Pembrokeshire's Bluestone National Park Resort discusses its sustainability journey and the steps taken for a circular economy approach to business.
Business News Wales spoke with Marten Lewis, Head of Corporate Responsibility at Bluestone National Park Resort about the park’s sustainability journey and the processes its put in place to support a more circular economy approach to doing business.
The Bluestone approach
With 150,000 guests a year, 750 staff and turnover of over £30 million, Bluestone is one of the biggest tourism businesses in Wales. And as befitting a company based in Pembrokeshire’s famous national park, they’re also one of the country’s most progressive businesses when it comes to sustainability.
With over 300 lodges across the resort, as a well as a pool complex, spa and waterplay attraction, Bluestone has a significant demand for water.
To help conserve a precious natural resource, Bluestone developed a network of smart sub-meters to keep close track of water use and identify potential savings. Another key initiative was the fitting of aerators to almost 500 showers, halving water use in the accommodation and saving around £58,000 a year in energy costs. Meanwhile, the huge Serendome was designed and built to capture and use rainwater for irrigation. To top things off, Bluestone has its own water treatment works.
Did you know that Bluestone was the first business in the world to recycle nappies? How about that they were the first resort in the UK to stop selling water in plastic bottles? They have also been diverting their black bag waste away from landfill since 2017.
Food waste is a topic of discussion for any business, and Bluestone have ensured the optimal solution for theirs. All 80 tonnes a year of it is taken to a nearby anaerobic digestion facility, where it is turned into green energy and organic fertliiser for local farmers. Additionally, every year around 8000 litres of used cooking oil is sent to be made into biodiesel.
The Blue Lagoon waterpark is believed to be the first facility of its kind heated with locally-sourced biomass rather than oil, saving well over 1000 tonnes of CO²e a year. Indoor recreation centre The Hive and 60 lodges are also heated with biomass, all from within 30 miles of the resort. The company pays a substantial premium for carbon-free REGO-backed electricity and in 2022, Bluestone became the first hospitality business in Wales to switch its gas supply to 100% biopropane, made from plant and vegetable waste. Progress to electrify their entire 25-vehicle fleet by the end of 2024 is also well-advanced.
Through these and other initiatives, Bluestone has reduced Scope 1 and 2 emissions by around 90% from a 2018 baseline.
Bluestone spends around £3 million with local suppliers every year and works closely with them to help analyse and reduce the carbon emissions associated with the provision of goods and services. The company has also embedded principles of the circular economy into its strategies and processes and has developed partnerships with a range of community organisations in order to give items like furniture, white goods and clothing a new lease of useful life.
To address the lack of public transport in the area, Bluestone has partnered with Narberth Travel to operate a fleet of buses, providing free staff transport to and from work. Bluestone is working closely with Pembrokeshire County Council to trial an extension to an existing bus service which now stops at the resort twice a day, with a view to more services if successful, and have contributed £60,000 to the cost of a multi-user path from Narberth to Slebech.
Bluestone has a staff car sharing group on its company App. The resort itself is car-free, with electric buggies available for guests to hire. Ten new electric car chargers have just been installed, with ten more planned for 2023.