14 December 2023

The team here at Willows Veterinary Centre and Referral Service are all over the moon at our early Christmas present, having received the ultimate recognition for our exceptional environmental efforts.

We have been honoured with the prestigious 2023 ‘Overall Outstanding Achiever’ award for a small to medium business from Investors in the Environment (iiE).

The honour follows our hospital gaining a sought-after Green award from iiE, the national accreditation scheme for businesses working to reduce their carbon footprint, at the end of last year.

David Hindley, facilities manager at Willows, is a key figure in the hospital’s ‘Green Giants’ group, which is at the forefront of its push to reduce emissions and improve sustainability.

He said: “This is a tremendous achievement and we are all thrilled to be honoured by iiE with this ‘Overall Outstanding Achiever award’.

“To be declared the best small to medium-sized business in the UK in terms of eco-friendly practices and environmental success is huge.

“It’s a glowing endorsement of our commitment to reducing our impact on the environment and all the hard work and dedication to creating a more environmentally friendly hospital.

“It’s also a new motivation to keep trying to make further improvements and rest assured our ‘Green Giants’ group is continually looking at how we can further reduce our carbon footprint.”

The recognition comes after we invested £35,000 in a deluxe compressor and state-of-the-art oxygen generator system.

We have also switched all of its lighting to LED energy-saving lights, created new waste streams and reduced single-use items, including saving 4,000 surgical hats from going to landfill by introducing washable hats.

Significant savings have been achieved with an eight per cent overall drop in electricity usage across the hospital, a seven per cent fuel reduction and a 12 per cent rise in recycling.

David added: “The oxygen generator system means we are no longer reliant on external suppliers for deliveries of oxygen.

“We are also benefitting from the wide-ranging improvements and continuous changes we have introduced across the hospital which have resulted in another significant reduction in our environmental impact.”

Toby Gemmill, managing director at Willows, said: “We are very happy indeed to receive this prestigious national recognition from iiE.

“To receive such high praise is a real testament to the important changes our team has introduced to cut our carbon footprint and improve our efficiency. 

“It’s been a remarkable effort by the entire team. To achieve such a successful outcome has taken a truly united effort, with every member of the team playing their part to earn this recognition.

“I must say a special well done to David and our ‘Green Giants’ for spearheading our environmental initiative and I know they are already looking at new ways to make further improvements to build on this award.” 

Ellie West, environmental sustainability lead at Linnaeus, was quick to congratulate us, too, saying: “Massive congratulations to Willows, David and the Green Giants team on this very well-deserved award.

“I am incredibly proud of their ongoing commitment to implementing eco-friendly measures over a prolonged period of time and this recognition is just reward for their dedication.”

There was further high praise for Willows from Camilla Sherwin, Sustainability Consultant & Partnerships Manager at iiE, who said: “Congratulations to Willows Veterinary Centre and Referral Service. 

“To achieve the iiE Green level accreditation quickly and to win the Overall Outstanding Achievement Award is worthy recognition of the excellent work being undertaken to improve the centre’s sustainability performance. 

“From cutting carbon, to significantly reducing waste through increased use of reusable products, to engaging staff in several initiatives and sharing knowledge with colleagues within the sector; the judges were impressed by strength of the entry. Keep up the good work!”