Bupa supports campaign to raise awareness of the links between air pollution, climate change and health

28 October 2021 . International

  • Bupa is sponsoring 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, who include clinicians and hospital staff, will cycle 800km to urge world leaders attending the UN Climate Change Conference (COP26) in Glasgow to act on air pollution and climate change.
  • They will deliver research and letters from the global health community, including the #HealthyClimate Prescription letter signed by health organisations representing around 45 million health professionals around the world as well as the World Health Organisation (WHO) COP26 Special Report on Climate Change and Health.
  • Bupa recently announced its ambition to become a net zero business by 2040 across all emissions, underpinned by 1.5°C-aligned science-based targets.
Ride for Their Lives

London, 28 October 2021

Bupa is sponsoring the ‘Ride for their Lives’ campaign, an initiative that aims to mobilise the healthcare community to raise awareness of the links between air pollution, climate change and health.

A group of seventy health professionals and UK Health Sector leaders, working in six UK children’s hospitals, are cycling from London to Glasgow to deliver a message to the COP26 attendees. The cyclists include doctors, nurses, anaesthetists, occupational therapists and other healthcare professionals Among them are Matthew Shaw, chief executive of Great Ormond Street Hospital, Fiona Godlee, editor in chief of the British Medical Journal, Andrew Goddard, president of the Royal College of Physicians, Robin Stott, one of the founders of the UK Health Alliance on Climate Change, and Camilla Kingdon, president of the Royal College of Pediatrics and Child 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.

The riders set off from Great Ormond Street Hospital on 24 October. Their destination is over 500 miles (800 kilometres) away: the Royal Hospital for Children in Glasgow, the city where COP26 is taking place. They are also accompanied by five Pollution Pods, an installation by artist Michael Pinsky which allows people to experience the air in the world’s most polluted cities.

During the week-long ride they will stop at Birmingham, Sheffield and Newcastle to highlight the effect on health of air pollution and climate change.

The riders will arrive with all five pods in Glasgow on 31 October as COP26 begins, where they will call on world leaders to make air pollution an explicit priority in climate action and sustainable development activities. They will hand deliver research and letters including the #HealthyClimate Prescription letter which Bupa signed together with other health organisations around the world, representing 45 million health professionals as well as the WHO COP26 Special Report on Climate Change and Health; which proposes a set of priority actions calling on governments and policy makers to act with urgency on the current climate and health crises.

Dr. Paula Franklin, Chief Medical Officer, Bupa Group, said: “As a global healthcare company, we know that a healthy planet is a key foundation for a healthy global population, which is why we are proud to support the Ride for their Lives initiative. Mobilising the healthcare community to raise awareness about the urgent need to tackle the climate crisis could be really powerful to drive change for healthy people and a healthy planet.”

Dr Lizzie Rogers, Interim Associate Clinical Director, Bupa Health Clinics, said: “The link between human and planet health is undeniable and we know that a healthy planet is key to ensuring a healthy population.

At Bupa we are extremely proud to be supporting Ride for their Lives and all the incredible individuals undertaking this challenge – raising awareness of the importance of tacking the climate crisis to ensure the health of ours and future generations.

As a participant in Bupa’s eco-Disruptive programme, an initiative which brings together elements of our new strategy including sustainability, I have been working with my team on developing Healthier Cities and Citizens. Ride for their Lives is something that I feel particularly passionate about; and aligns perfectly with our purpose of helping people live longer, healthier, happier lives and making a better world.”

Our support for the ‘Ride for their Lives’ campaign reinforces Bupa’s commitment to making a better world and comes after our recent announcement of our ambition to become a net zero business by 2040 across all emissions, underpinned by 1.5°C-aligned science-based targets.

The initiative has been brought together with the Pollution Pods by Climate Acceptance Studios (CAS) and the pods are funded by the Clean Air Fund.


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.

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