We are committed to eco-tourism in many ways. Below, we talk about what our environmental policy is and how we incorporate this policy into our business and for guests, as well as our energy use, wildlife protection, economic and social responsibility.
We have adopted the “Leave No Trace Behind” ethics when visiting local islands. By using environmentally safe products, recycling, composting, and other eco-friendly practices, and in keeping with former Governor Baldacci’s sustainable tourism initiative, we make the commitment to a process of social responsibility.
Our Goal is to do no harm, and, where that is impossible, to do the least harm while striving to find a zero impact solution.
In 2007, the J. & E. Riggin was the first Maine windjammer to be awarded the Maine DEP Environmental leadership award in hospitality. In 2008, we became the first of the Maine Windjammers be entirely carbon neutral/free.
We are Leave No Trace certified, and we educate our guests on the lowest impact they can have on the islands and communities we visit. Every island we go to is left cleaner than when we arrive, as everyone is asked to bring any garbage or waste back to the campsite for removal from the island.
All vegetable and paper products are composted for the garden or fed to the chickens we raise for meat and eggs. The garden, from which all the herbs and flowers and some of the produce come, is fertilized with compost and manure only.
All cleaners are biodegradable and Green Seal certified, and most are all-natural and made on site.
Guest Use: Our double set of linens (sheets and towels) are used for the duration of our guests’ trip. Reusable water containers and cups are in each cabin instead of disposable. We use recycled napkins, paper cups, toilet paper, and paper towels. All-natural hand-made soaps are used in the cabins. Biodegradable soap is used in the main areas, and the soap containers are refillable. Guests choose a coffee mug that they reuse and wash for the duration of their trip.
Energy Use: We are primarily powered by the wind and tide, using our sails to navigate versus an engine. Therefore, wind, not fuel, is our main source of energy. As we have a limited electrical and water supply, we educate our passengers on conservation of both. Salt water is used for the toilets. All lights are run on batteries which are recharged between trips. The only electricity used is when we recharge the battery.
In the office: Energy efficient light bulbs are used wherever possible. Natural light is used when available and the windows are winterized to improve energy and heat efficiency. Half of our purchased energy is renewable energy with zero emissions. Starting in 2007, we’ve offset all paper use in our offices by purchasing trees to plant both locally and internationally. Even before we understood how to offset our paper use, we were planting at least 20 trees per year on our property and elsewhere. The printer uses both sides of the paper, and printed paper is saved to use for notepads. We use 100% recycled paper in the office for general printing. Letterhead and schedules for brochures are on 100% recycled paper. Brochures are also recycled, printed with soy ink, and made using wind power.
We recycle in both the office and on the boats. In the office, all paper is composted or recycled, as are newspapers, cardboard and magazines (goes to the garden). On the boat, everything that can be recycled is, and we compost all organic matter. Any computer disks and ink cartridges are recycled as well.
We educate our guests on the habitat and wildlife of the area and how best to care for these species through our actions. We participate in whale watches and counts and conduct natural history cruises for an in depth study.
Our Goal is to offer affordable vacations to our guests, operate our businesses in a fiscally responsible manner, and be active economic members of our local and global communities.
More than 75% of our supplies, food and labor come from within a 100-mile radius of our business – supporting local farmers and purveyors as much as we can.
Vegetables are purchased from a local CSA, at local Farmers’ Markets, or grown in our own garden. Almost all meat, eggs, dairy and coffee are either raised locally or purchased locally. We raise our own chickens that have become an integral part of our operation.
We buy locally as much as is possible, and we encourage our guests to do the same. We anchor off of small villages and towns and encourage purchases in the small, independent operations that are part of these communities.
We strive to be active and ethical members of our local and global communities; to have safe, engaging, thriving workplaces; and through our business, to offer a clean, wholesome and inspiring product and experience.
The charter for our charitable giving falls under three initiatives: children, the environment or education. Over the past 10 years we’ve given 5% of all profits to groups that support these causes. As part of this, we donated wood and sail material to be turned into wooden spoons and canvas tote bags, which were in turn used as a fundraiser for a non-profit that supports maritime preservation.
We are active members of our community. We participate in local events, volunteer for local causes, support our local economy and educate our guests and crew about local wildlife, sustainable environmental practices, and the power of buying local.
Through our apprentice program, we encourage young people to have a positive experiential education in the maritime arts. Our hope is that they will one day become part of the large maritime community, or at least they will bring a respect for the natural world into their future workplaces.
“Everything is always so fresh. I’m really into food and [Mahle] belongs to a co-op, so she buys a lot of stuff locally, she gets her meat from a local butcher, uses local coffee. That stuff makes a difference.”
~ Kathy A., Delaware