Sustainability and environment
We are lucky to operate our business in the Parish of St Agnes, it is stunning and beautiful and has a great community spirit. As business owners we appreciate this and want to keep it beautiful and maintain a vibrant community, we believe by protecting the environment, both social & physical we will also protect our business for the long term. We want the whole parish to engage in keeping it this way so we are here to help and support and share our best practice.
Here are our 5 top tips drawn from local businesses many of whom have experienced cost savings whilst taking care of their environment. But you could do these at home too!
1) Reduce single use plastics and see your margins expand
2) Reduce your utility bills: update old equipment with new energy saving equipment.
3) Support your local community – in turn they will support you and your business.
4) Buy local, local suppliers are more likely to use your business when they need services that you offer. It also gives you a story to sell to your customers, as well as reducing economic leakage from the parish.
5) Explore switching to renewable energy and this could give you energy security into the future whilst reducing your bills.
ReFill Cornwall is an exciting community-focussed practical scheme focussing on keeping some of the worlds most beautiful beaches plastic-free.
St Agnes is proud of this scheme and there are now many ReFill stations where you may also refill your own water vessels free of charge. Refillable metal water bottles are available to purchase from businesses around the Parish, and profits from the sale of these bottles are re invested in producing more, to encourage the reduction of single use plastic water bottle purchasing.
Locations of Refill stations and businesses that sell bottles can be found on the app which you can download free of charge here
Any businesses displaying the refill logo shown below will happily refill your bottle for you.
St Agnes Chamber of Commerce are actively supporting the reduction of single use plastic straws among our members. If you fancy a refreshing beverage without the environmental guilt on the side don’t forget to decline your straw or ask if what you are being given is biodegradable - many of our hostelries and cafes are fully in support of this!
Alternatively Surfers Against Sewage sell re-usable metal straws
There is a Cornwall wide campaign to be straw free - more info on that is here
Local groups you can support or volunteer for
Marine Conservation Group
Surfers Against Sewage
SAS is a charity dedicated to keeping our oceans clean. They campaign from their St Agnes base, and have representatives all over the UK and beyond.
Cornwall Wildlife Trust
Give us a Shout!
We’d love to hear YOUR sustainable tips and experiences with living a greener lifestyle, email firstname.lastname@example.org and we can include these in the website as it develops.
Case Study: Otter Surf Boards, Porthtowan
6 tips from James Otter, bespoke surf board construction and workshop, based at MP Eco Park, Porthtowan:
1) Make things in as least damaging a way as possible and make an effort to consider at each stage of the process what materials are used and if your choice can be improved.
2) No one runs a sustainable business for their own ego - they do it because they care about the environment. Customers buy from you because they want to buy into the lifestyle you promote, after that they will appreciate the craft and skill that goes into making what you're selling. The sustainability of a product / environmental impact is an added bonus but mostly customers purchase because they like what they see first and foremost.
3) When choosing a supplier it's important to balance their sustainable credentials against the carbon footprint of transporting your goods. Buying locally where possible is a great start. But sometimes you can't ensure a sustainable quality or reliable service in your supply from a local company. A supplier further afield who also ensures their product is produced in a really sustainable manner, is an excellent option and the carbon footprint for delivery can be outweighed by these sustainable and environmental credentials.
4) Consider how your waste can be repurposed - not just filling recycling containers. Can your shredded paper be reused for pet bedding ( donating to a pet shelter? ) or your wooden offcuts or sawdust be used to make kindling, or wood pellets for bio mass burner?
5) in your day to day running of business make basic changes, reduce the amount of plastic packaging you buy - use environmentally friendly brands of and cleaning fluids like Method and Ecover.
6) Use your business to educate your customers about your process and encourage them to think about their own habits.
Case Study: Driftwood Spars, St Agnes
Louise Treseder, the Landlady studied Rural Environmental Studies at Wye College, Kent and then an MA in Tourism & Social Responsibility, so running a sustainable business has always been at the heart of how she wants to run the Driftwood Spars. Her mantra is Reduce, Reuse and Recycle! Some of the Driftwood Spars building is over 400 years old and has been developed at different times, this adds to the challenge of making the business sustainable. She says ' We take an holistic approach to our environment, so not only do we try to reduce our impact on the physical environment, we also include our customers, staff & the economy in our approach to sustainability.'
We take our commitment to the environment very seriously so anything you can do to help would be greatly appreciated. We recycle food waste, plastic, tins, glass, cardboard & paper which are collected weekly and we send zero to landfill.
St Agnes is located in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and in a World Heritage site. Any development we do to improve our business performance we want it also to enhance the cove and not take away from its beauty. For example: when we put a new roof on the upper deck (it was about 100 years old and leaked), we wanted to insulate it, but we couldn’t raise the roof line as its listed and a World Heritage site, so we invested in a very thin foil insulation so we get better energy performance whilst not reducing the visual impact of the World Heritage site. Did you know 22% of a buildings heat is lost through the roof?
We love St Agnes and want it to keep its charm and beauty, we ask you not to drop litter in the cove and leave our lovely place as you find it.
‘Take only pictures leave only footprints’
Mission to reduce single use plastics
We want to reduce our plastic wastage. You can help us by not requesting a straw, even though they are biodegradable straws, they do not break down in the marine environment as the water is too cold. When our current supply is used up we will move to paper straws. Find our more from www.thefinalstraw.com campaign. We purchase our straws from Abbotts in Redruth.
You can purchase a water canteen which you can refill with our excellent Cornish tap water, there are quite a few venues around St Agnes which will allow you to do this free of charge, just look out for ‘ReFill’ stickers in business windows. https://www.refill.org.uk/refill-scheme/refill-cornwall/
In our B & B we have moved away from single use toiletries and now use 500ml pump action refillable bottles, thus reducing another annoying and wasteful single use plastic, see www.outofeden.com. Our disposable plastic cups for bathrooms have moved to washable plastic cups and in 2018 our complimentary tea & coffee will be in refillable jars instead of single use sachets. We stopped using condiment sachets several years ago, but we haven’t yet found a usable solution for ketchup & mayonnaise bottles.
Reduce food & drink miles
We are attempting to reduce our food & drink miles. Most of our food is of Cornish origin and many of our ales are from local breweries. The Driftwood beer has some of the lowest beer miles in the UK, it is delivered across the road on foot with a trolley. This not only reduces our carbon footprint, but also supports the Cornish economy.
Reduce our carbon footprint
To show our commitment to reduce our carbon emissions we have invested in 2 electric cars, if you come to visit and have an electric car we can plug you in and you can charge your car for a small fee. We are also slowly replacing all our old equipment with new energy efficient equipment. Our staff & customers are encouraged to switch off lights, TV and other electrical equipment when not in use. Did you know that 5 – 10% of household energy consumption is from leaving electrical equipment on standby? Lighting up the Driftwood also adds to our Carbon footprint, as we replace light fittings we are going over to energy efficient light bulbs, and encourage people (as long as it’s safe) to turn the lights off if not needed. You will find that our public toilets have motion sensors so they are not left on all the time.
We recycle single use paper internally by making the single sided paper into note pads for staff to use. We do not print off documents unnecessarily, unfortunately HMRC require 7 years’ worth of invoices and these need to be printed off, this is probably our most wasteful paper usage.
If you dine with us in the pub you will see that we deliver a box of cutlery & sauce to your table. This will have 1 serviette per person to cover your all your courses (more are available). We used to wrap our cutlery in a serviette for each course, starter, main & dessert and many serviettes were not used by the customers and it was a dreadful waste of a precious resource. This way we have reduced wastage and our carbon footprint.
Water is a valuable resource across the world and this is also true of here in Cornwall; many years there is not enough water and every time it is used it takes valuable resources to clean it. By reducing your water consumption you can reduce your carbon emissions. To reduce water consumption we have upgraded our men’s urinals to be more efficient with water, installed water hippos into the cisterns of old toilets (we have 25 toilets throughout the business). In the past few years we have installed more efficient washing machines, dishwashers & glasswashers, all of which reduce the amount of water we consume.
Economics/Business Performance – Why should you make your business more sustainable?
It is important to monitor the impact on your business as it proves that it’s worth doing. Costs have been constantly increasing and although some of our actual costs have not decreased much, our consumption has, so the increase has not been as severe. A major change in the last 12 months has been the reduction in our water costs, we used 376 hectolitres less than in 2017 than we did in 2016. This resulted in a cost saving of £1730, which when you take our increased turnover into account is fantastic.
The actual financial impact on the business speaks for itself as to why businesses should reduce their impact on the environment.
• Electric consumption in 2017 was down 10.23% compared to 2016
• Water usage was reduced by 21.25% in 2017 compared to 2016
• Gas was up by 2.3% and oil consumption increased by 5.7% in 2017 compared to 2016, but we fed 12.71% more customers and our B & B occupancy increased by 2.6%
• Turnover has increased from 2016 to 2017 by 7.8%
• Profits were up 4% in 2017 compared to 2016.
• Predictions for the coming year is for the turnover to increase by 15% and profits to increase by 28% in 2018 compared to 2017.
Our projects we are currently working on include:
• Continue to monitor our energy consumption to see how we can continue to reduce it
• Explore renewable energy opportunities
• Love your Coastline project – celebration of our coast on Valentine’s Day 2019
• Plastic Free St Agnes
• Explore opportunities for our own bore hole for water extraction
• Explore alternatives to chemicals (we already use microfibre cloths in our cleaning)
• Installation of Cycle racks
If you want to know any more on what we are trying to achieve to reduce our impact on the environment or have an idea on how we can reduce our impact please have a chat to Louise at the Driftwood 01872 552428