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EarthCheck Endorsed By Queensland Government For Ecotourism Plan

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Queensland-based international leaders in sustainable destinations and ecotourism, EarthCheck, have received an endorsement from the Queensland Government as certifiers of ecotourism products and operations.

The Queensland Department of National Parks, Sport and Racing (NPSR) has endorsed EarthCheck’s Evaluate and Certified programs, which will be available with additional mandatory and optional criteria specific to operations with a Queensland National Park environment. EarthCheck is used globally in more than 70 countries by more than 1,400 tourism operators as evidence of best practice eco and nature based tourism.

Commercial tourism operators running tours, accommodation and other experiences in Queensland’s national parks can now have their sustainability achievements and practices recognised through EarthCheck programs.

EarthCheck founder and CEO Mr Stewart Moore said EarthCheck offered tourism operators transparent and scientific assessment of their environmental and social sustainability endeavours and opportunities comparative to industry best practice.

“Queensland’s national parks are among the best-managed natural environments on the planet, and we are thrilled at the prospect of working closely with Queensland businesses to improve eco- and nature based tourism operations in our home state,” Mr Moore said.

Mr Moore said EarthCheck’s scientific systems are globally recognised for their integrity, transparency and scientific rigour.

“Our operational data helps the tourism industry develop performance and opportunity reports outlining energy consumption, carbon footprinting, social initiatives, and business viability,” he said.

“Tourism operations who display the EarthCheck brand can clearly demonstrate their environmental and social performance, achieve savings through more efficient use of natural resources and provide confidence for both consumers and park managers,” he said.

Mr Moore said EarthCheck was already working closely with a wide number of leading eco-tourism and nature based operators in Australia including the award-winning Skyrail Rainforest Cableway which has been a member of the EarthCheck program for over 12 years.

The EarthCheck program helps operators to measure their operational footprint and compare their performance with best practice standards specific to quality, environment, occupational health and safety, risk management and corporate social reporting.

“As part of our commitment to maintaining endorsement from NPSR, EarthCheck will continuously review and update mandatory and optional criteria for EarthCheck Certification to assist tourism operators in improving their sustainability performance,” Mr Moore said.

EarthCheck Certified Case study: Skyrail Rainforest Cableway, Cairns

National Park area: Barron Gorge National Park

Years benchmarking environmental footprint through EarthCheck Certified: 12

Major achievements: 80 per cent reduction in water use, 14 per cent reduction in electricity use and 10 per cent reduction in waste sent to landfill.

Noteworthy initiatives:

· The area where the Skyrail Cableway is now located used to be a cane farm so there has been a planting program in place to plant native species around the property. A plant nursery has been put in place to assist in the propagation of native species for the property.

· Students have the opportunity to plant a rainforest tree in an area of Skyrail tenure set aside for conservation – the naturelink corridor.

· The Skyrail Rainforest Foundation has been established with the primary objective of raising and distributing funds to support tropical rainforest research and education projects.

· Skyrail Rainforest Foundation is also supported in part by a percentage of all gift shop sales donated to fund research for Tropical rainforest habitats.

· Rainwater harvesting, use of solar panels and solar lighting.

Environment

4 Common Items That Can be Reused Again and Again

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As a society we are getting much better at taking our obligations to the world and environment around us more seriously. This is undoubtedly a good thing! The effects of climate change are beginning to manifest across the world, and this is turning the issue from an abstract threat into a very real danger. Trying to introduce some greener, more eco-friendly practices into your life isn’t just a great way of doing something beneficial for society and the world around you. It is a wonderful way of engaging positively with the world and carries with it numerous psychological benefits.

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Being a greener, more ecologically friendly person doesn’t require any dramatic life changes. Breaking or making a few small habits is all it takes to make your life a greener one. In this article we look at one of the easiest, yet most effective green practices to get into: reusing everyday items.

Jars and Containers

Glass and metal are widely recycled, and recycling is a good thing! However, consider whether any containers you buy, whether it’s a tub of ice cream or a jar of coffee, can be washed out and reused for something else. Mason jars, for example, can be used to store homemade pasta sauce and can be washed for future use. Once you start thinking about it, you will find endless opportunities to reuse your old containers.

Soda Bottles

An ice-cold soda is a wonderful treat on a hot day, but buying soda can get expensive, and the manufacturing and distribution of the drinks themselves isn’t great for the environment. However, by holding on to your old soda bottles and repurposing them as water bottles, you can save money on drinks, or use them to measure out water for your garden.

Plastic Bags

Most of the time groceries come in paper bags, which are better for the environment than the plastic alternatives, but they are less durable and thus harder to reuse. Whenever the store places your items in a plastic bag, hang onto it so you can reuse the bags again. If you want to take it one step further, consider looking into buying some personalized recycled bags. These bags are designed to last for a long time and are made of recycled materials. They look striking and unique, they’ll turn heads, and maybe even attitudes!

Seeds

If you’re a keen gardener, then you will already probably know how to reseed your plants in order to ensure a fresh crop after each plant’s lifecycle. If you have space in your garden, or haven’t yet tried your hand at gardening, then consider planting a small vegetable plot. Growing your own veggies means that you’ll be helping to cut back on the emissions generated by their transport and production. The best part about growing your own food in this way is that, by harvesting properly and saving the seeds, you can be set up with fresh vegetables for life!

Reusing and recycling common household items is an easy way to make your world a little bit greener. Once you start looking for these opportunities you’ll realize that they’re everywhere!

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Environment

These 5 Green Office Mistakes Are Costing You Money

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The sudden interest in green business is very encouraging. According to recent reports, 42% of all companies have rated sustainability as an important element of their business. Unfortunately, the focus on sustainability will only last if companies can find ways to use it to boost their ROI.

Many businesses get so caught up in being socially conscious that they hope the financial aspect of it takes care of itself. The good news is that there are plenty of ways to go green and boost your net income at the same time.

Here are some important mistakes that you will want to avoid.

Only implementing sustainability on micro-scale

The biggest reason that brands are going green is to improve their optics with their customers. Too many businesses are making very minor changes, such as processing paperwork online and calling themselves green.

Customers have become wary of these types of companies. If you want to earn their business, you are going to need to go all the way. Bring in a green business consultant and make every feasible change to demonstrate that you are a green organization from top to bottom.

Not prioritizing investments by long-term ROI

It isn’t realistic to build an entirely green organization overnight. You will need to allocate your capital wisely.

Before investing in any green assets or services, you should always conduct a long-term cost benefit analysis. The initial investment for some green services may be over $20,000. If they don’t shave your cost by at least $3,000 a year, they probably aren’t worth the investment.

Determine which green investments will have the best pay off over the next 10 years. Make these investments before anything else. Then compare your options within each of those categories.

Implementing green changes without a plan

Effective, long-term planning is the key to business success. This principle needs to be applied to green organizations as well.

Before implementing a green strategy, you must answer the following questions:

  • How will I communicate my green business philosophy to my customers?
  • How will running a green business affect my revenue stream?
  • How will adopting green business strategies change my monthly expenses? Will they increase or decrease them?
  • How will my company finance green upgrades and other investments?

The biggest mistake that too many green businesses make is being overly optimistic with these forecasts. Take the time to collect objective data and make your decisions accordingly. This will help you run a much more profitable green business.

Not considering the benefits of green printing

Too many companies believe that going paperless is the only way to run a green organization. Unfortunately, going 100% paperless it’s not feasible for most companies.

Rather than aim for an unrealistic goal, consider the option of using a more environmentally friendly printer. It won’t be perfect, but it will be better than the alternative.

According to experts from Doranix, environmental printers have several benefits:

  • They can process paper that has been completely recycled.
  • They consume less energy than traditional printers.
  • They use ink that is more environmentally friendly.

You want to take a look at different green printers and compare them. You’ll find that some will meet your needs as a green business.

Poorly communicating your green business strategy to customers

Brand positioning doesn’t happen on its own. If you want to run a successful green business, you must communicate your message to customers as clearly as possible. You must also avoid the appearance that you are patronizing them.

The best approach is to be clear when you were first making the change. I’ll make an announcement about your company‘s commitment to sustainability.

You also want to reinforce this message overtime by using green labels on all of your products. You don’t have to be blatant with your messaging at this stage. Simply provide a small, daily reminder on your products and invoices.

Finally, it is a good idea to participate in green business seminars and other events. If your community has a local Green Chamber of Commerce, you should consider joining as well.

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