NHS NEL has adopted a range of initiatives across its technology division to ensure it works in a sustainable way with minimum impact on the environment.

These range from recycling and re-using old computer equipment to reduce e-waste to supporting staff to work remotely – cutting journeys made through commuting.

The technology division is the biggest in NEL, providing essential ICT support to the CSU’s 2,000 staff and delivering services to thousands more at client organisations nationwide.

In line with NEL’s drive to work in a commercially sustainable way, and to support the NHS to meet its ambitious net zero commitment by 2040, the division now:

• Uses several channels to ensure end-of-life IT equipment is recycled, repurposed, and remanufactured with the aim of meeting a ‘zero landfill’ ambition. As part of this, recycling rebates from suppliers are used to purchase new equipment.

• Consolidates purchase orders to ensure multi-item consignments are complete before shipping, cutting vehicle journeys and reducing our road haulage footprint.

• Applies weighting to contract procurement criteria to include bidders’ sustainability credentials, ensuring social value is a key consideration in tendering for suppliers.

• Ensures A-grade devices are procured and deployed to aid reliability and minimise IT failure – reducing the number of office visits required by engineering staff and supporting efforts to offset global manufacturer parts constraints.

• Operates a ‘just in time’ goods ordering strategy to prevent over-stocking, limit vehicle journeys and reduce potential e-waste volumes.

• Reviews customers’ goods consumption patterns with a view to introducing sustainable alternatives (such as reducing printing in primary care)

Spencer Langley, NEL’s Purchasing Logistics and Stock Control Manager, said:

“As an NHS organisation providing IT services and support, NEL purchases and maintains huge quantities of equipment but we’ve completely changed the way we operate to ensure we work as sustainably as possible. That applies to all aspects of what we do, from the way we procure our suppliers to the way we to deal with our old, unwanted items.

“One of our key principles is to reduce waste so we’ve adopted a number of initiatives to achieve this, including using 100% recyclable packaging for laptops and monitors and refining our ordering and maintenance processes to reduce vehicle journeys.

“Adopting this approach has enabled us to reduce our own carbon footprint and support the wider commitment the NHS has made to achieve net zero emissions by 2040.”