At Beyond the Trees Avondale our core values are collaboration, responsibility, community, integrity, respect, education and innovation. It is our vision to become a world class visitor attraction committed to practising and promoting sustainable tourism.
We believe that sustainable tourism is tourism that takes full account of its current and future economic, social, and environmental impacts while addressing the needs of visitors, the industry, the environment, and host communities (UNWTO, n.d.). We therefore aim to reduce our negative effects and increase our positive impacts.
Sustainability is a journey of continuous improvement, and we are aware that we have a lot to learn. So far, we have introduced a host of measures to reduce our carbon footprint at touchpoints in the visitor journey at Beyond the Trees Avondale
Our efforts to date include:
Provision of water refill stations for our visitors and employees | Promotion of the ‘leave no trace’ policy | Supporting Biodiversity | Accessibility to all visitors | Rainwater harvesting | Sustainable planting |Reuse of existing buildings where possible | Use Irish grown timber in building materials | Solar photovoltaic panels to supply electricity | Solar Hot Water Panels to supply hot water| Electric Car Charging points to promote eco-friendly travel choice | Air to water heat pumps to heat the buildings.
Measuring and reducing negative impacts
- We commit to measuring our electricity consumption monthly.
- To reduce electricity usage, we have installed solar photovoltaic panels which convert natural sunlight to DC electricity, this is converted to AC electricity which then feeds the meter to supply power to appliances and lighting for the buildings.
- Additional electricity produced is credited on the grid. These measures reduce the requirement to import electricity from the national grid. The renewable energy supplier is Energia.
- Solar hot water panels will supply hot water to the buildings.
- Air to water heat pumps are being used to supply the hot water for the heating system. As a result, approx. 75% of energy required for the heating system will be extracted from the air the balance will come from the grid. This reduces the imported energy requirement. The on-site maintenance vehicle is an Electric Vehicle.
- Electrical car charging points are provided onsite to encourage visitors to travel via electric vehicles.
- We commit to measuring our water consumption quarterly and do the following to reduce consumption.
- We provide refillable water stations throughout the visitor attraction to encourage visitors to bring and refill their reusable water bottles. We have listed our location for water refill stations on The Tap Map
- A rainwater harvesting system installed supplies grey water to the toilet systems in the building, including a storage tank capacity of 4,000 litres. This will reduce the volume of water required.
- Rainwater harvested onsite is also used to water both the walled garden and the sensory garden plants.
- Aerators are used throughout the buildings, giving the impression of a high flow rate using only half the water.
- We commit to measuring our waste consumption on a monthly basis by lift.
- We will create practical solutions to help our both employees and visitors to minimise impacts in our operations and communities, for example we have designed recycling facilities on-site.
- We will avoid single use plastics.
- We will source reusable, recyclable and compostable disposables.
- We will encourage ticketless admissions to the carpark by means of a QR code and the visitor attractions on-site also.
- We will have a ‘no print’ policy in our administration office in so far as possible. We will use FSC certified paper where the use of paper is unavoidable.
- We are committed to continuously improving our environmental practices and demonstrate respect for our local community and wider society.
- We are committed to responsibly sourcing, where possible we purchase local seasonal and responsibly raised, grown and sourced products throughout the island of Ireland.
- 53.3 Degrees is the coffee bean served at the Seed Café. It is sourced from coffee farmers from a co-operative in Anserma, Colombia. In recognition of the name, 53.3 cent of every 53.3 kilos of coffee sold is channelled back into the local community where the beans are sourced from.
- At Beyond the Trees Avondale are committed to reducing our carbon footprint as much as possible.
- Timber used in construction of both the buildings and the Treetop Walk and Viewing Tower is for the most part locally sourced, Irish timber.
- The mills use sustainable and renewable forestry practices which contribute to an ecologically friendly structure.
- We will measure our carbon footprint throughout 2023, and once we have records, we will work to reduce our carbon footprint, we will select a partner to offset our remaining emissions.
Responsible sustainability marketing
- We know that it is important to communicate our efforts in an honest way. We commit to marketing our visitor attraction ethically via open and transparent communications via digital means.
- Our sustainability policy is published on our website and updated at regular intervals.
- We will include information on our free water stations at booking confirmation stage to encourage visitors to use our refillable water stations throughout their visit.
- We support our local community in Wicklow by sourcing local food suppliers and by employing local people from the surrounding community. To date, 80% of our team reside within a 15km radius of Avondale Forest Park.
- We proactively engage with several aspects of our local community such as the Parnell running club, The Avondale Forest Parkrun and local schools in order to promote and facilitate inclusivity, working together as the future of Beyond the Trees Avondale evolves.
- We will development an educational programme in the future, with a commitment to educate children and adults on the importance of taking care of our natural environment, and how everyone can make meaningful contributions to make this happen, e.g., hosting a ‘leave no trace’ awareness workshop, scheduling community events during national biodiversity week in May.
- We want to co-exist with biodiversity and retain a biodiversity friendly habitat in Avondale Forest Park, and also in our local community so that pollinators can thrive in their natural habitat.
- We are committed to take action to support pollinators in line with the All-Ireland Pollinator Plan 2021 – 2025.
This statement will be reviewed and updated on an annual basis