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Criteria: Purchasing policy favors environmentally friendly products for building materials, capital goods, food, and consumables.
The economic leverage of purchasing by a tourism business can produce positive impacts by encouraging sustainably produced goods and services. Responsible purchasing is a powerful means to reduce negative environmental impact. This can be done by favoring certified environmentally friendly products and/or regularly evaluating providers that seek to conserve energy, utilize recycled materials, responsibly manage waste, and minimize greenhouse gas emissions.
Criteria: The purchase of disposable and consumable goods is measured, and the business actively seeks ways to reduce their use.
Responsible consumption and frequent monitoring of waste can help businesses achieve cost savings as well as minimize environmental impact of the waste streams produced.
Criteria: Energy consumption should be measured, sources indicated, and measures to decrease overall consumption should be adopted, while encouraging the use of renewable energy.
Energy use is one of the most damaging activities on the planet with adverse impacts degrading air, water, soil quality, human and ecological health. Energy efficiency through sustainable technology and effective waste management is a key strategy to reduce the negative impact. The greatest environmental and financial benefits related to business operations are achieved by frequently monitoring utility bills, effectively training and providing incentives for staff to implement energy efficiency programs, and routine preventive maintenance of mechanical equipment. By applying energy efficient practices to the operations and investing in renewable energy technologies (e.g., solar, wind, micro-hydro, and bio-mass), the Business can help conserve natural resources, promote energy independence, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
D.1.4 Water Consumption
Criteria: Water consumption should be measured, sources indicated, and measures to decrease overall consumption should be adopted.
Water is precious and, in many regions, an increasingly scarce resource with many countries facing moderate or severe water shortages. Year round or seasonal water shortages are expected to increase with climate change. Overall water consumption should be reduced to the minimum possible level necessary for adequate operation. Reducing water consumption also has financial and environmental benefits for tourism businesses.
Criteria: Greenhouse gas emissions from all sources controlled by the business are measured, and procedures are implemented to reduce and offset them as a way to minimize climate change.
The principal emissions from tourism businesses are from transportation (especially by air), heating, cooling, electricity use, and methane emissions from sewage and organic wastes. Except for air transport, most of these emissions can be directly reduced by actions from the business. Those emissions that are not reduced can be offset using properly regulated projects. Proper emission management practices will help reduce global warming, promote energy independence from foreign non-renewable sources, and may substantially reduce operational costs.
Criteria:Wastewater, including gray water, is treated effectively and reused where possible.
Wastewater management reduces aquatic pollution, protects aquatic ecosystems, and reduces risks to human health. Reusing waste water increases the availability of potable water for human consumption (see criterion D.1.4) as well as reduces a business’s sewage and treatment costs.
Waste has become a major pollutant affecting both environmental aspects (land degradation, water quality) and socio-economic factors such as health and public dumps. Reducing potential waste streams, reusing what cannot be avoided and recycling what is not reusable is critical factor in sustainable tourism operations. Minimizing the amount of solid waste that goes to landfills and incinerators helps reduce negative environmental impacts. Additionally, minimizing waste reduces the need for virgin materials and limits the amount of greenhouse gases that are released throughout a product’s life cycle (i.e., extraction, manufacturing, distribution, use, and disposal). A lifecycle approach to waste management begins with the purchasing practices (D.1.1 and D.1.2) through coordination with local authorities on appropriate disposal.
Criteria: A solid waste management plan is implemented, with quantitative goals to minimize waste that is not reused or recycled.
Criteria:A comprehensive strategy of reuse exists to reduce waste to landfill.
Criteria: A comprehensive recycling strategy exists to reduce waste to landfill.
Criteria: The use of harmful substances, including pesticides, paints, swimming pool disinfectants, and cleaning materials, is minimized; substituted, when available, by innocuous products; and all chemical use is properly managed.
Chemicals and other non-organic materials slip into the environment during application and storage via evaporation, run-off, spills, leaks and over application. Such practices lead to air, soil and water pollution, adversely affecting the local environment, harming flora and fauna, contaminating water supplies for local communities and causing serious health problems. The misuse and improper handling of potentially toxic substances creates additional threats to the environment and human health. Many “natural” substitutes exist which are not only less impact on the environment and human health, but are often cheaper. Technology has also developed various alternatives. Where no alternatives are possible, the proper storage, handling and use of chemicals will reduce potential impacts.
Criteria: The business implements practices to reduce pollution from noise, light, runoff, erosion, ozone-depleting compounds, and air and soil contaminants.
Environmental pollution can occur from several sources and have long-term, damaging effects on local ecosystems and human populations. The business should regularly perform site audits to identify sources for potential pollution while educating and empowering staff to identify potential pollution during daily activities. Particular attention should be paid to special local conditions, such as damage to coral reefs from sediments, eutrophication of rivers and lakes from runoff, melting of permafrost, and light pollution of marine nesting sites, among others.
Criteria: Wildlife species are only harvested from the wild, consumed, displayed, sold, or internationally traded, as part of a regulated activity that ensures that their utilization is sustainable.
Tourism businesses sometimes use precious woods, palm thatch, or coral for buildings, furniture, or exhibition. Shops often sell items harvested from the wild, such as black coral or carey (from endangered sea turtles). Restaurants may serve food harvested from the wild. These and other uses may be sustainable or not. Non-sustainable consumption should be avoided and other uses should be in accordance with local regulations and conservation practices.
Criteria: No captive wildlife is held, except for properly regulated activities, and living specimens of protected wildlife species are only kept by those authorized and suitably equipped to house and care for them.
In general, tourism businesses should not maintain wildlife in captivity – for example as pets or in cages – unless these activities will enhance conservation. In that case, the activity should be in accordance with local regulations and international conservation.
Criteria: The business uses native species for landscaping and restoration, and takes measures to avoid the introduction of invasive alien species.
Native flora is adapted to local conditions (drought, temperatures, etc.) and local pests, reducing the need for irrigation (reducing water use D.1.4) and chemicals (criterion D.2.4). The character of the natural environment can be preserved by utilizing sustainable landscaping techniques that incorporate local flora. Non-local species that are used should be screened to avoid introducing potentially invasive plants and animals, which have negative impacts on the biodiversity and local ecosystems.
Criteria: The business contributes to the support of biodiversity conservation, including supporting natural protected areas and areas of high biodiversity value.
Tourism activities outside of urban areas generally depend, directly or indirectly, on natural resources. Even those in urban areas can benefit their society by indirect support of their country’s natural areas or urban parks. Contribution can range from active participation in projects to financial contributions.
Criteria: Interactions with wildlife must not produce adverse effects on the viability of populations in the wild; and any disturbance of natural ecosystems is minimized, rehabilitated, and there is a compensatory contribution to conservation management.
Tourism activities outside of urban areas frequently interact with plants and animals in the wild. These activities can be passive, such as building construction or trail use, or active, such as hunting and fishing. In all cases, the disturbance created should be minimized and rehabilitated. In addition, compensatory conservation activities should be supported.