Green Tourism Criteria Categories
All Green Tourism members receive a one-on-one assessment with a sustainable business expert, which involves a review of your activities within the eleven categories of the Green Tourism Master Criteria (these criteria exceed the international Sustainable Tourism Council Criteria, as validated by the International Centre for Responsible Tourism). Each measure assessed is rated from zero to five, based on the level of activity, with a zero representing no activity and a five being an outstanding level of activity.
The eleven categories include:
Section 1: Compulsory
The compulsory section deals with Green Tourism minimum standards. In order to receive a Bronze, Silver or Gold award, every member must fulfil all relevant obligations in this section.
Section 2: Management and Marketing
To make your business more sustainable, it’s vital to put in place robust management systems, which provide a framework to help you implement specific actions. The success of the process depends on leadership, teamwork, networking, staff awareness, good record keeping, and monitoring. Besides being environmentally sound, it will help to improve your general business performance. You’ll identify and reap cost savings resulting from improved efficiency, and you’ll increase revenues by attracting green-conscious customers. Remember, green is now mainstream.
Section 3: Social and Communication
A combination of social involvement and good communication will make sure your business is seen as an important contributor to sustainability in the local community and on a broader global scale. How are you communicating your sustainability efforts and engaging the community?
Section 4: Energy
When you save energy, you help to conserve natural resources and reduce global warming. You also cut your operating costs, and you’re more likely to attract the growing number of customers who are environmentally aware.
Section 5: Water and Effluent
Water is of vital importance for health, refreshment, cleansing and sanitation. It should not be wasted through pollution or thoughtless consumption. Neither should drinking water be squandered, as it requires chemical and energy input to be treated and transported. Water costs can be high, especially in tourism businesses. This section covers measures to use water wisely and efficiently while maintaining a high standard of service for your guests.
Section 6: Sustainable Purchasing
Purchasing is a powerful tool to influence change and it’s led by the consumer. Just as your customers would like you to be a green business, so you in turn have to look for that commitment from your suppliers. The ultimate aim is to ‘green’ the whole supply chain.
Section 7: Reducing Waste
The hospitality industry can generate huge volumes of waste, much of which goes to landfill. The scoring in this section reflects the waste hierarchy – giving preference to measures aimed at eliminating or reducing waste, followed by reuse, recycling and responsible disposal. How you deal with waste can have a significant effect on customers’ perception of your business. Any waste customers see may undermine the green efforts you have made in other areas. Ensuring guests are aware of your waste reduction and recycling efforts is important in gaining their support for other green activities.
Section 8: Travel
How does your business minimize the impact of travel on the planet? This section presents the opportunity to introduce visitors to new experiences and positive lifestyle choices. Tourism businesses can support environmentally friendly forms of transport, such as walking, cycling, bus and coach travel, and eco-friendly fuelled vehicles. Carbon offsetting may be promoted as a way for visitors to help counter the adverse effects of travel on the environment.
Section 9: Nature and Cultural Heritage
The preservation of our natural and cultural heritage is essential to maintaining our quality of life and the value of our tourism destinations. Canada has one of the most diverse landscapes and one of the richest, most diverse and progressive cultures in North America. It has a great history and a varied natural heritage. These are amongst Canada’s most valuable assets as a nation, as demonstrated by the value of tourism to the Canadian economy. Grading measures are aimed at increasing biodiversity and preserving cultural values.
Section 10: Innovation
The Innovation section deals with measures that are not covered elsewhere. Extra credit may also be given where members have gone above and beyond the requirement for a particular measure in the previous sections. The grading advisor will determine whether the project or innovation is significant enough to warrant credit in this section. This is where things such as having a LEED building, or drought resistant landscaping or eco-friendly pest control measures will be marked.
Section 11: Tourism Experiences
This section is only available to tour operators and activity providers which are not designated as accommodation or visitor attractions. If the applicant has other site-based facilities such as an attraction, then these criteria may only be considered as bonus actions (subject to the approval of the assessor as a suitably relevant action).