Global Sustainable Tourism Criteria for Hotels and Tour Operators

The Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC) Criteria and Suggested Indicators for Hotels and Tour Operators (GSTC-H&TOv2) were created in an effort to come to a common understanding of sustainable tourism, and are the minimum that any tourism business should aspire to reach. They are organized around four main themes: effective sustainability planning, maximizing social and economic benefits for the local community, enhancing cultural heritage, and reducing negative impacts to the environment. Although the criteria are initially intended for use by the accommodation and tour operation sectors, they have applicability to the entire tourism industry.

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The next revision of the Hotel & Tour Operator Criteria is underway. The revision is expected to be released by November 2016 and will be renamed the GSTC Industry Criteria (GSTC-I). To participate in the public consultation, click here.

Version 2, 23 February 2012

Sustainable tourism is on the rise: consumer demand is growing, travel industry suppliers are developing new green programs, and governments are creating new policies to encourage sustainable practices in tourism. But what does “sustainable tourism” really mean? How can it be measured and credibly demonstrated, in order to build consumer confidence, promote efficiency, and fight false claims?

The GSTC Criteria are an effort to come to a common understanding of sustainable tourism, and are the minimum that any tourism business should aspire to reach. They are organized around four main themes:

  • effective sustainability planning
  • maximizing social and economic benefits for the local community
  • enhancing cultural heritage
  • reducing negative impacts to the environment.
Although the criteria are initially intended for use by the accommodation and tour operation sectors, they have applicability to the entire tourism industry.
 
The criteria are part of the response of the tourism community to the global challenges of the United Nations’ Millennium Development Goals. Poverty alleviation and environmental sustainability – including climate change – are the main cross-cutting issues that are addressed through the criteria.
 
Beginning in 2007, a coalition of 27 organizations – the Partnership for Global Sustainable Tourism Criteria – came together to develop the criteria. They have out to close to 80,000 tourism stakeholders, analyzed more than 4,500 criteria from more than 60 existing certification and other voluntary sets of criteria, and received comments from over 1500 individuals. The first version of the criteria was released in October 2008 and was publicly available for comment until April 2011. The Global Sustainable Tourism Council reviewed all comments received, responded to each, and revised the criteria accordingly. The revised criteria were available for public comment and review from July 15 – October 15, 2011 in English, French, Spanish, and Mandarin. Again all comments were reviewed and addressed, to produce this version 2 of the Global Sustainable Tourism Criteria for hotels and tour operators. The next revision will take place in 2016. The GSTC Criteria are administered by the Global Sustainable Tourism Council.
 
Some of the expected uses of the criteria include the following:
  • Serve as basic guidelines for businesses of all sizes to become more sustainable, and help businesses choose sustainable tourism programs
  • that fulfill these global criteria;
  • Serve as guidance for travel agencies in choosing suppliers and sustainable tourism programs;
  • Help consumers identify sound sustainable tourism programs and businesses;
  • Serve as a common denominator for information media to recognize sustainable tourism providers;
  • Help certification and other voluntary programs ensure that their standards meet a broadly-accepted baseline;
  • Offer governmental, non-governmental, and private sector programs a starting point for developing sustainable tourism requirements; and
  • Serve as basic guidelines for education and training bodies, such as hotel schools and universities.
The criteria indicate what should be done, not how to do it or whether the goal has been achieved. This role is fulfilled by performance indicators, associated educational materials, and access to tools for implementation, all of which are an indispensable complement to the GSTC Criteria.
 
The GSTC Criteria were conceived as the beginning of a process to make sustainability the standard practice in all forms of tourism.

Application

It is recommended that all criteria be applied to the greatest extent practical, unless for a specific situation the criterion is not applicable and this is justified. There may be circumstances in which a criterion is not applicable to a specific tourism product, given the local regulatory, environmental, social, economic or cultural conditions. In the case of micro and community-owned tourism businesses which have a small social, economic and environmental footprint, it is recognized that limited resources may prevent comprehensive application of all criteria.
Further guidance on these criteria may be found from the supporting indicators and glossary, which are published by the Global Sustainable Tourism Council.

Global Sustainable Tourism Council Criteria for Hotels and Tour Operators

A. Demonstrate effective sustainable management.

A1 The organization has implemented a long-term sustainability management system that is suitable to its reality and scope, and which addresses environmental, social, cultural, economic, quality, health and safety issues.

A2 The organization is in compliance with all applicable local to international legislation and regulations (including, among others, health, safety, labor and environmental aspects).

A3 All personnel receive periodic guidance and training regarding their roles and responsibilities with respect to environmental, social, cultural, economic, quality, health and safety issues.

A4 Customer satisfaction, including sustainability aspects, is measured and corrective action taken. (1)

A5 Promotional materials are accurate and complete with regard to the organization and its products and services, including sustainability claims. They do not promise more than is being delivered.

A6 Planning, design, construction, renovation, operation and demolition of buildings and infrastructure…

A.6.1 …comply with zoning requirements and with laws related to protected areas and heritage consideration.

A.6.2 …respect the natural and cultural heritage surroundings in planning, siting, design and impact assessment.

A.6.3 …use locally appropriate sustainable practices and materials.

A.6.4 …provide access for persons with special needs, where appropriate.

A7 Land and water rights, and property acquisition are legal, comply with local communal and indigenous rights, including their free, prior and informed consent, and do not require involuntary resettlement.

A8 Information about and interpretation of the natural surroundings, local culture, and cultural heritage is provided to customers, as well as explaining appropriate behavior while visiting natural areas, living cultures, and cultural heritage sites.
 
 
B. Maximize social and economic benefits to the local community and minimize negative impacts.

B1 The organization actively supports initiatives for local infrastructure and social community development including, among others, education, training, health and sanitation. (2)

B2 Local residents are given equal opportunity for employment including in management positions. All employees are equally offered regular training, experience and opportunities for advancement

B3 Local services and goods are purchased and offered by the organization, following fair-trade principles.

B4 The organization offers the means for local small entrepreneurs to develop and sell sustainable products that are based on the area’s nature, history and culture (including food and beverages, crafts, performance arts, agricultural products, etc.).

B5 A documented code of conduct for activities in indigenous and local communities has been developed and implemented with the collaboration and consent of the affected community.

B6 The organization has implemented a policy against commercial, sexual or any other form of exploitation and harassment, particularly of children, adolescents, women and minorities. (3)

B7 The organization offers equal employment opportunities to women, local minorities and others, including in management positions, while restraining child labor. (4)

B8 The international or national legal protection of employees is respected, and employees are paid at least a living wage.

B9 The activities of the organization do not jeopardize the provision of basic services, such as food, water, energy, healthcare or sanitation, to neighboring communities. (5)

B10 Tourism activity does not adversely affect local access to livelihoods, including land and aquatic resource use, rights-of-way, transport and housing.
 
 
C. Maximize benefits to cultural heritage and minimize negative impacts.

C1 The organization follows established guidelines or a code of behavior for visits to culturally or historically sensitive sites, in order to minimize negative visitor impact and maximize enjoyment.

C2 Historical and archeological artifacts are not sold, traded or displayed, except as permitted by local to international law.

C3 The organization contributes to the protection and preservation of local historical, archeological, culturally and spiritually important properties and sites, and does not impede access to them by local residents.
C4 The organization incorporates elements of local art, architecture, or cultural heritage in its operations, design, decoration, food, or shops; while respecting the intellectual property rights of local communities.
 
 
D. Maximize benefits to the environment and minimize negative impacts.

D1 Conserving resources

D1.1 Purchasing policies favor locally appropriate and ecologically sustainable products, including building materials, capital goods, food, beverages and consumables.

D1.2 The purchase and use of disposable and consumable goods is measured and the organization actively seeks ways to reduce their use.

D1.3 Energy consumption is measured, sources are indicated, and measures are adopted to minimize overall consumption, and encourage the use of renewable energy.

D1.4 Water consumption is measured, sources are indicated, and measures are adopted to minimize overall consumption. Water sourcing is sustainable, and does not adversely affect environmental flows.

D2 Reducing pollution

D2.1 Greenhouse gas emissions from all sources controlled by the organization are measured, procedures are implemented to minimize them, and offsetting remaining emissions is encouraged.

D2.2 The organization encourages its customers, staff and suppliers to reduce transportation-related greenhouse gas emissions.

D2.3 Wastewater, including gray water, is effectively treated and is only reused or released safely, with no adverse effects to the local population and the environment. (6)
 
D2.4 Waste is measured, mechanisms are in place to reduce waste, and where reduction is not feasible, to re-use or recycle it. Any residual waste disposal has no adverse effect on the local population and the environment.

D2.5 The use of harmful substances, including pesticides, paints, swimming pool disinfectants, and cleaning materials, is minimized, and substituted when available, by innocuous products or processes. All storage, use, handling, and disposal of chemicals are properly managed. (7)

D2.6 The organization implements practices to minimize pollution from noise, light, runoff, erosion, ozone-depleting compounds, and air, water and soil contaminants.

D3 Conserving biodiversity, ecosystems, and landscapes

D3.1 Wildlife species are not harvested, consumed, displayed, sold, or traded, except as part of a regulated activity that ensures that their utilization is sustainable, and in compliance with local to international laws. (8)

D3.2 No captive wildlife is held, except for properly regulated activities, in compliance with local to international law. Living specimens of protected and wildlife species are only kept by those authorized and suitably equipped to house and care for them humanely.

D3.3 The organization takes measures to avoid the introduction of invasive alien species. Native species are used for landscaping and restoration wherever feasible, particularly in natural landscapes.

D3.4 The organization supports and contributes to biodiversity conservation, including natural protected areas and areas of high biodiversity value.

D3.5 Interactions with wildlife, taking into account cumulative impacts, do not produce adverse effects on the viability and behavior of populations in the wild. Any disturbance of natural ecosystems is minimized, rehabilitated, and there is a compensatory contribution to conservation management.(9)
 
(1) The concept of customer satisfaction is clarified in the glossary, according to UNWTO indicators and GRI criteria.
(2) Infrastructure: improvement or maintenance of community public institutions and physical plant (roads, aqueducts, sewage treatment, etc.).
(3) The signing of the code of conduct from UNWTO, UNICEF, ECPAT, etc. is evidence of implementation of policies (see www.thecode.org).
(4) “The term ‘child labor’ is often defined as work that deprives children of their childhood, their potential and their dignity, and that is harmful to physical and mental development. It refers to work that is mentally, physically, socially or morally dangerous and harmful to children; and interferes with their schooling by: depriving them of the opportunity to attend school; obliging them to leave school prematurely; or requiring them to attempt to combine school attendance with excessively long and heavy work.”http://www.ilo.org/ipec/facts/lang-- en/index.htm
(5) Including beachfront and waterfront access
(6) “Gray water” defined in glossary.
(7) “Proper management of chemicals” defined in glossary.
(8) “Wildlife” and “sustainable use” defined in glossary.
(9) “Viability of populations” and “compensatory contributions” defined in glossary.
 

Global Sustainable Tourism Council Criteria for Hotels and Tour Operators - suggested performance indicators Draft Version 2.0, 10 December 2013

The performance indicators presented here are designed to provide guidance in measuring compliance with the Global Sustainable Tourism Criteria for Hotels and Tour Operators (GSTC-HTO). They are not intended to be the definitive set or all-inclusive, but to provide a solid sample set for users of the GSTC-D in developing their own indicator sets.
 
This draft set of indicators will be updated periodically, as new information is developed. If you would like to suggest new indicators or other improvements, please send your suggestions to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..
 

CRITERIA

INDICATORS

SECTION A: Demonstrate effective sustainable management

A1 Sustainability management system

The organization has implemented a long-term sustainability management system that is suitable to its reality and scope, and which addresses environmental, social, cultural, economic, quality, health and safety issues.

IN-A1.a. There is a sustainability management system in place which is appropriate to the organization’s scale and size.

IN-A1.b. The system addresses environmental, social, cultural, economic, quality, health and safety issues.

GUIDANCE:

Small organizations with small staff may have a simple system, provided it is implemented (emphasis is on performance). Larger organizations must have documented systems, formal reporting, records and training (performance is vital with sustainable management embedded within organizations management).

A2 Legal compliance

The organization is in compliance with all applicable local to international legislation and regulations (including, among others, health, safety, labor and environmental aspects).

IN-A2.a. Compliance with all relevant legislation and regulations (including health, safety, labor and environmental).

IN-A2.b. There is an up-to-date list of legal requirements.

GUIDANCE:

An overall register of legal requirements and documentation showing compliance with fees/conditions is desirable. Compliance with permit/license and planning conditions should be documented.

A3 Guidance and training

All personnel receive periodic guidance and training regarding their roles and responsibilities with respect to environmental, social, cultural, economic, quality, health and safety issues.

IN-A3.a. All staff has awareness of their roles and responsibilities with respect to environmental, social, cultural, economic, quality, health and safety issues.

IN-A3.b. Staff have locally required licences/certification relevant to their duties (e.g. sewage treatment plant operator).

GUIDANCE:

On-the-job and formal training is provided as required to ensure awareness. Larger organizations must have formal training with materials and duty statements for critical tasks/responsibilities. Training and manuals etc. are in appropriate languages. Staff with required certifications/licences should be supported to maintain currency/understand best practice.

A4 Customer Satisfaction

Customer satisfaction, including sustainability aspects, is measured and corrective action taken.(1)

IN-A4.a. A complaint system is in place which records customer complaints and corrective actions.

GUIDANCE:

Best practice is to have proactive customer satisfaction surveys/interviews with analysis and corrective action/improvement programs,

A5 Accurate Promotion

Promotional materials are accurate and complete with regard to the organization and its products and services, including sustainability claims. They do not promise more than is being delivered.

IN-A5.a. Marketing materials set realistic expectations and do not make false or misleading claims.

GUIDANCE:

Images are of the actual experiences and places visited by customers. Marketing about wildlife or cultural events does not promise sightings which are not guaranteed. Claims about sustainability should be based on past performances not sustainability aspirations.

A6 Buildings and Infrastructure

Planning, design, construction, renovation, operation and demolition of buildings and infrastructure…

 

A.6.1 Compliance

…comply with zoning requirements and with laws related to protected areas and heritage consideration.

IN-A6.1.a. Land use and activities are in compliance with local zoning and protected or heritage area laws and regulations, including any licenses and permits and/or management plans.

GUIDANCE:

Consider all relevant social, conservation, urban, recreational, amenity and tourism planning instruments. Statutory instruments must be complied with and non-statutory instruments should be complied with except in appropriate circumstances. Instruments made after the organization started should be complied with as far as practical.

A.6.2 Respect heritage

…respect the natural and cultural heritage surroundings in planning, siting, design and impact assessment.

IN-A6.2.a. Siting and design has considered visual amenity, materials, landscape, the assimilative capacity of the ecosystem to change and takes into account local cultural heritage conservation and presentation aims.

IN-A6.2.b. Archaeological, cultural heritage, and sacred sites have not been disturbed (inventory of sites and steps taken to protect them)

IN-A6.2.c. Endangered (OR PROTECTED??) wildlife has not been displaced or reproductive habitat destroyed.

IN-A6.2.d. Buildings do not destroy scenic amenity.

IN-A6.2.e. Water courses/catchments/wetlands have not been altered and runoff from buildings, parking lots, and grounds is channeled and filtered.

GUIDANCE:

Criteria mandatory for new construction, redevelopment and new activities.

A.6.3 Sustainable practices and materials

…use locally appropriate sustainable practices and materials.

IN-A6.3.a. Does the organization incorporate local practices, materials and crafts into structures, native plants into landscaping, and local customs into programs and operations.

GUIDANCE:

Balance the benefit of local sourcing of materials with sustainability of the materials, including life cycle considerations.

A.6.4 Access

…provide access for persons with special needs, where appropriate.

IN-A6.4.a. Facilities and services (including materials) are accessible to persons with special needs. Level of accessibility is clearly communicated to the customer.

GUIDANCE:

Match the special needs access with the normal mobility expected of the customer for example city hotel would be expected to fully provide, remote mountain lodge with hiking trails as the main activity less requirements and adventure river rafting would cater only for fully able-bodied customers.

A7 Land water and property rights

Land and water rights, and property acquisition are legal, comply with local communal and indigenous rights, including their free, prior and informed consent, and do not require involuntary resettlement.

IN-A7.a. Land use/tenure and rights to activities have formal legal recognition or there is documentation of agreement by local communities and indigenous owners.

IN-A7.b. The land use and activity has not involved any involuntary resettlement or land acquisition.

GUIDANCE:

 Criteria mandatory for new construction, redevelopments and new activities.

A8 Information and interpretation

Information about and interpretation of the natural surroundings, local culture, and cultural heritage is provided to customers, as well as explaining appropriate behavior while visiting natural areas, living cultures, and cultural heritage sites.

IN-A8.a. Customers are aware of appropriate behaviors and have a general understanding of the local natural and cultural environment. The company has an interpretation program with displays, guides, collateral etc.

GUIDANCE:

Best practice is to engage staff of the local culture and/or experts in natural/cultural heritage of the local area to present.

SECTION B: Maximize social and economic benefits to the local community and minimize negative impacts

B1 Community support

The organization actively supports initiatives for local infrastructure and social community development including, among others, education, training, health and sanitation.(2)

IN-B1.a. There is some form of contribution to local* community for public benefit through commercial, in-kind, or pro bono engagement.

GUIDANCE:

Best practice is a program developed in collaboration with community. The level of contribution should be commensurate with the organizations tourism business turnover and the economic status of the local community.

B2 Local employment

Local residents are given equal opportunity for employment including in management positions. All employees are equally offered regular training, experience and opportunities for advancement.

IN-B2.a. Local residents are employed, including in management positions. Training and career opportunities are offered to local residents.

GUIDANCE:

Best practice is employees engaged from an existing local community. The level of local resident employment should be commensurate with the seasonality, location and economic status of the local community.

B3 Local purchasing

Local services and goods are purchased and offered by the organization, following fair-trade principles.

IN-B3.a. Purchases are mostly from local providers and/or fair trade. Services offered involve local businesses to the greatest extent possible.

GUIDANCE:

Best practice is a purchasing policy which gives priority to local and fair trade suppliers that meet quality and environmentally-friendly criteria. Services and contractors etc. should be locally sourced as far as practical. For tour operators the critical aspect is to support locally owned restaurants, services, and shops utilized on tours.

B4 Local entrepreneurs

The organization offers the means for local small entrepreneurs to develop and sell sustainable products that are based on the area’s nature, history and culture (including food and beverages, crafts, performance arts, agricultural products, etc.).

IN-B4.a. The organization provides their customers with access to local enterprises, including handcrafts, food/beverage, cultural performances, or other goods and services, to sell directly to guests, as far as practical.

GUIDANCE:

The level of local entrepreneur’s access should be commensurate with the organizations tourism business turnover relative to the economic status of the local community (i.e. larger tourism business in impoverished community the access should be high, city hotel in a developed economy the access may be low).

B5 Code of conduct - community

A documented code of conduct for activities in indigenous and local communities has been developed and implemented with the collaboration and consent of the affected community.

IN-B5.a. Documented code of conduct with includes the organization’s policy documents, marketing, staff induction and training material, and interpretive brochures. In developing the code, the organization has consulted and sought consent of the local community.

GUIDANCE:

Small organizations with few staff may have a simple approach provided it is implemented larger organizations must have documented code of conduct.

B6 Exploitation and harassment

The organization has implemented a policy against commercial, sexual or any other form of exploitation and harassment, particularly of children, adolescents, women and minorities.(3)

IN-B6.a. Documented policy is made known to all staff and management. In developing the code, the organization has consulted and sought consent of the local community.

GUIDANCE:

Small organizations with few staff may have a simple policy provided it is implemented; larger organizations must have documented policy and associated staff awareness and reporting systems.

B7 Equal opportunity

The organization offers equal employment opportunities to women, local minorities and others, including in management positions, while restraining child labor.(4)

IN-B7.a. Percentage of women and local minority employees on staff is reflective of local demographics (both in management and non-management categories). Internal promotion of women and local minorities occurs. There is no child labor (as defined by the ILO).

GUIDANCE:

In local economies with little tourism employment and/or for businesses with high degrees of training and experience requirements of staff the employment of local minorities may be reduced, however in this case some employment and training, commensurate with the size of the organization is expected.

B8 Employee protection and wages

The international or national legal protection of employees is respected, and employees are paid at least a living wage.

IN-B8.a. Salaries and benefits meet or exceed local, national and international regulations, (whichever are higher).

IN-B8.b. Payment is made into national social security system (if available) for qualified employees.

IN-B8.c. Overtime is paid for hours worked beyond the established work week hours and working hours must not exceed the legal maximums or those established by the International Labor Organization.

IN-B8.d. All employees have the right to annual paid vacation.

IN-B8.e. Health insurance or the equivalent is provided to all employees.

GUIDANCE:

Salaries and benefits for local employees should compensate to any extraordinary travel costs (e.g. out of hours travel when public transport is not available).

B9 Community services

The activities of the organization do not jeopardize the provision of basic services, such as food, water, energy, healthcare or sanitation, to neighboring communities.(5)

IN-B9.a. No increase in the number of incidents/reports of outages, reduced service or quality of product for the local community as compared to organization.

IN-B9.b. Changes in energy/water/waste disposal costs as a % of community income.

IN-B9.c. No reduction in availability of water, waste, and energy to the local community as the result of the organization’s activities.

GUIDANCE:

The assessment of this criterion should as far as practical address the cumulative effects of all tourism on the local community as well as the individual organization.

B10 Local livelihoods

Tourism activity does not adversely affect local access to livelihoods, including land and aquatic resource use, rights-of-way, transport and housing.

IN-B10.a. The local community retains access to public and common areas and is able to engage in traditional, non-tourism livelihoods.

IN-B10.b. Rights-of-way, transport, and housing remain accessible and affordable to local people.

GUIDANCE:

Tourism can distort a local economy and make non- tourism livelihoods difficult to sustain, ensuring access to including land and aquatic resource use, rights-of-way, transport and housing helps to mitigate this impact.

SECTION C: Maximize benefits to cultural heritage and minimize negative impacts.

C1 Code of behaviour - visits

The organization follows established guidelines or a code of behaviour for visits to culturally or historically sensitive sites, in order to minimize negative visitor impact and maximize enjoyment.

IN-C1.a. The organization adopts or has its own established guideline or code of behavior which is annually reviewed.

GUIDANCE:

Best practice is for the code to be based on impact assessment and monitoring.

C2 Artefacts

Historical and archaeological artefacts are not sold, traded or displayed, except as permitted by local to international law.

IN-C2.a. Any sales, trading or display of historical and archeological artifacts is permitted by local to international law.

GUIDANCE

The organization should be able to show evidence it is permitted prior to any sales, trading or display

C3 Site protection and access

The organization contributes to the protection and preservation of local historical, archeological, culturally and spiritually important properties and sites, and does not impede access to them by local residents.

IN-C3.a. There is an in-kind or cash contribution to the protection and preservation of sites visited for tour operators or within the locality for accommodation.

IN-C3.b. Local resident retain equitable and cost effective access to the sites.

GUIDANCE:

The level of contribution should be commensurate with the organizations tourism business magnitude and the organisation’s customers visits to the sites in relation to overall tourism visitation to the local historical, archaeological, culturally and spiritually important properties and sites.

C4 Presenting culture and heritage

The organization incorporates elements of local art, architecture, or cultural heritage in its operations, design, decoration, food, or shops; while respecting the intellectual property rights of local communities.

IN-C4.a. Customers observe or experience aspects of local art, architecture and/or cultural heritage whilst staying with or on tour with the organization.

IN-C4.b. Use of indigenous or cultural heritage design, motifs, and art respects intellectual property rights of communities and individuals.

GUIDANCE

Ensure local artworks/motifs and design which are embedded in materials by the organization (e.g. logos, elements on brochures, printed on fabrics or as murals etc.) have appropriate copyright permissions.

Ensure any presentation of cultural heritage is considered appropriate to by local communities (especially local indigenous cultures).

SECTION D: Maximize benefits to the environment and minimize negative impacts

D1 Conserving resources

 

D1.1 Local purchasing

Purchasing policies favor locally appropriate and ecologically sustainable products, including building materials, capital goods, food, beverages and consumables.

IN-D1.1.a. There is a written purchasing policy and actual purchases of building materials, capital goods, food, beverages and consumables clearly favors local and/or ecologically sustainable products.

GUIDANCE

Small organizations with few staff may have a simple policy provided it is implemented; larger organizations must have documented policy and associated staff awareness and review of local/sustainable supplies.

D1.2 Disposable goods

The purchase and use of disposable and consumable goods is measured and the organization actively seeks ways to reduce their use.

IN-D1.2.a. Purchasing policy requires re-usable, returnable and recycled goods where available. Purchases are in bulk and/or avoid packaging as far as practicable.

GUIDANCE:

There should be some form of waste management practices and for larger organizations a waste management policy/plan.

D1.3 Energy conservation

Energy consumption is measured, sources are indicated, and measures are adopted to minimize overall consumption, and encourage the use of renewable energy.

IN-D1.3.a. Total energy consumed, per tourist specific activity (guest-night, tourists, etc.) per source. Percentage of total energy used which is renewable versus non-renewable fuel.

GUIDANCE

There should be awareness by staff and guests as to how they can minimize energy use.

D1.4 Water conservation

Water consumption is measured, sources are indicated, and measures are adopted to minimize overall consumption. Water sourcing is sustainable, and does not adversely affect environmental flows.

IN-D1.4.a. Total volume of water in kiloliters consumed per source per specific tourist activity (guest night, visitors, etc.).

IN-D1.4.b. Water supply is either from a municipal/government approved source OR there is some evidence that the water supply is a sustainable source and has not previously and is unlikely to affect environmental flows.

GUIDANCE

The assessment should address impacts on groundwater aquifers, wetlands and watercourses. Potential for salinization of aquifers in arid and coastal situations should be considered.

Where possible the cumulative impacts of tourism in the locality on water sources should be considered.

D2 Reducing pollution

 

D2.1 Greenhouse gas emissions

Greenhouse gas emissions from all sources controlled by the organization are measured, procedures are implemented to minimize them, and offsetting remaining emissions is encouraged.

IN-D2.1.a. Total direct and indirect greenhouse gas emissions are calculated as far as practical.  The Carbon Footprint (emissions less offsets) per tourist activity or guest-night is monitored and is not increasing year on year.

IN-D2.1.b. Carbon offset mechanisms are used where practical.

GUIDANCE

The rigour of the greenhouse/carbon measurement and offset program should be commensurate with the level of energy used, e.g. a wilderness trekking tour operator may focus on the pre/port trip transport aspects whereas a city hotel or large resort should have detailed carbon measurement systems in place.

D2.2 Transport greenhouse gas emissions

The organization encourages its customers, staff and suppliers to reduce transportation-related greenhouse gas emissions.

IN-D2.2.a. Customers, staff and suppliers are aware of practical measures/opportunities to reduce transport related greenhouse gas emissions.

GUIDANCE

The measure is customer/staff/suppliers awareness

D2.3 Wastewater

Wastewater, including gray water, is effectively treated and is only reused or released safely, with no adverse effects to the local population and the environment. (6)

IN-D2.3.a. Wastewater is either disposed to a municipal or government approved treatment system

OR

IN-D2.3.b. there is a system in place to treat and ensure no adverse effects on the local population and the environment.

GUIDANCE

The level of treatment and rigor of assessment should be commensurate with the sensitivity of the local environment.

D2.4 Waste

Waste is measured, mechanisms are in place to reduce waste, and where reduction is not feasible, to re-use or recycle it. Any residual waste disposal has no adverse effect on the local population and the environment.

IN-D2.4.a. There is measurement and recording of waste types and amounts disposed and the amounts and types of waste recycled.

IN-D2.4.b. Waste disposal is to a government run or approved landfill OR there is evidence that the landfill is managed and has no effect on the environment.

GUIDANCE

Best practice is to have a solid waste management plan which is implemented, with quantitative goals to minimize waste that is not reused or recycled.

D2.5 Harmful substances

The use of harmful substances, including pesticides, paints, swimming pool disinfectants, and cleaning materials, is minimized, and substituted when available, by innocuous products or processes. All storage, use, handling, and disposal of chemicals are properly managed. (7)

IN-D2.5.a. There is a material safety data sheets (MSDS) for each chemical held/used.

IN-D2.5.b. There has been a review of each chemical used to identify available alternatives which are more environmentally innocuous.

IN-D2.5.c. Chemicals, especially those in bulk amounts are stored and handled in accordance with appropriate standards.

D2.6 Minimise pollution

The organization implements practices to minimize pollution from noise, light, runoff, erosion, ozone-depleting compounds, and air, water and soil contaminants.

There is minimal pollution from:

IN-D2.6.a. Noise

IN-D2.6.b. Light

IN-D2.6.c. Runoff

IN-D2.6.d. Erosion

IN-D2.6.e. Ozone depleting compounds

IN-D2.6.f. Air pollutants

IN-D2.6.g. Water pollutants

IN-D2.6.h. Soil contaminants

GUIDELINE

Only in exceptional or emergency situations should there be any pollution which affects natural ecosystems or the local community.

D3 Conserving biodiversity, ecosystems and landscapes

 

D3.1 Wildlife harvesting

Wildlife species are not harvested, consumed, displayed, sold, or traded, except as part of a regulated activity that ensures that their utilization is sustainable, and in compliance with local to international laws. (8)

IN-D3.1.a. There is evidence of compliance with local to international laws for any harvesting, consumption, display, sale, or trade of wildlife.

GUIDANCE

Best practice is a sustainable management plan developed with scientific experts which includes strategies, current and future plans and considers any other threatening process affecting the wildlife.

D3.2 Captive wildlife

No captive wildlife is held, except for properly regulated activities, in compliance with local to international law. Living specimens of protected and wildlife species are only kept by those authorized and suitably equipped to house and care for them humanely.

IN-D3.2.a. There is evidence of compliance with local to international laws for any captive wildlife.

GUIDANCE

Generally, government approvals and licenses should be obtained for any captive protected wildlife.

D3.3 Alien species

The organization takes measures to avoid the introduction of invasive alien species. Native species are used for landscaping and restoration wherever feasible, particularly in natural landscapes.

IN-D3.3.a. If there are weeds, feral animals, or pathogens (invasive alien species) present on site, there should be an implemented program to restrict their spread and preferably control or eradicate them.

IN-D3.3.b. Tour operators in natural landscapes should have a program in place to ensure they do not bring in alien species, nor spread them.

IN-D3.3.c. Review landscaping of site and consider feasibility and use of native species.

GUIDELINE

Special priority should be given to any highly invasive/noxious invasive species (weeds and feral animals), particularly near or in protected areas.

D3.4 Biodiversity conservation

 The organization supports and contributes to biodiversity conservation, including natural protected areas and areas of high biodiversity value.

IN-D4.4.a. The percentage of annual budget allocated to or in-kind support of

i. natural protected areas or biodiversity conservation. –OR–

ii. land restoration (hectares) –OR–

iii. habitats protected or restored (hectares)

IN-D4.4.b. Environmental education in biodiversity conservation

GUIDELINE

The level of support for biodiversity conservation should be commensurate with the tourism product focus on presentation of biodiversity/natural values. It should be high for a wilderness lodge and may be more modest for a city based hotel.

D3.5 Wildlife interactions

Interactions with wildlife, taking into account cumulative impacts, do not produce adverse effects on the viability and behaviour of populations in the wild. Any disturbance of natural ecosystems is minimized, rehabilitated, and there is a compensatory contribution to conservation management.(9)

IN-D3.5.a. Where there are any interactions with wildlife the organization has sought approval from government or sanction from experts to ensure there are no adverse effects.

IN-D3.5.b. If there is any disturbance of natural ecosystems there is a program in place to minimize impacts and if necessary rehabilitate the disturbance.

IN-D3.5.c. The amount of any compensatory contribution (cash or in-kind) as a percentage of annual turnover or per guest.

GUIDANCE

It is best to avoid interactions with rare or endangered species unless there is absolutely no possibility of adverse effects.

Compensatory contributions my include tour operators providing logistical support (e.g. free trips) to researchers/managers etc.

 

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