Bupa to become a Net Zero business by 2040

21 October 2021 . International

  • The international healthcare company sets Net Zero ambition for its global healthcare operations and value chain, including its investment portfolio.
  • To underpin this Net Zero ambition, Bupa has set science-based targets for all emission scopes, which are aligned to keep global warming to no more than 1.5°C.
  • People’s health and the health of the planet are intrinsically linked, which is why sustainability is core to Bupa’s strategy and refreshed purpose.

International healthcare company Bupa has today set two major milestones in our aim to improve the health of people and the planet by confirming our ambition to become a Net Zero business by 2040 and joining the UN’s Race to Zero campaign.

As a first step to achieving net zero emissions by 2040, Bupa has set science-based targets which are aligned to keep global warming to no more than 1.5°C. These targets are being validated by the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi) and they will ensure that Bupa makes transformational progress this decade.

Bupa is also joining the UN’s Race to Zero campaign with Health Care Without Harm, the official Race to Zero healthcare partner, joining other organisations who have committed to take rigorous and immediate action to halve global emissions by 2030 and deliver a healthier, fairer zero carbon world in time.

Bupa Group CEO, Iñaki Ereño, said: “Our commitment to the most ambitious emissions reduction pathway establishes an important path for Bupa’s future, ensuring customers across the world continue to receive high quality healthcare and services, while we play our part in protecting the planet.

“People’s health and the health of the planet are intrinsically linked, and the latest science has made it clear that decisive action must be taken to avoid the most significant impacts of climate change.

“We understand that delivering healthcare has an environmental impact driven by the sector’s carbon contribution. That’s why we are accelerating our work to significantly reduce our own impact. We also have the opportunity, and the responsibility, to improve understanding about how human health is impacted by the environment, and we will use our global position to educate and advocate for both healthy people and a healthy planet”.

Bupa’s Chief Sustainability and People Officer, Nigel Sullivan, added: “These commitments exemplify Bupa’s refreshed purpose – helping people live longer, healthier, happier lives and making a better world.

“Our targets are aligned to keep global warming to no more than 1.5°C, highlighting that we can be leaders in healthcare, while also in making a positive impact on the environment.

Setting targets is just the beginning. To deliver our Net Zero strategy, we understand that bringing others with us on this journey will be critical: our customers, our people, suppliers and our healthcare partners.”

Josh Karliner, International Director of Program and Strategy, Health Care Without Harm, said: “We are honoured to welcome Bupa to a growing global movement of healthcare institutions joining Race to Zero. As a large international organisation with facilities around the world, Bupa's commitment to transform its operations and reach net zero emissions demonstrates healthcare climate leadership in action.”


Duncan West, Head of Corporate Communications, Bupa Group: duncan.west@bupa.com

Notes to editor

Notes to editor:

Bupa’s Scope 1, 2 and 3 targets submitted to the SBTi are as follows:

  • Bupa commits to reduce absolute Scope 1 and 2 greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 46.2% by 2030 from a 2019 base year.
  • Bupa commits to reduce absolute Scope 3 GHG emissions from purchased goods and services, insurance underwriting, business travel, downstream transportation and distribution by 63% by 2034 from a 2019 base year.
  • Bupa commits to achieve SBTs in corporate bonds, loans and equity by 2025 from a 2020 base year. Bupa’s portfolio targets cover around 40% of its total investment and lending activities by invested value. By 2040, Bupa’s investment portfolio will be 1.5°C aligned.

Establishing Bupa’s Net Zero ambition is the first focus area underpinning Bupa’s new sustainability strategy, which will be finalised later this year.

As well as regular reporting on progress against these targets, as part of the Race to Zero campaign, Bupa will provide annual quantitative and qualitative reports on progress and strategies to Health Care Without Harm and the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.

In order to define its reduction pathway, Bupa is developing decarbonisation roadmaps for each business across all three emission scopes. Bupa’s top priority is to significantly reduce GHG emissions to as close to zero as possible, including:

  • Reducing emissions across our own operations (Scopes 1 and 2): Increasing efficiencies, streamlining processes, and adopting low carbon alternatives wherever possible.
    • Renewable energy: Bupa’s commitment on climate began back in 2014, when the company established a £50m investment fund to reduce its carbon footprint. Progress has been made since then with 100% of the electricity used in Spain, and 90% in the UK already coming from renewable sources. Bupa aims to be fully powered with renewable energy.
    • Sustainable buildings: Bupa’s Spanish and UK headquarters are already certified for being sustainable, and the aim is to achieve this with more offices across the world.
  • Reducing emissions that we are indirectly responsible for, up and down the value chain (Scope 3):
  • Digitising of health treatments: Digitisation can accelerate progress to achieve sustainability goals. For example, delivering services through telehealth solutions has the potential to reduce emissions from patient travel, building and equipment power. Bupa’s Spanish business, Sanitas, recently launched the Net Emissions Video consultation. When a customer accesses a video consultation or downloads a prescription or a medical report via the Sanitas app, they are informed of the carbon emissions they have avoided by not travelling for a face to face appointment or to pick up their printed reports.
  • Enabling suppliers and healthcare providers to decarbonise: For Scope 3, working closely with suppliers and healthcare providers will be critical to reduce the impact of health treatments to ensure they are also committing to reduce their own emissions, ideally by setting science-based targets, powering themselves with renewable energy, and providing lower carbon products and services. Bupa is developing supplier and provision strategies to enable this change.
  • Developing technology strategies to reduce the carbon emissions of our technology operations by utilising public cloud services and adopting digital technologies to reduce the carbon footprint of our business processes.
  • Building climate action into our organisation:
  • Bupa has established new global governance structures: including a Board Sustainability Committee that oversees the integrated management of the company sustainability commitments.
  • Making climate action part of everyone’s remit. Bupa is conducting climate scenario analysis on its UK insurance business and has also disclosed against CDP’s Climate Change Questionnaire this year. Employees are critical to delivering on the climate commitments. During 2021, Bupa launched the ‘eco-Disruptive’ talent programme across four countries. Through this, employees are working with forward thinking start-ups to solve some of Bupa’s more material sustainability challenges, so we can have the greatest impact on people health and the health of the planet. Beyond testing emerging talent, the aim of the programme is to engage all employees with the sustainability agenda, showing they can be part of the solution.
  • Advocating for healthy people and healthy planet:
  • Beyond the work Bupa is doing to mitigate its impact on the environment, we also have the opportunity and the responsibility to understand how people’s health is impacted by the health of the planet and to educate and advocate for healthy people and a healthy planet.
  • Bupa is working with a number of partners to amplify the health message around climate in the lead up to COP26 and beyond. As part of this work, Bupa recently published a joint report with GSK Consumer Healthcare, Walgreens Boots Alliance and international non-profit organisation, Forum for the Future, on how businesses can use their net zero strategies to accelerate change across climate change and health at the same time.
  • Bupa is also supporting the ‘Ride for their Lives’ campaign, an international initiative led by clinicians to raise awareness of the links between air pollution, climate change and health. The riders are calling on the leaders of every country and their representatives at COP26 to act urgently on the climate crisis, and to make air pollution a priority in their commitments at COP26 and beyond.

About Bupa

Bupa's purpose is helping people live longer, healthier, happier lives and making a better world.

We are an international healthcare company serving over 31 million customers worldwide. With no shareholders, we reinvest profits into providing more and better healthcare for the benefit of current and future customers.

We directly employ around 85,000 people, principally in the UK, Australia, Spain, Chile, Poland, New Zealand, Hong Kong SAR, Turkey, Brazil, Mexico, the US, Middle East and Ireland. We also have associate businesses in Saudi Arabia and India.

For more information, visit www.bupa.com.