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Article published 18/09/2020

The COVID-19 crisis has brought extremely challenging times for all but has created a moment in time for businesses to reflect on what comes next and how the future we pursue could be a better one. This year during Climate Week (14 - 20 September) we're sharing case studies from businesses already taking steps to protect the natural environment through responsible tourism initiatives.

Glenuig Inn | case study

Glenuig Inn, located on the Sound of Arisaig, was renovated 12 years ago with sustainability at its heart and the vision to prove it was possible to run a leisure and tourism business efficiently and profitably with minimal environmental footprint. Since then, every decision taken has had to have both environmental and financial benefits.  

As a multi-award winning sustainable business, and Scotland’s exemplar green inn, its success is attributed to adopting a holistic approach to environmental sustainability which includes celebrating five years of using 100% renewable energy, zero food waste leaving site, and over 98.5% reduction in waste to landfill.  

Whilst food waste and food security are currently high on everyone’s agenda, Glenuig Inn adopted a principle of reducing both food waste and ‘wasted food’ over five years ago. They've focused on developing excellent portion control, and a menu with inherently minimal waste. Any food waste is dried and sterilised before being added to the biomass fuel mix to provide heating and hot water. The circular approach to food waste and energy efficiency is completed as the ash from the biomass boiler is used as organic fertiliser. 

The approach to waste comes from the assumption that ‘anything wasted is a cost to the business’, therefore Glenuig's ultimate goal is to eliminate waste. So far, they have successfully recuded their landfill waste to less than half a domestic wheelie bin per fortnight, plus a similar amount for dry recyclate. 

By focusing on waste elimination, rather than reuse and recycling, their supplier engagement initiative, ‘Packaging Take Back’ was developed to effectively eliminate most packaging waste from site.  

We believe that a holistic approach to creating a sustainable business is the only way to achieve real success both for the environment and the overall profitability. This has certainly also held true this year during the COVID-19 pandemic when our approach to waste and cost reductions have really come into their own. Whilst making the right choices for a sustainable future is hard work, the financial benefits far outweigh the costs.

Steve Macfarlane, Glenuig Inn

Find out more about Glenuig Inn's sustainability commitment on their website.

Share your responsible tourism story using # ScotClimateWeek and tagging @visitscotnews.