Volvo Cork Week has introduced significant sustainability measures this year as part of the Royal Cork Yacht Club’s commitment to leading the way in Ireland on low impact events and ocean health.

Many events across Ireland have adopted strong recycling measures but organisers of Volvo Cork Week have gone one step further by putting a special focus on removing the use of single use plastics. The club introduced a full deposit return scheme on all outdoor drinks, in association with Heineken, and a deposit return system for reusable coffee cups at the clubhouse, in association with 2gocup. This has removed tens of thousands of single use plastics.

A special green team and green policy was created at the Royal Cork for the event, who also introduced free water refills at hydration stations in addition to segregated waste bins with clear pictorial signage on site to ensure as much as possible is recycled.

In addition, there was a focus on sustainability at their family fun day and organisers created a marine market to promote local sustainable products within the community. As part of their education and outreach, children were introduced to marine conservation at a family friendly event with marine scientist, best-selling author and Volvo Car Ireland ambassador Finn Van der Aar. Finn is passionate about helping people to live more sustainably and presents crucial environmental and oceanic research in a way that is understandable to all.

During her workshop, children had the chance to learn about how to care for the sea and coastal areas around them. Finn shared how she fell in love with the sea, her fascinating work as a marine biologist as well as tips on how we can combat some marine conservation issues such as marine noise pollution and how to reduce marine plastics. He also gave tips on how to do a great beach clean-up!

Throughout the week the club is sourcing local food and supplies where possible and the world-renowned regatta welcomed the first classic yacht race to their shores this year.  Competitors are also being encouraged to conserve energy where possible (e.g. turn off lights).

Yvonne Durcan, Royal Cork Yacht Club Race Office using 2gocups at Volvo Cork Week

Gavin Deane, General Manager, Royal Cork said, “We like to think that sailing is sustainable, but the truth is that the industry needs to cut its carbon footprint by at least half by 2030 to align with the Paris Agreement. The Royal Cork is committed to actively managing our environmental footprint and this year we developed a significant sustainability strategy for Volvo Cork Week, in association with Heineken, with specific actions to minimise energy consumption, water consumption and reduce waste sent to landfill.  We want to see our seas and waterways free of contamination and plastic pollution, and we want to leave a more environmentally sustainable future for our children and grandchildren.”

Other initiatives in the Volvo Cork Week Green Events Policy include:

  • A bunded on-shore refuelling area for safety boat drivers.
  • Trigger nozzles on hoses for washing down boats to improve water efficiency.
  • Details of sensitive habitats/wildlife to be avoided in Sailing Instructions and briefings.
  • Paper free communications where possible.
  • Provide public transport details on publicity materials and the website.
  • Source products with less packaging to prevent waste.
  • Source recyclable or reusable crockery and cutlery and cups.
  • Provide oil spill kits, fuel collars, no-spill refueling devices and training for support vessels and staff.
  • Prohibit overboard discharge of any rubbish including bow decals and include this rule in the Sailing Instructions & OR Notice of Race.
  • Prohibit littering at shore facilities, including cigarette butts and chewing gum.
  • Affix bow stickers to competitors’ boat to ensure they do not come loose during racing.
  • Instigate a boat wash down system prior to and after the event to prevent the spread of non-native invasive species.
  • Provide competitors with refillable water bottles and signpost to drinking water to reduce the number of disposed plastic bottles.
  • Record energy and water use and try to reduce these figures for future events.
  • Organise a litter pick to collect any litter which may not have found its way into the right bins.
  • Constantly meet & review the environmental impact of the event and consider improvements for the next one. Note these and implement for future events.

In addition to its green initiatives for Volvo Cork Week, the Royal Cork has a full sustainability plan in place.  For more see and

The Visit Cork Sustainability Strategy 2020 – 2023 outlined a vision and action plan for increasing sustainability throughout Cork tourism and events by working with the industry to produce and develop more sustainable outcomes. As part of this commitment to sustainability a number of KPIs were included in the strategy to track the performance of Visit Cork in reaching these sustainability goals.

Below is a graphical dashboard which displays Visit Cork’s performance on the KPIs originally set out in the Visit Cork Sustainability Strategy 2020 – 2023 (with green signifying ‘Complete’, amber signifying ‘In Progress’ and red signifying ‘Not Complete’):

And for the full Visit Cork Sustainability Performance Report 2020 – 2021 click HERE or below:

Following a major review of operational standards, The Address Collective has achieved the Silver award for Environmental Management in Dublin and Cork.

The Address Collective has traditionally supported local suppliers, worked closely with the community within which it operates and managing its energy, waste and water consumption though efficient systems and operating procedures. The Hotel is committed to the pursuit an ideal where they can deliver on comfort, luxury and making memories in a way that is more sustainable for our planet. Placing this as a core value of the brand the Hotel set about implementing an Environmental Management System (EMS) into the business, which would provide a framework to measure, manage and progress this ideal. The Hotel names this initiative “Think Green | Act Green” and has three key pillars upon which it pursues its ideas: People, Community and Planet.

In August of 2020 the Hotels partnered with Green Hospitality Ireland (Irelands leading EMS accreditation body) and set about embedding this framework into its operations. In January 2021 the framework had been firmly put in place, and the Hotel was awarded the Eco-Label Certification which is an internationally recognized standard for the Hospitality Industry. With the platform for progress now in place the Hotel set about achieving Silver Accreditation, a standard that only a handful of Irish Hotels have achieved to date.

Brian and Ciara McGettigan, of the Irish family owned McGettigan Hotel Group are the owners of The Address Collective Hotel group. Brian McGettigan said, “We are very proud of this achievement. As a business we have always tried to do the right thing in supporting local producers, working with local community groups and various initiatives that we feel can make a difference. As a hospitality business it is a priority to manage our costs and so energy, waste and water have always been in focus. However, our Think Green | Act Green framework has enabled us to really bring ESG into focus as a team where we all take responsibility and have a part to play”

Examples of some of the initiatives implemented at the hotel:


  • Sourcing 100% of electricity from renewable sources
  • Giving guests information in their bedrooms on how they reduce their energy consumption when staying in the Hotel
  • Auditing of all heavy energy consuming machinery to ensure high efficiency ratings including the installation of a new state of the art heating and cooling system that reduces energy consumption significantly.
  • Ensuring that over 90% of lighting in the building is A-Rated low energy
  • Minimising heat loss in the building through insulation
  • Installed solar panels on the roof of the building to provide clean electricity


  • Giving guests the facility to separate their waste in the bedrooms to reduce the level of waste going to landfill
  • Ensuring all straws in the hotel are paper based and bio-degradable
  • Moving to 100% compostable disposable coffee cups while offering a “Keepie Cup” to regular corporate guests
  • Measuring food waste per diner in McGettigans Cookhouse and setting KPI’s to reduce the level of waste being generated
  • Filtering mains water for guest bedrooms to avoid unnecessary plastic and glass bottles


  • Harvesting rainwater to provide water to plants and homegrown herbs
  • In room information for gests on how to reduce their water consumption in the hotel
  • Ensuring that water closets and urinals are efficient and used in line with demand

Working with three charity partners across the group and really engage with them to partake in a variety of initiatives throughout the year.

  • Barnardos
  • Focus Ireland
  • Penny Dinner


  • 50 Mile Menu: Engineering menus to ensure at least 8 dishes are made form ingredients that are sourced within 50 miles of the Hotel
  • Putting in place a purchasing policy where suppliers are aware of our commitments and goals and actively working with them to reduce packaging, remove single use plastics and source from local suppliers
  • Artwork in the hotel has been sourced by Irish Artists
  • All tea and coffee is fair trade and sourced from Irish suppliers
  • Craft beers are a specialty in the Hotels award winning McGettigans Cookhouse

Find out more about The Address Collective’s sustainable initiatives: 

It might be steeped in over 200 years of history and tradition, but The Imperial Hotel Cork has a thoroughly modern outlook when it comes to the environment. The Grande Dame of Cork, as the hotel is known have developed a number of initiatives over the past year including a ‘Because We Care’ programme, an environmental management policy, and a sustainable restaurant. 

Their dedicated Imperial Green Team introduced numerous sustainability initiatives over the past year, including a #BecauseWeCare Programme, a sustainable restaurant ‘Thyme at Seventy-Six on the Mall’, a sustainable cocktail bar ‘Sketch’, which uses 99% Irish products, a sustainable parklet outside the front door, and policies such as green purchasing and environmental waste management. The team has also recently celebrated their new Eco-label from Green Hospitality by hosting a sustainable Christmas Market.

Below you’ll find more information on some of these Green initiatives:


Sustainable Restaurant:

The Imperial Hotel launched a sustainable restaurant Thyme at 76 on the Mall. The emphasis is on regional, seasonal, and sustainable and is in line with the recent ‘Because We Care’ programme. Sourcing from their neighbours is important not only to support the local economy but also to minimize carbon footprint and the impact on the environment.


Parklet with Cork Zero Waste and Benchspace Cork:

The parklet is managed and maintained by The Imperial Hotel and brings a burst of nature to the South Mall with it’s pollinator plants. Located outside the Imperial Hotel the parklet provides an inviting green space for residents and passers-by to sit, relax, and interact. The parklet is part of the ‘Reimaging Cork’ programme.


For more information on the Imperial’s Green Policy and the Because We Care programme visit:

The Visit Cork Green Award 2021 was awarded to the Cork International Hotel for their team’s continual work on improving the hotel’s sustainability and their support to local causes throughout the year.

The hotel was one of many CCB members to work on improving their sustainable outcomes this year, with the Cork International Hotel standing out in particular for the below actions:

  • Created a greening team to encourage a environmentally aware culture.
  • Created a Greening Manifesto.
  • Environment, Sustainability, Diversity & Inclusion & Community have been made core strategic pillars for their company Trigon hotels.
  • Completed training with Fifty Shades Greener which has helped to measure their Carbon Foot Print and manage resources.
  • Created a roof garden which now supplies herbs and vegetables to the their kitchen.
  • Harvested Rain Water to service the roof garden.
  • Built their first Bee Hotel.
  • Signed up to be part of the Irish Pollinator Plan.
  • Worked with Cope Foundation and Ability@work to promote Diversity & Inclusion in the workplace.
  • Developing a sensory garden with the Cope Foundation.
  • Launched the Community Spirit Awards which seeks to recognise and highlight the amazing contributions of both individual and groups in the community.

To learn more about the Cork International Hotel’s sustainable actions visit:

The Visit Cork Green Award was set up to encourage and reward our CCB Members who made a commitment to operating sustainably and will return again in 2022.

Cork has made the Top 20 official list of sustainable destinations in the world. The news was announced this week by the Global Destination Sustainability Index (GDS-Index), the world’s largest destination sustainability ranking programme. Other destinations who secured a top 20 place include Brussels, Sydney, Zurich, Belfast, Kerry and Helsinki. The news is very timely coming in the week of COP 26, the UN Climate Change Conference and highlights the Cork Tourism Industry’s focus on improving destination sustainability in the region. The submission was made by Visit Cork, the official tourism body for the Cork region, incorporating both leisure (Pure Cork) and business tourism (Cork Convention Bureau) in a single voice. 

Cork initially entered the GDS-Index in 2018 with an aim to be recognised as a leading destination in social, environmental and economic sustainability for both business and leisure tourism. Since then Visit Cork has continually worked with its many industry partners in improving Cork’s standing within the index, from an initial score of 42.3% in 2018 to a high of 71% in 2021. This places Cork in an impressive 18th place among a total of 73 other destinations and it is hoped that this good standing within the index will help promote Cork as a ‘green’ destination to both sustainably conscious tourists and event planners. More information on the Top 20 can be found through this link:

‘The submission was very much a collaborative effort with Failte Ireland leading the way by initially engaging with the GDS-Movement and introducing the Convention Bureaux of Ireland to the concept in 2018. The process involved a year-long effort of collating data and information and is very reliant on the support of key stakeholders, especially Cork City and County Council. Other partners involved were Cork Airport, Cork Chamber, the Universities, Bus Eireann, Irish Rail and the Cork hotels who collaborated successfully to ensure that the submission would enhance our sustainability credentials’ according to Seamus Heaney Head of Visit Cork.

There have been a number of recent Visit Cork led initiatives which have contributed to Cork’s improving rank within the index. Starting with the creation of the Visit Cork Sustainability Strategy in 2020 which set out an action plan for increasing sustainability throughout Cork tourism and events by working with the industry. This in-turn has brought about projects such as increasing the number of Cork Convention Bureau Member hotels with active third-party sustainability certification by offering a hugely subsidised accreditation programme in partnership with Green Hospitality. This has had the effect of increasing the number of member hotels with active accreditation from just 23% in 2020 to 70% in 2021.

Visit Cork also launched a yearly Green Award to encourage and reward Cork tourism businesses with a commitment to operating sustainably. In December 2020, the inaugural award was won by Fernhill House Hotel & Gardens in Clonakilty for their continual work on sustainable initiatives throughout the year including an extensive tree planting programme. The submission process for the 2021 award is now open to Cork tourism businesses, with a winner being chosen during the Visit Cork ‘Pure Green’ week coming up later this month.

Ger O’Mahoney, Chairman of Visit Cork, welcomed the GDS-Index announcement for 2021 and said the result will hugely encourage tourism providers in the region to adopt, promote and recognise responsible and regenerative practices. The increasing public and political focus on equality, diversity, and climate change have had a massive positive impact on destinations and there is a requirement now to prove ourselves as being sustainability focused on the international stage. Visit Cork strives to place sustainable tourism at the heart of the region’s overall development.

The Visit Cork Sustainability Strategy 2020 – 2023 outlined a vision and action plan for increasing sustainability throughout Cork tourism and events by working with the industry to produce and develop more sustainable outcomes. As part of this commitment to sustainability a number of KPIs were included in the strategy to track the performance of Visit Cork in reaching these sustainability goals.

Below is a graphical dashboard which displays Visit Cork’s performance on the KPIs originally set out in the Visit Cork Sustainability Strategy 2020 – 2023 (with green signifying ‘Complete’, amber signifying ‘In Progress’ and red signifying ‘Not Complete’):

And for the full Visit Cork Sustainability Performance Report 2020 – 2021 click HERE or below:

Cork Convention Bureau (CCB), in its role as an International Destination Management Organisation, is hugely aware of the demands for environmental best practice within the MICE industry. To continually improve, we have needed to ensure our member hotels are third-party accredited for sustainability certification. Recently 8 CCB Member Hotels achieved third-party sustainability certification through the Green Hospitality Awards programme and an Eco-label audit which was heavily subsidised by CCB.

Key benefits of the programme:

  • Calculate individual MICE event carbon footprints – enabling reporting and/or offsetting – using the International Hotel Carbon Measurement Initiative (HCMI) methodology
  • Create KPI’s for Energy, Water, Waste – allowing for quantifiable target setting
  • Identify cost saving opportunities

We are delighted that 8 of our member hotels have recently achieved the Green Hospitality Award Eco-label through this programme and joined many of our other hotel members in holding third-party accredited sustainability certification.

You can now find all our members who are ‘committed’ to sustainability (have taken part in sustainability training) or ‘engaged’ in sustainability (hold third-party accredited sustainability certification) on our Hotel Members page: 

In March 2020, University College Cork celebrated 10 years since becoming the first University in the world to be awarded a Green Flag from the Foundation for Environmental Education. Green Campus involves a seven-step programme and a cycle of continual improvement. Campuses are fully reassessed, by a panel of external experts, every 3 years. UCC has successfully renewed it’s Green Flag 4 times.

The Green Campus Programme in UCC has evolved significantly since its inception. Strong commitment and support from the highest levels in the university has contributed to embedding sustainability across our operations, teaching, research and outreach. The student-led Green Campus Committee, chaired by the Student’s Union Deputy President, meets regularly to discuss ideas and campaigns to improve our campus. These meetings feed into biannual meetings of the Green Campus Forum, which takes its membership from across all functions within the University. The forum ensures continuity and strategic oversight throughout the academic cycle.

Some of UCC’s Green Wins during this time include:

For more information on UCC’s sustainable initiatives click HERE.


In December 2020, the inaugural Visit Cork Green Award was awarded to Fernhill House Hotel & Gardens in Clonakilty for their continual work on sustainable initiatives throughout the year.

This Award was set up to encourage and reward our tourism partners who made a commitment to operating sustainably and in 2020 we were delighted to present it to Fernhill House Hotel & Gardens.

Michael O’Neill and his team at the hotel deserve huge credit for there work on sustainability there including:

  • Using solar panels for hot water and electricity
  • Using their own well for water
  • Growing their own food
  • Planting 3,000 trees, as part of a larger project to plant 20,000 trees all around Clonakilty in 2020

Michael O’Neill manager of Fernhill House Hotel & Gardens receiving his award from Evelyn O’Sullivan and Jeremy Murray of Visit Cork

The submission process for the Visit Cork Green award 2021 is now open to all Cork tourism businesses, who can submit an application for the award by clicking HERE.