The pandemic heightened everyone’s awareness of the impact the medical and healthcare sectors have on the environment, and the carbon emissions that arise from single-use items. But often healthcare organisations have conflicting priorities when it comes to reducing their carbon footprint, including balancing commitments to improve quality and cutting costs.

A raft of papers have been published recently that establish the medical and healthcare sectors’ contribution to damaging and degrading the environment. One such report showed it generates 5% of global annual emissions – the equivalent of 514 coal power plants.

When the overall goal of everyone involved is to protect people and improve their wellbeing, changing the world in a way that compromises public health makes little sense. Going back to the drawing board to think of ways in which we can cut healthcare-related emissions does not need to conflict with other important requirements – it should enhance and improve the solution.

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