Netcare joins United Nations’ Race to Zero 2050

First for Africa as private healthcare group enters ambitious global eco-challenge

Monday, October 25 2021

An ambitious global partnership of forward-thinking organisations aiming to achieve zero emissions in their operations by 2050 has gained its first ally in the private healthcare sector on the African continent. Netcare today announced that it had officially committed to the United Nations (UN) led Race to Zero 2050 challenge, which was announced in Paris, France on Monday.

“Netcare is humbled to be leading the continent’s private healthcare response to the Race to Zero 2050 challenge of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change [UNFCCC],” says Dr Richard Friedland, chief executive officer of Netcare.

“Every opportunity to contribute to a cleaner and healthier environment and achieve environmental sustainability should be a priority for healthcare and other organisations, especially here in Africa where the effects of climate change are already directly threatening the lives and livelihoods of many thousands of people.”

In joining the Race to Zero 2050 challenge, Netcare has committed to the UN’s goal of achieving net zero emissions by 2050, and has set itself the target of halving its measurable emissions by 2030, if not sooner. This is only one of the new goals Netcare has set in progressing its environmental sustainability journey, which has achieved impressive milestones to date.

“We at Netcare are enthusiastically putting our weight behind the Race to Zero 2050 challenge as a member of the campaign’s international healthcare partner, Health Care Without Harm’s Climate Challenge,” Dr Friedland says. 

“As part of our participation in the campaign, we will be contributing to the global body of data by submitting reports annually with details of our progress towards zero emissions for the UNFCCC Global Climate Action Portal. The global body of data will help to build further crucial scientific evidence to grow international understanding of how emissions influence climate change,” he explains.

Environmentally fit healthcare for the future
Reducing its reliance on non-renewable energy resources and reducing emissions across its countrywide facilities and services have long been strategically important to Netcare, which embarked on its environmental sustainability strategy in 2013. Since then, Netcare has reduced its absolute Scope 1 and Scope 2 emissions by 11%, with a 46.3% reduction in the intensity of Scope 2 emissions per bed, and outstripped its initial 10-year target by surpassing a 24% reduction in energy intensity per bed well before its target date of 2023. 

“We have also set ourselves the ambitious new goal to purchase 100% of our energy from renewable sources and achieve zero waste to landfill by 2030,” Dr Friedland says.  

Netcare’s environmental achievements have been recognised internationally over a number of years.  One of the latest was four Gold Climate Champion Awards in the prestigious 2020 Health Care Climate Challenge organised by Global Green and Healthy Hospitals (GGHH). Netcare was the only institution globally to be awarded this highest accolade in each of the four categories namely Greenhouse Gas Reduction (Energy), Renewable Energy, Climate Resilience, and Climate Leadership. 

Planned waste management strategies and initiatives include the implementation of an integrated waste management system which will support accurate data, the identification and quantification of waste streams, benchmarking, target setting and monitoring progress. Two waste project proofs of concept to convert all infectious healthcare risk waste to inert products on-site and achieve zero waste to landfill for waste outside the HCRW stream have recently been concluded. 

Recycling and repurposing non-hazardous waste for re-use in products is another initiative. One such project is My Walk, a collaboration between Netcare and Adcock Ingram Critical Care where used, non-hazardous PVC drip bags, oxygen masks and associated tubing are recycled into new school shoes for disadvantaged children.

Between 2014 and 2020, Netcare has achieved a 23% reduction in water consumption, and the aim is for an additional 10,000kL of grey water recycling by 2023, in order to reduce our impact on natural surface water sources, enabling support to equitable water availability to all sectors in South Africa.
In another significant innovation earlier this year, Netcare, with Standard Bank acting as sole arranger, concluded the African continent’s first sustainability linked bond (SLB). Listed on the JSE on 19 March 2021, Netcare raised a R1-billion, three-year unsecured note for enhancing its operations’ environmental sustainability, with the coupon rate of the bonds rewarding the Group with a lower interest rate if its targets for improving water efficiency and reducing its carbon footprint, among others, are successfully achieved. 

“The Race to Zero 2050 is about taking action now to prevent otherwise inevitable harm in future, and Netcare is embracing this global environmental challenge with the urgency it demands,” Dr Friedland concluded. 


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For more information on this media release, contact MNA at the contact details listed below.

Issued by:            MNA on behalf of Netcare 
Contact:    Martina Nicholson, Meggan Saville, Estene Lotriet-Vorster or Clemmy Forsthofer
Telephone:    (011) 469 3016
Email:    [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected] or [email protected]