How to Motivate Your Team to Embrace Sustainability in Practice

By Molly Daphne

We know. Embracing sustainability in practice, especially with a large team, is much easier said than done. Change is hard. It’s not just about changing a few light bulbs to be more energy-efficient or adding recycling bins in every office; it’s also about educating and inspiring your team to want to make a difference. 

Now that we’ve discussed the tangible changes you can make to your practice, we want to help you inspire your team as well. Sustainability isn’t a solo marathon. It’s a relay. You all have to work together to do your part. 

So, let’s explore why it’s important to get your team involved and how you can do so: 

The Importance of Team Involvement 

Getting your team involved in your sustainability efforts is crucial. Even the smallest of changes can add up to make a big difference. A team actively engaged in eco-friendly practices can collectively make a more significant impact than isolated efforts by management. When everyone is on board and shares the same ethos, sustainable practices become an integral part of your clinic’s culture and operations. 

Embedding climate education into your onboarding, CPD, marketing, and practice not only makes your team more knowledgeable but also gives them the know-how and understanding to share that education with your clients and the wider community. This amplifies your clinic’s positive environmental impact. 

Motivational Tips for Teams 

Lead by Example 

Let’s start with the basics. The most effective way to motivate your team is by leading by example. When management shows a clear passion for sustainability and makes changes in their own day-to-day practice, it sets a powerful precedent. 

Visible leadership speaks volumes. If you want your team to be more environmentally conscious, you need to be too. Whether that’s by taking part in recycling programmes, advocating, or walking to work instead of driving, when you consistently engage in sustainable practices, it inspires the rest of your team to follow suit. 

Clear Goals and Recognition 

Everybody likes to be recognised for their hard work. Acknowledging someone’s success is not only a great way to encourage change but also boosts team morale and helps maintain motivation. For example, you could start an "Eco-Champion of the Month" award to celebrate those who make significant contributions to your sustainability efforts. If possible, you could incentivise staff through gift vouchers or even by planting a tree in their name. 


Education is vital. While sustainability is frequently discussed now, for many people, it’s still a minefield. When it comes to climate change, there’s a lot to understand, and we all know that change, especially when we don’t understand it, is hard. 

As vets, we know that science is about learning, adapting, and changing. As we learn more about our animals, we adapt and improve the way we care for them, and it’s the same with the planet. The more we learn about it, the more we understand what needs to be done to protect it. So, providing ongoing education and training is essential. 

Organise workshops, seminars, and webinars to inform your team about the importance of sustainability and practical ways to integrate it into their daily tasks. Maybe it could be added to your onboarding for new staff. 

Highlight the environmental benefits and the positive impact on animal health and welfare that sustainable veterinary practices can have. Share evidence and success stories from other veterinary practices that have successfully implemented sustainable practices. Real-world examples can help turn scepticism into support. 

Also, utilise CPD courses that focus on sustainability. Here we have a whole section dedicated to sustainability, and online webinars also reduce the carbon footprint associated with travel to in-person training sessions. This is one of the reasons The Webinar Vet began in the first place! 

Green Committees 

Forming a green committee is a great way to oversee and drive sustainability initiatives in a way that involves the whole team if you include representatives from different areas of the practice. Remember, your reception team will have different ideas than your vets. 

By holding regular meetings, you can track progress and brainstorm new ideas. Most importantly, by involving staff in the decision-making process, they’ll feel more invested in the outcomes and are more likely to actively participate in sustainability efforts. 

Sustainability Challenges 

We all love some friendly competition, and challenges are a great way to light a fire under team motivation. Use this to motivate your team to adopt greener practices. 

For example, challenge teams to reduce their waste output or to come up with innovative ways to save energy. Reward the winning teams with eco-friendly prizes or recognition. Sustainability challenges can create a fun and engaging way to promote eco-friendly practices within the clinic. 

Currently, The Webinar Vet team has been challenged to find our closest supermarket with plastic bags and wrapper recycling bins, save up our plastic waste, and recycle them in these bins. Why are we doing this? There’s a lot of plastic that we don’t realise can be recycled, and these bins found at supermarkets such as Morrisons and Tesco give you a place to do so. 

Challenge accepted. 

Open Communication and Transparency 

When it comes to change, your team deserves to be heard and given the opportunity to share ideas and suggestions. So, make sure you leave time to listen to what they have to say, and update them on your goals, progress, and any initiatives you’re thinking of putting in place. 

This transparency nurtures a sense of ownership and commitment. When staff feel their opinions are valued and their input matters, they are more likely to engage and support your mission. 

Addressing Scepticism Among Staff 

It’s natural for your team members to be doubtful about new initiatives, especially when your starting efforts may only seem small. They may worry about cost, the impact on their workflow, the effectiveness of the changes, and, at the end of the day, many people fear change in general. So, before you start any sustainability initiative, it’s important to listen to any concerns your team may have. 

Begin small. Don’t overwhelm your team with massive changes. Simple actions such as recycling bins, energy-efficient light bulbs, and sourcing planet-friendly products to sell in your clinic demonstrate that sustainability is achievable without overwhelming your team. 

As your team starts to see the positive impact of these changes, they may become more open to larger initiatives. 


There’s a great story about a little hummingbird. While all the bigger animals watched on as a fire raged through the forest, the little bird flew back and forth to the stream, carrying little bits of water to extinguish the fire. As the bigger animals asked him why and said he’s too small to make a difference, he answered, “I’m doing the best I can!” 

And whether we are a team of three or fifty people, that is the important thing. That we do the best we can. 

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