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Sustainability Management for Tour Operators. A two-day course Day Two. CSR TOUR Corporate Social Responsibility Training and Certification in the Travel Sector Project Nr: 2012-1-HR1-LEO05-01703. Programme Day Two. Session 3. I ntegrate sustainability in your company:

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sustainability management for tour operators
Sustainability Management for Tour Operators

A two-day course

Day Two


Corporate Social Responsibility Training and Certification in the Travel Sector Project Nr: 2012-1-HR1-LEO05-01703

programme day two

Session 3. Integrate sustainability in your company:

6 steps

3.1 Implementing a sustainability management system:

Engage your business, Baseline assessment, Sustainability policy

Coffee break

3.2 Writing a policy

3.3 Implementing a sustainability management system:

Action plan, Monitoring, Reporting.


programme day two1

3.4 Writing your action plan

Session 4.Communicating and marketing sustainability

4.1 Marketing sustainability – Communication

Indicators of Greenwashing

What to tell your customers

4.2 Write your company sustainability USP’s

4.3 Marketing sustainability – Distribution

Session 5. Next steps and follow-up

day one s ummary
Day One Summary

What is sustainable tourism

Sustainable Tourism Impacts

The role of the Tour Operator

Marketing Sustainability

Internal Management

Sustainable Supply Chain Management

Sustainable Accommodation

Sustainable Excursions

Sustainable Transport

Sustainable Destinations

Customer Communication

day two aims
Day Two Aims

To introduce sustainability management.

To focus on first steps.

To provide examples of how you can market sustainability messages.

day two objectives
Day Two Objectives

Write a mission statement and a basic policy.

Create and implement a sustainability action plan

Introduce sustainability messages into your marketing and identify additional marketing channels

Identify and write sustainability USP’s

At the end of day two you will be able to:

how to integrate sustainability in your company
How to integrate sustainability in your company
  • 3.1 Implementing a sustainability management system.
  • Engage your business
  • Baseline assessment
  • Sustainability policy

Travelife 6-step approach

Engage your business Travelife Training

Baseline review

Travelife Baseline

Report & communicate

Travelife Reporting


Monitor and evaluate

Action plan & implementation

Travelife Action Planning


Step 1 - Engage your Business

  • Engagement management team
  • Appoint a sustainability manager
  • Job specifications and role profiles
  • Improving knowledge and expertise Travelife Training
  • Sustainability Mission Statement
  • Outcome:
  • Sustainability co-ordinator
  • Commitment  mission statement

At the very least, the mission statement should try to answer three key questions:

  • What “needs” is the company going to address
  • i.e. what is the company’s purpose?
  • What is the company doing to address those needs?
  • i.e. What is the nature of its business
  • What principles or beliefs guide the company’s work.
  • i.e. What are the company’s values?

Example sustainability mission statements

Our company’s foundation is built on our values, which distinguish us and guide our actions. We conduct our business in a socially responsible and ethical manner. We respect the law, support universal human rights, protect the environment and benefit the communities where we work. (Chevron)

Apple Computer is committed to protecting the environment, health, and safety of our employees, customers and the global communities where we operate.

We recognize that by integrating sound environmental, health, and safety management practices into all aspects of our business, we can offer technologically innovative products and services while conserving and enhancing resources for future generations. Apple strives for continuous improvement in

our environmental, health and safety management systems and in the environmental quality of our products, processes, and services.(Apple)


Mission statement

  • Produceoneforyour company.
  • A generalone, sonotonlytoincludesustainabilityelements
  • Qualityprodcuts

Step 2 – Baseline review

  • Identify current activities, partners and impacts:
  • Office and retail operations
  • Supply chain components
  • Costumers & Destinations
  • company’s total impact
  • Use Travelife checklist
  • Biggest impacts: where?
  •  prioritise!
  • Outcome:
  • Overview company supliers, impacts, baseline scenario

Step 3 – Policy

  • Prioritise impacts
  • Set sustainability objectives, targets
  • 3 – 5 years
  • 5 – 20 pages
  • Policy is clear, credible and achievable
  • Disseminate policy
  • Outcome:
  • Written plan to reduce negative and maximise positiveimpacts

Examples of policy formulations

  • - We will reduce our office energy use by 35% in 2014
  • - We will to
  • Travelife policy requirements
  • (put this into the exersice…)
  • Internal management
  • Energy
  • Waste
  • Sustainable procurement
  • Accommodations
  • Excursions

Developing a policy - Points to consider during the policy development:

  • Don’t implement any sustainability activities without having a written policy.
  • Without knowing your aims in advance, you run the risk of developing a system that cannot achieve its objectives. Employees will be demotivated if they do not see a clear direction and final aim.
  • Objectives and targets should be shaped by the findings of the earlier baseline assessment and the mission statement.
  • Objectives specify sustainability goals, while targets indicate the level of improvement to be attained.
  • All managers must support the sustainability policy, and will need to be engaged in its implementation and monitoring.
  • Don’t make the policy too rigid.
  • After you have begun to implement your sustainability policy and gathered some experience you may wish to modify or extend the policy.

Developing a policy (cont.)

  • The policy should be written in such a way so as to respond to developments both within and outside the organisation.
  • Allow room for continuation and evolution of the policy.
  • Ideally, your policy should state that you aim to evaluate and further develop your sustainability policy. While putting it into practice you will need to revise the policy regularly to establish whether it is still appropriate.
  • Don’t be too ambitious with your objectives.
  • Objectives that are formulated too ambitiously have little or no chance to be achieved.
  • Engage with your suppliers, the community and other stakeholders in the destination in formulating and developing your policy.
  • You may find it useful to discuss your ideas with a few of your company’s suppliers, and use their feedback to help you develop a robust policy.

Policy Content

  • The content of the policy should reflect the core company processes including the life cycle of the holiday package, from the planning stage to the development and delivery of the product:
    • Internal management
    • Product development
    • Supply chain management
    • Cooperation with destination
    • Customer relations

General considerations

  • Even though there are no established requirements about what should be included in a sustainability policy, in general it should:
  • Reflect your sustainability mission statement and/or the objectives of your corporate policy.
  • Be established for and by your organization and not be copied from another company.
  • Address the key aspects of the aforementioned five business action areas.
  • Address key issues, including the impacts identified in the baseline assessment;
  • Correspond with the nature, scale and impacts of the company’s activities and services.
  • Set open, honest and realistic goals.
  • Comply with laws, regulations and codes of conduct.
  • Convey the message that you strive for on-going improvement.
  • Cover both products and services.
  • Encompass all employees, and be understandable to everyone within your organisation.
  • Aim to ensure that suppliers contribute to the company’s sustainability aspirations.
  • Ascertain a commitment to raise awareness about sustainability issues among stakeholders, especially suppliers and consumers.
  • Be accessible to people outside your organisation.
  • Be accompanied by a signature of the Executive Board under the declaration stating that the policy is supported by the organisation’s management.

Communicating your policy to your suppliers

Clearly explain your sustainability policy and your expectations to your suppliers.

Keep messages simple and focused - time, recognition, sources of technical support.

It can be communicated through

Printed materials such as leaflets, posters and manuals

Informal meetings and discussions.


Internet pages.

Checklists and questionnaires designed to highlight key aspects of your programme.


communicating your policy

  • To company staff
  • Focus attention to your Sustainability Policy declaration during company meetings.
  • Include ´Sustainability´ on the agenda of the regular staff-meetings.
  • Incorporate your Sustainability Policy declaration in the induction pack for new employees and include appropriate sustainability elements in their key performance indicators.
  • To clients and other stakeholders
  • Place your Sustainability Policy declaration into your company prospectus, your travel brochures and web sites.
how to integrate sustainability in your company2
How to integrate sustainability in your company

3.3 Implementing a sustainability management system.

Prepare an action plan




Travelife 6-step approach

Engage your business Travelife Training

Baseline review

Travelife Baseline

Report & communicate

Travelife Reporting


Monitor and evaluate

Action plan & implementation

Travelife Action Planning


Step 4 – Action plan and implementation

  • Set priorities and make action plan
  • Develop sequence schedule of tasks to meet objectives
  • Determine criteria for success
  • Allocate staff, equipment and budget
  • Time schedule and divide tasks
  • Keep records of tasks undertaken
  • Outcome:
  • Records of tasks, time-schedule, responsibilities,
  • new measurements of performance & indicators

Step 5 – Monitoring and evaluation

  • Ensure that both management and performance are monitored
  • Conduct new measurement to assess improvements
  • Send progress report to senior management
  • Adjust your action planning
  • Outcome:
  • Progress report, reviewed action planning
  • First Choice (UK), Studiosus (Germany): EMS
  • Exodus: weekly updates, input meetings diverse departments

Step 6 – Report and communicate

  • Gather information
  • Decide on reporting
  • Publish and disseminate results
  • Internal and external
  • Outcome
  • Report of achievements, external communication

Travelife 6-step approach

Engage your business Travelife Training

Baseline review

Travelife Baseline

Report & communicate

Travelife Reporting


Monitor and evaluate

Action plan & implementation

Travelife Action Planning


Writingyour action plan

  • Use the Travelife checklist
  • Set realistic goals
  • Can do / can not do
  • ???????
communicating and marketing sustainability
Communicating and Marketing sustainability

4.2 Marketing sustainability – Communication

Indicators of Greenwashing

What to tell your customers


The majority of companies that have a sustainability process don’t know how to market it!

“Sustainability is not about doing business differently, but doing business even better”

Some do’s and don'ts


“Greenwashing” is an environmental claim which is unsubstantiated or irrelevant – people see through this and react negatively to it.



People look at these acts as a smoke screen – its not real – just a way of making money


Don’t Greenwash!

Travel with greenJet the low

Carbon airline. We’re planting

Trees so you can fly as often

As you please.

It’s not just travelling we

think about. All our meals

Are organic and locally

Sourced, and we serve

only fairtrade coffee


Don’t Greenwash!







No data,


or certified


Travel with greenJet the low

Carbon airline. We’re planting

Trees so you can fly as often

As you please.

It’s not just travelling we

think about. All our meals

Are organic and locally

Sourced, and we serve

only fairtrade coffee

Nothing to

do with the

product !


Don’t Greenwash!

Our beautiful shoes are made

From reclaimed leather and 100%

Recycled materials so there’s no

Hidden impact behind the hide.

We do not use PVC and our products

Are entirely free of toxic contaminants

Like cadmium and lead residues

Now you can feel as good about

Your shoes as you look in them.


Do - tell everybody that sustainability is quality!

And how they can have a better experience for it.

There are a lot of conflicting messages in the world about this but most customers do care or don’t want to cause harm!

Price, location and aspirations come first but after these sustainability values and actions can and do sell a product over another.

Consumers in Europe will buy products that are environmentally and socially responsible, but this doesn’t mean they searched for it in the first place!

The leisure market doesn’t have to see the words “sustainability” or “green” the same way that you don't have to use quality or luxury all the time. Try to be more subtle about it as too many messages are vague or as a apology.

To say nothing or to throw up words that are trendy will give the impression of being an after thought – GREENWASHING – cashing in !!



Make your sustainability actions more interesting to customers.

Use all the typical marketing tools you would use and think about how your green / sustainability actions can be part of what you normally say.

Communicate with your customers by making them participate and make it fun…think about how you can involve them even in hotels – activities that involve a green element.

tailor your marketing to your audience
Tailor your marketing to your audience

“Ethical” consumers actively seek green holidays because of their lifestyle, but they represent a very low % of the market. (5-10 %)

“Feel Good” consumers are the majority. They don’t seek “green” but they buy your messages if they feel that they can do their bit and / or get a better product or service if it happens to be sustainable. They may like you because you are different and any “labels” serve to reinforce this and may influence their booking decision. (60 %)

“Just want to switch off” consumers are unlikely to value what you do and so anything you do needs to be behind the scenes and should focus on how it improves their experience with you. (20-30 %)

why am i telling customers about sustainability
Why am I telling customers about sustainability ?
  • To make them feel good ?
  • (Be realistic about your sustainability in your communications.)
  • You have taken care of the sustainability issues so they enjoy the benefits.
  • Even if they are not eco warriors doesn't mean they don’t appreciate it. You are just helping them to do their bit.
  • People feel good facing easy choices – tell them in brief about your charitable programs (if you have any?) Your recycling policy if appropriate and the use of public transport if you are in a city.
why am i telling customers about sustainability1
Why am I telling customers about sustainability ?

To raise awareness and change behaviour?

If you want change then be precise and give them something in exchange (knowledge) – recycling, local purchasing, respect local customs.

Be specific – vague messages are frustrating – tell them what to do and not just “be green”

Show the actions they take has a positive impact – instead of saying “save water” show what can be done with the saved water

Only mention the more sustainable options – focus on local daytrips rather than those that are hours away

what do i say
What Do I Say?

What message do you want to show to the world?

(This is about your sustainability policy, any photos you use, text you write.)

Choose 1-2 messages only, otherwise the message gets confusing.

Get your customers to participate – doing is much more fun than watching

  • Harvest their own food for lunch
  • Take part in community enterprises

Make them feel special - Better Service

  • Put the customer at the centre of the experience - what’s in it for them?
  • How do you want your customers to feel?

Show a personal connection

  • “We are people like you, with the same values, that’s why you’ll enjoy being here.”
where when how do i tell them
Where, when, how do I tell them?

Press & Media

More and more, the press and media are looking for a

story that gives a true authentic argument to the

sustainability issues in tourism. So think about what

makes you different ?

Why would people want to read about it.

Coverage that you have achieved should not be forgotten!

Use it on your website, make links to it from your website, use it in mailings to customers.

Certification / Awards – a quote from a national or international publication or respected media is likely to give a better impression that a certification or award that has low awareness !!

Visit England / ICRT research says that 21% of customers have taken a holiday or short break recommended in a newspaper, magazine or seen on a TV program.



Your website is your portal to the world – Use it wisely and correctly.

Social Media

Sites such as Facebook, Twitter and other specialised social networks or groups are vital to get your message across. Most of these can be used in their basic forms for free

  • It engages with your potential customers and uses the power of their social networking to get your messages out.
  • It helps considerably with the rankings on search engines and makes your messages easier to find.

3rd party websites

If you are featured in Lonely Planet, Good Hotel Guide, Bradt Guides or any of the other international directories (online or offline) feature this on your website – (Remember – credibility)

Most companies should be marketing all the time in some way.

How many periods in the life of a booking process can you get your message out – 2, 3, 6 ????

On the average this will be in four periods…….


Prior to booking / purchase

People need information to help them make decisions so explain why your product is better value, better quality or more appealing because of the sustainability aspect.

Between booking and arrival

Communicate with your customer before they arrive on how to prepare for their visit – what to bring, what they can do (options), if they are self catering recommend local goods that they can pre-purchase before arrival. You could also advise them on any local customs etc.

On arrival

On arrival at hotels or attractions, will you give the right message if you seen to be wasting light (and heat if the doors are left open in the winter)?

Your information leaflet should include what you have done to be more sustainable and that this is an every day, on-going policy.

Smaller businesses can share their values directly with each arrival whilst showing people to their accommodation.


During the stay / visit

This is the best chance you have of showing what you do and to prove all your marketing efforts. You can either communicate some information directly to your customer or keep it in the background for your customers to hopefully see and enjoy.

After the stay / visit

Stay in contact with your customer, although they may not come back, they have their own personal networks and can refer you.

Thank them for coming and remind them that their visit was done in a sustainable way.

  • If they planted a tree as part of their stay – tell them how it is growing
  • If they engaged with a school, or group tell them how these groups are now benefiting from their personal engagement.
communicating and marketing sustainability1
Communicating and Marketing sustainability

4.3 Write your company sustainability USP’s



  • Customer communication
  • Growing awareness of sustainability, but…
  • Communication strategies
  • Sustainable alternatives = quality products, new experiences
  • Secondary information: your choice contributes to….
  • Style of communication
  • Short, positive, engaging

Use local restaurants

sustainability usp s unique selling points
Sustainability USP’s (Unique Selling Points)

Unique selling points are the things which distinguish your business from the rest and add value to your product offer.

“Sustainable USP’s” must show how the sustainability feature will benefit the customer

e.g. All our guides are recruited locally which means that they know the destination better than anyone.

All restaurants in our accommodations purchase fresh produce grown or reared locally to bring you an authentic taste of the destination.

sustainability usp s unique selling points1
Sustainability USP’s (Unique Selling Points)


Sustainable hotels have much to gain by exploiting new marketing opportunities. Compose a sustainability USP for a business you know that is already demonstrating those sustainability features.

Try to be as creative as possible by choosing things which are unique to the business and not exhibited by most of their competitors.

communicating and marketing sustainability2
Communicating and Marketing sustainability

4.4 Marketing sustainability – Distribution channels


Marketing sustainability: distribution

What do you market:

Your (sustainable) company

your (sustainable) products

To whom do you market



Need different strategies !


Your (sustainable) company

Sustainability provides competitive advantage

Sustainability certificate  quality is assumed.

Sustainability is quality +

Sustainability increases your brand value

Communicate your sustainability USP’s and achievements to business partners and clients


Sustainable products

Develop sustainable products

Look actively for local initiatives and suppliers

Co-operate with your international business partners.


The Travelife Market

Suppliers with a sustainability certificate available for selection


Distribution of sustainable products.

Still small target groups! How to reach them:

1. “Green shops”, many new market based web sites focus on sustainable products

2. “Green corners” in all niche markets will emerge

green shops in tourism sector
“Green Shops” in tourism sector



Green Corner

For many niche markets there are no Green Shops

You do not want to loose 80 % of your potential clients.

Use your normal distribution channels for your type of products.

The sustainability of your product is an add-on, creating additional value and attracting additional clients.


Green corner

Common TO logo forsustainable hotels

First Choice

Winter 2008

Virgin Holidays

Winter 2008


The Travelife Collection.

A catalogue of accommodations certified with the Travelife label


Follow-up programme

Online Training & formal exam

Planning and Reporting

International recognition and certification

Market access support


Travelife Certified

Travelife Partner

Travelife Engaged

Your road towards sustainability



Stage 1. Travelife Engaged

Online training and exam for your sustainability


Guidance on improving your sustainability


Action planning tool

Reporting tool (towards Travelife Partner criteria)

Access to B2B TravelifePartner and Certified



Sustainability report

Planning and Reporting tool



Action Plan


Stage 2. Travelife Partner

After compliance with TravelifePartner standards

Travelife Partner award and logo

B2B featuring of your company and products to

all other Travelife member companies.

Improving and reporting towards Travelife Certified level (more criteria, more obligations)


Travelife Certified standard

Based on:

ISO 14001 - Environmental management

GRI - Global Reporting Initiative, tourism supplement

GSTC - Global SustainableTourism Criteria 

ISO 26000 - Corporate Social Responsibility Guidelines and principles


Stage 3. TravelifeCertified

On-site audit to confirm Certified level.

Use of “Travelife Certified” logo in your promotional materials and website(s).

International promotion of your company for its excellent sustainability achievements.


Mr. TalebRifai, General Secretary UNWTO, hands out

“Travelife Certified” awards to TUI Netherlands, SNP Nature Travel and Kuoni Specialists.


Contribution (for Partner Recognition

You will receive an invitation with the details

You are already registered for

engaged level under


Next steps

Defining the Travelife Partner standard.

You will receive access to the formal training, exam and reporting tool.

  • Guidance, coaching and follow-up workshops
  • You are already registered for engaged level under
day 2 s ummary
Day 2 Summary

Implementing a sustainability management system

The 6-step approach

Developing a policy

Communicating your policy

Action planning and implementation

Marketing sustainability


Sustainability USP’s

Distribution channels

Next steps & on-going support

thank you good luck
Thank You&Good Luck !

In case you need further help