Sherbrooke – Tuesday, October 24: On October 20, Sherbrooke became the first destination in Québec, to be officially certified in sustainable tourism by GreenStep, with criteria recognized by the Global Sustainable Tourism Council, and aligned with the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals.
After a long and rigorous qualification process, it was with great satisfaction that the Destination Sherbrooke team learned that the destination had been awarded the Sustainable Tourism Destination Certification – Silver level, granted by GreenStep, the only Canadian-based organization to offer certification in sustainable tourism for both tourism businesses and destinations.
“We congratulate Destination Sherbrooke on being the first destination in Québec to achieve GreenStep Sustainable Tourism Certification,” stated Jenn Burling, Director of Sustainable Tourism with GreenStep. “Sustainable policies, action plans, and certifications are the result of a key mix of ingredients for any destination management organization that wants to succeed in sustainable tourism, and we look forward to seeing their progress in the coming years.”
Sherbrooke joins six other Canadian destinations (four in Ontario and two in British Columbia) certified by GreenStep.
Four main themes are assessed during the certification process: governance, social/economic impacts, interaction with nature/culture, and environmental impact. 117 questions are asked about the actions taken by the Destination Management Organization (DMO) and the city/province/country of origin.
“Obtaining the Silver level confirms the position of Destination Sherbrooke and the city of Sherbrooke as a leader in Québec in terms of measurable sustainability actions,” said Denis Bernier, General Manager of Destination Sherbrooke. “This shows that we have an ecosystem of actors ready to meet the challenges associated with sustainable tourism development.”
Partnerships & Collaboration
Addere, a Sherbrooke-based company specializing in sustainable development, was a partner in this process.
Authorities from the City of Sherbrooke, including the Bureau de l’environnement, have also collaborated, highlighting several policies adopted by the city in terms of environment, leading to the addition of valuable certification points.
The certification process was also an unprecedented way for Destination Sherbrooke to create economic and collaboration opportunities for Addere, through a partnership with GreenStep. “We are delighted to see this partnership come to life,” said William Hogg, Account Manager – Travel Trade, International & Emerging Markets and Sustainable Tourism Project Leader at Destination Sherbrooke.
“Like the collaboration announced with the Université de Sherbrooke earlier this month, this partnership will generate local economic and sustainability benefits. We are convinced that sustainable tourism can be a source of multiple opportunities for collaboration and sustainable economic growth of this kind,” he concluded.
Adopted in February 2022, Destination Sherbrooke’s Sustainable Tourism Policy resulted in a three-year action plan and is the foundation of the fifth pillar of the strategic plan adopted by the organization’s Board of Directors in February 2023, which aimed to position Sherbrooke as a leader in sustainable tourism in Quebec. This policy is also aligned with the Quebec Ministry of Tourism’s policy on sustainable and responsible tourism.
“Mission accomplished,” added General Manager Denis Bernier. “This recognition is the result of the diligent and passionate work of the entire team, each of the departments having had to collaborate in one way or another. We can be extremely proud of the results.
GreenStep was founded in 2008 to help small and medium-sized businesses measure and improve their sustainability performance. To date, GreenStep has worked with thousands of businesses and organizations of all sizes, in a variety of industries such as tourism, retail, professional services, and manufacturing. Through its Sustainable Tourism Division, GreenStep provides consulting, strategy development, carbon footprint measurement, and related training and certification programs to tourism businesses and destinations in Canada and beyond. GreenStep is Canada’s only provider of sustainable tourism certifications for all types of businesses and tourism destinations.
About Destination Sherbrooke
Destination Sherbrooke, which serves the tourism industry, is the para-municipal economic development organization mandated by the City of Sherbrooke to ensure the development of the offer, promote the destination, coordinate the reception and support initiatives from the tourism industry and entrepreneurs. Its mission is to contribute to the economic and social growth of the city of Sherbrooke through the development and enhancement of the tourism industry with a view to sustainable tourism.
Angela Nagy, President/CEO
GreenStep Solutions Inc.
William Hogg, délégué voyagistes, marchés hors Québec et émergents et porteur du dossier tourisme durable à Destination Sherbrooke | Mélodie Lépine, chargée de projet en tourisme durable à Destination Sherbrooke | Sylvie-Luce Bergeron, présidente de Destination Sherbrooke | Denis Bernier, directeur général de Destination Sherbrooke