‘Sustainability’ is a more common term now than it was when Bluestone was first envisaged back in the mid-nineties.
These days, most people have an idea of what sustainability is about: meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. Well before the term became popular, however, the ethos was embedded in the heart of the Bluestone concept.
Our original rationale was that a sensible, sustainable approach to business shouldn’t detract from the visitor’s experience, but enhance it. Fifteen or so years on, we’re proud to say, those values stand firm.
Perhaps the clearest illustration of our commitment to sustainability is the effort we’ve made to preserve and enhance the environment. Measures in this regard range from the massive planting scheme (168,000 trees and plants, and counting) to our pioneering use of renewable energy, and we use the Green Dragon Environmental Management System to identify, monitor and control all possible environmental impacts.
In 2010, Bluestone won the Wales Environment Award, and in June 2011, Bluestone became the only tourism organisation to achieve Level 4 of the Green Dragon Standard. We are committed to achieving Level 5 during 2012.
We also take very seriously our economic and social obligations to our home county of Pembrokeshire.
Ultimately, Bluestone will attract 100,000 visitors a year, employ over 700 people – making it one of the largest private sector employers in the county – and inject around £35 million into the local economy annually.
Additionally, one of the key advantages of heating Blue Lagoon and the Adventure Centre with biomass is that it supports the local farming community to the tune of tens of thousands of pounds every month.
This unique means of generating carbon neutral heat while supporting local farmers earned Bluestone a 2011 Big Tick award, given by Business in the Community, for supporting rural communities and in July 2011, Bluestone was proclaimed an ‘Example of Excellence’ at the BitC Awards for Excellence, the UK’s most influential, independent, peer-assessed corporate responsibility awards.
We also buy local whenever we can, and in 2010, patronised no fewer than 171 Pembrokeshire-based companies.
Socially, Bluestone has supported close to 500 different charities, schools and community organisations since we opened in summer 2008.
We also work with Prince’s Trust on the ‘Get Into’ programme, offering young people invaluable experience of the hospitality industry, and in April this year, we launched The Bluestone Academy’s first Skills Build Programme.
The Bluestone Academy is a partnership with Pembrokeshire College and the Skills Build programme is a12 week training scheme for unemployed people. The aim of the programme is for the participants to develop skills, experience and confidence which will enable them to find employment at Bluestone or elsewhere.
While we are pleased with what has been achieved since opening, we consider another aspect of sustainability to be ‘refusing to rest on your laurels,’ and we are determined that the values which have steered our company thus far, will continue to guide us in the future.