Earth Day 2021 (April 22) is a chance for organisations and communities to come together to be more environmentally friendly and prevent the impacts of climate change and destruction – to ‘Restore Our Earth’.

With around 6,800 employees at Oxford Health working across 150 sites in Oxfordshire, Buckinghamshire, Wiltshire and parts of Somerset, Oxford Health’s community of staff have a chance to make an impact – and they are busy changing behaviours to do their bit!

John Upham, sustainability manager, said: “Earth day provides an opportunity to consider our effects on the environment. A change however small can have a positive impact. It is important we look to alter our green behaviours – if everyone made small changes it would have a big impact.

“You can reduce your carbon footprint in simple ways – walk to work one day a week, turn the thermostat down by one degree to save money and energy, or grow your own vegetables.”

Oxford Health is making changes both big and small to reduce the trust’s carbon footprint. From energy usage to green spaces, look at the achievements so far:

  • 38% reduction in carbon emissions, exceeding the NHS target of 34% by 2020 – decarbonisation of heat within buildings at the Whiteleaf Centre in Aylesbury and the Highfield Unit based at the Warneford Hospital together with transferring to electrical heating and installing high efficiency low energy lighting in buildings funded by NHS Improvement has contributed to this milestone
  • The trust committed to achieving net zero carbon emissions in Oxford city by 2040, signing the Zero Carbon Oxford Charter
  • 100% of electrical power provided from renewable sources offsite
  • No contribution of any waste to landfill from any sites, using either incineration or recycling
  • 60% reduction in overall vehicle Business Mileage, due to increased working from home
  • The Whiteleaf Centre in Aylesbury and the Highfield unit based at the Warneford use renewable energy sources such as solar panels, ground source heat pumps and rainwater harvesting
  • An electric vehicle on the fleet which has covered 8,000 miles to date
  • A trial of two hybrid cars in two community teams underway
  • Developing green spaces – Over 800 trees are planted across the trust’s sites, absorbing over 38 tons of carbon annually

The trust will continue to improve the sustainability of the organisation and reduce the impacts on the environment, developing and continuing green initiatives and preparing for the future – including travel, providing services, operating trust buildings, engaging with staff and using green spaces.

The next NHS target is to reduce carbon emissions by 50% by 2025 and to continue to work towards the NHS aim ‘to deliver the world’s first net zero health service – improving health now and for future generations’.