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International Year of Sustainable Tourism

  • Manage your organization's sustainability plan see more

    Moving your company towards sustainability needs to come from both the top down as well as the bottom up. Once an executive decision is made to support sustainability, there needs to be ongoing support to establish and implement a green action plan and strategy. Creating that plan and keeping it on track are jobs for the green team.

    A green team is a committee made up of people from your company. These employees collectively have insights into all aspects of your organization and can bring ideas from their departments or roles, to improve the company’s sustainability performance. Usually the team is made up of people that self-select to be part of the green team. Their job is to be creative and identify actions to meet goals and targets within a sustainability plan, or to help develop goals, targets or a plan if these things don’t already exist.

     

    Benefits of having a Green Team

    Attract top talent: Having a green team will help you attract and engage top talent, by aligning with the values of potential employees. According to a Conference Board of Canada survey, 71% of Canadians want to work for an employer that has commitments to improve their company’s sustainability performance.

    Boost employee engagement and morale: Usually the people who volunteer have a strong connection to social and environmental sustainability and a strong desire to do what’s right and make change for the better within the organization. Engagement can spike if employees are feeling positive about the company’s commitment to corporate social responsibility (according to GreenBiz). By harnessing their passion, you will be able to get green things done by people who love doing them, reducing turn over and boosting morale among all staff who want to see “green” on the company agenda.

    Realize ROI: Green Teams can actually help save your company money. Green teams often work to find and implement ways to improve efficiencies, which often have a great return on investment. For example, if a green team decides that setting a target to reduce paper printed by 50% will help meet their waste reduction goals, then that is 50% less paper your company needs to purchase, and less that you need to spend on hauling recycling away. Another example is recommending that the company invest in energy-saving technology such as LED lighting, sensors and controls or EnergyStar equipment. Less energy consumed will reduce operating costs, improving your company’s bottom line. These investments can pay you back in both the short and long term.

    Free Download: How to Establish a Green Team

    If you’re ready to start off the New Year on the right foot by getting a green team up-and-running, download our handy guide: How to Establish A Green Team in Your Business.

    Getting started on this now will ensure that you have your priorities in the right place for 2017, the UN’s International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development.

    Is your company already doing some great things and do you have a certification behind them? Find out how to Effectively Market your Company’s Green Business Credentials.

    View original article by Green Tourism Canada

  • Make 2017 the year you tackle your eco-to-do-list see more

    Watch out Canada! 2017 marks the International Year of Sustainable Tourism and we are super excited to keep you inspired with what opportunities this presents for your business. Read on for some suggestions and stay tuned for more “International Year” inspired articles, resources and tools in the coming weeks and months to help you make a difference for our world and your business in 2017.

    Decreed by the United Nations, the International Year of Sustainable Tourism is intended to provide a myriad of opportunities for businesses to create lasting and positive change and economic growth in the communities they operate within. By focusing on improving public policies, changing business practices, and shifting consumer behaviour, it is possible to create a more forward-thinking and impactful tourism sector. Sustainable Tourism is about conserving ecosystems for future exploration, providing jobs within the community, and it is certainly about preserving and sharing cultural values, diversity, and heritage.

    “2017 presents a unique opportunity to explore and highlight tourism’s potential to help transform our world into a place of prosperity and wellbeing for all.” – The United Nations

    So what are these opportunities exactly, and how as a business can you adopt some of these practices? Maybe you’re already taking steps in the right direction, but need fresh ideas…well, rest easy: the UN has laid out a roadmap for success and it starts simple:

    • Advocacy and awareness-raising: talk it up! Get the word out that sustainable tourism can have a huge impact on society and the environment and that as it turns out, it creates more functional and prosperous economies. Go figure!

    • Knowledge creation and dissemination: promote the tools necessary to monitor and measure your business’s positive (and negative) impacts and get that information out there.

    Some bigger ticket action items to think about in this new year…

    • Policymaking: get behind national tourism policies that encourage holistic approaches to tourism development and promote evidence-based policies that advance your business’s contribution to sustainable development.

    • Capacity-building & education: consider supporting and possibly implementing educational strategies that promote the contribution of your tourism business to development.

    With all this in mind, and given the spirit of the new year and resolution-setting…why not take a minute to find out how your business stacks up on the sustainability spectrum? Take our quiz and discover some of our favourite tools for measuring success and taking action.

    Take the quiz now: Are you a sustainable tourism business?

    (Too much?) Let’s make 2017 the year we tackle our eco-to-do-lists, cut out the greenwashing, and make real and lasting change in our industry. After all, with all the benefits of sustainable tourism on development and business, what really is the downside?

    View original article by Green Tourism Canada

  • Capitalize on the International Year of Sustainable Tourism see more

    We all know New Year’s resolutions can be hard to stick with and that’s why we’re going to try hard to help your business stay on top of your sustainability goals this year. After all, that’s sort of our mission, with this whole saving the world business!

    So instead of just throwing the idea of the UN’s “International Year of Sustainable Tourism” out there and hoping it sticks, we’re taking a different approach. We’re going to help you dig deeper into some of the ideas and actions suggested by the UN, offering more specifics on how your business can take these concepts and run with ‘em. So let’s dive in!

    First up: advocacy and awareness-raising. If you are already talking up your green story then you’re halfway there! …Did we lose you at “green story?” Fear not, Green Tourism has plenty of free resources that we’re happy to share and hoping you download and use. Take a gander at this handy guide on Three Steps to Kick-Start Your Green Story for pointers on how to get started with yours.

    By developing and sharing your green story, you’re telling your customers that not only are you invested in protecting the natural environment but that your values align with theirs, which according to experts accounts for upwards of 83% of consumers who are consciously choosing to support companies that are progressive in this industry. An authentic green story will not only help to attract new guests, but also to foster a space for conversation to happen and for more enriched business-customer relationships to develop. This spells success for your business in the long-run, especially as green tourism and sustainability efforts continue to build.

    Brett Soberg, Lead Captain and Co-Owner of Eagle Wing Tours, and Green Tourism Gold member, has found that telling his sustainability story is great for business:

    “Many of our clients have commented on the fact that they book with Eagle Wing because of our sustainability stance and because of the organizations we support and belong to.”

    If this is old hat, but you still want more ways to build awareness and advocate for sustainable tourism within your business, keep reading!

    Thankfully, the UN offers many different suggestions to build on the notion of crafting an authentic green story. Here are our favourites:

    • Develop a media and/or social media plan to include interviews with staff, articles in local (or national) publications, and blog posts as an effective means of getting your business and story out there to a larger audience.

    • Use the “International Year” logo in communication materials throughout the year to keep the conversation going internally, and with your customer base.

    • Now that you’ve talked the talk and are crafting, updating, and sharing your green story, it’s time to walk the walk. In our next post we’ll explore how to share the progress you’ve made with your sustainability actions and how to stay accountable in 2017!

    And if you haven’t yet, why not give our sustainable tourism quiz a try to find out where you’re at!

    View original article by Green Tourism Canada

  • Şimal Görmüş posted an article
    Green business tools for your organization see more

    Spring is the perfect time to check in on those green business goals we keep waxing poetic about over here at Green Tourism Canada, and it’s also a great time to check in on your progress. Why? Well, it’s been over three months since the start of the new year, it’s almost the start of a new quarter, and with all resolutions a solid reminder is always welcome.

    Plus, while tourism is a year-round business, many tourism operators start to see traffic increase in the spring. The sooner you can churn through that data and update your metrics, the sooner you can start talking about how much energy, water, and waste you’ve saved over the last year or last few months, which is a key part of your green story. Tracking your progress towards your goals not only helps keep your tourism business accountable (you said you were going to ditch the plastic cups, but did you actually? And how’s that switch to LED lights  coming?), but they also show that you are committed to your green business goals and are in this for the long haul.

    In our last post we explored different ways to raise awareness about sustainable tourism, with one big component being your green business story. According to UNEP’s “Road Map for Celebrating the International Year of Sustainable Tourism” the next step in this journey is to “promote the tools necessary to monitor and measure your business’s positive (and negative) impacts and get that information out there.” A good green tourism story is useless without some facts and figures to back it up, right?

    So what are those green business tools and where do you begin? If you’ve already worked with some tracking tools, or have worked with Green Tourism in the past, then you’re well on your way. If you’re wondering where on earth to begin, look no further! Here are a few tools to get started with.

    4 Tools to Help You Crush Your Sustainability Goals

    1. Create a Supplier Inventory to determine just what percentage of your suppliers are local with this awesome mapping exercise.
    2. Conduct a Waste Audit, then talk about your results with your guests and staff.
    3. Measure Your Carbon Footprint using ecobase Carbon Software (BONUS: Green Tourism members currently gain free access)
    4. Call Us! We make it our business to help other businesses create sustainability goals and then stick with them. We live for metrics and holding ourselves (and others) accountable. Get Certified with Green Tourism. If you’re a member of TIAC, TIAO or TIABC, you get a $100 discount on your membership fee.

    The key with any green business tracking tool is to measure once to establish your baseline, then measure your progress on a monthly, quarterly or annual basis. And don’t forget to talk about your results! It does no good to compile reams of data and have them sit in a pile, taking up space. Even if the numbers

    View original article by Green Tourism Canada