Sustainability & Culture

The Idle Rocks and St Mawes Hotel have sustainability at the heart of our ethos; from sourcing local produce to respecting our diverse Cornish environment  and minimising our footprint.

For the past two decades, food, cooking and dining have gone through some significant and troubling changes. The actions of many large-scale food producers and dining establishments have had a profoundly negative impact on the health of both our planet and our consumers

We strive to be true artisans and representatives of a sustainable low impact, high quality restaurant and hotel trade. We have made a conscious choice to be true to this mission. We strive to create alliances, starting at the local level, between people working with different means but sharing the same objectives: to diminish food waste, develop local and sustainable food production and maintain biodiversity.

Sustainability Policy

Our sustainability policy is a natural extension of our company ethos. Its aim is to demonstrate – for guests, staff, and suppliers – our on-going commitment to reducing our negative environmental impact and enhancing our surroundings. It is important to us because it is important to our customers.

  • We aim to create rather than simply consume
  • We source responsibly, scratching beneath the surface and considering the life cycle of the products and services we purchase
  • We source locally with the highest respect for our suppliers, community and environment
  • We monitor our energy usage and aim to reduce our carbon footprint year-on-year
  • Our waste management system enables us to send minimal waste to landfill
  • We aim to inspire all who come into contact with us to make positive changes in their own lives or businesses
  • We are true to our values, resilient to challenge and committed to what we do

This may not always be the easy path but we believe it is the only path and we will always strive to improve, ensuring that we deliver the highest quality and remain a sustainability-conscious businesses.

The examples below demonstrate how we bring our Sustainability Policy to life:

Our ‘Buy Local’ Policy

We source our consumables from local suppliers which helps reduce our carbon footprint. This applies to food and drink, building materials, printing, stationery and other general supplies.

Our fish is sourced from Cornish fishermen with line caught fish coming from Ed Russell in Looe harbour, lobster & crab from Ian Jepson in Newquay and Oysters from the Wild Oyster Company on our doorstep in St Mawes. Our meat comes from farmers who not only adhere to the highest standards of animal welfare but consider wildlife conservation and shun the use of harmful pesticides.

We not only purchase products from local suppliers, fishermen & farmers but we also seek to foster deeper relationships with them, sharing information and advice to develop fruitful partnerships.

Our Food Map illustrates where in Cornwall our produce is sourced:

The Idle Rocks Food Map


We have collaborated with The Lost Gardens of Heligan to highlight and promote the message of sustainable produce, grown using Victorian methods and showcased on our menus.  We created this video to help communicate & promote this message.


Recycling & Waste Management

The waste we do produce is recycled wherever possible – and this isn’t just limited to tins, cans, cardboard and plastic bottles – we even recycle our cooking oil!  We use a recycled electric milk float to collect our waste which helps to reduce our CO2 emissions.

Water conservation

We operate a linen and towel change policy, where our guests decide when they would like their bedding and towels swapped for fresh ones and their responsible attitudes are evidenced by our reduced laundry requirement of over 5% in the last year.

We don’t use tablecloths during lunch service at The Idle Rocks or during any service at the St Mawes Hotel, which means that we do not need to use water and energy to launder them. Our toilets have dual flush options and small cisterns, and our taps and showers are fitted with aerators to reduce water consumption.

Saving Energy

Buildings like ours can typically consume high amounts of energy. Our team monitors energy levels on a regular basis and we review consumption on an annual basis in order to minimise our footprint. We are currently in the process of phasing out all halogen lightbulbs and changing to more energy efficient LED bulbs.
We offer our guests the use of an electric car charging point in our car park promoting green energy and the use of electric vehicles. We use Cornish filtered still and sparkling water and recycle the bottle, which also helps to reduce our carbon footprint.

Engaging with our Local Community

We help support and contribute to community events and projects in the local area including donations to the local primary school, hosting events such as pizza making and film events. Sponsoring the Roseland Festival and other local sailing events is now a well-established tradition.

Our hotel facilities are open to non-residents, and we hold regular events to appeal to locals throughout the year such as our dining and cinema events and collaborative chef nights.

Recruitment, training and apprenticeships.

We actively recruit against our sustainability principles and values, looking for like-minded people with the right skills & attitude that share our philosophies. This has been a particular focus for the kitchen where staff live these aspects on a day to day basis.
We are proud that our staff are diverse in background, experience and culture and we are proactive in seeking out and fostering local talent. Currently approximately 15% of our staff are from St. Mawes or wider Cornwall but we see exciting opportunities to increase this number and are engaging in local apprenticeship programmes with Truro College.
We are passionate about training – both on the job and external formal qualifications – so we can promote from within. It is vital that everyone is aware of our focus on sustainability and local sourcing; we take staff teams on visits to meet our suppliers to understand the unique attributes of their local product & processes (e.g. local organic vineyards & wine making and locally grown tea.)
Several staff at all levels have undertaken training with WSET (Wine & Spirits Education Trust).

We are excited about helping the next generation appreciate good ingredients, Cornish produce & ecosystems and cooking! We engage with St Mawes primary school for events such as pizza making. We are supporting Truro High School with a fundraising dinner for “Green Space at School” and look forward to more partnerships of this type.

Supporting Local Charities & Education

As an organisation, we set out a policy to support local charities wherever possible, particularly those that will benefit young people in Cornwall and those that benefit the local community such as Cornwall Air Ambulance and the RNLI.

Via the Relais & Châteaux relationship the Idle Rocks hotel has signed up to the Sea Web programme and the SRA (Sustainable Restaurant Association) formed in 2014 to fight for the protection of the products & reserves of our oceans. This standard is designed to limit the environmental impact of Relais & Châteaux properties by employing an SRA approved system of checks and standards that we are proud to maintain & encourage.

Through the use of these authentic & sustainable methods and ingredients sourced from within Cornwall, we are able to share how exceptional local food and service standards can truly express and enrich our culture & lives. It is through this use of honest local sourcing and respect for community that we can share all that is great about our local environment and promote a sustainable Cornish coastal experience.

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