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July 2021 meeting summary

On Monday 12 July the Environment and Sustainability Working Party (E&SWP) met to discuss the progress that the group has made so far, including in integrating sustainability into the Practice Standards Scheme and the RCVS Green Team’s work on securing environmental accreditation.

The Working Party heard that the RCVS Green Team, comprising RCVS staff, has taken forward management of the Investors in the Environment (iiE) accreditation scheme that it is currently working towards. To begin this work, the RCVS Green Team had a call with an iiE consultant to discuss what is expected of the College, and how to get the best out of the accreditation process. The Green Team is now in the process of writing a sustainability policy for the College and E&SWP members were keen that some of the sustainability work the RCVS is already undertaking be put into this formal policy document, so they were pleased to hear that this is underway. Working Party members spoke about the merit in having a keen group of volunteers in the RCVS Green Team who are well represented from all College departments.

In terms of developing external policy, the Working Party agreed that the best way forward would be a collaborative approach with the Practice Standards Scheme Team (PSS) who are well placed to encourage new initiatives in veterinary practices. The Working Party discussed a proposal which outlines how this work may look, with a view to a project beginning in September 2021 following the Practice Standards Group meeting in August. Although in its early stages, this project will be a really important step for the veterinary professions, and with practices who are in the PSS as well as those who are not.

The Working Party also talked about the importance of communication, and engaging with the professions about the work the College is already undertaking in this area. Working Party members expressed that blogs, emails and social media would help to cultivate conversations within the professions about sustainability. Following this, to ensure the E&SWP work is disseminated it was decided that updates in the policy and public affairs circulation email would be helpful to keep colleagues in the loop. Additionally, a workshop has been planned for September during which Council and Senior Team will share latest updates on sustainability in its wider sense, and look at opportunities for collaboration and future projects

Regarding wider external activities in this area, the College continues to engage with the UK Health Alliance on Climate Change (UKHACC). The Working Party discussed the importance of being a member of the organisation. It was agreed that the College, being the only veterinary representative in the UKHACC, should take the lead on animal health within the alliance and this conversation will be progressed with UKHACC. The College also plans to become more involved with a UKHACC working group towards the end of this year, which should encourage sharing best practice between human health and animal health professionals with sustainability at the heart.

The date of the next meeting is Thursday 7 October 2021.