Sustainability and the environment

The College's strategy for a sustainable future

Acknowledging the detrimental effect of climate change on the population – most of whom become our patients at some point in their lives – is an important step towards reducing the negative impacts of pathology on the environment. 

The College aspires to reduce and minimise the environmental impact of its activities and to advocate for the health of our planet, by collating and disseminating examples of good practice in pathology, and educating and inspiring members to adopt these practices.

We have produced a strategy to provide clarity for both members and staff on:

  • the purpose of and a proposal for sustainable activities
  • a College policy regarding the environment and sustainability
  • a framework for action that contributes towards sustainability.

We will also review and update our existing environmental policy and introduce a framework for activities in support of sustainability initiatives.

Environmental policy 

European Union legislation (December 2008) is targeting a 20% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, and 20% increases in energy efficiency and use of renewables by the year 2020. The Climate Change Act is equally demanding. A national 10:10 campaign wants a 10% reduction in carbon emissions by 2010. The NHS has a carbon footprint of 18 million tonnes of CO2 per year attributable across energy (22%), travel (18%) and procurement (60%). The NHS Sustainable Development Unit (SDU) has published a carbon reduction strategy aiming to reduce its 2007 carbon footprint by 10% by the year 2015. Core areas of activity are:

  • energy and carbon management
  • procurement and food
  • low carbon travel, transport and access
  • waste
  • water
  • designing the built environment.

A Carbon Reduction Commitment Energy Efficiency Scheme is being introduced in April 2010 with a three-year plan to involve more than 6000 public and private sector organisations in accountability for their annual emissions. The SDU document, Fit for the Future, envisages a healthcare system placing more emphasis on health promotion, wellness and screening through use of contemporary IT, technology and efficient use of resources.

The College acknowledges that it has a responsibility to promote the prudent use of resources amongst its Fellows and staff as appropriate in order to protect the environment.

Our adoption of the measures

Office activities


Kitchen waste