ESG: Its rising importance is paramount for Healthcare organisations.

Time to act

Healthcare at a turning point on ESG.

Steve Fergus, Head of Healthcare, Barclays Corporate Banking, discusses ESG within the healthcare industry and why it may have fallen behind its peers when it comes to sustainability. The report features commentary from leaders in the field on how operators, and the sector, can make up lost ground in this increasingly critical area of business.

Steve Fergus

Head of Healthcare, Barclays Corporate Banking

Embracing Change

The response of health and social care to ESG imperatives has been muted at best. Barring some notable exceptions, most providers we speak to are either just embarking on their sustainability transition or have yet to start.

The sector’s reliance on its positive social impact may well be a factor. The social value of healthcare is plain in a way that does not apply to many corporates. However, this in itself does not exempt the sector from the need to track and demonstrate impact. Defining metrics to measure the social impact of health and social care is difficult, but – as our report reveals – progressive operators are finding a way.  Sincere thanks to our contributors from Barclays ESG, Care Tech, JLL and Spire Healthcare.

Delaying the implementation of an ESG strategy has been possible to date, but will not be an option for much longer. There are multiple risks to inaction, some of them existential. Acting now is an investment in customer trust and commissioner confidence; in the ability to attract the best talent; and in the future valuation and long-term viability of any healthcare business

Steve Fergus

Head of Healthcare, Barclays Corporate Banking

Defining Emissions

Greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions are grouped in three main ways under the most widely used international accounting tool, the GHG Protocol.


Scope 1

Emissions over which a business has direct control, such as fuel combustion, fugitive emissions and company car usage


Scope 2

Fewer direct emissions, such as the production of energy to fuel the business


Scope 3

For many companies, the majority of their emissions lie outside their own operations. Many larger businesses are now assessing these emissions, by tracking their suppliers’ carbon footprints and net zero plans alongside their own. These include suppliers, waste, leased assets and business travel

Strategies for success

Key steps to a dynamic, credible ESG plan.

Reach out

Don’t work in isolation. Seek guidance from external partners, such as your bank; find out how your peers, customers and suppliers are tackling ESG.

Measure and plan

Set a baseline through audit. Work out which actions will have the most impact – perhaps in insulation, recycling, water efficiencies – so you can gain some quick wins and then record progress too.

Involve staff

Share your plan with staff. Ensure that it’s simple and engaging. Allow teams to devise and work on their own ESG projects, within set parameters. Ensure your commitments are prominent in your recruitment materials.

Don’t forget the S…

Assess your social impact, from how you support local communities and ensure staff wellbeing to how you measure care quality. Consider ways you might develop the latter beyond regulatory metrics, perhaps involving clients and service users.

…and the G

Assess your policies on diversity and inclusion, especially at more senior levels. Consider acquiring an external challenge at board level on these issues if not already in place.

Adopting the right ESG strategy

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Spire Healthcare

A strong ESG commitment is helping Spire Healthcare drive success, even though they’re only in the early stages of telling their story. Throughout their private hospitals and clinics across the UK, the company is witnessing first-hand the rising importance of ESG within the sector as well as the impact ESG can have on the bottom line for healthcare firms.

We have a stated ambition to target net zero carbon emissions by 2030, which is part of our sustainability-linked funding via Barclays, and there is evidence of that in the work we have done to convert to steam boilers within our hospitals, the photovoltaic panels we now have on top of our buildings, and the electricity charging points we have installed

Angus Prentice

Interim Head of Investor Relations and ESG lead, Spire Healthcare

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