At Smart Dental Care, we care about our impact on the communities that our dental practices serve; so much so that it's a key component of our business model. It’s not just about doing our bit for the environment, we also want to engage with local communities by facilitating opportunities for employment and education to local people, all the while ensuring our patients have access to high-quality dental services.
All of the professional evidence points to the fact that improving the oral health of children helps improve their life chances. Poor oral health leads to poor nutritional levels, gum disease, and poor educational outcomes.
We know that we have the resources to make a difference to the many young people who work for Smart as well as the tens of thousands of patients who trust us with their dental health every single week.
That’s why we established the Kids' Smile Club, a voluntary project entirely funded by Smart which involves working with sixteen schools across the North West to address rising health inequalities and deteriorating oral health amongst children - particularly in lower-income areas and regions. A qualified team of oral health practitioners from Smart will be visiting local primary schools to deliver interactive, fun, and engaging classes for young children highlighting the importance of oral hygiene, brushing teeth twice a day, and a healthy, balanced diet. By extension, we will also be reaching out to underprivileged families who do not have routine access to NHS dentistry.
We hope that this blog - which will be updated every month - will help generate awareness of Smart’s efforts to be a responsible organisation and raise engagement with our staff, our key stakeholders, and our patients to work together to help improve the lives of everyone in our reach.
In 2020, Smart switched some of its electrical suppliers of energy to 100% renewable electrical energy, helping us to reduce our carbon emissions by more than 70%. However, a few of our practices still use gas-fired and, believe it or not, oil-fired boilers.
We have committed to reaching a net carbon neutral status by 2025 (or earlier) and this will mean a substantial investment in new electrical, heating, and water boilers, etc, an investment Smart has committed to making over time.
In the meanwhile, however, Smart will commit to publishing our carbon footprint on an annual basis and we will also be publishing details on our actual carbon footprint offsetting strategies.
We know that the dental industry creates waste as a natural consequence of providing treatments and Smart is committed to reducing the impact of waste as far as we can and where regulations allow. We actively work with our suppliers of dental materials and we would like to thank Henry Schein - the world’s largest provider of dental materials - for working with us to achieve our aims. For example, we are working with our practices to reduce the number of deliveries made every week, helping to reduce the carbon emissions involved in procuring our materials. Moreover, we are digitalising our practices, reducing our consumption of chemical solvents used to develop x-rays.
We have set out new ways to reduce our waste, recycle old dental equipment, monitor and offset our carbon emissions - which we estimate to be around 9 tonnes per year per surgery - whilst working with our suppliers to support them in establishing similar environmental objectives and supporting them to self-regulate to add social value.
Our training centre, Smart Academy, which trains young people to achieve the professional qualifications for a career in the dental industry, currently trains almost 100 (mostly younger) people to achieve the Diploma in Dental Nursing among its many other courses.
We are convinced that together we can achieve more. That’s why we’ve teamed up with local charities to support vulnerable young adults in our local communities. For example, we have established a partnership with the Greater Manchester Youth Network (GMYN) to provide ‘World at Work Days’, supporting GMYN’s young adult service users to break into a career in healthcare. In October 2021, we will be hosting GMYN in one of our clinics where we will conduct an interactive class highlighting how they can develop their CV whilst offering general healthcare career guidance. In turn, service users will be able to observe a clinical environment and will have the opportunity to enquire about working life in a dental practice.
If you want to have a closer look at our official CSR policy, it is available to view on Smart’s website via this link. Having said that we still need YOUR help! If you’re a member of staff, patient, dentist, nurse and you have any suggestions, ideas, or opinions on what else we could be doing to support our local communities then please get in touch via email on firstname.lastname@example.org. We would love to hear from you! In the meantime, we'll be bringing you more updates via our CSR blog, so stay tuned!