Walking Tours in Scotland
sustainability Statement

 

This statement describes Walking Tours in Ltd’s environmental footprint strategy. As one of the largest economic sectors in the world, which is continuously showing signs of growth, tourism has a significant impact on the environment including over consumption of natural resources and increase in emissions and solid waste. 

 

We recognise our responsibility and are committed to minimising the impact our company has on the environment. Our pathways for progression include:

 

  • Collaborate: Share evidence of risks and solutions with all stakeholders and our guests, and work together to ensure plans are as effective and co-ordinated as possible.

  • Finance: Ensure organisational resources and capacity are sufficient to meet objectives set out in climate plans, including the financing of training, research and implementation of effective policy tools.

  • Measure: Measure and disclose all emissions. Ensure our methodologies and measurement tools are transparent and accessible.

  • Regenerate: Restore and protect ecosystems, supporting nature’s ability to draw down carbon, as well as safeguarding biodiversity, food security, and water supply. Ensure the sector can support affected and at-risk communities in resilience building and adaptation.

 

How are our tours currently environmentally conscious and sustainable? 

  • We have identified and implemented measures to reduce the environmental and social impacts of our tours/activities:

    • We only offer walking tours, a sustainable option which means we do not output any vehicle emissions into the atmosphere or contribute to vehicle congestion in any location, only creating a small ecological footprint.

    • The health benefits of walking include cardiovascular fitness, increased muscle strength and reduced stress and anxiety. 

    • By ensuring we employ diverse, local and knowledgeable guides, we promote inclusivity in all of our actions and enable customers to develop an authentic connection with (and respect for) each location.

 

How is our company environmentally conscious and sustainable? 

  • We are currently in the process of gathering information on how many of our guides walk/cycle to work. Currently, both directors walk or cycle to work at least 80% of the time they travel to work.

  • The company offers remote working for administration and management, this small change can help to reduce the company’s overall carbon footprint.

  • We work alongside and donate to local charities, campaigns and businesses within the community, including locally owned restaurants and printing services etc.

  • We actively engage within the Glasgow Circular Economy to understand the transition from linear to circular economy and the way we produce and consume. In a circular economy, resources are recycled in a continuous system instead of being sent to landfill. We have registered for the Glasgow Circular Network to connect, collaborate and learn alongside other local businesses.

What are the challenges?

  • We have identified challenges to small business sustainability:

    • Lack of finance and the time to implement changes. 

    • Deciding which sustainability initiatives make sense for the company and which initiatives to prioritise.

    • Educating customers about the benefits of purchasing products/services from a sustainable business.

 

What are we doing to become more sustainable?

  • Through the development of this statement, we are acknowledging the need to hold ourselves accountable. 

  • We have signed The Glasgow Declaration, a global climate initiative which will begin at COP 26 in November. By signing, we have commited to reduce tourism emissions by delivering a climate action plan within 12 months and implementing this. We commit to report publicly, progress against short and long-term targets, as well as the actions being taken, at least annually. https://www.oneplanetnetwork.org/sustainable-tourism/glasgow-declaration 

  • We are in the process of preparing for a review of our current sustainability initiatives and have identified areas for improvement, using ‘The Green Check Action Plan’, with the aim of earning an eco credential by 2022. https://www.green-tourism.com/about-us 

  • We have signed Climate Scotland’s petition for the protection of Scotland’s natural environment, alongside 6,272 other businesses, to send a message to world leaders at the COP 26. https://climatescotland.org/our-mission/ 

  • We are in the process of gathering data to understand how our employees commute to work and management will continue to enable, encourage and exemplify sustainable modes of transport including walking, cycling and use of public transport.

 

How can we build upon our sustainability strategy?

We recognise that some areas of our company are not fully sustainable and are taking steps to resolve this by:

  • Seeking out specialist training to ensure our company is up to date with current legislation, technology and areas for improvements.

    • This includes aligning our company with legislation which commits Scotland to reduce emissions by 75% at minimum by 2030 with the aim of reducing emissions to net-zero by 2045.

  • Being more vocal and transparent about our ‘green measures’ with our online community and promoting these more regularly. 

    • This includes using our social media to promote engagement on critical issues, sharing data about our company initiatives and sharing our company’s sustainability plan, to make us publicly accountable.


 

How can you be more sustainable?

 

We hope that you will join us, to ensure that Scotland continues to thrive as a beautiful, unique location. You can do this by:

 

  • Committing to ‘Scotland’s Responsible Tourism Promise’, which includes guidelines to help you respect Scotland’s landscapes and communities. https://www.visitscotland.com/responsible-tourism-promise/ 

  • Becoming one of the 10,000 voices needed in the Climate Scotland campaign, to take the issue to COP 26. https://climatescotland.org/  

  • Supporting the local economy and gaining a more authentic sense of the location by using more sustainable ‘slow travel’ e.g train and public transport/walking to the start location of our tours, when possible.

 

This statement was prepared on Tuesday 5th October, 2021. It was last updated on Monday 18th October 2021 and will be reviewed on a yearly basis. As part of our ongoing efforts to make our company more sustainable, we will aim to resolve the areas mentioned above by October 2022.