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.
Strategy formation and work procedures
Requires attention Already in place N/A Add to action plan Explanations/Comments
1.1.
Compile a declaration with emphasis on sustainable tourism.
1.2.
Present the vision of sustainable tourism and company strategy to the staff.
1.3.
Re-examine this vision and strategy regularly.
1.4.
Encourage the staff to voice their opinions and ideas about environmental protection and social responsibility.
1.5.
Strengthen environmental awareness among the staff.
1.6.
Assess the financial performance of the company regularly.
1.7.
Assess the company’s environmental performance regularly.
1.8.
Assess the company’s social performance of regularly.
1.9.
Set objectives and publish a report on environmental performance.
1.11.
1.12.
1.13.
2.
Procurements and resources
Requires attention Already in place N/A Add to action plan Explanations/Comments
2.1.
Develop and adopt a procurement strategy which 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.
Use products sparingly and reduce the use of agents containing toxic sub stances, e.g. cleaning materials.
2.8.
Purchase goods marked as environmentally friendly or bio certificated items wherever possible.
2.9.
Purchase “Fairtrade” goods (reasonable business terms) whenever possible.
2.10.
Install water saving appliances and equipment.
2.11.
Reduce water usage; never allow water to run unnecessarily.
2.12.
Offer tap water rather than bottled water.
2.13.
Use environmentally friendly building materials and construction methods.
2.14.
2.15.
2.16.
3.
Energy
Requires attention Already in place 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.
Use energy-saving lighting
3.6.
Purchase energy efficient appliances and equipment (consult information labels).
3.7.
Switch off lighting appliances and equipment which is not in use.
3.8.
Train drivers in ecodriving.
3.9.
Ensure regular maintenance of vehicles.
3.10.
Keep up with developments regarding new types of fuel, and use these as far as possible.
3.11.
Support and encourage ecotravel by staff.
3.12.
Support and encourage ecotransport of goods, pooling of journeys etc.
3.13.
3.14.
3.15.
4.
Waste
Requires attention Already in place N/A Add to action plan Explanations/Comments
4.1.
Put together a strategy for action to reduce waste generation.
4.2.
Reuse paper and cardboard.
4.3.
Try to reuse, sell or give away goods when they have reached the end of their usefulness to the company.
4.4.
Collect drinks containers to hand in to the recycling facilities.
4.5.
Collect paper and cardboard for recycling.
4.6.
Collect glass for recycling.
4.7.
Collect plastic for recycling.
4.8.
Collect metal for recycling.
4.9.
Collect electrical gadgets and appliances for recycling.
4.10.
Collect hazardous waste for transport to a toxic waste disposal centre.
4.11.
Return unused medication to the pharmacy.
4.12.
Collect organic waste for composting or use as animal fodder.
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.
Nature conservation
Requires attention Already in place N/A Add to action plan Explanations/Comments
5.1.
Support land revegetation.
5.2.
Participate with other parties to check the spread of invasive plant species.
5.3.
Follow instructions on sewage management.
5.4.
Monitor what is being put down drains.
5.5.
Work on improving road and area signposting (thus helping to control traffic in ecologically sensitive areas).
5.6.
Support or participate in environmental research.
5.7.
Support non-governmental nature preservation organisations.
5.8.
Support measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
5.9.
Support education on nature conservation.
5.10.
Support action to reduce the negative environmental impact caused by theactivities of the operator concerned.
5.11.
Support the reduced idling of vehicle engines.
5.12.
Support the improvement of access and pathways to the near and/or distant environment.
5.13.
5.14.
5.15.
6.
The community
Requires attention Already in place N/A Add to action plan Explanations/Comments
6.1.
Form long-term relationships and support community groups (e.g. sports clubs, nature conservation associations, charity organisations etc).
6.2.
Support individual local causes short-term, e.g. travel of participants in sporting contests, assistance to individuals requiring medical treatment etc.
6.3.
Donate products or services to community projects.
6.4.
Donate used equipment to schools or community groups.
6.5.
Sit on a committees or the board of a local organisations.
6.6.
Provide counselling and guidance to local companies or community groups.
6.7.
Work in conjunction with other tourist services in the area.
6.8.
Offer vocational training courses in tourism.
6.9.
Provide organised support for local suppliers.
6.10.
Utilise local knowledge and the local workforce.
6.11.
Hold an open house for local people.
6.12.
Work towards a local policy plan in conjunction with the municipal council.
6.13.
6.14.
6.15.
7.
Suppliers and market
Requires attention Already in place N/A Add to action plan Explanations/Comments
7.1.
Recognise the key organisations or associations which are most important for company sustainability.
7.2.
Work with other pioneers in the world of commerce to bring about changes in the community and local tourist services.
7.3.
Encourage the responsible and safe use of the company’s own products or services.
7.4.
Check client expectations of and satisfaction with the services provided, environmental issues and sustainability.
7.5.
Check where the company’s strongest competitors stand in the field of sustainability.
7.6.
Search for marketing possibilities which are linked to worthy causes.
7.7.
Gather information on where the most important raw materials are to be found and how they are produced.
7.8.
Acquaint suppliers with the company’s emphasis on and demands in the field of sustainability.
7.9.
Seek cooperation with suppliers and competitors in the field of ecotransport.
7.10.
Use every opportunity to monitor the suppliers, to ensure a desirable work process.
7.11.
7.12.
7.13.
8.
Customer information
Requires attention Already in place N/A Add to action plan Explanations/Comments
8.1.
Encourage guests to use the same towel more than once.
8.2.
Encourage clients to sort all rubbish.
8.3.
Encourage clients to save energy e.g. water, heating and electricity.
8.4.
Provide the clients with information on the quality of tap water.
8.5.
Provide the clients with information on the quality of surface water in the surrounding area.
8.6.
Instruct customers on the history and nature of the surrounding area.
8.7.
Inform the clients of the company’s areas of emphasis regarding sustainable development.
8.8.
Inform clients about the VAKINN environmental system.
8.9.
Inform the clients about company policy on environmental issues and sustainability, and how they can support this cause.
8.10.
8.11.
8.12.

Action Plan

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