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Calling all commissioners - what would sustainability make easier for you?

Following on from an enjoyable and inspiring London Sustainability Day Roadshow event (#dayforaction - it was great to see the passion and the achievements of those involved!), I am again left with that all too familiar feeling – where are the commissioners? Why is it all about the delivery?

Ask any sustainability manager or consultant the same question, and they will agree; for sustainable action to work it must have buy-in from the top. Yes, the Senior Management Team; Yes, the Board; but what about the people who hold the purse strings? We shouldn’t forget that money talks… and drives a lot of action too.

The funny thing is, I am yet to meet with a Trust that would not welcome more influence from their commissioners on sustainable activity – ‘it would actually help us to get more done if it becomes embedded into our conditions of service’. I have seen this response no matter what level of sustainable activity is already happening. They want to be spurred into action, or challenged to achieve more.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not criticising CCGs here. I work with many of them and I know only too well the juggling act and the time pressures that they contend with. I respect the difficulties that come with the all too familiar red tape.

But this vital agenda needs to be embedded into the way that CCGs work – as with all shapes and sizes of the healthcare system today.

There is great work going on already; in Leeds, in Hackney, in Brighton, in Halton... and in many other places across the UK. So...


Let’s shake up the agenda. Sustainability is not just about Carbon – it’s a big part and it’s important that we reduce it, but environment is only one part of the ‘Venn’.

Let’s bring sustainability more in line with clinical issues and tackle health inequalities. Let’s make the most of legislation, including the soon-to-be-revamped Social Value Act, and the great new modules of the National Sustainability Strategy for Health & Care. Let’s make it about innovation and collaboration across the supply chain and have 'commissioner', 'provider' and 'wider suppliers' all working towards the same goals.

Are you a comissioner? Tell me, what would make it easier for you?

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