Footsteps Eco-Lodge Online Eco Rating

Person filling in this form: David White
Date: May 24, 2015
Footsteps Eco-Lodge Online Eco Rating score: Perfect 5 out of 5 Butterflies

ID Question Answer(s) given Points received Result
74 What is your name? David White 0.00 N/a (survey question)
75 What is the name of your lodge/hotel/business? Footsteps Eco Lodge 0.00 N/a (survey question)
78 What is the url of your website? Footsteps Eco Lodge 0.00 N/a (survey question)
76 What is your email address? 0.00 N/a (survey question)
77 What is your role with this hotel/lodge/business? Founder/Owner 0.00 N/a (survey question)
107 Use natural air circulation and fans, not air conditioners.
Mark yes or no.
yes 1.00 Correct answer
108 Use natural light during the day.
Please answer yes or no.
Yes 1.00 Correct answer
109 Minimize use of fossil-fuel powered vehicles, machines and equipment.
Yes or No.
Yes 1.00 Correct answer
110 Use on demand or solar heating for hot water.
Yes or No.
Yes 1.00 Correct answer
111 Air dry clothes/linens.
Yes or No.
Yes 1.00 Correct answer
112 Wash dishes by hand. Yes 1.00 Correct answer
113 Use energy efficient appliances and electronics. Yes 1.00 Correct answer
114 Use low wattage fluorescent light bulbs. Yes 1.00 Correct answer
115 Change linens, tablecloths, napkins upon request. Yes 1.00 Correct answer
116 Switch off lights when not used. Yes 1.00 Correct answer
117 You use alternative energy. For example solar, wind, hydro, or biogas.
Please mark what percentage of alternative energy you use below.
Over 2/3 or 66% up to 100% 3.00 Wrong answer
119 Do you monitor and record energy consumption as an aid to work towards conserving of energy? Yes 2.00 Correct answer
157 If you use alternative energy please mark those you use below. If you don’t use any please check None. Solar 1.00 Correct answer
93 Use low flow faucets and shower-heads. Yes 1.00 Correct answer
94 Use low water use toilets. Yes 1.00 Correct answer
96 Use table mats that can be wiped and not laundered or use the bare table top. Yes 1.00 Correct answer
97 Use biodegradable laundry detergent, dish soap and hand soap when at all possible. Yes 1.00 Correct answer
98 Do you treat swimming pool and/or fountains with chlorine-free processes or have no pool or fountains? Yes 1.00 Correct answer
99 Collect rainwater for re-use. Yes 1.00 Correct answer
100 Do you reuse gray water for irrigation. Yes 1.00 Correct answer
101 Do you use Xeriscaping in your landscape?
Xeriscaping refers to a method of landscape design that minimizes water use.
Yes 1.00 Correct answer
102 Do you have other water conservation activities? Yes 2.00 Correct answer
103 Capture and treat fresh water. Capture water from renewable sources including spring, river, rain, and in some cases wells, depending on how they’re used.
Please choose an answer only for the renewable sources you use.
Captured water is employed and is 2/3 or more of all water used. 3.00 Correct answer
104 How is captured fresh water treated? Naturally 2.00 Correct answer
106 Do you monitor and record water usage as an aid to work towards conservation of water? Yes 2.00 Correct answer
162 Have you installed a water meter?
Some systems don’t allow this. Please check yes if this is the case for your hotel or business.
Yes 1.00 Correct answer
163 Do you water the garden and grounds at night or the very early morning? You only water part of the year but it\’s during those times 1.00 Correct answer
164 Do you water deeply but less often?
This will encourage plants to grow deeper roots, so that they need water less frequently.
No 0.00 Wrong answer
165 Do you use mulch, a ground cover like straw or newspapers, on your garden to retain moisture?
If you don’t have a garden, do you use it on any vegetation you have?
Yes 1.00 Correct answer
175 Do you ask visitors or display notices to use as little water as possible? Yes 1.00 Correct answer
120 Use durable service items, e.g. cups, glasses, dishes, tableware, storage items? Yes 1.00 Correct answer
121 Do you buy fresh and local to reduce packaging and emissions from transportation? Yes 1.00 Correct answer
122 Do you purchase in bulk to reduce packaging? Yes 1.00 Correct answer
123 Do you recycle paper, glass, plastic, and aluminum? Yes 1.00 Correct answer
125 Do you have close to zero waste in the kitchen?
This is accomplished by buying in bulk and composting food waste, excluding items that can’t be composted like meat.
Yes 1.00 Correct answer
126 Do you serve locally filtered water instead of bottled water? Yes 1.00 Correct answer
128 Do you compost organic matter? Yes 1.00 Correct answer
130 Do you work towards specific recycling and waste targets? Yes 1.00 Correct answer
131 Do you purchase products made with recycled materials? Yes 1.00 Correct answer
132 Do you replace disposable items with items that can be reused? Yes 1.00 Correct answer
133 Have you developed and shared recycling education programs in your area? Yes 1.00 Correct answer
134 Do you educate your staff on the importance of recycling? Yes 1.00 Correct answer
135 Do you host a neighborhood/area clean-up day? Yes 1.00 Correct answer
136 Do you go to schools in your area to impress the importance of “Reduce, Re-Use, Recycle”? Children are our future. Yes 1.00 Correct answer
166 Do you have recycling bins located in each guest’s room with clear instructions? Not in the rooms but somewhere else 1.00 Correct answer
167 Is two sided printing standard practice in your establishment to decrease your use of paper? Yes 1.00 Correct answer
168 Has your establishment switched to bulk dispensed bathroom amenities?
This means refilling shampoo, soap, etc. rather than using small purchased items that then get thrown out.
Yes 1.00 Correct answer
176 Do you encourage your community to recycle? Yes 1.00 Correct answer
137 Do you minimize tree removal when building? Yes 0.00 Correct answer
138 Do you use only botanical (plant-based) herbicides and pesticides in your gardens and grounds? Yes 0.00 Correct answer
139 Do you maintain organic gardens as food source for the resort? Yes 0.00 Correct answer
140 Do you use biodegradable cleaning products? Yes, when I can find them 1.00 Correct answer
141 Do you minimize external illumination when possible? Yes 1.00 Correct answer
142 Do you take additional specific actions not listed here to preserve the local habitat? Yes 2.00 Correct answer
143 Have you left part of your land in it’s natural state? Over a 1/4 of your land 3.00 Correct answer
161 How big is your lodge?
We will use the maximum number of guests to rate how big your place is.
The smaller an establishment is, the less resources it uses.
11-20 people 2.00 Correct answer
169 Do you have designated trails or pathways to keep visitors from walking through pristine areas?
If this is not possible because most of your land is protected, you may mark yes.
Yes 1.00 Correct answer
170 Have you labeled local flora to inform visitors about native vegetation? Yes 1.00 Correct answer
171 When building or planning you minimize removing local flora. Yes 1.00 Correct answer
172 Do you have part of your land as a true nature sanctuary, with no access by people so that it can remain pristine?
This helps the local flora and fauna.
Yes 1.00 Correct answer
173 Do you put out literature about the local plants and animals so guests have easy access to it? Yes 1.00 Correct answer
174 Do you make a point of informing visitors to stay away from local wildlife?
Encounters with people stresses wildlife.
Yes 1.00 Correct answer
144 Do you use local suppliers for most of your needs? Yes 1.00 Correct answer
145 What % of purchased goods for your business are produced locally? More than 3/4 (76% and above) 3.00 Correct answer
146 Do you pay above local prevailing wage? Yes 1.00 Correct answer
147 Do you hire staff residing near the resort if at all possible? Yes 1.00 Correct answer
148 What % of your employees are local nationals? More than 2/3 (67%) are local natives. 2.00 Correct answer
149 Do you re-invest most resort income locally? Yes 1.00 Correct answer
150 What % of your businesses income is re-invested locally? More than 2/3 (67%) 2.00 Correct answer
151 Do you pay into local social security? Yes 1.00 Correct answer
152 Do you provide health insurance or coverage to your employees? Yes 1.00 Correct answer
153 Do you use regular staff meetings or discussions to educate staff about sustainable processes throughout the resort, in the garden, with waste disposal, etc.? Yes 1.00 Correct answer
154 Do you provide educational awareness programs for staff, guests, suppliers and other members of the local community? Yes 1.00 Correct answer
155 Do you provide sustainable transport to work for staff unless they can walk? Yes 1.00 Correct answer
156 Do you take any additional action to support the local community that aren’t listed in this Eco Rating? Yes 2.00 Correct answer
159 Do you encourage your visitors to directly benefit the local community by leaving printed matter or having discussions about the local businesses and encouraging them to spend locally? Yes 1.00 Correct answer
160 Do you encourage your visitors to learn about the local customs and culture? Yes 1.00 Correct answer
158 Do you have written Policies and Procedures for running your business in a sustainable manner?
This question about whether you have Policies and Procedures applies to all categories and counts for 1 point for each category, Energy, Water, Recycling and Waste, Land and Nature Conservation and Community. You cannot get a perfect score without it.
To get credit for this you need to email a copy to
Yes 5.00 Correct answer
177 Please list the extra activities you practice if you answered yes to any of the questions asking that.

If you have any suggestions to improve the Online Eco Rating, please list them here as well.  The Eco Rating is a work in progress and will be updated as new ideas are suggested.

Q20/ we operate only composting toilets at Footsteps which use zero water.

Q23/ we have the only freshwater eco-pool in Gambia which uses no chemical whatsoever. see

Q26/ we use a perma-culture model and retain moisture in the ground using peanut hay ( mulch ) plus our own compost

Q28/ we use tube wells x2 which are 110mm wide and 18 metres deep, they are filtered and the water is pumped using solar 12v pumps into 1000 litre tanks, from there the water is gravity fed to its destination.

Q30/ we only keep a record of how much water we use in order to know if we have sprung a leak, otherwise we are as water conscious as any business can be.

Q31/ our system does not allow for metering.

Q41/ we serve our own filtered water from our tube wells also bottled, some guests require that option.

Q46/ we teach awareness on a number of green issues this being just one, we invite the local schools to visit for fun educational mornings also we hold training days for Gambia\’s school of business management.

Q52/ we buy our soaps from \”My Farm \” in blocks and cut it ourselves as well as other products such as local homemade jams, mornings tea and bamboo based creams ( Shea butter )

Q55/ we don\’t use pesticides of any kind.

Q56/ we have three dedicated full time gardeners growing fruits and vegetables at the lodge, everything else comes from the gardens surrounding Footsteps and are grown by local people, usually a relative of staff.

Q59/ We have a no plastic bag policy at the lodge.

Q63/ Our head gardener gives info tours about the role of the trees, bushes, herbs with regard medicine, religion and culture upon request.

Q65/ Kunyoong Nature Forest is on our doorstep, we act as wardens for this, the land that Footsteps sits on is only 80 metres by 40 metres. This was to have as small a footprint as possible.

Q70/ we pay our staff salaries all year round, not just in season, over 70 % of the staff at Footsteps have been with me since the day we opened and even before as many actually built the lodge with me, i.e., our General Manager is Dodou Touray , he was part of the building crew, same for Lamin Camera, Buba Manneh, Alieu Jarju, Karamo Touray, Kunjang Bass, Buba Low, Buba Jatta and Sarani Darboe. see

Q72/ All of our staff are from the local village of Gunjur..

Q74/ All income is reinvested locally.

Q80/ We actively support local entrepreneurs such as Lamin Bojang and his Gunjur Village Museum project, in the making now for 4 years he is coming to be opening in November and I am currently building a new website for him.see

Q82/ Please see

Q83/ Please see

Just to close we have been awarded by Travelife their Gold Certification twice and most recently the TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence for consistent 5 star reviews from our guests 2015, this the 4th consecutive award from them.
I apologise if I appear to be blowing my own trumpet a bit but honestly I couldn’t be any more proud of our achievements and most of all my staff.

I should also state that we burned to the ground on February 24th 2007 due to a bush fire and my dedicated staff were my support network rebuilding Footsteps again and I have them to thank for where we are now.

Thats it, hope you enjoyed your trip ! :)