How to write an environmental sustainability policy | British Equine Veterinary Association
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How to write an environmental sustainability policy

News Sustainability Tips for Practices BEVA News
05 Dec 2023 BEVA

The new environmental sustainability module of the RCVS Practice Standards Scheme became effective on 1st of June 2023. The requirement for all practices to have a written environmental sustainability policy is now one of the core standards, meaning that all veterinary practices, whether they are part of the Practice Standards Scheme or not must comply with this requirement.

So, what is an environmental sustainability policy? This is a document that recognises the environmental impact that a business has and identifies actions that will be taken to reduce the impact. These actions must not only comply with current environmental legislation, but also identify areas where the business will commit to going “above and beyond”  the statutory requirements to reduce the negative impacts of their work and reduce the practice’s carbon footprint. The policy should be freely available and understood by all members of the practice and should serve to empower team members to work towards reducing the practice’s environmental impact.

The policy should identify clear environmental objectives including how the practice will benchmark its progress against targets (eg cutting emissions in half by a certain date), and include details of how these targets will be achieved (eg environmental management system, accreditation, audits, etc). Some common policy commitments in a veterinary practice include: calculating and committing to reduce its carbon footprint; reducing energy, water, fuel, anaesthetic gases and other resources; implementing energy conservation techniques; reducing waste and improving waste management; increasing recycling and reusing; working with suppliers to ensure they are actively reducing the environmental impact of their products and transportation. The policy should not only be available to the practice team but should also be available to clients of the practice (via its website).                                      

More details of the Practice Standards Scheme equine modules and awards can be found here.