You want to engage in more sustainable travel, so you choose a hotel with a green certification for your next vacation. Does this mean you succeeded in choosing an eco-friendlier hotel? Not necessarily. Most travelers are seeking environmentally friendly accommodations which has resulted in a lot of travel businesses utilizing greenwashing to attract more customers.
The next step to ensuring your hotel is eco-friendly is to familiarize yourself with leading green certifications, also known as sustainable certificates. One of the leading certification bodies you should know about is Control Union.
What is Control Union?
Control Union is a family-owned company that was established in the Netherlands in 1920. It’s original foundation was in agriculture but now offers inspection and certification services to nearly every sector including food, forestry, textile markets, bioenergy, and more. They are experts in creating sustainable supply chains and have over 200 certifications for all kinds of businesses, including some of their top clients, Pepsi, and H&M.
In 2016, Control Union broke into the tourism industry and became the first GSTC-Accredited certifying body for hotels and tour operators. GSTC, or Global Sustainable Tourism Council, is a United Nations related organization which has established the highest global criteria for sustainability in the travel industry. The GSTC criteria goes a step further than most companies by also measuring the cultural, socioeconomic, and environmental impacts of travel businesses.
To get accredited, Control Union, the certifying body, underwent extensive external review from a third-party to assess their evaluation process of certification. Their standards and evaluation process for hotels and tour operators were found to meet the highest global criteria possible.
How to Become Certified
The first step in the Control Union certification process is to complete a thorough application. This information will be used to communicate the plan, address the scope of the process, and submit necessary documentation.
Next, Control Union and the client will make arrangements for the audit. Depending on the certification, Control union might require multi-phase inspections or unannounced visits. During these inspections, the auditor looks for evidence of compliance with each standard which requires visiting all facilities and interviewing staff in all departments.
Following all inspections and audits, the travel business review how they measured in each standard and address and non-conformities. Assuming the client meets the criteria, they will then receive the Control Union certification.
How to Find a Green Certification for Travel
Before booking a hotel or tour, always check the business’s website or other available media for an eco-label or a webpage outlining their green efforts. Only companies that have undergone the inspection and certification process are able to use the Control Union and GSTC logo in their marketing. As a result, you can rest assured knowing that the business demonstrates transparency and trustworthiness in their efforts to make travel more sustainable.
Additionally, Control Union also has partnerships with Green Key and Green Globe Standard, two quality sustainable certificates. Look for their labels too! Learn more about Green Key here on our article!
Make sure to choose an accommodation or tour company with trustworthy and reliable sustainable certifications before departing on your next sustainable adventure!
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