RCVS issues new sustainability guidance

2nd May 2023
Industry News

The RCVS has published a new guidance document that it hopes will help veterinary practices to meet the requirements of forthcoming environmental rule changes.

The PSS Environmental Sustainability Standards, which will be implemented from 1 June, were originally approved by the college’s council last summer and come into force amid broadening concern about the potential environmental impact of veterinary work.

The college says all practices will be required to meet the system’s core standards under its current code of conduct.


Those requirements include the development of a written sustainability policy and responsible use of ectoparasiticides.

The second, general practice, level has eight requirements including the appointment of a sustainability champion and enabling staff to suggest potential improvements.

Other criteria include the compiling of an annual waste management survey, planning routine appointments to reduce mileage, encouraging clients to return excess medications to the practice for safe disposal and employing methods to reduce the use of anaesthetic gases.

Officials acknowledge the topic is an area that highlights its desire for direct regulatory power over veterinary practices, but say all practices should have an appointed senior vet responsible for ensuring code compliance in any event.

Important work

Junior vice-president Sue Paterson, who chaired its environment and sustainability working party, said many practices were already doing important work in the area.

She said: “These new standards within the PSS will add a framework to the good practice we already see in the profession, and ensure that all members of the professions consider their responsibilities to the wider environment and ecosystems around them.

“The guidance we have published provides clear ‘how-to’ information to explain the standards. It will be very useful to practices that are going to be assessed as part of the PSS, but it is relevant and can be used by all practices, whether they are in the PSS or not.”

The guidance paper can be found online.


Credit to:  RCVS issues new sustainability guidance (Vet Times)

Vet Times. (2023).  RCVS issues new sustainability guidance [online]

Available at:  https://www.vettimes.co.uk/news/rcvs-issues-new-sustainability-guidance/