Public Health Scotland (PHS) is pleased to announce the publication of the first Strategic Approach to Climate Change and Sustainability.

Published during Scotland’s Climate Week, this marks a significant milestone in PHS’ commitment to tackling the interconnected challenges of climate change, population health and equity.

The Strategic Approach outlines the actions we will take from 2023 through to 2026 to become a net-zero, climate-resilient, sustainable organisation that is committed to environmental stewardship. This includes supporting the climate ambitions of NHS Scotland and our social care partners, while collaborating with partners across the whole system through a climate lens to improve and protect population health and reduce inequalities.

Welcoming the publication of PHS’ Strategic Approach, Paul Johnston, Chief Executive of PHS, said:

“We all have the right to a healthy environment. The climate and nature-loss crisis threatens that. Climate change is harming our health directly and indirectly by undermining the building blocks of health and wellbeing and exacerbating existing deep-rooted inequalities.

“The actions we take to stop climate change and adapt to its impacts are opportunities to deliver co-benefits for population health, wellbeing and equity.

“Public Health Scotland will embed climate in all its work to improve and protect population health and reduce inequalities.

“In collaboration with the Scottish Government and COSLA and working with key partners across public bodies and third sector organisations, health and social care providers, and within local communities, we will place health, wellbeing, and equity at the heart of climate action. Working together we can build a greener, fairer, healthier future.”

Supporting the health argument for climate action, Councillor Gail Macgregor, COSLA Environment and Economy Spokesperson said:

“It’s imperative that we recognise the health impact of worsening climate change on communities throughout Scotland. Climate change in not just an environmental crisis but potentially is also a social, economic and health crisis for the people of Scotland. We support Public Health Scotland in its strategic work to embed health and wellbeing into the climate response.”

Reflecting on the need for strong climate leadership, Net Zero Secretary Mairi McAllan said:

“Tackling the twin crises of climate change and nature loss is the collective fight of our lifetime, with huge implications for generations to come. From wildfires to flooding, this is affecting our lives right now in Scotland and across the world and the need for climate leadership could not be more urgent.

“The connections between tackling the climate crisis and improving public health are clear. We welcome the role that Public Health Scotland is playing in this area and look forward to working with them as they deliver on the vital goals of this strategy."

View the Strategic Approach to Climate and Sustainability Change, 2023 to 2026

Last updated: 27 September 2023