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NHS to Assess Emissions of Procurement

The U.K.’s National Health Service has begun assessing the carbon footprint of health care procurement.

Many N.H.S. bodies already include environmental costs into their procurement decision making, but the new plan aims to look a “little deeper” into the carbon footprints embedded in the products they buy, an N.H.S. Sustainable Development Unit spokeswoman told the Guardian.

The project will use the average carbon intensity of the raw materials used in a product to assess the emissions produced in its production.

All organizations that fall under the N.H.S. banner will be included in the project, including primary care trusts, dental practices and pharmacies, according to the spokeswoman.

The N.H.S. is the largest “single-payer” health care system in the world and, according to Business Insider, the world’s seventh largest employer. N.H.S. England’s 2010-11 budget was over £100 billion ($156 billion), according to the U.K. Department of Health.

In 2009, N.H.S. hospitals began cutting the amount of meat they served to patients and staff in an effort to reduce their carbon emissions.

At the time, N.H.S. hospitals accounted for 3 percent of all emissions in England, with one-fifth of those emissions coming from procurement – drugs, medical equipment, and food.

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