Going Green Earns the VDS Silver

Going Green Earns the VDS Silver

Following their Bronze accreditation from Investors in the Environment (iiE) awarded in December 2021, the VDS has continued its sustainability journey and made further improvements across a number of areas to achieve its Silver accreditation in June 2022. 

The ‘Green Team’ – the VDS’s sustainability working group was formed in March 2021 and set about benchmarking and monitoring environmental performance across key resources before putting in place plans to reduce usage of these resources. During 2021 the team developed an environmental policy for the VDS and started an internal communications campaign to raise awareness amongst its colleagues, as well as collaborating with Vet Sustain to gain an insight into the veterinary profession’s engagement with environmental sustainability in the UK and the Republic of Ireland. 

Working towards their silver accreditation in 2022, the team have continued to take action to achieve their targets, including implementing a travel policy, food procurement principles and a waste management plan. Additionally, in March, VDS Training launched the Greener Veterinary Practice Webinar Series jointly with both the British Veterinary Association (BVA) and Vet Sustain to provide support and advice to veterinary professionals on how to motivate teams and make practical changes. Over 350 people have attended the webinars to date, gaining insights from experts from across the professions on everything from how to empower colleagues to go greener, to how to use consumables and medicines responsibly. To watch the replays of the series so far, visit www.vds-training.co.uk/webinars , or to register for the next webinar Reducing your Carbon Footprint on Wednesday 20 July 2022 and find out how you can take the #GreenVet pledge, visit www.bva.co.uk/greenteamvet.“It’s great to have taken the next step and achieved our Silver accreditation,” says Jo Stonehewer, Director of Membership and Green Team member, “Our journey towards a more sustainable way of working is an ongoing process and we’re now on a mission to achieve the highest iiE level, the Green Award. Achieving the Green Award involves an ongoing commitment to measuring, setting targets and improving resource use, as well as implementing sustainability projects and reporting regularly on progress made against our targets. We’ve seen further reductions this year, reducing electricity usage by 15%, business travel by 89%, printing by 8% and our overall carbon footprint by a further 13%.”

In the most recent VDS newsletter, the VDS encourages members to use a new preference centre to update their details and review their communication preferences, with the added initiative that for every member making the switch from paper to email for service and policy related communications, they will plant a tree with support from Eden Reforestation Projects. As Jo explained, “This small thing would make an enormous difference in reducing the Society’s carbon footprint and our paper usage. Not only that but Eden Reforestation Projects plant trees in some of the most impoverished areas of the world and employ local people to do this, enabling them to earn a living wage and providing self-sufficiency as well as supporting soil health, habitat and biodiversity.”

Notes to Editor

1. For further information, please contact Laura Wells, Head of Marketing and Digital, email lwells@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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