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March 2021 meeting summary

During the second meeting of the Environment & Sustainability Working Party (E&SWP), members considered the progress that the College had already made on implementing sustainable practices. Working party members were pleased to hear that the College is already taking numerous measures in facilities management to ensure that our impact on the environment is at the forefront of procurement, from waste management systems, food suppliers to cleaning products and supplies.

The working party also heard from members of the RCVS Green Team, which is an employee-led group set up to look at how the organisation can improve its environmental footprint, and to provide an opportunity for employee engagement with sustainability initiatives. Proposals on the merits of an environmental accreditation for the College will be worked up by members of the Green Team and Facilities Department to be presented at the next E&SWP meeting in May.

The working party also considered how sustainability policies can be embedded into the profession, including via the RCVS Practice Standards Scheme, and how the RCVS Fellowship Science Advisory Panel could be used to provide a robust evidence base on the benefits of sustainability policies.

There was significant focus during the meeting on how the veterinary profession can contribute to the forthcoming United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP 26) which is due to take place in Glasgow in November 2021. Working party members agreed that the RCVS should continue to work closely with The UK Health Alliance on Climate Change and contribute to an event proposal with the Alliance to showcase the importance of the One Health approach to climate change.

The E&SWP will meet again in May.