Environmental sustainability at HCA UK

At HCA Healthcare UK, we are committed to the care and improvement of human life. We know that the health of humanity and the health of the planet are inextricably linked, and so reducing our environmental impact is fundamental to our mission.

With that in mind, we’ve set out an environmental sustainability strategy and a target of being a net zero business by 2035 for scope 1 and 2 emissions, and 2045 for scope 3 emissions.

In the short term, HCA Healthcare is pursuing a plan to reduce its Scope 1 and 2 emissions by 2030 in line with the Paris Agreement and to develop our understanding of scope 3 emissions so that we can make data-driven, meaningful reductions where clinically safe to do so.

Our sustainability goals

Acting to reduce our carbon emissions and investing in the long-term health of our planet is vital to ensure a healthy future for everyone. Our Environmental Sustainability Strategy at HCA Healthcare UK sets an ambitious vision for sustainability that includes both net zero and nature positive goals.

 

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Carbon emissions

Investing in our buildings

Part of our commitment is to make sure all new buildings and refurbishments are built with sustainability in mind. Our new location, The Harborne Hospital in Birmingham, is in the process of being certified as BREEAM Very Good, and includes state-of-the art building management systems, solar panels, and thermal recovery technology.

We’ll also continue to invest in updating our existing buildings and equipment in a sustainable way while preserving the charm of our many historical and listed sites.

Reducing our use of greenhouse gasses

Healthcare systems account for between 4-5% of global carbon dioxide emissions. That’s not a statistic we take lightly, and we’re working hard to address emissions across our hospitals and care centres. These efforts have resulted in a Green Impact for Health Silver Certification from the Royal College of General Practitioners for our Primary Care Division, and we’re working towards Green Labs Certification as well.

For the past five years, we’ve been looking at ways of reducing our use of desflurane, a potent greenhouse gas. As a result of these efforts, in 2023, we stopped purchasing it altogether.

Metered dose inhalers (MDIs) also contain powerful greenhouse gases, so we’re doing everything we can to encourage our primary care physicians to move to prescribing dry powder inhalers (DPIs), a clinically similar but much lower-impact inhaler, where appropriate.

Working with our supply chain

We're also working closely with our suppliers as they commit to reducing their own emissions. In turn, they’re helping us to reduce our emissions, and improving the quality of the sustainability data they give us, so we can see the best way forward to improving our efficiency.

The circular economy

The circular economy – the sharing, leasing, reusing, repairing, refurbishing and recycling of existing materials – is central to getting to net zero. Without it, we won’t.

That’s why we’re committed to innovating and implementing a circular economy within HCA UK. From digital transformation to waste reduction and management projects, we’re already driving these projects across our hospitals.

Water

The challenges of sustainability in water use are a global concern. Overuse can have a devastating effect on local ecosystems, biodiversity and people’s day-to-day lives.

That’s why good water stewardship is an integral part of our sustainability strategy. We’re exploring ways we can maintain our supply infrastructure and reduce our water consumption responsibly while continuing to deliver the highest level of patient care.

Biodiversity

Studies suggest that access to nature can help to improve medical outcomes for patients. Many of our hospitals are close to London’s beautiful Royal Parks, so we embed nature and the outdoors into our patient recovery pathways wherever possible.

We’re also developing plans that will improve our sites to support biodiversity by planting native, pollinator-friendly plants in our hospital gardens.Our sustainability reports

For more information on our carbon footprint and completed, ongoing, and future initiatives, please see our Carbon Reduction Plan 2024.