Earlier this week North West Ambulance Service (NWAS) received the Bronze level Carbon Literate Organisation accreditation, becoming the first NHS trust to be given this award, which is a real landmark for the service’s sustainability team.

The award comes from the “not for profit” Carbon Literacy Project, an organisation who look to educate people about their own carbon footprint and how they can take steps to reduce it, both at home and at work.

In order to achieve the standard they spent the last 18 months developing a training programme specifically for other ambulance trusts to use “off the shelf” so staff can learn to take responsibility, and make a difference in promoting sustainability within the organisation.

As well as the training programme the award also takes account of their existing environmental commitments and future plans. The bronze accreditation will last for the next three years, during which time their sustainability team will work towards achieving the standards required for the silver award.

Karen Aguilera, Environmental Sustainability Officer said: “We’re incredibly proud to be ahead of the curve on this. Environmental targets can be hard to achieve as an organisation, as they require commitment and hard work from everyone from board level down, and we are very fortunate to have that at NWAS.

As an organisation we've already declared a climate emergency and the award shows promise that we will follow through on that statement. The external accreditation shows we're taking meaningful actions towards our targets and is a validation of our efforts.”

“We will look to roll-out the carbon literacy training to our staff in the spring and other ambulance trusts are also looking at the programme for their staff.”

Carbon Literacy Project Co-Founder and Director of Advocacy Phil Korbel said: “The NWAS Carbon Literacy course really brings home the message that we are in a climate emergency and that the service has an important role to play in tackling it. Vitally, it empowers participants to do their bit too.

“It’s great to see this turn into a world first and we look forward to seeing the hard work of NWAS spread to other ambulance services in the UK and beyond.”

NWAS serve more than seven million people across approximately 5,400 square miles – the communities of Cumbria, Lancashire, Greater Manchester, Merseyside, Cheshire and Glossop (Derbyshire).

They receive approximately 1.3 million 999 calls and respond to over a million emergency incidents each year.