On the way to sustainable tourism

This simple check list helps you to pinpoint where the company is situated on its way to sustainable tourism. Its aim is also to give a clear picture of the company’s present position with regard to environmental matters. This list must, in all cases, be completed by company management prior to applying for a VAKINN environmental category, as designated by the Icelandic Tourist Board. 

The company is not expected to have carried out all the items mentioned on the list. This is only intended as a snap shot of the current situation, and what could be done to further enhance its performance. 

How should the check list be used?

The list should be completed by ticking the appropriate boxes. The list gives an idea of what can be done to improve performance. In this way it creates a picture on which to base a plan of action. It is by no means certain that all items on the list will apply to all applicants concerned. 

When the list has been completed, the final page can be used to draft an action plan, detailing those improvements deemed most imperative and easiest to tackle.

The number of tasks already implemented, is one of the items which give points towards the company’s environmental category. 

To achieve a bronze badge the company is required, for example, to have carried out 6 significant actions to reduce waste, save energy, encourage environmentally friendly procurements etc. 

As far as those actions are concerned, it is best to look first to operational matters, where directors and staff could better their performance by changing work procedures.

This is often merely a case of changing accepted customs or examining what and from whom supplies are ordered. 

There is also the question of what the company contributes to society. No company is independent of the society within which it operates and a good co-existence with its immediate surroundings could raise the opinion of visitors, thus increasing business. 

Next, the operational side is considered, where investment might be rewarded by long-term savings. Ideas for further actions may be found on: www.vakinn.is

Checklist

1.
Management Procedures
Requires attention Done / completed N/A Add to action plan Explanations/Comments
1.1.
Develop a sustainability policy for the company.
1.2.
Present the vision of sustainable tourism and company strategy to the employees.
1.3.
Re-examine this vision and strategy regularly.
1.4.
Encourage employees to express their opinions and ideas.
1.5.
Assess and improve accessibility for people with disability and/or any kind of special needs.
1.6.
Strengthen environmental awareness among the employees.
1.7.
Evaluate customer satisfaction regularly (customer survey).
1.8.
Assess the financial performance of the company regularly.
1.9.
Assess the company’s environmental performance regularly.
1.10.
Assess the company’s social performance regularly.
1.11.
Prepare an annual report on the company's performance in the field of sustainability.
1.12.
Implement green accounting and set measurable goals.
1.13.
Calculate the company's carbon footprint annually.
1.14.
Set goals to reduce the company's carbon footprint.
1.15.
Carbon offset the company's operations with mitigation measures.
1.16.
Assess the pollution caused by the operation/activities of the company e.g. air pollution, soil pollution, water pollution, noise pollution, light pollution, visual pollution.
1.17.
Compile a plan to reduce pollution resulting from the company's operations, cf. 1.14
1.18.
1.19.
1.20.
2.
Procurements and Resources
Requires attention Done / completed N/A Add to action plan Explanations/Comments
2.1.
Implement a procurement policy that supports sustainability.
2.2.
Consider the cost of commodities’ useable life span with regard to procurement and other decision-making.
2.3.
Purchase supplies produced in the surrounding area rather than items of a similar kind from other sources.
2.4.
Organise orders and procurements in such a way that delivery runs are kept to a minimum.
2.5.
Opt for goods without packaging, with minimum packaging, large volume packages or packaging which can be reused.
2.6.
Avoid purchasing single use commodities.
2.7.
Offer only multi-purpose tableware (dishes, glasses, coffee mugs, mixers, cutlery).
2.8.
Use products sparingly and reduce the use of agents containing toxic sub stances, e.g. cleaning materials.
2.9.
Purchase goods marked as environmentally friendly or bio certificated items wherever possible.
2.10.
Purchase “Fairtrade” goods (reasonable business terms) whenever possible.
2.11.
Install water saving appliances and equipment.
2.12.
Reduce water usage; never allow water to run unnecessarily.
2.13.
Offer tap water rather than bottled water.
2.14.
Arrange purchases so that no unnecessary merchandise are bought.
2.15.
Print as little as possible and only if there is a special reason.
2.16.
Refuse all bulk mail.
2.17.
Use environmentally friendly building materials and construction methods.
2.18.
2.19.
2.20.
3.
Energy
Requires attention Done / completed N/A Add to action plan Explanations/Comments
3.1.
Ensure proper and regular maintenance of cooling and heating systems.
3.2.
Ensure proper and regular maintenance of ventilation systems and use them in moderation.
3.3.
Measure and register energy use regularly, according to area, volume, room occupancy rates or number of guests.
3.4.
Compile a strategy for reducing energy consumption, taking the above measurements into consideration.
3.5.
Replace all incandescent bulbs with LED lightbulbs.
3.6.
Only purchase appliances and equipment in the best category of energy labels available according to the energy classification of the European Union (not lower than D according to the new energy categories and not lower than A according to the old energy categories).
3.7.
Set a reminder near switches and exits regarding turning off lights, appliances and closing windows.
3.8.
Only purchase cars that run on domestic energy sources.
3.9.
Train drivers in eco-driving.
3.10.
Install at least one charging station at the company for electric cars.
3.11.
Support and encourage ecotravel by employees.
3.12.
Support and encourage ecotransport of goods, pooling of journeys etc.
3.13.
3.14.
3.15.
4.
Waste
Requires attention Done / completed N/A Add to action plan Explanations/Comments
4.1.
Put together a strategy for action to reduce waste generation.
4.2.
Avoid all disposable plastic packaging e.g. in guests' rooms (soaps, shampoos, toothbrushes, creams, milk, sugar, cocoa) and replace them with eco friendly materials or reusable products in larger packaging.
4.3.
Ensure good access for customers to waste sorting containers.
4.4.
Mark waste sorting containers according to the FENÚR marking system (see https://fenur.is/taknmyndabanki/).
4.5.
Reuse paper and cardboard.
4.6.
Try to reuse, sell or give away goods when they have reached the end of their usefulness to the company.
4.7.
Collect sorted waste for recycling.
4.8.
Collect textile waste for recycling.
4.9.
Collect old and unused electrical equipment for recycling.
4.10.
Return unused medication to the pharmacy.
4.11.
Collect organic waste for composting or use as animal fodder.
4.12.
Inform employees about the effectiveness of sorting and the amount of waste.
4.13.
Work in cooperation with the municipal authorities and waste disposal companies to find solutions in the field of waste management.
4.14.
4.15.
4.16.
5.
Food Waste
Requires attention Done / completed N/A Add to action plan Explanations/Comments
5.1.
Educate employees about food waste.
5.2.
Encourage employees to reduce food waste by having information in the cafeteria (reminders such as posters, stickers or refrigerator magnets with information).
5.3.
Have at least one day per week where leftovers are offered (mainly for employees).
5.4.
Give employees the opportunity to take home, for personal use, leftovers and products that are on expiring date.
5.5.
Donate leftover food to charity where appropriate and possible.
5.6.
Organize a menu based on food expiring dates.
5.7.
Arrange food in the fridge according to expiring dates of the food.
5.8.
5.9.
5.10.
6.
Nature Conservation
Requires attention Done / completed N/A Add to action plan Explanations/Comments
6.1.
Support land revegetation.
6.2.
Work with other parties against the spread of invasive plant species.
6.3.
Learn about laws and regulations on protected areas e.g. natural resources, national parks, nature reserves, protected areas, public parks, etc.
6.4.
Follow instructions on sewage management.
6.5.
Monitor what is being put down drains.
6.6.
Work on improving road and area signposting (thus helping to control traffic in ecologically sensitive areas).
6.7.
Support or participate in environmental research.
6.8.
Support nature preservation organisations.
6.9.
Support measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
6.10.
Support education on nature conservation.
6.11.
Support action to reduce the negative environmental impact caused by the activities of the operator concerned.
6.12.
Establish clear rules on the idling of vehicle engines.
6.13.
Use other types of winter tires for company cars than studded tires.
6.14.
Support the improvement of access and pathways to the near and/or distant environment.
6.15.
6.16.
6.17.
7.
Culture and Community
Requires attention Done / completed N/A Add to action plan Explanations/Comments
7.1.
Form long-term relationships and support community groups (e.g. cultural activites, sports clubs, nature conservation associations, charity organisations etc).
7.2.
Support individual local causes short-term, e.g. cultural,-art,- and sports activites, travel of participants in sporting contests etc.
7.3.
Donate products or services to community projects.
7.4.
Donate used equipment to schools or community groups.
7.5.
Participate in a committee or the board of a local organisations.
7.6.
Provide counselling and guidance to local companies or community groups.
7.7.
Work in conjunction with other tourist operators in the area.
7.8.
Only sell souvenirs made in the vicinity and / or in Iceland.
7.9.
Offer vocational training courses in tourism.
7.10.
Provide organised support for local suppliers.
7.11.
Utilise local knowledge and the local workforce.
7.12.
Hold an open house for local people.
7.13.
Work with local government on community strategy according to the United Nations' global goals.
7.14.
7.15.
7.16.
8.
Suppliers and Market
Requires attention Done / completed N/A Add to action plan Explanations/Comments
8.1.
Recognise the key organisations or associations which are most important for company sustainability.
8.2.
Work with other pioneers in the world of commerce to bring about changes in the community and local tourist services.
8.3.
Check client satisfaction with the services provided, environmental issues and sustainability.
8.4.
Check the performance of suppliers and partners in the field of sustainability.
8.5.
Check where the company’s strongest competitors stand in the field of sustainability.
8.6.
Search for marketing possibilities which are linked to worthy causes.
8.7.
Gather information on where the most important raw materials are to be found and how they are produced.
8.8.
Inform suppliers with the company’s emphasis and demands in the field of sustainability.
8.9.
Seek cooperation with suppliers and competitors in the field of ecotransport.
8.10.
8.11.
8.12.
9.
Customer Information
Requires attention Done / completed N/A Add to action plan Explanations/Comments
9.1.
Inform the customers about company policy on environmental issues and sustainability, and how they can support this cause.
9.2.
Publish an action plan on the website.
9.3.
Review marketing materials and focus on sustainable tourism.
9.4.
Present a report on the company's performance in the field of sustainability.
9.5.
Encourage customers to save water, heating and electricity.
9.6.
Encourage guests to use the same towel more than once.
9.7.
Remind customers that it is forbidden to throw any paper towels, sanitary napkins, earplugs, etc. in the toilet.
9.8.
Provide the customers with information on the quality of tap water.
9.9.
Provide the customers with information on the history and nature of the surrounding area.
9.10.
Provide the customers with information on the website on accessibility for all.
9.11.
Inform customers about the company's quality and environmental certification(s), e.g. Vakinn.
9.12.
9.13.
9.14.

Action Plan

Action How to be Executed Estimated Time of Completion Date Project Completion Date Person Responsible
Add line