Eco Certification and Accreditation
Tree Hugger Travel believe eco certification and accreditation is an important part of eco tourism as the industry builds and becomes more popular. There is lots and lots of "eco" accommodation and tour operators out there but who gives these businesses and organisations that title. Eco certification and accreditation from a tourism angle make it a lot more transparent for visitors and tourists to understand who is making genuine attempts to be "eco" and more importantly, businesses and organisations are creating change and following principles that are positive for the environment and location they are active in.
Eco Certification in Australia
Eco Tourism Australia is the the globally recognised organisation that oversees, awards and maintains all eco certification in Australia. The organisation was formed in 1991 and the world's first National Ecotourism Accreditation Program (NEAP) was launched in 1996.
Since 1996 Eco Australia has grown and evolved to offer policy commitments and lobbying, industry and academic representation on the EA board, and a website platform to promote operators, membership networking and international travel trade awareness.
The following eco certification programs are currently running in Australia:
- ECO certification (replaced NEAP in 2003)
- Climate Action
- Respecting Our Culture
- EcoGuide certification
There is multiple levels of the ECO certification and Climate Action programs. To see all of Eco Australia's logos and programs visit their page, Certification Logo Guide.
Eco Certification in New Zealand
Qualmark is the national standard for all things tourism in New Zealand. Developed by Tourism New Zealand and backed by leading industry organisations, it provides a star grading system for accommodation providers and venues, and a quality endorsement programme for other tourism businesses like tours and activities. Not as globally recognised as Eco Australia but the standard offers visitors and tourists help choosing the tourism product to suit there needs and booking with confidence that the product is quality assured.
Qualmark offer an environmental accreditation called Qualmark Enviro Award. This has three levels of eco-certification and is in addition to the normal Qulamark awards for quality assured products.
- Enviro Award Gold - Exceeds the highest levels of environmental and social responsibilities. Represents strong leadership and advocacy.
- Enviro Award Silver - Represents exceptional levels of resource management social responsibility.
- Enviro Award Bronze - Outstanding levels of resource management and actions