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Environmental pledge - successes and challenges

As Rockley pushes forward with its environmental pledge, it’s inevitable we would encounter a few stumbling blocks!

As Rockley pushes forward with its environmental pledge, it’s inevitable we would encounter a few stumbling blocks!

For us it’s about trying new ways of doing things and if it doesn’t work then finding an alternative or approaching the situation in a different way. We have seen many ‘wins’ over the past 14 months - we have made huge strides in reducing our use of single use plastic across all our centres, completely eliminating it from our beachside café. We have installed water fountains at each of our locations and encouraged customers to use their own water bottles. We’ve organised beach cleans which have included our staff, Sixth Form students and school groups, we’ve reduced the amount of printing in the office and have done a pretty good job of changing the mind-set of everyone who works for Rockley. Looking forward, we are no longer going to be ordering any plastic merchandise – once our pens and lip balms run out, we will be looking at non-plastic alternatives.

12 for 2020

During our quarterly environmental meeting, headed up by Rockley’s Schools and Groups Sales Advisor Cath, we have decided to do an environmental challenge each month – ’12 for 2020.’ So far this has included a ‘No printing day’ and a ‘No bin day.’  We are also looking forward to taking part in the Great Dorset Beach Clean in April, our ‘Generate your own power day’ in May, ‘No car to work day’ in June and our own Beach clean in September.

 

The obstacles

So far so good right? But what hasn’t quite worked or what do we really need to look at going forward? More recently we have looked at our use of safety boats on sessions and the amount of fuel we are using as a result. We recently trialled electric engines to see if this would provide a suitable alternative, however unfortunately, the technology was not sophisticated enough to ensure effective learning outcomes and the safety of our customers. Instead we have changed how we teach our sessions which considers the environment and student/customer safety while not diminishing the quality of teaching. Instead of teaching certain sessions from safety boats ie paddleboarding and windsurfing our staff are taking a real hands-on approach and are teaching from the equipment. While not completely abolishing our use of safety boats, we have certainly reduced the amount we use. Across the company, this will result in 120 litres of fuel saved a week and approximately 10,000 litres over the course of a year!

School visits

Our school’s team are often driving around the country to meet schools who organise a trip with us. Over the past 43 years, we have prided ourselves on the ‘personal touch’ and going above and beyond to ensure that the teachers who come with us feel happy with every aspect of a school trip. Identifying the consequence of this on the environment has meant that we try our upmost to see arrange meetings with as many schools as possible within a certain area at a particular time. The next step for us is to change all our vehicles to electric cars in a bid to reduce our carbon footprint.

It's never a ‘No’

As a company, we are doing what we can, small and big to make a difference. We realise that not everything will work out – certain things do need to be considered but nothing is ever a straight ‘no, this can’t be done’. We will always take the stance that we need to find a different way of doing things. Our environmental ethos remains as important to us now as ever before.

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