Sustainability Policy 2023
F Foyle Trails (FT) overriding mission is the provision of landscape interpretative experiences and tours for
culturally curious clients, that are sustainable and have minimal negative impacts on environment, communities and local economy that exists in the upland tributaries of the Foyle River catchment. FT`s general ethos aims to make our clients aware of the need for habitat and archaeological conservation and the preservation of our unique rural folklore. We are also committed to maintaining and building on the strong relationships that we have with our clients, local businesses and community groups of the Foyle Catchment.
WTO Sustainable Tourism Definition FT`s understands and appreciates the U.N. mandated World Tourism Organisation`s 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, our local tourism industry and host communities” . FT is therefore committed to reducing the negative impacts and increasing the positive impacts that our activities have on the environment.
FT`s Renewable Electricity Supplier is Power NI
Continuous Improvement FT is committed to sustainability and realises that it is a process of step by step learning of how our business decisions impact on the general environment, habitat ecology and the local communities in which we operate.
Measuring and Reducing Energy Consumption From April 2023 FT will commence a full audit of all energy consumption within the business. With the aim of progressively reducing our energy consumption. As a first step in this process we will record our electricity meter reading every quarter and begin to reduce our consumption by –
- installing energy saving light bulbs
- using electric appliances only when necessary and checking that all appliances work efficiently and replacing old appliances at the end of their working life with higher energy efficient models. We will continue to shut down computers, printers and TVs completely and never leave on standby mode.
- Continue heating our office space with a wood burning stove, using sustainably sourced logs
- we are also committed to replacing our current vehicle with a hybrid or fully electric model at the end of the existing vehicle`s life.
- we are committed to using public transport when attending business meetings, when practical.
Measuring and Reducing Water Consumption We have been measuring our water consumption since March 2023 and aim to reduce our mains water consumption by 7% by March 2024 through –
installing aeration devices on all taps and fitting water displacement devices to all toilet cisterns and fit a garden water barrel to capture rainwater for plant watering. We have reduced the frequency of car washing and never use high pressure hoses on vehicles or hard outdoor surfaces. We will also continue to encourage clients to bring reusable water bottles during FT activities and let them know where their bottles can be topped up.
Measuring and Reducing Waste – From the 15th of February 2023 we have been weighing and recording –
· all material that can be recycled
· all refuse destined for landfill
· all compostable material that we create. We currently compost all of our garden and food waste.
All of the material mentioned above 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. During the next 12 months we aim to increase our overall recycling rate by at least 9%. On our visitor experiences we strictly follow Leave No Trace principles and also gather any plastic/litter found on the sites and habitats that we explore. We also encourage our clients to bring re-useable water bottles and let them know where their bottles can be refilled. FT also is committed to working towards implementing a ” zero single use plastic policy” over the next 12 months.
Ethical Purchasing FT actively seeks to purchase Fair Trade and ISO 14000 labelled goods, where available. We make a point of using local (within 50km) and island of Ireland based suppliers for most of our purchases and avoid purchasing food stuffs that have a high air mile record. We currently keep and will continue to keep our internet purchases to a minimum – because of the large amount of plastic packaging that internet retailers use.
Carbon Offsetting FT`s is fully committed to calculating our carbon footprint and signing up to a carbon offsetting scheme before April 2024. Additionally – as part of our regenerative tourism (carbon capture and species conservation) initiative we are committed to sowing and planting out 20 plus, Irish Oak saplings each year. (250mm to 300mm high, genetically distinct NW Irish Oak Trees).
Responsible Marketing FTs is fully committed to the avoidance of Green Washing and all forms of business marketing that pretends to be sustainable. We are also committed to honestly and accurately communicating all sustainability statements that we make on our website
Local Community Support 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 purchase overnight accommodation, food and refreshments from sustainable businesses in the Foyle uplands (where available). FT will also continue with its membership of the environmental collective Zero Waste North West and volunteer practical skills and expertise in their/our native Oak conservation project and plastic debris clear ups (plus proper recycling/disposal of) from along the Foyle River banks.
Biodiversity and conservation FT will continue to follow all 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 advice on 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. We will also continue to provide our visitors with advice on and the opportunity to selectively remove invasive plant seedlings when encountered. Finally, we are committed to continuous professional development in regard to sustainability and other actions to counter biodiversity loss in our geographical area of operation.
Signed – Martin Bradley
Sustainability Lead Date 8th April 2023