Bupa and children’s hospital staff gear up for change, cycling from London to Brighton
Sustainability12 October 2022
On 11th October, Bupa employees joined forces with Great Ormond Street and Evelina Children’s Hospital to cycle 70 miles from London to Brighton, visiting hospitals and health centres on the route to inspire action on air pollution and climate change.
The cycle was part of Ride for their Lives, a global campaign led by paediatric healthcare professionals to protect children from the effects of air pollution and the climate crisis. Doctors, nurses, physiotherapists, and other healthcare providers are organising a series of rides worldwide – in the run up to the UN Conference on Climate Change, COP27, in November.
Starting at Bupa’s head office in Angel Court in London, the cyclists visited different healthcare settings on the way, including Spire and Nuffield Hospitals, Great Ormond Street Hospital, Portland Hospital, Cromwell Hospital and ending at Bupa Victory House in Brighton. At each stop, the cyclists talked to local healthcare professionals about the relationship between climate and health and what actions the sector can take to make a better world.
Carlos Jaureguizar, CEO for Bupa Global & UK, who waved off the riders at the start, commented: “Cycling 70 miles from London to Brighton is not easy, so I’m incredibly proud of those who took part in Ride for their Lives, it’s such a worthy cause.
“The healthcare sector creates 4.4% of global Green House Gas emissions . This means that if it were a country, it would be the fifth largest emitter on the planet. Tackling the climate crisis in collaboration with other healthcare providers is something we know we need to do at Bupa, and this initiative is an excellent way to raise awareness.
“As a healthcare company, we have an important role to play and a responsibility to act now. We have made it part of our mission to minimise the impact of healthcare on the planet, find more sustainable healthcare solutions, and create healthier, greener spaces where people can thrive. We hope this ride is another step towards sustainability in healthcare.”
By taking part in Ride for their Lives, these healthcare workers, who see the effects of air pollution on their patients, are committed to working collaboratively to protect people and the planet now and in generations to come. Conversations started during last year's ride have resulted in healthcare providers working together to make hospitals more sustainable, lobby MPs and talk more about the climate crisis.
One of the cyclists and Head of Health and Environment at Bupa, Ian Culligan, commented on his experience: “As a keen cyclist, I was eager to take part in Ride for their Lives and the chance to encourage others in the sector to combat climate change and its impact on future generations.
“The camaraderie amongst the cyclists, the scenery, and the importance of the cause, helped us through the most challenging parts of the route. I also had the opportunity to put some innovative tech – the GoRolloe prototype wheel – to the test. This product purifies surrounding air by drawing it into a series of filters and removing particulate matter, all by pedal power! It’s a great example of how innovation can help solve climate and health issues, and reinforces the importance of cross-sector collaboration to accelerate progress towards a healthier planet.”
Zeshan Rawn, Senior Information Manager at the London Neonatal Operational Delivery Network and Evelina London Children's Hospital, said: “Since riding to COP26 with Ride for their Lives it’s been my mission to spread the clean-air message wider; so it’s been incredibly rewarding to support Bupa with this ride and their drive to spread the message as well. The riders were phenomenal, showing enthusiasm and commitment throughout what was – for many – their longest ever ride! And we’ve had great interaction at each of the stops with staff eager to learn more on what they can do to promote cleaner air and a healthier planet.”
Bupa was the first private healthcare provider to sign the Healthy Climate Prescription letter, and now Ride for the Lives is calling on more health providers and organisations to do the same, and calls on governments to take the steps needed to address the climate crisis and protect people’s health. The global campaign is also asking health providers to join the call already made by The World Health Organization (WHO), almost 200 other health associations, and 1,400 health workers for governments to urgently develop and implement a global Fossil Fuel Non Proliferation Treaty to end global dependence on fossil fuels, in order to protect the health of people around the world.