Professionalism and Sustainability

Sivan Coleman's picture

Professionalism and Sustainability


For the first time our professional body, RCSLT has mentioned sustainability in its 5 year strategy.

Among its declaration of commitments the RSCSLT now aspires to be “a profession that actively engages in supporting environmental sustainability” and a body that “invests in processes to support sustainability and lower our carbon footprint.” The website also now has a page dedicated to sustainability, with lots of good resources (like our page!!)

This is great news and means that RCSLT is now taking  steps in joining several other professional health bodies who have recognised that climate change is a serious health issue.

Many organisations – such as British Medical Organisation and this month the Chartered Society of Physiotherapists have also gone further and declared climate emergencies.


Addressing climate change as health professionals, and not just individuals reinforces the important message that often gets lost in the media – a sustainable future is about people as much as it is about planet. Our health is inextricably linked to planetary health.


I can’t help but notice that this week in the news doctors were arrested for participating in Extinction Rebellion protests. This is not new and has happened in previous rebellions. Their arguments, surrounding their professional ’ duty of care’ to patients and public health, have been compelling.


The RCSLT has comprehensive guidance re how SLTs play an important role in public health. Furthermore, as SLTs we abide by HCPC standards of performance, conducts and ethics which include notions promoting client interests, managing risk and being honest and trustworthy – all of which can- taking a broader lens- be related to the climate crisis. COP 26 may be long over but the urgency must remain and concrete actions must continue. It is time to grow the sustainability momentum as a profession, because our voices can too be powerful.

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