The NHS and net-zero emissions

The NHS: net-zero emissions by 2040 with Nick Watts

The NHS has committed to net-zero emissions by 2040, for the carbon emissions that they control directly and a target of 2045 for the broader emissions that they can influence.

So why is the NHS doing this?

It has heeded the science pointing to the climate emergency as the biggest health threat of the 21st century.

Nine in ten NHS staff say that they want to see the NHS act more sustainably.

What is a net-zero target?

As the title suggests Net Zero emissions mean achieving a balance between the production and removal of Green House Gas emissions (GHG).

For the NHS this requires action to remove emissions across an ambitious and wide supply chain… from buildings to pharmaceuticals, MRI scanners, syringes, inhalers, and so on.

It also includes the emissions that come from the patients, from visitors, from travel to and from the NHS, and from emissions well beyond the borders of the UK.

So how will this be achieved?

The NHS has an 80% reduction target by 2028.

Most importantly, it will only commit to companies that meet or exceed their commitments on climate change.

It has approved a national design for a hydrogen ambulance, the world’s first zero-emission ambulance, and new hospitals, with a visionary goal of being net-zero hospitals. There’s a lot we can learn from the NHS and their target for net-zero emissions by 2040.

Action is what is needed to improve the health of our community


The Presentation
The Podcast

The Speaker

Nick Watts is the Chief Sustainability Officer of the NHS, responsible for its commitment to deliver a world-class net zero emission health service. Based in London, he leads the Greener NHS team across the country, which focuses on improving the health of patients and the public through a robust and accelerated response to climate change and the broader sustainability agenda.

Nick is a medical doctor licensed in Australia and the UK, and has trained population health and public policy. Prior to the National Health Service, Nick worked internationally as the Executive Director of the Lancet Countdown and the Lancet Commission on Health and Climate Change, a collaboration of UN agencies and academic centres across the world.

Nick has also focused on engaging the health profession on the links between public health and climate change, having founded both the Global Climate and Health Alliance and the UK Health Alliance on Climate Change.


Coda EARTH 2021
  1. The climate crisis is a financial market emergency with Tim Buckley
  2. The NHS: net-zero emissions by 2040 with Nick Watts
  3. Re-evaluating your super can impact the climate emergency with Dan Goucher
  4. Every child born today will be impacted by the climate crisis with Courtney Howard

The Coda Community

Coda is a community tackling the most urgent healthcare challenges, that need action, now. Join the Coda community or online at


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Oliver Flower, staff specialist in Intensive Care Medicine at Royal North Shore Hospital, Sydney | CODA |

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