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The health of our planet and our people are linked. We are already experiencing the fallout from fractures in this symbiotic relationship.

Climate change, pollution and other environmental challenges are no longer undefined threats to our future health. They are already causing disease and deaths here in the UK.

In 2020, a coroner made legal history. They ruled that air pollution contributed to the death of a nine-year-old girl. She had a history of asthma and daily exposure to heavy traffic emissions.1 The real toll is much higher.

Pollution threat

The Government estimates that as many as 36,000 people die every year as a result of man-made pollution in the UK. It is recognised as the single largest threat to public health.2

In England alone, last summer’s heatwaves were responsible for almost 3,000 deaths.3

There are hidden hazards, too. Extreme heat increases deaths in people with cardiovascular, cerebrovascular and respiratory diseases. Heat stress and dehydration are also contributing to the rise in chronic kidney disease.4

Adverse outcomes

Anticipating impacts

Sustainability matters to employees

Prioritising sustainability in our organisations is also crucial for employee engagement and retention. Data from the latest Bupa Wellbeing Index demonstrates this. Almost half of the employees who took part (45%) say their motivation at work would increase if they had the opportunity to propose sustainable and eco-friendly initiatives to leadership teams.11

Wellbeing, naturally

More resilient teams as well as health and wellbeing benefits can be delivered by:

Making it work

In the latest Bupa UK Wellbeing Index16 we set out a five step plan that every organisation can use to achieve this:

Resources and guides

1 Air pollution from road traffic contributed to girl’s death from asthma, coroner concludes, 2020. DOI:

2 GOV.UK, 2022.

3 GOV.UK, 2023.

4 The London School of Economics and Political Science, 2022.

5 Global climate change and mental health, 2020. DOI:

6 Infectious disease in an era of global change, 2021. DOI:

7 Malaria No More, date unknown.

8 Climate change and allergic diseases: An overview, 2022. DOI:

9 The Royal Society (PDF, 1.6MB), 2018.

10 Bupa (PDF, 1.6MB), 2023.

11 Bupa, date unknown.

12 Bupa, 2023.

13 Bupa, 2023.

14 Bupa (PDF, 1.6MB), 2023.

15 Bupa (PDF, 1.6MB), 2023.

16 Bupa (PDF, 1.6MB), 2023.

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