We've been awarded the prestigious Green Key accreditation for the second year.
The award recognises our commitment to being environmentally responsible. Having first won it in 2016, we're delighted to have been reaccredited this yea following a rigourous assessment of every aspect of our business, including public information, staff facilities, water and energy.
Green Key is the largest global eco-label awarded to more than 2,300 tourism providers in 47 countries worldwide, and is managed in Wales by the environmental charity Keep Wales Tidy, who also manage the Blue Flag and Eco-Schools programmes.
In order to be awarded the accreditation, we took a number of measures to demonstrate our commitment to minimising our environmental footprint. This included investing £250,000 in a solar panel system on the roof of our fairground to generate our own electricity, and replacing the fun fair’s 10,000 lightbulbs with low energy versions, saving 70% of the energy previously needed.
This year, we've also invested £600,000 in a new biomass system, using woodchip that is 100% renewable to heat the fairground, the Carousel Woods indoor play area, Folly Interactive, the shop, offices, and funfair restaurant. This project will also supply hot water and will save 700 tonnes or carbon emissions annually.
As well as these larger investments, we've also planted five acres of willow trees as this is what our giraffes like to graze on. Once they have finished eating all the leaves and bark, we chip it and re-use it as bedding for other animals at the park. We've replaced all our hand driers with energy efficient versions and removed the wastage from paper towels.
We've set up a staff-led Green Team committee to manage all aspects of our recycling and sustainability projects, and have designated recycling ambassadors who are involved with driving our efforts forward. Our staff also take simple every-day measures, such as ensuring they don’t use the printers unless they need to, making sure taps and electric plugs are turned off when they’re not in use, and organising a local beach clean to pick up litter.
Chris Ebsworth, our managing director, said:
“Being an environmentally conscious business has always been very important to us, and receiving the Green Key reaccreditation is a testament to our commitment to this cause. We believe that it is everyone’s responsibility to take care of the environment, which is why receiving this accreditation is so important to us, and we look forward to working with Green Key and continuing to improve our environmental sustainability.”
Lesley Jones, Chief Executive for Keep Wales Tidy said:
“I’d like to congratulate all the staff at Folly Farm who work so hard to maintain the standards demanded by the Green Key programme. This award is specifically for the tourism industry and as such is about being environmentally minded without compromising the visitor experience. It is fantastic to see top Welsh attractions achieving international Green Key accreditation and celebrating their positive environmental changes.”