Natural Resource Footprint

Reducing the use of natural resources in health and social care

The report summarises the footprint of the health, public health and social care system across four key impacts: water, waste, air pollution and carbon equivalent emissions. 

Set against a backdrop of increased clinical activity and during a period of transformation, the NHS, public health and social care system has demonstrated significant progress by:

  • Reducing carbon emissions by 18.5% between 2007 and 2017
  • Reducing the water footprint by 21% between 2010 and 2017
  • Ensuring 85% of NHS provider waste is avoiding going directly to landfill  


Public demand and staff support for the sustainable use of resources are high.  92% of the public and 93% of staff expect the health and social care system to operate in a sustainable manner by, for example, improving resource efficiency, reducing carbon emissions and reducing waste.

The final sections of the document identify some targeted actions that can deliver integrated natural resource savings against all four areas of impact.

Download the report below.