National Health Service. This report highlighted that left unabated climate change will disrupt care, with poor environmental health contributing to major diseases, including cardiac problems, asthma and cancer.

The report set out trajectories and actions for the entire NHS to reach net zero carbon emissions by 2040 for the emissions it controls directly, and 2045 for those it can influence (such as those embedded within the supply chain).

To support the co-ordination of carbon reduction efforts across the NHS and the translation of this national strategy to the local level, the 2021/22 NHS Standard Contract set out the requirement for trusts to develop a Green Plan to detail their approaches to reducing their emissions in line with the national trajectories.

The Act sets up a framework for the UK to achieve its long-term goals of reducing greenhouse gas emissions and to ensure steps are taken towards adapting to the impact of climate change.

Under the Climate Change Act 2008 the UK has to reduce UK greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 by at least 80 per cent on 1990 levels and developed a path to get there. Reduce emissions by at

The Act also established the Committee on Climate Change (CCC) to ensure that emissions targets are evidence-based and independently assessed. In addition, the Act requires the Government to assess the risks and opportunities from climate change for the UK, and to adapt to them.