Powerscourt House & Gardens Sustainability Policy
Powerscourt House & Gardens to be known as one of Ireland’s most iconic sustainable visitor attractions, which is recognised on a global stage as a place of immense beauty and biodiversity. A pioneer on sustainability & nature-centered initiatives, experiences, and communications – where nature thrives and is protected for the enjoyment of everyone.
Our Mission – Business sustainable mission
To be known both nationally and internationally as Ireland’s premier sustainable visitor attraction. Where we will deliver a “fairer and greener” attraction experience by reducing our overall environmental impact. Our long-term mission is for Powerscourt Estate to be Net Zero by 2025. We strive to be an inspiration and benchmark for other attractions worldwide.
Sustainability is a journey of continuous improvement, and we are aware that we have a lot to learn. So far, we have taken many steps on this journey through our energy and biodiversity management and the award-winning outreach and educational aspects of the business. We will continue to learn and engage with all stakeholders including our visitors to ensure our tourism business is an ecosystem for learning, change and importantly action.
The appreciation of the wonder and beauty of nature is central to everything we do at Powerscourt. Our sustainability slogan (Working with Nature) encapsulates our ethos and driving force. We believe that providing our guests with an awe-inspiring outdoor space, creating nature-based media communications, initiatives & experiences and providing educational outreach through “Rewrite Climate” (formerly known as Cool Planet) will help our visitors reconnect with nature and hopefully inspire them to want to protect the natural world.
We aim to demonstrate this commitment to incorporate sustainability into everything we do – through addressing key areas within our business where we can have the most impact.
6 Pillars of Impact:
1. Resource Management
2. Habitat Management: Biodiversity
3. Purchasing & Suppliers
4. Climate Change & Carbon Offsetting
5. Responsible Sustainability Marketing
6. Social Responsibility: Education, People & Community
Pillar 1: Resource Management:
1.A Energy Consumption:
• We commit to upgrading our current Building Management System (BMS) to a more integrated Energy Management System (Clarity System in 2022) which allows for the measurement and monitoring of all types of energy use.
• We commit to conducting an energy audit through SEAI by January 2022 and to reducing our energy consumption by at least 10% by the end of 2023.
– Our goal is for Powerscourt Estate to be Net Zero by end of 2025.
• We commit to creating monthly energy management reports as part of an overall monthly sustainability report.
1.B Water Consumption:
• We commit to promoting sustainable water management onsite and to measuring our water consumption in a systematic way on a weekly and monthly basis.
• We commit to minimising our use of mains treated water by identifying, mapping, and resolving any leakages in pipes.
• We commit to reducing water consumption by at least 10% by the end of 2025.
• We commit to creating monthly water management reports as part of an overall monthly sustainability report.
1.C Waste Production:
• We commit to increase the amount of waste being recycled and composted onsite, and to reduce the amount of single use plastic generated by changing waste service provider by November 2021.
• We commit to reducing the general waste produced per visitor by at least 10% by the end of 2023, and to have the majority of our waste onsite at the House, Gardens & Waterfall recycled and composted by the end of 2025.
• We commit to creating monthly waste management reports as part of an overall monthly sustainability report.
Pillar 2: Habitat management (Biodiversity)
• We commit to continue to manage and enhance biodiversity and ecosystem services across Powerscourt through habitat management.
• We commit to implementing a Rewilding Program to include designated wildflower meadow areas (e.g. carpark 3m Perennial Wild Flower Meadow with Native species) and Rewilding Areas (e.g. Beech Avenue, Sensory Bee Sanctuary – Walled Garden) on the Estate and in the gardens to promote biodiversity by the end of 2022.
• We commit to working with key environmental and biodiversity partners – such as pollinators.ie, Birds Bees & Native Trees, Leave No Trace, Seed Savers.ie and Grow It Yourself (GIY). We selected “Gaelic Woodland Project” as one of the biodiversity initiatives to support for 2022 following a full assessment of best suited projects.
• We commit to implementing a tree planting program, by planting over 200 trees per year on the Estate for the next 10 years from 2022. These will include specimen trees and native species. Tree management and tree planting has been central to Powerscourt Estate for over 300 years (with recording of woodland & forestry within the last 300 years).
• We commit to complying with, relevant laws and regulations concerning captive wildlife.
• We commit that no historical or archaeological artefacts are sold, traded, or displayed, except as permitted by law onsite.
• We commit to creating Quarterly biodiversity update reports as part of our overall sustainability reports.
Pillar 3: Ethical Purchasing
• We commit to creating an Ethical Purchasing Policy document and to engaging all retailers and tenants in Powerscourt House to agree commitment to the policy by the end of June 2023.
• We will reduce our paper use for marketing material to 80% by 2023. The 20% differential is necessary for accessibility reasons and will be printed only on FSC or recycled paper.
• We commit to reducing paper use in the business by 80% by the end of 2025.
• We will promote sustainability through our supply chain by examination of what and how we currently purchase onsite, and by working with key suppliers to provide transparency on their sourcing and supply chains.
Pillar 4: Climate Change & Carbon Offsetting
• We aim for Powerscourt Estate to be Net Zero by the end of 2025, and we also work with offsetting partners (in developing countries & locally in future) to offset our emissions.
• We will offset any carbon emissions by working with offsetting partners (current partner South Pole) and continue to plant trees at Powerscourt (currently we have over 400 acres of tree cover on the Estate). We will plant over 200 trees every year for the next 10 years.
• We will introduce EV charging stations onsite by the end of 2022 to encourage visitors to use electric vehicles to minimise their carbon footprint.
• We aim to transition garden equipment to electric powered by the end of 2023, and most garden utility vehicles to be electric powered by the end of 2024.
• We commit to installing Solar PV (generate 150kW based on maximum available roof space) by the end of 2023, which will support EV chargers onsite*.
Pillar 5: Responsible Sustainability Marketing
• We know we can’t always get things right first time. We therefore commit to honestly communicating where we are on our journey and our improvements.
• We commit to creating thought-provoking engaging communications and experiences which will inform visitors on the importance of protecting the natural world.
• We commit to actively collaborate and partner with a broad spectrum of organisations both internationally & locally to work collectively for the better good.
• We strive to always adopt an inclusive, open, and fair approach in our dealings and communication with people (staff, public, business, organisations, media partners).
• We will educate children and young people through “Rewrite Climate” and other seasonal programs and experiences.
• We are committed to creating nature-based experiences at Powerscourt such as nature poetry events, and nature-centred seasonal festivals (Harvest & Imbolc festivals) to encourage people to connect with nature.
Pillar 6: Social Responsibility
• We support our local community by ensuring local events and nature related events take place at our venue, for example recent events include our “Poetry in Bloom” initiative and a Nature Poetry reading at Powerscourt for the Shaking Bog Festival.
• We promote regional and local economic sustainability through use of local suppliers for any events or experiences we have at the House and Gardens.
• We promote regional and local economic sustainability through our membership of the “Wicklow Naturally” food Network.
• Promote health and wellbeing of staff at work through a wellness support programme.
• Bring all our staff onboard with our sustainability journey through internal communication, staff newsletter, upskilling and training in sustainable business practices.
We welcome all feed-back on Powerscourt’s Sustainability Plans & Policies.
There are x2 ways that you can feed-back.
• Call into reception at Powerscourt and fill out a visitor & sustainability Feedback form.
• Send feedback in an email with a subject line “Powerscourt sustainability” to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Statement on Reporting & Governance
Monthly sustainability meetings will take place the last Thursday of every month. Each Green team manager will bring their updated reports to the meeting. The monthly reports will detail environmental management progress in terms of our sustainability policy and overall goals.
An Annual Sustainability Review Meeting will take place the end of March every year as part of the annual financial review. An Annual Sustainability Report and the sustainability results for the year will be included in the annual financial review.
***Decrease paper use in promotional material by using digital channels, onsite signage for >80% of marketing. When printed material is needed, it is printed on recycled, FSC certified paper only. This will be achieved by the end of 2023.