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Going Green Earns Willows Prestigious IiE Silver Award

9 months ago

4th November, 2021 10h42

Linnaeus Group

An environmental initiative by one of the UK’s leading small animal hospitals has won silver accreditation for sustainability.

The impressive drive by Linnaeus-owned Willows Veterinary Centre and Referral Service in Solihull has been duly recognised by national scheme Investors in the Environment (iiE).

Willows set up a dedicated ‘Green Giants’ group and created a bespoke environmental policy to earn the recognition from iiE, which last year teamed up with Linnaeus in a unique partnership which sees up to 50 per cent of the vet group’s practices taking part in its accreditation scheme.

To achieve the prestigious silver award, the Willows group first worked to understand what its carbon footprint was which included examining data from buildings and resource usage, investigating the number of single-use items in the business, along with assessing business travel and its long-term suitability.

The practice, which earlier this year won the ‘Best Referral Hospital’ accolade at the Best UK Vet Awards, then set up initiatives across the business via its cross-functional ‘Green Giants’ group.  

These included switching all lighting to LED energy-saving lights by the end of 2021, creating new waste streams and reducing single-use items, such as saving 4,000 surgical hats from going to landfill by providing all clinical team members with washable hats.

The commitments made by the Willows team have seen significant results, with an eight per cent overall drop in electricity usage across the hospital, a seven per cent fuel reduction and a 12 per cent rise in recycling with the hospital now creating 14 tonnes a year of recycling.

Building and facilities manager Dave Hindley, who is spearheading the Willows scheme, said: “Willows is very proud of this iiE Silver award.

“We want to continue to make significant environmental savings across our site, by looking into technology such as solar panels, electric car charging points and an electric van, which will help take us to the next level and reduce our carbon footprint even more.”

Toby Gemmill, managing director at Willows, said he was proud of how the team had tackled reducing their overall carbon footprint.

He said: “Ensuring we have an environmentally sustainable hospital is extremely important to us, and I could not be more proud of the team for what they have achieved.

“Being recognized by a prestigious organization such as Investors in the Environment is immensely satisfying, and a testament to all the great work that has been done by our ‘Green Giants’ group.   

Ellie West, environmental sustainability lead at Linnaeus, said: “I’m delighted to see Willows receive this accreditation. As ever, the Willows team provide a fantastic example of what great work they do, and how they work together to do it. Their progress is truly inspiring.

“Linnaeus has a strong focus on quality of care and this extends to being a sustainable business and fulfilling our commitments to our clients, Associates and communities.

“I am so excited to be leading this ambitious sustainability agenda, which will work to deliver a better future for everyone and we’re over the moon to see Willows receive recognition for achieving excellence.”

April Sotomayor, from iiE, said: “Congratulations to Willows on achieving this silver award for its work on reducing its environmental impact and engaging its staff with some fantastic waste and carbon reduction initiatives, in particular.

“This shows a clear determination to prioritise its sustainability efforts in line with our independent accreditation scheme and we’re excited to see them go even further in the future.”

Willows offers specialist services in anaesthesia and analgesia, cardiology, clinical nutrition, dermatology, diagnostic imaging, emergency and critical care, internal medicine, neurology, oncology, ophthalmology, orthopaedics, soft tissue surgery and spinal surgery. 

To find out more about Willows’ wide range of specialist services, visit or search for Willows Veterinary Centre and Referral Service on Facebook.  

IN THE PICTURE: From left, marketing manager Geraldine Davis; Toby Gemmill, managing director; Rebecca Jordan, surgical team leader; Nic Mills, head of client experience; Sarah Webb, pharmacy team leader; and Dave Hindley, building and facilities manager at Linnaeus-owned Willows Veterinary Centre and Referral Service, in Solihull 

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