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Make your pledge to the planet, urges BVA, as vets promise to make their workplace more sustainable

16 Nov 2021

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As new research shows almost all vets (97%) consider sustainability to be important to them, members of the veterinary profession have shared ways to improve their workplaces, use resources responsibly and pledged to do what they can to protect the planet.

Make your pledge to the planet, urges BVA, as vets promise to make their workplace more sustainable Image

British Veterinary Association (BVA), the UK’s largest membership body for vets, believes vets have a vital role to play in reducing the impact of the profession and wider industry on the environment.  It hopes the pledges, which were made at the London Vet Show last week (11/12 November) will spur members of the profession into taking action to reduce their impact - and that of their practice or workplace - on the environment.

The pledges, which were signed by dozens of veterinary professionals, were:

  • To practise responsible resource use
  • To be sustainable in my operation
  • To use medicines responsibly
  • To empower my team

Vets also shared their own ideas for ways in which to achieve their pledges, which included: “reducing printing documents”; “moving away from single use plastics as much as possible”; “sharing my knowledge with colleagues and friends” and “setting up a Green group in my practice”.

BVA President Justine Shotton, who chose sustainability to be her theme for her year in the role, promised: “I pledge to promote the BVA’s new policy on the responsible use of small animal parasiticides and to work with vets and industry to achieve collaborative progress in this area.” She also praised those who signed up and attended BVA Congress sessions at LVS, which included sessions on climate change, debating the carbon pawprint of pet ownership, sustainable agriculture, and how vets can use parasiticides in dogs and cats responsibly and effectively.

The positive response from delegates supports new research from the 2021 July Voice of the Veterinary Profession Mini Survey, which revealed that 97% of vets say environmental sustainability is important, with 62% saying it is very important to them. However, less than half (47%) of vets said their workplace currently had any sustainability policies in place.

Dr Shotton also urged more members of the profession and more practices to continue to sign up to the pledges and start to take action now in their practices and day-to-day working lives.

She said: “I’m so proud to be part of a profession which recognises the importance of sustainability and doing its bit to protect the planet. But it is vital that these words now translate into actions and for us all to reduce our impact on the environment. It may sound daunting but small steps in the right direction are positive ones. We hope the LVS pledges inspire those who signed up to act and that the Greener Veterinary Practice Checklist and BVA’s #GreenTeamResources will support you to do so. 

“Not only will becoming more sustainable be good for the environment but becoming environmentally friendly could also benefit workplaces by helping to saving money and resources, reducing waste, improving staff engagement and helping to attract and retain staff. Thank you to everyone who pledged to be more sustainable at LVS; there is still time to sign up or find out more and we hope this is just the first move towards positive change for everyone.”

Veterinary professionals can continue to sign up to a pledge at www.bva.co.uk/greenteamvet.

To support efforts to become more sustainable, members of the profession are also encouraged to use BVA’s #GreenTeamVet and the Greener Veterinary Practice Checklist, which is produced by BVA, Vet Sustain, the British Veterinary Nursing Association (BVNA), and the Society of Practising Veterinary Surgeons (SPVS). BVA will also continue to share resources, tips and advice in the coming months.

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