SMEs play a vital role in sustainability and the critical move to net zero. No business can reach net zero alone and the Innovation Agency can help guide you to your goal.

Net Zero is a crucial lever for driving ambitious climate action and the widespread adoption of net zero targets is part of a long-term shift to reduce our carbon emissions.

Where should innovators begin
As an innovator, it can be difficult to know where to begin. These recommendations provide some guidance in the early stages of developing your net zero strategy and approach. There is no one size fits all, so take an approach which suits your business and its ambitions.

Understanding net zero in procurement
Take time to understand the basics. Read through the relevant net zero and social value resources provided by the NHS.

Calculate your carbon footprint
Understand where you are now and calculate your emissions for scope 1, 2 and 3 using the carbon reduction template.

  • Scope 1 – direct greenhouse gas emissions, emissions from manufacturing, company cars or boilers, for example.

  • Scope 2 – indirect emissions, emissions released into the atmosphere associated with the consumption of electricity, for example

  • Scope 3 – other indirect emissions, waste disposal or emissions from employees' business travel in their own cars.

Create a net zero strategy - Integrating the principle into your business. The four areas below capture the key pillars used when creating a strategy:-

Governance - It is important to decide who is accountable for your business becoming net zero, and what your governance path for decisions is.

Strategy - It is important to decide your overarching vision and ambition for your strategy.

Metrics - It is important to agree what your commitments are, what your carbon reduction plan is and what your 3–5 year goals are.

Risks - It is important to understand how climate change will impact your business and how you intend to mitigate any risks.

The Innovation Agency aims to provide consistent support to innovators over two distinct packages:

1. Universal – An introduction to net zero in the NHS

Core support available to all innovators including UK and International.

This innovator support pack contains guidance on what innovators need to know regarding net zero in the NHS, a net zero self-assessment, funding and grant opportunities and guidance, key resources, and FAQs.

2. Enhanced – Developing innovation and embedding in NHS

Service available to innovators who meet the AHSN net zero threshold. Purpose of this offer is to give innovators access to further resources that will enable them to develop their innovation and connect with NHS and social care organisation and key Sustainability Leads across the region.

Below you will find key resources relating to NHS net zero:-

Delivering a net zero NHS

Carbon reduction plan - a toolkit for NHS supplier bodies

Procurement Policy Note 06/20

Guidance on adopting PPN 06/20

Carbon reduction plan template

Carbon reduction plan guidance

There are several carbon calculators available. They usually have a free version and a paid version, and some of the sites offer a consultancy to assist businesses reduce carbon emissions. We do not endorse any of these, nor can we recommend which would be best for your business model. Each offers a different slant on what to measure.


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