A WORD FROM OUR PARTNER:
EU Ecolabel

05.09.2016

EU Ecolabel tourist accommodations long standing criteria gears up to take a step further towards tighter quality and environmental requirements.

As the official type 1 ecolabel of the European Commission, the EU Ecolabel is a proud partner of the 2016 Global Green Destinations Day to support ad promote sustainable tourism, throughout the EU and worldwide. One of the largest EU Ecolabel product and service families, EU Ecolabel tourist accommodations and campsite services comprise over 770 tourist lodging destinations around the world. EU Ecolabel tourist accommodations range from one-bedroom guest rooms to hundred-room campus-styled hotels for conferences and provide consumers with a high quality stay that has a lesser impact on the environment than conventional hotels. Concrete quantitative results on energy and water savings as well as waste reduction are amongst some of the main environmental savings that characterize EU Ecolabel criteria compliance, all of which have positive returns on investment for tourist accommodations.

Conversation around EU Ecolabel tourist accommodations has gradually built up since late 2014 thanks to engaged stakeholders within the tourism sector along with the European Commission during the service group criteria’s ongoing revision. The anticipated publication of this criteria in early 2017, will merge, the existing campsite, and tourist accommodation, service groups into one comprehensive criteria, document which will refine existing requirements as well as introduce stricter optional and mandatory environmental criteria for compliance from existing and potential EU Ecolabel tourist accommodations. Considerable efforts have been undertaken to simplify the criteria structure via the revision. This streamlining will reduce the total number of criteria requirements in order to focus on the most important environmental hotspots identified within the tourist accommodation sector, and to facilitate its understanding and verification for potential applicant hotels. Moreover, similar efforts have been undertaken to assure further consistency between the requirements of the EU Ecolabel criteria and the requirements of the EU Eco-Management and Audit Scheme (EMAS) regarding tourism accommodations. Thanks to the increased coherence the continuous improvement of environmental performance triggered by EMAS will be more naturally crowned by the Ecolabel certification. In the other way around, EMAS registered organisation can take inspiration from both Ecolabel criteria and EMAS sectoral best environnemental management practice to pursue their quest for continuous improvement of their environmental performances. The publication of these criteria, will be the key driver in jumpstarting the United Nations-declared International Year of Sustainable Tourism and Development.

Notable bottom-up actions carried out by licence holders in parallel to the tourist accommodation revisions on the EU level has complemented the buzz surrounding this service group. In particular, two annual interregional workshops have already been organised in Bordeaux in November 2014 and 2015 by the French Certification Body AFNOR to launch discussion on how to better promote EU Ecolabel Tourist Accommodations. Considering the success of the first meeting, a European seminar on the topic was held in May 2015 with the participation of both the European Commission’s DG Environment (ENV) and DG for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs (GROW). The conclusions of these workshops outlined the importance of promoting collective communication efforts from the European Commission, Member States, and licence holder level to boost consumer awareness of EU Ecolabel TAs, benefitting the environment and business.

On the EC level, an EU-wide communication plan is in its development stage, which will be ready for the International year of Sustainable Tourism and Development. This communication plan strives to foster better promotion of the scheme and positively affecting EU Ecolabel tourist accommodations and sustainable tourism at large. In particular, a High Level conference highlighting the role of EU tools to promote sustainable tourism will be organized on the 8th of May in Malta. Do not hesitate to pencil it in your agendas already. Furthermore, the EU Ecolabel Helpdesk will continue to reinforce partnerships with booking sites and tour operators that can multiply visibility for this service group in addition to providing other various communication opportunities to certified tourist accommodations.

For more information:

…to find an EU Ecolabel hotel for your next holiday or business trip, visit the EU Ecolabel Tourist Accommodation catalogue: http://ec.europa.eu/ecat/hotels-campsites/en

…on general enquiries, contact the EU Ecolabel Helpdesk: ecolabel@bio.deloitte.fr