EMS Healthcare’s approach to delivering meaningful sustainable impact
25 Jan 2024
25 Jan 2024
Mobile clinical research partner EMS Healthcare has put its ESG ambitions at the heart of its business model. Here, CEO Keith Austin tells us how the support provided by LDC is helping the company reduce its environmental impact.
About the business
EMS Healthcare is the UK’s largest mobile clinical research partner and works alongside over 80 NHS Trusts, Health Boards, and private providers in delivering mobile capacity that eases the burden on hospitals.
EMS’s bespoke mobile facilities enable essential patient services to be delivered within communities across the country and help the NHS with extra laboratory capacity to support life-enhancing clinical research.
An LDC portfolio company since 2022, the Cheshire-based business has been able to successfully accelerate the integration of its environmental, social and governance (ESG) ambitions into its business strategy, helping it grow sustainably and support the transition to a low-carbon economy.
With the help of LDC’s ESG assessment – which all LDC portfolio companies benefit from – EMS has identified smart ways of reducing its environmental impact without losing commercial and strategic focus. This is refreshed annually to ensure continuous improvement and support.
Proactive strides towards net zero
Working with LDC, EMS’s management team has established initiatives to deliver its ESG strategy and maximise opportunities to thrive in the transition to a low-carbon economy.
EMS has been carbon neutral since 2021 and is on track to achieve net zero by 2045, five years earlier than the UK government’s target. Keith is committed to this transition and points to a host of proactive initiatives already established behind the scenes to prepare the business.
He says: “Every step that a business takes on its journey to net zero adds up. We’re proud to put our ESG strategy into practice and do what is right and sustainable for our people, our community and the environment.”
The business launched its first Electric self-drive unit last year and has since fitted all welfare units with solar panels to reduce reliance on and the use of diesel generators by 40% to 60%, depending on the season. It has undertaken a Life-Cycle Assessment (LCA) of all new mobile medical units and vehicles to identify emissions hotspots across the value chain.
EMS has also made significant changes to its head office as part of the drive to net zero. This includes the installation of 280 solar panels, producing 110,000 kWh of electricity per year, equivalent to 74% of the company’s electricity consumption. It also has solar panels installed to back up every generator on every unit built since 2021, reducing run time by up to 40%, while 100% of its electricity is procured from renewable sources.
Other initiatives include the installation of energy efficient sensor lighting and 15 free-to-use electric vehicle charging units.
Meanwhile, EMS has installed telematics software in all company vehicles to promote more efficient and safer driving and replaced any vehicles that don’t meet Euro 6 emissions standards. Consultation rooms in the fleet of Outreach vehicles are powered by solar panels and batteries are recharged when the units are on the move.
Keith says: “ESG criteria will always be central to our current and future ambitions. We’re committed to building a sustainable business and the initiatives in place are just the start of our efforts to minimise our impact.”
Championing collaborative change
EMS’s approach also involves empowering and inspiring its people to play their role in the drive to net zero. In 2023, the company established a 23-person Colleague Committee, which helps to drive progress across the business by gathering feedback and developing new ideas.
Designated colleague champions include mental health; whistleblowing; equality, diversity, and inclusion; community investment and the environment. The colleague committee meets monthly and has been helping to promote a range of schemes from more sustainable waste management to low-carbon commuting.
Keith adds: “It’s a huge win for us that our employees want to engage in these issues and understand the significant difference their contributions can make.”
By sharing regular updates on new regulations and emerging ESG trends through events and communications, LDC has helped EMS’s management team understand how the business can further reduce its environmental impact.
EMS is also taking advantage of the opportunity to partner with others in the healthcare sector, such as working with suppliers to understand their carbon footprint and to jointly agree emissions reduction targets. Keith and his senior team analyse supplier lists to consider more sustainable choices, such as using local businesses when possible.
Keith is clear that LDC’s support will play a key role in taking its sustainability ambitions to the next level.
The steps EMS is taking are outlined in its latest ESG Impact Report.
Keith Austin, CEO