Validating your green credentials

Membership of environmental accreditation and certification programs and participation in environmental awards will provide independent verification to your customers of your commitment to the environment. 

Not only will it promote what you already do but it will give guidance on how to do more and save more.


Accreditation and Certitfication programs


Environmental awards demonstrate to your customers that your organisation is committed to the green agenda.  There may also be specific awards for your sector, such as those run by the industry associations, that include an environmental category. If you achieve an award you will be able to publicise that fact, and also take advantage of any free press coverage that may accompany the award ceremony.

Qantas Award for Excellence in Sustainable Tourism

As part of the Victorian and Australian Tourism Awards programs, the Qantas Award for Excellence in Sustainable Tourism External link recognises and showcases successful tourism businesses that set out to minimise their environmental impact, conserve natural resources, respect local cultures and benefit local communities.  This award is open to tourism operators that exemplify a strong commitment to sustainable and innovative business practices.

As part of Qantas’ sponsorship of the award State winners receive a prize of $2,000. The national winner receives a major prize of $25,000. This prize needs to be invested in an initiative or project in line with the philosophy of the award.

In addition, the national winner receives coverage through Qantas' extensive communication channels, including Qantas - The Australian Way inflight magazine and other inflight entertainment channels.

Learn more about the 2012 winner, the Falls Festival {link to Falls festival case study} and the Australian Tourism Awards External link 

Tourism for Tomorrow Awards

The World Travel and Tourism Council’s Tourism for Tomorrow Awards External link are aimed at recognising best practice in sustainable tourism within the industry worldwide.  Candidates can apply in one of the following four award Categories: Destination Stewardship Award, Conservation Award, Community Benefit Award and the Global Tourism Business Award.

Once all applications have been received the judging procedure really begins - applicants have to go through a unique three-step process including site visits. An international team of 15-20 judges, representing a wide range of professional backgrounds and expertise in the Travel & Tourism industry, decide on the winners after choosing three finalists in each category. 

Responsible Travel Awards

The Responsible Tourism Awards External link are organised by founder External link with support from media partners Metro, Geographical Magazine (the magazine of the Royal Geographical Society), and World Travel Market, where the Awards are given out. The judging process is designed and organised in partnership with the International Centre for Responsible Tourism, and Virgin Holidays have supported the Awards as headline sponsor since 2007.

The Responsible Tourism Awards were founded in 2004 to celebrate and inspire change in the tourism industry. The awards rest on a simple principle – that all types of tourism, from niche to mainstream, can and should be organised in a way that preserves, respects and benefits destinations and local people.

Premier’s Sustainability Awards

The Premier’s Sustainability Awards External link acknowledge leadership, innovation and outstanding achievement of those who become sustainable in their use of Victoria’s resources.  The awards are in their tenth year, with Sustainability Victoria managing the awards on behalf of the Premier since 2007.

There are nine award categories, and one special recognition award, including a small and medium enterprises category.

Industry Association Awards

In addition, a number of industry associations such as the Australian Hotel Association have an environmental category as part of their awards programs. 

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Accreditation and Certification Programs

Accreditation/certification programs involve a set of standards established by, and for, the tourism industry. They provide businesses with a benchmark to become recognised as providers of consistently high quality, environmentally sustainable products and services.  Accreditation programs can enhance the status and recognition of your business by providing marketing advantages through expanded advertising opportunities such as websites, newsletters, logos and case studies.

Businesses and business practices are independently assessed to ensure they meet the required standards. In this way, accreditation provides visitors and the industry with an assurance that the business they are dealing with is:

  • committed to quality environmentally sustainable practices,
  • committed to professional standards, and
  • dedicated to continuous improvement.


The EarthCheck Program External link is an internationally recognised environmental benchmarking and sustainability program designed to address the challenges of climate change and improve the environmental performance of the travel and tourism sector.

Using a science-based approach, EarthCheck is used by the world’s leading companies to address risk, deliver bottom line efficiencies, maximise guest experience and minimise environmental footprints.

EarthCheck recognises 39 sectors in the travel and tourism industry and helps operators to monitor, measure and manage their environmental, social and economic impacts. This includes the reporting of greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) and consumption of natural resources.

For more information visit the EarthCheck website External linkor contact EC3 Gobal on (07) 3238 1900


The Eco Certification Program External link identifies genuine ecotourism and nature tourism operators across Australia and provides industry, protected area managers, local communities and travellers with an assurance that a certified product is backed by a commitment to best practice ecological sustainability, natural area management and the provision of quality ecotourism experiences.

For more information go to the Eco Tourism website External link or contact EcoTourism Australia on (07) 3229 5550


ISO 14001 is an international accreditation which sets the standard for an Environmental Management System (EMS) and assists in managing the impacts of an organisation's activities on the environment. An Environmental Management System provides a structured approach to planning and implementing environment protection measures, and usually includes monitoring environmental performance and integrating environmental management into a company's daily operations, long term planning and other quality management systems.

For more information visit the Environment Management Systems Association website External link

Keep learning!

Understand that becoming a green business is a journey without an end destination. Your tourism business needs to keep learning about new green practices, new green technologies and new ways to save resources and be efficient, so that these can be fed in to ensure continuous improvement.

Read widely, talk to others running green tourism businesses and keep looking for opportunities to share your own business's expertise and help others. Indeed, the more your business learns, the more likely it will be that your business becomes a leader in green businesses and can profit from sharing the expertise as well as doing what your business usually does. Create an internal culture that never stops learning and encourages employees to keep giving ideas and implementing things that help your business stay green.

Stay networked with other green tourism business through online forums, emails and websites.

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Last Updated 20th March 2013