During the accreditation assessment grading, the College was scored across ten different categories to judge its green credentials – from the use of environmentally-friendly paper, cleaning products and toiletries to the provision of gardens with trees and plants to encourage wildlife and insects.
The Assessor highlighted a number of areas of excellence including the Howard Theatre as a sustainable conference venue with its ground source heat pump, solar thermal array and toilets fed by rainwater.
Also commended was the excellent adoption of low energy lighting throughout the accommodation, the use of good local, organic, vegetarian and Fair Trade food options used in catering and the provision of electric vehicle charge points on site. Green management and communication scores were also strong with continuous monitoring of utilities and water and significant engagement with the local community.
Eleanor Pratt, Green Tourism Assessor said: “Downing College has done exceptionally well to enter the Green Tourism Business Scheme with the prestigious Gold Award and the Conference Team should be congratulated for engaging so fully with sustainability issues on the site.”
The Green Tourism Business Scheme is the largest and most established sustainable grading programme in the world. With over 2,000 members in the UK, Ireland and Canada, it offers credible, trustworthy, independent guidance to tourism businesses wishing to operate sustainably.
Caption: L-R: Toby Ware, Deputy Head Gardener; Dale Curry, Head Gardener; Jacqui Cressey, Conference Services Manager and Dick Taplin, Junior Bursar.