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Towards net zero: reducing the carbon footprint of nursing uniforms

11 August 2022
Volume 31 · Issue 15


Ken Wright, Head of Fabric Development, Dimensions (Mi Hub), discusses the role that uniforms play in the healthcare industry's carbon footprint

Sustainability has been a major topic of discussion around the world, especially following Net Zero Week last month. From businesses to individuals, many people are beginning to play their part in the journey to a net-zero future, but what role is the NHS taking?

In general, the clothing industry is responsible for 10% of global carbon emissions annually (Dottle and Gu, 2022), so it would be remiss to analyse the carbon footprint of the NHS without looking at the contribution of its uniforms.

Many factors contribute to the carbon emissions of the NHS – which produces 4-5% of the UK's total carbon emissions (NHS, 2020 – from its day-to-day processes to the environmental impact of manufacturing staff uniforms. This has prompted the British Medical Association to pledge to be more sustainable and reduce service emissions, to help safeguard the health and wellbeing of those in the UK. It has vowed to ‘help drive the discourse towards a greener and healthier UK’, stating ‘the sooner we as a society achieve net zero, the better it is for health’.

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