Eco-travel seals of approval

Eco-dome nature reserveThere's no convenient 'green pages' directory for eco-lodges, eco-friendly tour companies, or eco-travel destinations. Instead, there are dozens of programs which aim to help travelers make up their mind about the eco-credentials of their travel suppliers. From hotels to beaches, there's a suitable certification scheme for them all.



Here are the most reputable certifications out there:

Certificate Approves Geography Comments
Green Globe All tourism services, from airlines to accommodations Global Participants are first benchmarked according to regional best-practice standards, then Certified when they prove they are operating at a high environmental standard
Ecotel Accommodations Global Hotels that meet primary criteria are inspected and then awarded between 1 and 5 Ecotel Globes. Certificationifications must be renewed every two years, and Ecotel inspects hotels unannounced
Sustainable Tourism Eco-Certificationification Program (STEP) Tour operators, accommodations, attractions, transportation services, and community-based tourism Global Planners reviewed more than a dozen certification schemes to develop this one, in which tourism providers self-measure, assess, and agree to enhance their environmental efforts
Audubon Green Leaf Accommodations U.S., Canada, and Europe Hotels submit a survey on their efforts in four areas of environmental stewardship, which are evaluated and then rated on a scale of 1 to 5 by TerraChoice, an environmental marketing organization
Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Buildings United States The U.S. Green Building Council rates hotels and other buildings as Certificationified, silver, gold or platinum according to a multi-tiered ranking system
Blue Flag Beaches and marinas Global Beaches and marinas are evaluated on water quality, environmental education and information, environmental management, and safety and services. Blue Flags must be renewed every year
Green Seal Hotels Global Hotels submit an application detailing their efforts, which is evaluated in-office
Certificationification for Sustainable Tourism (CST) Hotels and other travel-related businesses Costa Rica Businesses are ranked on a scale of 0 to 5 according to how they operate their facilities, conserve the adjacent land, communicate with customers, and support and involve the local community
Green Key Hotels, youth hostels, restaurants, and campsites Global Participants complete applications detailing their environmental efforts. On-site visits are conducted by Green Key staffers
Green Tourism Business Scheme Hotels, attractions, tour operators, and conference centers U.K. Service providers are evaluated on environmental, economic, and social issues, from efficient lighting to conservation, and then given a ranking of bronze, silver, or gold
Pan Parks Protected areas Europe Independent auditors evaluate parks’ sustainable management plans. Sponsored by the World Wildlife Federation
Nature and Ecotourism Accreditation Programme Tours, attractions, and accommodations Australia Applications are independently assessed and audited before they’re rated on economic, environmental, and social sustainability

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Last updated by Jack on 04 August, 2008 in Travel.

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