Advantage Group Sustainability Policy

This document will be reviewed every year

Advantage Sustainability

1.   Vision/Mission/Company Ethos

Advantage Group is aware that its business activities impact upon the environment and we are committed to alleviating those negative impacts as we believe in creating events that not only meet the needs of our clients but also align with our responsibility towards the environment and society.

We are recognised by the Business Tourism Unit of Fáilte Ireland as a Professional Conference Organiser (PCO) and as a Destination Management Company (DMC). We aim to make our unique events more sustainable and collaborate with suppliers to foster positive change.

We want to ensure our events respect and benefit the host destinations by collaborating with local communities. This includes supporting local businesses, engaging in cultural exchanges, and respecting local customs.

We are committed to organizing impactful events that not only leave lasting memories for our clients but also contribute positively to the environment and local communities.

2.   UNWTO Definition

At Advantage group, we believe that sustainable tourism is tourism that takes full account of its current and future economic, social, and environmental impacts while addressing the needs of visitors, the industry, the environment, and host communities (UNWTO, n.d.). We therefore aim to reduce our negative effects and increase our positive impacts.

3.   Continuous Improvement

Sustainability is a journey of continuous improvement, and we are aware that we have a lot to learn. So far, we have joined Business for Biodiversity, Positive Impact Events and Sustainable Tourism Network Ireland to stay informed and further our efforts with their guidance. We have already reduced our energy consumption, but we would like to find a way to measure effectively and reduce our overall footprints and those of our clients’ as well as work with more sustainability accredited suppliers.

4.  Measuring and Reducing Negative Impacts

4a. Energy Consumption

We have installed sensors to reduce the electricity use from lights in the kitchen and bathrooms, and our electricity is produced from 77% renewable sources. We aim to switch to a 100% green energy provider by the end 2024. We commit to measuring our electricity consumption every 2 months and switch off appliances such as monitors, computers and printers when not in use as well as ensuring all our lights are LEDs. We have already reduced our energy consumption by 10% from 2022 to 2023 and aim to reduce this by a further 5% by the end of 2024.

4b. Water Consumption

To reduce our water usage, we collect our dishes and wash them all together at the end of the day. We encourage staff and clients to use reusable water bottles and will provide an online map of refill stations around Ireland for our clients. We aim to reduce our water consumption by 5% by the end of 2024. We plan to reduce the amount of water in the cisterns by using a toilet bag and install aerators to all water taps. We will check and record our water consumption on a monthly basis.

4c. WasteProduction

We aim to regularly measure our waste production and review this data every quarter as we aim to reduce our waste by 20% within 1 year (end of 2024). To reduce our waste usage, we make sure to recycle items properly ensuring they’re clean/dry and we will invest in compostable bin bags for our office. Our toilet paper (recycled) and kitchen roll (bamboo blend) are from “Who Gives A Crap”, who are B-Corp certified for environmental impact, commit to carbon neutral shipping and donate 50% of their profits to water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) impact partners via their foundation. We are working towards implementing a ‘zero single-use plastic’ policy within the next 12 months.

We encourage our clients to use recycled and reusable lanyards as well as paper name badges without plastic pockets. We will inform hotels when groups do not need breakfast to avoid food waste and ask them to use minimal packaging where takeaway meals are required. We will encourage participants to use reusable bottles  and provide a map of stations, but where plastic bottles are used on coaches, we will ensure they are collected and recycled as part of the Re-Turn scheme in Ireland. We use certified printing paper and have a No Printing Policy.

5.   Ethical Purchasing

When purchasing goods, we are committed to working with other accredited suppliers where possible, and always consider sustainable products and recycled/recyclable packaging. We work with local (within Ireland) suppliers and small businesses in Ireland, this can contribute positively to our practice and we also support traditional practices by hiring local musicians and guides. We look out for products with Eco labels.

6.   Carbon Management

We aim to measure our carbon footprint on a yearly basis. We will then invest into improvements for our office to reduce our future footprint where possible (e.g. by installing LED lighting) and offset our currently unavoidable emissions. We will partner with Climate Partner to offset our emissions. Overall, we aim to reduce our carbon footprint by 10% by the end of 2025.

We are testing ways to measure and record our clients’ footprints effectively as this varies for events. But to reduce their footprint, we are partnering with transport companies that are compliant with the ‘Euro’ emission standards, group transfers to reduce the overall number of vehicles required, and encourage clients to walk where possible as well as offering plant-based menus and local, seasonal foods.

7.   Responsible Sustainability Marketing

At Advantage Group we commit to marketing our services ethically by communicating honestly and openly about our efforts and improvements and giving preference to digital channels over printed materials.

8.   Social Responsibility

As we are aware that tourism activities can have a negative impact on local communities, we aim to give back to our local community by supporting a regional charity and actively participating in litter picking in our area with the SDCC. When clients are visiting, we ensure to engage local guides and incorporate food and drink stops at local businesses.

9.   Supporting Biodiversity & Conservation

While we are unable to change the outside of our office, we want to support our team’s biodiversity actions, and every permanent staff member receives a bird box to hang in their garden or on their balcony. We also aim to educate our clients about the Irish flora and fauna by suggesting to include visits to biodiversity projects/activities during their time in Ireland. We will join the All-Ireland Pollinator Plan by the end of 2024.

Signed by:

Ronan Flood, Managing Director, Date 16/05/23 , Marta Kulis, Head of Sustainability, Date 16/05/23