Southfields earns Bronze honour for going green

March 10, 2022

An eco-friendly effort to reduce emissions and increase sustainability has earned a leading referral veterinary centre a national environmental award.

Southfields Veterinary Specialists in Essex has received a bronze award from Investors in the Environment (iiE) after a concerted sustainability push led by a dedicated green group at the Linnaeus referral centre.

As well as changes such as replacing disposable surgical hats and pink coats with reusable versions of each and creating pollinator-friendly planters outside the building, the Southfields team have also been busy with efforts to cook up support for their green dream with a wider audience.

This includes planning a vegan cookbook entitled ‘Ready, Steady, Southfields’. Giving a new meaning to eating your greens, the book will include recipes suggested by team members which also reduce the environmental impact from field to plate.

As well as providing culinary inspiration, the Southfields team have thrown their weight behind Essex Wildlife Trust by becoming gold investors in the organisation, which is the leading conservation charity protecting wildlife in Essex.

On top of a cycle to work scheme to encourage associates to swap four wheels for two, Southfields is also looking further down to the road to its state-of-the-art new £16 million site in Basildon, which will open its doors this spring.

As part of the build project, Southfields has just completed installation of a high-performance insulated roof covering and skylights, ensuring the building stays insulated and preventing any heat escaping. This will reduce any wasted energy and help to save money.

In addition, it has installed solar PV, which has further boosted the practice’s energy efficiency.

Southfields’ green group lead Sana Chaudhry said the whole team were dedicated to becoming as sustainable as possible.

Sana, an RVN and senior night nurse at Southfields, explained: “We have already introduced a raft of ideas and initiatives which have resulted in our bronze award from the iiE.

“These include things such as taking part in the Linnaeus-wide ‘paws to turn off’ campaign, in which everyone is encouraged to turn off unnecessary lights and air conditioning, and swapping our disposable lad coats and scrub hats for reusable versions.

“Historically, we would use disposable pink lab coats for use outside of theatre and disposable hats inside theatre. We have now made the swap to personal washable gowns and reusable theatre hats.

“We previously ordered around 70 coats per month, which would then go straight to general waste after use, so this alone is a really positive measure.”

Sarah Stam, operations manager at Southfields, said that as well as the actions taken internally, the team were equally excited about the positive effect they can have externally as they aim for the ultimate Green iiE accreditation.

Sarah said: “We’re really throwing ourselves into achieving not only a more sustainable Southfields but also benefitting the community we live in and are an integral part of.

“For instance, we have shown our support for the Essex Wildlife Trust by becoming a gold investor. Leanne, a member of our green group, has two sensory garden plots which she maintains and we will be providing her with plants to make this a pollinator-friendly area.

“There’s also a lot of excitement among the team surrounding Ready, Steady, Southfields. Reducing meat and dairy consumption is the most significant action people can take to help reduce their environmental impact.

“The cookbook will be a really fun and original way of sharing some amazing recipes and, crucially, helping the environment.

“Then, of course, there is our new hospital building. Not only will be it be one of the largest and best-equipped veterinary centres in Europe but we are doing everything we can to make it as sustainable as possible.

“To ensure the build project was sustainable, we decided to repurpose an old building rather than starting from scratch.

“By repurposing old land, it has meant we have been able to dramatically decrease our carbon footprint, as no new foundations or steelwork had to be implemented.

“Added to that, we have implemented a number of measures along the way, such as air source heating, LED lighting, water-saving features and a heating management system, to ensure we run as efficiently as possible once we open our doors later this year.”

Investors in the Environment is a national environmental accreditation scheme designed to help organisations reduce their impact on the environment.

The iiE annual audit consists of an assessment of five key areas of an organisation’s Environmental Management System (EMS). These include:

  • Environmental policy
  • Resource management and monitoring
  • Progress against targets
  • Action planning including social/environmental projects
  • Communication

Southfields, which is moving to its state-of-the-art new £16 million site in Basildon, Essex, this summer, offers a range of specialist-led services.

Click here for more information on our Green Group and sustainability at Southfields.