A new tool to help vet teams track their carbon emissions and become more environmentally sustainable has been launched by Vet Sustain, a veterinary body focused on sustainability.

The veterinary carbon calculator, which was launched on Thursday (November 17) at the London Vet Show, is specifically tailored to the environmental impacts of veterinary practice and will enable teams to calculate their carbon emissions.

The tool has been developed in partnership with Investors in the Environment (iiE), and is supported by the British Veterinary Association (BVA); the British Veterinary Nursing Association (BVNA); British Small Animal Veterinary Association (BSAVA); and Society of Practising Veterinary Surgeons (SPVS).

The calculator breaks down carbon emissions into various elements of business activity such as utilities, travel and veterinary care waste.

Once a baseline carbon footprint has been calculated, practices can set a baseline and track measurable progress.

The aim of the tool is to help veterinary practice teams make positive changes to business operations by providing insight into their carbon emissions.

A ‘vital tool’ for the veterinary profession

BVA president, Malcolm Morley, said: “It is everyone’s responsibility to take action on climate change and our research shows just how important environmental sustainability is to the veterinary profession.

“The veterinary carbon calculator is a vital tool that will support practices in their journey to becoming more sustainable which will benefit the planet, but can also enhance workplaces too by saving money and resources but helping to recruit and retain staff. 

“I strongly urge members of the profession to consider using it.”

Chair of Vet Sustain, Gudrun Ravetz, said: “Vet Sustain was set up to support veterinary professionals to become leading forces for sustainability. 

Ravetz said the carbon calculator is another “great step forward” for the veterinary profession on its sustainability journey.

BVNA president, Charlotte Pace, said the BVNA is trying to incorporate sustainability into everything it does, adding that it is proud to be part of the launch of the new carbon emissions tool.

“Some of our areas of impact are unique to the veterinary world, and this calculator will help us understand and recognise this impact on the environment,” she said.

“The calculator is easy to use and accessible to all.”

Carl Gorman, vice-president of BSAVA, said: “BSAVA is delighted to see this Veterinary Carbon Calculator come to fruition.

“All branches of the profession recognise the need for awareness of our environmental impact.

“This calculator will enable practices to readily determine their carbon footprint and highlight how to reduce their impact, as well as giving them an opportunity to seek to offset that carbon.

“With sustainability being integrated into the new RCVS Practice Standards, we urge our members to make use of this tool.”

Sustainability in veterinary practice

Sustainability and being environmentally friendly has become increasingly significant to the veterinary profession, according to the BVA.

Research from the association in the July 2021 ‘Voice of the Veterinary Profession’ survey revealed that 97% of vets felt environmental sustainability is important.

Almost three quarters of vets (73%) said they think veterinary professionals are responsible for prioritising and leading on issues around environmental health.

The research shows prioritising sustainability can also help retain and attract employees.

The survey showed that almost six in 10 vets (57%) said workplace engagement in sustainability would be quite (40%) or very (17%) important to them in their choice of workplace.