UK pharmacy body publishes climate emergency declaration

The UK Clinical Pharmacy Association has formally recognised the “danger of the climate crisis and its catastrophic effect on human health”, and commits to promoting environmental sustainability.
NHS pharmacy sign

The UK Clinical Pharmacy Association (UKCPA) has published a Climate Emergency Declaration committing to “incorporate sustainability into our future policies and corporate decisions”.

In a statement published on 12 May 2021, the body said it recognised the “danger of the climate crisis and its catastrophic effect on human health”, and commits to promoting environmental sustainability. It will, it says, educate its members on climate health and sustainability; look at moving to an ethical bank; and pledge to never develop investments into fossil fuels or other environmentally harmful products.

Sarah Carter, chief executive officer of UKCPA, said the association believed it was “the first pharmacy organisation to publish a climate emergency declaration”.

“We are committed to doing all we can as an organisation to implement and promote environmental sustainability,” she added.

To help implement its pledges, the UKCPA has appointed Tracy Lyons as environment and sustainability adviser. Lyons, who is pharmacy sustainability lead at Poole Hospital, will sit on the UKCPA’s advisory panel.

In a blog published in The Pharmaceutical Journal on 10 May 2021, Lyons called on the pharmacy profession to declare a climate emergency, adding that “healthcare in the UK produces around 5.4% of our total emissions”; and she said that the pharmaceuticals and chemicals supply chain contributes a significant portion of NHS England’s carbon dioxide equivalent emissions.

In 2019, the British Medical Association declared a climate emergency, and in January 2020 the Royal College of Physicians adopted a climate change policy. The Royal College of Nursing, as well as several NHS Trusts, have taken similar positions.

Paul Bennett, chief executive of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS), said the society would be discussing sustainability when its national boards meet in June 2021.

He added that the society was “committed to taking action to tackle the climate emergency”.

“Sustainability was identified as a priority area by all three RPS national country boards to take forward in our 2021 workplan,” Bennett said.

“RPS has undertaken significant research and stakeholder engagement to identify key priorities for how the pharmacy profession can respond to climate change. We’re pleased that other professional bodies and health organisations have also recognised the need to tackle climate change, and we hope pharmacy organisations will come together to take action collectively.”

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Citation
The Pharmaceutical Journal, PJ, May 2021, Vol 306, No 7949;306(7949)::DOI:10.1211/PJ.2021.1.84508