Hotel Doolin: Green Team
Business Type: Hospitality
Location: Doolin, Co. Clare
Vision: “Strive to do it better, Dare to be different, Care to do it right”.
We will achieve our vision in 3 ways:
If we do it well, we’ll do it better
We will listen to our customers, act on their feedback, go the extra mile for all our guests, spend time and resources training our staff & continuously benchmark ourselves against our competitors and market leaders.
Be daring, be different, be first
We will be proactive in re-inventing our products and services, looking for new and innovative ways to deliver great hospitality and experiences.
We will at all times carry out our business in a way that benefits the local community, the environment and our staff while also realising that profitability is essential to our future success as a team.
Overview of CSR Initiative:
Green Team led by Aine Martin, Green Team Leader. Project Team also included the overall team in general.
HR played a key role.
The main aim of the hotel was to become a carbon neutral hotel and we hope to become a carbon negative hotel in the future. We started doing a lot of green initiatives in 2013 and the CSR side of things evolved from there. It creates team-spirit as well as being good in every aspect for the business, employee, environment and community. It takes a few people who are really interested to lead the initiatives.
Getting the team to sit down together to brainstorm was sometimes a challenge as they want to get on with their everyday duties of working in the hotel. We try to make it fun.
Reduced carbon footprint, Team-building, raising money for charities close to our heart, taking care of the beautiful environment that we are so fortunate to live and work in.
Carbon neutral. Saves money being green. Increase in business.
How was/is this initiative promoted?
We regularly promote our green efforts on social media and in the application process for various Awards. Awards are a wonderful way to motivate the team and show them that the hard work and their CSR efforts all help and matter and contribute to the success of the business.
The CSR activities are important to the community; clean ups, first Doolin Surfest took place in March 2019 – this brought more footfall to Doolin, we did a coastal cleanup in association with An Taisce which is a win:win for everyone. We had environmental speakers participate at it too including Matt Smith from Moyhill Community Garden and Senator Grace O’Sullivan; all highlighting the importance of working together to achieve the same environmental initiatives.
We also have a section on our website www.hoteldoolin.ie that promotes the environmental policy and work of Hotel Doolin.
In very recent times, a number of journalists have come to us asking for information on what we do.
Do you report on CSR in the Annual Report?
Towards Responsible Business’ Ireland’s National Plan on CSR 2017-2020 identifies 4 core dimensions of CSR – Environment, Community, Workplace and Marketplace.
• Environment - minimising negative environmental impacts
• Community - interaction with your local community partners and organisations
• Workplace - supporting and engaging with your employees
• Marketplace - interaction with your local community partners and organisations.
Please select the dimension(s) that you apply to your CSR Initiative and why?
We must protect the special region we work and live in. We are very fortunate to be located in the unique Burren & Cliffs of Moher UNESCO Geopark; one of only two geoparks in the Republic of Ireland.
Doolin is a small village. The community is key to the success of the hotel. We support local initiatives including surfers, schools, charities, youth, voluntary organisations, local nursing homes because it is the right thing to do. It is vital to work with the Tidy Towns, Doolin Tourism, our colleagues in the Burren Eco-Tourism Network, locals etc. as it is these people who refer visitors to Hotel Doolin and in a small village it would just make no sense not to have their support.
Our team are vital to the success of Hotel Doolin. The business has grown significantly since 2006 with a turnover in excess of €5m per annum. We host 90 weddings per annum, this has grown from 12 in 2013. The team has grown to 120 high season and the hotel stays open 363 days of the year; this is testament to the team who work at the hotel and welcome people every day to Doolin.
We want our guests to experience something that they cannot experience anywhere else in the world and make the guest want to return again and talk to their family and friends about their experience. It is the team that makes this experience and we get positive feedback on a daily basis about how great the team are and how positive their attitude is. We created an initiative called “Smiling on the Inside” for our team last year-what does this mean? Health Staff Menu which is free, monthly team activities, complimentary access to the local gym and swimming pool & free nutritional consultation.
We are the only carbon neutral hotel in Ireland and our aim now is to become carbon negative.
How has the CSR initiative benefitted your business and demonstrated a win:win in the short-term and/or long-term?
- Reduced costs in terms of energy, water and waste initiatives. Our Hotel is now carbon neutral.
- Staff Retention and reduce employee turnover.
- Increase in business with support from community.
- Raised a significant amount of money for charity. (In last 12 months, we have raised in excess of €25K for charities including support for the Clare Youth Service where we organised a Youthfest in association with the organisation Elevate which was set up by John Burke who summited Mount Everest in May 2017 and is one of the owners of Hotel Doolin).
- More of the hotel guests are becoming environmentally aware and choose to visit Hotel Doolin because of initiatives.
Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs):
Please identify which SDG goal(s) apply to your CSR initiative.
Goal 1: We try to put items we are finished with on Clare Free to A Good Home - a local facebook page or give to charity shops.
Goal 2: We monitor our food waste and have targets in place to reduce the food waste in the hotel each month and year.
Goal 3: Good health and wellbeing: as outlined already – “Smiling on the Inside” Initiative.
Goal 4: Hotel Doolin organises the Doolin Writers’ Weekend and we involve the local schools and library to encourage reading.
Goal 5: Hotel Doolin is an equal opportunities employer.
Goal 6: We monitor our water usage and have targets in place to reduce water consumption per guest and per square meter.
Goal 7: Hotel Doolin uses only green electricity. We are looking at using bio LPG, we use only LED bulbs in the hotel and the Eco-Barn is an A rated, 100% sound proof building.
Goal 8: Hotel Doolin buys 75% of its produce from a 30 mile radius of the hotel and supports local businesses as much as possible. We grow lots of our own herbs and vegetables in the 50 foot polytunnel.
Goal 9: We try to think of innovate ways to repurpose old material – examples include in the new Eco-Barn where the lampshades are made from old fishermans eel baskets from Co. Sligo and the bar counter is made from old whiskey barrels.
Goal 10: Reduce inequalities; we provide employment opportunities to refugees in the local area who have work permits.
Goal 11: We encourage our guests to take public transport or to cycle around the area to reduce carbon footprint.
Goal 12: We recycle paper, cardboard, glass, we do not sell any single use plastics including drinks, food satchets etc. We have an air to water heating system to avoid using oil.We sell no plastic bottles in any outlet of the hotel.
Goal 13: Climate Action-we educate students; new employees who start at the hotel go through induction and training on how to segregate waste, conserve energy and water and we have also hosted a group from DIT over the years who came to visit the hotel to see the actions of the green team.
Goal 14: We do not use any single use plastics, we do rubbish collections in the local area a few times per year. We only sell compostable cups and we reward guests who bring their own cup.
Goal 15: Plant a Tree and Protect the Environment: We commit to planting 10 trees per wedding via hometree.ie which helps to reduce our carbon footprint. We hosted 86 weddings in 2018 and therefore planted 860 trees.
Goal 16: Use our voice to elect candidates at National and Local level who align with our principles and goals for protecting the environment.
What did you learn from your experience of creating and implementing a CSR initiative?
What advice would you give a business starting on their CSR Journey?
Whenever something needs to be changed, don’t just go with what you have been doing all along. There may be a more environmentally friendly way of doing it.
Change your electricity to green electricity.
We work with Green Hospitality and find that it is very beneficial to use their spreadsheets for reporting on waste, water and energy consumption.
Do team activities that help to raise money for charity – climb a mountain!
Train your team on being more responsible for the earth e.g don’t let the team use take away cups – buy real cups if you don’t have them already
Try to plant trees or commit to planting trees.
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