The Global Sustainable Tourism Council® (GSTC®) is pleased to announce that the Green Hospitality Platinum Award Criteria has gained GSTC-Recognized status, meaning it has been fully recognized as equivalent to the GSTC Industry Criteria.
Green Hospitality’s Awards Programme is designed as a Step-by-Step approach allowing businesses to implement the required criteria at their own pace. The Eco-Label Award is the first step and focuses on implementing a strong foundation – an environmental management system. The Silver and Gold Awards build on the Eco-Label criteria and the Platinum Award emphasizes key sustainability pillars with additional best-practice environmental activities.
The GSTC-Recognized status refers to the standard itself, indicating that a sustainable tourism standard or system has been reviewed by GSTC technical experts and the GSTC Assurance Panel and deemed the content of the standard or system equivalent to the GSTC Criteria for sustainable tourism. It shows that the set of standards is based on the four pillars of the GSTC Criteria: Sustainable Management, Socioeconomic, Cultural, and Environmental principles.
GSTC Recognition of Standards does not relate to the process of certification (which is a third-party assessment, through an audit, of a tourism enterprise for conformity to a standard). GSTC Recognition of Standards does not relate to accreditation (formal verification that a certification body operates in a competent and neutral manner according to international standards of how to properly certify, which is the highest level of assurance).
The stated scope of the GSTC Recognition of the Platinum Award of the Green Hospitality Award Criteria is for hotels and other accommodation providers and coverage is Ireland. The GSTC Recognition is valid until either the standard or the GSTC Industry Criteria are changed.
“Green Hospitality is delighted that our Platinum Award has been recognised by the GSTC. We offer best practice environmental and sustainability advice across the tourism & hospitality sector and will work to enable all our award levels secure this recognition” says Maurice J Bergin, Managing Director of Green Hospitality Programme.
“Embracing the Four Pillars of the GSTC Criteria entails adopting a holistic perspective on sustainability, in accordance with the UN’s definition of the term. It transcends mere environmental considerations, encompassing the profound influence on communities, a wide range of social and cultural aspects, and the establishment of robust management and governance structures to drive continuous improvement,” says Randy Durband, CEO of GSTC.
Currently, 15 destination standards, 21 tour operator standards, 40 hotel standards, and 5 systems have achieved GSTC-Recognized status. The status offers the market proof that these standards adhere to international norms. GSTC Recognition does not ensure that a certification process is reliable, only that the set of standards used to certify are equivalent to the GSTC Criteria. GSTC-Recognized standard owners are encouraged to follow and complete the accreditation process, which assures that the certification process used to apply the standard meets international best practices, transparency, and rigor. A list of GSTC-Accredited certification bodies is available here.
About the GSTC
The Global Sustainable Tourism Council® (GSTC®) establishes and manages global sustainable standards, known as the GSTC Criteria. There are two sets: Destination Criteria for public policy-makers and destination managers, and Industry Criteria for hotels and tour operators. These are the guiding principles and minimum requirements that any tourism business or destination should aspire to reach in order to protect and sustain the world’s natural and cultural resources, while ensuring tourism meets its potential as a tool for conservation and poverty alleviation.
The GSTC Criteria form the foundation for Accreditation of Certification Bodies that certify hotels/accommodations, tour operators, and destinations as having sustainable policies and practices in place. GSTC does not directly certify any products or services; but it accredits those that do. The GSTC is an independent and neutral USA-registered 501(c)3 non-profit organization that represents a diverse and global membership, including national and provincial governments, leading travel companies, hotels, tour operators, NGO’s, individuals and communities – all striving to achieve best practices in sustainable tourism.
The Green Hospitality Programme is the Irish Hospitality, Travel & Tourism Resource for Sustainable and Responsible Tourism. It was created to provide best-practice environmental management advice and support to the sector following increasing cost pressures, increasing environmental regulations and a growing demand from stakeholders for all businesses to demonstrate their environmental credentials.
With the signing of the Climate Action Bill in 2021 and the IPCC 2021 report, followed by the publication of the Climate Action Plan 2023 even greater demands will be made of the sector and GHP is here to assist and provide expert support.
The Green Hospitality Awards are an internationally recognized third-party environmental & sustainability awards program that has been running since 2004. It requires businesses to follow a set of defined criteria and implement an Environmental Management System which then builds towards a full sustainability program. The criteria are aligned with the UN Sustainable Development Goals, Global Sustainable Tourism Council Criteria, EU Ecolabel and utilize the Sustainability Hospitality Alliance Hotel Carbon, Water and Waste Measurement methodologies.
Additional services include resource efficiency consulting through the Green Trading Company, consumer engagement via Green Travel.ie and our Green Suppliers and Products pages, among others.