How do we define sustainability? 

“Tourism that takes full account of its current and future economic, social and environmental impacts, addressing the needs of visitors, the industry, the environment and host communities." — The World Tourism Organization

The Coast & Country project is dedicated to establishing a sustainable, inclusive and accessible tourist economy that benefits both residents and visitors while preserving our valuable natural environment. By collaborating, we aim to create a positive impact.

Why sustainability matters for your business

The expectations of customers, providers, and the local community for businesses to be sustainable and inclusive have never been higher. By implementing effective practices, you can help create a future of sustainable tourism and protect the region's natural beauty for generations to come.  By being part of the change, your business will benefit. 

Just some of the benefits include:

  • Future proofing your business. 
  • Reducing operating costs by using local businesses and alternative energy supplies.
  • Contributing to wider climate action.
  • Meeting tour operator and investor demands.
  • Fulfilling the evolving requirements of customers.
  • Improved staff satisfaction and retention.
  • Being a positive part of the community by providing benefits for residents and improving quality of life for everyone. 

Environmental awareness

The following are some ideas that you can use in your business to make the difference: 

  • Measure and reduce your carbon footprint – use one of our recommended calculators to measure your carbon footprint and look at simple, cost-effective ways to reduce it.  By reducing energy consumption, you will not only be saving money but also making a major contribution to reducing greenhouse gas emissions and securing the future of our planet.
  • Make a carbon action plan – even small businesses can make a big difference by considering the environmental impact of their practices.  As well as helping to reduce overheads, consumers are increasingly attracted to businesses which have a strong environmental ethos, and there’s significant evidence that it also helps with staff satisfaction and retention.  
  • Become a leader in environmentally responsible tourism by adopting the Glasgow Declaration, produced by the UN World Tourism Organisation as part of COP26.  You can find out more about the Glasgow Declaration here:
  • Reduce energy use – small changes in business practices can make a huge difference to your energy consumption.  Think about using thermostats to regulate temperature, invest in technology like light sensors and LED lighting. Check the carbon footprint of items like freezers.  An infra-red camera test can help assess if your premises are losing unnecessary heat and could benefit from insulation. 
  • Alternative Energy —install alternative energy sources to reduce reliance on conventional options. Solar panels or wind turbines may be a great option for your business, reducing your energy bills while at the same time making a significant difference to greenhouse gas emissions.  Or you could choose a green energy supplier that uses 100% renewable energy.  There are a growing number of providers on the market. 
  • Signage — promote energy and water conservation with clear signs.
  • Reduce, Reuse, Recycle — eliminate single-use plastic, use recycled paper and biodegradable bags to minimize ecological footprint.  As well as 
  • Water Conservation – collect rainwater for watering green areas and implement water-saving initiatives such as small shower heads, dual-flush toilet cisterns and air-assisted self-closing shower valves.
  • Minimise Food Waste – measure how much food you throw away and think creatively about how you can manage stocks and use leftovers to create tasty additions to your menu.
  • Compost – by creating a composting facility on site you can significantly reduce the amount of waste going into landfill while providing excellent fertilizer for any green areas. 
  • Kinder Products — opt for environmentally friendly options where possible. 
  • Encourage Biodiversity —nurture trees and flowers through an environmental planting plan to encourage growth of new species. Provide bird boxes, feeding tables and handmade homes for insects, repurpose the waste from tree pruning by chipping and use in place of chemical weed control.
  • Brand Awareness — stock sustainability conscious brands, prioritise plastic-free alternatives with limited packaging that are organic or that support sustainable charities.
  • Shop Local — support responsible local growers and producers for a shorter supply chain.
  • Work Together — become involved in local biodiversity plans, such as the 14000 tree project, and collaborate with conservation organisations.
  • Electric Charging Points — implement access to these where possible on site.
  • Educate Visitors – help visitors to adopt sustainable practices by making it easy for them to recycle and reduce energy use.  Provide clear information about public transport and active transport options. 

Help lead the way to a more sustainable future

Do you want to learn more? Watch the recording of our exciting Tourism Sustainability webinar held in June 2023 with The Travel Foundation and discover how you can adopt practices to gain a competitive advantage. Join us in transforming East Devon into a sustainable tourism leader and let's future proof our community together!

Other businesses across East Devon are already innovating for sustainability.  Check out our Changemaker Champions pages for some inspiration.  Or you can watch our video showcasing positive practices, here. [Link to sustainability video – or will that be at the top of the page.]

Get involved

Calling all local businesses with a sustainable mindset! If you are innovating to promote environmental best practices, inclusivity and community cohesion, we would love to hear from you. Become a Changemaker Champion and get featured on the newly launched tourism websites for Sidmouth, Budleigh Salterton, Seaton, Honiton and Ottery St. Mary. Join countless other businesses and be a part of the success that Visit Sidmouth achieved with over 1.5 million page views in 2022!