Making sustainability a key factor for success

NHS Sustainability Day 2014 has been proud to have had the support of Carillion throughout the campaign. This support has enabled the campaign to inform NHS Professionals on the support provided by organisations such as Carillion who are working closely to enable NHS Trusts in the delivery of sustainable practices throughout their healthcare services.

In an interview with the Managing Director of Health at Carillion, Mike Hobbs, NHS Sustainability Day 2015 campaign manager, Scott Buckler, finds out how and why Carillion support NHS Sustainability Day as well as asking how is sustainability implemented when approaching a new project?

Mike, how is Carillion supporting the development of sustainability within the NHS?

Our vision is for Carillion to be a leading sustainable business and the leading sustainable support services company. For us, becoming a more sustainable business goes hand in hand with becoming a more successful business. We believe that sustainability means making tomorrow a better place – for our employees, our customers, our local communities, our suppliers and our investors.

Carillion is not new to sustainability. We published our first strategy back in 2002 and we’ve been a committed driving force behind sustainability ever since. With this solid foundation of commitment and expertise,we continually look to improve our performance. Meeting our ambitious sustainability targets lies firmly within the fabric of our business, and our passion for innovation is as strong today as it has always been. Sustainability is at the core of our business strategy and is a key part of our growth strategy. It makes sound business sense.

The NHS sustainability strategy, has many parallels with Carillion’s 2020 sustainability strategic outcomes. Each of our teams working with NHS organisations day in day out make a positive contribution to sustainable practice, through reducing carbon emissions, reducing waste, improving employment prospects for local people and working with communities in which we operate.

In addition, two of the positive outcomes of Carillion’s integrated Sustainability 2020 Strategy are to Lead the Way and to Build a More Successful Business … these enable us to support the development of NHS Sustainability through benchmarking, industry best practice and a focus on eliminating waste, maximising cost efficiency and delivering lean operations – a commitment from our Board right down through the organisation

Mike,what are the key ingredients for a successful sustainable development strategy when addressing a new build or contract?

From the outset the design of the built environment and the design of the servicing and whole life regime are the fundamental ingredients for a successful and sustainable development. This starts with leadership from the top of our organisation generating a culture that recognises the social, environmental and business benefits that can be achieved through sustainable practice. Setting and measuring challenging internally imposed targets creates an environment of innovation as teams and individuals to meet and exceed targets and as a result make a positive contribution with our customers.

More specifically in terms of individual projects the design phase includes strategies to minimise carbon emissions and energy consumption both during construction and operations; to minimise water consumption throughout the lifecycle of a facility; to use construction materials that have the least impact on the environment including embedded energy and costs of disposal at the end of their useful life; designing to minimise waste during construction through allowing off-site fabrication; working with suppliers to manufacture components and materials to size rather than requiring off cuts. In fact sustainability touches every element of a new health facility.But – it doesn’t just stop there … projects and contract teams work with local Communities and with supplier sub-contractors to add social value, create apprenticeships, assess and understand community needs, make charitable donations and maximise local spend and employment opportunities. We also build in the same standards of health, safety and skills development into our supplier relationships as we do with our own people

As many people know, Carillion does some great work with communities, so how is Carillion working with communities on social impact of new developments and operational hospitals?

The construction of new health facilities creates real opportunities to have a positive impact on local communities, including during the last year 1,666 hours of community volunteering with local schools and community groups. This takes many forms and a case study is the new Southmead hospital in Bristol which Carillion will complete in March this year. Engaging actively with the local community has been an essential ingredient in being recognised as a Considerate Construction site – in fact one of the largest construction sites in the UK in recent years. Over 84% of the workforce constructing the new hospital are from within 30 miles of the site; 74 young people have benefited from apprenticeships and 25 homeless individuals have been given placements to assist them back into work. In terms of minimising the impact of our activities on the environment 65% of the workforce have been making green travel arrangements and 95% of waste has been diverted from landfill.

In the operational phase of health facilities we are constantly striving to reduce carbon and energy consumption; to find ways to reduce waste and increase recycling; to reduce water consumption from both our direct activities but equally importantly through working with our customers to reduce the impact of their activities. The majority of our facilities management workforce are drawn from communities close to the hospitals in which they work and our teams develop strong links with local schools and community groups, including members of our teams acting as school governors. We are also actively involved in supporting the disadvantaged and hard to reach back into work and contributing to increasing the social capital in local communities. For example we are involved in a number of programmes to reintroduce ex-offenders back into work which is rewarding for our staff and has given us a number of very local members of staff. We are also playing our part in supporting ex-service personnel find roles in which their skills can be fully utilised, including promoting and assisting an increasing number of our people who are contributing and benefiting from being Reservists .Our teams and individuals are encouraged to participate in charitable activities to contribute to their personal and team development which is promoted through a strategic relationship that we have with Barnardo’s.

Not only are one of the leading UK organisations supporting Business in the Community’s flagship Ready for Work programme, but we have also now seconded 3 Business Connectors into communities across the UK – and Richard Howson, Carillion’s CEO, is chairing the Community Impact Leadership team – inspiring and galvanising companies across many sectors to follow suit and establish strong, lasting and needs-led links with their local communities.

Why does Carillion support NHS Sustainability Day? 

Supporting and participating in NHS Sustainability Day creates the opportunity to lift our heads from the day job and to showcase and celebrate sustainable best practice within and between organisations. We are delighted to work with the NHS in promoting the many examples of best practice that the NHS and partner organisations have. More importantly we want to play our part in enthusing more and more NHS organisations to make sustainability a key objective that becomes a key success factor in their delivery of services for patients.

Carillion will be sponsoring two award categories on April 10th, including best overall category.

If you would like further details on how Carillion can support your sustainable development strategy, please visit