Sunday, April 22, 2007

Green Travel

Good stuff on a International Green Certification program for hotels and the travel industry.
Worldwide Green Hotel Certification Programs
Below are six of the most highly regarded hotel certification programs. All are independently audited, but they don't all take the same factors into account. To make it easy to identify which sustainable tourism issues each program addresses, we've listed them at the end of each entry.
Energy Star
An EPA program that rates energy efficiency not just in lightbulbs and refrigerators but in hotels as well. More than 150 properties participate, but just being a part of the program doesn't necessarily indicate much—look for a score of 75 or higher out of 100.
www.energystar.gov
EU Eco-Label
A rigorous new program that certifies hotels and campsites throughout the European Union's 25 member countries. Fifty-one hotels currently participate—with more on the way.
www.eco-label-tourism.com
Green Globe
Probably the best-known label. Based on stringent Australian guidelines, it certifies properties primarily in Australia, New Zealand, and Asia but has begun to expand into the Caribbean and elsewhere.
www.greenglobe.org
Green Leaf
A Canada-based label, run in association with Audubon International, this program has just begun to expand into the United States. (Thailand's highly regarded, though unrelated, certification program is also called Green Leaf.)
www.greenhotelsonline.com
Leed
Created by the U.S. Green Building Council to certify that buildings meet with standards of energy efficiency, conservation, and sensitivity to locale. Hotels have been slow to take up the challenge; only about 20 throughout the country have applied. San Francisco's Orchard Garden Hotel, opening next month, hopes to be the fifth to receive accreditation.
www.usgbc.org
Sustainable Tourism Certification Network of the Americas
A joint effort of the Rainforest Alliance and the International Ecotourism Society that links certification programs from several countries to maintain minimum— and evolving—environmental standards throughout the Caribbean and the Americas.
www.eco-indextourism.org.

1 comment:

Martie said...

Environment: How Green Is My Hotel?How Green Is My Hotel?
In lieu of a universal stamp of approval for environmentally-friendly hotels, a little leg work plus our primer on eco-certification programs will help you find a place that’s green enough for you.
By David Propson, Travel+Leisure

Related Articles 10 Ecotourist Hotspots
Costa Rica: Haven for Eco-travelers
Message Board: Share Tips on Green Hotels

The symbol denoting a recycled product is simple and universal: three arrows in the shape of a triangle. So why isn't there an easy way to tell if a hotel is "green"? There is—in fact, there are far too many for any traveler to possibly keep track of them all.

More than 100 certification programs worldwide currently compete for travelers' attention. Dozens of countries have created their own certification systems, along with several American states. Other labels include those of industry groups (U.S. Green Building Council's LEED certification) or government agencies (the Environmental Protection Agency's Energy Star). And those are only the reputable ones.

To add to the confusion, there's no guarantee that a hotel with a stamp of approval is much better than one without any. Some programs don't audit their participants, relying instead on the honor code, a practice that Jorge Rivera, a professor of strategic management and public policy at Washington, D.C.'s George Washington University, says is actually one of the most prominent methods of greenwashing. In addition, many hotels that have high environmental standards never bother to get accredited.

That means you'll have to do some homework, as well as decide what's important to you. Travelers don't care about all environmental issues equally, and most don't want to think about them at all. But traveling sustainably means wanting to know—and being willing to ask.

T+L tip

If a hotel is touting itself as forward-thinking but is not part of a recognizable certification program, it's up to you to check up on it. Before you book, here's what you might want to find out:

-Is the hotel in an audited certification program? How does it rate hotels, and what was the property's rating?

-What is the hotel doing to reduce carbon and energy use?

-How does it conserve water and other resources?

-How does it reduce the effects of waste, hazardous and otherwise, on the surrounding environment?

-Does the hotel have any programs that support the local community?

Worldwide Green Hotel Certification Programs

Below are six of the most highly regarded hotel certification programs. All are independently audited, but they don't all take the same factors into account. To make it easy to identify which sustainable tourism issues each program addresses, we've listed them at the end of each entry.

Energy Star

An EPA program that rates energy efficiency not just in lightbulbs and refrigerators but in hotels as well. More than 150 properties participate, but just being a part of the program doesn't necessarily indicate much—look for a score of 75 or higher out of 100. www.energystar.gov.

EU Eco-Label

A rigorous new program that certifies hotels and campsites throughout the European Union's 25 member countries. Fifty-one hotels currently participate—with more on the way. www.eco-label-tourism.com.

Green Globe

Probably the best-known label. Based on stringent Australian guidelines, it certifies properties primarily in Australia, New Zealand, and Asia but has begun to expand into the Caribbean and elsewhere. www.greenglobe.org.

Green Leaf

A Canada-based label, run in association with Audubon International, this program has just begun to expand into the United States. (Thailand's highly regarded, though unrelated, certification program is also called Green Leaf.) www.greenhotelsonline.com.

Leed

Created by the U.S. Green Building Council to certify that buildings meet with standards of energy efficiency, conservation, and sensitivity to locale. Hotels have been slow to take up the challenge; only about 20 throughout the country have applied. San Francisco's Orchard Garden Hotel, opening next month, hopes to be the fifth to receive accreditation. www.usgbc.org.

Sustainable Tourism Certification Network of the Americas

A joint effort of the Rainforest Alliance and the International Ecotourism Society that links certification programs from several countries to maintain minimum— and evolving—environmental standards throughout the Caribbean and the Americas. www.eco-indextourism.org.