Introducing eco-Disruptive

Nigel Sullivan
Published by Nigel Sullivan
Chief Sustainability & People Officer

03 June 2021 .

There is a clear connection between human health and the health of the planet. Climate change, pollution, waste, biodiversity loss, water quality and security, habitat degradation, increasing contact between wildlife and humans pose huge challenges both for people and planetary health. So, as a healthcare company not only do we have an important role to play but we also have a responsibility to act in this space.


So last month we launched eco-Disruptive, a new initiative in Bupa which brings together three elements of our new strategy: sustainability, agile culture and digital transformation.

What’s eco-Disruptive?

eco-Disruptive is a clear signal of our intent to harness the energy and passion of our people and bring innovation to help us accelerate the sustainability agenda. Fundamentally, it’s a talent programme – a global innovation challenge which will run between May and December this year across some of the largest parts of our business (Australia, Spain, Chile and the UK).

126 of our people have formed into teams. They’ll use agile ways of working and connect initially with around 500 eco start-ups, eventually selecting one per team to work with – 18 overall. They’ll develop a Minimal Viable Product (MVP) for a product or service. Our employees will vote for a winner in each country and then an overall global winner at a grand finale in December and Bupa will then invest in that winner.

Each team has been assigned one of six challenges which aim to have a positive impact on people and planetary health: reducing carbon emissions; improving air quality through greener transport; eliminating waste and reducing consumption; increasing, restoring or protecting biodiversity; making our cities healthier, more sustainable and resilient; and empowering people to improve their health and the planet’s health.

Sustainability at Bupa

Sustainability is at the core of our strategy – as a global healthcare company, we want to make a significant contribution to the health and wellbeing of the planet and its citizens - and the time is now. Eco-disruptive also symbolises our commitment to the environment and Bupa’s purpose: helping people live longer, healthier, happier lives and making a better world.

I am honoured to have been recently asked to lead the sustainability agenda and how we make a difference is front of mind for me at the moment. We are making progress, but there’s much more to do to repair and restore our word as our health depends on us having a healthy planet.

eco-Disruptive plays a huge part in this. It’s going to be something completely different for the participants on the programme, unlike any other experience they will have had before. It also helps us develop a better understanding of the key sustainability issues we’re facing today.

I’ve had some amazing development opportunities over the years – still do – but I imagine what it would have been like earlier in my career to come home and tell my loved ones and friends that I’d been picked for this programme. What a feeling…

Exciting times for us at Bupa. I’ll share more with you as the programme progresses. In the meantime, here’s a film from the launch of eco-Disruptive a couple of weeks ago.

Nigel Sullivan

Nigel Sullivan

Chief Sustainability & People Officer