Green is the New Gold
Hotel and guest house owners should go green if they want
to make money and have a marketing edge according to speakers
at a conference this week.
The half day event, 'Green is the New Gold',
demonstrated the benefits of the Green Tourism Business Scheme
(GTBS) and was organised by the honey2cornwall programme in
partnership with CoaST. It was held at the Bedruthan Steps
Hotel, Mawgan Porth, which is an acknowledged leader in Cornwall
in sustainable practices, and holds a GTBS Gold award. Topics
included energy, water, local food and drink and low impact
GTBS is a national accreditation scheme (with bronze, silver
and gold ratings) for tourism businesses who demonstrate sustainable,
ethical and environmental practice. honey2cornwall is a project
run by Newquay For Excellence Training that has received Objective
One investment and offers expert, tailored business support
as well as grants to hotel and guest house owners. CoaST has
also received Objective One investment and aims to encourage
According to one speaker Cornwall is a GTBS exemplar as it
is the only place in the UK where members hold only silver
and gold awards, with no bronzes. Matt Hocking, founder of
Leap Media, said: "The bronze award sets a very
high standard yet all Cornwall's members have all achieved
even higher – silver and gold."
Leap was set up in 2004 and specialises in award winning
sustainable design, marketing and print. Clients include the
National Trust, GTBS, Bedruthan Steps Hotel and St Austell
Brewery. Wherever possible Matt uses recycled paper and sustainable
materials. "We create fantastic designs and products
that work at an economic, environmental and social level for
our clients and the environment," he explained.
"And it is not just about using recycled paper it
is about going beyond, creating conversations and distinction
and telling people the stories about what you have done –
for instance reserved table signs made from locally sourced
wood from Heligan Gardens."
Other speakers (at the June 12th event) included Chris Wikeley,
honey2cornwall business mentor; Manda Brookman and Jacqui
Piper, of CoaST; Andrew Biss, of the Primrose Valley hotel
and Martin Barlow, of the Budock Vean Hotel (both GTBS gold
award holders). There was also a tour of the Bedruthan Steps
Martin and Amanda Barlow run the family owned, four star,
57-bedroom, Budock Vean Hotel near Mawnan Smith. Mr Barlow
pointed out that many of the hotel facilities were not necessarily
environmentally friendly (for instance a golf course) but
they had introduced many sustainable measures to achieve the
"Our primary objective is to make a profit. I am
an hotelier in an enterprise where every penny counts. But
there is no conflict between the profit objective and the
objective of being environmentally responsible."
He told delegates that since introducing measures such as
towel cards (giving guests the choice of reusing their towels),
low energy light bulbs (90% of the 1200 bulbs needed), small
kettles, water butts, and 70% local product sourcing, the
hotel was saving thousands of pounds annually. On site waste
treatment has meant a £1,500 a year saving and using
non mains water for irrigation of the estate has meant the
daily per person consumption of water figure has reduced from
177 litres to 146.
The company is also committed to organic management of its
golf course, has contributed to a Helford River garden ferry
to help guests who do not want to use cars and has a large
tree planting and bird and bat box programme.
"We firmly believe that, all other things being
equal, people are now making decisions on destinations on
whether they feel that destination is more sustainable than
another," added Mr Barlow.
Andrew and Sue Biss run the 10-bedroom, five star guest accommodation,
Primrose Valley, at St Ives, the first in Cornwall to receive
GTBS accreditation. They add a £1 a night levy which
guests can opt out of. The pound goes to the Marine Conservation
Society and so far the Bisses have contributed £4,000
to the charity. Mr Biss said: "Only six guests have
asked to have the charge removed. We are very much about the
quality experience. We have worked closely with CoaST and
honey2cornwall to achieve this and the GTBS was a natural
progression. We encourage guests to eat with us where virtually
all the producers we use are local. Or we encourage them to
go to cafes and restaurants that follow the same principles."
Along with a whole raft of sustainable measures required
to attain a GTBS gold award Primrose Valley has gone to the
effort of using recycled Foamex 'Do Not Disturb'
signs. Other environmentally friendly measures include using
towel cards, local Trevarno soaps and supplying a list of
car free activities.
"We encourage guests but we don't preach
to them and they appreciate that," added Mr Biss.
"One of our messages is that the greatest thing
a guest can do is turn the room lights off when they go out.
That measure has the potential to have the largest effect
Delegates at the workshop included local providers demonstrating
how businesses can easily source products such as soap, food
and low energy lighting from within Cornwall.
Manda Brookman, CoaST Director, said: "A few years
ago only a small number of people knew what we were talking
about. Now we can't keep up with demand. Since 2003
we have more than 1,000 members applying to join our network
via our website – so interest is ramping up! In Cornwall
there are already nearly 50 GTBS members and approaching 400
expressions of interest. The increased business efficiencies
from being sustainable will lead to typical cost savings of
10 to 30%, lower environmental impact and better marketing
profile. Cornwall gets in the region of 4 to 5 million visitors
a year and 80% of holiday consumers say they would choose
environmentally accredited accommodation over a site that
is not accredited."
Ruth Vincent, honey2cornwall, said: "There is no
doubt that there has been a sea change with environmental
issues. Eighteen years ago quality was the buzzword and this
is now an intrinsic part of business. Sustainability is also
now very much part and parcel of business and something we
have all got to think about."
For further information please contact Clare Morgan, Media
Relations Manager for the Objective One Partnership, on 01872
223439/07973 813647 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Objective One Programme for Cornwall and the
Isles of Scilly has invested in the honey2cornwall programme
through the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and
in the CoaST project through the European Social Fund (ESF).
honey2cornwall is the follow on from HONEY, a highly successful
project that led to accommodation providers in the Newquay
area dramatically improving the quality of what was on offer
to visitors. Because of its success honey2cornwall was launched,
rolling the project out across Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly.
Both HONEY and honey2cornwall have received Objective One
investment and are administered by Newquay for Excellence
Training Limited and Restormel Borough Council. honey2cornwall
is based around quality and the National Assured Quality Standards
(NQAS) together with five core disciplines:
||Guest Service – adding value for the guest
||Marketing Approach – incorporating all aspects
||Pricing Strategy – costs and pricing for every
element of the business
||Support Systems – addressing IT, HR and legislative
||Physical Environment – grant aided enhancements
& equipment purchases
Expert information is also provided to honey2cornwall members
via workshops. Each workshop is created around a specific
brief and designed to be very different from the standard
'talk and chalk' style. The workshop environment also encourages
members to network. Every honey2cornwall member is eligible
to apply for up to £30,000*, which can be used towards
enhancing their businesses to help them meet their quality
goals. A Gateway Fund Manager is available to guide members
through their applications.
honey2cornwall has a total project investment in excess of
£6million, including £2,315,952 from the Objective
One ERDF (European Regional Development Fund). This equates
to thousands of pounds worth of professional assistance per
*Terms and conditions apply.
The CoaST Project received £247,720 from the Objective
One ESF (European Social Fund) for a project worth £550,490.
The CoaST Project is an independent, not for private profit
company which operates a network for all tourism businesses
and other stakeholders to improve and increase engagement
with sustainable business practice. Membership includes on-site,
on-line, and off-line support, plus templates, resources and
access to the collective expertise of an increasing network.
It also offers free technical support for CoaST member businesses
who wish to apply for the Green Tourism Business Scheme. They
can be contacted on: 01872 562057 or email@example.com.
Media Relations Manager
Objective One Partnership Office
Truro TR1 2UD
Mobile: 07973 813647
Telephone: 01872 223439