The Royal College of Radiologists (RCR) is committed to reducing the environmental impact of our operations in everything we do. This is an important mandate which has been set across the College and means that we consider the environment in all our decisions.
The RCR has undertaken significant measures since 2020 to reduce the carbon footprint of the organisation which includes:
- We have all but eliminated carbon from the energy use of our headquarters at 63 Lincoln’s Inn Fields building. As a result, our carbon footprint for scope 1 and 2 activities has reduced from an annual £108 tonnes kgCO2e in 2018, to less than half that in 2020 and almost nil in 2021 (28kgCO2e)
- In 2020, we changed to sourcing electricity from wind farms and hydro power
- In 2021, we changed our gas supplier to one that ensures all supply is to Renewable Gas Guarantees of Origin (RGGO’s) and Biomethane Certificates (BMC’s), the premium standard in renewable energy
- We’ve taken further steps to reduce energy consumption including installing LED lighting throughout our building and implementing software to better control our heating and cooling and to monitor energy needs
- We have an implemented an energy reduction plan following an energy audit in 2020.
The COVID–19 pandemic has presented many challenges across the world, but it’s also accelerated what we intended to do by adapting our operations across the RCR – including for our Fellows and members – and is the reason we’ve put processes in place to deliver training and exams under remote settings to reduce the need to travel.
Our work on tackling climate change has been taking place across several key areas of the College:
Training and education resources
We are working on ensuring that we have a sustainable model for our training and education resources. We’ve enabled the effective delivery of training resources by encouraging – as far as is appropriate – the use of remote teaching methods, although we are cautious that face-to-face learning is still fundamental to the delivery of training excellence.
For the delivery of practical exams, accelerated by the impact of COVID–19, we moved face-to-face oral exams to video conference, negating the need for candidates to travel to our London office to be examined. This has also been the same process for written exams, as we’ve moved away from paper-based assessments to reduce waste.
Questions banks can now be accessed by examiners remotely – enabling the submission, selection and review of exam questions without paper or travelling.
Learning and development
RCR Learning encompasses all of the RCR’s professional learning and development activities, from events and webinars to the RCR Learning Hub and the annual conference. The online learning opportunities provided by this platform help to reduce the necessity for face-to-face attendance and, as a result, the need for people to travel.
We have accelerated our work towards a virtual world and our 2021 annual conference was also held virtually and there’s a provision in place moving forward for a hybrid model for future events, which will help to reduce the carbon footprint, although at the same time still sustain attendance numbers.
For our service review, we were able to introduce a greater emphasis on remote review, which reduced the travel footprint of the review team. All but essential meetings are now held virtually.
For the development of our guidelines, in most cases, we engage with working parties remotely including our partners and doctors, which again reduces travel footprints and no longer print any hard copies.
iRefer is our essential radiological investigation guidelines tool. They help radiology departments to use their equipment more efficiently to reduce wasted diagnostic tests, reducing energy consumption for the service and unnecessary travel for patients.
Ethical sustainable investment policy
The RCR operates an ethical sustainable investment policy to ensure that the social impacts of its investments support the public benefit objective of the College. The fund only invests in organisations that demonstrate their commitment to the Paris goals of limiting climate change to 1.5 o C by 2050 and screens out organisations whose principal purpose includes gambling, adult entertainment, armaments, alcohol, and tobacco products. The fund also screens out companies that extract thermal coal or produce oil from tar sands. Read our investment policy.
The RCR will continually look at new and innovative ways that we can reduce our carbon footprint in the future and update our plans to further minimise our impact on the environment.