Our Sustainability Policy

To ensure our tourism business is viable in the long term, we at Two Rock Outdoor will endeavour to protect and enhance the environment on which our livelihood depends, ensuring an outstanding experience for our clients. To ensure this we are committed to educating ourselves and learning from the authorities on the subject. We have undertaken trainer training from Leave no Trace Ireland, Sustainable Travel Ireland certification and completed studies in Enviornement, Sustainability and Climate.

Our sustainability policy is a working document and is reviewed and updated at regular intervals.

·       Our sustainability policy will be displayed clearly on our website for transparency and accountability.

·       Sustainability policies come in many different formats; this policy compliments our Sustainability page.

·       Our sustainability policy is signed by our general manager.

We aspire to:

  • Ensure a fair economic advantage to all communities we visit. 

  • Minimise as much as possible our economic, social and environmental impacts.

  • Commit to align ourselves with the UN Sustainable Development Goals and changing models for a more sustainable tourism sector

We view climate change as an issue of 'complexity' with interlinked thresholds and tipping points; that pollution, ocean acidification, biodiversity loss, global warming, economics, ozone layer depletion, Carbon and Methane emissions as per our planetary boundaries are interrelated and a holistic approach to sustainability must urgently be taken. We agree to embrace transparency and accountability as our sustainability pillars as we map out our route to becoming a more sustainable business.

1. Vision/mission/company ethos

At Two Rock outdoor every hike, event and tour is led with safety, conservation and preservationin the heart of our business.

 We believe in education through experience, small group sizes, and practical application of Leave No Trace principles. Working not just to preserve but improve areas we visit. We believe in education through experience, keeping groups small and following the principles of Leave No Trace. We further work to not just to protect but improve where possible the environment and ecosystems on which our business depends.

It is our vision to facilitate sustainable growth in the area of hillwalking and climbing on the Island of Ireland and become an industry leader in the area of sustainable mountain recreation. We are aware that our business activities impact upon the environment and we are fully committed to alleviating these negative impacts.

2. UNWTO definition

At Two Rock Outdoor, 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.

3. Continuous improvement

We know we have a lot to do, and this is just the start, but we acknowledge that this is a journey not a destination and a journey we will take with our customers to grow with and in a fashion that protects, sustains and enhances the areas we visit. 

We actively seek ways to reverse the impacts of our footfall. Since the last update we have attended peatlands restoration work with NPWS and habitat regeneration with ReWild Wicklow. We are now active members of the Mountaineering Ireland Climate working group.

4. Measuring and reducing negative impacts

Our ultimate goal is to reduce our use of resources. Here are some of our objectives but this is not exhaustive. We will be conscious in our consumption day to day creating small habits that will add to a large saving in the long term. We are now committed to continuously measuring our electricity consumption. Our current office is not our forever home but we aim to improve in measuring and mitigating our energy consumption as we grow and as newer technologies become available. We will not only offset the business consumption but that of our household too. We further extend this to times when we use hotels and B&B accommodation. On these occasions we aim not to use excessive heat, turn off all appliances and lights when away from our room and we will seek our providers with values on sustainability that match our own.

Ultimately, we aim to reduce our energy consumption and reduce greenhouse gas emissions, we will explore renewable energy, we have installed a solar panel in our van which is used to charge phones and power laptops when we are on the road. Our target across the first 12 months of measuring is a 10% decrease in usage. 2023 saw an increase in usage of 10.5%, our office is also our household and circumstances have led us to have to undertake renovations for incoming family members, we are now running close too 100% led lights and on completing an appliance electricity usage audit we are now aware of which household items use excessive electricity however it is less sustainable to replace these items as the most sustainable product is the one you own. Our next step will be to improve insulation in the house.

We provide information to our clients on Ireland’s waste management journey as we continue on our own sustainability journey e.g., refill stations around the country available on https://refill.ie/tap-map/

We only use Forest Stewardship Council™ (FSC) certified paper. In autumn 2022 we will explore bulk buying options for our business office supplies and cleaning products.

All of our hiking equipment that we use ourselves, lend or rent are of the highest industry standard and are built to last. We always have zips repaired before retiring equipment and repair when possible, promoting a circular economy whereever possible.

4a. Energy consumption

 We commit to measuring our electricity consumption every 6 months for now (June and December) and do the following to reduce consumption. We will increase frequency when we have an established a fixed office space as much of our time is spent "on the road".

We will:

  • Get an energy baseline measurement to improve month on month, year on year.

  • Installed LCD lights (75% complete 2022, now almost 100%)

  • Air dry 100% of our washing.

  • Double glazed windows have been installed.

  • Switch off appliances when not in use.

  • Our future plans – air to heat system in our place of work, be paperless by 2023, ensure our energy network supplier is a green one reducing our carbon footprint. Update; not yet paperless, we now realise this may not be completely possible as we still require maps for navigation courses, we still use envelopes and require paperwork for vehicle document management. All paper used is fsc certified. We now use a nfc business card made from wood so we do not require paper business cards.

Our ultimate goal is to reduce our carbon footprint. Above is a list of some of our objectives but this is not exhaustive. We will be conscious in our consumption day to day creating small habits that will add to a large saving in the long term. We are now committed to measuring our electricity consumption every month. Our current office is not our forever home but we aim to improve in measuring and mitigating our energy consumption as we grow and newer technologies become available. We will not only offset the business consumption but that of our household too. As mentioned above; we further extend this to times when we use hotels and B&B accommodation. On these occasions we aim not to use excessive heat, turn off all appliances and lights when away from our room and we will seek our providers with values on sustainability that match our own.

Ultimately, we aim to reduce our energy consumption and reduce greenhouse gas emissions, we will explore renewable energy options, we have installed a solar panel in our van which is used to charge phones and power laptops when we are on the road. Our target across the first 12 months of measuring is a 10% decrease in usage.

4b. Water consumption

We will measure our water use at the water meter in the business every 6 months June and December and do the following to reduce consumption frame and reduce consumption by:

  • Around 70% of vehicle washes use waterless cleaning products

  • We have 2 water butts for harvesting rainwater for gardening purposes

  • What we plan in the household: Shower head, aerator for taps, enviro cleaning products, wastewater treatment, water harvesting, appliances on eco mode, measure and re-measure

We commit to measuring our water usage with the aim of a 10% reduction across a 12-month period. Comparing available data between a 4 month period in 2022 and the same time in 2023 we saw an increase of 13% in household water usage in the same period, we must be accountability and must now identify the reasons for this increase and continue to measure and push for a reduction in our use of natural resources moving forward.

4c. Waste production

We commit to measuring our waste consumption every month and do the following to reduce consumption:

Take larger items to the recycling centre

Provide recycling options on board our vehicles

We consider the waste we bring with us on the hills and during picnics. To reduce this, we offer snack options with local coffee shops and coffee trailers. We engage with our providers, encouraging the use of compostable or ‘keep’ cups.

We make our own lunches at home packaging in washable containers

We are firmly against the use of single use plastic and have not purchased a single use plastic bottle since 2019. Our current aim is to be completely zero single-use plastic by our next review in March 2023. In line with the EU Directive on single-use plastics we apply this to:

  • Water bottles and containers

  • Coffee Cups containing plastic

  • Toiletries

  • Lunch and Dinner containers

  • Balloons

  • Plastic Bags

  • Wet Wipes

Where suitable and affordable alternatives are available, we will always choose this option.

We provide information to our clients on Ireland’s waste management journey as we continue on our own sustainability journey e.g., refill stations around the country available on https://refill.ie/tap-map/

We only use Forest Stewardship Council™ (FSC) certified paper. In autumn 2022 we will explore bulk buying options for our business for office supplies and cleaning products.

All of our hiking equipment we use ourselves, lend or rent are of the highest industry standard and are built to last. We always have zips repaired before retiring equipment and repair when possible, promoting circular economy.

5. Ethical purchasing

When purchasing goods, we ensure that where possible we support local producers and providers. We will shop locally, within 50km of our business address and shop Irish where possible. Some of our technical kit is sourced abroad but in this case, we purchase only from companies with a robust sustainability policy.

We search for the following in all our PPE and technical equipment:

  • Certified climate neutral

  • Use recycled fabrics and materials

  • Use sustainable packaging when shipping

  • Follow the Responsible Down Standard

  • Designed to last the harsh weather we endure on the Island of Ireland and further afield.

  • Brands that support animal welfare 

  • We will look for an Ecolabel

  • We will be aware of greenwashing

  • We believe Ireland is a true testing ground for outdoor equipment and understand the need for equipment that will withstand the elements.

At Two Rock Outdoor we are committed to purchasing only what we need, purchasing only products produced locally where possible. There will always be products we cannot source in Ireland but we will ensure all products we source are from ethical producers and manufacturers.

We will use sources such as https://ec.europa.eu/environment/gpp/pdf/ecolabels.pdf to determine that we stay true to our procurement policy.

Learning during 2022; jacket supplier did not offer repair under warranty, instead a replacement. We had 3 jacket zips replaced, returning all jackets to use. 2023; Further repairs to down jackets and waterproof equipment recieved at least one 'tech wash' to prolong waterproofing. We made 1 rope mat for the van and a dog toy from a retired climbing rope.

 

6. Carbon management

We have attended the Sustainable Tourism Ireland 'Carbon Management Workshop'. We will be fully transparent in documenting our footprint. Our aim is to leave no stone unturned. We now measure to mitigate and to actively identify means of reducing our carbon footprint in all aspects of our business. We will not ignore the paradoxes of tourism on an island and where we cannot mitigate, we are now committed to offsetting with a certified project.

Where there is an opportunity to offset the carbon, we cannot eliminate; we will aim to incorporate social justice and responsibility into our measures knowing that the lowest emitters of carbon most often feel the greatest impacts of climate change.

Our work involves a lot of driving, we see this as an opportunity. We have worked with walking clubs in Ireland that have traditionally flown to the UK for walking trips and we now offer a transport option using ferry. We understand ferries can be quite polluting but have reduced the number of flights taken by between 14 - 20 people per trip and car rental has been reduced from 4 cars to 1 minibus and trailer. We have a total of 10 UK trips in 2023, non of which involved a flight.

Each driver undertakes an eco-driving course as part of the manditory CPC training (Certificate of Professional Competency).

Our vehicles are serviced regularly, this will not only improve fuel efficiancy but will also prolong the life of the vehicle.

Tyres are tested regularly to ensure they are properly inflated.

We aim to measure, then reduce our carbon footprint by: Dec 2022 and are currently looking to find a partner to offset our remaining emissions. We aim at having found our partner by next sustainability policy review, May 2023. Update: We still have not found a partner on this, elevated to our top priority for summer 2023. Update Jan 2024: We have offset all our calculated emissions for the year; 2023 with thanks to Climate Impact Partners Ltd.

We have calculated our annual Carbon footprint average taking the higher figure over years 2020 and 2021, our years in operation. This shows water to be our highest carbon footprint, we will work hard for reductions in this area.


Result: 21.27 tonnes


At Two Rock Outdoor we are committed to reducing our carbon footprint as much as possible and to offsetting the remainder with a trusted partner. We are currently working with ReWild Wicklow and Mountaineering Ireland Climate Response Working Group to offset our own emissions. We prioritise reducing our impact first by engaging with local carbon offsetting schemes.

7. Responsible sustainability marketing

 We know that it is important to communicate our efforts in an honest way. We are aware of the risk of greenwashing, and we therefore commit to back our words up with actions. 

We know we can’t always get things right the first time. We therefore commit to honestly communicating where we are on our journey and our improvements. To avoid greenwashing completely is our bottom line on this.

8. Social responsibility

We are aware that tourism activities can have a negative impact on local communities, we therefore work to create awareness about this on our tours and events. We support communities we visit by avoiding peak times where possible. 


Areas exhausted from erosion through footfall; we do what we can to avoid these areas completely choosing areas with boardwalks for larger groups. We will always park responsibly and promoting responsible parking with our clients in all areas we visit.


Here are some of the activities supporting local Community in 2022:


Peatland restoration Wicklow, NPWS


Habitat restoration Wicklow, ReWild Wicklow


We are actively seeking a local NGO to support; we have reached out to charities supporting biodiversity as we feel Ireland’s biodiversity currently faces many challenges including disease and habitat loss. Our chosen organisation will be added here soon. Update: We are now working with a highly successful Non Profit, Biosphere Expeditions; an ethical wildlife conservation organisation,  providing citizen science based,  wildlife conservation expeditions. We are looking at perhaps bring this initiative to Ireland, if you are a scientist or interested in citizen science and tourism in Ireland, please get in contact


We support our local community by avoiding peak times and areas exhausted by footfall and traffic.


We are aware that tourism activities can have a negative impact on local communities, we will create awareness of this on our tours and events.

9. Supporting Biodiversity & Conservation

We support and conserve Irish biodiversity, our business depends on it. Mountains have their own delicate ecosystems, habitats and landscapes. Mountains are by definition; raised landforms, every metre of ascent brings you to new vegetation, habitats and climates. They define borders, influence the weather and provide refuge. As the climate warms habitats are forced further uphill. Nature depends on complex but essential relationships to thrive, a delicate balancing act we aren’t even close to understanding fully. What we do know is when the [nature] system is disrupted the services it provides are too, simple services like food, water, the air we breath and raw materials to more complex services like medicines and mental health degrade and disappear and as we humans are a part of, not apart from this amazing system we call nature we too feel the effects.

Biodiversity is one of the key reasons we visit mountain areas. We guide every hike with conservation and preservation as our top priorities and to cause as little disturbance as possible to these delicate areas. We put careful thought into our own impact on the areas we visit on our hikes and consider everything from footfall, transport, litter and the eco-systems as a whole, this is part of what we call our 'Care List'. 

Our aim is to share our experience and what we know about these landscape with all our clients. Offering bespoke experiences, uniquely adapted to every individual and group knowing they can be as diverse as the landscapes we visit.

We follow all advice given on pollinators.ie and the principles of the All-Ireland-Pollinator plan. We have to date:

Planted for bees in our garden.

Installed 1 Swift box, update: box now used by sparrow but swifts have returned to the property, prospecting for the first time in a number of years.

Installed 1 hedgehog house

We avoided cutting grass until May 24th

We avoid cutting hedges during nesting season, which is a legal requirement.

We aim impart our own knowledge of the mountain ecosystems and delicate balance within and share our passion for these places. Improving knowledge, connection and awareness creates a greater hope of preserving and improving these areas for future generations.

We are members of Business for Biodiversity Ireland, in addition to our own measures we look to Business for Biodiversity for guidance. We have undersigned the following commitments:

We, the undersigned business leaders, and decision-makers, representing different economic sectors, acknowledge the Irish Government’s 2019 Biodiversity Emergency Declaration, and hereby unite in a common purpose to champion and support, by all means possible, the three urgent objectives of the international Convention on Biological Diversity:

1.Conservation of biological diversity and ecosystem services

2.Sustainable use of its components

3.Fair and equitable sharing of the benefits that arise out of the utilisation of resources

We recognise that that the Earth’s biosphere, the foundation of human society and economy, is under increasing stress, and, that an accelerated and just transition by business to a nature positive approach is imperative to ensure business continuity and resilience within a changing climate and deliver on the UN’s 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

The annual World Economic Forum Global Risks Report identifies biodiversity loss as one of the most significant risks facing the world. We hereby recognise the intrinsic value of nature and our direct dependence on biodiversity; its status as a natural capital asset to be safeguarded and used sustainably; and the risks associated with the loss of nature and biodiversity and the disruption of earth’s systems.

Business has a central role to play in the conservation, protection and restoration of biodiversity and ecosystems services, driving sustainable consumption and production patterns. We acknowledge that a nature-positive business model will provide opportunities for economic growth, employment, learning and provide more reliable sources of materials/ products, cost savings, and protection against natural disasters.

We the undersigned hereby pledge our commitment to:
i.
Analyse and monitor our business activities to understand our direct impacts on nature.
ii.
Analyse and monitor our business activities to understand our direct dependencies on nature and risks associated with the degradation of same. Define biodiversity loss as a business risk and incorporate it into the company risk management portfolio.
iii.
Develop an understanding of the impacts to biodiversity that occur within our value chain and use this information to make better, nature positive business decisions. Inform suppliers about our company’s biodiversity objectives and encourage and integrate suppliers into an aligned commitment accordingly.
iv.
Include the protection of natural capital as a pillar within our Company’s Sustainability Strategy. Appoint and resource responsible, accountable, strategic roles within our company to steer all nature-related activities (strategic and operational) and regularly report, to the Management Board and stakeholders.
v.
Measure baselines and define realistic, measurable objectives (SMART/incl. Science-based targets), including financial targets, which are monitored regularly and adjusted at least every two years;
vi.
Identify specific on-site biodiversity actions and mobilise resources to enhance, maintain, restore and regenerate local ecosystems; In accordance with the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework 2022, work towards giving 30% of our company land bank back to nature, by 2030.
vii.
Be transparent by publishing actions, achievements and learning points in our company’s Annual Report and provide specific data to acknowledged biodiversity entities and projects such as the National Biodiversity Data Centre and the All-Ireland Pollinator Plan.
viii.
Commit to a biodiversity educational programme to increase biodiversity knowledge within our workforce, suppliers and communities, utilising learning portals and accredited courses such as those curated by Business for Biodiversity Ireland. Contribute to system-wide change through raising awareness about the value of natural capital and specifically biodiversity and ecosystem services to our audiences.
ix.
Explore our potential for partnerships with other businesses, scientific institutions, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and/ or governmental institutions with the aim of deepening dialogue and continuously improving the corporate management system vis-à-vis natural capital and the biodiversity domain.
x.
Evolve our business model so that our business activities no longer harm the natural world but contribute to its protection, conservation and regeneration while prioritising the transition towards a circular nature-positive business model.
We call upon; the Irish Government and its policy makers, to engage with business as we implement our national obligations under international biodiversity conventions, and, to create the necessary policy conditions that will mainstream natural capital, and specifically biodiversity and ecosystem services within our sustainability considerations into our day-to-day activities, nature-positive business models and risk frameworks; and companies with whom we engage with around the world, to join us.
10. The little things

While the issues facing the planet are immediate and of considerable scale we do believe is little acts can add up to a big effort, here are some of the smaller habits we are trying to form to make posative climate contributions.

- We actively discuss the natural enviornment on every outing, without being preachy a little bit of information about the natural world around us can highlight what it is we are tring to save.

- Reduce red meat consumption; we have reduced the amount of meat we eat .

- Leaving the car at home; when we need to train we will sometimes opt to run from the house or train at home instead of driving to the climbing wall or gym.

- International Travel; while for us to work, international travel is required, we are now making a concious effort to travel by ferry were possible and combine trips abroad to give them more purpose.

We will do our best and we are always open to suggestions on how to do better.

We will do our best and we are always open to suggestions on how to do even better. 

 

Signed by:              

                         

General Manager and Head of Sustainability   Date: 30 May 2023   

Our Measurements for 2023 

This year is our first complete year of measuring our impacts, our carbon footprint for the year was 4.87 tonnes - this factored our road miles, ferry miles, waste, electricity. This is a stark reminder that we as a small business are a distance away from sustainability. We now have a benchmark and we aim to reduce all the above substantialy for 2024 essential for keeping global temperature rise under 1.5°C and aligning our own goals with the Glasgow Declaration and Mountaineering Ireland' s goals for Climate And Biodiversity Response.

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Check out the Two Rock Outdoor Discover Ireland sustainability interview here