Managment and Accreditation Systems
Environmental Management Systems
In general, in order to reduce their environmental impact, larger tourism businesses should aim to introduce an environmental management system (EMS). An EMS focuses on the implementation of programmes on the key areas of waste management, energy efficiency, water minimisation and green procurement. An EMS will help you develop an environmental strategy, implement activities, and monitor and review your action. Implementation of an EMS might for example include some of the following measures:
- Waste: Introduction of a strategy to reduce, reuse and recycle waste.
- Water: Introduction of water metering, low flush toilets, installation of water tanks to generate own water supply.
- Energy: Installation of sustainable energy technologies such as woodpellet boilers, solar panels for hot water, or improvement of building insulation.
- Materials: Sourcing sustainably produced, local building materials, goods and produce.
The Failte Ireland ‘Performance Plus’ website has an Environmental Channel homepage which showscases studies, and provides self audit tools for the key environmental management areas of waste, water, energy and green procurement.
Implementing an EMS demonstrates your commitment to the environment along with improving your operational efficiency and reducing costs. While an EMS can be implemented on an informal basis, linking up with national standards and certification schemes can provide you with a framework for EMS implementation, strong credentials and marketing opportunities. The following section gives an overview of some of the existing environmental management programmes and accreditation systems available to the Irish tourism sector.
Green Business Initiative
The National Waste Prevention Programme commenced in 2004. The programme provides a number of initiatives dealing with a number of prevention issues. One such initiative is the Green Business Initiative, designed to promote waste prevention and resource efficiency within the business sector. The first sector identified for this initiative was the hotel and hospitality sector. The Greening Irish Hotels Programme was rolled out by the EPA under the ERTDI in 2006. The Green Business Initiative intends to build on the momentum gained by the Greening Irish Hotels Programme by extending this initiative to a further 150 hotels and developing this into a national awards scheme.
The International Standards Organisation (ISO) has developed the international standard for Environmental Management – the ISO 14001. The ISO 14001 provides organisations with a structure to establish policy, develop and implement an efficient EMS, and to comply with environmental legislation. In Ireland, the National Standards Authority is responsible for accreditation to ISO 14001.
EMAS (The European Eco Management & Audit Scheme)
The EMAS is similar to the ISO 14001 but is for use in the EU only. Participating organisations must implement an EMS, commit to continual improvement and report on performance for verification. The Irish National Accreditation Board is the competent body responsible for EMAS in Ireland .
The ‘EU Flower’ Eco-Label
This European eco-label signifies high environmental performance in all kinds of tourist accommodation services. To obtain this certification, accommodation providers must meet key criteria relating to implementing measures on water saving, energy efficiency, renewable energy, waste separation and disposal, reduced usage of chemical substances and environmental communication and education.
This programme, run by Golf Environment Europe (GEE) is for golf courses looking to adopt best environmental practice. The aim of the programme is to create a system which is more accessible to golf facilities across Europe, which allows flexibility for adaptation into different national projects and which ultimately encourages registration and accreditation via the European Commission Eco Management and Audit Scheme (EMAS).
Leave No Trace
This is an outdoor ethics programme designed to promote responsible outdoor recreational behaviour through a series of 7 principles. This programme applies to all outdoor (non-motorised) activities. Any centre or facility which displays this logo has signed up to this programme and promotes and supports the 7 principles of Leave No Trace. To log on to the Leave No Trace website click here.
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