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Planetary health
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Our commitment to planetary health and environmental sustainability

As a health service with a large carbon footprint, NSLHD has a responsibility to reduce its emissions and be good stewards of our natural environment, whilst continuing to provide high-quality healthcare. The good news is that in many cases, modern, low-carbon models of care also improve patient experience and health outcomes.

In order to advocate for the highest standards of health, wellbeing and equity for our patients, staff and the community, we have identified planetary health and sustainability as a key area of focus. In 2021, NSLHD set a target of net zero carbon emissions by 2035.​​​

Planetary​ Health Framework 2024-2027:

NSLHD has launched the 2024-202​7 Planetary Health Framework.

The Framework outlines the district’s plan to reduce its environmental footprint and support the health and wellbeing of the local population, whilst continuing to provide the highest level of care for patients. ​

Click here to view the 2024-2027 Planetary Health Framework.

 Our net zero target

​The district’s trajectory to net zero has been guided by the United Nations Science Based Targets Initiative (SBTi) net zero standard. The SBTi defines and promotes best practice in emissions reductions and net-zero targets in line with climate science.

Net zero by 2035 target:
  • For the emissions the district controls directly (scope 1 + scope 2), the district aims to reach net zero by 2035, with a 70-80% reduction by 2030.

Scope 1 emissions are direct greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions that occur from sources that are controlled or owned by the district (eg emissions associated with fuel combustion in boilers, furnaces, vehicles).

Scope 2 emissions are indirect GHG emissions associated with the use of purchased electricity on our sites.

The district aims to reduce emissions from electricity, fleet vehicles, natural gas, medical gases, and refrigerants.

We will continue expansion of our solar PV and LED lighting projects, and we are already making headway to reduce nitrous oxide use and leaks in theatres. The new Ryde Hospital will be all electric, with no use of natural gas.

Net zero ‘Plus’ target:
  • For the emissions the district does not control directly but can potentially influence (scope 3), the district aims to reach net zero by 2050, with a 50% reduction by 2035.

Scope 3 emissions are indirect GHG emissions other than scope 2 emissions that are generated in the wider economy. They occur as a consequence of the activities of the district, but from sources not owned or controlled by the district.

This includes reducing emissions from purchased goods and services including pharmaceuticals and chemicals, medical and non-medical equipment, and food, water and waste.

By working closely with our suppliers including Healthshare and NSW Health partners to set new policy and standards, we aim to influence the environmental sustainability of our supply chain.

 What are we doing to get to net zero?

ThePDF icon​​NSLHD Planetary H​ealth Framework 202​4-2027 sets out NSLHD’s commitment to continually improving and reducing our environmental footprint.

To achieve this vision, five priority​ domains have been identified: sustainable organisation, waste management and resource recovery, capital works and procurement, people​ and places and models of care. These domains will underpin decisions made in relation to the implementation and endorsement of new planetary health related initiatives.​

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Having issues viewing the above diagram? This image can be downloaded below.​

Each priority domain is underpinned by the economic, social and governance systems that shape the actions affecting our natural systems and planetary health. Oversight of the framework is the responsibility of the NSLHD Planetary Health Committee and progress against the framework is reported annually to the NSLHD Board.

These priority domains align seamlessly with our vision; ‘leaders in healthcare, partners in wellbeing’.​​​​​​​

 Our achievements so far

​Energy saving​

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Since 2014 more than 279,876 kilowatts has been saved every hour thanks to solar, LED lighting and other measures.
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Over the last year 5000 lights were replaced at Royal North Shore Hospital, Mona Vale Hospital and Brookvale Community Health Centre with LED lights.
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The use of solar has reduced energy consumption from the grid by 1,814,356 kWh translating to a cost saving of $317,240.​

Water saving​
Our hospitals have all reduced their water usage dramatically since 2015.
  • Royal North Shore Hospital: -11.5% 
  • Hornsby Hospital: -50%
  • Ryde Hospital: -2.5%
  • Macquarie Hospital: -23%
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Environmentally efficient chillers and boilers have been installed at Ryde, Macquarie and Hornsby hospitals.
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220 toilets replaced with water-saving duel flush toilets.
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60,805kg of electronic waste has been sustainably disposed of to reduce the amount of toxic chemicals in landfill resulting in estimated savings of $325,000 and 2600 tonnes of carbon.​

Other important achievements
  • Sustainability Committees at each site
  • Net Zero Clinical Group and Net Zero Leads Program​​
  • Calculating our carbon footprint and pathway to net zero
  • Reducing low-value care and decarbonising high-value care
  • Delivering health promotion
  • Reducing sing​le-use plastics and recycling el ectronics
  • Food composting
  • Reducing power consumption and investing in solar energy
  • Sustainable water practices​

 Our governance structure

The NSLHD Planetary Health Committee is chaired by the Chief Executive and includes NSLHD Board Members Professor Emerita Mary Chiarella, AM and Dr Donna Lynch. The committee provides oversight of the NSLHD Planetary Health Framework and supports achievements against our Net Zero Target.​
​For further information please contact [email protected].​