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Sustainability At Ashridge

Ashridge-Sustainability-Policy-2020-21.pdf Hult-Ashridge-UN-PRME-Report-2020.pdf

Our five green priorities

As a business school we understand that our biggest impact on helping to overcome social and environmental challenges is made through the influence we exert by our teaching and research. Our number one priority is to help organisations and their leaders better understand how they can help address global sustainability challenges. We do this by ensuring that responsible management and sustainability themes are integrated throughout our entire suite of executive education programmes and research projects.

Other sustainability priorities include eliminating carbon emissions, using water more efficiently, reducing waste, sourcing food and other commodities sustainably, and caring for the wildlife that inhabits our gardens.

We have a long-term target to eliminate the use of fossil fuels on site and to cut our overall carbon emissions by 80% by 2050. Since we started focusing on these priorities over a decade ago, we have cut carbon emissions created by electricity usage by 43% and from heating by 14%. Some of our targets for the next year include cutting carbon emissions from heating by 5% and from electricity by 10%, and to reduce waste by 10%.

To reach our objectives we have made investments in these five priority areas:

Investments to reduce carbon emissions caused by heating, electricity and transport

  • Installed a new Building Management System so that we only heat the areas that are occupied.
  • Insulating roof spaces and pipework.
  • Installing thermostatic radiator valves so guests can better control the temperature in any given room.
  • Installing new, more efficient, higher capacity boilers.
  • Implementing a rolling programme to install LED energy efficient lighting & motion sensors during 2018-2019.
  • Replacing desktop printers with central printers.
  • Investing in energy efficient electrical equipment.
  • Introducing regular environmental awareness training.
  • Promoting car sharing and the use of electric bikes for staff commuting.
  • Encouraging staff to travel by rail rather than short-haul flights wherever it is a practical alternative.

Mindful water use

  • We have reduced water usage by 59% since 2009.
  • Installing low flow showers, taps and toilets, as well as new pipes to reduce leaks.
  • Collecting the rainwater from the roofs of the main house in tanks under the terrace. We then use this to water the gardens during the summer months.

Reducing waste and increasing recycling

  • 57% of all our waste is now recycled.
  • Reduced the number of plastic water bottles used by our guests every month from 8300 to 2400 by filtering and bottling our own water into recyclable glass bottles. This has cut our plastic use by a massive 5 tonnes.
  • Reduced paper usage by 73% since 2008. 84% of the paper we use is FSC 100% recycled content.

A green mindset in the kitchen

  • All our food is freshly prepared and we source meat, fruit and vegetables that are in season from local farmers wherever possible.
  • All tea, coffee and bananas are Fairtrade.
  • All fish are sustainably sourced – we do not serve any fish from the ‘MCS fish to avoid’ list.
  • Chefs use fresh herbs from our herb garden.
  • We worked with a local school and scout group to replant the original orchard of apples, pears, cherries and plums so that our chefs can use the fruit in our kitchen.
  • We provide all of chefs with sustainable food training.

Promoting biodiversity in the gardens

  • Several areas of the gardens are left unmown during the summer to promote the growth of wildflowers that support butterflies and bees.
  • We partnered with a local school and scout group to replant the orchard.
  • We keep beehives in the gardens and partner with local beekeepers to produce our own Ashridge honey (available for purchase from reception).
  • Placed nesting boxes for bats across the gardens, and have allowed them to roost in the old Ice House.
  • Red Kites, which were once endangered in the UK, are now nesting in our gardens as well as across the wider Ashridge Estate. Our trees are home to the most successful breeding pair in Hertfordshire.