We’ve Gone Green: the VDS Achieves Highest iiE Accreditation

We’ve Gone Green: the VDS Achieves Highest iiE Accreditation

Hot on the heels of achieving Bronze accreditation from Investors in the Environment (iiE) in 2021 and Silver in 2022, the VDS is proud to have achieved iiE’s highest level of accreditation, Green, in April 2023.

Working towards our Green accreditation, the Society’s sustainability working group ‘the Green Team’ continued to monitor our environmental performance across key resources and undertake actions to reduce our usage of these. Since 2019 when we first started tracking our usage, we have:

  • Reduced water usage from 468m3 to 191.53 in 2022 (a 59% reduction)
  • Reduced paper usage 25.2 tonnes to 7.6 tonnes in 2022 (a 70% reduction)
  • Reduced electricity usage from 124k kWh to 82k kWh in 2022 (a 34% reduction)

Recognising the continued ‘return to normality’ following the pandemic and the implications this has for colleagues commuting to the office more regularly, the team focussed efforts on introducing a Travel Plan, as well as a Car Share Scheme and Cycle to Work Scheme. Similarly, in support of the Waste Management Plan that was developed for our Silver accreditation, we have introduced new recycling bins into the office to ensure we are recycling as much waste as we can.

The Society has also committed to colleagues being able to dedicate one volunteering day a year to help an organisation or initiative of their choosing or one organised by the Society. Colleagues from across the organisation have taken part in a range of volunteering activities, with members of the Marketing team, Operations team and Board taking part in organised tree planting and gardening days. 

VDS members can play their part in helping the Society on its sustainability journey and in particular in reducing the amount of paper it uses by ensuring that the contact details held by the VDS are up to date, by applying to renew their annual insurance policies online rather than by paper, and by considering switching from having service communications and newsletters sent to them by post to email. For all members who switch from paper to email for service communications, we’ll plant a tree on their behalf with our partners, Eden Reforestation Projects, who employ local people to plant trees in some of the most impoverished areas of the world. This enables them to earn a living wage and provides self-sufficiency as well as supporting soil health, habitat and biodiversity.

“We’re obviously thrilled to have achieved iiE’s highest level of accreditation, but that doesn’t mean we’ve done our bit and we’re downing our tools,” explains Jo Stonehewer, Director of Membership and Green Team member, “We’re continuing our journey towards a more sustainable way of working by looking into making a Net Zero pledge as well as committing to UN Sustainable Development Goals that are important to both our business and our members. In the meantime, thank you to the iiE for their ongoing support and of course to our colleagues for their hard work and continued commitment.”

Notes to Editor

1. For further information, please contact Kate Evans, Marketing and Digital Manager, email kevans@vetdef.co.uk.

2. The Veterinary Defence Society Limited is a mutual insurance company, run by experienced veterinary surgeons on behalf of the veterinary profession, which insures the vast majority of the practising profession against the effects of claims of negligence. Further information can be found at www.thevds.co.uk.

3. VDS Training Services Ltd (Trading as VDS Training) is a wholly owned subsidiary of The Veterinary Defence Society Limited. They are an experienced group of vets, nurses, neuroscientists, qualified executive and performance coaches with expertise and a significant amount of experience in coaching, mentoring, and training those working within the veterinary profession. Further information can be found at www.vds-training.co.uk.

4. iiE is an external environmental accreditation scheme created to help businesses assess and reduce their environmental impact by implementing an environmental management system. It includes high-level audit criteria being met, and setting reduction targets, followed by an ongoing auditing process

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