The purpose of the RDS is to see Ireland thrive culturally and economically. Established in 1731 we are one of the world's oldest philanthropic organisations. We have always adopted a long-term view that has allowed us to effect change and implement projects with enduring legacy and impact.
Sustainability has been a core value of the RDS since its inception. It is evident throughout our work that has supported Irish society since our foundation. Through this, we have helped to create improvement in the areas of environmental, economic and social sustainability.
The RDS is looking at the big picture when it comes to sustainability. We are committing to becoming a sustainable venue, but uniquely we are also driving long-term sustainability for Ireland as a whole, beyond the confines of our campus. We all have a responsibility to act. We recognise that we need to change our behaviours and systems throughout the country, as well as on our campus. And we are leading this change:
1. Education: Science Blast is our STEM education programme that the RDS runs on a not-for-profit basis. Over 15,000 children will participate this year. This year it will have hundreds of projects focused on climate change, the environment and energy efficiency, imbuing thousands of children with greater knowledge in this area.
2. Best Practice: With a proud lineage in both science and agriculture innovation, the RDS is encouraging and showcasing the most efficient farm practices in Ireland. Last year we added three Awards specifically on sustainability to the RDS Spring Awards – recognising that farming practices have to change in line with our overarching responsibilities.
3. Recognition: The RDS operate Ireland’s only Forestry Awards which encourage forestry around the country. Increasingly, the Awards are looking for a greater dividend, such as community amenities and biodiversity benefits. These Awards have been running for decades and hark back to the first involvement by the RDS in this area when a major planting of trees in Ireland was financially subsided by the RDS in the 18th century.
As a venue we’re committed to being a role model for addressing the challenges of maintaining historical buildings and also being a sustainable venue. We have been awarded the ISO50001 certificate for energy efficiency, have covered a roof in solar panels that directly feed our 12 electric vehicle charge points, and moving our clients’ events towards no single-use plastic and are fully compostable.
The RDS acknowledges that our work has environmental and other resource impacts and that we are responsible for managing these impacts in a sustainable way. We strive for excellence in all that we do and are committed to contributing to the creation of a sustainable environment, economy and society by embedding sustainability in all of our endeavours.
Under this policy we commit to the following:
- Establishing a Sustainability Roadmap framework for setting and reviewing site-specific sustainability and energy objectives and targets
- Ensuring the availability of information and the necessary resources to achieve our objectives and targets
- Complying with all applicable legal and other requirements relating to energy use, consumption and efficiency as well as environmental, health & safety and social regulations
- Continually improving our energy performance, water management and reducing the generation of waste, greenhouse gas and other emissions
- Working with staff and suppliers to embed sustainability considerations into our procurement and investment activities, including the procurement of energy efficient products and services, and design for energy performance improvement
- Promoting biodiversity and striving to prevent pollution and other negative social impacts
- Minimising the short term and legacy impacts our activities and visitors may have on the locality
- Raising awareness through training and motivation of employees so that they can conduct their work in a healthy, safe, environmentally, socially and financially responsible manner
- Treating all stakeholders and employees with fairness, equality and respect at all times, in particular stakeholders with special requirements and needs
This policy and our progress is regularly evaluated by the RDS energy and sustainability team and reported to the RDS Senior Management Team for periodic review. Our management team will lead by example with success and continuous improvement generated by the combined efforts of all stakeholders.
Michael Duffy, Chief Executive, June 2 2016
Click here to view our ISO 50001 Certificate