A lovely piece of good new arrived last week – we have been selected for the finals of the Cornwall Tourism Awards. We are in the category of ‘Responsible, Ethical and Sustainable Tourism’ – a bit of a mouthful, but this is particularly fantastic for us as we have built our business around these principles.
It can be quite bewildering at times – constantly trying to asses and make the right decisions. Many products look great – ethical and sustainable at first glance, but dig a little deeper and things are not always what they seem. Of course, we can all do better, and the argument is that we have to start somewhere, but many companies are seeing the potential £££ signs, by just putting ‘sustainable’ or ‘eco’ or ‘ethical’ onto a product. For us, it is also about accountability; can we say we’re sustainable if we are buying things from a company that causes pollution, doesn’t look after its workers, chucks its rubbish anywhere….. so it can be exhausting quite frankly, and most busy people don’t have time to worry about s there are more immediate things to concentrate on.
So we are trying to really follow these threads through – not always with success (we are definitely not saints in this at all!), but at least we can share with our guests what we have discovered, and that may eventually help them make more ethical and sustainable choices.
We’ve had quite a bit of time to think about these things during the last year – of lockdowns, and winter closure – for me its about not buying for the sake of it, which is too easy when you see a bargain! How many jumpers/books do we need? So I’m trying to buy either from charity shops (which are closed at the moment), or from ‘B Corps’ companies, which is more expensive, but they can be repaired, so last longer. For those of you not familiar with the B Corps regime – it is a very rigorous audit programme in which a company as to demonstrate its sustainability over every single thing it does from powering its factories/offices to its supply chain and traceability. Then it could be about sharing things, or passing them on, mending where possible. There is a Japanese custom of Kintsugi and that is about mending, repairing and seeing the beauty in objects that are well worn and loved. China is often repaired with gold leaf, so that the crack becomes part of the design.
Most of the crockery in the Barn Owl/Meeting Room comes from charity shops or gifts from the community. It doesn’t all match, but there is nothing wrong with it, and we saved not only money, but yet more ‘stuff’ by choosing this option.
I probably spend far too much time agonising over this, but for us it is important to be able to make the right choices or make mistakes – so that we can pass our findings onto the next person…
We are joined in the finals by some very experienced and knowledgeable companies, so we feel very privileged to be included! We’ll let you know how we get on!