One of the messages to come out of COP26 Glasgow 21 was that all businesses have a duty to carefully consider their own environmental responsibility and the impact their actions have on the wider world. This starts with carbon footprinting but in our rapidly changing world it is fast becoming evident that it goes far beyond this and there are many other ways that nature is struggling to cope with human impacts.
One way that businesses and organisations can look at this is using the Potsdam Institute’s work on Planetary Boundaries. Over many years of detailed research they have identified the core factors which have kept the earth’s atmosphere stable and relatively comfortable in the period since the last Ice Age.
They have just released their latest representation of the current situation. The green circle in the diagram below represents the safe operating zone for these factors, and the darker colours the amount by which these have been exceeded and the level of risk this represents to our living world.
What are Synergy doing?
We continue to monitor our emissions under the Greenhouse Gas Protocol Scope 1 and 2 considerations. It remains difficult to decarbonise the bulk of our transport emissions due to unpredictable rural journey demands, the need to accommodate emergencies, and provision of services such as foot trimming. We have however invested so far this year in three electric vans. Two of these are being used to deliver medicines to farm, as these can operate on slightly more predictable routes, although we are still on a learning curve!
Since March we calculate that around 3.25 tonnes of CO2 emissions have been avoided using the two dispensary vans. We still have a long way to go with over 60 vehicles in the Synergy fleet but we hope to build on this.
The move to Rampisham from our Evershot site has also been positive in terms of carbon efficiency. Better insulation and the switch from oil heating to a biomass system has shown reductions in our electricity and heating footprint of around 2% and 25% respectively, despite increasing the size of our premises.
There are several initiatives and organisations within the wider Vet profession to help practices focus on sustainability such as Vet Sustain and Vet Salus, which some of our Synergy board members and employees are directly involved with. True sustainability continues to be an area of commitment that we will keep working towards.
Written By Paula Hunt TB Lead Vet.