employee working with medical device

Accelerate your journey to reach your net zero & social value aims

Published on : 1/20/23
Reading time : 9 min
  • The NHS aims to be net zero by 2045. Yet with the health service’s wider supply chain – including Estates & Facilities - contributing to 24% of all its carbon emissions, your EFM department may need to adjust how your suppliers assist your service delivery. Read more to find out what support you should expect from your Trust’s suppliers to hit your net zero targets.

    The health service aims to be net zero by 2045 as part of the Greener NHS1 scheme. 

    Therefore, as an Estates & Facilities leader, you need oversight and control over your greenhouse gas (GHG) scope 1, 2 & 3 emissions.  

    NHS and third parties have made considerable progress in reducing the health service’s scope 1 emissions, having made a 67% reduction which exceeds the 37% requirement for 2020 outlined in the Climate Change Act1. However, challenging areas remain. 


    Understanding the supply chain carbon footprint 

    The Delivering a Net Zero NHS paper suggests the most significant opportunities for improvement lie within the indirect carbon footprint caused by the supply chain, particularly in Estates & Facilities Management (EFM)1.

    sources of carbon emissions by proportion of NHS Carbon Footprint Plus

    Source: Delivering a ‘Net Zero’National Health Service

    The wider supply chain contributes 24% to all of NHS’ carbon emissions1. Hence some of your biggest challenges are how you directly impact net zero and social value through the activities of your team and your supply chain. 

    The Government Sourcing Playbook suggests NHS Trusts should consider outsourcing when they don’t have the right flexibility of resources, the ability to train and recruit the right number of resources or the right assets currently to hand2. But what value can a supplier add to your Trust to help meet its current aims? This article will explore some of the solutions further. 


    Unlock improvement through outsourcing 

    The Government’s Social Value Model suggests outsourcing can assist through five distinct areas3 and gives you a framework to grade new and existing third-party suppliers on their proficiency to help your NHS Trust improve the following: 

    • Fighting climate change 
    • Well-being 
    • COVID-19 recovery 
    • Economic inequality 
    • Equal opportunity

    However, you still need to know how to gain assurance that a given supplier will add the promised value to your Trust. Especially given that all NHS procurements now include a minimum 10% net zero and social value weighting5

    Read this article to discover how a third party can support you by providing capacity and expertise to fight climate change and improve staff wellbeing. All to help your Trust meet its net zero and social value ambitions. 

    Then download our eBook to learn more about how Sodexo can further support your Trust with tackling economic inequality and providing equal opportunities. 


    Fighting climate change 

    How can you gain assurance that a third party will meet your long-term net zero requirements? 

    As an EFM leader, you need to be confident that your third party has the skills, expertise and infrastructure to comply with your Greener NHS net zero aims. 

    highway with carsConsider whether your third party is: 

    • Using electric vehicles 
    • Running waste reduction schemes 
    • Tackling their water usage 
    • Creating ways to make your estate more efficient 
    • Measuring all of their GHG emissions, including throughout their supply chain, with reliable data 
    • Setting near and long-term science-based targets through the SBTi (Science Based Targets initiative) 

    For the last point, the SBTi is an independent body that enables organisations to set science-based emission reduction targets6. Targets are assessed on being ambitious, achievable, aligned with climate science, and incorporated in every emission the business creates. 

    By working with a supplier that has set a net zero science-based target, all data is robust and transparent. So, you gain the confidence and assurance that your third party’s net zero roadmap is built to a framework that will help them meet your aims. 


    How Sodexo gives you net zero assurance across your supply chain 

    At Sodexo, we’re committed to reaching net zero by 2040, when we will have achieved our long-term science-based target to reduce GHG emissions by 90%, with any remaining emissions neutralised7.  

    In 2022, we became one of the first organisations globally to have both near and long-term science-based targets validated by the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi), as we prioritise decarbonisation to reach net zero*. Our comprehensive regional roadmap and transition plan to reach net zero by 2040 outlines our targets and key actions.

    In recent work, we’ve made many steps towards hitting net zero: 

    • The launch of a 100% hybrid and electric vehicle company car policy. 
    • Ongoing membership of the Climate Group’s RE100 initiative and procuring 100% renewable electricity by the end of 2022. 
    • Switching to 100% reusable, recyclable and compostable packaging by 2025. 
    • Increasing the number of plant-based meals and recipes to 33% by 2025. 
    • Tackling food waste at all appropriate sites through our WasteWatch powered by LeanPath programme and reducing food waste by 50% by 2025. 
    • A thorough responsible sourcing strategy that facilities better working with suppliers. 
    • Working with clients to achieve net zero collaboratively7

    Sodexo UK&I is reviewing its net zero science-based target with the SBTi to increase the ambition to 2040 to align with the wider Sodexo Group. 

    SBTI is the only net zero standard out there6 and follows a framework aligned with the NHS8, so you can be sure we’re meeting your Greener NHS aims. 


    Sodexo UKI journey to net zero



    How does your supplier boost wellbeing to tackle staff absences? 

    Absences caused by anxiety/stress/depression or another psychiatric reason account for nearly one in five illnesses (19.9%) within the NHS’ EFM staffing teams14

    These absences only put more pressure on staff numbers, which in turn spirals to cause further absences, ultimately affecting patient flow

    The Government Social Value Model15 says Trusts should consider building programmes to support their staff's physical and mental wellbeing.  

    Consider whether an outsourcer offers programmes such as: 

    • Providing concierge services that take the strain off staff in their non-work life16 
    • Raising awareness of mental health and burnout through training sessions 
    • Tooling up managers on noticing the signs of employee burnout 
    • Using staff surveys and focus groups to involve everyone in decision making 
    • Creating more accessible peer support, buddying and mentorships 
    • Allowing staff to volunteer to boost their feelings of worthwhile work 

    According to the charity Mind, “60% of employees say they’d feel more motivated and more likely to recommend their organisation as a good place to work if their employer took action to support mental wellbeing.”16 

    So, by enacting programmes that give your staff the above benefits, you can support their physical and mental health and reduce their absences. 


    Sodexo’s Circles staff concierge programme gives Trust staff time back to focus on their core responsibilities and boost welfare 

    At Sodexo, we’ve built many programmes to support our staff's wellbeing, including in-house counselling, mental health first aiders and our BHT Assist programme. 

    man talking to colleague in warehouse The BHT Assist concierge service at Stoke Mandeville aims to reduce stress, and stress-related absence, by giving valuable time back. Any hospital staff member can simply go online at any time and request help with a range of life’s time-absorbing tasks. 

    When asked if they felt BHT had taken positive action on health and wellbeing, 41.9% of employees said yes, up 9.1pts on last year’s results and over 10 points higher than the national average. 

    95% of requests are logged during the typical working day, with staff saving almost three hours of their time17. Over a week/month/year, this can substantially impact employee welfare. 


    COVID-19 recovery 

    Can your supplier guarantee a consistent supply chain that’s aligned with your net zero goals? 

    The mixture of Brexit, COVID-19 and the ongoing Ukraine crisis has recently made it hard to have reliable supply chains9, with costs spiralling – at a time when Trust capacity is already stretched. 

    • The total cost of providing inpatient food was £0.7 billion, an increase of 6.9 per cent since 2020/21. 
    • The total cost for cleaning services was £1.2 billion, an increase of 7.5 per cent since 2020/2110

    Unreliable supply chains cause a problem for monitoring and sticking to your net zero aims because you may find your Trust switching to a supplier that doesn’t strictly monitor its carbon emissions. 

    Working with the right third party gives you access to a robust, resilient, safe and secure supply chain that helps you hit your net zero targets while allowing you to: 

    • Receive the best prices on your supplies to ensure you have more money to invest in net zero goals. 
    • Be insulated from supply chain risks through the buying power of a large supplier and consequent supply network. 
    • Track your supply chain so you can be sure of each supplies’ carbon footprint. 
    • Access data about your supplies' whole life cycle, so you know exactly what you need to purchase to save in order to reduce wastage. 


    How Sodexo gives you net zero assurance across your supply chain 


    Our responsible sourcing supply chain roadmap 

    Throughout our supply chain, we carefully aim, track and report on our responsible sourcing progress, so our partners gain assurances across the following areas: 

    • Selecting the healthiest ingredients 

    Our partners are required to follow our supplier specifications, and they receive support and assistance through a quality monitoring plan that includes regular audits. 

    • Fostering economic, social, and environmental progress through an inclusive supply chain 

    This programme is active worldwide and promotes the inclusion of suppliers that fall into the following three categories: 

    • Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) 
    • Companies owned and/or directed by women, minorities, or other underrepresented groups 
    • Suppliers that actively support diversity and inclusion
    • Building a low carbon emissions supply chain to protect natural ecosystems

    We have strict rules about monitoring where our products come from and regularly evaluate our suppliers’ efforts. 

    • Reducing deforestation 

    In partnership with the WWF, we have committed to eliminating deforestation from our supply chain by 2030. Four agricultural products, in particular, are at the heart of our plan: beef, soy, palm oil, and paper. 

    • Improving animal welfare standards 

    We added 'protecting animal welfare' to supplier specifications in 2013 and created an animal welfare charter in collaboration with experts in the field and our suppliers. 

    • Using sustainable seafood products 

    In 2010, in response to the threat overfishing represents to marine ecosystems, we became the first company in our sector to remove threatened species from our supply chain11


    Using locally sourced products 

    Utilising SMEs is key to creating a diverse, resilient, and successful supply chain. 

    Sodexo's 2021 social impact pledge included a commitment to ensuring 40% of our spending is with SME and VCSE suppliers, which protects our projects from supply chain disruption. Hence, in 2022, our SMEs represent over half of our core supply chain and account for 44% (£256 million) of our total spending in the UK and Ireland12.

    employee checking stocksWith shorter decision-making trees, our SMEs can be especially agile in an industry that needs to react quickly. For example, in times of pandemics, energy crises and global supply issues.  

    Smaller businesses are particularly effective under these circumstances because of their ability to be agile and innovative. As a result, SMEs can respond at a rate that is only sometimes possible on a larger scale, particularly when it comes to reducing carbon emissions and achieving net zero targets.  

    However, SMEs sometimes need our support with their carbon accounting. That’s why Sodexo has proposed joining together with other high-profile businesses to create a considered and uniform reporting system that will make things simpler for suppliers and lead to better compliance12

    While we work to get the carbon accounting system in place, we work with suppliers in other ways to reduce their footprint. In fact, we recently supported and endorsed one of our SME suppliers, The Soho Sandwich Company, when they made radical changes to their packaging so they could achieve measurable waste reduction12


    Insulating from shocks 

    At Sodexo, our scale gives us the buying power to provide insulation from supply chain shocks in ways that a smaller body may not achieve. 

    We purchase from a base of around 150,000 suppliers, with a global supply management of about 850 people. We spend approximately £600 million across 4,000 suppliers in the UK alone13

    This buying power allows us to get more competitive deals with the supply chain and provide competitive prices. 

    Furthermore, this scale means we can more easily insulate your Trust from supply chain risks.  

    We provide services in high-stakes service areas like waste management and patient nutrition, so any risk is taken care of by a team within Sodexo that connects with legal, CSR and health and safety to ensure that the supply chain is robust and compliant. 


    Supply chain management 

    Finally, we have a Supply Management Academy, so our expert teams are all trained in category management to get the true value out of a supply chain. 

    The Supplier Management Team has access to a market intelligence tool which gives buyers live data to identify what's happening to the commodities within the marketplace. It looks at what market you are currently procuring, from how the market operates to the total cost of ownership of the products and services you buy. 


    Sodexo Health & Care

    Know More


    *Sodexo Limited commits to reach net-zero greenhouse gas emissions across the value chain by FY2045 from a FY2017 base year. 

    1. NHS England. (2022) Delivering a net zero NHS, July 2022. London, NHS England. https://www.england.nhs.uk/greenernhs/wp-content/uploads/sites/51/2022/07/B1728-delivering-a-net-zero-nhs-july-2022.pdf 

    2. HM Government. (2022) The Sourcing Playbook. London, The Cabinet Office. https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/987353/The_Sourcing_Playbook.pdf  

    3. Government Commercial Function. (2022) The Social Value Model. London, The Cabinet Office. https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/940826/Social-Value-Model-Edn-1.1-3-Dec-20.pdf 

    4. NHS England. (2022) Applying net zero and social value in the procurement of NHS good and services, March 2022. London, NHS England. https://www.england.nhs.uk/greenernhs/wp-content/uploads/sites/51/2022/03/B1030-applying-net-zero-and-social-value-in-the-procurement-of-NHS-goods-and-services-march-2022.pdf 

    5. NHS England. (2022) Suppliers. London, NHS England. https://www.england.nhs.uk/greenernhs/get-involved/suppliers/ 

    6. Science Based Target Initiative. (2022) How it works. London, Science Based Targets Initiative. https://sciencebasedtargets.org/about-us 

    7. Sodexo Health & Care. (2022) Reducing carbon emissions. London, Sodexo Health & Care. https://uk.sodexo.com/netzero.html 

    8. NHS Shared Business Service. (2022) Net zero carbon reduction plan. London, NHS Shared Business Service. https://www.sbs.nhs.uk/media/18184/Net-Zero-Carbon-Reduction-Plan-2022/pdf/Carbon_Reduction_Plan_2022.pdf?m=1657014538217#:~:text=We%20project%20that%20NHS%20SBS's,a%20reduction%20of%20100%25).&text=Ensure%20that%2090%25%20out%20of,emissions%20reduction%20targets%20by%202025. 

    9. Williams, H. (2022) UK firms overhaul supply chains after Brexit and pandemic cause havoc – ONS. London, The Independent. https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/brexit-ons-holly-williams-ukraine-covid-b2030968.html 

    10. NHS Digital. (2022) Estates Returns Information Collection, Summary page and dataset for ERIC 2021/22. London, NHS Digital. https://digital.nhs.uk/data-and-information/publications/statistical/estates-returns-information-collection/england-2021-22 

    11. Sodexo Health & Care. (2022) Responsible Sourcing. London, Sodexo Health & Care. https://www.sodexo.com/home/corporate-responsibility/sustainability/responsible-sourcing.html 

    12. Sodexo Health & Care. (2022) Creating a diverse food supply chain with our network of SMEs. London, Sodexo Health & Care. https://uk.sodexo.com/insights/diverse-food-supply-chain-SMEs.html?t=1 

    13. Sodexo Health & Care. (2022) Sodexo forms Modern Slavery Strategic Supplier Forum. London, Sodexo Health & Care. https://uk.sodexo.com/media/news-room/sodexo-forms-modern-slavery-stra.html 

    14. NHS England. (2022) NHS Estates and Facilities Workforce Action Plan. London, NHS England. https://www.england.nhs.uk/wp-content/uploads/2022/06/B0292-NHS-estates-and-facilities-workforce-action-plan.pdf 

    15. Government Commercial Function. (2022) The Social Value Model. London, The Cabinet Office.https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/940826/Social-Value-Model-Edn-1.1-3-Dec-20.pdf 

    16. Mind. (2022) How to promote wellbeing. London, Mind. https://www.mind.org.uk/media-a/4662/resource3_howtopromotewellbeingfinal.pdf 

    17. Sodexo Health & Care. (2021) How can a concierge service improve your employees' productivity? London, Sodexo Health & Care. https://uk.sodexo.com/inspired-thinking/insights/how-can-a-concierge-service-impr.html