We were commissioned by the NHS Sustainable Development Unit (SDU) to study the existing landscape for the sustainable procurement of pharmaceuticals and medical devices. The purpose of this study was to inform the NHS of existing sustainability best practice within the healthcare sector to allow the SDU to make more informed decision making in the future. The brief was to establish the following key aims:
The study was undertaken around the framework of the BS8903 standard for sustainable procurement (now superseded by the international ISO 20400 standard).
Research was then undertaken to facilitate the development of the study. This included:
We produced a comprehensive report: “Investigating the current state of sustainable procurement of pharmaceuticals and medical devices” based on the findings of the research undertaken. In addition, an executive summary was produced providing the NHS with a series of key recommendations, based on the key aspects of the BS 8903 standard, including drivers, policy & strategy; leadership; people; risks, opportunities and engaging the supply chain; measurement; and the procurement process.
The study was a comprehensive piece of work and found that there are significant opportunities to include sustainability as a consideration within the purchase and supply of pharmaceuticals and medical devices. Our research showed that a simple understanding of the benefits of a more sustainable approach to procurement exists, but needs to be more widespread to become as effective as possible. To remedy this the right leadership is needed do drive this from the top down, through awareness, training and support for procurement teams and supply chain managers.