Care Without Carbon - Campaign

Dare to Care campaign Banner

Daring to do things differently

From how to wash your hands correctly to where to dispose of rubbish, NHS staff are bombarded by messages, rules and advice every day.

So when we were asked to create a campaign promoting sustainability in healthcare, we knew it had to be distinct to cut through the noise.

Find what matters

Care Without Carbon is a management strategy designed to make healthcare financially, environmentally and socially sustainable, developed at Sussex Community NHS Foundation Trust. When we met Will Clark and his team, they already had a logo, look and feel. But they needed a striking way to help staff understand the approach and inspire them to get involved.

We had a tricky audience to reach. These are dedicated people who already give their heart and soul at work every day – and we were asking them to do something extra. They aren’t all based in hospitals or offices either. Many of the 4,500 staff are on the road much of the time, making home and clinic visits.

Make it matter more

We started with a workshop for Trust staff already engaged in environmental action. We asked them to review a few previous internal comms campaigns, to help us get a feel for what kinds of messages made staff take notice.

Pledges are a simple way to get busy people to commit to an action. So we built on this idea and created a concept based around ‘dares’.

Dare to Care invites staff to take straightforward dares that not only help the environment but have a positive impact on health and wellbeing.

Before revealing the details to staff, we ran with some teaser posters that simply asked ‘Do you dare?’ and ‘Who dares?’. The design was replicated across all the internal channels, as a screen saver, desktop banner, on the intranet and in the weekly e-update.


Staff told us they like to see people they know promoting campaigns. So, there were photoshoots with staff and senior managers, who posed with placards stating they had dared to care. These appeared on the launch posters and blog posts. The dares were clear, simple and ‘do-able’. Small, easy things that might spark some big changes, each one with an environmental, financial and social benefit.



With web development partners BrightMinded we created a engaging website where staff can sign up for dares and find out more about Care Without Carbon from their phone or desktop. Anyone can access – there are no passwords or restrictions. The site tracks the dares by geographical area, creating some gentle competition between different parts of the Trust and encouraging people to get and stay involved. Dares change every few months so there is always a reason to come back to the site.

Seasonal or event-specific dares can be added, like swapping to a Fairtrade product during Fairtrade Fortnight or ditching the car during Walk to Work Week.

A few hurdles

We didn’t come up with this strategy straight away. Initially we planned to focus the campaign on a single area of sustainability – waste would be an easy win, we thought. But after more discussion, and exploring the ambitions of the sustainability team, we realised we needed to build a broader platform from the outset.

Technically there were challenges, too. The site needed to work across the wide range of technologies people were using. That could be anything from a state of the art smartphone to an archaic desktop computer, making it hard to test for all the possible glitches. We had to respond quickly to user feedback to get things working well for everyone.

The Dare effect so far

  • Over 900 staff  making almost 4000 Dares
  • Contributing to net savings for the trust of over £2million so far, and a 20% reduction on carbon footprint
  • 12% uplift in wellbeing for staff who have Dared

The campaign has helped Care Without Carbon win three NHS Sustainability Awards, in the behaviour change, human resources and clinical categories.

“Working with the right partners on a major campaign like this is really important. We’ve been on a journey with Neo, have learned a lot in the process, and we’re excited about where this is taking us.” – Will Clark, Associate Director – Energy & Environment, Sussex Community NHS Trust

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