Taking Your Business Carbon Negative

Written by Anthony Chadwick Reading time: 4 mins

When I set up The Webinar Vet in 2010, my mission was to make veterinary education more accessible and affordable to veterinary professionals around the world. I wanted to help reduce the cost associated with physical training, by offering an alternative way of learning that was both more affordable and more convenient. As the platform grew in popularity, I realised that I was helping to save miles on the roads and airways by encouraging vets and nurses to do their training online, rather than having to travel far and wide for evening meetings or conferences. Whilst this was having an impact on individual carbon footprints, it didn’t directly impinge on ours.

After spending a long time searching for the best tool to make my small business carbon neutral, I was discouraged by the cumbersome process and felt like most of the accreditation schemes were too focused on carbon footprints rather than other important areas such as waste disposal, resource use, and increasing biodiversity. That's when I heard about Ellie West, a veterinary anaesthetist near London and an early advocate of the greener veterinary practice. She had discovered a small charity called Investors in the Environment, which provides information, templates, and checklists to help businesses on their journey to carbon neutrality. After attending a webinar she hosted for the veterinary community, I decided to sign up for a relatively small amount of money - and I'm so glad I did!

It's important to stay on top of the latest environmental initiatives. By investing in electric cars or taking other steps to reduce your carbon footprint, you may already qualify for Investors in the Environment’s bronze accreditation! But that's just the beginning - the next step is to audit your environmental practices.

With an environmental audit, a major part of the process is measuring your carbon footprint. Do you deliver goods, and if so, what kind of transport do you use? What about heating and lighting in your factories and offices? Are you using a sustainable energy supplier and energy-saving bulbs and timers?

Measuring your carbon is the first step in becoming more eco-friendly. You can do this in-house, and there are also external agencies available to provide a full report. Chantelle Brandwood, who specialises in measuring carbon and helping businesses to offset their carbon against ethical schemes taking place around the planet can produce a report including a calculation of your carbon footprint with Scope 1, 2, and 3 carbon emissions, and a carbon reduction plan. Her fee starts at around £2000 for small businesses and can help you make the most of your carbon reduction efforts.

2020 was an unusual year for us all, and we wanted to make sure we were doing our bit to help fight climate change. During the Covid-19 lockdown in the UK, when our team was working from home and using less energy in the office, we decided to go even further and double the amount of carbon we offset.

We chose to use a company called Eco Offset, which works with a reputable carbon trading firm that has projects in the Amazon to protect the rainforest, as well as a scheme to buy solar stoves in Mali to provide to women refugees.

We understand that offsetting can be controversial, as some businesses use it to buy carbon credits whilst continuing their 'dirty practices'. However, for those who are committed to protecting the planet, offsetting is a great way to minimise our carbon footprint and make a real difference.

Every business is different, but it's our responsibility to reduce our carbon footprint as much as possible. We are proud to say that for every membership we sell, we plant trees to help sequester carbon, provide shade for humans and livestock, and encourage biodiversity.

It's becoming more and more important for businesses to start their journey towards carbon neutrality and negativity. We are committed to a better planet for all people, animals, and the environment - not just because it's trendy, but because it's the right thing to do. We hope you'll join us in making a difference!

As part of our annual Veterinary Congress, we have included our Sustainability Summit: Regenerating Hope Symposium. This includes 3 hours of information about green Veterinary practice, and also our Green Awards Ceremony, where we will present the prizes of ‘Most Green Individual’ and ‘Most Green Practice’, with a total of £3000 in prize money. You can register for The Webinar Vet’s 11th Annual Veterinary Congress, here.

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