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RSM commits to climate action

The Royal Society of Medicine (RSM) has committed to a series of actions to address climate change, alongside other leading healthcare bodies. 

The 10 commitments have been produced by the UK Health Alliance on Climate Change (UKHACC), an alliance of UK-based health organisations of which the RSM is a founding member.  

Published this week, the commitments will see each of the organisations work to: 

  • Declare that the climate emergency is a health emergency 
  • Publish a plan to get to net zero 
  • Campaign on mitigating and adapting to the planetary crisis 
  • Embed sustainability in governance, structure and culture 
  • Develop a plan for sustainability in our specialist area 
  • Educate members on the links between climate and health 
  • Disinvest from fossil fuels and sign the fossil fuel non-proliferation treaty 
  • Acknowledge the link between climate change and inequalities 
  • Develop and implement a travel policy for members and staff 
  • Prioritise plant-based and sustainably sourced food 

Dr Samantha Shinde is a Trustee on the RSM Council and its representative for the UKHACC. Dr Shinde said: “The impacts of climate change on human health are well evidenced and we are continuing to see more data-led insights informing practice and policy. 

“Education is a crucial component in addressing the climate emergency and we are proud the Royal Society of Medicine has provided a platform for expertise on this issue over a number of years. We are committed to doing more.” 

Richard Smith, Chair of UKHACC said: “If we are to successfully counter the climate crisis everything must change, including our members. Health professionals are leaders in responding to the climate crisis, and leaders must walk the talk. That’s why these commitments are important.”  

Through a range of different education programmes, the RSM has highlighted how climate change impacts health. It has also focused on the role of medical education in addressing the impacts of climate change. An important 10-part webinar series on the health impacts of climate change featured an introduction from His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales (now King Charles III). 

The RSM is equally committed to tackling its own environmental footprint.  Within its on-site operations, the RSM has implemented a range of measures including working with suppliers who use sustainable practices, sourcing seasonal and local food and drink as well as plant-based foods, expanding its use of energy-saving controls for lighting and heating, minimising packaging and single-use plastics, serving purified tap water and sending food waste for conversion to biogas.   

The RSM’s investment policy excludes areas of significant social or environmental harm, which includes all direct or indirect holdings in fossil fuel companies.

Read more about how we are approaching environmental sustainability

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