Microsoft joins global group of companies that will support NHS journey to Net Zero

Microsoft has teamed up with other large NHS suppliers from across the world to support the health service’s plan to become more environmentally friendly.

The NHS aims to reach Net Zero carbon emissions by 2045 after warning that climate change will disrupt healthcare, with poor environmental health contributing to major illnesses such as asthma, heart disease and cancer.

More than 60% of the NHS’s carbon footprint is based within its supply chain, and the organisation uses products from more than 80,000 suppliers that provide medical equipment, food, business and office goods.

The companies in the new group will support the NHS in its Net Zero goals by sharing best practice and transforming each of their own operations and supply chains to become more environmentally sustainable.

Last year, Microsoft announced a commitment to becoming carbon negative by 2030, and by 2050 it will remove from the environment all the carbon the company has emitted either directly or by electrical consumption since it was founded in 1975. Microsoft has also made commitments related to water, waste and biodiversity. It has also released tools and services such as the Cloud for Sustainability, Emissions Impact Dashboard and Planetary Computer that help organisations understand their own carbon footprint and launch sustainability plans.

Clare Barclay, Chief Executive of Microsoft UK, said: “Climate change is the biggest challenge facing the world today. An issue of this size cannot be tackled by a government, organisation or company on their own – a global challenge requires a global response. That’s why, as well as making our own commitments on carbon, we are empowering others with digital tools and services to take action on climate change. We are proud to be working with the NHS on this critical issue.”

In October 2020, the NHS became the world’s first health service to commit to reaching Net Zero, and it has also called on its 1.4 million employees to help it reach this goal. It has also published its Net Zero Supplier Roadmap, charting a route towards a Net Zero healthcare system and laying out a process for collaboration over the coming years

Dr Nick Watts, the NHS’s Chief Sustainability Officer, said: “There is overwhelming evidence of the huge threat climate change poses to the nation’s health, which is why the NHS became the world’s first health system to commit to being net zero.

“The NHS is doing its bit and has cut emissions equivalent to 1.7 million London to New York flights in the past year. However, we know that a large proportion of our overall emissions sit within our supply chain, so it’s great that Microsoft has decided to work with us as we fight this global threat.”