Top sustainability honour for environmentally-friendly NDSR - Veterinary Practice
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Top sustainability honour for environmentally-friendly NDSR

Leading UK animal hospital North Downs Specialist Referrals has earned prestigious recognition for its “outstanding” efforts to create an environmentally-friendly workplace

Linnaeus-owned North Downs Specialist Referrals (NDSR), which is based in Bletchingley, Surrey, has received a Green award from Investors in the Environment (iiE), the national accreditation scheme for businesses working to reduce their carbon footprint. The Green award is iiE’s highest accolade and is awarded to companies which have made significant reductions in energy use and waste, along with increases in efficiency, recycling and sustainability, becoming a more environmentally-friendly workplace. 

NDSR’s European Specialist in Small Animal Surgery Nicola Kulendra led the hospital’s sustainability initiative and their efforts to become an environmentally-friendly workplace. She said: “This award is amazing news and everyone at NDSR is absolutely delighted to have earned this recognition for our environmental efforts. We have made wide-ranging changes across the hospital which have resulted in a significant reduction in our environmental impact. 

“We’ve switched to re-usable cloth scrub hats in theatre, reduced the number of drapes used for minor procedures and the use of incontinence sheets. NDSR has also switched to using sterilisation boxes for surgical kits, where previously these kits had been wrapped in large pieces of paper that could not be recycled.

“We are using reusable patient warming devices for animals recovering from anaesthesia and the practice now has a strict protocol for antibiotic stewardship that’s been created to reduce their use. 

“The hospital has introduced a battery recycling programme and we’ve adopted the Terracycle scheme for products such as crisp packets and pens, which are more difficult to recycle. We’ve also begun food waste collections to reduce general waste collections and reduce carbon emissions. 

“Staff are encouraged to switch off air conditioning and open windows, when possible, while water efficient taps with sensors will be used to replace existing taps and we have an LED-replacement policy for lighting, with everyone encouraged to switch off lights where possible and constantly reminded by the Linnaeus-wide ‘Paws to Turn Off’ stickers. 

“Other environmental projects include the creation of a bee and butterfly garden, which also provides a well-being space for staff and clients. We also created a community project which saw the NDSR team working together to walk, run or cycle a distance equal to the historic Route 66 which runs from the East Coast to the West Coast of the USA, collectively travelling more than 4,000 miles to raise almost £1,500 for a local animal charity.” 

NDSR clinical director Gerry Polton saluted the sweeping changes and the transformation in the hospital’s status as environmentally-friendly, adding: “We are very happy to have been awarded Green status by iiE, their highest award for environmental advances in business. 

“To receive such high praise is terrific news and a real testament to the important changes our team have introduced to cut our carbon footprint and improve our efficiency. 

“Well done to Nicola and the green team for driving this forward and, indeed, to everyone here at NDSR. To achieve such a successful outcome has taken a truly united effort, with each and every member of the team playing their part to earn this auspicious recognition. We are now already looking at new ways to make further improvements to build on this award.” 

The official iiE report into NDSR’s green campaign read: “Excellent reductions have been achieved in a number of measured resources despite a large increase in staff numbers and caseload. There is now a robust foundation for the collection of resource data, with electricity and water data collected from the meter monthly. 

“Usage is monitored quarterly by the green champion and facilities manager to identify anomalies, with discussions to interrogate the data carried out with the appropriate department.  

“There has been an outstanding commitment to reduce anaesthetic gas use by removing the additional cost of TIVA over some inhalational anaesthetics. Large reductions in resources such as electricity have resulted in a large reduction in the organisation’s carbon footprint, despite the addition of fleet mileage and water data for 2021.  

“Numerous and diverse ranges of resource efficiency, biodiversity and social projects have been undertaken, including the creation of a ‘bee friendly’ garden and a switch to metal sterilisation boxes, resulting in several significant benefits to the local community and wider environment.  

“There has been excellent staff engagement with sustainability initiatives across the organisation and regular feedback to the green champion. The site visit also showed a friendly and engaged staff body, with a notably positive culture.” 

NDSR offers specialist-led services in anaesthesia and analgesia, cardiology, dentistry, dermatology, diagnostic imaging, internal medicine, neurology, oncology, ophthalmology, orthopaedics, soft tissue surgery and spinal surgery.  

For more information on the practice and their environmentally-friendly initiatives, visit the NDSR website or search for North Downs Specialist Referrals on social media. 

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