Making your heritage site sustainable

Green tourism was founded in 1997 and their team of technical sustainability experts are dedicated to helping businesses improve their own sustainability. Green tourism gave a presentation during the 2020 Heritage Trust Network conference which provided some useful tips on how to begin making your heritage site eco-friendly for visitors and the local community and below are a few tips to get you started on your green journey.

Green action plan

First of all, Green Tourism advised people to make a green action plan. It can be easy to plan too much but it’s always better to make realistic goals that are affordable and easy to implement by staff members. This will show your visitors that you are committed to being part of the solution of sustainability in your local community. In essence your green action plan should be kept simple and answer these 3 questions:

  • What is going to get done?
  • Who is going to do it?
  • When is it going to get done?

Here are 5 tips to become part of a sustainable solution:

1. FSC recycled items

The Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) promotes socially beneficial and economically viable management of the world’s forests. It is worth considering using FSC products to demonstrate that you’re committed to being sustainable and using products from a well managed forest. For example, you can use FSC verified paper for printing and use wooden cutlery in the café rather than single use plastic.

2. Carbon footprint

Another way of making your heritage site sustainable is by encouraging visitors to use public transport or cycle to your venue. As well as helping to reduce carbon emissions in the local area, it is a great opportunity to promote low carbon travel. To inspire guests to take part in this you could offer incentives such as free coffee in the café if they travel to your site via public transport. In addition to this you could provide a public transport guide for all guests to use to make planning their journey an easy experience.

3. Supporting the local community

To demonstrate you are supporting your local community, it is advised to show case provenance of your supply chain and this can be done by mentioning your local suppliers in your marketing material and on your website.

4. Visitor charter & tips

Another way to get your visitors involved is by creating a visitor charter. This will include things that you’d like your guests to think about when they’re engaging with you and an example could be asking people use the recycling bins that are placed around the venue.

5. The Refill Campaign

The Refill Campaign is a low cost solution to becoming greener by re-using water bottles. If you sign up to the Refill Campaign you will receive stickers to place around your heritage site next to free water fountains. This will make it easy and accessible for all guests to fill up their water bottles and hopefully encourage them to continue to do so everywhere they go.

Communicate your green message

Finally, make sure you communicate your green message. “47% of consumers report they would pay more to make sure their break was environmentally friendly” (National Geographic) which suggests that potential guests would be more inclined to visit a site which is focused on taking care of the environment. This is a great way for the heritage sector to attract more visitors and become more sustainable.

If you would like to find out more about becoming a HTN member you can see a breakdown of each membership as well as their benefits here. Furthermore, if you are already a HTN member and are looking for insurance or risk management advice speak to our heritage expert Alex O’Donnell – see details below.

Alex O’Donnell Cert CII
Heritage Account Executive
0117 930 1651 | 0747 038 915
[email protected]