How do you protect the environment and the communities you visit?
From the very beginning Rabbie’s was built by valuing, managing and conserving our environment. We aim to leave the legacy of our beautiful landscape for future generations to enjoy. Our tours are better than touring in your own car, and in the last 7 years we have reduced our travellers’ carbon footprint by 21%.
We make every effort to reduce our carbon footprint and since 2008 we have implemented a self-imposed carbon tax and donate £10/tonne of carbon that we use operating our tours to environmental and charitable causes. Since 2008 we have donated £42,800 cash and £15,443 in kind to environmental and social projects such as The National Trust and the Scottish Wildlife Trust. Examples of organizations that we have volunteered with are The Pentland Hills, Water of Leith and James Gillespie High.
In 2012 Rabbie’s initiated a community project in conjunction with the National Trust for Scotland where Rabbie’s funded a project to plant a new native woodland at Ben Lawers. In the long-term, the woodland will be managed by the Crannog Centre and the hazel trees will be used for their crafts, education and conservation activities, making this a strong partnership with benefit to local community. In September 2012 we organised for pupils from the local primary schools of Kenmore and Killin and from our local Leith Primary in Edinburgh, to visit the new woodland and learn about the importance of regeneration projects like this and preserving native habitats. Rabbie’s aim of involving schools is to grow the next generation of heritage fans. Our aim is to increase this project and build on its success involving more communities and schools in the long term.
Rabbie's has continued to support this project of the National Trust for Scotland; during 2013 members of the conservation charity’s Green Team – a young naturalist’s group for local children – took part in a series of nature and conservation-related activities, and planted individually protected oak trees at Kiltyrie, about 6 miles east of Killin. Young people from Killin were out planting trees in the latest stage of the project intended to restore native broad-leaf trees on the lower slopes of Ben Lawers, which is the latest development in a programme of habitat improvements, which has been underway for several years.
In October 2014 Rabbie's and The National Trust for Scotland worked together on a project to reafforest part of the Ben Lawers National Nature Reserve. One of our buses took fourteen of the Rabbie's team to plant 1,085 trees! The same year in November, in collaboration with the Skye Lochalsh Community, a group of our driver/guides volunteered to help with path maintenance at the Quiraing on the Isle of Skye.
Feedback from this project:
Thank you so much for making yesterday such a great experience for the pupils and staff at Leith Primary. I know that the pupils will be writing to you themselves but I just wanted to thank you and Rabbie's for making it all possible. It was a really worthwhile learning experience for all the children and a great success.
Alasdair Friend Headteacher,
Leith Primary School
Property Manager Helen Cole said: “We are very grateful to Rabbie’s for their continued support as we work to transform the Kiltyrie site.
This latest donation means we can carry on with the reintroduction of native broad-leaf trees to this farmed landscape. This is important for the biodiversity of the area and also enhances the environment for visitors who are coming to enjoy our recently installed archaeological trail too.”
We restrict our tours to 16 passengers to give you a more personal experience, enabling us to get you off the beaten track and explore some of Scotland's hidden gems. Overnight tours offer you a choice of accommodation in small, remote communities where you will meet local people, eat local produce and have a truly authentic experience, while at the same time supporting local businesses.
Charitable Donations in 2014
In 2014 we donated £6,390 worth of tours for fundraising to various charitable organisations including The Macmillan Cancer Trust, Ardgowan Hospice, the Scottish Seabird Centre, Guide Dogs Scotland and British Red Cross.
Charitable Donations in 2013
In 2013 we donated £3,500 worth of tours were donated to various charities such as APS Trees for life, the Macmillan Cancer Trust, the Hospitality Industry Trust and the My Wild North Campaign. In addition, we operated a number of free transfers for charity events.
Charitable Donations in 2012
In 2012 we donated £2,013 to various charites including Macmillan Cancer Awareness, The Royal Blind Society, British Heart Foundation, Action for Children and St. John's Ambulance.
Charitable Donations in 2011
In 2011 we donated £2,310 to various charites including Macmillan cancer, Medics Against Violence, The Royal Blind, Mary’s Meals and the Cystic Fibrosis Trust.
Charitable Donations in 2010
In 2010 we donated £1,620 to various charities including The Royal Blind, The Red Cross, The Cystic Fibrosis Trust, Fareshare and the Woodburn Community Nursery. We also raised £2,719 for Barnardo's by taking part in the Cairngorm Challenge.
Charitable Donations in 2009
In 2009 we donated over £1,500 worth of tours to various charities including Action for Children, Breast Cancer Care, Sustrans, Alzheimer Scotland, West Linton Youth Group, MacMillan Cancer Support and The British Red Cross.
Charitable Donations in 2008
In 2008 we donated over £1,300 worth of tours to various charities including Barnados, the Red Cross, Bethany Big Sleep Out for the Homeless, Transaid for Sub Saharan Africa, Mountain Rescue, Maggie's Cancer Care, St. Mary's and Gilmerton Primary Schools and various Lithuanian Children's charities.
Charitable Donations in 2007
In 2007 we donated over £1,600 worth of tours to various charities such as Children in Need, Oxfam, Big Sleep Out for the Homeless, Transaid for Sub Saharan Africa, St. Mary's Primary School, and various Lithuanian, Slovenian and Romanian children's charities.
Our Responsible Policies
At Rabbie's we are dedicated to delivering a memorable and enriching experience that lasts a lifetime. These same principles apply to how we manage our business in relation to our community and environment. Below are some of the policies we have in place to achieve these aims.
On the road:
- We operate modern fuel-efficient vehicles to minimise environmental impact.
- We run small group tours so that you get the best service and ensure your visit enhances the communities and environment that you visit.
- We have one centrally located departure point for our scheduled tours from Edinburgh, Glasgow, Dublin and London to avoid contributing to local congestion & pollution levels. (with easy access to public transport)
- Wherever possible we use locally owned and run accommodation on our extended tours, thereby supporting local employment and communities and enabling you to meet locals.
- We encourage income generation and small business enterprise by supporting local shops and restaurants when you travel on your tours.
- We endeavour to ensure our type and scale of tours is appropriate to local conditions.
- We implement a zero litter policy and recycle packaging from anything consumed on our vehicles.
- We encourage our staff to use public transport and offer a cycle to work scheme.
- We encourage customers to use public transport to reach us through links on our website to operator’s timetables etc.
- Our minibuses are washed where run off is controlled.
- We are pasionate about keeping our country clean. We carry bags and litter pickers on our buses so our guides can conduct litter picks (and customers if they want to join in!)
In our office/information desk:
- We recycle all paper, cans, glass, plastic, uniforms and re-use where possible.
- Lost property is donated to charities after 1 month.
- We monitor and reduce all our energy use and waste production.
- We use low energy lighting and switching appliances off when not in use.
- We use recycled paper and ink cartridges.
- We use bio-degradable low phosphate cleaning products.
- We chose offices in central locations so that staff can easily use public transport, cycle or walk to work.
- We support charitable organisations when looking for maintenance contracts.
- We support local charities and social enterprises.
- Unclaimed spectacles from our lost property are donated to Vision Aid Overseas - an international charity dedicated to fighting poverty by transforming access to eye care in developing countries.
In our café:
- We operate in the most efficient way possible, reducing waste and energy usage.
- We stock produce from local suppliers
- We use compostible takeway cups/plates, cutlery and bags
- We operate an energy efficient heating system
- We recycle all materials including food waste and give left over food to charities.
Award Winning Recognition
In recognition we are proud to have been awarded 13 top awards for environmental and responsible tourism excellence. A Gold award from the Europe's leading tourism green accreditation scheme (Green Tourism Business Scheme), a Gold Award from Keep Edinburgh Clean scheme, the highly acclaimed recognition of being the inaugural winner of the Scottish Thistle Sustainable Tourism award in 2007. In 2009 we won the special judges award for "Inspiration" from Scottish Business in the Community and the Vision in Business for the Environment of Scotland (VIBES) Award. In 2010 and again in 2012 we were very proud to be awarded a Big Tick from Prince Charles and Business in the Community for Climate Change and Small Company of the Year from Scottish Business in the Community. In 2011 we were recognised as Europe’s Outstanding example of a responsible and sustainable tour operator at the International Travel Trade fair in Berlin’s VESTA awards. In 2012 we were also named as SME Business of the Year from Scottish Business in the community and this year we have been awarded a Big Tick from Business in the Community for Rural Action recognising our positive impact on the communities that we support throughout the UK and Ireland. In 2013 we were delighted to receive a Gold Award as ‘UK Tour operator of the year’ from the Green Tourism Business Scheme for promoting sustainability in the industry. We won the "Management Award" by VIBES (Vision in Business for the Environment of Scotland) to recognise our achievements in reducing our impact on the environment. For the third year in a row we also secured reaccreditation for the Big Tick Rural action award.
Also Rabbie’s has recently put 44 of its drivers through FuelGood Efficient Driver Training. FuelGood Eco driving training is subsidised by Transport Scotland and delivered by Energy Saving Trust.
Accompanied by an approved FuelGood instructor, our drivers drove normally over an initial circuit of local roads, then repeated the exercise using fuel efficient driving techniques.
Comparing their results over two laps, participants were using up to 26.8% less fuel and achieving up to 36.7% improvement in miles per gallon by the end of their training session.
Rabbie’s drivers clock up over 2.5 million kilometres a year between them. Based on these results the company could cut their carbon emissions by 121.25 tonnes by continuing to use FuelGood techniques.
Jeff Ferguson, Director of Operations at Rabbie’s, is delighted:
“We've had very positive feedback from our drivers who have taken the course and if the results can be sustained it will cut our carbon emissions and give us significant savings across the fleet.”
Our founder and Chief Executive Robin Worsnop regularly gives free time to develop responsible tourism practices and innovation across the Scottish Tourism Industry. He is currently the chairman of Edinburgh Tourism Action Group (ETAG) where he champions sustainable tourism.
Each year we organize a company training day which includes environmental training and volunteering, recent volunteering projects include:
2013 - Litter pick and bulb planting at Loch Lomond National Park
2012 - Tree and plant identification training at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Edinburgh
2011 - Environmental training at Gosford House and a weekend volunteering at Ben Lawers planting trees, building a deer fence and a nesting site for Grebes with NTS.
2010 - the whole team volunteered at The Pentland Hills National Park where they built steps and paths at Hillend.
2009 - members of the team conducted a litter pick for Keep Scotland Tidy and we donated two buses for the day.
2008 - the whole company volunteered and helped the Perthshire rangers with the forest management project at Kinnoull Hill.
2007 - the whole company volunteered in a Water of Leith clean up.