Companies and Organizations

Hotels and Accommodations

Good Hotel – a social enterprise which donates 100% of its profits back to help unemployed locals find work. With hotels scattered across the globe, they work in a variety of ways from repurposing derelict buildings to supporting under privileged children to get an education.
Magdas Hotel  – is a social business whose mission is to educate and empower refugees. Designed to provide opportunities for migrants the hotel is located in Austria and also works on many other sustainability initiatives such as up cycled, recycled or donated furniture and rooftop beehives. – a unique website dedicated since 2000 to helping the academic community find and offer temporary housing.  An early adopter to the sharing economy, the website has always encouraged home exchanging, home sharing and house sitting worldwide. Members might look after each other’s garden or pet or keep an eye out for the stray package during a stay. and  members often get to know others they might not normally meet. In general, their members do not view renting their homes as primarily a money-making venture; they value people over profits, which has the intangible benefit of creating a special community of Minds on the Move.
Camp Glenorchy – located in NZ, this accommodation epitomizes sustainability in practice. Water and waste conservation as well as energy production – they use the principles of the Living Building Challenge. Not only about the environment, the hotel focuses on community well being and equity.

Feynan Ecolodge – based in Japan, this lodge is completely off grid and generates all its electricity using carbon friendly tech. The wastewater management system provides reuse of water and food and the accommodation showcases multiple ways to reduce overall carbon.

Nikoi – based in Indonesia, this island focuses on conservation, community, culture and commerce. Medical insurance is provided to full time staff and 99% are local. Setting up the The Island Foundation (TIF), they aim to build capacity with local suppliers and build access to market for crafts and souvenirs.


Pacific Sands, Tofino

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Skwachàys Lodge and Residence – (pronounced skwatch-eyes) at 31 West Pender Street in Vancouver, Canada, houses a fair trade gallery, boutique hotel and an urban Aboriginal artist residence. When a guest spends their overnight travel dollars at the Skwachàys there is a social impact – people are housed. When a guest, a member of the community or a company purchases authentic Aboriginal art at the Fair Trade Gallery there is a social impact – a simple purchase fights cultural misappropriation and ensures that Aboriginal artists are paid fairly for their work.

Lemon Tree hotels – all LEED gold standard, these hotels use Variable Refrigerant Volume (VRV) technology for air-conditioning (30% more efficient), solar and wind power and rain water harvesting. They also commit to cleaning up India’s neighbourhoods and have organized multiple clean ups. They have won awards for fair working conditions and a holistic approach to the welfare and skills development of its staff.

Robson Club Agadir – fitted with 900 sq. metres of solar panels. Robson Club hotels have been awarded multiple eco labels and have been awarded most environmentally friendly hotel company. The hotel also opened a hotel management training program where youth can undergo training.

The Rubens at the Palace hotel, London- this UK property has the largest living wall in an effort to combat the chronic stormwater run-off problem they’ve been experiencing due to vanishing green spaces.

Hotel Milano Scala – Italy’s first zero emission hotel. With their own rooftop garden growing herbs, room magnetic cards to optimize consumption and LEED certified, this hotel is green and groovy

Feynan Ecolodge – runs on 100% sustainable power. 80% of the products used at the lodge are purchased from within a 60km radius, while 55% of the money paid by guests at Feynan stayed in the immediate local area, benefiting 450 local people in 2014

Fogo Island Inn – based on the rocky outclass of Newfoundland in Canada, this inn embodies sustainability. Working with the community in almost every aspect, even the furniture and quilting is made by the community. Environmentally it is also showcasing itself with solar photovoltaic, a solar thermal system and wood biomass boiler.

Creativhotel Luise – Germany’s first climate neutral hotel with emissions at 10.24 kg CO2 per guest compared to the average of 35kg C02 per guest at an average hotel. Solar power, battery station for electric cars, this hotel boasts 50% of its grounds as green space.

Chepu Adventures Ecolodge – based in Patagonia, this ecolodge is so serious about their resource consumption they are not only off-grid but also have individual monitors in each room that tell the guest minute by minute how much they are consuming as well as their Eco Limits. The lodge gets guests to participate and through this participation is education. The lodge uses rain for water and sun and wind for electricity and is striving to be zero waste.

Jetwing Vil Uyana hotel – this hotel has been built creating a nature reserve with the aim to conserve the wetlands. They have a Green Directory in place to monitor energy, water and waste and they report monthly as well as submit to being audited. Between 2010 and 2011 they have already made strides by reducing their carbon footprint by 22%.

Nimmo Bay, located on Canada’s west coast, this ecolodge powers their lodge from the nearby waterfall. The Wilderness Resort has extensive recycling and waste water treatment system. Peaceful and deluxe, this resort has spared no expense on sustainability.

Cinnamon Lakeside Columbo – the only hotel in Sri Lanka to be re-awarded Green Globe criteria after Green Globe standards were increased in 2011. The hotel has a rainwater harvest system which ensures rainwater is recycled for daily use. Landscaping uses natural plants to minimize water consumption and the hotel practices locally and fair trade. Measures are put into place to ensure the local communities water, sanitation and energy are not jeopardized. Local community efforts for CSR are advocated including assistance for restoration of historic sites as well as local tree planting. The hotels was also designed to use 35% less energy use by reducing the impact of tropical heat through the use of kabok walls.

Millea Mountain Retreat – located in Greece, this agro-tourism establishment even produces their own fertilizers for their farming. They power their retreat via solar and treat all waste water to use to water their trees.

Free Spirit Spheres – located on Vancouver Island in Canada, this unique accommodation is not off grid or even really green but it does show a unique way of ‘being’ with nature and living in the forest.

Sakau Rainforest Lodge– located in Borneo, this wildlife watching lodge is completely self sufficient in water through harvesting rain water. Hot water is provided by solar – each bathroom has a solar hot water shower. They also run a not for profit research and development centre which is now named the BEST society ( to manage community and environment programs. They are committed to contributing a high percentage of their earnings to the cause (36%)

Moose Factory Ecolodge – located in Northern Ontario, Canada this ecolodge exemplifies what aboriginal ecotourism is all about – putting community based ecotourism and sustainable livelihoods into practice. The use of reclaimed materials to build it, the assurance that the space was there for the community, not just the tourists to use and the vision of the late Chief Randy Kapasheshit warrant the awards this lodge has received. Run as a not for profit with proceeds going back into the lodge or community, the lodge was also designed by local MoCreeBec people to match with their identify and values.

Hotel Mocking Bird Hill – located in Jamaica these owners have focused on sustainable development principles through hiring local residents and buying local goods. They teach their guests about the natural and cultural environment surrounding the resort. Their energy, water and waste systems are carefully designed and monitored to be low impact. The hotel has won numerous awards including best hotel for the environment, 2010 by Responsible Travel and Virgin Holidays and were one of the first hotels in the world to become certified as environmentally friendly. Even the stationary in each room is made by a local women’s cooperative.

3 Rivers Ecolodge – An environmentally friendly ecolodge in Dominica in the Caribbean that has local (native) staff, good community connections and strives to reinvest into the local economy.

Bardessono – located in Napa, USA, it is one of the few LEED platinum hotels in the world. They boast underground geothermal heating which heats and cools guest rooms, the spa and the domestic water supply. There are 940 solar panels on the roof and salvaged trees are the furniture.

ICT Bengaluru – the first LEED platinum hotel in India. This hotel chain’s 10 luxury properties are all LEED certified

Gaia Napa Valley – In the lobby: a real-time display of how much energy this green hotel is using and saving, moment by moment – along with the energy contribution from the solar panels on the roof. It’s a first of its type: the blending of luxury and comfort in a new hotel with features endorsed by Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design standards (LEED). Atman Hospitality Group, Inc. is a South San Francisco-based, California corporation that mainly engages in development and operation of “green” (environmentally friendly) hotels in California. Atman Hospitality Group, Inc., a member of U.S. Green Building Council ( <> USGBC), incorporates custom design, solar energy, specialized building materials, conservation techniques, and environment-friendly practices to set it apart from regular commercial hotels.

Lisu Lodge– works closely with village elders and employs 100% local staff to ensure an authentic experience. Recently the winner of the Asia Wild Awards, this Thai lodge near Chiang Mai was founded in 1993 and is a leader in community based tourism. They exceed Thai labour standards offering profit sharing and providing vaccinations for all community members. They improve roads, access to water and electricity and stay focused on benefitting the community.

Sustainable Restaurant Association –  The Sustainable Restaurant Association works with restaurants across the UK to help with sustainability and help restaurants communicate initiatives to members. Initiatives include sustainable sourcing, waste reduction and rehabilitation efforts. Marriott hotels won sustainable large restaurant group of the year in 2013.

Expedia Green hotels – Expedia and STI has partnered up to allow Expedia to showcase sustainable/green hotels. The website now allows you to search using sustainable/green as a criteria and details of the hotels practices are listed.

Banyan Tree – with some outstanding sustainable tourism practices, this hotel group set up the Banyan Tree Global Foundation  in 2009 to enhance corporate governance. The hotel group has done numerous regeneration projects as well as using local materials and reducing consumption where possible.

Saunders Hotel Group – having won the WTTC community benefit award in 2012, this hotel group constructs with environmental principles in mind and also won the 2006 Conservation of the Year award. Sustainability initiatives include waterless urinals, ozone laundry systems and use of hybrid cars

Planet Traveler – located in downtown Toronto, this hostel broke the mould and is a fully restored historic building equipped with geothermal, photovoltaic electricity, solar panels and more.

TUI AG has launched their guideline for Environmental Sustainability in Hotels. The guide is a step by step guide for new builds as well as existing operating hotels.

Boutiquehotel Stadthalle Wien – a zero energy balance hotel, this hotel boasts 160 sq metres of solar panels, all fittings made of recycled or energy efficient materials as well as the use of local and organic food in its restaurants. They have a lavender roof, filter their drinking water and also offer a 10% discount off rates if you arrive by train or bicycle.

Youth Career Initiative (YCI) is a six-month education programme that provides disadvantaged young people with life and work skills. The purpose is to empower young participants to make informed career choices and realize the options available to them, enabling them to improve their employability and enhance their long-term social and economic opportunities. YCI is made possible thanks to a unique partnership with the international hotel industry, whereby participating properties provide the human, operational and training resources to deliver the programme.

The International Tourism Partnership (ITP) brings together the world’s leading international hotel companies to provide a voice for environmental and social responsibility in the industry. We work to demonstrate in a very practical way that environmental and social responsibility makes good business sense. ITP does this by highlighting best practice, offering a range of practical products and programmes and tackling emerging sustainability issues through its collaborative working groups. Green Hotelier is ITP’s online magazine, highlighting best practice and green hotel news.

Pacific Sands Tofino, BC. One of the first resorts in Tofino, it was also one of the first to implement environmentally friendly design principles. The use of geothermal was integrated even though the cost was 30% higher. The pay back was 6-7 years. Geothermal provides instant hot water, air conditioning and heating. The building was built with wood destroyed by the pine beetle.

Maho Bay, US Virgin Islands
Maho Bay Camps is now closed but it is worth discussing as was one of the world’s first ecolodges. Stanley Selengut, owner of Maho Bay Camps built the first tents in 1976 and has become a pioneer for using and showcasing sustainable techniques in energy, water and waste management, educational and training and unique guest programs. The camps sought to preserve, protect, and even enhance the fragile eco-system of the Virgin Islands.

Some examples of effective protection and conservation systems included:

  • Elevated walkways to prevent soil erosion and protect the beach and fragile coral. The walkways help protect the ecosystem, hide wires and add an element of uniqueness to the area. Plants along the boardwalks were well labeled adding an educational element.
  • Construction methods minimized removal of vegetation and use recycled building materials such as “plastic lumber”, recycled glass tiles and rubber tire rugs. The plastic lumber not only is recycled but provided for grip when walking in the rain.
  • The sun, using timers and sensors maximized efficiency, generating much of the electricity. Passive solar design, photovoltaic, rain collection and roof scoops that circulate cooling breezes are used. In the kitchen, guests were asked to clean their own tables and sort their recycling accordingly.
  • The Concordia units at the far end of the island collect rain water and were almost entirely self sufficient from the main water pipes. The Concordia units also offered low flush composting toilets, energy efficient showers and solar lighting. Solar energy units are displayed in the tent for guests to monitor their energy use.
  • Staff held educational seminars about energy and waste conservation as well as offering programs for health and wellbeing.
  • Recycling was a marketing tool for public relations as well as a profitable guest program. In 1997, a comprehensive recycling centre was installed with glass crushers, furnaces, annealing ovens, cardboard shredders, and tools to convert waste into marketable products. The Camps Trash to Treasures program sold unique art made from recycled glass from the restaurant.

Maho Bay has employed many site sensitive practices to promote sustainable tourism concepts.

Sustainable seafood – Fairmont and other large brand hotels are starting to shift to eliminate threatened fish species from their menus. Looking at initiatives such as the Sustainable Seafood charters, threatened species are listed per region.

Sandals Montego Bay, Jamaica Sandals Montego Bay in Jamaica – has a fully implemented Environmental Management System and Health and Safety program. This program received Green Globe 21 certification in January 2001; since then, Sandals Montego Bay has been continuously improving its operation, with programs such as:

* Energy Conservation Management
* Freshwater Resource Management
* Waste Minimization
* Improved Social and Cultural Development
* Safe Care, Use and Handling of Chemicals

They also created an Emergency Disaster Plan Manual as well as an HIV/AIDS Workplace Program Policy. Sandals Montego Bay has a full time environment, health and safety manager, responsible for staff training, developing community awareness, and liaising with the Montego Bay Marine Park and National Environment and Planning Agency.

Staff are encouraged to participate and become involved with Monthly Awards, Annual Health and Safety Expositions, Field trips, Committees, Clubs and Special Events such as medical missions for children’s infirmaries, AIDS hospices, and neighbouring mental hospitals, as well as youth training and recruitment programs, and community clean-ups – both above and below the water.

Kimpton Hotels As well as offering free cookies and wine to guests, Kimpton is making good strides for sustainability. They have a detailed enviro purchasing policy and standards and are moving towards local and sustainable foods as well. For example, 30 percent of wine lists will begin to feature eco-friendly selections, including organic, biodynamic and sustainable wines.

Banyan Tree. Recognized as a leader in sustainability initiatives, Banyan Tree resorts have incorporated multiple sustainability initiatives from turtle and coral conservation to supporting educational centres and hosting training programs. They have also previously won the World Legacy Award for nature conservation.Check out their latest CSR report. This hotel also recently won the WTTC Global Business Award

Marriott and Green House Gas reduction
‘Marriott International Inc. announced that it has reduced greenhouse gas emissions by 70,000 tons in one year—the equivalent of removing 10,000 cars from U.S. streets.

As the first hotel company to proactively join the prestigious U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Climate Leaders Program, Marriott has set a five-year goal to reduce greenhouse gases by 6 percent per guest room by 2010 and launched Marriott’s Retro-Commissioning (MRC) initiative last year to maximize energy in all U.S. hotels. As a result, Marriott reduced greenhouse gases in 2006 by 2 percent in each guest room.

Today, the company has been awarded more Energy Star labels than any other hotel company and has been recognized as the Energy Star Partner of the Year for Excellence in Energy Management for the past two years. This story was taken from Green Lodging News. For more information please see

Eco luxury hotels
Starwood Capital Group has just announced the launch of a luxury, eco-friendly hotel brand – ‘1’ Hotel and Residences. The concept is to combine eco-sustainable architecture, interior design and luxury service and comfort.

Punta Cana Resorts. Contributed to the revitalization and relative improvement of the economic health of an area once considered marginal. It has accomplished this through a variety of business initiatives, including adapting technologies, training personnel, and creating environmental and education programs.The resort is also home to a biodiversity and sustainability centre.

Orchard Garden The Orchard Garden in San Francisco has just earned its first LEED (Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design) from the US Green Building Council. ‘The Orchard Garden’s builder, Swinerton Inc., earned LEED points through the integration of low-emission interior materials and energyand water-efficient fixtures. Rooms are scrubbed with citrus-based cleaning products and recycled paper is used throughout the facility.

Hotel officials also boast that the building will be the city’s first to use a guest key card that controls the room’s electricity. After entering the room, guests must place the card in a wall slot to turn on lights and other systems. When the card is removed, electricity is cut off, except power supplied to wall outlets. The system, used widely throughout Europe and Asia, is expected to cut the hotel’s energy use by 20 percent.

Child Wise Tourism at Accor Hotels Since 2000, in partnership with ECPAT, the hotel chain Accor has taken a stand agains exploitation of children . Using its global network, the group tageted sex tourism by distributing over 500,000 leaftels about issues of child prostitution. Accor has also signed ECPAT’s Code of Conduct for the Protection of Children from Sexual Exploitation in Travel and Tourism. The code involves:

  • establishing an ethicial policy regarding commerical exploitation of children
  • training staff
  • providing information to officials about abuse at various destinations
  • and providing information to travellers.

To date, 2,857 of a total of 3,611 staff at Accors 18 hotels in Thailand have been trained. Working with ECPAT and Accor will help raise awareness on what needs to be done to solve this problem. Other Accor initiatives include developing and extending best practices from Accor Indonesia’s Tree for a Child programme which aims at reducing poverty for underprivileged children and creating opportunities for them to grow in healthy an happy surroundings.
Accor is also training young people from high-risk environments in collaboration with UNICEF Youth Career Development Programme.

Tour Operators

Better Places – striving to have a lower carbon impact, the company offers bespoke tours from the NL and is a certified B Corps. They offer plastic free trips, have a solid animal welfare policy and work with both suppliers and customers to offer more responsible travel.

One Seed Expeditions  Purpose driven social enterprise where 10% of trip cost is invested in local entrepreneurs. The company hires local guides, has a leave no trace mandate and offers trips worldwide. They even offer custom corporate travel.

Jumbari Safaris – known as the African eco friendly safari company, they donate 1% of all booking values to conservation. They are doing their best to support ecolodges, communities and provide information to their guests.

Lokafy – Lokafy, connects travellers with locals who have shared interests and are passionate about their home city.  Locals, called, Lokafyers offer a personalized tour to travellers, providing an experience that is like having a friend show you around their home city. Lokafy started off in Toronto, Paris and New York and has quickly expanded with tours now available around the world.  The company’s mission is to help people understand the world better, by making travel about the people you meet and not just the places you see.


Pacific Sands, Tofino

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Eagle Wing Tours – is Canada’s first carbon neutral whale watching company and the first to donate 1% of their gross revenue to non-profits. The company supports a number of educational centres and research societies including: the Center for Whale Research, Pearson College / Race Rocks Ecological Reserve, Vancouver Aquarium Marine Science Centre, Saturna Island Marine Research & Education Society, Robert Bateman Foundation, Goldstream Volunteer Salmonid Enhancement Assoc., and the Sooke River Chinook Salmon Initiative.

They are the only whale watching company to have partnered with Seafood Watch (Monterey Bay Aquarium) and Ocean Wise. Eagle Wing Tours came up with and initiated the $2 Wildlife Fee, with 100% of funds donated to the Center for Whale Research and the Pacific Salmon Foundation. They encourage the rest of the industry to follow suit and have had success raising additional funds to benefit the whales. Company efforts include having eliminated the resale of plastic water bottles on board their vessels as well as offering free tours for teachers. They are involved with the Ocean Walls program at Hillside Centre as well as their Sea Rangers Club (education and experience getting kids out on the water). Educating the next generation’s group of ocean ambassadors is one of the many causes at the heart of all they do.

Viaggi di Turismo – offers guided tours by local people – but not any local person – those who arrived to the country as an immigrant. The tours have opened up new worlds in Italy’s major cities of Rome, Milan, Turin and Genoa. Although the tours were primarily aimed at local people in order to foster an understanding of how migration has contributed to the enrichment of their communities, now tourists and schools participate

Explore – a tour company that offers small group tours, offsetting of carbon emissions, reduction of waste and supporting conservation projects – they also focus on their customers and helping them become more responsible travellers. They are the recipient of the Responsible Tourism Awards, British Travel Awards and Travel Trade Awards.

Intrepid Travel – this company is one of the first and only carbon neutral tour companies (achieved in 2010), are a signatory of Global Compact and working towards being a B Corp company.  They do all the right things like small group travel, employing local guides, staying in locally owned accommodation etc… but they were also the first company to ban elephant rides due to animal welfare and they also donated 100% of their profits from their Nepal trip after the earthquake to help rebuild the economy.

Rainforest Expeditions– a Peruvian Ecotourism company has offered experiences to guests since 1989. Showcasing harmony in nature and community involvement. They operate three lodges: Posadas Amazonas,Refugio AmazonasAmazonas Villas. Set up to protect the area from uncontrolled logging, the organization have built a research centre, assist with protection of local species and work with the local community. This company has worked with the local community for over 18 years and is possibly the most important source of income for the local aboriginal community. It also offers some of the best birding in the Amazon!

National Holidays – travelling by coach can reduce your impact on the environment and this company is starting to understand the benefits of reducing emissions and promoting ecotourism type adventures.

Sumak Travel, or “good, sustainable travel”, is a tour operator and social enterprise which specialises in community-based eco-tourism (CBET). They work closely with community organisations and networks in Latin America which offer sustainable tourism options for national and international visitors. Typically these organisations are groups of farming and indigenous communities, fishing villages, and shanty town dwellers, who offer a combination of local accommodation, ecotourism, cultural tours, a chance to experience local cooking, and visits to national parks and other attractions.
A fair-trade logic applies, so tourists are paying a fair price in exchange for high quality and often unique products and services, within a context of transparency and equality. For tourists it is a genuine and rich experience. They get to know the local traditions, get involved in cultural activities and have the opportunity to see unspoilt nature and eco-systems. For the local communities, CBET is an additional source of revenue, to complement (and not replace) their current livelihoods (such as fishing, farming, etc). This makes each community more economically resilient and better able to cope with fluctuations in earnings (for example as a result of poor harvests in some years). Local community members decide how much and how far tourism is developed, and the pattern so far has been for the activity to be kept in harmony with the local environment, land use, culture, and traditions. In fact, moderate tourism revenue has encouraged communities to act as custodians of the local environment and culture.

Sumak Travel increases the global visibility of these destinations and creates market channels for the local community-base tour operators. Its profits are reinvested into the business to support local communities wanting to start CBET initiatives (increase the offer) and to reduce transactions costs. They also compensate CO2 emissions by supporting environmental preservation in the Amazon Rainforest, in partnership with The Bloomtrigger Project.

Porino Ecotourism Ltd. This safari company works with local Masai communities to help protect and preserve landsThe campsites use only renewable energy and limits its number of guests.

World Primates Safaris
This operator gives a proportion of its profits back to help protect endangered primates. They also provide their clients with a details what to do list for responsible tourism as well as specific rules for visiting gorillas and other primates.
This website offers ecotours, adventure tours and other holidays to over 100 countries. The site pre-screens responsible/sustainable tourism initiatives and provides marketing and on-line direct click through bookings for their member companies. All holiday offerings on the site have met minimum environmental, social and economic criteria to qualify for membership. You can review each member’s policies on-line. The team has a unique array of experience and truly believes in the cause. Some of their more impressive accomplishments include:
– donating £1 per person donation to Friends of conservation
– have a 6 page write up about responsible travel products offered on their site in Geographer Magazine (free publicity for their members)
– contributing 5% of pre-tax profits to local communities, enabling them to develop policies, skills and infrastructure that will lead to their benefiting from tourism
– promote community owned and managed projects at no charge
– are on the judging panel for the British Airways Tourism for Tomorrow Awards. The site believes that responsible travel is travel that benefits travellers, hosts and their environments and their public relations has proven their effectiveness. For more information, please contact

First Choice Holidays – Environment & People Report

One of the first large tour operators to take the initiative to produce a CSR report on their actions
for sustainable development. The report outlines their recent initiatives in headings such as:
– investing in our people
– operating responsibly
– serving our customers
– respecting destinations
The company was included in the FTSE4Good Index for the first time in 2005 and the company
was one of 10 most improved companies in the UK Business in the Environment Index in 2004.
Unfortunately, the report does not outline any specific or measurable results achieved in 2005.

Canadian Mountain Holidays recognized for their commitment to sustainable tourism. CMH strives to promote understanding and awareness of sustainable tourism on-line. The CMH site features a dedicated Stewardship section, which allows readers to explore the award winning Second Nature program, view on-going sustainability reports, and to learn more about company-wide environmental and social initiatives.

“Our vision is to be the leading sustainable tourism operator in North America,” says Dave Butler, CMH’s Director of Land Resources. “Our Website is a great tool to openly communicate our goals, challenges and success, and to engage our partners and critics in a broader discussion about sustainability. But, more importantly, this award reflects the efforts and commitment of our staff who work hard to find innovative ways to improve our operations, share our stories and of course, deliver safe Heli-Skiing and Heli-Hiking experiences that constantly exceed expectations.”

Air Transat supporting sustainable tourism. Transat A.T. Inc. is supporting sustainable tourism projects, including one launched by World Wildlife Fund Canada (WWF-Canada) to improve protection of ecosystems in Cuba by promoting the adoption of a sustainable tourism policy.



Sustainable water management handbook for wineries – California has released an in-depth guide for wineries to use to manage their water including a self assessment and planning and implementation guide. Best practice case studies are also outlined including Cooper-Garrod and Alpha Omega

Burrowing Owl is a leader in sustainable design, as well as thinking. The carbon footprint for a winery is very low as the wine making system is gravity flow and most production and storage facilities are underground. There is no need for centrifugal pumps due to gravity flow and All hot water is is solar and the pool (which doubles as a fire safety pool) is a heat exchange for excess energy thereby providing a heated pool. Geothermal also generates hot water and all buildings meet or exceed LEED standards. Wine making is also aiming at being responsible as the winery has upgraded the irrigation system thereby reducing water consumption by 60%. Water probes are solar operated and an integrated pest management system is in place.
The winery also donates 100% of all tasting fees to the Burrowing Owl Conservation Society of BC raising over $50,000 per year.

New Zealand wine

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Stratus – sustainable winery Stratus Vineyards was established in 2000 and became the first LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certified building in Canada (criteria set by Canada Green Building Council) and the only certified winery in the world.

Sustainable wine making initiative, New Zealand – guidance on the sustainable wine management in New Zealand. Established in the mid 1990’s, in 2007, the organization set a policy

Cruise Ships

The Best and Worst Cruise ships – this article outlines the environmental costs of your cruise. Even though some cruise ships were seemingly doing some good waste management and other practices in 2013 (i.e Disney, Norwegian and Princess) they have been downgraded due to their lack of transparency or lack of attention to air pollution.  Holland America and Norwegian do have some good sewage treatment and water quality management however cruise lines such as P&O and MSC score an F according to the Friends of the Earth report card.

Pacific Sands, Tofino

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Sweatships – what is it really like to work on board cruise ships
Cruising is one of the fastest growing sectors of the world economy with the number of passengers on cruises growing by about 10% per year. Their per person cost is lowers than many onshore hotels or resorts and over 13 million people take cruises every year. The industry’s largest cruise provider is Carnival Corporation which has annual revenues of over US$3 billion per year with profits of approximately US$1 billion.
Nearly 150,000 workers staff the ships, however, many face segregation, discrimination and sometimes appalling conditions. Incidents of sexual assault, low paid wages (as little as $45 per month for waiting tables) and violation of international standards (some from poor countries pay as much as US$1500-2000 just to get a job).
TO support cruise ship workers’ rights be sure of the following:
– the cruise company recognizes trade union organizations
– report injustices on board to your tour operator, your local newspaper, however, think carefully about the pressures the cruise worker may face (i.e. being put off the ship at the next port)
– ask about environmental and social policies

Cruise ships – socially responsible?
Royal Caribbean has committed to install advanced wastewater treatment equipment across its entire fleet. This is good practice compared to the issues of environmental pollution caused by cruise liners.
‘Cruise ships are dumping vast amounts of raw sewage and other harmful wastes into some of the most pristine parts of our oceans every day’ declares Oceana, an advocacy organization against cruise ship pollution.
Each day a cruise ship generates as much as:

  • 30,000 gallons of sewage,
  • 255,000 gallons of dirty water from shower, sinks, laundries and dishwashers, as well as hazardous chemicals from photo processing, dry cleaning and industrial cleaning products;
  • 7,000 gallons of oily bilge water; and
  • smokestack and exhaust emissions equivalent to 12,000 cars.


Calgary Folk Music Festival  – This festival in Canada makes an effort to be more sustainable by eliminating the sale of disposable water bottles, using compostable cutlery and dishes, and encouraging cycling to and from the festival. There is also an Environment Crew of volunteers that work to reduce the contamination rate of waste by sorting all types of waste, and also overseeing the waste stations. Volunteers even pick up hundreds of cigarette butts every day to try to ensure they do not end up washing into the river. One of the newest initiatives at the Calgary Folk Music Festival is a Greenest Vendor award, which encourages vendors to adopt environmentally friendly behaviour.

Hillside Festival – This festival in Ontario, Canada has eliminated disposable, single use dishes and cutlery from their festival. All plates, cups and cutlery used during the festival are washed by a volunteer crew, and are continued to be re-used. Beer tents sell reusable beer mugs, and reusable sporks are available for sale throughout the festival grounds as well. In addition to the impressive dishwashing initiative, there is a free water tank, a solar-powered stage, and a green roof on the main state.

Pacific Sands, Tofino

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Glastonbury Festival –This festival in the UK supports causes to try to keep the festival’s impact ‘cleaner, greener and fairer’. Donations are made every year to organizations such as Greenpeace, and these organizations are invited to the festival to spread their message. Also, in the past 15 years over 10,000 native trees and plants have been planted on the festival grounds. In addition to that Glastonbury Festival uses solar panels, hybrid generators, a thorough recycling program, and many fair trade products.

Splore – This festival in New Zealand provides festival goers with an abundance of options to reduce their impact on the environment at the festival. One initiative is the Globelet, which is a reusable cup purchased when an attendee buys their first drink at the bar. These cups can then be used again and again throughout the festival at all bars. In the past this has helped to reduce over 50,000 single use cups from going to the landfill. An environmental group even set up a mobile washing station to help keep the cups clean and in use. Splore has a detailed Sustainability Policy that assists in continuing to improve the sustainability benchmark of the festival every year with new initiatives.

Mariposa Folk Festival – This festival in Ontario, Canada has gone above and beyond other festivals. Not only eliminating water bottles which has saved thousands of bottles and cups from landfill, the festival also offers bike parking and a shuttle bus to reduce carbon emissions. All food vendors use compostable plates and cutlery and the festival works with local suppliers whenever possible. This festival has diverted over 70% of waste from landfill.

Bonnaroo Music Festival – This music festival in the USA promotes carpooling so much that if you carpool with four or more people in your car you are eligible for special prizes. The festival also gives $1 from every ticket to help support site improvements on the farm it is hosted. The festival has also diverted 366.37 tons by weight from the landfill in 2014.

Camp Bestival – This festival in the UK promotes sustainability by handing out different coloured recycling bags to festival goers and when they bring them back – they receive a cup of tea! They also promote sustainable transportation by partnering up with the Big Green Coach and are undertaking an energy revolution trying to target carbon emissions.

Coachella Festival – This festival in the USA does things a bit differently. They have contests to showcase your art called ‘Trashed’ if its made of recyclable materials and have a 10 for 1 bottle exchange for great merchandise including VIP tickets. Perhaps the neatest thing of all is their ‘energy playground’ where one can play in the playground to recharge their mobile phone or create energy for other neat things.

Cambridge Folk Festival – This festival in the UK is committed to staying environmentally friendly. One way they do this is by strictly recycling and composting as much as possible. With only 2% of all waste from the entire festival last year going to the landfill, the festival has a goal to eventually reach zero waste in the landfill. Some areas, such as the bar and the backstage area, have already successfully created zero landfill waste. Glasses are re-used, packaging is recycled, and cutlery is biodegradable. Even all cooking oil and batteries used will be recycled.

Lightning in a Bottle – This festival in the USA uses education to inspire people to make better environmental choices. There are do-it-yourself workshops that teach the festivalgoers new skills, such as how to grow their own food. There are also inspiring speakers who aim to provide festivalgoers with the knowledge and motivation of how to continue to live sustainable lives once they leave the festival in their own daily lives. Lighting in a Bottle also gives away free water, maximizes renewable energy, and works to offset all carbon.


Treadright – the foundation of Canada’s TravCorp, this foundation have worked globally to address single use plastic reduction, educate mainstream travellers for more sustainable behaviour and working to calculate and mitigate carbon emissions.

World Animal Protection – working to save the world’s animals, the site also posts good news stories such as TripAdvisor stopping selling dolphin tours. World Animal Protection focuses on animals in the wild, farming and in communities.

Sockmob – a unique initiative to see a different side of London, England. A volunteer network brings you walks by professionally coached homeless guides. To date they have been successful in getting some people off the street and introducing a new social consciousness into commercial walking tours.

Parkbus – born in 2010 by two outdoor enthusiasts who wanted to make the outdoors more accessible to those without cars. Not only do they help mitigate carbon emissions, their trips connect people with the wilderness. Parkbus won the  Tourism Entrepreneurship Award at the Canadian Tourism Awards in 2014, and was named the Tourism Innovator of the Year Finalist at the Ontario Tourism Awards in 2013. Their services were profiled by the international media, including the National Geographic, that listed it in the 50 Smart Cities Idea list in November 2014.

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Planeterra – established as the not for profit arm of G Adventures, Planeterra works to build capacity through social enterprise projects in the communities that travellers visit. Their projects span the world and work to improve livelihoods through more sustainable travel experiences. They have established sustainable supplier guidelines, animal welfare guidelines and some great educational videos

Meso American Reef Initiative– also known as MARTI is a collaborative initiative working to ensure protection of the Meso American Reef Region. Their work encompasses conservation, development of vibrant communities and development of partnerships. Multiple organizations under the initiative have joined forces to help these destinations become more sustainable.

Travel Foundation – is a UK based charity set up by industry for industry which aims to respond to concerns of sustainable travelThey provide tools and assistance to travellers, travel agencies and business to become more sustainable. The organization provides hands on training and tools that range from greening your hotel (or tour operator or facility) to running a water and energy savings project.

Blue Ventures – a marine conservation group awarded for its efforts in socio-economic development and resource protection in Madagascar. Given numerous conservation, ecotourism and geotourism awards.

Transportation Options (T.O.)- dedicated to fostering sustainable tourism and transportation in Ontario, Canada since 1992, T.O. has worked collaboratively to research, develop and promote new initiatives that are integrated, environmentally sound, healthy, service oriented and focused on improving the experience of users. Projects of Transportation Options include award-winning Bike Train Initiative and Ontario By Bike as well as Parkbus. Their Ontario by Bike program has certified over 1000 accommodations, restaurants and attractions as “bicycle friendly”,

Friends are everywhere!
Interestingly NGO’s have expanded past general conservation and social concern groups to specific regional organizations. While there are still organizations such as Friends of ConservationFriends of the Earth and Friends of the Environment, initiatives such as Friends of Maldives (FOM) and Friends of the Otter are now becoming common and their scope ranges from raising awareness of tourism issues in countries and small states to restoring environmental habitats and animals and providing local tours.

Also defined as urban ecotourism or urban green tourism, it can also be looked at as urban sustainability and exists in many forms. Urban ecotourism is often seen as a contradiction in terms however, the principals of ecotourism should be applied to all natural areas of tourism – especially for urban sustainability to develop (urban areas have culturally and environmentally sensitive areas too).

For more information about urban sustainability, check out the following resources:

Certifications and Standards

Ontario by Bike Network – the Ontario By Bike Network offers a variety of information on cycling in Ontario, inspiring visitors and residents to explore more by bike. Over 1000 accommodations, restaurants and attractions as ‘bike friendly’. The certification also promotes bicycle friendly businesses and cycle tourism in a growing number of regions across Ontario. The Network is open to accommodations, food services, attractions, cycling related businesses and organizations interested in cycle tourism.

Hotel Carbon Measurement Initiative – a new industry standard for carbon measurement has been adopted by most ITP members and is a start to measuring and monitoring for GHG’s.

Earthcheck – established in 70 countries, this system, called EC3 Global developed the Sustainable Tourism Cooperative Research Centre (STCRC) out of Australia. It is a benchmarking and certification program and has an exclusive license to certify under the Green Globe brand.

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Federation of Tour Operators – Travellife Sustainability Guidelines

A set of guidelines aimed to help suppliers understand and manage environmental and social issues.

Sustainable Slopes – A framework for sustainability and environmental performance in ski areas

Blue Flag  – The Blue Flag program works to certify beaches and marinas through strict criteria dealing with water quality, environmental education and information, environmental management, and safety and other services. Currently the program operates in Europe, South Africa, Canada, New Zealand & the Caribbean.

AAA Tourism’s STAR Ratings Turning Green
Now AAA gives out green stars as well! Green STARS was developed in partnership between Australia’s Auto Clubs and GREEN GLOBE Asia Pacific under the guidance of the Sustainable Tourism Cooperative Research Centre. The AAA has introduced an environmentally friendly endorsement called Green STARS which showcase accommodations which have embraced green practices.The star rating for accommodation will not change, however, energy efficient electrical appliances and fixtures such as compact fluorescent lamps, a waste recycling program and optional towel or linen replacement are just some of the services guests choosing a Green STARS property can expect. Criteria covered by Green STARS are divided into three key areas; energy efficiency, waste minimization and water management.

AiTO Responsible Tourism Star Classification
The three star award is the highest level of RT recognition offered by AITO. It means the company has successfully implemented and continually improves an RT policy. To gain three RT Stars, the company must also undertake a specific project which contributes to the economy, culture or environment of a destination.For AITO’s responsible tourism policy, check out


Sustrans – links cycle paths across the UK. They have 84 new cycling schemes in cities and towns and their 5-year Connect2 scheme has helped bridge many barriers to developing local cycling networks. The programme has trebled cyclists on some routes and has saved over 70,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions annually. – Sharing the trail community
Go for Green is a Canadian not-for-profit organization that encourages outdoor physical activity that protects, enhances or restores the environment. Go for Green provides community-driven solutions trying to make a positive contribution to Canadian society.

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Within Go for Green’s mandate, the Trailpaq project aims to encourage physically active and environmentally responsible trail use to Canadians and visitors to Canada, through the Trailpaq Website. It identifies stakeholders and creates a viable network which allows the Trailpaq Website to deliver services that few trail Websites can. Three key components make the Trailpaq Website unique within the on-line trails community, including the following:
1. Sustainable trail information. Partners in the trail community – Trail managers – are encouraged to enter and update objective trail information on the Trailpaq Website. The result is a fully searchable database of information displayed in a consistent format.
2. Encouraging environmentally responsible trail use. Partnership with Leave No Trace Inc. ( established, allowing Leave No Trace messages to be positioned with every trail query. The LNT messages are consistent with reducing human impacts to all outdoor environments, fitting well with all trail opportunities.
3. Sustainable project. Go for Green and Compaq Canada Inc. (a Hewlett Packard Co.) agreed to a 10-year partnership beginning in 1999. Go for Green facilitates the project while Compaq Canada (HP) provides diminishing financial support. The goal is to have the project self-sustainable through tourism revenues before the tenth anniversary. One example incorporates Web-based mapping linking trails to community banner advertising on Trailpaq. This initiative is providing tourism delivery agents the ability to assist with local trail initiatives, while gaining national exposure.

An example of a project moving more towards sustainability, this project is a beneficial example for both locals and tourists. There are no fees charged for information posted from trail managers and the information provided is and it is free for all visitors. For more information please visit

Responsible Tourism Websites

Sustainability Leaders Project –  is a global community and knowledge hub for tourism professionals interested in the latest trends, strategies and success stories in sustainable tourism.It is a website that aims to link and promote examples of sustainability leadership for academics, businesses and travellers.

Trip Advisor Green Leaders – although not really a sustainable tourism website, it should be commended that Trip Advisor is trying. They have launched a green leaders program to identify hotels that showcase environmental criteria. Sadly it is not social or community focused and solely relies on environmental criteria from a few set standards but still – it is a step in the right direction for a site which hosts over 40,000 visitors a month. – a website dedicated to providing information on how to have a greener holiday including tips and destinations for travellers wishing to minimize their environmental footprint and contribute to the livelihoods of local communities. Greentraveller provides a route to market for eco places to stay and tour operators, and currently features over 600 places to stay and over 2,000 organized trips and tours, all reachable by train/foot passenger ferry services from the UK.

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Google Green Maps
Earth Day Network (EDN) partnered with Google for the launch of the new Google Maps Summer of Green, an environment-focused video and map guide to eco-tourism spots, including spas, hotels and restaurants. The presentation features the top U.S. travel city destinations (New York, Orlando, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, and San Francisco). Google Maps Summer of Green enables users to discover green travel options by featuring guided virtual video tours of environmentally friendly destinations such as nature museums and horseback riding outposts.

Food & Beverage and Tourism Institutes

Restaurant Nolla – Nolla is a zero waste Restaurant who works directly with suppliers to rethink, reject, and control packaging while at the same time sourcing local and organic produce, which are the core of their menus. Nolla’s approach to sustainability goes far beyond food, and they work closely with designers, engineers, and architects to rethink waste. Their goal is also to inspire and encourage our community and other restaurants to get involved.

Big Wheel Burger – This burger place diverts at least 90% of their waste, and is considered Canada’s first carbon-neutral fast food restaurant.

Maryville University’s Guide to Sustainable Eating –not a restaurant but a very useful source for the impacts of eating which includes the components of a sustainable diet as well as how to prevent food waste and eat more sustainably. Best practices are also listed

Azurmendi – This restaurant’ hilltop atrium building uses solar panels and a geothermal energy system to keep the restaurant warm in winter and cool in the summer. It has twice won the most sustainable restaurant in the world.

Nada grocery – this is a zero waste grocery. Vancouver’s first package-free grocery store sells a range of foodstuff, such as bulk dry goods, artisanal teas, local organic bread and baked goods and seasonal produce. Customers are asked  to bring their own containers and reusable bags from home, and for those who are empty-handed, there’s a selection of glass jars, cloth bags and stainless-steel containers for purchase.

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Innotour – this website hosts a multitude of innovative sustainable tourism case studies

Goodlife Institute – not your typical institute, this is an organization that offers ‘good life’ restful, volunteer experiences for those wishing to give back in Sri Lanka.

American Hotel and Lodging Association (AHLA) – has a fairly comprehensive list of greening initiatives for hotels as well as case study examples of impacts and savings

Gros Morne Institute for Sustainable Tourism
The Gros Morne Institute for Sustainable Tourism (GMIST) is intended to advance the quality and success of Atlantic Canadian tourism operators through an array of training programs to be developed and offered at the Institute. The objective is to enhance the quality and sustainability of outdoor/nature-based experiences afforded throughout
Atlantic Canada, by providing developmental training programs
respecting: sustainable tourism practices, experiential tourism
services and eco-adventure tourism.

WTTC Tourism for Tomorrow Awards
The World Travel and Tourism Council took over the Tourism for Tomorrow Awards from British Airways last year. There are four winners – one in each category:
– Destination Award – Jurassic Coast, UK
– Conservation Award – Damaraland Camp, Namibia
– Investor in People Award – Haciendas del Mundo Maya, Mexico
– Global Tourism Business Award – Casuarina Beach Club, Barbados
More information can be found here

Green Travel Market
‘Although the need for tourism to be more sustainable is widely recognized, the travel trade has been slow to embrace sustainability. Sustainable products are available, but few international tour operators are promoting them. The objective of Green Travel Market is to help European and North American tour operators become more aware of sustainable products, integrate them into the packages they offer, and reach relevant markets.’ A nice idea but not yet quite established on-line although a few good examples of community initiatives. This site is mainly geared towards tour operators but the future expects to have a consumer site as well. For more info see

Ski Resorts

Zermatt, Switzerland – a car free ski resort with electric buses, major efforts to re-naturalize and do sustainable piste construction as well as low CO2 waste disposal systems

Park City Mountain Resort – was named the most sustainable ski resort in 2013. The resort offsets 100% of its energy using wind credits but also invests heavily into renewable and green technologies. They even have an environmental kiosk at the top of the mountain educating visitors on their practices.

Squaw Valley – This ski resort works to minimize its CO2 emissions and reduced 111 tonnes last year (over 1700 tonnes through lighting and energy efficiency upgrades alone). The resort has installed electric car charging stations and also operates a shuttle between the resorts


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Aspen – Aspen Ski Resort has been publishing sustainability reports since 1999. They have maintained ISO 14001 certification for ten years and ensure all new buildings are LEED gold. They support local farmers and education initiatives and their Family Fund donates close to $100,000 annually to support day-care facilities, schools and heathcare access.

Mount Cain – is a small community ski resort with the community at the centre of the plan. It is community owned and provides employment for islanders and is a nice example of community governance.

Whistler Blackcomb
A ski resort with a mission to be zero waste, zero carbon and zero net emission. They implemented a Fitzsimmons Renewable Energy Project in 2010 and have a mountain remediation project called operation Green up that has invested more than $1.5 million to protect and conserve natural areas. They produce a CSR report and have detailed sustainability efforts posted on their website. This organization has been named one of Canada’s greenest employers of the year. They have undertaken a number of sustainability initiatives including tracking their energy as well as providing funds for ecosystem improvement.