Where you can make a positive impact towards net zero
AHPs and their teams can be champions of sustainability by:
- Act as champions on behalf of their patients and role models in terms of their own environmental impact
- Get to know and understand which senior leaders have responsibility for sustainability in their organisation(s) and make contact to highlight how AHPs can help deliver their priorities
- Engage with existing organisational – or systems-level programmes and initiatives that are delivering sustainability, such as Sustainability Champion networks, CSH Networks for clinical specialities, or the Greener NHS Community and their member space on FutureNHS
- Support wider service development opportunities like social prescribing
- Use co-production with service users in service development and transformation where appropriate
- Engage with SusQI and share your case studies.
AHPs in leadership or management roles should:
- Include environmental sustainability within all AHP undergraduate curricula and integrate into post-registration training
- Promote education and training as important opportunities to improve environmental literacy
- Advocate for environmental sustainability and provide leadership to your colleagues/members and professional bodies.
Adopting more sustainable behaviours can take place at different levels: individual, team, organisation or system. All health and care staff need to be advocates for change and AHPs have opportunities to lead the way in shaping behaviour for patients, colleagues, students, visitors, and the public at each level.
AHPs in leadership roles have a specific responsibility to ensure that their organisation and other managers are bought-in to this work. Embedding sustainability will require buy-in across organisations, particularly at a senior leadership level. AHPs should seek to influence managers at every level to recognise the importance of sustainability within their service, be that in the hospital, community, public health or care sector.
Those AHPs in education and training roles have an important role as advocates for sustainability for whole generations of AHPs. This applies to those AHPs working within Higher Education Institutions and those delivering placement training to students. The science and evidence around sustainability is continuously developing, so instilling future AHPs with environmental literacy and how to be a greener AHP will be crucial.
Every AHP will have many opportunities to be advocates and drivers of behaviour change in their everyday practice. The drive within health and care towards co-production and personalised care should be embraced by AHPs as part of efforts to shift behaviour. Doing things with, not to, patients, designing services around them and building in their individualised needs and preferences will increase the chances of success and present more opportunities to deliver change.
Every individual that an AHP works with will be in a different starting place regarding their environmental sustainability journey. To some it will already be a high priority, for others, their health or wellbeing will be their focus.