Operation Zero

Contact: Scott Brady

At HCWH Europe, our vision is that every European country develops a national decarbonisation plan for its healthcare sector. To support this, we have established Operation Zero, a groundbreaking project that aims to put the European healthcare sector on the path to net-zero carbon emissions, in line with European and international climate commitments.


In 2019, and in partnership with Arup, HCWH published Health Care’s Cover of Health Care's Climate Footprint report Climate Footprint – the most comprehensive global analysis of healthcare’s contribution to climate change to date. Setting out the healthcare climate footprints of 43 different countries from around the globe, this report highlights the scale of the challenge. As a whole, the healthcare sector’s climate footprint is equivalent to 4.4% of global net emissions; if it were a country, it would be the fifth largest emitter in the world. The European Union is the third largest contributor to global healthcare emissions (behind the US and China), accounting for 12% of global healthcare emissions.

With these challenges comes opportunity. There are opportunities for the sector to lead by example, for health professionals to use their trusted voices to educate on the health impacts of climate change and advocate for change, and for the sector to leverage its purchasing power (10% of GDP in Europe) to influence changes within the supply chain.

Health Care’s Climate Footprint described the problem - Operation Zero aims to provide the solution.


Operation Zero will develop and pilot a new methodology that can be applied by any national or regional health ministry/authority that supports the production of a net-zero decarbonisation roadmap for their healthcare system.

Project information

Operation Zero is split into two key components:

1. Methodology

HCWH Europe is developing a methodology that will guide national or regional health ministries/authorities and other relevant organisations in developing a roadmap for the decarbonisation of their own healthcare system, while supporting system resilience and improving health outcomes.

2. Four national healthcare decarbonisation roadmaps

HCWH Europe is partnering with three national and regional health ministries/authorities to guide the development of and pilot this methodology, supporting participants to generate their own detailed climate footprint analyses and decarbonisation roadmaps. Through these pilots, we will gain valuable feedback on the practicalities and limitations of developing national/regional decarbonisation roadmaps and plans that will help to build a more robust methodology and ultimately drive action.


Project Partners



HCWH Europe gratefully acknowledges the financial support of the European Commission (EC)’s LIFE programme, the IKEA Foundation and Skoll FoundationHCWH Europe is solely responsible for the content of this project and related materials. The views expressed do not reflect the official views of the EC, IKEA or Skoll.