Given the vast range of supplies and equipment used in veterinary practice, it can feel overwhelming to make sustainable choices at the individual product level. In addition to looking for certifications outlined previously in this guide, it is also helpful to be knowledgeable about, or able to learn about, sustainability efforts being taken by companies servicing the veterinary profession. When a particular company has a sustainability policy you align with, your purchasing decisions may be simplified by focusing on products provided by companies you trust.
In the face of rising environmental issues globally, there is increasing pressure on companies to provide information about their environmental impact, and an increasing demand for products that are environmentally friendly1. Deemed ethical consumerism, this is likely why corporate sustainability has been rising in popularity and importance across industries in recent years2 3. However, corporate sustainability comes in many forms (e.g. sustainable sourcing, energy efficiency), which unfortunately means that there is not a specific definition of corporate sustainability, and, more critically, not a specific approach for companies to follow to be sustainable4. This is one of the huge challenges both for companies who recognize the value in pursuing it, and equally for individuals to evaluate and make purchasing decisions based on the ‘sustainability’ status of a company.
The purpose of this guidebook section is to aid veterinarians as consumers in finding and understanding the sustainability efforts and goals of the companies which supply many of their products.
1. Vieira De Freitas Netto, S. et al. Concepts and forms of greenwashing: a systematic review. doi:10.1186/s12302-020-0300-3.
2. Meuer, J., Koelbel, J. & Hoffmann, V. H. On the Nature of Corporate Sustainability. Organ. Environ. 33, 319–341 (2020).
3. Jones, E. Rethinking Greenwashing: Corporate Discourse, Unethical Practice, and the Unmet Potential of Ethical Consumerism. Sociol. Perspect. 62, 728–754 (2019).
4. Van Marrewijk, M. & Werre, M. Multiple Levels of Corporate Sustainability. in Journal of Business Ethics vol. 44 107–119 (Springer Netherlands, 2003).