At VCA Animal Hospitals, we take a holistic view of sustainability. For us, sustainability involves caring for the whole ecosystem. We work to be good stewards of the animal kingdom and protect our planet. We support our Associates’ health and well-being, and support pets and their owners through the high-quality veterinary care delivered by our network of hometown hospitals.

I was a veterinary practice owner for nearly two decades, then worked in hospital operations with VCA for the next 20 years. I started my third career  phase as director of sustainability at this great company in June 2021. It has been exciting to see how VCA is leaning into all the pieces of the sustainability puzzle.

As we mark Earth Day, we celebrate our progress and look ahead to the work that still needs to be done as we do our part to support the health of the planet.

It’s an energizing journey at VCA  because the people at every level of the organization are so committed and engaged. Everyone wants to make things better.

Ongoing Steps in the Journey 

One way that many of our Associates get involved is by recycling. Recycling empowers everyone in our organization to make an essential contribution every day. We’re committed to making the most impact, so we’re drilling down in communities where we have hospitals to understand how recycling is managed and where it’s going. Understanding what happens when waste leaves the building is essential since every municipality has different options and requirements that affect recycling efforts at our local veterinary hospitals differently. 

While VCA doesn’t build many new veterinary hospitals, we often remodel them. When we take on those projects, we reduce our environmental impact by upgrading the facilities to use LED lighting, lighting controls, more efficient HVAC systems, and other sustainable building features.

Measuring the impact of these efforts is vital to understanding what’s working and what’s not. We’re doing some heavy lifting to compile data about our carbon impact to understand in greater detail where to double down and we’re now at a point where we can map a clear reduction path, setting a concrete plan for the next three to five years. Sustainability is a marathon, not a sprint.

Over the next year, we’ll focus on getting recycling efforts into all our local hospitals where possible (more to come on that soon). We need to be able to track the impact of these programs and see that they’re making a difference. And we’ll be exploring some other areas of opportunity for reducing our carbon impact.

A Deeply Held Commitment

Of course, sustainability is a huge issue to tackle, and the world is changing rapidly. Our goal is always to do the best we can. At VCA, we’re committed to caring for the future of veterinary medicine, and that includes being at the forefront of sustainability.

Time is of the essence. The stakes are high. I'm very proud that our Associates, including our leadership team, live this purpose every day.

You can learn more about VCA's efforts to reduce our environmental impact in our Impact Report, Joy of Caring.