Leeds Teaching Hospitals Trust becomes officially Carbon Literate


Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust is the first NHS Hospital Trust to officially become Carbon Literate, allowing it to take an important step towards its goal of becoming one of the greenest NHS Trusts in the UK. 

Since April this year the Trust’s Sustainability Team has been working closely with the Carbon Literacy Project in a new initiative to deliver the first Carbon Literacy training specifically focused on healthcare and the NHS, to help its staff become Carbon Literate. 

Libby Sutherland, Environmental Manager at Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, says: “Here at the Trust it’s our Director of Estates and Facilities Craige Richardson and his senior team who have led the way, becoming the first Estates and Facilities team in any NHS Hospital Trust in the UK to have their entire senior management team become officially Carbon Literate.

“The feedback from Craige and his team was very positive, and they found the training really useful and very insightful. During the training our staff learned about the impacts of climate change in healthcare, breaking them down by sector and learning what the big emissions are in the NHS as well as what targets are in place to tackle them. 

“But the training isn’t just theoretical, staff also learn about practical, everyday ways in which we can go about meeting those targets. As well as being really worthwhile the training is also very flexible, and each department in the Trust is free to decide who, and how many members of staff need to be trained.” 

Craige Richardson, Director of Estates and Facilities at LTHT, says: “Carbon Literacy means being aware of the impact of everyday activities on the climate, and knowing what steps can be taken to reduce emissions, individually, in our teams, or as an organisation. 

“The actions of individuals can and do make a difference. Learners who have completed a day’s worth of approved Carbon Literacy learning can be certified as Carbon Literate and we believe this training, this deepening of awareness, is a valuable tool in helping us to become a greener organisation.  

“In addition to giving leaners a grounding in the science behind climate change the training demonstrates how it’s also a health emergency and how we as a Trust contribute to it, along with its implications for us as an organisation.

“Since our first session a further 78 colleagues in Estates and Facilities have been trained and have officially become Carbon Literate. We’ve decided to aim for having 30% of our staff trained, which will allow us to achieve silver accreditation.”   

Louise Harling, Healthcare & Blue Light Coordinator at The Carbon Literacy Project, says: “The hard work and insight from the sustainability team at LTHT has enabled us to develop and disseminate a shareable NHS training toolkit. Without Trusts like Leeds, and their enthusiasm and determination in delivering Carbon Literacy training, we wouldn’t be able to roll out these materials in such a timely manner. 

“LTHT really understands the importance of delivering Carbon Literacy training throughout its organisation to departments who have significant influence to drive the change we need to see a cultural shift within the NHS to meet its net-zero targets. 

“Craige’s involvement in the training has seen the whole Estates and Facilities management team become Carbon Literate in only a few months. It’s allowed them to understand why net-zero policy is so important and empower them to make climate-conscious decisions in their everyday working roles. This is the speed and determination for staff engagement that is needed across the NHS to meet net-zero targets.”   

The training is due to be rolled out to other departments in LTHT, starting with Theatres, later this year, and in recognition of its pioneering work in helping the Trust become a Carbon Literate organisation, the Sustainability Team at LTHT has been nominated for the Business Green Leaders Employee Engagement Campaign of the Year award

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