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VetPartners commits to ambitious sustainability and charitable goals across its UK practices

Group has unveiled ambitious plans to reduce its carbon footprint, cut waste and supercharge its charitable activities

20 January 2021, at 3:00pm

VetPartners, which has 142 veterinary practices, with 5,514 employees working in more than 400 sites across the UK and from its headquarters in York, launched its first sustainability strategy on 18 January.

The “VetPartners Sustainability Strategy: Looking Forward Together” has committed to a range of short and long-term goals that will put sustainability at the heart of everything the company does.

Among the key objectives VetPartners will work towards are:

  • Measuring its carbon footprint and setting reduction targets for 2026 and 2030.
  • Making practice sites more wildlife-friendly.
  • Reducing energy use by at least 20 percent by 2026 and getting at least 90 percent of electricity used on its sites from renewables.
  • Diverting at least 90 percent of waste from landfill.
  • Making sustainability training available to all team members.
  • Installing water-saving measures in practices.
  • Supporting farm vets with advice for farmers on sustainable agriculture.
  • Volunteering at least 5,000 hours and raising a minimum of £50,000 for charity every year.

The targets reflect VetPartners’ ethos of developing the business in an efficient, ethical, sustainable and profitable way in line with its values.

The group hopes the eco-friendly goals will see practices achieve recognition by gaining Investors in the Environment awards and Surfers Against Sewage Plastic-Free awards.

CEO Jo Malone said: “VetPartners was founded on the values of caring for and respecting animals and people, and that includes looking after future generations by protecting the environment that we all rely on. We know that our colleagues care deeply about this.

“Since VetPartners was founded, I’ve been contacted by people from all types of practices wanting to talk about sustainability. The response to the first steps on our sustainability journey has been overwhelmingly positive.

“The veterinary sector has a huge amount to offer: veterinary professionals are highly skilled and passionate, so they’re ideally placed to understand and share new ideas and sustainable ways of working.

“As a group of practices, we have the potential to achieve a lot for sustainability. There is power in numbers and, with 140 practices across the UK and beyond, we can collectively make a big difference.”

Farming is also a key area of opportunity for sustainable and resilient food production and land management, and VetPartners has pledged to support their farm vets to share their skills and expertise with clients.

VetPartners recently became the first UK veterinary group to provide zero waste boxes for all of its sites in England, Scotland and Wales to recycle extra PPE used during the pandemic. It has pledged to recycle two-million items of PPE, including masks, gloves and aprons, during 2021.

Now the group wants an increasing focus on sustainability across its practices, where there is a strong belief that the veterinary profession can play a key role in caring for the planet. VetPartners has set out clear targets for itself and practice team members in the “VetPartners Sustainability Strategy: Looking Forward Together”, which has been rolled out across more than 400 sites.

Mrs Malone added: “We’ll achieve these targets by working together. The big changes will be driven by what happens in our practices, but they’ll be supported every step of the way by our central support team. We’ve got a detailed step-by-step plan to take us from where we are now up to 2026, but there’s also room to listen to our colleagues to find out what’s working, review, and make some changes along the way if we need to.

“In a lot of cases, it’s a case of making quite small changes to give big results. It could see practices making progressively making small tweaks like changing their syringe suppliers, using washable scrub caps instead of single use, and dispensing medicines in paper bags rather than plastic.”