Can the business of dentistry be a force for good?

Can the business of dentistry be a force for good?

Denplan explains how you and your dental business can start your own sustainability journey with its support.

At Denplan, we are proud to be a B Corp business, a recognition of our high environmental and social ambitions and continued positive impacts in using our business as a force for good. We’re a business without shareholders, so the profit we make is reinvested into our business to support dentists, and donated to support charitable and community programmes and projects across the UK.

As well as being a B Corp business, we’re part of the global and UK B Corp movement. Together, with other B Corp businesses, we’re using our collective voice to demonstrate how business can benefit all people, communities and the planet. 

A collective voice

We also use our position as the UK’s leading dental plan provider to ensure dentists have a collective voice within the dental industry. Our philosophy is that when we come together with others, we can make a difference to help drive the conversation and action around vital
topics forward. 

Charlotte Cook, ESG lead for Denplan and Simplyhealth, explains why being a responsible business means so much to us.

‘As a purpose-led health company, we exist to improve access to healthcare for all in the UK,’ she said.

‘For over 150 years, we’ve always stood for a healthier world, through our positive impact on the environment, in the way we contribute to society, and by governing ourselves in a responsible way.’

Never have the challenges in healthcare and dentistry been so acute. This makes the conversation around sustainability even more relevant, particularly within dentistry where we see the topic gaining momentum – and rightly so. 

Playing our part

Within the dental industry, we can all play our part, finding new ways to meet the needs of the present, without compromising on the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. 

In our Annual Sustainability Report released on 15 May, we shared our ESG (environmental, social and governance) ambitions and progress delivered across the Simplyhealth Group over the past 12 months (Jan-Dec 2023), which included: 

  • Donating £1.05m to health and community related charities 
  • Donating 1,509 hours of volunteering during work hours
  • Collectively fundraising £49,081 via our colleagues’ activities
  • A 57.3% reduction in Scope 1 & 2 Greenhouse Gas direct emissions*
  • A 73.8% reduction in Operational Office Waste*
  • Recycling 86.7% of operational waste
  • Maintaining our Forest Stewardship Council standard for responsible paper use
  • Launching and embedding a new Environmental Purchasing Policy.

*Compared to 2019 baseline.

Community programmes 

Most recently, as part of our sustainability goals, we’ve invested in and launched two significant programmes.

Firstly, through Dentaid The Dental Charity, in late 2023 we announced our partnership and £100k funding to significantly upscale BrightBites, an oral health education programme.

Together, we’re aiming to make a difference for 90,000 school-aged children. In 2023, 15 million school days were missed due to dental problems, but we’re committed to changing this by targeting schools, nurseries and clubs for low-income families (Denplan, 2023). The volunteers deliver interactive and fun, in-person oral health education sessions and every child leaves with a toothbrush, toothpaste and a smile on their face.

Secondly, in March 2024 we launched our exciting Green Dentistry programme to support the dental community with the knowledge, skills and tools to improve environmental dentistry practices. Within the programme we explore the different choices a dentist can make in their drive for sustainability.

We also provide a patient travel survey, so practices can understand how their patients travel to their appointments and where improvements can be made, because nearly two-thirds of dentistry’s greenhouse gas emissions relate to patient and staff travel (Public Health England, 2018). You can also access a simple Carbon Footprint Toolkit, which provides suggestions on reducing the practice’s carbon footprint.

Learning from others

With Denplan Academy Online and as part of the Green Dentistry programme, you can also access Sustainable Dentistry, a webinar series with over ten episodes hosted by Professor Brett Duane, an expert in environmentally sustainable healthcare.

Remember, it’s difficult to manage (and improve) what you’re not measuring. Our advice is to start somewhere by taking your first few steps. Over time, you can evolve your approach and progress your positive impacts, with the support of peers, experts and the wider dental community. 

No single person, business, non-government organisation (NGO), or government has all the answers to the many environmental and social challenges we face today. We need passionate people, businesses and a dental community who are ready to lead by example with action. At Denplan, we’re doing just that. We will always use our business as a force good and we’re ready to support you and your practice every step of the way too.

Want to discover how you can make a positive difference? Join our Green Dentistry training programme at, sign up to be a BrightBites volunteer at or learn more about the B Corp movement at

This article is sponsored by Simplyhealth. For references, email [email protected].  

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