The origins of EarthCheck certification date back to 1997 when the Australian government created the Sustainable Tourism Cooperative Research Centre (STCRC) in order to produce science-based research about sustainability in the travel industry. In the ensuing decade, the STCRC focused on helping tourism businesses and organizations benchmark and enhance their triple bottom line first for the Green Globe certification and then under its own brand, EarthCheck.
Today, “more than 6 million consumers a week are touched by an EarthCheck certified product” according to their website as there are specialized products for:
- Certified Company
- Sustainable Design
- Green Product Guide
- Certified Community
- National Parks & Ski Resorts
For purposes of this article, we focus on the criteria and process for an EarthCheck Certified Company. As such, the core criteria center on an organization’s ability to measure and reduce water waste, energy usage from non-renewable energy resources and carbon emissions output. Tourism businesses that apply for certification have access to an online benchmarking system that:
- tracks and measures resource use and waste output,
- provides solutions for design and operational inefficiencies, and
- encourages corporate social responsibility.
There are three main phases to obtaining a certification:
- Registration and Program Introduction – Once the company has registered, a Relationship Manager is assigned and access is provided to the online program that offers support tools and resources.
- Benchmarking – The company submits a sustainability policy, enters its benchmarking data into the online system, and submits a self-assessment. The Relationship Manager works with the company so that evidence or documentation is submitted along with the self-assessment. Bronze level certification is awarded.
- Certification – The company completes a risk assessment as well as a policy for continuous improvement. During the next quarter, the company will complete another self-assessment and depending on the Relationship Manager’s determination on the level of risk for the company, there will be an offsite or onsite certification audit. Once the auditor submits the report with the recommendation for certification, the company is awarded a Silver level certification. After 5 years of continuous re-certification, the company is awarded Gold level certification.
Click to review our updated eco-certification reference guide that compares more than 20 certifications available worldwide.