Delivering a net zero NHS

Recognising climate change’s threat to health, the NHS has become the world’s first healthcare system to commit to reaching carbon net zero by 2040.

We are working with partners across a range of disciplines to support the delivery of sustainability solutions and share best practice.

Aligned with the North East and North Cumbria Integrated Care Board (NENC ICB) Green Plan, we aspire to become the greenest and healthiest region in England by 2030. The outcome will be reduced health inequalities through the delivery of greener care and services, reduced environmental impact from healthcare and a positive economic impact through growth of local businesses.

Delivery in the North East and North Cumbria

HI NENC will support the health and care system in the region by:

  • Providing support across the regions healthcare settings to facilitate the NENC ICS sustainability plans. This will include the facilitation of the ICS Clean Air Framework both regionally and nationally
  • Utilising the HI NENC Innovation Pathway to support and drive the NHS Net Zero plan in conjunction with the wider business, NHS Trust, and Academic Communities. Contextualising the issues faced by the NHS in reducing scope 1-3 emissions and providing the platform to identify needed solutions and unmet need challenges

In parallel with this work, we will deliver an internal sustainability plan with an aim for HI NENC to achieve Net Zero by 2030. Find out more about our plans in our climate emergency declaration and carbon reduction report.

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How we can help

The HI NENC is unique in working with industry, academia and the health care system, often acting as the trusted broker of cross-organisational activity. We are perfectly positioned to support the drive for environmental sustainability at every stage and every level and support the development and uptake of innovations that support this crucial agenda.


Innovators have huge potential to improve pathways of care through digitalisation and removing inefficiency from the system. Keeping people at home, out of hospital and supporting our workforce with more enabling technologies is a positive way to contribute towards Net Zero.

We want to keep working with our innovators so that they can begin to quantify the potential and actual impact of their innovation, along with their own organisational carbon footprint.

Suppliers to the NHS will need to be prepared to have their carbon footprint analysed. Our Project Manager, Hannah Gibson, has written a blog with some top tips about creating a carbon reduction plan. You can read the blog here.

Healthcare providers

We’re working closely with our Integrated Care Board (ICB) and local NHS teams to support the delivery of Green Plans through innovation.

If you work within a healthcare organisation and are facing a sustainability challenge, please get in touch to find out how we can support you.

We regularly update our Innovation Corner with case studies, thought leadership articles and guest blogs from primary and secondary care partners sharing their journey to date.

North East and North Cumbria projects

Reducing the environmental impact of asthma inhalers

Medicines account for up to 25% of emissions within the NHS, with inhalers making up 3% of these emissions. Because the propellants in these devices are powerful greenhouse gases, landfill disposal is harmful to the environment as residual gas from the canisters is released into the atmosphere.

Read about a project delivered by HI NENC to improve outcomes for patients with respiratory illnesses, which promotes better care and environmentally sustainable management of inhalers for people with asthma and COPD in the Tees Valley. Download the case study.

Digital solutions to help primary care services to meet NHS Net Zero targets

Primary care is a huge contributor to overall NHS carbon footprint and is responsible for 23% of the total NHS emissions footprint, or 1% of the UK’s emissions.

We recently launched a project call to innovators to develop a digital solution which helps primary care services to reduce their carbon footprint and promotes sustainability. The solution could help reduce waste, improve energy efficiency and encourage patients to reduce their carbon footprint.

The project call closed on Monday, 10th July and we’ll be updating this page about successful projects.


If you’d like to share a sustainability solution or have a focus area you’d like us to showcase, please get in touch at [email protected].