|Section D: Maximize benefits to the environment and minimize negative impacts|
|D1 Conserving resources|
|GSTC INDUSTRY CRITERIA||INDICATORS FOR TOUR OPERATORS|
|D1.1 Environmentally preferable purchasing|
Purchasing policies favour environmentally sustainable suppliers and products, including capital goods, food, beverages, building materials and consumables.
- A documented environmental purchasing policy is in place.
- Preference is given to products and suppliers with environmental certification – notably with respect to wood, paper, fish, other foods, and products from the wild.
- Where certified products are not available, consideration is given to origin and methods of growing or production.
- Threatened species are not used or sold.
- Service providers and other operators selected and featured in tours have environmental/sustainability certification where possible.
- Where certified businesses are not available, the sustainability performance of service providers is considered and required improvements are communicated and implemented.
|D1.2 Efficient purchasing|
The organization carefully manages the purchasing of consumable and disposable goods, including food, in order to minimize waste.
- Purchasing favours reusable, returnable and recycled goods.
- Purchasing and use of consumable and disposable goods are monitored and managed.
- Unnecessary packaging (especially from plastic) is avoided, with buying in bulk as appropriate.
|D1.3 Energy conservation|
Energy consumption is measured by type and steps are taken to minimize overall consumption. The organization makes efforts to increase its use of renewable energy.
- Energy used in the organization’s operations and those over which it has direct influence/control is monitored and managed.
- Renewable sources are favoured and the share of renewable energy in total energy supply is monitored and managed.
- Equipment and practices are used that minimize energy use.
- Goals for reducing energy consumption are in place.
- Staff and guests are given guidance on minimizing energy use.
|D1.4 Water conservation|
Water risk is assessed, water consumption is measured by type, and steps are taken to minimize overall consumption. Water sourcing is sustainable and does not adversely affect environmental flows. In areas of high water risk, context-based water stewardship goals are identified and pursued.
- Water risk in the main destinations visited has been assessed and documented.
- In destinations visited where water risk has been assessed as high, water stewardship goals have been determined.
- Water used in the organization’s operations and those over which it has direct influence/control is monitored and managed.
- Equipment and practices are used that minimize water consumption.
- Water originates from a legal and sustainable source which has not previously affected, and is unlikely in future to affect, environmental flows.
- Consideration is given to cumulative impacts of tourism in the locality on water sources.
- Goals for reducing water consumption are in place.
- Staff and guests are given guidance on minimizing water use.
|D2 Reducing pollution|
|GSTC INDUSTRY CRITERIA||INDICATORS FOR TOUR OPERATORS|
|D2.1 Greenhouse gas emissions|
Significant greenhouse gas emissions from all sources controlled by the organization are identified, calculated where possible and procedures implemented to avoid or to minimize them. Offsetting of the organization’s remaining emissions is encouraged.
- Total direct and indirect greenhouse gas emissions from the organization’s operations and those over which it has direct influence/control are monitored and managed.
- Carbon Footprint per tourist/night is monitored and managed.
- Actions are taken to avoid and reduce significant annual emissions from all sources controlled by the organization.
- Actions are taken to encourage suppliers of products and services to avoid and reduce significant annual emissions.
- Carbon offset mechanisms are used where practical.
The organization seeks to reduce transportation requirements and actively encourages the use of cleaner and more resource efficient alternatives by customers, employees, suppliers and in its own operations.
- Where practical and feasible, the cleanest and most resource efficient transport options are used in the provision of tour programmes and excursions.
- Information is provided and promoted to customers on alternative (climate friendly) transport options, where available.
- Alternative transport options (e.g. bike rental, car sharing, pick-ups) for guests and staff are provided or facilitated.
- Markets accessible by short and more sustainable transport options are favoured.
- Local suppliers are favoured and daily operations seek to minimize transport use.
Wastewater, including grey water, is effectively treated and is only reused or released safely, with no adverse effects to the local population or the environment.
- The organization is aware of wastewater treatment arrangements in the main destinations visited, and seeks to influence their improvement where necessary and practicable.
- Wastewater resulting from is disposed of to a municipal or government approved treatment system, if available.
- If suitable municipal wastewater treatment is not available, there is a system in place on site to treat wastewater (that meets international wastewater quality requirements) and ensures no adverse effects on the local population and the environment.
|D2.4 Solid waste|
Waste, including food waste, is measured, mechanisms are in place to reduce waste and, where reduction is not feasible, to reuse or recycle it. Any residual waste disposal has no adverse effect on the local population or the environment.
- The organization is aware of waste management arrangements in the main destinations visited, and seeks to influence their improvement where necessary and practicable.
- A solid waste management plan is in place for the organization’s operations and those over which it has direct influence/control.
- The solid waste management plan includes actions to reduce, separate and reuse or recycle food waste where applicable.
- Waste disposal is to a government run or approved facility and there is evidence that the facility has no negative impact on the environment or local population.
- Solid waste disposed is measured by type and goals are in place to minimize non-diverted solid waste.
- Guidance is given to customers, staff and suppliers of products and services on minimizing waste.
|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.
- An inventory of harmful substances has been made and material safety data sheets (MSDS) are held.
- Action has been taken to source more environmentally friendly alternatives.
- Chemicals, especially those in bulk amounts, are stored and handled in accordance with appropriate standards.
- Visitors are informed in advance to avoid use of personal toiletries and other substances which may be considered harmful to the local environment.
|D2.6 Minimize pollution|
The organization implements practices to minimize pollution from noise, light, runoff, erosion, ozone-depleting substances, and air, water and soil contaminants.
- The potential sources of pollution covered in the criterion have been reviewed and identified.
- The potential sources of pollution covered in the criterion are monitored.
- Action is taken to minimize and where possible eliminate pollution from the sources covered in the criterion.
|D3 Conserving biodiversity, ecosystems and landscapes|
|GSTC INDUSTRY CRITERIA||INDICATORS FOR TOUR OPERATORS|
|D3.1 Biodiversity conservation|
The organization supports and contributes to biodiversity conservation, including through appropriate management of its own property. Particular attention is paid to natural protected areas and areas of high biodiversity value. Any disturbance of natural ecosystems is minimized, rehabilitated and there is a compensatory contribution to conservation management.
- The organization demonstrates awareness of natural protected areas and areas of high biodiversity value in the areas visited.
- The organization provides and records monetary support for biodiversity conservation in its main areas of operation/visited.
- The organization provides and records in-kind or other support for biodiversity conservation in its main areas of operation/visited.
- Properties owned or operated by the actively managed to support biodiversity conservation.
- The organization is aware of, and mitigates, activity with potential to disturb wildlife and habitats.
- Compensation is made where any disturbance has occurred.
- Action is taken to encourage visitors to support biodiversity conservation.
- The organization engages with local conservation NGOs in its main areas of operation/visited.
D3.2 Invasive species
The organization takes measures to avoid the introduction of invasive species. Native species are used for landscaping and restoration wherever feasible, particularly in natural landscapes.
- Properties owned or operated by the monitored for presence of any invasive species.
- Action is taken to ensure invasive species are not introduced or spread.
- A programme is in place to eradicate and control invasive species.
- Landscaping of sites is reviewed to consider use of native species.
|D3.3 Visits to natural sites|
The organization follows appropriate guidelines for the management and promotion of visits to natural sites in order to minimize adverse impacts and maximize visitor fulfilment.
- The organization is aware of, and complies with, existing guidelines for tourist visits to natural sites.
- Guidelines are used when conducting visits and informing guests.
- The organization engages with local conservation bodies to establish/identify issues concerning visits to particular sites.
- The organization participates in/supports training and use of local guides in natural sites.
- Consideration is given to the capacity and fragility of natural sites, and to the levels of pressure on them, in determining the size, frequency and timing of group visits.
- Feedback from local communities and from visitors is encouraged and acted upon.
|D3.4 Wildlife interactions|
Interactions with free roaming wildlife, taking into account cumulative impacts, are non-invasive and responsibly managed to avoid adverse effects on the animals concerned and on the viability and behaviour of populations in the wild.
- The organization is aware of, and complies with, existing local, national and international regulations and guidelines concerning wildlife interactions, including wildlife viewing.
- The organization engages with the development and implementation of local codes and guidelines for wildlife interactions, including wildlife viewing, as required, based on advice of wildlife experts.
- The organization ensures that all service providers and sites visited comply with existing local, national and international regulations and guidelines concerning wildlife interactions, including wildlife viewing.
- Direct interactions, in particular feeding, should not be permitted, unless specifically sanctioned by internationally accepted standards or, where standards are not available, guided by independent wildlife expert advice.
- Measures are taken to minimize disturbance to wildlife.
- Impacts on wildlife wellbeing are regularly monitored and addressed.
|D3.5 Wildlife welfare|
No species of wild animal is acquired, bred or held captive, except by authorized and suitably equipped persons and for properly regulated activities in compliance with local and international law. Housing, care and handling of all wild and domestic animals meets the highest standards of animal welfare.
- The organization is aware of, and complies with, relevant laws and regulations concerning captive wildlife.
- Existing guidelines for specific tourism activities involving captive wildlife are implemented.
- Personnel responsible for captive wildlife have appropriate qualifications and experience and are fully licensed.
- The organization is aware of, and complies with, relevant laws and regulations concerning animal welfare.
- The organization ensures that all service providers and sites visited comply with relevant laws, regulations and guidelines concerning captive wildlife and animal welfare.
- There is regular inspection of conditions of captive wildlife and their housing.
- There is regular inspection of conditions of domestic animals and their housing and handling.
|D3.6 Wildlife harvesting and trade|
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 and international laws.
- The organization is aware of, and complies with, relevant laws and regulations concerning wildlife harvesting and trade.
- The organization ensures that all service providers and sites visited comply with relevant laws and regulations concerning wildlife harvesting and trade.
- Visitors and guides are informed of regulations concerning wildlife harvesting, consumption and trade and of the need to avoid buying illegal products/souvenirs derived from threatened species of wildlife notified by IUCN or CITES.
- Where hunting activity is legal, it forms part of a scientifically based, properly managed and strictly enforced approach to conservation.