Square & Compass Signs Sustainability Tourism 2030 Pledge & Takes Sustainability Assessment
Square & Compass Promotions has signed the Sustainable Tourism 2030 Pledge, to demonstrate our commitment to improving our sustainability score between now and 2030 (the UN World Tourism Organization defines sustainable tourism as “tourism that takes full account of its current and future economic, social and environmental impacts, addressing the needs of visitors, the industry, the environment and host communities.”).
As a business which offers tours (virtual and in-person) of the Windsor Masonic Temple, Square & Compass is part of the tourism sector.
However, Freemasonry (in a larger sense) can be a part of the tourism sector (albeit not in a “business” sense).
Many masonic buildings act as tourist destinations (or “anchor” destinations), encouraging tourism and visitation both from locals taking a “staycation” and from “out-of-towners” exploring the history and architecture of the areas they are visiting. Masonry itself can act as a tourist attraction both within and without a local community, by encouraging Masonic visitation.
Part of signing the Sustainable Tourism 2030 Pledge is taking the Sustainable Tourism Assessment. This assessment measures sustainability performance with criteria based upon the Global Sustainable Tourism Council criteria.
Many aspects of this assessment or, more precisely, many questions within this assessment, are of value to Masonic buildings/Lodges to consider?
Is Freemasonry sustainable or, is it working towards becoming as accessible as possible?
Square & Compass reviews the assessment process on our YouTube channel, in a video set to premier February 26th at 6pm EST.
Some of the most relevant questions (from a Masonic building perspective) within the assessment are listed below.
After listing these questions, we explore them from a Masonic perspective and also state (in italics) some of the ways Square & Compass Promotions (or Masonic bodies) engages those questions.
- Does your entity have an ongoing sustainability management system and/or in what ways is sustainability integrated into your entity’s management system?
For a Masonic building’s management system (often a Temple Board), in what ways is sustainability integrated into its management system? Does it think about sustainability when making decisions related to positive maintenance? Does it think about sustainability when developing connections to and from the Community, and engaging in local or business relationships?
- To what extent has your entity integrated accessible design into your physical buildings or experiences, so that people with diverse requirements (physical, cognitive, sensory may access your facility and/or services? &
- What aspects of your entity’s marketing and communications for the staff and guests meet accessibility requirements for those with diverse abilities (including physical, sensory, cognitive, and other?) (i.e. materials are available in audio, visual, or other formats). &
- Does your entity offer activities and/or services catering to those with diverse abilities, where appropriate?
Is a Masonic building integrating accessible design so that people with diverse requirements can access the building (this could apply to both members of the community looking to rent a Masonic building’s space or the building’s membership)? Accessible design includes (but is not limited to) elevators, ramps, accessible washrooms or audio/visual equipment. If a masonic building does not have these accessible designs integrated therein, is it’s management looking for ways to do so, including applying for funding for the same.
When advertising itself to the community (either as buildings or special venues or the Craft itself), is Freemasonry advertising itself in such a way that considers diverse abilities?
Also, does Freemasonry consider or engage in activities that include or engage those with diverse abilities?
The Windsor Masonic Temple (home of Square & Compass Promotions) engages in activities for those with diverse abilities by, for example, hosting the Scottish Rite Learning Centre for children with dyslexia and/or learning disabilities.
The Windsor Masonic Temple (home of Square & Compass Promotions) also contains many accessible design elements, including a lift, automatic doors and ramps, accessible washrooms, and a sound system.
In terms of communication, both Square & Compass Promotions and other Masonic bodies note within correspondence that: “message available in alternative formats” and through the use of “Alt Text” within images.
It is also worth (especially for Masonic buildings/Lodges in Canada) considering official languages, and those times when communicating in all official languages can be of benefit to the community and membership (as well as customers for a tourism business).
- In what ways does your entity participate in community projects?
Is a Masonic building/Lodge participating in the projects of the community in which it is located (another way of asking this…is a Masonic building/lodge relevant to the community in which it is located)? Participation in community projects can include taking part in community parades, collecting donations for food banks, hampers, or engaging in community projects such as learning centres or holiday dinners.
Square & Compass Promotions engages in community projects by promoting several such projects, including (but not limited to) Doors Open Windsor, the Christmas Elves Holiday Dinner, “For The Next 100 Years,” and more.
The Windsor Masonic Temple (home of Square & Compass Promotions) also engages in numerous community projects, such as those noted above.
- Does your entity encourage and promote guest support for local community businesses, volunteer and donation opportunities, and other charitable initiatives that your entity is involved in? &
- What percentage of spending on goods and services is with local suppliers (within 300km)?
Is a Masonic building/Lodge supporting location community businesses or volunteer initiatives(…again, is a Masonic building/Lodge relevant to the community in which it is located). Is the Masonic building/Lodge engaging with local businesses for refreshments, or to partner on special initiatives? What about holding coffee clubs or breakfasts which are open to the public?
Especially when it comes to refreshments purchased for the Junior Warden, the refreshments are presumably purchased via local suppliers and thereby support local business.
Square & Compass Promotions engages with local suppliers for many initiatives. During the Holiday Season, Square & Compass Promotions engaged with 519Culture to provide supporters with locally supplied and curated gifts. We encourage other Masonic bodies to consider similar initiatives.
- Does your entity track your impacts on the community, either positive and/or negative impacts? &
- In what ways does your entity ask for or receive feedback from your neighbours?
Is a Masonic building/Lodge taking the time to track its community impacts? This could include asking the community for information on how they view the local Masonic building/Lodge, and if the community members therein have been impacted positively (or negatively) by the local Masonic building/Lodge (social media is a great way to do this). Also, putting aside Masonic buildings and the community, what about Masonic Lodges and their memberships? How often is a Masonic Lodge taking the time to track its impact(s) upon its membership-does it take the time to ask about the positive or negative impact the Lodge is having on their lives (and how it can improve).
This is relevant both for the Sustainable Tourism 2030 pledge and also the Grand Lodge of Canada in the Province of Ontario’s Cornerstone program.
Square & Compass Promotions regularly tracks its impact and asks for feedback via social media, as well as at the end of its tours (both in-person and virtual) and attempts to grow and improve based on the positive and negative feedback.
- How does your entity contribute to the protection and promotion of traditional and contemporary indigenous culture and heritage?
Does a Masonic building/Lodge engage with local indigenous groups? This could include engaging with land-acknowledgements, inviting indigenous groups to present within a Lodge or to use a Masonic building for special events.
Square & Compass Promotions has engaged with our local indigenous group and has, for example, used a land-acknowledgement within much of its correspondence and upon its website.
Harmony Masonic Lodge (which meets at the Windsor Masonic Temple and of which this author is Secretary) also uses the same land-acknowledgement within much of its correspondence.
The land-acknowledgement was crafted with assistance from the local indigenous group.
“We acknowledge that we are on land and surrounded by water, originally inhabited by Indigenous Peoples who have travelled this area since time immemorial. This territory is within the lands honoured by the Wampum Treaties; agreements between the Anishinaabe, Haudenosaunee, Lenni Lenape and allied Nations to peacefully share and care for the resources around the Great Lakes. Specifically, we would like to acknowledge the presence of the Three Fires Confederacy (Ojibwe, Odawa, Potawatomi) and Huron/Wendat Peoples. We are dedicated to honouring Indigenous history and culture while remaining committed to moving forward respectfully with all First Nations, Inuit, and Métis.”
- What steps does your entity take to conserve energy (electricity, natural gas, diesel, gasoline, heating oil, propane, ect.)?
Are Masonic buildings/Lodges taking the time to consider their energy use and, more importantly, how that energy use can be conserved? This could include replacing windows, roof modifications, upgrading a facade with more energy efficient materials, and/or upgrading electrical systems. There are also many grants available, which can assist with funding for energy conservation.
Square & Compass Promotions is encouraging all Masonic buildings/Lodges to consider how they can conserve energy by promoting and sharing information related to the Windsor Masonic Temple’s “For the Next 100 Years” project, which will result in significant energy conservation and encouraging other Masonic bodies to engage in similar projects.
Square & Compass Promotions is sharing potential funding sources which will allow Masonic bodies to engage in similar projects.
Sustainability is a necessary attribute that both businesses within the tourism sector (such as Square & Compass Promotions), tourist destinations (such as Masonic buildings), and community groups (such as Masonic lodges) need to consider.
The initiatives and questions contained within the 2030 Sustainability Pledge and/or taking the Sustainability Assessment are of benefit to any Masonic building/Lodge.
Follow Square & Compass Promotions on our journey to make business as sustainable as possible, both to 2030 and “For The Next 100 Years.”
All opinions expressed are those of Square & Compass Promotions and the guest(s), and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the Windsor Masonic Temple and/or any Masonic group.