Pharmaceutical and Medical Device Carbon Footprint Guidance

High Greenhouse Gas Intensity Procured Items - Guidance

Top 25 high carbon NHS procured products

The greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions associated with the procurement of goods and services account for a significant proportion of the climate change impact of global health and social care.  

In 2016 the SDU commissioned ERM to make an assessment of goods purchased by hospitals through a focused number of NHS procurement routes, including medical devices (but excluding large and expensive equipment such as CT scanners), food and catering, manufactured fuels, chemicals and gases and paper products. 

This was done in order to find out which products could be prioritised for investigation of reduction opportunities as they are the most significant contributors to this impact, based on the scale and intensity of their contribution.  

The full report - Identifying High Greenhouse Gas Intensity Procured Items for the NHS in England - can be downloaded below. 

GHG Protocol Product Life Cycle Accounting and Reporting - Guidance

In 2012 the coalition created the first document providing a method for consistently calculating the carbon footprint of pharmaceuticals and medical devices.

Sustainability consultancy Environmental Resources Management (ERM) was commissioned to write industry specific guidance to aid in consistent greenhouse gas accounting and reporting for pharmaceuticals and medical devices.  An extensive public consultation period was undertaken and the document was launched through an event held at St. Thomas’ Hospital in London, UK on the 30th of November 2012.

The collaboration has resulted in internationally relevant guidance that facilitates greater uniformity in GHG accounting and reporting for pharmaceuticals and medical devices right across the product ‘life cycle’ from manufacture, through use to disposal.
This guidance will allow industry to more easily highlight areas of intensive GHG use and consequently focus efforts to reduce GHG emissions from the healthcare sector. In the future the guidance may be used to inform procurement decisions or as the basis for the creation of product category rules, which could be used to compare the GHG emissions of two equivalent products.

Useful links

SDU Pharmaceuticals page

GHG Protocol information