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July 17, 2023

Irish Vets are Ready to Play Their Part in Tackling Climate Change

The pace of climate change has picked up significantly in recent years and is threatening the welfare of our natural and agricultural environment and by extension our lives, businesses, and futures. Irish veterinary professionals are privileged to work at the intersection of animal, human and environmental health. This unique position enables veterinary professionals to recognise the role sustainable thinking and action can play in their businesses and to use their position to influence and advocate for change.

Bobby Lambert, Business Development Director, EcoMerit, Peter Lennox, Development Advisor, Skillnet Ireland, Denise Duggan, Network Manager, XLVets Skillnet, Kevin O’ Sullivan, Chair, XLVets Ireland, Mike Curran, CEO, XLVets Ireland

However, findings from a new research report by XLVets Skillnet and XLVets Ireland in partnership with Skillnet Ireland and EcoMerit, indicate that while vets are motivated to adopt a greater level of sustainability in their practice, challenges to do so are also evident. The research found that while commitment to sustainability is not in doubt, little or no measurement processes were in place, recognising the early stage of most veterinary sustainability journeys.

A key finding of the report highlights that 77% of Irish vets believe the issue of sustainability and climate change is either extremely important or very important to them personally. They believe that continued inaction on their part and society at large will further increase global temperatures, creating more of the extreme weather events that are already becoming more commonplace.  This impacts the welfare of animals in Ireland and beyond and for the people who work with and care for these animals every day, the time for action has come.

But the study has also found that while an entire community is ready to play their part, a shortage of vets in the country is compounding the situation. And this key factor, alongside existing skills deficits, is in danger of impacting the fight against climate change on the ground in veterinary surgeries, farms, and a whole host of associated agricultural industry sectors across Ireland.

“As with so many businesses, resources play a huge issue and our members feel that a lack of time and resources is preventing them focusing on sustainability within their practices on a daily basis”, said Mike Curran, Chief Executive, XLVets Ireland.

Respondents recognise the advantages in tackling climate change from within and are keen to kickstart their own sustainability drives if they haven’t done so already. The report acknowledges this practical approach by closing with a series of initiatives that every veterinary practice can adapt and apply – no matter what their size or capability.

Commenting on the research Peter Lennox, Development Advisor, Skillnet Ireland, said: “This research report aims to provide veterinary professionals with the tools and knowledge needed to successfully integrate environmentally sustainable solutions into their day-to-day veterinary practices, and is an ideal starting point to address their skills and training needs in this area”.

This research helps identify key training and support gaps in the area of sustainability, enabling XLVets Skillnet to put in place initiatives and policies to meet the needs for the Irish veterinary sector. To keep yourself informed with the latest knowledge on sustainable principles and innovations in the industry get in touch with XLVets Skillnet.

About XLVets Skillnet
Established in 2011, XLVets Skillnet delivers quality, practical, relevant training tailored to the specific needs of our members in veterinary and farming communities.  We deliver training to over 2,000 members annually with events designed to promote first-class knowledge exchange, best-practice sharing and networking opportunities.  Our members understand that training and development is a critical success factor for the future growth and sustainability of both sectors.  XLVets Skillnet is co-funded by Skillnet Ireland and our member companies.

About XLVets Ireland
XLVets Ireland is a network of independently owned veterinary practices.  Our cooperative membership model is built by members, for members.  Success comes from smart, focused, value driving works, closely collaborating and delivering strong commercial benefits, sound organisational processes and support to members.  XLVets members are part of a successful global community of veterinary networks in the UK, New Zealand and Canada.  By providing a model that supports collaborative working, members have the opportunity to share ideas and learn new skills beyond their regional and country boundaries.

About Skillnet Ireland
Skillnet Ireland is the national workforce development agency. We are a business support agency of the Government of Ireland, responsible for advancing the competitiveness, productivity and innovation of businesses through enterprise-led talent development. Skillnet Ireland partners with 57 industry bodies, supporting over 22,500 businesses and 86,500 trainees annually, through its 72 Skillnet Business Networks across most sectors and all regions in Ireland. Skillnet Ireland is funded from the National Training Fund through the Department of Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science.

About EcoMerit
EcoMerit is a sustainable energy community with a vision of an environmentally sustainable, just and equitable world.  Working towards that vision, we support enterprises in the optimal use of their resources, notably energy, carbon, waste and water, by providing technical support, environmental certification and access to finance.  Since 2009 EcoMerit members have achieved average emissions reductions in excess of 60% over a 10 year period, whilst saving money.
EcoMerit is delighted to be partnering with XLVets on their sustainability journey and welcomes the launch of this Whitepaper.

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