The Royal College of Physicians (RCP) has been recognised for recording a 30% reduction in its carbon footprint over a three-year period by becoming the first royal college to receive the Carbon Trust Standard certification.
The RCP has recorded a 30% reduction in its total carbon footprint through various installations, investments and initiatives. The RCP switched its electricity to 100% renewable energy, invested in new energy efficient boilers and plant and infrastructure building management systems.
As a result, the RCP is the first royal college to receive the Carbon Trust Standard, which recognises real progress in carbon reductions. The certification has been awarded to the RCP for the next three years.
The RCP’s chief executive, Ian Bullock, said: “Sustainability lies at the core of our work, not just in highlighting the toxic effects of air pollution and the need for the NHS to improve its significant impact on the environment, but also, closer to home, in reducing our own carbon footprint
“We are very proud to receive this Standard but know that the work does not stop here. We are committed to reducing our environmental impact even further across all our operations, including with our new headquarters in Liverpool which, once built, will be one of the most sustainable buildings in the UK.”
The RCP, which has seen membership reach 34,500 physicians in the UK, has also implemented new waste management processes to reduce its plastic waste and increase its recycling. The RCP’s “less waste, more health” report outlines steps that health professionals can take to improve procurement practices and the better manage the disposal of medical supplies.
Alongside the Carbon Trust Standard, the RCP is also certified to the ISO14001 standard for environmental best practice.
Trust and tribulations
The RCP’s own environmental stewardship comes as its own research has highlighted the ongoing crises regarding UK air quality. RCP research found that 44 UK towns and cities including London, Manchester and Cardiff all fail the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) recommended guidelines for air quality.
The towns and cities failed a test for particulate matter smaller than 2.5 microns (PM2.5), which is linked to heart disease and premature death.
Fortunately, organisations with large environmental footprints are working with the Carbon Trust to lower emissions and improve the overall wellbeing of the environment. Shell Global Solutions International BV, the technical services and technologies arm of oil and gas giant Shell, for example, has joined a Carbon Trust programme aimed at overcoming market barriers to offshore wind deployment.
Elsewhere, Heathrow Airport became the first airport in the world to simultaneously hold four certifications from the Carbon Trust Standard.