Reducing supplier vehicle journeys and improving due diligence around labour standards are among measures that have been implemented to improve supply chain sustainability in the NHS.
The NHS Supply Chain sustainable development report 2014 outlines the NHS commitment to sustainability and its progress over the last year. It places strong emphasis on minimising the organisation's impact on the environment through reducing waste, procuring sustainable and nutritional food, building supply chain resilience and improving the efficiency of deliveries.
The report outlines achievements in 2014, including briefing over 100 suppliers about requirements for labour standards assurance, and a 40 per cent reduction in carbon emissions since 2008.
Other achievements included improving inbound logistics for key suppliers by reducing vehicle journeys, achieving a recycling rate of 87 per cent from business waste, and supporting Corporate Social Responsibility initiatives, as well as involvement in communities.
The report said that NHS Supply Chain improved inbound logistics for key suppliers, including cutting vehicle journeys with one supplier by 45 per cent and thereby reducing carbon emissions by an estimated 49 tonnes.
In the supply of clinical products, the Labour Standards Assurance System is being incorporated in the contract conditions for product areas where there are known and documented risks of labour standards issues.
Compliance with UK Timber Procurement Policy is being incorporated into areas where timber is a key raw material and packaging reduction and supply chain optimisation is also taking place in numerous contract areas, the report said.
Key capital contracts will be incorporating EU Green Public Procurement for Electrical and Electronic Equipment for the Healthcare Sector criteria into its tender and contract conditions.
NHS Supply Chain said that it had been working closely with the Department of Health's advisory panel on supply chain resilience to develop a methodology for managing "products of concern", and work was continuing this year.
“Encouraging our team to think and behave in a sustainable way is a key element of our success but also an ongoing project to embed a culture,” said Nick Gerrard, NHS Supply Chain chief executive officer.