Greener NHS – UNISON part of the solution

UNISON members working across the NHS roles have committed to helping the NHS reach its target to get to net zero carbon by 2040.

This includes passing conference motions on promoting green travel in the NHS, as well as recognising the need to engage with policy makers across the UK to ensure that the cost of decarbonising doesn’t fall on staff working in the NHS.

UNISON health members such as occupational therapists, operating department practitioners, and nurses, to name a few, have also signed statements of support committing themselves to adopt more sustainable practices.

UNISON is also proud to be collaborating with Food for Life Served Here to look at seriously reducing food waste in the NHS.

Both organisations are united in calling for:

  • Fresh, sustainable food which is locally sourced to reduce emissions caused by food production and travel associated with the transportation of food
  • On-site food preparation facilities along with food that is cooked onsite, which will allow for kitchens to adapt to the needs of the service, patients, staff groups
  • Investment in a skilled catering workforce and a focus on empowering catering teams to manage food waste and adopt more sustainable working practices
  • A significant reduction in hospital food waste, which in some trusts accounts for nearly half of total food produced

We are asking branches to write to their Trust Board to encourage organisations to participate in the scheme to demonstrate the NHS commitment to the health of patients and staff, whilst also helping to deliver a carbon neutral NHS.

UNISON is also making the argument that this will also go some way to upskilling and empowering catering teams, who are often overlooked when it comes to training opportunities, whilst also helping to  reduce food waste in the NHS.

We are asking UNISON health branches to download our model template letter to write to their health Trust Boards asking them to commit to becoming Food for Life Served Here accredited.

UNISON will continue to engage in the net zero agenda in the NHS from contributing to the NHS Expert Panel in England to ensuring we have a seat at the table when it comes to drafting and implementing green plans in the NHS right across the UK.