Green Business Awards 2009: Environmental management - Biodiversity protection

WINNER - CENTER PARCS

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Last Updated: 09 Oct 2013

Center Parcs offers family holidays at four forest locations in the UK. It has 3,600 staff, and in 2008 had a turnover of £263m.

Biodiversity has been an important focus from the firm's arrival in the UK in 1987, when it specifically chose sites in areas with low or damaged biodiversity.

Center Parcs launched its first Biodiversity Action Plan in 1998. Within this, each site has its own Forest Management Plan, which is reviewed and updated every five years. These plans are backed by extensive and detailed monitoring of wildlife status at each site.

The company's culture emphasises the importance of biodiversity monitoring, which is also integrated into routine site management practices. Center Parcs spends £55,000 per year on the production of ecological monitoring reports.

As a result of this effort, thousands of new biodiversity records are added every year at each site. For example, by 2008 the Sherwood Village site had a database of 34,000 individual records for a total of 401 plant species and 2,466 species of invertebrates, birds and mammals. As Sherwood Village's latest annual biodiversity report puts it: 'It is the power of this data that has allowed the villages to develop into fabulous nature reserves.'

Annual reporting on biodiversity includes extensive performance indicators to measure progress against targets. Each report is verified by external experts. At the different sites, various actions are taken to enhance biodiversity status. Since 2005, Center Parcs has financed a Red Squirrel Ranger to manage a refuge at its Whinfell Forest village. There's an action plan to increase bat populations at all the firm's UK villages.

In 2007, Center Parcs became the first company in the UK to have multiple sites certified to the Wildlife Trusts' Biodiversity Benchmark, an award for business to recognise continual biodiversity improvement. Following a reassessment, it retained the Benchmark in August 2009, and earned the description by a spokesperson for the Wildlife Trusts as 'a shining example of wildlife conservation working well within the tourism and leisure sector'.

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WEB LINKS

Center Parcs http://www.centerparcs.co.uk/

Biodiversity and forest management page

http://www.centerparcs.co.uk/company/biodiversity.jsp

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