The New Forest’s unique way of life, natural landscape, biodiversity and cultural heritage are the key attractions for our millions of annual guests. This, coupled with the now global awareness of everyone’s net zero responsibilities means our visitors expect us to deliver services of the same special standard. In 2007 the New Forest won the World Responsible Tourism Awards winning both Best Destination and Best Personal Contribution with the first iteration of the New Forest Green Leaf Scheme.
We have now refreshed and improved the scheme to help every GNF member business start or continue the journey towards delivering a responsible net zero business operation and provide a credible collective strategy with the aim of making the New Forest the UK’s greenest destination.
There are many existing national and international schemes which might assist a business with these aims, but we feel it is particularly important we create an easy access and uniquely New Forest approach whilst cherry picking from these other schemes. We believe it is important for 100% of our accommodation businesses to achieve at least 10% more towards net zero rather than 10% doing 100% more.
Once a member business achieves the standard set by GLTBS we are aligning the scheme with the international B Corp certification process to help them move towards full sustainability/net zero. It is therefore very encouraging that our destination can already boast at least one GNF Member (Green Hill Farm Holiday Village) which has already achieved B Corp status. We hope the GLTBS process will help bring forward a growing number of similar New Forest business champions and ambassadors who can help support the destination’s wider journey to net zero.
Getting started on the journey to net zero is a daunting and complex business proposition. That’s why we’ve kept the GLTBS checklist as simple as possible. That doesn’t mean we are hiding from the more demanding challenges that lay ahead, but more, we are preparing the ground to help businesses engage in reducing their negative impacts and where possible enhance their social and environmental outputs to help improve the quality of all local life and in doing so also deliver an ever-growing range of responsible visitor experiences all year round.
Whether your business achieves bronze, silver or gold on completion of GLTBS checklist it will be available for guests to read via your product page on www.thenewforest.co.uk and the scheme will be at the heart of all our destination marketing, promotional and PR activities from January 2022 onwards.
Tips, additional information and group purchasing
We will continue to provide a growing number of useful links and background information on many of the subjects covered in the checklist to help you better understand how you can improve your performance. We will be constantly adding to the support and development information and providing all members with regular updates. We will also use GNF’s Members Facebook Page to enable and encourage the sharing of ideas and solutions in how we can all work towards making the New Forest the UK’s most responsible destination
We will be including all GNF Corporate Members who provide a relevant service in the support section, so please let us know of any further links or sources of relevant support and insight. We are also already negotiating with suppliers of renewable energy and other services so we can also develop a group purchasing component to reduce the individual cost and create extra benefits of developing GLTBS.
Net zero means not adding to the amount of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. Achieving it means reducing emissions as much as possible, and balancing out any that remain by removing an equivalent amount. When we burn oil, gas & coal Greenhouse gases (CO2 etc) are released causing global warming by trapping the sun’s energy. The 2015 Paris Agreement (197 countries) to keep temperature rises “well below” 1.5C to avoid the worst climate change impacts, means net zero must be reached by 2050.
A net zero strategy has 2 elements: a reductions pathway & a removals pathway. The New Forest Green Leaf Tourism Business Scheme seeks to support and assist GNF members deliver these pathways in parallel but with the priority on reductions first. This pathway defines the rate of decarbonisation in line with science-based trajectories. The removals pathway provides further mitigation to neutralise unavoidable residual emissions where reductions aren’t sufficient to meet Paris Agreement climate goals.
CMA Code On Environmental Claims
With customers becoming increasingly concerned about the environmental credentials of businesses, there has been a growing number of complaints to the CMA regarding businesses “Greenwashing” their activities. To help prevent this, the CMA has developed a new code of practice for businesses that make claims regarding their environmental credentials based on the following 6 principles
- claims must be truthful and accurate
- claims must be clear and unambiguous
- claims must not omit or hide important relevant information
- comparisons must be fair and meaningful
- claims must consider the full life cycle of the product or service
- claims must be substantiated
The eagle-eyed will notice that these 6 principles align with the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008, which is the legislation that underpins them. The code is particularly useful for businesses that want to advertise what they are doing in terms of environmental protection and to mitigate against climate change.