Where do we want to be?

Setting targets

Once you've created a baseline footprint in GP Footprint Reporter, the next step in the carbon management process is to set your targets for emissions reduction. We recommend choosing from one of following three options:

Option 1

Joining the 10:10 campaign is a simple way to set your target and join a community of like-minded organisations.

Organisations participating in the 10:10 campaign commit to reducing emissions by 10% within a year. There is already a group of UK-based GP Surgeries signed-on to 10:10, you can join them here.

Option 2

The NHS presently has a target to reduce emissions by 10% by 2015. To be consistent with this wider goal, you may wish to set the same target for your own practice. Visit the NHS Sustainable Development Unit's website to learn more about their Carbon Reduction Strategy.

Option 3

If you'd like to set your own targets for emissions reduction, the government's official guidance on provides some detail regarding different approaches for target setting.

There are two broad options available:
  1. Absolute targets: for your GP surgery's total emissions
  2. Intensity targets: for normalised emissions. For example, your surgery's emissions per patient visit.
Each approach has its own advantages and disadvantages, as summarised in the tables below.

Absolute Targets



Designed to achieve a reduction in the total emissions by the organisation.

Does not allow comparisons of emissions intensity / efficiency.

Is robust from an environmental perspective, as it requires a specific level of reduction, rather than a relative reduction.

May be difficult to achieve if patient numbers grow significantly or, conversely, simple to achieve if they fall.

Adapted from Defra, 2009.

Intensity Targets



Reflects emissions performance improvements independent of growth or decline in patients.

No guarantee that emissions will be reduced – absolute emissions may rise even if intensity goes down, while patient numbers increase.

May increase the comparability of emissions performance with other surgeries.

Is less robust from an environmental perspective.

Adapted from Defra, 2009.

GP Footprint Reporter permits you to track your absolute carbon footprint, through your total carbon footprint figure. To track the intensity of emissions per patient visit, enter the total number of patient visits on the benchmarking screen, and GP Footprint Reporter automatically calculates the carbon footprint per patient visit. See Footprint Reporter Quick Start Guide for more information.

Once you've set a target, you need to determine what you are going to do.