Green initiative by NHS Trust saving over 38,000kg in CO2 emissions and £10,000 a year


Surrey and Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust (SASH) have taken a significant leap towards a sustainable future with paper-focussed initiatives that not only resulted in substantial financial savings but also reduced their carbon footprint and enhanced document accessibility.

The paper reduction and cost savings journey of the Trust has spanned over a number of years, with initial usage reduced with the implementation of multi-functional printing devices that reduced the number of pages required for each job.

Following a successful trial period, the Trust has begun a contract with NHS Supply Chain, shifting all internal printing to unbleached paper which is not only better for the environment but helps alleviate visual stress for those who can often find it more difficult to read the stark contrast of black writing on white paper.

The hospital is also collaborating with Cerner to transition patient communications over to the new paper as soon as possible.

The benefits of moving to recycled paper include a £10,000 per year cost saving and a reduction in over 38,000kg of CO2 at SASH alone - this is the equivalent to the CO2 emissions produced from charging 4,622,421 smartphones or the amount of carbon absorbed by 628 young trees over 10 years.

Not stopping there, the Trust’s procurement team also explored a number of other opportunities to make environmental savings – including implementing the electronic Docusign system, which reduced carbon emissions by a further 2,113lbs, the equivalent of 2 trees and over 4000 sheets of paper in 2023.

Paul Simpson, Deputy chief executive of Surrey and Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust and lead for the SASH green plan, said:

“We are committed to reducing our carbon footprint in a way that benefits our patients, our staff Trust and our planet. Each initiative like this shows what we can do, even if it means changing how we work and what we use. Those initiatives add up to become a significant contribution to the Trusts’ green plan goals, which we look forward to improving with every new contract signed.”

Read the Trust’s full green plan here.

With the NHS’ greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions accounting for 4.4% of the UK’s total GHG emissions in 2019, there is a recognised need across the sector to reduce its carbon footprint. By 2040 the NHS is aiming to become net-zero.