The rapid rise of sustainability on the business agenda is remarkable. In just a few years it has quickly moved up from the lower down the agenda and Action List to close to the top, always under discussion and a high priority.
It’s a topic that now not only features prominently in most hotel, venue and event industry conferences, it’s also attracting many delegates to the sessions.
A venue like Wyboston Lakes Resort is now continually scrutinising a wider range of operational areas and delving to greater depths and detail to search for opportunities to be more sustainable.
In June 2019 Wyboston Lakes Resort achieved Silver Status in the Green Tourism Awards, the national sustainable tourism certification scheme for the UK and Ireland. To accomplish this, the venue was assessed against a rigorous set of 145 criteria, covering a range of areas including energy and water efficiency, waste management, purchasing, travel, biodiversity and more.
Looking at just a selection of what we have done recently or are doing at the moment, to reduce energy consumption we’ve started upgrading our lighting across site to the latest energy efficient LED styles. We’ve also amended our purchasing policy to ensure energy ratings are considered as part of the purchasing decision for all new heavy equipment. These should both help towards our ambitious plan to reduce our energy and carbon footprint by saving a further 21000 KWH from the previous year.
Recycling and reducing
In waste management we continue to be ‘Zero to Landfill’ for yet another year and in 2018 we recycled over 20,000kg of cardboard waste. Eliminating and discouraging single-use plastics, we’ve already changed from plastic to paper straws, removed drinks stirrers and have introduced compostable coffee cups. We’ve also joined the Meetings Industry Association (MIA) H20 percentless scheme and have achieved a 19% reduction already.
Continuing on with ‘reducing,’ we’ve cut paper consumption in all areas across the site including flip chart usage by replacing them with squiggle boards and digital flip charts in the conference rooms. In the Spa we supply our guests with disposable, bio-degradable hair towels to reduce the need to launder them.
As a venue with 360 acres of land, we have an active policy for planting trees in support of nature and nurture, from new saplings to semi mature trees. We also maintain a nature reserve on site which is supported by the Wildlife Trust. It’s a list that is growing all the time.
The forces driving this increasing momentum come from several sides. We are primarily self- motivated, focused on environmentally friendly initiatives, because we want to benefit our employees, our community and ultimately our planet. At the same time, we also want to stay ahead of the expectations of guests and our clients who frequently include extensive lists of requirements around sustainability in business tender documents.
Overall, for Wyboston Lakes Resort, this increasing focus has created a further benefit. It’s providing the opportunity to bring our diverse efforts under one umbrella and create a culture of conscience in what we do and how we do it.
Sustainability is not just a buzz word, it’ s here to stay. We must all now look at what more we can do over the coming months and years, both new ideas and further implementation of existing ideas. Here we will be launching our 2020 “Green Objectives” later this year to give clear focus on what we want to achieve. We’ re looking at alternative methods of energy creation, including solar, wind turbine, ground source heat, biomass and battery storage. We’re also trying to reduce food waste and to ensure any food waste is dealt with to the benefit of the environment.
To achieve its full potential, sustainability best practice must be a team effort by everyone in the industry and we look forward to working even more closely with both our clients and suppliers to make better choices to benefit future generations.
By Louisa Watson, director of marketing for Wyboston Lakes Resort