Congress and Sustainability

Here at SPVS-VMG Congress, we believe in doing what we can to change the way we live and work to create a better, more sustainable future for us all. We know things don’t change overnight, but little by little which is why every year we reassess how we can make Congress greener.

On Friday 24 January, we’re delighted to be showing Vitamin Sea, the documentary by Cal Major, the vet behind the ‘Paddle for Plastic’ campaign,  about her extraordinary paddleboard expedition the length of the UK. Find out more at

We’ve also introduced a full stream on ‘Sustainability in Practice’ into this year’s programme, with lots of practical tips for you to take back to your own practices to help make them greener.

After discussions with Learning Without Landfill, a growing campaign to help make large vet conferences more eco-friendly, we’ve identified four key areas to focus on:

Firstly there’s the SPVS-VMG Congress team.  We’ve started making changes to the way the event is run – this year we’ll be:

  • Recycling our name badge holders and lanyards so they can be used year-on-year
  • Providing optional delegate bags and encouraging re-use after Congress, then ensuring those not used can be used for future Congresses
  • Reducing our printed handouts and supplying CPD certificates electronically
  • Ensuring that any necessary printing done is on sustainably sourced paper
  • Our AV team are constantly looking to improve where they can too, and are continually updating their equipment to be more efficient. Two years ago, we had enormous hot tungsten theatre lanterns in our lecture rooms, now this is done with led lights consuming a tiny fraction of the energy. Also, in the opening ceremony and banquet hall, the lighting set-up will be almost entirely led based. We also use crew from as near the venue as we can.

We’ll also be speaking to our fantastic sponsors and exhibitors to see what they can do.  Will they be sending out soft copies of catalogues rather than bulky printed copies? Have they decided against single-use plastic free gifts?

Our venue, Celtic Manor, also see the importance of decreasing their environmental impact. Click here for more information on their environmental policy:

Highlights include their continued effort to minimising of the amount of waste disposed of in general waste by ensuring the appropriate number of bins to recycle food, cardboard, mixed recycling and glass as appropriate; reducing the impact of its use of vehicles for transport around the resort with the use of electric/hybrid vehicles for staff; and ensuring that their menus incorporate locally sourced ingredients from responsible suppliers and are influenced by seasonal availability, minimising their carbon footprint.

At the SPVS-VMG Congress, they’ll be providing water coolers or water jugs with glassware (or to refill personal water bottles) rather than single use water bottles, and offering plates, silverware and glassware for refreshment and meal breaks.

Finally, there’s you, the attendees.  This year, we’d love to encourage your contribution to this cause.  Please bring your own re-usable water bottles and coffees cups.  Can you travel by public transport or lift share?

Visit to organise a shared journey to Congress. As a driver you can sign-up to share your journey details, and non-drivers can post requests for a lift.

If you’re travelling by train, Newport station is a short journey from Celtic Manor.  For those travelling from London visit for an exclusive offer on your train ticket.

We know this is just the beginning of a journey, but this is a path that hopefully we’re all choosing to take together and by doing so, we’ll get there one day.

 If you’re not yet registered, click here to do so: