Where to begin?

NHS organisations can take the following action to make progress towards a greener and more sustainable NHS. 

Large organisations may have a specific team or individual responsible for this area of work (most likely sustainability, environment or estates and facilities professionals). Look for your organisation’s Sustainable Development Management Plan (SDMP) online. This will help you understand what is being done locally and how it impacts on your work.


Each organisation should have a Sustainable Development Management Plan (SDMP) or Green Plan, which sets the organisational direction for implementing sustainable development, outlining actions, targets and timeframes. 

Organisations are expected to consider their direct impact as well as their influence on the supply chain and local communities. Guidance is available on producing an SDMP, along with a Sustainable Development Assessment Tool (SDAT), which can be used to identify key organisation actions. 

Adaptation planning and Healthy Travel Planning should also be considered either as part of the SDMP or other planning documents. 

Measuring Impact

All organisations should measure, monitor and report against their Plan. It should be noted publicly reporting on sustainability is a statutory requirement in the accounting manual. Guidance and tools are available as well as best practice examples for commissioners and providers.

Engaging and Empowering 

Engaging and empowering clinicians, staff, patients and the public are necessary for a shared understanding of climate change and our response as health organisations and individuals to the climate emergency. Resources outlining the links between health and climate change are available here.