climate change and sustainability in healthcare

Climate change and sustainability in healthcareDo busy nursing staff really have time to save the planet as well as everything and everyone else? It might sound a herculean task, but small changes to existing habits and routines could save money and improve health outcomes. 

World leaders are meeting in the UK to agree global action on climate change at the UN climate change conference COP26. As Britain’s largest employer, the NHS is responsible for around 4% of our national carbon emissions. The health service has a goal to reduce emissions by 80% by 2028-2032, and to net zero by 2040. So, healthcare staff have a role to play.

Sustainability in healthcare is care that can be delivered in a manner that is conscientious of resources, the disposal of waste, and single-use items. Here we examine ways that nursing professionals can make a big difference.


Climate emergency: what can nursing students do to be greener?

Our podcast guests discuss how they are making their university course more sustainable

Gloves off: how to implement greener infection control with one small change

RCN Nursing Award winner Robert Vicente’s tips on cutting waste while maintaining safety

Sustainability Nursing Conference: Dragons’ Den-style contest announced

Competition to take place at event in October, with £1,600 to develop the winning idea

Our part in a greener NHS: we’re making progress, now let’s accelerate it

Nurses see the impact of climate change on health – and we have the power to take action


Simple steps nurses can take to help protect the environment

Actions all healthcare staff can implement to be greener at work and at home

Gloves, water bottles and waste reduction: how you can be greener at work

Simple changes every staff member can make, from virtual meetings to rethinking single-use

Why you should care about climate change and how you can push the agenda

Nurses should come together and share environmentally friendly ideas and resources

Focus on asthma 2: air pollution and its effects on children and young people

Focus on asthma 2: air pollution and its effects on children and young people

Causes of air pollution and how they affect the lung health of children

illustration shows planet earth in colours suggesting parts are flooded, others are overheated

Climate change is a global issue, but nurses see its effects close-up

Health threats from global warming make the need to end the nurse shortage extra-urgent

Reduce Carbon footprint

Climate change and the NHS: can nurses point the way to a greener future?

RCN calls for ideas on how to reduce healthcare’s carbon footprint

Green strategies

Nurse managers urged to be active in promoting environmental sustainability

The RCN is lobbying healthcare providers to adopt strategies on environmental sustainability

Queen Mary University hospital

Tackling the growing problem of air pollution and children’s health

Researchers, including nurses, will monitor the effects of low emission initiatives

Toolkit will help nursing students tackle climate change

The NurSus toolkit provides an opportunity to integrate sustainability within nursing...

Alice Munro: Cut fossil fuel investment to curb threat to health

Health organisations should stop investing in the fossil fuel industry and take action to...

Turn up heat on climate debate

It is time for healthcare staff to speak out about the dangers of global warming on people’s...

Climate change: a review of potential health consequences

Climate change results in increased levels of air pollution; airborne allergens; extreme...

Nursing students’ attitudes towards sustainability and health care

Aim To evaluate attitudes towards embedding sustainability and climate change in nursing...

Climate change and ecological public health

Climate change has been identified as a serious threat to human health, associated with the...