The Royal College of Emergency Medicine is committed to minimising the environmental impact of its operations and developing environmentally sustainable emergency healthcare systems.
In 2019 the Royal College of Emergency Medicine took an important step on the journey towards a sustainable future; declaring a climate emergency and a goal of carbon neutrality by 2040. To meet this aim the college has implemented a wide range of initiatives to improve environmental performance; divesting from fossil fuels, ensuring zero landfill waste, promoting recycling, reducing transport emissions, and working with suppliers who ethically source materials.+ Climate Change and Health Scorecard
The Climate Change and Health Scorecard review in 2022 demonstrated positive climate action by the College, alongside opportunities for further growth.
ISO14001:2015 lays out a set of management standards by which organisations can design and implement an effective environmental management system.
The College were accredited with achieving ISO14001:2015 in May 2023.
The RCEM Environmental Specialist Interest Group (ESIG) was established in 2019 and consists of RCEM members and employees. Broadly the ESIG are tasked with:
Understanding how Emergency Departments can mitigate their environmental impact while maintaining standards of patient care within the current setting of financial and departmental pressures is a challenge. The GreenED programme was developed by the Environmental Specialist Interest Group (ESIG) and launched nationally in 2023 with support from the Greener NHS. The GreenED programme aims to measure and reduce the environmental impact of emergency medicine by empowering emergency healthcare staff to embed environmentally sustainable working practices into their departments.+ GreenED Programme
The GreenED programme is delivered via an online portal which provides a framework of evidence-based actions, divided into bronze, silver and gold tiers. The portal provides guidance on how to achieve each action, supporting resources, data collection tools and calculators with which to measure their impact. Successful completion of all the actions in a tier leads to formal accreditation by RCEM.
The interventions have been shown to maintain or improve patient care, meet wider sustainability targets at both trust and national level, and lead to financial savings in a pilot trial in 2021.
The GreenED portal is supported by an open-access GreenED Toolkit containing a Digital Handbook and additional resources.
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In May 2023 the College released a position statement on environmentally sustainable emergency healthcare making five key recommendations:
RCEM Study Day: How to provide environmentally sustainable emergency care
6th June 2023. Virtual event
Network: Sustainable Emergency Care Network at The Centre for Sustainable Healthcare
RCEMLearning Blog: Air pollution