BVA News: Kick off 2022 with a promise to take simple steps to protect your planet

The British Veterinary Association (BVA) is urging veterinary professionals to get the new year off to a good start by pledging to make sustainability a priority.

Vets have a vital part to play in reducing the impact of the profession and wider industry on the environment. With the new year being a brilliant time to think about and plan future goals, BVA hopes to inspire veterinary professionals from around the UK to join #GreenTeamVet in 2022 and sign a sustainability pledge for positive change to help make the profession greener.

The #GreenTeamVet pledges, which have been signed by dozens of veterinary professionals since being announced at London Vet Show in November, are:

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

There are many benefits to becoming more environmentally friendly, so BVA is urging as many veterinary professionals as possible to commit to a pledge. Becoming greener can help more than just the environment; being more sustainable can also be a big benefit for workplaces by helping to save money and resources, reducing waste, improving staff engagement and helping to retain and attract staff too.

Making a pledge may sound daunting and seem like it could add a lot of work to already heaving “to do” lists, but BVA’s President Justine Shotton is keen to stress there are many simple ways to make an impact.

Dr Shotton, who pledged to practise responsible resource use and use medicines responsibly, said: “We know how busy veterinary professionals are on a day-to-day basis and that the workforce is more stretched than ever before. But we also know that, when it comes to sustainability, even simple changes can really make a difference and of course, the more people who take part, the greater the impact will be.

“You may decide to give yourself more of a challenge but something as simple as promising to always recycle or to save resources by printing fewer hard copies really does make a difference. Even just telling your colleagues about your pledge and reasons for signing up helps to spread the word and encourages more people to do their part.”

To kick start the actions, BVA is sharing some suggestions of easy things veterinary professionals can do to get started:

  • Get a separate bin for dry mixed recycling in your clinical areas to increase the amount of waste you can recycle
  • Read and action these top tips to reduce the impact of your anaesthetic gases
  • Put up signs to remind everyone to switch appliances off to save energy
  • Challenge yourself to buy #LessAndBetter meat and dairy products this month, making sure you always #ChooseAssured
  • Start a conversation on ideas to green your workplace and encourage your colleagues to make pledges too

To increase the impact of pledges even further, BVA is encouraging everyone who has signed up to a pledge to share this on their social media, or even share pictures of themselves taking part.

Recent research from the BVA 2021 July Voice of the Veterinary Profession Mini Survey revealed 97% of vets felt environmental sustainability is important, with 62% saying it is very important to them. But the research also showed less than half (47%) of vets said their workplace currently had any sustainability policies in place.

Dr Shotton added: “Our research shows sustainability is already important to veterinary professionals, and the start of a new year is a great opportunity to put plans into action. We urge everyone to take the time to talk about the issue within your practices – with your colleagues and with clients too – and to start 2022 off on a good note by promising to make positive changes, and then actioning them.”

BVA will be sharing plenty of resources and tips in the coming months on social media using #GreenTeamVet and you can also find plenty of inspiration in the ‘Greener Veterinary Practice Checklist’ which was launched last year by BVA, Vet Sustain, the British Veterinary Nursing Association (BVNA), and the Society of Practising Veterinary Surgeons (SPVS).

To find out more and to make a pledge, visit www.bva.co.uk/greenteamvet

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