The Vakinn environmental grading is, like the Vakinn quality system, based on a corresponding system with Qualmark in New Zealand. Stefán Gíslason M. Sc. and director of Environice oversaw the adaptation of the system to Icelandic conditions.
Surveys among international visitors to Iceland have for decades shown that Iceland´s main attraction is the country´s magnificent nature. It is our treasure which we must safeguard and keep intact for future generations. Linking environmental and social responsibility to quality as is done in the Vakinn system is therefore of utmost importance. With growing public awareness of environmental and social issues customers are placing increasing demands on companies to show responsibility and contribute to social and environmental causes. Customers vote with their feet and direct their business to companies that are doing well on this front.
One of Vakinn’s objectives is to get a majority of Icelandic tourism providers to engage in environmental and social issues and obtain an official recognition for their contribution in these matters.
Please note that it is not possible to apply for environmental grading exclusively since participation in the quality system is a prerequisite for environmental grading.
Bronze, silver or gold
The Vakinn environmental grading is free of charge to companies participating in the Vakinn quality system. Participation in the environmental system is optional but this type of accreditation should be highly desirable for responsible companies and can be of considerable value in marketing. Based on their performance in environmental and social matters, the participating companies are awarded a bronze, silver or gold label that guides the way towards improved and increasingly responsible operation. Fulfilling the criteria for a bronze label is fairly straight forward and from there systematic steps can be taken towards a silver and eventually a gold label, even as soon as in the next yearly assessment.
Towards Sustainable Tourism?
The environmental system is based on eight main categories:
- Strategy and work procedures
- Purchases and resources
- Nature preservation
- Social responsibility and community engagement
- Suppliers and market
- Information to customers