GLOBAL ACTION PLAN
The Global Action Plan (GAP) EcoSaver Programme has traditionally helped householders investigate and implement changes to their lives that will save them money and reduce some of the negative effects that a modern lifestyle can have upon the environment. Cork Environmental Forum has been delivering the programme in Cork City and County since 2003, in that time 942 people have participated in the programmes. A GAP for Guesthouses programme was piloted with the support of Cork County Council in 2013 and CEF was successful in 2014 to win a tender through West Cork Development Partnership to provide environmental best practice training for accommodation providers based on the global action plan for guesthouses model. Currently CEF is developing a GAP Greener Workplace package.
GAP GREENER LIVING
The programme consists of 6 meetings that cover the topics of waste, water, energy, transport, consumerism and community.
During the course of the programme participants identify money saving, eco friendly actions and try the actions out at home. Typical actions taken might be to purchase a compost bin, not flush the toilet if only tissue paper has gone into it and to turn appliances off rather that leaving them on standby. The team leader offers support to participants between meetings and assists them with the actions they have decided to take. This formula of giving information during the meetings and encouraging participants to take relevant actions between the meetings has proved a very successful way of initiating long-term lifestyle changes. The supportive team atmosphere created at the meetings is undoubtedly a large factor in this success.
The meetings are lively and enjoyable and the actions are all simple, GAP just helps participants get into the routine of doing them. By coming on a GAP programme they discover that eco friendly is also economical and that it is easy and fun.
The fact that GAP facilitates permanent changes in the attitudes and actions of the participants coupled with the encouragement for them to become team leaders has been shown to make GAP a highly cost effective programme. GAP has also been shown to have a positive effect on participation levels in other community activities.
GAP FOR GUESTHOUSES
Developed with support of Cork County Council and West Cork Development Partnership GAP for Guesthouses is a programme developed for Guesthouse and B&B owners offering them practical tips and advice to aid them in becoming more environmentally aware as well as helping them to cut down on cost primarily in areas of waste, water and energy.
Guesthouses are to an extent a larger version of a household. To date three programmes have been provided to proprietors since the Spring 2013 in Clonakilty, Skibbereen and Bandon.
Longer Term Impact
The programme is a practical and positive approach to developing easy to implement solutions in some of the areas which are the biggest costs for accommodation providers, especially energy and water.
- The Programme helps accommodation providers to investigate and implement simple positive changes to their accommodation business.
- The changes result in resource efficiency that will save them money and reduce some of the negative effects on the environment.
- Customers are increasingly choosing sustainable hospitality services that include accommodation. Accommodation providers undertaking the course receive a Certificate acknowledging their participation which can be displayed in their premises.
- Guesthouses can apply the Green Tick stickers for lights and appliances if they wish.
- The course provides a valuable networking opportunity, many participating in the course mention the isolation of operating such businesses and helps build a relationship between these providers who can work together in the future on common goals.
- The course helps to focus businesses to work on common challenges in relation to transport and in promoting the region as an eco-tourism destination.
- It is hoped that this programme will assist businesses to engage in the larger national programmes such as the Green Hospitality Programme.
GAP GREENER WORKPLACE
This is very much in an initial phase and has just been piloted with an IT company in City Gate, Mahon Point, Cork in May 2014 as part of their workplace sustainability week where aspects of energy saving and water saving were highlighted and discussed in a GAP format.
CEF is a member of GAP International and in 2014 attended a training and networking event in Miraflores. Spain.
COACH TRAINING 2014
Cork hosted coach training for new facilitators of GAP in September 2014 in partnership with GAP Ireland and GAP International. Training was provided to 5 people from Cork and Dublin as well as 6 people from the Ukraine. Marilyn Mehlmann, GAP International Sweden and Mike Holden, Cloughjordan jointly delivered the training. This training has helped to increase the number of GAP facilitators available to deliver training in each region.
For more information about GAP