The principles of sustainable tourism and Sustainable Development Goals – SDG’s (new version)

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Considering contribution of principles of sustainable tourism in the sustainable development is possible to connect these principles with Sustainable Development Goals – SDG’s from UN as following:

1.    Manage sustainable tourism effectively

Tourism interested parties shall set up and/or promote ethical business processes that seek to engage the corporate responsibility (social, economic and environmental) of those involved, increasing the commitment to the sustainability of destinations and businesses in the elaboration and implementation of mission, goals, strategies, plans and processes of management

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2.    Guarantee the rights of local populations

Tourism interested parties shall seek and promote mechanisms and actions of social and environmental responsibility and economic equality, including the defense of human rights, responsible use of land, resources, consumption of materials and services, maintaining or increasing the dignity of the employees and the well-being of communities involved.

Note Local population can include native population

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3.    Conserve the natural environment and its biodiversity

In all stages of implementation and operation, tourism interested parties shall adopt practices of carrying capacity and minimal impact on the natural environment, including wildlife protection, monitoring and effectively mitigating any negative impact, and thus contribute towards maintaining the natural dynamics and processes of their physical, biological and landscape aspects, taking into account the existing social and economic context. This could include measures related to climate change adaptation.

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4.    Consider the cultural heritage and local values

Tourism interested parties shall recognize and respect the historical-cultural heritage of the tourism destinations. Tourism activities shall be planned, implemented and managed in harmony with the cultural traditions and values, collaborating towards their development.

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5.   Stimulate the social and economic development of tourist destinations

Tourism interested parties shall contribute towards strengthening the local economy, raising skill-levels, increasing economic impacts, generating jobs, work and income, and fomenting the local capacity to develop tourist enterprises stimulating, at the same time, the local responsible supply chains.

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6.    Guarantee the quality of the products, processes and attitudes

Tourism interested parties shall provide reliable information, promote tourism destinations awareness, evaluate tourist satisfaction and encourage the implementation of recognized service standards related, but not limited to sustainability, quality, accessibility and food safety.

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7.    Stimulate the safety and security destinations

Tourism interested parties should contribute to enhance destinations safety and security, increasing levels of safety and security and comfort of local population and tourists.

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8.    Take legal compliance into consideration

Tourism interested parties shall identify and be aware of applicable legal requirements.

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According UN Sustainable Development Goals – SDG’s for tourism [source: http://tourism4sdgs.org] could be understand as following:

SDG 1 – NO POVERTY

As one of the largest and fastest growing economic sectors in the world, tourism is well-positioned to foster economic growth and development at all levels and provide income through job creation.

Sustainable tourism development, and its impact at community level, can be linked with national poverty reduction goals, those related to promoting entrepreneurship and small businesses, and empowering less favored groups, particularly youth and women.

SDG 2 – ZERO HUNGER

Tourism can spur sustainable agriculture by promoting the production and supplies to hotels, and sales of local products to tourists. Agro-tourism can generate additional income while enhancing the value of the tourism experience.

SDG 3 – GOOD HEALTH AND WELL-BEING

Tax income generated from tourism can be reinvested in health care and services, improving maternal health, reduce child mortality and preventing diseases. Visitors fees collected in protected areas can as well contribute to health services.

SDG 4 – QUALITY EDUCATION

Tourism has the potential to promote inclusiveness. A skilful workforce is crucial for tourism to prosper. The tourism sector provides opportunities for direct and indirect jobs for youth, women, and those with special needs, who should benefit through educational means.

SDG 5 – GENDER EQUALITY

Tourism can empower women, particularly through the provision of direct jobs and income-generation from MMEs in tourism and hospitality related enterprises. Tourism can be a tool for women to become fully engaged and lead in every aspect of society.

SDG 6 – CLEAN WATER AND SANITATION

Tourism investment requirement for providing utilities can play a critical role in achieving water access and security, as well as hygiene and sanitation for all. The efficient use of water in tourism, pollution control and technology efficiency can be key to safeguarding our most precious resource.

SDG 7 – AFFORDABLE AND CLEAN ENERGY

As a sector, which is energy intensive, tourism can accelerate the shift towards increased renewable energy shares in the global energy mix. By promoting investments in clean energy sources, tourism can help to reduce green house gases, mitigate climate change and contribute to access of energy for all.

SDG 8 – DECENT WORK AND ECONOMIC GROWTH

Tourism, as services trade, is one of the top four export earners globally, currently providing one in ten jobs worldwide. Decent work opportunities in tourism, particularly for youth and women, and policies that favour better diversification through tourism value chains can enhance tourism positive socio-economic impacts.

SDG 9 – INDUSTRY INNOVATION AND INFRASTRUCTURE

Tourism development relies on good public and private infrastructure. The sector can influence public policy for infrastructure upgrade and retrofit, making them more sustainable, innovative and resource-efficient and moving towards low carbon growth, thus attracting tourists and other sources of foreign investment.

SDG 10 – REDUCED INEQUALITIES

Tourism can be a powerful tool for reducing inequalities if it engages local populations and all key stakeholders in its development. Tourism can contribute to urban renewal and rural development by giving people the opportunity to prosper in their place of origin.

Tourism serves as an effective mean for economic integration and diversification.

SDG 11 – SUSTAINABLE CITIES AND COMMUNITIES

Tourism can advance urban infrastructure and accessibility, promote regeneration and preserve cultural and natural heritage, assets on which tourism depends.

Investment in green infrastructure (more efficient transport, reduced air pollution) should result in smarter and greener cities for, not only residents but also tourists.

SDG 12 – RESPONSIBLE CONSUMPTION AND PRODUCTION

The tourism sector needs to adopt sustainable consumption and production (SCP) modes, accelerating the shift towards sustainability. Tools to monitor sustainable development impacts for tourism including for energy, water, waste, biodiversity and job creation will result in enhanced economic, social and environmental outcomes.

SDG 13 – CLIMATE ACTION

Tourism contributes to and is affected by climate change. Tourism stakeholders should play a leading role in the global response to climate change. By reducing its carbon footprint, in the transport and accommodation sector, tourism can benefit from low carbon growth and help tackle one of the most pressing challenges of our time.

SDG 14 – LIFE BELOW WATER

Coastal and maritime tourism rely on healthy marine ecosystems. Tourism development must be a part of Integrated Coastal Zone Management in order to help conserve and preserve fragile marine ecosystems and serve as a vehicle to promote a blue economy, contributing to the sustainable use of marine resources.

SDG 15 – LIFE ON LAND

Rich biodiversity and natural heritage are often the main reasons why tourists visit a destination. Tourism can play a major role if sustainably managed in fragile zones, not only in conserving and preserving biodiversity, but also in generating revenue as an alternative livelihood to local communities.

SDG 16 – PEACE JUSTICE AND STRONG INSTITUTIONS

As tourism revolves around billions of encounters between people of diverse cultural backgrounds, the sector can foster multicultural and inter-faith tolerance and understanding, laying the foundation for more peaceful societies. Tourism, which benefits and engages local communities, can also consolidate peace in post-conflict societies.

SDG 17 – PARTNERSHIPS FOR THE GOALS

Due to its cross-sectoral nature, tourism has the ability to strengthen private/public partnerships and engage multiple stakeholders – international, national, regional and local – to work together to achieve the SDGs and other common goals. Public policy and innovative financing are at the core for achieving the 2030 Agenda.

 

A road map to Sustainability Management System for accommodation establishments: Part III How to implement a Sustainability Management System based on ISO 21401? (continuing Part II)

Road map Diagrama para ISO 21401.002

12. Competences

A Sustainability Management System include to develop competences of the workers which is very important to achieve that objectives of sustainability established. For that, we start to be defining which are competences desirables for each function in the accommodation. After, we will compare it with the actual competences identifying potential gaps, following prepare a plan to improve competences that we needed. The implementation of this plan includes do capacitation or other actions and evaluate the effectiveness of those measures.

13. Awareness

Also is important to assure that workers be aware their contribution to the effectiveness of the sustainability management system, including the benefits of improved sustainability performance and the potential consequences of non-observance of specified operating procedures and actual or potential significant environmental, socio-cultural or economic impacts of the accommodation’s activities.

14. Communication

According ISO 21401 the processes of communication with interested parties shall be defined to help the effectiveness of the sustainability management system. Accommodation shall understand and define on what it will communicate, when to communicate, with whom to communicate and how to communicate.

15. Supply chain management

To understand this step is important to realize that some impacts are generated by suppliers, but the accommodation can exert influence. In this case the accommodation shall establish and communicate the criteria for its selection of suppliers, taking into consideration the sustainability aspects, impacts and objective

16. Documented information

The accommodation shall determine which documented information are being necessary for the effectiveness of the sustainability management system. Also, it is important to control of documented information to assure that information available is current and reliable.

17. Internal audit

At this time the accommodation shall implement a process of internal audit, which will check if the sustainability management system is comply with ISO 21401 and if is effective in achieve the objectives established.

18. Nonconformity and corrective action

The results of internal audit process could be finding some requirements are not being comply. In this case the accommodation shall implement corrective action to eliminate the cause(s) of the nonconformity, in order that it does not recur or occur.

19. Management review

Based on audit results, customer perceptions, monitoring and measurement evaluation results, communications with interested parties and others information the accommodation shall review the sustainability management system, at planned intervals, to ensure its continuing suitability, adequacy and effectiveness.

20. Improvements

Finally, the accommodation shall identify opportunities and take action to continually improve the suitability, adequacy and effectiveness of the sustainability management system.

A sustainability management system could be understood as a tool for anticipate and prevent problems, plan how to fix these problems and use it to implement improvements and strengthening the own sustainability management system.

Certification of sustainable tourism

 

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Certification of sustainable tourism is very popular nowadays, but what does it means? Certification is a mechanism to ensure that particular company, product or service comply with specified requirements. In the case of sustainable tourism, certification means that a company adopt sustainable practices or has a sustainability management system.

In the last 15 years a lot of certifications schemes about sustainable tourism has been developed. Today is easy to find more than a 100, but most of them fall into two groups: the first focused on attesting that the company has certain sustainable practices and the second that the company has a sustainability management system implemented and effective. The main difference between this two groups is about sustainable practices where the first take in consideration specific and predeterminate sustainable practices and the second looks for the business management and results.

To achieve certification, the company must demonstrate that it meets the requirements. Obviously, to begin this process, the company needs to do its homework, initially knowing the requirements that base the certification desired, going through a self-assessment of its business and, mainly, implementing measures to meet these requirements. Thus, the company will increase the chance of being certified and may use certification as a marketing and communication tool with the market in which it operates or intends to act.

The certification is performed by an independent organization, called certification body, whose business is assessment and attest to the market that the company is sustainable.

However, it is important to note that certification should not be an end in itself, but rather the natural consequence for the company that meets the requirements and therefore can be called sustainable. In fact, meeting sustainability requirements has the power to transform the company and bring benefits far beyond the certificate itself.

Examples of certification benefits:

  • Improved image
  • Brand Strengthening
  • Improved business management
  • Strengthening partnership with stakeholders
  • Spontaneous media
  • Increased customer satisfaction
  • Increased employee engagement
  • Reduction of operating costs
  • Improved results

Another relevant aspect of sustainability certification is that invariably the company has a very positive influence on the territory in which it is operating. Thus, sustainability ends up creating a network, where all stakeholders gain, be they collaborators, local community, suppliers, tourists, NGOs, local public power, among others.

A business certification process involves, in general, the following steps:

  • Request for certification
  • Sending company documentation
  • Technical analysis of documentation
  • Conducting an audit
  • Analysis of results
  • Grant of Certificate
  • Maintenance audits (during the period of validity of the certificate)

There are many types of certification in sustainable tourism and the company must evaluate which certification adds value to your business and helps in communication with the market and clients.

Certification of Accommodations

The certification of accommodations has the function of ensuring that the accommodation has a sustainability management system implemented and effective. This certification is valid for any type, size and geographic location of hosting medium and is based on an international standard, ISO 21401: 2018 – Sustainability Management System for Hosting.

By implementing the requirements of this standard, the accommodation will have the benefits of strengthening its business and improving the decision-making process, which will be done in a more modern and complete way, simultaneously looking at the three dimensions of sustainability (environmental, socio-cultural and economic).

A sustainability management system assumes the development of sustainability policy and objectives, based on the internal and external contexts of the enterprise, stakeholder needs, risks and opportunities and based on the negative and positive aspects and impacts of the business. Obviously, this should be led by the top management of the accommodation, which should demonstrate its commitment, provide resources, define responsibility and authorities, and plan sustainability actions in an environmentally responsible, socially just and economically viable way.

In addition, the Sustainability Management System must include the competencies of employees, the implementation of work process controls, communication methods and the development and evaluation of suppliers. It is essential for it to be used effectively, documented and has classic monitoring, analysis and continuous improvement elements in management systems: performance evaluation, internal audit, critical review, non-compliance and corrective actions.

An accommodation managed through a Sustainability Management System will allow the development of a truly sustainable business and adapted to the current challenges of tourism.

After the implementation of this standard, the accommodation that wishes to be certified will pass an audit process planned by the certification body, which will send auditors to assess the compliance of the management and the practices adopted in relation to the sustainability requirements.

Certification of adventure tourism providers

For adventure tourism companies it is possible to be certified based on the international standard ISO 20611: 2018 – Good practices of sustainability. In this case it is not necessary to implement a complete management system, but rather to demonstrate that it adopts sustainable practices in its operation for the three dimensions: environmental, social and economic.

Practices should be adopted with the objective of reducing the impacts generated by the company’s tourism operations, such as:

  • Environmental dimension – use of natural resources, water and energy consumption, protection of biodiversity and natural habitats;
  • Social dimension – respect for employees and the local community, promotion and respect of local culture, working conditions;
  • Economic dimension – adoption of fair trade practices, management of financial risks of the business, generation of work.

A roadmap to Sustainability Management System for accommodation establishments: Part I

Road map Diagrama para ISO 21401.002

How to implement a Sustainability Management System based on ISO 21401?

First of all it is important to say that a road map present here is not the only way to implement an Sustainability Management System, but this logical structure could be a path to align and transform sustainable practices to improvement competitiveness in your business.

  1. Context internal and external

Start with analysis of the context considering need and expectations of interested parties, identifying key factors related with Marketing, legal, technological, cultural, social, environmental and economic aspects. It is important to understand the context, including how these key factors and interested parties influence your business.

  1. Aspect and impacts

According the type, size and geographical location an accommodation establishment has many aspects to be considering in a Sustainable Management System and each aspect produce one or more impacts in the three dimensions of sustainability (environmental, social and economic). So it is fundamental to analysis the works processes, identifying aspects and evaluate his impacts, specially the significant impacts which it will be control.

  1. Risks and opportunities

Based on the two topics above is possible identifying and understand what are the risk and opportunities for the business. The Sustainable Management System should be able to minimizing risks and maximizing opportunities and help to achieve the business objectives.

  1. Scope

Establish the Scope and define the boundaries and applicability of the sustainability management system.

Note: Besides the first four topics above has been organized in a logical sequence it is useful to understand that all issues are connect.

  1. Policy

A policy for sustainability management system is a kind of declaration made by the top management and needs to be appropriate to the purpose of accommodation establishment and provide a framework for setting sustainability objectives.

  1. Sustainability objectives

Considering all topics bellow now it is time to define objectives which shall be used to become the business more sustainable. Whenever it is possible the objectives should be measurable and it shall be establish plan about how the objectives will be achieve, including activities, responsibilities, resources and deadlines.

(soon part II)

Sustainable Management of accommodation establishments according ISO 21401: 2018 – Sustainability management system for accommodation establishments

novo Infografico para norma ISO 21401.004

The client experience in an accommodation establishments is built through a series of events that begin with selecting the hotel, going through booking and hosting to the relationship with activities pos sales.

As shown in the diagram above part of the construction of this experience can be observed when the client accesses the reception to check in, using the infrastructure and the services available until the check out process. Thus the reception, accommodation, food and beverages and leisure processes are those where there is direct contact with the client. However, many other fundamental processes for the operation of accommodation establishments occur behind the scenes such as: commercial, cleaning services, maintenance, reservations, F & B, procurement, for example. This whole set must be managed with a focus on the business objectives and aligned with the strategy and in compliance with established policies.

The sustainable management of the business involves considering the sustainability aspects, represented in the diagram above, during the processes of take decisions. It is important taking actions to achieve the objectives, minimizing the negative impacts of sustainability for each one of these aspects.

ISO 21401: 2018 (Sustainability Management System for Hosting) describes the elements of a Management System focused on transforming the accommodation establishments into a truly sustainable business.

ISO 21401:2018 – Sustainability management system for accommodation establishments – Requirements

Novos Infograficos para norma ISO 21401.002

ISO 21401:2018 – Sustainability management system for accommodation establishments and Sustainable development Goals (SDG) from UN (United Nations)

infografico para norma iso 21401.005

In 2015, the UN defined the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), which have been adopted by Member States and include relevant issues such as human rights, health and safety, environmental protection and the development of local communities and local economy, among others.

The fulfillment of these objectives are part of governmental commitments that obviously also involve the private initiative, because the sustainable development will be through the engagement, participation and contribution of all the interested parties.

ISO 21401: 2018 (Sustainability Management System for Accommodation Establishments) is aligned with Agenda 2030 and its implementation will help organizations achieve the Sustainable Development Goals, essentially managing the main aspects and impacts of sustainability related to the business .

In addition, the accommodation establishments will have as benefits, the strengthening of its businesses, the increase of competitiveness and the improvement of its decisions.

Some examples of connections between ISO 21401 and Sustainable Development Objectives (SDG) are:

ISO 21401 SDG

Environmental Dimension

Natural areas, biodiversity, flora and fauna

preserve its own natural area by implementing conservation practices and take measures to promote flora and fauna conservation.

Solid waste, effluents and emissions

measures to reduce, reuse or recycle solid waste and measures to minimize the impact caused by liquid effluents to the environment and to public health.

Energy efficiency

measures to minimize energy consumption, particularly from non-renewable energy sources.

Conservation and management of water usage

control and record the consumption of water from external sources and from its own sources.

 

Social Dimension

Local communities

develop or be engaged in voluntary actions or initiatives promoted by communities, governmental and non-governmental organizations, with the objective of contributing to the development of local communities.

Work and income

be committed to the use of local people and production, encouraging local associations, quality and sustainability.

employ, to the greatest extent possible, workers (employees, subcontractors or freelancers) from local or regional communities.

Work conditions

ensure that wages at least meet the minimum wage for the category and that employee facilities meet the minimum conditions of hygiene, safety and comfort.

Cultural aspects

initiatives to promote knowledge, preservation and respect for local culture.

Native population

measures to ensure respect for the habits, rights and traditions of the native population, promoting their effective participation in the management activity process in their land or region, where applicable

Economic Dimension

Economic viability of the organization

implement its activities and services, considering its economic sustainability in the short, medium and long term.

Quality and guest satisfaction

implement products and services considering guest profile and expectations. Planning of products and services shall prioritize social traditions and local hospitality.

Health and safety of guests and workers

establish procedures for continuous risk identification, risk assessment and the implementation of necessary control measures.