Question Suppliers’ Sustainability


A very important aspect of turning a dental practice into an eco-friendlier one is to check the sustainability practices of your supplier partners.

Where to start?

When procuring products, engaging with suppliers and asking questions about their sustainability practices can help to learn if the goods are produced and shipped as sustainably as possible. It will also encourage suppliers and manufacturers to develop more sustainable practices.

What’s next?

Ask your suppliers if they have a sustainability statement or environmental or quality management system in place, e.g., ISO 14001 / ISO 9001 environmental management certifications. Use your findings to create a shortlist of suppliers who align with your practice values.

Sustainability statements are a critical part of selecting the right supplier. These statements allow you to gain a deeper understanding about how suppliers are contributing to or negatively affecting the environment. These statements require suppliers to be accountable for their actions and validate whether their claims are true.

Here are some things to look for in sustainability statements:

  • Look for an overall commitment from the company’s management towards environmental goals such as water, waste, and recycling data or engagement on emission reduction or working towards global commitments and initiatives in addition to the specific product(s) involved in your contract.
  • Check that the company has a comprehensive approach to social and environmental topics with good governance measures in place. Information about the company’s corporate citizenship and an ESG (Economic, Social and Governance) related report can be very helpful to assess the supplier partner’s values and activities in this respect.

It is in a dental practice’s best interests to check if the supplier partners are committed to reducing their environmental impact and to promoting responsible business practices throughout their businesses. The same principles hold true for the supply chain as all aspects of dentistry – from the manufacturer/supplier partner, the health services and insurance, and the dentist – each playing an important role to addressing climate change through a sustainable use of sources, transportation, and materials.

Vikki Goodall

General Manager, Henry Schein UK

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