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The Old Golf House is the first in CVS’ family to achieve the RCVS Sustainability Award

The Old Golf House is the first in CVS’ family to achieve the RCVS Sustainability Award

First CVS Practice Achieves RCVS Sustainability Award

3 weeks ago

24th May, 2024 11h39


The Old Golf House veterinary practices in Thetford and Watton have become the first in CVS’ family to achieve the recently launched RCVS Sustainability Award. 

The first opinion small animal surgery, which has thirty-nine colleagues and serves over ten thousand clients, achieved an ‘outstanding’ ranking in the RCVS’s new environmental accreditation. 

Over the past two years The Old Golf House has introduced a number of initiatives to reduce its carbon footprint, reduce and recycle its waste and to introduce ‘one health’ sustainability programmes. This has seen colleagues significantly reduce its electricity use, recycle hundreds of kilos of plastic and reduce unnecessary antibiotic use to help prevent antimicrobial resistance through research, education and client information. 

Championed by Practice Director Hayley Potter, The Old Golf House adopted a new five year environmental policy and targets. To develop its green action plan, it has appointed a Green Team and a Sustainability Champion who convene every three months to discuss new ideas to improve sustainability.

The practice is currently working hard to reduce its energy use and carbon footprint. It is controlling thermostats, turning off heating in unused rooms, and switching off any unused electrical equipment. It has also moved to oxygen concentrators and low-flow anaesthesia techniques in operating theatres, meaning less gas use and fewer deliveries.

To address waste and reduce landfill, the practice now recycles all of its waste wherever possible – even including pet food foil pouches. It has introduced an innovative plastic tub recycling scheme for colleagues and clients, in partnership with a local recycler. New recycled paper prescription bags are also given to clients to take home their pets’ medicines. 

In a bid to reduce natural resources the practice has moved over to washable theatre hats, email client receipts, uses handwash re-fills and purchases eco-friendly laundry detergents. It has also purchased a water distiller, so that they no longer purchase plastic water containers.

In addition, veterinary colleagues are taking responsibility for the practice’s ectoparasiticide use by advising clients to use tablet forms over ‘spot on’ where possible. The team is also asking clients to return unused medicines for safe disposal, so they are not at risk of affecting the environment.

Furthermore, The Old Gold House has become a bee friendly practice; planting bee friendly plants in its garden, banning the use of pesticides, and dedicating an area to ‘No Mow May’. Colleagues are also using their ‘giving back days’ to help wildlife conservation and biodiversity, including assisting with ‘toad patrols’ in the local area.

Practice Director at the Old Golf House Hayley Potter, who has a keen interest in sustainability, said: “We want a greener future for our colleagues, clients and pets. Being more environmentally friendly also has a positive impact on your mental health. Over the past two years our whole team has really striven to reduce our impact upon the environment. We’ve introduced a whole host of environmentally friendly initiatives, and we’re now starting to pass on our learnings to other practices in the CVS group. So it’s fantastic to receive national recognition for the environmental work that we are doing.”

CVS Group operates across small animal, farm animal, equine, laboratories and crematoria, with over 500 veterinary practices and referral centres in the UK, the Republic of Ireland and the Netherlands. In the last five years the company has invested nearly £80 million in its sites, facilities and equipment, in addition to industry leading training and support, to give the best possible care to animals. For further information on CVS visit .

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