Sustainable Tourism Certification for Businesses
How It Works
Just five simple steps...
To become a member, set up a call with our team to start the process, or join online. We will send your membership agreement, the Sustainable Tourism Code of Conduct, provide access to our online assessment portal, and schedule your assessment.
Work through the questions. Some businesses will do this in under two hours and some will take more time to gather responses from their team.
Schedule your assessment with a GreenStep assessor. The assessment will last two to four hours and your assessor will review and discuss your responses with you in detail.
After the assessment you will be asked to submit further evidence for a random selection of criteria. Once this has been submitted, your assessor will finalize your report.
Once your evidence is received, your assessor will finalize and send your report and sustainability action plan. If you have met the minimum points required, your score will determine your bronze, silver, gold, or platinum certification. A report will be sent and reviewed, along with your marketing toolkit.
What you Get
Annual fees for accommodation providers are based on the number of rooms. All other tourism businesses and organizations are based upon the number of full time equivalent employees (FTEs). Choose your size below. For Sustainable Tourism Destination Certification pricing, please see our Destinations page.
Rooms: 1 – 10
FTE’s: 1 – 5
Rooms: 11 – 20
FTE’s: 6 – 25
Rooms: 21 – 100
FTE’s: 26 – 75
Rooms: 101 – 200
FTE’s: 76 – 100
Need a little more information?
Book a complimentary consultation today to discuss your needs and learn more about how we can help you reach your business goals.
Frequently Asked Questions
Unlike other sustainable business certification programs that allow self-assessments and grading, every one of our members are individually assessed by a trained sustainable business expert, who reviews everything from energy efficiency to food sources.
This thorough assessment process gives our members insight into how to further reduce their businesses’s impact, how to best manage future projects, as well as a personalized action plan about how to build their sustainable business.
Sustainable Tourism has assessed all types of businesses, including hotels, campgrounds, wineries, distilleries, tour operators, tourist attractions, visitor centres, and more.
Tourists are looking for ways to be more sustainable in their travel, and look for ways to verify businesses engaging in sustainable actions. Research shows that businesses who are actively trying to address social and environmental issues in their business retain employees better, and have a more loyal consumer base. All of this works to generate higher returns for tourism businesses by engaging in behaviours that are good for people, the planet, AND profit.
Sustainable Tourism helps you recognize the good things you’re doing, and gives you guidance and support to work on the initiatives you want to employ. The Sustainable Tourism Certification shows customers, employees, and fellow business owners that you are doing good things for the world, and have the credibility to prove it.
The Sustainable Tourism Assessment consists of approximately 81 questions related to various areas of sustainable tourism operations. Each question of the assessment has been assigned a specific point value based on the environmental, social, and economic impacts of the particular action.
Sustainable Tourism Grading Levels:
Sustainable Tourism Certified membership is an annual fee, which must be renewed on an annual basis in order to maintain your grading status and to continue receiving the benefits associated with membership.
Prices vary depending on the size of your business. See our pricing page for more information.
Yes! When you sign up for your free Sustainability Score you will work through all of the questions and then learn what your grading might be.
It depends on your primary goal for undertaking an assessment. Most of our members are seeking a benchmark, advice and roadmap for future improvements, while gaining recognition for where they’re doing well. A quick response to all of the questions should take under an hour. Mark the ones you’re unsure of for “review” then go and get the answers and complete the remaining questions.
Depending on the size of your businesses, assessments can take from two hours for a very small business, or up to four hours for a large business.
Members are strongly encouraged to involve their sustainability teams or committees in the assessment process, as well as department managers. These people are involved in the day-to-day employment of sustainability initiatives and often have the best insight on operations within their functional roles. This ensures that the answers provided for the assessment are reflective of current operations and details can be given from the direct and appropriate source.
The assessment call should include you or your Green Team leader, and any other staff you feel are important to attend.
The certification process is comprised of an assessment carried out by a trained Sustainable Tourism assessor, which lasts approximately 2 to 4 hours, depending on the size of your businesses. We will ask for evidence for some of the criteria to verify your grading, but reserve the right to complete an onsite assessment. Each year we complete onsite audits to verify the sustainability practices of 10% to 20% of our members.
In order to maintain your grading level and status, you will need pay an annual membership fee which includes a reassessment every two years to ensure that you are continuing to meet the GreenStep Sustainable Tourism Certified standard.
Sustainable Tourism Certified businesses are promoted through online Sustainable Tourism platforms. Businesses will receive a certification announcement through social media platforms, and mentions in Sustainable tourism newsletters and blogs. Members will also be listed in the online Sustainable Tourism Certified directory.
Businesses should use their certification as grounds for their own personal marketing efforts through the use of logos and promotion of completed certification and achieved grading. Certification includes the use of the Sustainable Tourism Certified logo (with associated graded) in online and printed marketing materials, a window decal for display, and aluminum sign to post onsite.