The Long Valley Yurts team have been working hard on improving our approach to sustainability, and we are delighted to announce that we have been accredited the Silver Green Tourism Award! We have always promoted holidays with a breath of fresh air, but we are now even more committed than ever to promote holidays with a breath of clean air.
I reached out to our Marketing Manager, Melissa, and asked her to interview some of the team for this month’s blog. Check out the full Q&A below…
Could you describe your green ethos?
As a business, we have always recognised the value of experiences prescribed by mother nature. Our ethos is centred around encouraging guests to disconnect from everyday stresses and reconnect with loved ones in the natural environment. We achieve this by creating amazing spaces in amazing places. We have always operated sustainable businesses practices which include assessing our offering against our environmental impact and doing everything we can to reduce this – from manufacturing raised bases for our yurts that protect fragile eco systems whilst minimising waste, to assessing all our products against value for money criteria. For us, ‘value’ is not simply whether the product is affordable; it’s about where it has come from, how long it will last and what will happen when it is no longer of use to us commercially.
Why is going green important to you as a business?
Like many businesses, the last two years have posed a whirlwind of challenges. As a business, we have worked extremely hard to keep our guests, sites, ourselves, and communities safe; all whilst re-evaluating our priorities. In many respects, we have been lucky as an industry because the staycation market has boomed, so we have been able to provide valuable opportunities for families and friends to escape and make memories in amazing places. Never before has fresh air been so important and so prized. Covid has further cemented the importance of cherishing these opportunities and recognising a collective responsibility to protect the natural environment. For the Long Valley family, lockdown created the perfect opportunity to analyse what we are already doing well, as well as reassessing, adapting, and improving our approach to sustainability.
What are your green goals for the future?
We have always promoted holidays with a breath of fresh air, but we are now even more committed than ever to promote holidays with a breath of clean air. It isn’t easy being genuinely green, but we are absolutely committed to doing the very best we can across our organisation and within our field of influence.
Some key objectives for 2022 include:
- Full carbon accounting for the business and our customers. Ultimately, we want to calculate and reduce our emissions, and giving our customers the opportunity to do the same at point of sale and in their destination.
- Exploring the opportunity to set up a trust fund with Cumbria Community Foundation. The fund would hold both our own and our guests’ carbon offset donations, which would be given as grants to support local social, environmental, and educational projects.
- Conducting an audit of our supply chain and screening suppliers against eco, ethical, moral, and sustainable business practices to make sure we are aligned in our values.
- Launching ‘learning in the community’ days for the staff to give something back.
- Creating partnerships with local activity providers to offer low carbon activities for our guests, alongside promoting the immediate local area of our sites and challenging guests to ‘stay a day onsite’.
- Championing local produce and offering local produce hampers to our guests.
- Working with new and existing partners to achieve shared environmental goals.
What would be your advice to fellow tourism businesses looking to ‘go green’?
There is a clear climate change crisis and green must be accepted as the new black. We are all responsible for our impact on the environment. First and foremost, conversation is key. Everyone we have spoken to so far has acknowledged that business success must be judged not only in terms of financial reward, but also against its social and environmental impact. Take small steps. Review and reduce water and energy consumption and waste. Re-use, recycle and re-purpose. Make sure you know where your products come from and try to buy once and buy well. Look towards other industries and see what they do and how you can apply similar principles to your own business. Consider carbon and, as a minimum, find an offset scheme to balance your emissions. Engage with other businesses, as this is no area for competition and success represents a win for all. Think about what’s in it for the little things – how are the bugs and bees going to benefit?!
Why did you apply for the Green Tourism award?
Green Tourism is considered a hallmark of ‘green quality’ for eco minded visitors and businesses, and they are acknowledged worldwide as an indicator of good environmentally friendly practices. The awards help to provide targets for a green journey.
Can you describe the process of applying for the Green Tourism award?
The Green Tourism Awards certification programme recognises the commitment of tourism businesses which are actively working to become more sustainable. Their company-wide audit measures multiple factors relating to people, planet, and places, with about 64 performance indicators in total. You are awarded points for evidenced answers and are also awarded additional marks upon review. Find out more here.
How did you feel after receiving the Silver Green Tourism award?
Just before Christmas, we were delighted to learn that we have been accredited the Silver Award as our benchmark. Not that the work stops here… In fact, we still have a lot of things to do to maintain this level and progress to gold. It isn’t easy being genuinely green; but we are absolutely committed to doing the very best we can across our organisation and within our field of influence.
How will the Silver Green Tourism certification help you as a business?
The process of becoming accredited at silver level has helped the business to harness certain values and embed them at the heart of the organisation, where they will shape every business decision we make moving forwards. Being able to display the Silver Award logo on our website will also allow prospective guests to immediately identify us as a business that places value on the environment and will allow them to book their stay with confidence, knowing that we are working hard to minimise our and their impact.
Will you be going for Gold?
Yes. Based on the feedback from our Green Tourism assessor, if we are successful in our ambitions and goals, the gold accreditation is within our grasp. And we would be super proud to achieve this!
Click here to discover more about Green Tourism and the amazing work they are doing.