The CSH Story

The Centre of Sustainable Healthcare (CSH) is an independent non-profit organisation that has been at the forefront of driving net zero and carbon reduction initiatives within the healthcare sector since 2008. Its primary objective is to integrate the values of environmental sustainability into the health industry, aiming to make healthcare practices more sustainable.

CSH has actively collaborated with frontline health workers, incorporating sustainability into clinical best practices. This efforthas resulted in the development of sustainable healthcare principles and quality improvementstrategies, directly influencing political actions, NHS policies, and net zero targets in the health sector. Founded by Rachel Stancliffe and Sir Muir Gray in response to what they perceived as a lack of genuine sustainability in the NHS, what initially started as the Campaign for Greener Healthcare brought together experts in medicine, public health, research, and environmental consultancy. Despite starting small, this campaign helped to establish what became known as the FourPrinciples of Sustainable Clinical Practice, a fundamental paradigm that has set the foundation for the future for envioronmental sustainability in healthcare ever since.

Eventually growing beyond its humble beginnings, the campaign evolved into the Centre forSustainable Healthcare out of a need to transform theoretical knowledge into tangible action. The organisation aimed to disrupt the system and implement substantial changes within the NHS, even if the broader community was not yet prepared for these innovative ideas.

"The priority is to turn ideas and research into positive action." Rachel Stancliffe

CSH initially focused on collaborating with clinicians and healthcare professionals within the NHS to instigate change from within.Over time, CSH expanded its efforts, establishing a robust Sustainable Specialties Programme and introducing flagship initiatives such as Sustainability in Quality Improvement (SusQI) and the NHS Forest programmes, all guided by a singular principle.

The CSH Theory of Change

Observing a convoluted and inflexible health and care system lacking sustainable features,along with sustainable organisations possessing limited healthcare experience, CSH opted to bring them together in a more holistic manner to effect genuine, positive change from within. CSH knew that at the core of the NHS, as well as all healthcare systems around the world, were its people. The doctors, nurses, pharmacists, and all healthcare professionals working diligently in their respective specialties, prioritising clinical best practice and positive outcomes for their patients, were crucial for driving the sustainable change that the healthcare system urgently needed.

"Change happens in health systems through theneeds of the practice, not through buildings,estates, and organisations." Rachel Stancliffe 

Looking At Strategic Ways Of Lining Things Up.

By working alongside those healthcare professionals at ward and specialty level, CSH slowly integrated pieces of the sustainable puzzle into clinical care and best practice. Like a challenging game of Tetris, the two seperate disciplines of sustainability and healthcare had to find a way to work together and form something new, something better. CSH adopted a personal approach to working alongside healthcare professionals and changing the industry from the ground up by empowering doctors, nurses, pharmacists and other specialties to make those changes within their own practices.

Over time, the work CSH was doing  helped to develop thinking around the NHS sustainable development unit in 2012 and later the SDU strategy in 2014, ultimately helping to influence the Greener NHS policies and frameworks. 

Please read our current Carbon Reduction Plan here.

By working alongside a growing network of clinicians, industry professionals and patient advocates, CSH avoided the top down  approach and built on the theory of change from within.

"Change has to come from the people who are already in the system." Rachel Stancliffe

A Growing Organisation.

This dedicated approach has empowered clinicians and the healthcare industry alike to change patient care and establish new benchmarks for best practice. The healthcare industry as a whole has taken CSH principles on board when establishing their own sustainable guidelines, empowering organisations like the NHS to build on those fundamental principles, and have relied on the groundbreaking work of CSH to conform to ever changing sustainable legislation.

As sustainability within healthcare moves beyond a simple buzzword into a necessary change backed by legislation, CSH itself has grown and expanded too.

CSH’s own flagship SusQI programme, a model illustrating how individuals can change and shape best practice to be more sustainable from the ground up, is being adopted by more and more healthcare teams across the world, and our world renowned and accredited courses are an integral part of many clinicians and healthcare professionals countinuing professional development and education, embedding sustainable ways of thinking into the next generation of professionals. 

CSH experts are invited to speak at international conferences on sustainable healthcare all over the world, and the ongoing research and work undertaken by CSH has placed a significant emphasis on preventative medicine as a crucial component of a more environmentally sustainable healthcare system. In turn, this focus gave rise to the NHS Forest programme and engaged policymakers within the NHS by placing a greater emphasis on green spaces. 

Meet the team! 

How We Work  

CSH was born in and will always have its heart in Oxford, England, but our expanding team of international experts is situated all over the UK, the EU and beyond. In line with our sustainable ethos, we minimise the daily commute by working online. This provides us with the freedom and efficiency to tap into the best and brightest minds in their fields while making a positive impact on the envioronment in the way we work. From measuring and reducing our own carbon footprint to prioritising the health, wellbeing, and work/life balance of those in our team, the CSH team practices what they preach every day. 

Toward The Future. 

From its humble beginnings in Oxford, the Centre for Sustainable Healthcare has grown into the world’s foremost institution for sustainable healthcare in research and practice, and has had a positive impact on so much of the healthcare system in the UK and beyond. By building its own research base, best practice recommendations and an ever-growing bank of case studies,  it has fulfilled its goal of bringing all of that expert knowledge into action, changing clinical care and influencing policy at the highest level.

As CSH goes from strength to strength, so too does its message that healthcare can be sustainable.