Sustainability Policy

Foyle Trails (FT) strives to provide experiences for culturally curious visitors, that are sustainable and have a minimal impact on the environment,  communities and local economy in the upland tributaries of the Foyle River Catchment.         FT always aims to work with suppliers that are also committed to being environmentally ethical and provide quality products and services. since it was set up FT has always sought to have lowest possible negative impact on the habitats and archaeological sites that our visitors explore.          

FT constantly strives to –  make our visitors aware of the need for habitat and archaeological site conservation. And build on and maintain strong relationships with our clients, local businesses and community groups. FT is very aware that its business activities have an impact on the local environment because of these impacts we are committed to minimising any negative impacts that our activities may have.

FT fully understands and appreciates the U. N`s World Tourism Organisation definition of Sustainable Tourism in that it should  ” take full account of it`s current and future economic, social and environmental impacts while addressing the needs of visitors, the environment and host communities” . FT is therefore committed to reducing the negative impacts and increase the positive impacts that our activities have on the environment.   

Biodiversity Enhancement      We will continue to support and advise Carrigans Tidy Towns Group in Donegal on their Biodiversity Enhancement projects. These projects include advising the Carrigans Group on their implementation of the current All Ireland Pollinator Plan we will also  continue applying the Plan in our own garden.    We will continue to follow any FT applicable  conservation and biodiversity guidelines as issued by the Northern Ireland Environment Agency and the National Parks and Wildlife Service.  We will continue to provide visitors with the advice and opportunity to plant local provenance tree and shrub seedings in landowner agreed locations, as part of our unique regenerative tourism initiative in the Foyle catchment.  Finally we are committed to continuous professional development in regard to sustainability and actions to counter biodiversity loss. 

 Social responsibility    FT is proud to provide interpreted landscape experiences in West Tyrone and East Donegal. This peripheral cross border area  is one of the most economically deprived areas on the island of Ireland. FT is committed to help this economically depressed area gain some economic benefit from our Sustainable Tourism efforts through encouraging our visitors to buy overnight accommodation, food and refreshments from other sustainable businesses  in the Western Foyle uplands (where currently available).   FT will also continue with it`s membership of the environmental collective Zero Waste North West and volunteer our practical skills to native tree conservation at Prehen Wood.              FT realises that our commitment to sustainability is a journey of continuous improvement and learning of how our business decisions impact on the environment and on the communities in which we operate. 

Measuring and reducing negative impacts –   

 Energy consumption      From March 2023 FT  will do a full audit of all energy consumption within the business.   The aim of progressively reducing our energy consumption.   As a first step in this process we will install energy saving light bulbs     and use electric appliances only when necessary check that all appliances work efficiently and if found to be inefficient replace with higher energy efficient models.  We will continue to shut down computers, printers and TVs completely and never leave on standby mode.   

Water consumption –  To reduce our mains water use we will install aeration devices on all taps and install  Hippo water displacement bags to all toilet cisterns     Fit a garden water barrel to capture rainwater for plant watering throughout the summer.  Reduce the level of car washing  and never use  high pressure hoses on vehicles or hard outdoor surfaces.       We encourage clients to bring reusable water bottles during FT activities   

Waste production – We will measure our waste production in Kg every month and do the following to reduce our waste –     We currently compost all of our garden and food waste. (our food waste is minimal)       On all of our experiences we strictly follow Leave No Trace principles and gather any plastic/litter found on the sites and habitats that we explore.   From the 15th of February 2023 we weigh and record all material that can be recycled – all refuse destined for landfill and all compostable material that we create.      All of the waste material mentioned is collected and carefully recycled or landfilled by our Local Authority. The records that we keep prior to Council collection will with time give an indication of how successful we are in our waste reduction efforts. 

Ethical purchasing   We  currently keep and will continue to keep our internet purchased to a minimum – because of the large amount of plastic packaging that internet retailers use. We are also committed to the eliminating  single use plastic in our business.  We make a point of  using local and north west based suppliers for most of our purchases and avoid  purchasing food stuffs that have a high air mile record.   

Carbon offsetting    We are committed to reducing our carbon foot print as much as we can and to offset the remaining carbon we produce to a trusted partner. We are currently seeking such a partner, that preferably offsets carbon on the island of Ireland.    We are committed to using public transport for business meetings where practical.  We will also replace our current vehicle with a hybrid or fully electric model at the end of it`s life.  By the end of December 2023 we will have calculated our Green House Gas Emissions (GHGE) and have partnered with a reputable carbon offsetting partner. FT`s  GHGE`s are minimal but where they occur they will taken into account in our offsetting promise.

Responsible sustainable marketing       Foyle Trails is fully committed to the avoidance of  Green Washing and all forms of business marketing that pretend to be sustainable. We are also committed to honestly communicating on our website, all aspects of sustainability process that we engage in.    

Signed by Martin Bradley                                                                                                                                                            Sustainability Lead                                 Date 23rd February 202