This article by Elana Spivack was published on Popular Science.
Eco-resorts are generally committed to a carbon-zero existence and preserving their surrounding environment. The word “resort” connotes luxury, and many claim to provide luxury sustainably. These locales have been cropping up in recent years as environmental consciousness becomes more mainstream.
How to tell legitimate eco-resorts from greenwashing
The easiest way to search for a sustainable stay might start with peeking at resorts with certifications. But when there are 8,000 certificates out there for sustainability, it becomes much harder to find what’s legit. According to Outside Magazine, some of the badges boasting environmental consciousness come simply with payment of a fee. So not only do you have to winnow out which resorts are credible, but which certificates determine said credibility.
GSTC Industry Criteria for Hotels
A good true north is the Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC). While the GSTC doesn’t offer certificates directly for businesses, accreditation is available for certification bodies like Bureau Veritas, Control Union, and Vireo Srl. The rigorous GSTC Industry Criteria for Hotels assesses the resort on how it functions as a business and within its community—prioritizing sustainable management, socioeconomic impacts, cultural impacts, energy consumption, and conservation involvement.
Luxury and sustainability can go hand in hand—but doing research and accounting for all the things outside of the resort that can pack serious emissions are absolutely crucial for having a truly eco-friendly holiday.
Sustainability certification (what some call an eco-label) is a voluntary, third-party assessment, through an audit, of accommodation for conformity to a sustainable tourism standard. GSTC does not conduct certification. Certification is conducted by relevant Certification Bodies throughout the world. GSTC accredits those that certify.
Those accommodations certified by a GSTC-Accredited Certification Body can use the GSTC logo along with the Certification Body’s mark.