VIBES Award: Management SME


  • Carbon Reduction Programme for transport and office.
  • Transport measures include: re-mapping engines, fuel efficient driver training and changing to Euro 5 standard and Euro 6 standard buses.
  • Fuel savings equate to approximately £1000 per annum per driver.
  • Created a self-imposed Carbon Tax which donates £10 per tonne of Carbon used to environmental and community projects.
  • Since 2007, they have donated £18,500 cash and £10,500 in kind to environmental and social projects.
  • Developed an Employee Handbook that includes their Environmental Policy and all staff have KPIs for carbon reduction relevant to individual roles.
  • Suppliers must meet set environmental criteria.
  • Gained Gold accreditation to the Green Tourism Business Scheme (GTBS) in 2013.
  • Have reduced their customers’ carbon footprint by 21%.
Sponsored by: Macsween

Established in 1993, Rabbie’s Small Group Tours is based in Edinburgh and operates tours throughout the UK and Ireland in fuel efficient, 16 seat mini coaches with a driver and guide.

The VIBES Management Award recognises businesses whose management systems deliver continuous improvement in environmental performance. This category is aimed at businesses that are taking a holistic approach to environmental improvement and can demonstrate the associated economic and social benefits that have been achieved. Rabbie’s Small Group Tours was the winner of the SME category for the Management Award and the VIBES Judges were very impressed by the environmental approaches and achievements of this small business.

Rabbie’s Small Group Tours thoroughly impressed the VIBES Judges with their passion for being small, having a low environmental impact and spreading their business throughout the community. Their commitment to this is evident in the company’s values and the policies they have developed.

A previous winner of the VIBES Changing Behaviour Award in 2011, Rabbie’s demonstrated many actions to reduce their environmental impact and provided good examples of working with customers and suppliers. They have been instrumental in changing the scope of the GTBS accreditation to include the wider tourism industry, looking specifically at tour operators, thereby setting the standard for others to aspire to. Rabbie’s also actively shares ideas with the wider business audience by engaging with organisations such as Edinburgh Tourism Action Group.

The company have ambitious expansion plans and recognise that growth brings sustainability issues. They have plans to combat this by engaging their staff and ensuring they are well motivated and committed to achieving a low carbon operation while supporting growth and development.

Rabbie’s are making many positive environmental changes in-house and as part of their Carbon Reduction Programme they have developed different KPIs for individuals (office staff and drivers). This is used as a positive incentive to encourage employees to proactively manage their environmental impact. The company have introduced a bonus scheme that considers environmental performance.

The Company’s environmental ethos and how they convey their principles to customers was noted by the VIBES Judges. During their trips, Rabbie’s drivers explain the various environmental projects they employ such as tree planting initiatives and collect litter they may come across.

Rabbie’s approach to sustainable development is appreciated by customers and their tours have shown a 30% increase per year for the last 3-4 years. A growing number of customers state that their decision to choose Rabbie’s is influenced by their environmental credentials. Customer feedback has provided confidence that their environmental ethos and principles are delivering a great customer experience and so they now offer a “unique ethical customer experience guarantee”. Rabbie’s sustainability model is transferable and can be easily replicated, consequently Rabbie’s will continue to engage with communities, businesses and schools as their planned expansion develops across Europe.

Hazel Rickett, Managing Director of Rabbie’s Small Group Tours, had this to say: “We are thrilled to receive the VIBES Management Award in the SME Category. Preserving our environment and communities for future generations is one of the founding principles of Rabbie’s, and achieving this award is a credit to our dedicated team and the communities that we work with throughout the UK and Ireland.