Delivering sustainability

What is “Sustainability” and “Commissioning for Sustainable Development”?

“Sustainability” can be defined as meeting the needs of today without compromising the needs of tomorrow. Sustainable development ties together concern for the resource capacity of our planets natural systems with the social and economic challenges facing society.

“Commissioning for Sustainable Development” is the process by which commissioners improve both the sustainability of an organisation, and the way it provides services and interacts with people in the community. It is about striking the right balance between the three key areas of financial, social and environmental sustainability when making commissioning decisions.

Commissioning for Sustainable Development:

  • Saves money.
  • Saves resources.
  • Benefits staff and patients.

We are committed to shaping a more sustainable NHS by:
1. Developing a “whole systems” approach to commissioning;
2. Understanding our role in improving the sustainability of healthcare;
3. Using the commissioning cycle to increase sustainability and to implement the NHS Carbon Reduction Strategy.

Our Approach to Delivering Sustainability

To help us achieve our objectives we have developed a Green Plan Framework for Sustainable Development.

Sustainability Impact Assessments

A Sustainability Impact Assessment is a way of estimating the likely sustainability implications of either:

  • The introduction of a new policy, project, or function or,
  • The implementation of an existing policy, project, or function within the organisation.

Once sustainability implications have been identified, steps can be taken to amend the proposed policy, project or function or amend the way in which it is currently implemented to ensure it is inclusive and does not discriminate (either deliberately or accidentally).

We have developed and implemented a tool and guidance for use by staff to help identify the likely impact. 

Our Governing Body will consider the results of this analysis during the decision making process.  Governing Body papers and decisions can be found here.

Our policies and associated Sustainability Impact Assessment can be found here.


Greener NHS

NHS Sustainability Partnerships

NHS Forest

Energy Saving Trust

Carbon Trust