Eco adventures for a greener world

Everything You Ever Wanted To Know About Ecotourism Blog!

Welcome to the Greenloons Blog, your go-to ecotourism / sustainable / responsible (or whatever term you feel comfortable with) travel resource. Here, you will find eco travel destination profiles, environmentally friendly travel tips, ecotourism certification information, eco trip reviews and much more! Read, share and let us know your thoughts about ecotourism!

  • Home
    Home This is where you can find all the blog posts throughout the site.
  • Categories
    Categories Displays a list of categories from this blog.
  • Tags
    Tags Displays a list of tags that have been used in the blog.
  • Bloggers
    Bloggers Search for your favorite blogger from this site.
  • Login
    Login Login form

Ecotourism 101: What is greenwashing?

Posted by on in Introduction to Ecotourism
  • Font size: Larger Smaller
  • 0 Comments
  • Subscribe to this entry
  • Print

With a projected value of $474 billion by 2012, ecotourism is fast becoming a growing niche market with hoteliers and destination tour operators promoting their products as environmentally conscious when upon closer inspection, they are greenwashing.

Along with the term green sheen, greenwashing is the insincere promotion of green business practices that are advertised as reducing carbon emissions or limiting the use of scarce resources, for example, when the actual objective is to increase profits by implementing some easy, cost-saving measures.

greenwash-comic

The environmental marketing firm TerraChoice published a study called The Five Sins of Greenwashing which found that more than 99% of 1,018 common consumer products randomly surveyed for the study were guilty of the greenwashing sins of:

Hidden Trade-Off: examples are a hotel that uses "energy efficient" light bulbs that contain hazardous materials or the hotel restaurant that advertises the use of "locally-sourced ingredients" that are purchased at a local supermarket.

Relativism: examples are a tour operator that uses "fuel-efficient" SUVs when the vehicle itself is not an efficient mode of transportation.

Vagueness: examples are an airline company that claims the use of planes is "better for the environment" than driving a hybrid car to your destination or maintains a "carbon-offsetting program" that only makes up for a small fraction of the company's overall energy use.

Irrelevance: an example is a hotel hair product claiming to be "CFC-free", even though CFCs were banned 20 years ago.

Fibbing: an example is a company that falsely claims to be "certified" by an internationally recognized environmental standard like EcoLogo, Energy Star or Green Seal.

A recent United Nations Environment Programme report indicated that "Many travel and tourism businesses have found it convenient to use the term ecotourism in their literature, and governments have used it extensively to promote their destinations, all without trying to implement any of its most basic principles. The problem of greenwashing has undermined the legitimacy of ecotourism. Some greenwashing, though certainly not all, is the result of a lack of understanding of the underlying principles of ecotourism…ultimately, certification will be a fundamental tool to ensure businesses are meeting standards."

Check out our eco-certified green vacations that feature awesome adventure, culture, nature & wildlife and culinary experiences.

Rate this blog entry:
0
Tagged in: Defining Ecotourism

Irene is the founder & president of Greenloons. She is a dual EU citizen who has lived in 5 countries and visited 32 more in Asia, Oceania, Latin America and Europe. Drawing upon her professional and personal experiences to address authentic ecotourism from community, ecological and financial points of view, Irene is a frequent conference speaker, Huffington Post blogger and radio talk show guest. 

Comments

  • No comments made yet. Be the first to submit a comment

Leave your comment

Guest Wednesday, 22 March 2017

Read All About Ecotourism

View more blog entries