Staffordshire EQM Questions and Guidance

Staffordshire EQM Questions and Guidance

See below for an overview of the Questionnaire and Guidance Notes:

SECTION ONE

1.2 a) Brief description of your business/activity, facts and figures, location, special features. Who are your customers?
GUIDANCE:
What is your business activity? How many rooms/covers/hectares/people at events? Any important habitats, SSSIs, BAPs? How many pt /ft employees/volunteers? Who are your customers? If several businesses together give brief details of all.
 
1.2 b) When did you start?
(dd/mm/yyyy)
 
1.2 c) Tell us about your awards, assurance schemes and achievements, Star ratings, farm assurance, animal welfare schemes
GUIDANCE:
Star ratings if an accommodation or attraction Farm assurance schemes and animal welfare schemes Environmental awards and schemes
 
1.2 d) Describe in 50 words how you feel about the environment and Staffordshire.
GUIDANCE:
Briefly explain your environmental goals, beliefs and how you feel about Staffordshire.
 
1.2 e) Any other information relevant to the SEQM
GUIDANCE:
Any information about your environmental or Staffordshire actions

1.3. Will you, through your business activity? a) Work collaboratively with businesses in other sectors by using and promoting their products and services b) Safeguard natural resources c) Protect and enhance the local built and natural environment d) Invest in the wellbeing of your staff, local communities and the wider global community e) Actively help safeguard and improve the special characteristics of Staffordshire?
GUIDANCE:
These are the five principles of the EQM scheme.  As you complete your application, please provide examples of how you support these principles.  When we score your application, we are looking for a balance of activity across all of these areas.  We may also ask you for evidence that you meet these principles during our assessment visit.
 
Please Note:
We reserve the right to reconsider your status as an award holder should you be found to be failing to uphold these principles or comply with a appropriate legislation.
 
1.4. Are you compliant with all relevant regulations and legislation?
GUIDANCE:
Check to see which pieces of legislation apply to your particular business and what you need to do to comply.  You also need to be meeting planning regulations.  Joining the Staffordshire Business Environment Network http://www.sben.co.uk may be helpful to your business.
 
1.5. Are your premises and personnel clean, appropriately presented and friendly?
GUIDANCE:
We are sure they are!
 
1.6. Have you completed the Green Start process?
GUIDANCE:
As a first step in the EQM process we need you to complete an appropriate basic assessment http://staffordshire.better-tourism.org/default.aspx fits most businesses. You need to save your action plans as evidence.
 
1.7. If your business doesn’t fit Green Start, is there a basic environmental improvement plan for your sector? What is it and have you completed it?
GUIDANCE:
Any business, service or event can apply for a SEQM. However you need to provide a basic environmental improvement plan appropriate to your sector. If there isn’t one you need to discuss your requirements with the EQM project officer.

1.8 If you are a farmer/land manager, are you cross compliant?
 
 
1.9. If you are a farmer/land manager, which baseline or entry level scheme are you in?
SPS, ELS, UELS, OLES Other?
 
1.10 . If you are a farmer/land manager, what was the date of your last RPA visit?
 
 
1.11. What were the issues raised by the RPA visit?
 
 

SECTION TWO

2.1 Marketing and promotion
How do you show potential customers and visitors what you are doing and how Staffordshire is special?
GUIDANCE:
How do you describe your environmental and Staffordshire actions in any marketing and promotional material? Think about ways you could improve on this. It can be useful to develop a simple environmental policy, which includes information about how you are minimising your environmental impact, how you are helping to keep Staffordshire special, and what your guests/customers can do to help.
 
Examples:
  • We have a Green Policy on our web site and it mentions local food purchasing and our support of Friends of Staffordshire
  • Our leaflet is printed on recycled paper and has the SEQM logo on
  • We have a Travellers’ Code on our website advising visitors how to enjoy Staffordshire in a good way
  • We advertise on websites specialising in responsible travel.
 
2.2 Enquiry/booking/point of sale and administration
How do you show customers what you are doing to reduce your environmental impact and how Staffordshire is special?
GUIDANCE:
How do your administration processes and information demonstrate your environmental actions and commitment to Staffordshire?
 
Examples:
  • Over 98% of bookings now confirmed by email with no posted information
  • All confirmations contain local food menus and there are links to EQM businesses on our website
  • All office paper is recycled and printed material states this
  • We use recycled ink cartridges and reuse all single side printed paper for notes
  • There are stickers explaining our commitment to Staffordshire on the back of our packaging
  • All emails and electronic information carries links to Enjoy Staffordshire
  • Our shelf leaflets have the SEQM logo and we display photos of the farms where the products come from
 
2.3 Transport, arrival, distribution
How do people reach you and how does that make Staffordshire special? How do you distribute your products in an environmentally sensitive way?
How do you help customers, visitors and staff to get you your place using public transport or environmental alternatives? Try to provide timetables, access to the internet, access, bike shelters. If you have a website put a link to ‘transport direct’ to help customers plan to get to you by public transport.
 
Examples:
  • We ask our visitors to consider the environment, both before they arrive (e.g. by sharing cars or using public transport) and when on site.
  • We work out sensible, efficient delivery round
  • Information about cycle hire is provided on the web site and in the accommodation
  • We offer to pick up from the nearest bus stop
  • We provide lots of green travel information in booking information prior to arrival
  • We have an arrangement with the local coach company to bring guests to the event
  • Business vehicles are regularly serviced, driven in an eco friendly manner and tyre pressures monitored 
  • "Just 1 hour, 35 minutes from London Euston to Stoke on Trent” is key marketing phrase
 
2.4 Place-view
Consider the visitor or customer’s view: Appearance and condition of buildings, Signs/lighting, Storage of materials/waste.
GUIDANCE:
What does the customer see on arrival? All buildings on the business premises should be fair/good condition (i.e. structurally sound but possibly in need of minor repairs or maintenance). Buildings, their fixtures, fittings and exterior décor should be maintained in a sound, clean condition.
 
Ensure bin areas are secure from intruders, regularly inspected and well maintained, with appropriate size bins and regular collections to ensure no overflow of waste.
 
Store items you intend to use but that have a messy appearance out of sight and in designated areas/ piles. This way they are visually identifiable as useful objects rather than waste.
 
If you use temporary buildings in your work (eg temporary caravans), screen them, keep them clean and site them away from public view.
 
If you don’t have buildings, how do you influence those who control the appearance of your surroundings?
 
Examples:
  • We do not tolerate litter! Cigarette butts are collected in garden pots rather than plastic bins.
  • We keep areas of landscape (especially on approach lanes and in the fields) as wildlife corridors and do not mow these.
  • The traditional buildings and drystone walls at the properties have been restored and are well maintained, conserving these features in the landscape
  • Our dry stone walls have been repaired and we have tidied up the entrance
  • The waste from the building project is separated into wood, metal, plastic and rubble
  • We have the SEQM sticker on the entrance door
  • The lambing caravan is screened by trees, washed regularly, and the grass strimmed so the view from the public footpath and road is not messy
  • We campaigned for our village to be a Conservation area because it is so attractive.
 
2.5 Place-access
How will your customer or visitor be aware of your involvement/ support of disadvantaged people? Do you cater for people with special needs? Do you have well maintained footpath/stiles?
GUIDANCE:
Are footpaths well maintained and accessible, what do walkers see from the footpaths? It is possible for people from disadvantaged groups to get access to your place? Outside your site what have you done to influence accessibility with the people responsible?
 
How do you support disadvantaged people? How do you enable or encourage them to enjoy Staffordshire? Do you have allergy sensitive options on your menus?
 
Examples:
  • We are keen supporters of The Honeycomb Centre and Upper Limits (we’re on the advisory panel for these). This is a community project for young people with learning difficulties. We buy their labelled products
  • Wheelchair walks are detailed. Deaf guards, ramps, shower stools, etc provided free of charge for guests with limited mobility or hearing.
  • Where architecture allows we have provided ground floor bedrooms and accessible wet rooms.
  • Our cottage is accessible for less able people and we have got M2, V1 and H1 categories of NAS
  • We hire out bikes for less able people
  • We have a delivery service so goods don’t need to be carried, there is almost level access to the shop, and a parking place close to the door
  • The stiles on the farm are small gates rather than steep steps so less able people can manage
  • We have minimised the use of gravel in the grounds as this causes problems for wheel chairs
  • There is clear lighting which comes on at dusk, lighting the paths around the place
 
2.6 Place-your immediate surroundings
How do you manage your surroundings to enhance Staffordshire and its biodiversity for the visitor or customer? Consider garden, grounds, biodiversity, Soil, water, air, tranquillity, dark skies.
GUIDANCE:
How do you manage your surroundings to enhance Staffordshire and its biodiversity for the visitor or customer? If you don’t have gardens or land, how do you influence the people who control your surroundings?
 
Examples:
  • All outside lights are down-lighters with movement sensors so not causing light pollution
  • Garden furniture in all properties is locally made and labelled
  • Because the house is listed, the gardens were designed by an historic garden designer to ensure they are in keeping with the building
  • The wildlife pond we built has newts, frogs, etc
  • Our land is managed under a conservation agreement
  • We work with the Wildlife Trust on placing bat boxes and Barn Owl boxes
  • The bird tables attract lots of birds and visitors alike!
  • We run our service in the Village Hall, so we have written to the village hall committee asking them to install rain butts so it’s easier to water the tubs.
 
2.7 Place-facilities
In the place where you meet people; your ‘customer interface’, what facilities are there to allow them to make green decisions and look after Staffordshire?
GUIDANCE:
In the place where you meet people; your ‘customer interface', what facilities are there to allow them to make green decisions and look after Staffordshire? Wherever your customers or visitors meet you - eg. Accommodation, bathrooms, bedrooms, barns, farms, restaurants, cafes, shop, stalls, gallery, studio, workshop, event, vehicle, online shop, etc

Examples:

  • Recycling bins allow customers to immediately separate and dispose of waste by the stall
  • Bedrooms have notices about re-using towels when possible and individual heating controls
  • Hospitality trays have local biscuits, Fairtrade tea and coffee (in small refillable jars, not little packets) and mini kettles
  • Cottage guests have easy to use waste recycling and composting facilities
  • The advertising posters give public transport options for reaching all the events
  • The menus have identified dishes whose ingredients are locally sourced so customers can choose Staffordshire
  • Rooms all have folders with Staffordshire leaflets and local pub menus
  • Our reusable carrier bags advertise other Staffordshire businesses
  • The website has links to the Enjoy Staffordshire website
 
2.8 Service/processes (Cleaning/laundry)
How do you reduce the negative impact of your cleaning processes? How does the customer know?
GUIDANCE:
Every business has cleaning and laundry to do.
 
Do you use low or no-chemical, eco cleaning products and low temperature washes? E-cloths (where no cleaning products are needed). Natural recipes for cleaning? If you use a laundry do they have good environmental standards?
 
Examples:
  • Many old remedies e.g. vinegar and lemon juice also used for cleaning
  • Housekeeping contractors use steam cleaners and natural products where possible (although occasional stubborn stains are treated if needed)
  • Farm overalls and general washing is done with Ecover non-bio washing powder
  • We explain how we chose which laundry to use (because of their green credentials) on our ‘please reuse your towels’ card in our bathrooms
  • Cleaning materials supplied in the cottages are only environmentally friendly products so visitors can try them.
 
2.9 Service/processes (Purchasing)
What you are doing to reduce the negative impact of this? Supplier screening? Recycled products? Transporting purchases? How does your customer know?
GUIDANCE:
All businesses buy goods, products and services.
 
Do you buy in bulk to reduce the amount of packaging? Do you buy environmentally friendly products?
 
(Reuse, Reduce, Recycle) Sometimes you can change procedures and stop buying some items, for example lining food bins with newspaper instead of plastic bin liners. Do you buy recycled alternatives like: recycled printer paper, toilet paper, kitchen roll, recycled plastic bin liners, recycled stationery, glassware and ink cartridges.
 
Do you check the credentials of your suppliers? Are they good employers, where do they source ingredients? Do they support communities? How do they deal with waste and packaging?
 
Examples:
  • We grow all our own animal feed/ we make sure we source UK-grown feed to make sure its not from a source that depletes rainforest
  • Our fencing materials are local wood, British wood or FSC-certified wood (Forestry Stewardship Council)
  • Sweets are bought in bulk, stored in jars then sold in paper bags.
  • Washing-up liquid, floor cleaner & disinfectant are bought in 5litre containers.
  • Shopping journeys are linked where possible with trips to bank and recycling
  • The tiles on the floor of the extension have been reclaimed locally
  • We use a biodegradable chain saw oil, which is vegetable oil based rather than mineral oil. It is from 'Plantoil', based in Wetherby. Its a new formula oil which is thinner than normal chain oil, allowing operators to turn down the pump on the chainsaw and so use less. www.plantoil.co.uk
  • We have ‘green questionnaires’ completed by all our suppliers, they are in the green folders in the cottages
  • Most of the arts and crafts on display are from Staffordshire makers and are labelled.
 
2.10 Service/processes (Food preparation and service)
How do you celebrate the environment and Staffordshire? How can the customer make choices that contribute to its care?
GUIDANCE:
For businesses that produce or serve food. How do you help conserve and enhance Staffordshire through your food purchasing and serving? You can buy products from EQM farming businesses. EQM farms deliver environmental benefits through management of drystone walls, traditional stone buildings, lead mining heritage and other archaeology, hay meadows, limestone dales and moorland, so by buying their produce you are supporting them with this important work. You can buy products from farms that are managed within ‘Higher Level’ agri-environment (conservation) agreements. Click to see more about these schemes.
 
Items can be bought locally and made locally out of locally grown or produced ingredients/ materials e.g.: meat or dairy produce from a local farm, meat from local butcher who can tell you what local farm it is from, farm shop or farmers' market produce (again, it's best to ask which ingredients are from a named local farm), bakery products made with eggs, milk, butter etc from a local farm.
 
You can buy items made locally but with no local ingredients/ materials e.g.: non-local meat, fish, or other products. Of course, food isn't the only thing on the table, you can serve with Staffordshire pottery as well as recycled and Fairtrade items.
 
Do your menus allow people to make an informed choice, do they know which dishes are contributing to the conservation of Staffordshire?
Examples:
  • Local caterers only use locally reared meats at our events, with many home grown veg
  • All our teas and coffees are Fairtrade and with a fun survey guests helped us decide on which blend of coffee to serve
  • We have table mats made out of recycled tetra paks
  • Local micro-brewery -organic lager deliveries from Abbots Bromely
  • Our meat comes from an EQM farm with hay meadows
  • Our Marmalade is made by a local lady in the village
  • Our herbs are from The Herb Table, Hope
  • We get as many local ingredients as possible including Eggs and milk from farm at Bradley, cheese from Cheddleton and oatcakes from Leek.
  • We offer ready meals made locally using meat from EQM farms to our self-catering guests, they are microwavable so use less energy to re-heat.
 
2.11 Processes-Making
Making/creating, Manufacturing How do your creative processes celebrate the environment and Staffordshire? How do your customers know?
GUIDANCE:
For businesses that create arts and crafts or are manufacturing.
 
How do your creative processes celebrate the environment and Staffordshire? Do you source primary materials locally? How do your customers know? Do you use recycled materials in your products?
 
Examples:
  • For wool products we use the otherwise discarded fleece of rare-breed pet sheep from Staffordshire and small amounts of wool are collected from local hedgerows, we tell people on our labels
  • Our leaflets describe Staffordshire woods where our forestry products come from and explains how proper woodland management enhances them
  • All our artists use recycled materials, from silver from film and computer stock to beer bottles and driftwood
  • One of our artists uses fleeces sourced from local farmers and dyed using vegetable dyes. This is then spun in here and made into wool items.
  • We display SEQM leaflets at point of sale
 
2.12 Service-Volunteering
How do you reduce your environmental impact and celebrate Staffordshire when serving customers or visitors and how do they know?
GUIDANCE:
For businesses or services delivered by volunteers
 
If your activity involves providing a service to clients, how to do they know you reduce your environmental impact and celebrate Staffordshire
 
Examples:
  • We explain our use of recycled packaging
  • We have a ‘We love Staffordshire’ sticker on our information sheets
 
2.13 Process- Farming
How do you manage your farm to conserve the special qualities of Staffordshire? What animal welfare measures do you have in place? How do people know?
For businesses that manage or farm land
 
How do you manage your farm to conserve the special qualities of Staffordshire? What animal welfare measures do you have in place? Do your staff know about and understand the EQM and what it means for the management of your land?
 
As well as protecting areas of high environmental value, previously improved land will be valuable in its own way. How do you protect this?
 
How do people know what you do on the farm?
 
Examples:
  • We have restored two hay meadows and we show the public on Open Farm Sunday
  • We are in Environmental Stewardship Higher Level Scheme and our chosen options are:
    1) extending and recreating medieval parkland for wildlife, landscape and historic interests;
    2) arable crop rotation for wildlife benefits, especially farmland birds such as skylark, yellowhammers and lapwing;
    3)wild flower rich water meadows and fens along the river banks are being managed to enhance wildlife
  • We use no nitrogen fertilizer across the whole holding and make sure we don’t cut our meadows until after 15 July
  • We have restored three dew ponds and they now have great crested newts
  • We try and keep all our drystone walls up and have an ongoing restoration programme
  • Our land has been surveyed for archaeological features and we make sure our farming practices do not disturb them. We have a guided walk around the farm which shows what the features are and explains their history
  • We are registered organic with the Soil Association
 
2.14 Staffordshire Environment
What do you do to support Staffordshire's valued characteristics? How are you safeguarding and sharing these? How does the customer or visitor enjoy, learn about and contribute to Staffordshire environment?
GUIDANCE:
Check the list of Staffordshire’s valued characteristics. How are you helping to protect and share them with people. How do people know that you support Staffordshire environment, how can they contribute too? You could donate to a Staffordshire conservation project through a particular product line or through each guest booking, for example through the National Trust  or Wildlife Trsut.
 
Do you display information to help people learn about Staffordshire? An easy way to do this is to display any EQM information and the Enjoy Staffordshire Guide and Staffordshire Wildlife Trust information  (make sure you have a stock of them for people to take away). An up-to-date list of SEQM award holders is available here.
 
Examples:
  •  We volunteering regularly on conservation projects and tell our customers about our adventures!
  • We collect donations from visitors for the Staffordshire Wildlife Trust
  • Our Business is a member of Staffordshire Wildlife Trust and we belong to the National Trust
  • Member of Enjoy Staffordshire and supports the Green Agenda
  • We are members of Staffordshire Peak District Tourism Association who are working towards a greener area
  • We run local cookery courses using local ingredients from EQM farms
  • Copies of the Countryside code are provided in all properties
  • Our tourist information corner is full of leaflets about Staffordshire
  • The cottage has a 'Did You Know?' information sheet containing interesting facts on environmental issues.
 
2.15 Staffordshire Heritage and Culture
What do you do to support Staffordshire's heritage and culture? How does the customer or visitor enjoy, learn about and contribute to Staffordshire local heritage and culture?
GUIDANCE:
How do people know that you support Staffordshire heritage and culture?  How can they contribute too?  You could donate to a Staffordshire cultural heritage project through a particular product line or through each guest booking.
 
Do you display information to help people learn about Staffordshire traditions?
 
Examples:
  • ‘Honest repairs’ are carried out to original features such as beams, rather than replacing with replicas so the story of our historic building is there for all to see
  • We have a self guided farm walk leaflet so people can learn about the landscape, the way of life and how farming has changed over the years
  • I help with the Abbots Bromley Horn Dance, and invite our visitors to come and see
  • We only engage local musicians and bands for our events
  • We advertise and promote the great guided walks by National Trust, Staffordshire Moorlands rangers and town guides in Leek
  • We have a collection of books about the History of the Potteries
 
2.16 You and your staff
How do you and your staff keep up-to-date with Staffordshire initiatives, SEQM and new environmental ideas? How do you keep your work related skills up-to-date? Training attended?
GUIDANCE:
How do you learn about environmental initiatives and new ideas and make sure you are as professional as possible in your business? Can you and your staff answer customers' questions about SEQM? Do you enable staff to attend training opportunities?
 
Examples:
  • I and one of my staff attended a ‘Green Advantage' course in 2009
  • We belong to Staffordshire Peak District Tourism Assoc and have joint training courses and speakers at meetings
  • We went to a bio energy workshop and site visits
  • I subscribe to e-newsletters about renewable energy
 
2.17 Employing people
Do you employ local people? How do you look after your employees? How can they make suggestions? How do your customers or visitors know?
Do you employ local people? Do you practise fair employment, paying more than minimum wage? How do your staff get to work? Do you offer flexible, family friendly hours?
 
Example:
  • We employ local women and have decided working hours to fit their families
  • We pay more than minimum wage
  • We encourage staff to talk to visitors, they all wear name badges and we celebrate any outstanding service
  • We have a mini bus to pick up local staff members
  • There is a safe store for staff bicycles
  • Staff always get to pick first from any replaced items during refurbishments
  • Two self employed contractors employed by the business were mentored and encouraged to start their own businesses
 
2.18 Local Community
How do you support your local community? How do people know? How can the customer or visitor contribute too?
GUIDANCE:
How does your business support your local community? Can visitors contribute to your local community?
 
Examples: 
  • ‘No fireworks’, and ‘no night sky lanterns’ policies to look after neighbours
  • Grazing is provided free of charge to nearby farmers in return for meadow maintenance
  • I am a school governor
  • We sponsored and designed the village website
  • Contact details for local churches are in the accommodation information directories
  • We belong to a local fund raising group that supports different charities each year
  • We invite donations to the local First responders group
 
2.19 Your networks
How does your business work with other EQM and environmentally sensitive/Staffordshire businesses? How do your customers and visitors know?
GUIDANCE:
List the EQM businesses you work with.  List other Staffordshire environmentally sensitive businesses you work with.  How do you work with them? Promotion, using each other’s ingredients/services/products? How do your customers know? 
 
Examples:
  • We keep supplies of the EQM flyers  for our customers
  • We mention where our bacon, sausage, milk and eggs come from on our menus, all EQM members
  • We pass on enquiries to other EQM award holders and Staffordshire businesses
 
2.20 Global Community
How does your business support the community beyond your local community? How will your customer or visitor be aware of your involvement/ support of the global community? How can they contribute too?
GUIDANCE:
How does your business support the global community?  Can visitors contribute to the global community? Charity donations collected/Information available
 
Examples:
  • We offer a number of prizes of free breaks for charities to use for their own fundraising. Charities that have benefitted from free prizes include Macmillan Cancer, Children’s Adventure Farm Trust, in aid of both local charities and children’s charities.
  • We support ‘ Practical Action’ (practical solutions to poverty in the developing world), Anthony Nolan Bone Marrow Register and  Staffordshire Wildlife Trust;  guests are invited to donate to which ever they want to support
  • Our local Church raises money for overseas charities and we help
  • A little boy in Malawi has been sponsored by our family
 
2.21 Customer/visitor
How can your customers and visitors give you their feedback and share their ideas with you about environmental issues and keeping Staffordshire special?
GUIDANCE:
How do customers and visitors let you know how they feel about your service and Staffordshire?
 
Examples:
  • We have a customer comments book
  • We ask guests for their ‘green ideas’ on a form in their room
  • Our website has a link for customers to make eco suggestions
  • We take part in a regional survey where visitors opinions are gathered
 
2.22 Other
Other EQM activities or innovations that help people to love Staffordshire.
What else do you do that hasn’t been captured by our questions?