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Green Tourism – supporting business for a better planet


The Green Tourism organisation is the largest and most established sustainable national grading programme in the world and in this guest post, co-founder and managing director Andrea Nicholas explains its vision.

Green Tourism – supporting business for a better planet

Green Tourism logo

Green Tourism exists solely to support business for a better planet, a focus needed now more than ever.

The debate over climate change has been given new impetus by the appalling effects of recent extreme weather across the world and we believe that a more environmentally focused tourism sector will play a significant, beneficial role in better management of our planet.

The tourism businesses we work range across the sector, from heritage destinations to top hotels and bed and breakfasts, campsites, museums and outdoor activities. Each of our green partners share our values and are committed to making a difference.

People whose livelihoods come from this sector of the services industries are having an important and long-term impact on environmental change.

Alongside our hotel and destinations badge holders, we work with a select few accredited suppliers including SaveMoneyCutCarbon.com to help our members source the most sustainable, trusted products and services tailored to the sector to deliver maximum benefits. SaveMoneyCutCarbon focusses on cutting consumption of energy and water while Kimberley Clark and Ecover promote environmentally friendly comsumables.

Green pathfinders

There is no doubt in my mind that tourism businesses are a leading part of a gentle revolution and when you think about it, that’s very understandable. After all, every tourist attraction is a business that is embedded in the local community and environment. How it acts has a deep and lasting effect on people and place.

In the past year, for example, I have seen many hotels and bed & breakfasts take an active role in promoting the need to cut carbon emissions, reduce waste and manage better the use of pollutants. In doing so, they have become green pathfinders for all sorts of businesses and local people.

The Green Tourism organisation has more than 2,400 members across the UK, Ireland and Canada, making it the largest and most established sustainable national grading programme in the world. It is recognised by UK national and regional government as a crucial part of its drive towards sustainability.

Our experience at Green Tourism has been incredibly positive and we have witnessed many landmark moments since we began our work, not least our recent inaugural Green Tourism conference in Bristol, where we shared some excellent examples and guidance on the business of being green.

Green Tourism badge

Businesses who have achieved Green Tourism status are “giving back” through eco-programmes that are as far from superficial greenwashing as you can get.

To win the Green Tourism badge takes effort and considerable attention to detail. This includes elements such as local procurement/purchasing strategy, recycling, greener supply chain management, customer and staff travel.

The environmental benefits are immense and businesses seeking the Green Tourism badge are graded by qualified assessors, who guide and advise on the most effective eco changes. Businesses also benefit from a distinct marketing advantage and reduced running costs of up to 20 per cent.

Green Tourism Members are visited every two years and assessed to ensure that:

  • They are committed to sustainable tourism and minimising its damage to the environment
  • They operate in accordance with all relevant legislation and regulations
  • They meet standards of good practice across a range of sustainable development indicators
  • They are committed to providing a good quality of service

Green endorsements

You can read the many endorsements for Green Tourism across a wide range of businesses on our website: http://www.green-tourism.com/business/endorsements/

Green Tourism is operated by a not-for-profit organisation and the programme has been validated by the International Centre for Responsible Tourism since 2008 on behalf of VisitEngland, VisitWales and the Northern Ireland Tourist Board. It is also endorsed by VisitScotland and Failte Ireland.

The aim of Green Tourism is to ensure that the UK remains at the forefront of sustainable tourism in the future, ensure businesses can offer visitors a credible sustainable option and to extend the programme internationally. Learn more: http://www.green-tourism.com.

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