Financial benefits

Lowering your carbon footprint and increasing sustainability can help reduce costs and improve the quality of healthcare.

The Sustainable Development Unit has produced a number of briefings to help finance teams and their organisations understand the financial benefits of sustainability.

Healthy Returns on Sustainability Actions


The SDU have identified some health interventions and worked them up into infographics. The graphics use real life case studies and scales them up to show their potential - saving money, reducing carbon and improving health for people. Eight interventions which have quantified case studies have been included in this graphic to demonstrate the scale of impact.

You find out more about the graphics and download them here.

Save Money by Saving Carbon


The "Save Money by Saving Carbon" guide below looks at how a Trust can produce its own Marginal Abatement Cost (MAC) Curve and how beneficial it could be for each NHS organisation.

Simply, a Marginal Abatement Cost (MAC) Curve compares different interventions and shows you which carbon reduction measures save the most money.  It will enable you to choose from a selection of possible measures and see which make best financial sense to invest in and which save the most carbon.

It condenses complicated data into a graph showing cost effectiveness and magnitude of carbon saved. The MAC Curve Download describes how MAC Curves can be used as part of investment appraisal and can help organisations make changes to their service delivery or business activities.



  • MAC Curves
    MAC Curves

    This report displays how powerful the Marginal Abatement Cost (MAC) Curve can be as a tool to collate and illustrate a vast amount of data in a meaningful way. It indicates the win-wins where cutting carbon saves money and puts into perspective those measures where the investment costs cannot be recouped. It shows where the most cost efficient and largest CO2 savings can be made.

    Download Document

  • Save Money by Saving Carbon
    Save Money by Saving Carbon

    The guidance will give financial directors and estates managers essential information on how to save money while reducing carbon (please note this document was produced in 2010 – although approaches and concepts still apply some facts and figures will not be up to date).

    Download Document

Sustainable Finances: Reporting on Sustainability for NHS Finance Managers


This paper is aimed at anyone with financial control in the NHS and is designed to help NHS finance experts understand the health, cost, governance and reputational benefits associated with reporting on sustainability issues and will help you to achieve these sustainable goals. Download below

Making sustainability add up


The document "Making sustainability add up" below - has been written by the Foundation Trust Network (part of the NHS Confederation). It describes how trusts have a significant role to play in the overall sustainability agenda as large consumers of energy as well as major employers in their localities.

It is likely that those trusts that react strategically to the agenda will excel as financial and environmental pressures become more acute. Those that don't respond so well are likely to find themselves struggling to deliver the same care with fewer resources.

This compliments the SDU's paper for finance experts, "Sustainable Finances: Reporting on Sustainability for NHS Finance Managers" below.

Finance directors may also find HFMA's briefing "Carbon Reduction in the NHS: a role for finance" a useful read.