Colorado State updating guide on supplying practices sustainably
Published: 31 Mar 2022
A team at Colorado State University is updating guidance on how to supply a veterinary practice while minimizing that practice’s environmental impact.
Students and faculty members with the Sustainability Advocacy in Veterinary Education group at Colorado State University plan to publish a second edition of the SAVE Veterinary Procurement Guide this spring. The first edition was published in April 2021.
The document provides details on which companies that supply veterinary hospitals and clinics have public-facing environmental sustainability policies, and it describes the third-party certifications and other considerations that can be useful when buying medical and nonmedical products for a practice. Examples of those considerations include whether a product is biodegradable, whether it is made from recycled content, and how the practice can dispose of any waste.
Dr. Colleen Duncan, faculty editor of the guide and an associate professor at the CSU College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences, said veterinary professionals want to minimize the environmental impact of their practices. But examining the carbon footprint for every potential purchase is overwhelming, and she hopes the guide supports veterinary professionals by simplifying their procurement processes.
Veterinary student–led teams wrote the first edition and were developing the second this year, and Dr. Duncan expects students will continue updating the guide for years to come. The authors of the first edition found that few suppliers of veterinary practices had written sustainability policies, but many responded to inquiries that they had been working on such commitments or thought such commitments were a good idea, Dr. Duncan said.
The first edition states that, “While the focus of the inaugural version of the guidebook is the environment, we hope to expand this guide to include additional information on topics like corporate social responsibility.”
In August 2021, Dr. Duncan co-authored a CSU student–led research article on environmental sustainability in veterinary practice. That article, published in Topics in Companion Animal Medicine, gives recommendations for how veterinary medicine could reduce the profession’s contributions toward climate change through elements of hospital design, energy use, water consumption, travel, procurement, waste, and staff behaviors. Read the article.