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Group photo of Pennard Vets staff holding a cake

Group photo of Pennard Vets staff holding a cake

Pennard Vets Named As The First B Corp Certified Veterinary Group In Europe

1 year ago

14th November, 2022 15h14

Pennard Vets

Employee owned Pennard Vets has become the first veterinary practice in Europe to become B Corp certified, following a rigorous accreditation process, as part of the Kent based group’s ongoing ambition to become a genuine sustainable business.

Certified B Corps are companies that meet exceptionally high standards of social and environmental performance, transparency and accountability. The process examines a company’s full range of processes, from supply chain to charitable giving and employee benefits. Other well-known names that have achieved B Corp status include Patagonia, The Body Shop, BrewDog, TOMS, Ben and Jerry’s and Innocent Drinks.

The global B Corp movement focuses on placing stakeholders at the heart of all businesses, harnessing their position to transform the role of business in society to make sure that it works for both people and the planet.

Dr Caroline Collins, from Pennard Vets, which has seven practices in Kent, said: “We’ve always strived to be ethical and minimise our environmental impact as much as possible, and the next step was to become a fully certified sustainable business. Ultimately, we exist to benefit our people, the communities we work in and the environment, rather than solely focusing on profit, and becoming a B Corp is the highest level of external recognition of this. Pennard Vets has been around for more than 125 years, and we want the business to be here in another 125 years or more! 

“Becoming employee owned, through an employment ownership trust (EOT), last year was an important part of this aim and immediately after achieving that goal, we set our sights on becoming a B Corp. The accreditation is incredibly thorough and examined every area of the business, as well as all our policies to ensure what we have put in place are robust and impactful.

“We’re extremely proud to achieve B Corp status and there’s no doubt that it will be transformational for the business, in the same way that becoming an EOT has been. Being employee owned and socially minded is a huge draw for vets and nurses seeking a change in their career, who want to be part of an organisation where they can have a real say in the running of the practice and make a tangible difference to the environment.

“It also means that we can now make very long-term decisions, that could even take several decades to pay off, which would be very difficult to do in a traditional shareholder business, and that gives our team the authority to always do the right thing.”

Joy Cole, operations manager from Pennard Vets who led the process, added: “This accreditation has taken a long time to achieve, but throughout the process it opened our eyes to the fact that we were already doing a lot of what was required, which was hugely inspirational for everyone involved. It now puts us in the same league as many of the most ethical and sustainable companies on the planet, including the likes of The Body Shop and Patagonia.

“Very few businesses pass first time, so we were thrilled to score 90 points with our first attempt, 10 more than the minimum of 80 that’s required to pass, and we’re now looking forward to building on this further as we continue to focus on reducing our carbon footprint and making other positive changes, that will benefit our team, our clients and the local community.”

Pennard Vets, has seven practices in Sevenoaks, Tonbridge, Maidstone, Allington, Borough Green, Langley Park and West Malling. In 2021 Pennard Vets became the largest veterinary practice in the world to become employee owned, through an Employee Ownership Trust (EOT), meaning its entire team are now practice owners and shareholders in the business.  

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