At Surfdock. Our love for the water and the environment is at the heart of all we do. Sharing that with others is what motivates us to keep exploring and innovating. We are the watersports experts you can depend on. We care for our customers whether they are at the beginning of their watersports journey or seasoned pros.
Our excellent customer service is what sets us apart, together with our great quality products that we hand pick ourselves. We aim to have a positive impact on our customers, our team and the environment and our policies reflect that. Our business values are centred around everyone involved in it gaining something from it.
We love watersports and want to share that with as many people as possible through teaching and curating the best watersports equipment on the market.
The correct skills and right equipment are key to having a good time in and on the water and we want to set our customers up for that amazing feeling when you are enjoying yourself in the moment, not worrying about your equipment. Our customers can focus on what matters most to them - being one with the water, recharging, the adrenaline rush, the calmness, being still, floating, performing to the max, getting the most out of themselves and their equipment.
We aim to do this while having as little negative impact on the environment around us and by creating experiences and offerings that improve the amenity possibilities of the communities around us.
As we grow we will strengthen those values that are important to us meaning that our existing policies will grow with us. We know that sustainability is a journey and we will never stop working to make our positive impacts greater and reduce our negative impacts.
At Surfdock, we believe that sustainable tourism is tourism that takes full account of its current and future economic, social, and environmental impacts while addressing the needs of visitors, the industry, the environment, and host communities (UNWTO, n.d.). We therefore aim to reduce our negative effects and increase our positive impacts. (UNTWO definition)
Measuring and reducing negative impacts
To reduce our electricity usage, we have changed all lighting to low consumption LED. We make sure all lighting and appliances are shut off when not in use and we have changed one of our company cars to electric in a pilot scheme. As appliances become old and need to be replaced we aim to change them out for the lowest level of power consumption available. We plan to replace the rest of our company vehicles with electric models over the next three years. We aim to phase out petrol powered outboard motors for our rescue boats by 2025 replacing them with electric motors. Every 6 months we measure and review our electricity consumption and aim to reduce the consumption by 5 % per annum.
We commit to installing a sub meter within the next 18 months to measure our water use more and reduce consumption. Over time we have worked to achieve reduced consumption without this in place but a meter will make it far easier to get accurate results. The majority of our water usage was for customer showers. In 2017 we reduced the pressure of the shower systems so that there was an immediate reduction in consumption. In 2020 due to Covid we could no longer offer enclosed changing rooms or shower facilities. This continued into 2021. We found that our customers were happy to treat a trip to us like a trip to the beach and we will not reintroduce access to showers going forward. Our remaining water consumption is really for washing wetsuits – we fill a large barrell and mix the water with an eco friendly wetsuit wash. This season we will experiment with optimum levels required.
We commit to measuring our waste consumption every 6 months through a review of the number of pickups we have of both our refuse and recycling bins.
To reduce our waste usage, we offer segregated bins to our customers. Black bin, green bin and compost bin. All packaging of materials is recycled or else the cardboard is often used for mulching projects in our own garden or at a community garden that picks it up from us.
We send our wetsuits that are no longer serviceable to the Upcycle Movement in Wexford where they are turned into new products such as changing mats.
Items such as kayaks and Stand up paddle boards that are still serviceable but we want to retire from the water sports centre we sell on to customers. This is an affordable way for our customers to get started in a sport and extends the working life of a product.
At Surfdock we are committed to sourcing where possible products that are more sustainable. It is hard to source water sports materials that are ecologically friendly in the watersports industry. Many of our suppliers are taking this challenge on and over time we aim to work with those that are really making ground on this issue.
One way that we try to reduce our need for purchasing in our watersports centre is by buying high quality materials that will last a long time. We probably carried this to extreme with our Topper dinghies that were still in service up to 2019 after 28 years of use. There is a bit of a price to pay in terms of image – things can look shabby after that many years but the kids out there having fun sailing around the Dock never complained.
Items that are still serviceable but we want to retire from the water sports centre we sell onto customers. This is an affordable way for our customers to get started in a sport and extends the working life of a product.
We engage with our suppliers to reduce the level of packaging they use. O’Neill wetsuits for example have stopped using plastic tape on all their boxes after we asked them to. It makes it much quicker for us when using the cardboard for mulching in the garden and reduces the volume of plastic going into recycling.
At Surfdock we are committed to reducing our carbon footprint as much as possible and prioritise reducing our impact by managing energy consumption in our operations and are currently looking to find a partner to offset our remaining emissions. Our aim is to have found our partner by the end of 2023.
Responsible sustainability marketing
We know that it is important to communicate our efforts to achieve greater sustainability in an honest way. We are aware of the risk of greenwashing, and we therefore commit to keeping our stakeholders updated as to where we are on our journey and our improvements.
Surfdock has been offering amenity facilities and activities in Dublin for over thirty years. Over that time we have worked with many different organisations particularly youth groups to increase access to water sports within the city.
We regularly engage in clean ups of the Grand Canal Dock making sure that litter does not accumulate.
There are so many important projects and organisations working to support biodiversity in Ireland and abroad. As a company it is not always easy to choose. Surfdock decided in the end go with an organisation close to it’s heart – the Native Irish Honeybee Society. NIHBs has been working tirelessly for the last decade to promote the conservation of our Native Honey bee also known as the European Dark Honeybee or to give it its official name Apis Mellifera Mellifera. Apis Mellifera Mellifera once ranged from the west of Ireland to the Urals and as far north as parts of Norway and as far south as the Pyrenees and Alps. Ireland is now the last place in Europe where AMM has a healthy population and as a nation provides a vital conservation area for this globally important genetic resource.