ORCADIAN WILDLIFE, BIODIVERSITY & THE CLIMATE CHANGE EMERGENCY:
Running an international wildlife tour company requires careful thought regarding current and future carbon emissions and the present Climate Change Emergency. Arrival into the islands of Orkney at 59°N and some 725 miles north of London by road either means a long drive, at least one short haul flight and/or a ferry journey from the Scottish mainland. Our itineraries in Orkney also use internal ferry services to Hoy and Westray. In addition, Orcadian Wildlife runs tours to other destinations, including Europe (average return flights to our destinations emit 0.75t of CO2 per passenger) and further afield (average return flights to our destinations emit 4t of CO2 per passenger). Once our guests have arrived in Orkney or elsewhere we want to ensure that this business is at least carbon-neutral, and would also wish our guests to be aware of how this business intends to reduce carbon emissions and take positive actions such that in the future it will be carbon-positive after the 2023 season. Our sister business of Gerraquoy Farm (Orcadian Wildlife’s base) also strives to become carbon positive and enhance biodiversity. As you can see below, there are also ways in which you can help us, especially as you choose your means of travel, and whether or not to offset your carbon footprint.
As a result of the past, current and planned actions below, Orcadian Wildlife will become Carbon-positive by 2024.
ORCADIAN WILDLIFE & GERRAQUOY FARM ARE ALREADY GREEN:
- We’re net exporters of 31,000 KW hours of renewable energy per annum through our two small Evance RS 9000 wind turbines thus saving the equivalent of about 8.8t of CO2 emissions per annum. We have invested over £60,000 to achieve this export. [Calculation: 31,500 X 0.28307 kg CO2]
- Our two wind turbines were installed in July 2011, and have generated almost 360,000 KW hours of renewable electricity to date (October 2023)!
- We ensure that all electricity used on site is certified 100% renewable and provided by goodenergy.co.uk. Annual usage is around 15,500 KW hours reducing our net export generating value to 4.4t of CO2 equivalent emissions per annum. All heating is by ground source heat pump, solar panels or infrared heaters and all powered by certified renewable energy.
- We’ve invested £33,000 in a Nissan Evalia Combi 7-seat zero-emission electric vehicle as our main people-carrier around Orkney. The Energy Savings Trust estimate that this will save a minimum of about 2t of CO2 over a 6 year period compared to our existing diesel minibus (0.33t pa).
- We also use a zero-emission Kia Nero electric vehicle for business and other family purposes.
- Orcadian Wildlife is based at Gerraquoy Organic Farm, and we’ve created a 0.97 ha (2.4 acres) wildflower meadow on site which is used by the rare Great-yellow Bumblebee and many other invertebrates. We also plant an annual Wild Bird Crop which helps both invertebrates and birds throughout the year.
- We have planted 4,000 trees of 10 native species since 2021.
- No pesticides or inorganic fertilisers have been used at Gerraquoy Farm for more than 30 years.
FROM THE 2024 SEASON WE WILL:
- Restrict international tour operations to a maximum number of 2 European destinations with return flights per annum; and 1 long haul flight only per annum). At about 5.8t CO2 emissions per annum attributable to the owner and tour leader this is a considerable reduction on historic operations.
- Provide information to help our guests quantify carbon emissions caused by flights to our destinations, and encourage guests to purchase carbon offset options in the transport sector.
- Have planted 1.38 ha (3.4 acres) at Gerraquoy Organic Farm with 4,000 native broad-leaved trees to help offset carbon emissions caused by Orcadian Wildlife. This sequesters around around 2 tonnes of CO2 per annum and will help Orcadian Wildlife become Carbon-positive by 2024.
- Our sister business has removed all cattle from Gerraquoy Farm, and now partners with neighbours who supply seasonal grazing using sheep for grassland and wildflower management. This will prevent the equivalent of around 9.2t of CO2 being released at Gerraquoy Farm each year by our own cattle.
- Further reduce CO2 flight emissions by the owner from an estimated 5.8t in 2020 to 4.6t in 2024.
- Orcadian Wildlife will become carbon-positive at the proposed levels of operation from 2024 onwards as a result of the combination of the following CO2 savings: renewable electricity generation (net 4.4t CO2 pa); tree-planting (2t CO2 pa); cattle removal (9.2t pa); and EV operation (0.3t CO2 pa) .
- Individual clients will continue to be advised of flight and travel impacts through dedicated contracts and encouraged to participate in our tree-planting initiatives to offset their CO2.
ORCADIAN WILDLIFE & GERRAQUOY FARM HAVE INVESTED OVER £100,000 IN CARBON REDUCTION INTIATIVES IN THE LAST DECADE AND WILL BECOME CARBON POSITIVE BY 2024.
(NOTES: Data sources UK Government Greenhouse Gas Conversion Factors for Company Reporting, and the Energy Savings Trust. Data for ferries not currently available. Individual guest carbon footprints on tours and self-catering not calculated as tour start points are either Orkney or programme destinations. Owner data re flights and business reporting is included.)