Archive for the ‘Certification’ Category

Tour operators requesting their contracted overseas accommodation providers to apply, measure and report their sustainability actions are facing a number of barriers when trying to ensure the effective implementation of environmental sustainability criteria in particular.

Sustainability systems are being challenged by organizational habit and perceptions rather than analytical decision making, with respect to the relationship between health and safety, quality and sustainability. Environmental indicators are identified as the most conflictive; the key findings demonstrate that most challenges require a change in human behavior rather than a technical solution. 

The data suggests that tour operators need to develop sustainability auditing tools that consider the impacts upon health, safety and quality within the accommodation.  The Travelife sustainability auditing system provides a useful case study to demonstrate the necessary requirement for a complementary approach when conducting accommodation audits.

The article has just been published as: Baddeley, J. & Font, X.  (2011) Barriers to Tour Operator Sustainable Supply Chain Management, Tourism and Recreation Research, 36 (3) 205-214.




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 Meeting Professionals International (MPI) has commissioned my team to manage a three year study into the importance and value of corporate social responsibility (CSR) to the meeting and event industry.

This study, the most comprehensive of its kind ever undertaken, intends to bring new insights into how the meeting and event industry can build a sustainable future through best practices. As part of this study, we will be surveying 37,000 meetings, conference and congress organisers, promoters, buyers and clients- the largest CSR survey of its kind.  The overall goal is to produce a detailed report against three core areas defined as external environment, industry engagement and consumer demand.

For a long time I have been saying that we place to much emphasis on leisure tourism, and we ought to focus on business travel- the conference, conventions, meetings and more broadly events industry are well placed to test whether sustainability certification and requirements for corporate disclosure on CSR are now a well established requirement to trade, and how this trend is evolving globally- studying all of MPI’s membership base, over three years, provides a wealth of data never compiled under one study before. (more…)

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I’ve been working with Fáilte Ireland now for nine months to prepare their Green Marketing toolkit, which I am proud to see come out today.  The main text already existed for the VisitEngland original document (who has licensed Fáilte Ireland  and VisitWales to have their own versions created).  The Wales version willl come out shortly.

The main effort in Ireland has been identifying case studies. You might think this would be an easy task. Oh, no. Companies in England were shy to talk about their sustainability credentials, and in most cases we found poor examples of management speak in their websites. But finding companies in Ireland was much harder. For a start, our remit was to work with primarily environmentally certified firms- Green Tourism Business Scheme, Green Hospitality Awards, EU Flower, Greenbox primarily. What we found is that most certification programmes pretty much ignore the green communication requirements, focusing almost exclusively on ecosavings management. These should be the firms that can confidently communicate their credentials, but weren’t.

The work for Fáilte Ireland has included face to face group training, writing over 50 individual reviews of accommodation businesses websites on their sustainability communications, and the interviews with businesses that led to this last report. To select the 30 case studies in this document, more than 60 interviews took place, trying to find an angle on how those businesses did something relatively easy for others to learn from and copy, with a small budget.

View the interactive pdf online or Download the pdf.

I am now now completing the VisitWales version of this same document, these two new versions (Ireland and Wales) are licensed by VisitEngland.

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60 tourism and hospitality businesses in South Kerry, Ireland, have today received personalised 4-5 page reviews on how they can get their websites to communicate their sustainability credentials.

If you are one of these businesses, learn what to do next with the support materials we have prepared for you-  Read the report and Watch the video

Fáilte Ireland has contracted the International Centre for Responsible Tourism to support tourism companies to learn how to make use of their sustainability work for marketing purposes- we have started with these reviews of Green Hospitality Award and Green Tourism Business Scheme certified companies, and will continue supporting Fáilte Ireland throughout 2011 with a mentoring scheme and a country-wide report highlighting simple and achievable good practice examples of sustainability marketing and communications.

The collaboration started already in October 2010 when I run a short course for 40 enthusiastic South Kerry businesses. During our short training event we reviewed the key aspects of how to think diferently about marketing sustainability, and the steps each business can take. The presentation aimed at inspiring these businesses to do more, but also I was looking for Irish case studies to incorporate into a new manual for Failte Ireland on this subject.

You can download that presentation here- Xavier Font Marketing your sustainability credentials

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You might see a recent post from Travelmole Tourism names: the $multimegatrillion sustainable jackpot

I am not sure why it is a jackpot, I haven’t seen who is making real money from it. The four names (sustainable, responsible, eco, green) they speak about all have their reasons, there’s a time and a place for each. Clearly each has a definition, a purpose, and a community. Responsible tourism is my preferred approach, and also Harold’s, because it has more credibility with industry- we might all accept that we lead unsustainable lives, and all we can aim for at this point is to accept responsibility for taking the right steps to be more sustainable. Sustainability is the goal, responsibility the pathway. The two need of each other.


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Having worked on the early proposals for a Sustainable Tourism Stewardship Council, and edited the first book on tourism ecolabelling, I have followed the debate and contributed to certification for some time. That doesn’t mean I agree with what is taking place.

You would think that the current world efforts would be towards reducing the number of labels, consolidating standards, and looking for a joint marketing effort. Think again. (more…)

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