The Social Care Sustainability Alliance, established in April 2023, has published its first report, which sets out the business case for sustainability in social care. The report argues that, however strong the short-term headwinds facing the social care sector, these must not deflect it from pursuing long-term sustainable growth.
This report contends that addressing the challenges of sustainability can reduce costs, improve care and at the same time accelerate the transition to carbon net zero and a more sustainable future.
Oakland Care is delighted to be a part of the report as a case study looking at sustainable practices implemented across the group to provide more sustainable care services for their residents. It highlighted particular areas, one on how Oakland Care offsets all carbon produced by our operations across all sites. We have closely monitored utility use and all waste streams since 2021, which has led to meaningful insights and reduction strategies, such as the halving of our clinical waste volume. Any reduction in waste production or utility use will result in a lower cost to the business and be a positive step towards net zero. Also, providing more sustainable care services for our residents includes:
- A review of all waste streams to maximise recycling and a ‘zero-tolandfill’ policy;
- Creating sustainable menus, including a daily selection of low-carbon, plant-based meals;
- Single-use plastics for water have been drastically reduced or eliminated completely by installing efficient filtered dispensers;
- Halving of care-related waste by introducing vac-pack systems in all homes; and,
- The introduction of wild gardens to enhance biodiversity and to provide a valuable outdoor resource for residents to enjoy and to which they can contribute
The Business Case for Sustainability in Social Care report is available online at: https://www.addleshawgoddard.com/globalassets/sectors/health–life-sciences/scsa/the-business-case-for-sustainability-in-social-care-november-2023-updated.pdf
The report aims to provide those seeking to embark on or to deepen the sustainability journeys within their social care organisations with clear evidence to persuade executive and board teams of the financial as well as moral arguments for embracing sustainability at the heart of their organisations.
Jonathan Freeman, chair of the Alliance, said: “Sustainability is not a choice between economy and ecology, or between sustainability and profitability. First and foremost, we in social care have to deliver high-quality care and financially viable businesses. Noble ambitions for sustainability mean nothing if the business does not deliver on its primary obligation and on the bottom line.”
The Alliance’s report, drawn together by a range of provider members, seeks to demonstrate that, as powerful as the moral case for social care providers to tackle their own carbon impacts, diversity or governance commitments might be, sustainability must also prove there is an economic business case for action.
The report includes a range of examples from social care providers of the changes that they have implemented that have both advanced sustainability but also improved their businesses.
The Social Care Sustainability Alliance brings together senior leaders with responsibility for sustainability issues within their organisations from across the social care sector to:
- Identify key sustainability opportunities and challenges across the sector
- Share best practice within the sector and from other sectors
- Foster collaboration on key issues
- Drive awareness and action across the sector, particularly for smaller providers without dedicated resource.
The Alliance, founded by Jonathan Freeman (group sustainability director at CareTech) with the support of Steven Fergus (head of healthcare at Barclays Bank PLC), Bhavna Keane-Rao (managing director at BKR Care Consultancy) and Tom Speirs (partner at Addleshaw Goddard LLP), launched in April 2023. Details about the Alliance and becoming a member are available at: https://www.addleshawgoddard.com/en/sectors/health/social-care-sustainability-alliance/