Responsible tourism is about respecting, protecting and benefiting local communities, cultures and the environment. For you, this can mean making holiday choices with these concerns in mind, from the destinations you visit and the way you travel, to the services you choose once you arrive. For us, it’s about operating in one of the world’s most beautiful and unique stretches of water and wanting to keep it that way. That’s why minimising the impact our business has on the environment, is a priority for us. Below are just some of the sustainable business practices we’re committed to along with our key focus areas for 2015.
On Board with sustainability
Our newest vessel - The Straitsman, was chosen partly because of its ‘green features.’ As the most modern, ship operating on Cook Strait it operates a variety of technologies to ensure maximum efficiency such as utilising waste energy from the engines to heat water, it is also fitted with a heat recovery wheel which is used to help produce heat, in the winter.
Fuel efficiency is a priority across the fleet, with the ships operating on a schedule that ensures optimal sensible fuel usage and therefore reduces emissions.
We use an environmentally approved paint system on the hulls of our vessels that is designed to reduce drag through the water and save fuel.
We offer recycling (paper, glass and plastics) on board for both passengers and staff – and actively encourage their usage. We aim to source products that are grown or sourced locally and use minimal packaging. Where products are not available locally, such as coffee beans, we choose organic and Fair Trade. Toiletries and cleaning products are purchased in bulk and are safe for the marine environment.
Sustainability on shore
Both our passenger terminals and Head Office operate with sustainability in mind. Visitors and staff are encouraged to recycle, with bins placed in high profile locations in each area.
Tight inventory management and ordering processes prevents us from stock piling outdated marketing materials. It also allows us to keep printing to an absolute minimum but when we do, we use elemental chlorine free stock from certified sustainable sources. We offer our customers electronic invoices; tickets and communications (we keep mail-outs to a minimum). Our downtown Wellington terminal was designed with energy conservation in mind, with a special shutter system that monitors CO2 levels and temperature and self ventilates depending on the weather.
Our role in the community
As a founding sponsor of the Kaipupu Point Wildlife Sanctuary in Picton, we’re helping ensure that New Zealanders and visitors for generations to come will be able to enjoy a taste of the natural beauty and wildlife of the Marlborough Sounds – predator free. If you’d like to know more about this project visit www.kaipupupoint.co.nz
We’re also staunch supporters of Sustainable Coastlines. They coordinate and support large scale coastal clean-up events, riparian planting projects, schools educational road-shows, public awareness campaigns and other projects aimed at protecting and sustaining our coastlines. We participate in clean-up events and provide the Sustainable Coastlines team with free transport between the islands. For more info or to find out how you can get involved visit www.sustainablecoastlines.org
We work closely with the Tourism Industry Association to support the efforts of the New Zealand Responsible Camping Forum. For the past 3 consecutive summers our staff have been handing out responsible camping brochures to encourage campers crossing Cook Strait to behave responsibly. Read news article here.
Since 2005 we have been educating our North-bound customers about Didymo by actively promoting the former Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry (MAF)’s campaign: Clean, Dry, Check. For more info on Didymo’s devastating effects to our waterways, here’s a link to a case study.
And naturally, as a committed privately owned Kiwi company, we willingly support a number of community and charity initiatives every year through our community investment programme. Find out more about this initiative here: bluebridge.co.nz/community
An eco-friendly future
This year we are focussing on the following priority areas:
- Conserving water on the vessels and ashore. Monitoring our water usage and reviewing how we use water.
- Thinking before we buy – informed buying decisions can help us collectively reduce raw materials, waste, and pollution. We aim to review our ordering practices to ensure we are being as responsible as possible.
If you’ve got any more questions about our sustainability practices – or have a suggestion about how we can do better – we’d love to hear from you. Please email [email protected] and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible.