I’d like to share some good news about our environmental agenda. We recently received a silver award in the GHG Reduction category from the 2020 Challenge Climate Champion Awards for our achievement of a direct reduction in global carbon emissions by 23% (2009-2015).
These awards recognise the work of healthcare organisations that by using their innovation, ingenuity, investments, and voice, are reducing their climate footprint, developing low-carbon models of care, adapting to ensure their resilience given the changing climate, and advocating for policies to protect the future health of the planet.
Why is this so important to us? We know climate change and health are interconnected: carbon emissions create air pollution, which is now the main cause of lung conditions, such as asthma, and a risk factor for poor heart health and cancer. At least seven million premature deaths annually – one in eight – are attributed to air pollution, as estimated by the World Health Organization.
Air pollution is sadly too often on the news. A few weeks ago London recorded its highest level since April 2011, Madrid has seen public health alerts become more frequent, and Hong Kong has been enveloped in smog for extended periods since October. The problem of air pollution is not going away and is having a huge impact on our health.
Healthy people need a healthy planet, that’s why we believe that as a health and care company we have a dual responsibility to reduce our environmental impact, for the health of our customers and wider society and to lead the change in which we aspire to. Reducing our carbon emissions is central to our purpose helping people live longer, healthier, happier lives, and it’s one of the key pillars of Bupa’s Corporate Responsibility and Sustainability strategy.
I’m very happy that Bupa has been recognised in the healthcare space for our commitment and progress in becoming a more environmentally sustainable business over the last few years. The 2020 Challenge Climate Champion Award that we just received reassures us that we’re going in the right direction. But there’s much more to be done to reduce our impact on the environment and to guarantee good health for our customers and wider society today and for future generations.