One year ago, we announced our Green Plan and set out the trust's objectives to reduce our carbon footprint. As COP26 commences, join us as we reflect on the Royal Free London’s environmental journey so far. 


One year on – what have we achieved? 

1. Eight working groups taking action 

Our greener Royal Free London sustainability network now has over 160 members of staff who are passionate about creating a greener RFL. Sub groups within the network are driving for change in the following areas: purchasing, energy and water, food, patient care, journeys, people and communications, waste, and buildings and land. 

The eight working groups meet regularly to share ideas and organise events across RFL sites. In the past year, the journeys group has promoted active travel through a walking challenge, Dr Bike events and a national clean air day event.


2. Sustainable changes to clinical practice 

We are taking action to help create a greener NHS. Below are some examples of what we have achieved so far:

  • We have reduced the use of Desflurane, an anaesthetic gas harmful to the environment, by 70% 
  • More outpatients are seen in virtual clinics, which has reduced inpatient journeys by about 30% 
  • We are running a GreenED pilot with the Royal College of Emergency Medicine - the project has introduced green initiatives into the emergency department, including changes to waste management and reducing single-use items
  • We are trialling reusable P3 masks in clinical areas, as well as commissioning locally manufactured reusable hospital gowns
  • We are training staff to have conversations with patients about air pollution

3. Green corporate projects

Teams across RFL are developing exciting and achievable ways to transform the way we work across our sites.Take a look at some of them below: 

  • We have removed petrol and diesel cars from the trust leasing scheme
  • We completed projects (funded by government’s decarbonisation fund £1m) to expand on LED lighting, efficient ventilation fans and chillers. From 2022, the trust will be using a renewable-only electricity contract 
  • We’ve engaged specialists to conduct a waste audit and target areas in the trust where we can improve recycling and waste segregation 
  • We are promoting active travel - walking challenge, Dr. Bike events, National Clean Air Day event


Looking to the future

Caring for our environment is caring for our patients. As COP26 commences, we will be sharing more about our green plan and inviting our staff to make their own pledges for change.